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Aydohya Ceremonies Peaceful

Posted on 2002/3/15 8:49:02 ( 1092 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, March 15, 2002: Hindus in India have held a peaceful ceremony in Ayodhya, as a massive security operation largely forestalled a feared eruption in religious violence. The acceptance of the stones by the authorities in Ayodhya today means that the process of establishing the temple here has begun. Up to 3,000 people -- the numbers limited by intense government efforts to turn people away from the town -- marched towards the disputed area where in 1992 Hindu zealots tore down the 16th century Babri Masjid, built upon the birthplace of Lord Rama. Chanting "Lord Ram, we are coming," the activists handed the two pieces of stone -- part of a temple they want to build on the site -- to a local civic leader. But the ritual, which passed off without incident, was held outside the disputed area from which all religious activity was barred by a Supreme Court order on Wednesday. But authorities took no chances, arresting at least 35,000 people across the country to prevent any renewed outbreaks of Hindu-Muslim violence. Activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) did not try and break through to the site, despite earlier warnings that they would defy the ban. The VHP initially pledged to begin construction of the temple on Friday, but leaders said the compromise ceremony was the first step. "The acceptance of the stones by the authorities in Ayodhya today means that the process of establishing the temple here has begun," VHP General Secretary Praveen Togadia told reporters in New Delhi.

Swami Calls for Rehabilitation in Gujarat

Posted on 2002/3/15 8:48:02 ( 1013 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 15, 2002: Swami Agnivesh issued the following press release today, "In one of the worst-ever outbreaks of communal violence in the country, hundreds of lives were lost and Muslim houses and business establishments have been totally destroyed. It is not enough to denounce or feel sorry for this communal madness. Our compassion for those who have lost everything must find a practical expression. One of the worst-affected areas is village Dolepur in Sabarkhantha district of Gujarat. Here a hundred houses have been totally destroyed and 15 more partially damaged. Under Shri. G. R. Khairnar, the ex-Municipal Commissioner of Bombay and Shri Dharma Bandhu, a celebrated social activist, a scheme to rehabilitate the affected people of this village has been launched. This is a cause worth supporting. Each of the destroyed houses will be re-built comprising a large room (18ft x 12ft), veranda (12ft x 6) and toilet. This will cost, labor being provided free by the villagers, Rs. 35000 or US$ 745 per unit. Those who wish to participate in this humanitarian endeavor are requested to send their donations favoring: Dharma Pratishtan, A/C No. 66769 SB, Punjab National Bank, Parliament Street, New Delhi, India." To contact Swami Agnivesh, click "source" above.

Scientists: Child Abuse Causes Permanent Damage

Posted on 2002/3/15 8:47:02 ( 979 reads )


March 3, 2002: A recent article by Martin H. Teicher, in the March, 2002, issue of Scientific American, states that maltreatment at an early age can have enduring negative effects on a child's brain development and function. Exposure to early stress generates molecular and neurobiological effects that alter neural development in an adaptive way that prepares the adult brain to survive and reproduce in a dangerous world. Contributors to the article theorize that overactivation of stress response systems, a reaction that may be necessary for short-term survival, increases the risk for obesity, type II diabetes and hypertension; leads to a host of psychiatric problems, including a heightened risk of suicide; and accelerates the aging and degeneration of brain structures. According to the article, society reaps what it sows in the way it nurtures its children. Stress sculpts the brain to exhibit various antisocial, though adaptive, behaviors. Whether it comes in the form of physical, emotional or sexual trauma or through exposure to warfare, famine or pestilence, stress can set off a ripple of hormonal changes that permanently wire a child's brain to cope with a malevolent world. For an excerpt from the article click "source" above.

Indian Security Forces Flood Ayodhya

Posted on 2002/3/14 8:49:02 ( 1028 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, March 14, 2002: Indian security forces have put on a massive show of strength in Ayodhya as Hindus prepare to hold special prayers at a disputed holy site in defiance of a Supreme Court ban. More than 2,000 police and paramilitary troops marched through the northern town, hours after a senior Hindu leader vowed that the ceremony would go ahead. Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das, who is spearheading the campaign to build a temple on the site of the razed Babri mosque (built upon the birthplace of Lord Rama), said devotees would gather at the site on Friday. His statement followed a determined pledge by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to uphold Wednesday's court order barring all religious activity at the site. The BBC's Adam Mynott says authorities have raised security to unprecedented levels, determined that the showdown does not spark an explosion in communal violence. "We will do puja... even if the government shoots me," the 92-year-old was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency. Security forces have all but sealed off Ayodhya, with police stationed at every street corner and armed officers on rooftops.

World Ayurveda Congress 2002

Posted on 2002/3/14 8:48:02 ( 1013 reads )


KERALA, INDIA, March 13, 2002: The World Ayurveda Congress 2002 will be held from November 1 - 4, 2002, at Kochi, Ernakulam, Kerala, India. The Congress is being organized by Swadeshi Science Movement, a unit of Vijnana Bharati, in association with other Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations. The theme of this years conference is "World Health and Ayurveda." 2500 delegates from 100 countries including experts in Siddha, Unani, and Acupuncture are expected to attend. The conference will include presentations, workshops, exhibitions, and classes. For details and registration information click "source" above.

New York Times Article Details How Catholic Church Hid Abuse

Posted on 2002/3/14 8:47:02 ( 1011 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 12, 2002: In this latest of what is almost a daily series of articles appearing in the New York times and other newspapers, reporter Daniel Wakin examines how the Catholic Church responded to allegations of child abuse by priests. Some excerpts: "In 1993, lawyers for Sharon See and Brian Freibott, then both 28, served papers on the Rev. Raymond Pcolka that accused him of abusing them as children in Stratford, Conn. But before the lawsuit was even filed, Ms. See's lawyer said, a lawyer for the Diocese of Bridgeport called with this message: The priest was a good man. Don't sue. We'll handle it. It was a "bolt out of the blue," recalled Ms. See's lawyer, Cindy L. Robinson. Ms. See and Mr. Freibott were not dissuaded from filing their suit, and over the next eight years the church tried to keep the case from public view. The diocese moved to keep the evidence secret and filed a barrage of legal motions: too much time had passed since the incidents; the church was shielded by the First Amendment protection of religious freedom; the diocese was not liable because a priest abusing a child was not working on behalf of the diocese. Legal experts say the tough legal approach, with an emphasis on secrecy, has been adopted by other Roman Catholic dioceses. Over the last two decades, plaintiffs lawyers say, dioceses have reached more than 1,000 settlements in cases involving sexual abuse by priests, many of them sealed. That approach, which is commonly used by many corporations and institutions in their legal battles, has now come back to haunt the church, as diocese after diocese has acknowledged the presence of priests accused of abuse within its ranks." .... "In recent months, dioceses from Boston to Philadelphia to Los Angeles have disclosed to the public and prosecutors names of priests accused of sexual abuse, many of whom were subjects of secret court settlements. 'In terms of avoiding the scandal, and eliminating the legal liability, this is exactly the wrong thing to have done,' Peter Schuck, a professor at Yale Law School. Mr. Schuck said the scope of the settlements and recently unsealed documents that show the church knew about longstanding accusations of abuse raised the question of whether the church could be held liable as an institution and be forced to pay punitive damages. 'It's not simply a case of an organization whose agents have erred,' he said. 'It's an organization that knew about the improprieties and actively concealed it.' "

March 15 Ayodhya Event Scaled Down

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:49:02 ( 969 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, March 11, 2002: In a major climbdown, the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, spearheading the temple movement, on Monday virtually dropped plans for a bhoomi pujan near the disputed site in Ayodhya and announced a scaled down program for March 15. In a day of conflicting signals emanating from Nyas-VHP circles, Nyas Chief Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans said, he would "donate" a shila (carved stone) to the "Receiver" of the disputed site (the government) for construction of the Ram Temple. "We had thought the Ram Janmabhoomi would be handed over to us by March 12 and we would go there on March 15 with shilas to begin the construction work," RJN president Ramchandra Das Paramhans said here. "But Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee failed to hand over the land," he said, adding: "We will not go to others' land for sangarsh (struggle) or take law into our hands." However, on way to Ayodhya, VHP International Working President Singhal told reporters in Lucknow that the puja will be conducted within 67 acres of the acquired land. Singhal, who met Uttar Pradesh Governor Vishnukant Shastri, was given permission by the state government to visit the temple town.

Security High in Ayodhya

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:48:02 ( 1043 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, March 10, 2002: Attempting to instill confidence among residents, a 100-vehicle convoy of gun-totting paramilitary forces personnel staged a flag march of the twin towns of Ayodhya and Faizabad. Security was further beefed up following intelligence reports that a group of terrorists in the garb of kar sewaks might try to target the makeshift temple. Central Reserve Police Force, Provincial Armed Constabulary and units of UP police, in full anti-riot gear and totting machine guns, marched through the twin cities passing through sensitive areas, including lanes close to the disputed site.

Angkor Wat Creaking Under Weight of Tourist Invasion

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:47:02 ( 1087 reads )


PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, March 11, 2002: A massive tourism invasion threatens to overwhelm Cambodia's legendary Angkor Wat temples. With an airport upgrading master plan, conservationists predict that the Unesco World Heritage site will be ill-prepared for the millions of visitors expected to arrive in the next five years. Tourism has seen a dramatic take-off since 1997 when Prime Minister Hun Sen permitted airlines to fly direct to Siem Reap, bypassing the capital Phnom Penh. Direct flights from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China and Vietnam brought 353,981 passengers to Siem Reap in 2001, a 50-per-cent rise over the previous year. Deputy Tourism Minister Dr. Thong Khon said Siem Reap had many problems. He said that the picturesque river that flows through the city centre is strewn with garbage, only a few toilets exist around the temples, and many new hotels lack proper sewage treatment. Apsara, the Cambodian authority responsible for the conservation of Angkor's 12th-century antiquities and heritage, has worked with Unesco to set up a series of regulations and restrictions to safeguard the temples. To prevent tourist traffic jams developing around the temples, it will restrict the number of tourists visiting a temple to 300 at a time. Sightseeing will be limited to one to two hours beginning 2003.

Looted Diamond on Exhibit in Canada

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:46:02 ( 1141 reads )


TORONTO, CANADA, March 1, 2002: From March 1st to June 30th, Toronto is hosting an exhibition from 'Scuderie del Quirinale' showcasing diamonds estimated in worth at US$440 million. This display from the President's palace in Rome will feature 20 world-famous diamonds, 200 diamond jewellery masterpieces, and over 150 jewels. Of special interest to Hindus is the "Idols Eye diamond." According to this article, "This 70 carat stone is one of the most famous historical diamonds in the world. It adorned the forehead of a statue of Shiva in a Hindu temple close to the city of Nasik." No mention has been made of returning this looted artifact to Hindus.

Houston Yoga Conference

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:45:02 ( 1242 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, March 7, 2002: Yoga practioners, physicians and researchers from all cities of US, India, Germany, Japan and China shared a common platform at the International Conference and Workshop on Yoga for Positive Health held here from March 2 - 7. Erudite scholars and researchers from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (sVYASA), as well as the research team from Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital provided valuable data culled from years of studying the positive and beneficial effects of yoga as additional treatment therapy in patients with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Featured guest speakers from sVYASA included Dr. A. Malathi, CEO of Manipal Hospital. Padma Bhushan Dr. E.C.G. Sudarshan, Professor of Physics at U.T. Austin, spoke on how consciousness interacts with the mind and brain, yet is distinct from them. Other well-known speakers were Dr. Blair Justice, Dr. Larry Dossey, Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Subhash Kak. The general consensus was that the research on yoga be presented at a medical conference so that it's benefits could be better understood and implemented more diversely.

Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda to visit Australia and New Zealand

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:44:02 ( 1080 reads )


AUSTRIA, March 11, 2002: In April 2002 one of the world's most loved and respected spiritual Masters, Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda (Swamiji) will visit New Zealand and Australia with the message that "World Peace is in Your Hands." Sri Swamiji kicks off his world tour "Down Under" with a seminar in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 5-7. (Contact yoga-idl@top.net.nz for more details.) Then he's off to Australia for 3 weeks to share his Yoga in Daily Life teachings. He will be visiting all the major cities across Australia starting in Brisbane on April 9th. For more information about satsang with Swamiji and his programs in Australia click "source" above.

Washington Post Reports on Child Molestation in the Catholic Clergy

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:43:02 ( 1024 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C. March 10, 2002: Excerpts from this long article: "As the Roman Catholic Church faces a widening scandal over child abuse by priests in Boston and around the country, some Catholics cite cases of misconduct by clergy of other religions and ask: Does the Catholic Church really have a bigger problem with sexual abuse? Or are the public and the media just more fascinated by stories involving priests? Many victims, psychologists and academic researchers believe that the Catholic Church does have a greater problem. They point to egregious abusers long protected by superiors, such as John Geoghan, the former Boston priest accused of molesting more than 130 children. They argue that ... the church's structure allows abusers to move around and avoid exposure." ... "Sylvia M. Demarest, a Texas lawyer, began tracking allegations against [Catholic] priests in the mid-1990s, when she won a $119 million jury award on behalf of former altar boys abused in Dallas. As of 1996, she said, she had found 1,100 priests accused of molesting children. She plans to update the list and expects that it will top 1,500 names -- between 2 percent and 3 percent of the roughly 60,000 [Catholic] priests who have served in the United States since 1984. A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest turned therapist, estimates that 6 percent of U.S. priests have had sexual contact with minors -- 4 percent with adolescents and 2 percent with younger children." ..."'I'm convinced that there is higher sexual abuse of minors in the priesthood than in other professions and religious groups,' Sipe said. 'If there were somebody in the Washington, D.C., school district with Father Geoghan's history, would he have gotten away with it for 20 years? No. Not in any private industry either. There is a dynamic in the church that allows this to be covered up.'" ... "a wealth of information could be collected from counseling centers that have treated hundreds of priests for pedophilia and other psychological problems. These include St. Luke's Institute in Silver Spring; St. Michael's Paraclete Center outside St. Louis; St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, Pa.; the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn.; and Southdown Hospital near Toronto. But church leaders have rejected the idea."

One Dead, 32 Hurt in New India Violence

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:49:02 ( 1056 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA, March 10, 2002: Hindu activists on Sunday fought police trying to enforce a ban on large gatherings imposed after India's worst religious violence in a decade. One activist was killed and 32 people, mostly police, were injured. Police and paramilitary forces were attacked when they tried to break up the crowd at a train station in Paldi, 12 miles south of Calcutta. Police responded by beating the group back with wooden sticks, lobbing tear gas and finally opening fire, said local government administrator Alapan Bandopadhyay. Dozens of Hindus were defying a ban on congregations of more than four people. The ban was imposed after more than 700 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim clashes earlier this month. A member of the Viswa Hindu Parishad, which organized the ceremony, was killed in the shooting, and 32 people including 25 police officers were injured. Most of the injured activists had bullet wounds in their legs, while policemen were injured by rocks and other objects hurled by the mob, Bandopadhyay said.

Muslim Leaders Reject Compromise Plan on Ayodhya

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:48:02 ( 1050 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2002: Muslim leaders in India have rejected a proposal which was meant to ease tensions over a disputed holy site in the northern town of Ayodhya. The proposal was made by one of India's top Hindu religious leaders who is mediating with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, had suggested that Hindus be given the land next to the disputed area for a symbolic prayer pending a judgement by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Senior Muslim leaders under the banner of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board rejected the idea at a meeting in Delhi. Muslims are angry that although the VHP says it will accept whatever ruling the Indian Supreme Court makes on the future of the site, it is still planning to hold a symbolic prayer ceremony there on 15 March. There is apprehension in India that this ceremony could spark a new round of violence.

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