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Smoking -- Nation's Tragedy

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:48:02 ( 1019 reads )


ATLANTA, GEORGIA, April 11, 2002: Lighting up a cigarette, according to a study recently completed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is costing the country US$3,391 a year per smoker, or $157.7 billion annually for the whole nation. Breaking the cost down, the CDC study estimates that the habit costs $3.45 per pack for medical costs incurred by the smoker and another $3.73 per pack for lost job productivity as a result of early deaths. Considering that in 1999, a pack of cigarettes cost $2.92, society is nowhere near recovering the cost from taxes on the product. Dr. David Fleming, the CDC's acting director says, "The fact that nearly half a million Americans lose their lives each year because of smoking-related illnesses is a significant public health tragedy." The article goes on to list other statistics such as, "Smoking causes an average man to lose more than 13 years of life and an average woman to lose 14.5 years" and that "Smoking during pregnancy causes 1,000 infant deaths each year."

Alternative Medicine Is Finding Its Place In Nation's Hospitals

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:47:02 ( 1123 reads )


SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, April 13, 2002: Combining traditional and alternative medicine, Memorial Health University Medical Center has joined with Dr Chopra, the best-selling author and holistic health exponent, to create a center where patients and Savannah residents can come for yoga, meditation or a treatment called Shirodhara in which herb-infused sesame oil is dripped onto their foreheads. Nearby, St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital opened a Center for Wellbeing, where people can take yoga classes and learn about aromatherapy. Hospitals in search of paying patients and a competitive edge are increasingly offering their patients some form of alternative medicine. The number of hospitals offering alternative therapies nearly doubled form 1998 to 2000, according to a a survey by the American Hospital Association, to 15.5 percent of all hospitals. Programs are offered by community hospitals as well as academic medical centers like Beth Israel Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Duke and Stanford, and they range from relaxation therapies and acupuncture, often given to patients with serious illness, to treatments more commonly found in spas.

Prince Charles Gears Up To Be Prince Of Faiths

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:46:02 ( 1047 reads )


LONDON, UK, April 16, 2002: The Prince of Wales is to launch a multi-faith campaign that is being seen as a move to take on an expanded royal role following the death of the Queen Mother. His plan to enlist millions of people in a movement to bridge the religious divide in schools, relief work and deprived areas represents a high-risk intervention for the heir to the throne and eventual governor of the Church of England. Schemes under discussion include opening Muslim faith schools to other religions, providing sanctuary for victims of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and joint Christian-Muslim aid for the West Bank. He will launch his movement, called Respect, alongside the leaders of all of Britain's principal religions in Birmingham on April 29, at an event coordinated by the Prince's Trust. The leaders will include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Wales. Also present will be Zaki Badawi, a leading Muslim; Indarjit Singh, of the Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations; and Barnabas Leith, of the Bahai faith. There will also be Hindu, Buddhist and Jain representatives.

Indonesia's Bali Proposes Four Sites for World Heritage Status

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:45:02 ( 1028 reads )


JAKARTA, INDONESIA, April 17, 2002: Indonesia's resort island of Bali is proposing four cultural and natural sites for inclusion on the World Heritage list next year, the Jakarta Post reported Wednesday. The four selected sites are the Taman Ayun Temple and Water Park in Mengwi; the Pakerisan river area and archaeological site in Gianyar; the Jatiluwih Subak area (traditional Balinese farming and irrigation system) in Tabanan; and the Bali Barat National Park along the border between the regencies of Jembrana and Buleleng in northwest Bali. In making the proposal on Monday to a visiting team of experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Bali's Deputy Governor Alit Putra said the four sites had a great deal of cultural and natural significance, and needed to be preserved for future generations. Ron Van Oers, an UNESCO expert, said an international team in Paris would review all of the selected sites in Bali and decide whether they would be listed with the center. The Paris-based World Heritage Center has 175 member countries including Indonesia, which has six cultural and natural sites listed with the center, including the Borobudur Buddhist Temple, the Lorojonggrang Prambanan Hindu Temple and the Sangiran archaeological site, all in Central Java province.

Goat Sacrifice Stopped in India

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:44:02 ( 1162 reads )


ORISSA, INDIA, April 17, 2002: A government minister has helped save the lives of 1,000 animals that were to be sacrificed at a temple here. The goats and sheep are slaughtered on Maha Bishuva Sankranti day as an offering to Goddess Kali. Federal minister Maneka Gandhi intervened and convinced priests to abandon the ritual at the Bayani Thakurani, or Goddess Kali, temple in Orissa state. Some warned it would bring ill fortune but they agreed despite protests from thousands of devotees. A number blocked the road in protest. One animal was sacrificed as a symbolic ritual, reports Sify News. The other 999 are likely to meet a less public death at the hands of the local butchers.

Blast on Vaishno Devi Shrine Route in Jammu State

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:49:02 ( 1191 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, April 16, 2002: Suspected militants set off a blast on Monday night at a place on the way to the famous Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir injuring two persons, police said. The blast took place near an autorickshaw at Darshini Darwaza near Banganga about 1.5 km from Katra as thousands of pilgrims made their way up to the Vaishno Devi shrine on the occasion of ongoing Navratra. However, the pilgrims' progress from Katra to the shrine remained unaffected by the blast, police said, adding security personnel had been posted in strength in and around Katra and the Vaishno Devi shrine to foil the militants who had been active in the area in recent months. Five militants were gunned down by security personnel at Trikuta hills behind the shrine last month.

Holi Traditions in Richmond Hill

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:48:02 ( 1186 reads )


NEW YORK, USA, April 14, 2002: When Mickey Sankar immigrated to the United States six years ago, he brought along happy memories of Holi, the Hindu New Year. "For the whole week, we played," Sankar, 24, of Ozone Park, recalls of the celebrations in his hometown on Guyana's Caribbean coast. "We went to every house. We had a nice time with our jars of paint." Now his spiritual home is the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, a small Hindu temple on commercial Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill. This year, Sankar and his twin brother, Ricky, enjoyed Holi in the mandir's warm embrace, praying, eating sweets and marching in a parade along Jamaica Avenue in Hollis. They wound up at a concert in Haggerty Park along with hundreds of Hindus from seven mandirs, or churches, throughout Queens. Many of the mandirs' devotees are originally from Trinidad or Guyana, where Holi is a national holiday marked by neighborhood-to- neighborhood revelry. Gyanda "Eric" Shivnarain, 42, a New York City Democratic political consultant, used this year's Holi celebration to bring greater visibility to the city's Hindus -- which Shivnarain estimated at 150,000 of Indo-Caribbean descent and 200,000 from India.

Himalayas Lakes May Burst

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:47:02 ( 1082 reads )


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, April 16, 2002: Lakes in the Himalayas are filling so rapidly because of rising temperatures melting more snow that they could burst their banks within a decade, sending walls of water crashing down into valleys, the United Nations warned on Tuesday. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said a scientific study in Bhutan and Nepal had revealed that at least 44 glacial lakes were filling swiftly with water as rising temperatures accelerated the melting of glaciers and surrounding snowfields. It said data in Nepal showed that high altitude lakes could suddenly burst banks formed by mud and debris once they reached peak levels, unless preventive action was taken. The quantities of water involved were such that they would spread for hundreds of kilometers along the valleys, according to UNEP. "We are giving early warning," director-general Klaus Toepfer told a news conference. Average temperatures in Nepal have risen by about one degree centigrade at high altitudes since the mid 1970s, UNEP noted.

Stop Use of Asbestos in India, Advise Experts

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:46:02 ( 1076 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 16, 2002: A group of medical professionals have urged the government to immediately stop mining and milling of asbestos in India, as it can cause lung cancer in those exposed to it. At an international symposium on health effects of hazardous material in New Delhi, participants urged the government to provide medical follow-up as well as compensation to affected workers. Asbestos tends to break into very fine fibers -- some of these pieces may be 700 times smaller than human hair. Once released into the air, they may remain suspended for hours and even days. Asbestos is already banned in most developed countries, including the US. The European Union has decided to phase out asbestos by 2005. In India, however, the bulk of asbestos continues to be imported from Canada (which exports 99% of the asbestos it produces) and used for making pipes, laminated products, asbestos textiles, brake lining among others. The National Institute of Occupational Health at Ahmedabad has shown the prevalence of asbestosis, an irreversible and progressive lung condition which results from the inhalation of asbestos fibers amongst workers.

Nepal King Calls For Unity

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:49:02 ( 1078 reads )


NEPAL, April 15, 2002: Nepal's King Gyanendra has called for national unity to fight the long-running Maoist rebellion. In a message to mark the Nepalese New Year, King Gyanendra said the continuing violence and destruction of the infrastructure had ruined the economy. His statement followed one of Nepal's worst outbreaks of violence on Friday, in which more than 130 people were killed. Rebels attacked four western towns with guns, grenades and rockets, killing nearly 50 policemen and six civilians. Some unconfirmed reports said the death toll could be much higher. This marks one of the worst spells of violence in Nepal since King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency in November after the rebels withdrew from peace talks.

Morari Bapu on Peace in Gujarat

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:48:02 ( 1173 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, April 15, 2002: Morari Bapu is among the country's foremost preachers on the Ramayana, traveling around the globe preaching in Gujarati or Hindi interspersed with joyous song. He was also one of the few prominent religious figures to join peace efforts (in Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Mehsana) during last month's sectarian disturbances in Gujarat. In an interview he refused to be drawn into specifics or certain controversial areas but with references to the Ramayana and other sources he expressed his views on the recent disturbances in Gujarat and the Ayodhya movement. "In the Ramayana it says 'Param Dharam Shruti Bidit Ahimsa.' In other words Ahimsa (non violence) is param dharam (prime religion). Violence in the name of religion is not good. What divides is not religion, what joins is religion," said Morari Bapu. When asked how peace could be brought to Gujarat, he said: "In my view whatever events have happened, they should stop and we should build a bridge of trust in each other and love. People should go to the victims. The Ramayama talks of love of all towards one another. That is the kind of atmosphere we should create and in the true sense build a Ramrajya which is Prem Rajya (kingdom of love)."

Bali Observes Day of Silence

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:47:02 ( 1226 reads )


JAKARTA, INDONESIA, April 14, 2002: Indonesia's tourist island of Bali was eerily quiet yesterday, with the international airport closed and tourists confined to their hotels as residents observed the Hindu New Year or Day of Silence. Flights, including those passing over the island, were banned for 24 hours starting at 6:00 a.m. for Nyepi, a day of purification and self-reflection for Hindus. Shipping links to and from the island were also closed for 24 hours. Bali is predominantly Hindu. The rest of Indonesia has a Muslim majority. The holiday began on Friday night, when villages across the island held rituals to send evil spirits out to sea. The island was closed yesterday, according to tradition, to prevent the spirits from returning.

Bali's Day of Silence Marred by Clashes

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:46:02 ( 1122 reads )


JAKARTA, INDONESIA, April 14, 2002: Bali's normally solemn Day of Silence, a Hindu religious day of introspection, turned rowdy at the weekend when devotees went on a rampage in two villages. Brawls broke out during processions of the giant Ogoh-Ogoh puppets late on Friday, the eve of the Nyepi festival, leaving at least four people injured, including one with severe burns. The ghoulish effigies, up to 5 meters high and 2 meters wide, are paraded on the night before the Nyepi to banish evil spirits. Denpasar Police Detective chief Budi Wasono said the melees were a result of misunderstanding. Nyepi is observed throughout Bali for 24 hours, during which it is forbidden to light lamps or fires, work, travel or indulge in physical, social or business activities.

History of Celibacy

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:45:02 ( 0 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 14, 2002: "For a species that has transformed mating into an obsession, human beings over the centuries have shown an abiding interest in the opposite of sex -- celibacy," begins this interesting article. "The practice is in the spotlight these days because of the molestation scandal which has rekindled debate over whether the Roman Catholic Church should allow married priests. But it's actually been followed in many cultures since ancient times: by secluded monks, Rome's Vestal Virgins, and powerful leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi and Queen Elizabeth I. It remains an exalted ideal in several religions, and has become a trendy lifestyle choice for some people with no religious motives. ... In Hinduism, celibacy is considered an important virtue, practiced by supreme priests but not required of all priests. Many Hindus, Gandhi among them, believe abstinence is a way to convert sexual energy into spiritual energy." For the rest of the article, click "source" above.

PETA Ranks Oakland A's Ballpark Four for Meatless Fare

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:44:02 ( 975 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 8, 2002: While the hot dog (a beef sausage in a bread roll, not a cooked canine) remains the overwhelming favorite at American ballparks (where baseball and American football games are played), fans are increasingly snacking on broiled tofu, boiled soybeans and other vegetarian fare. So big is the trend that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently ranked America's top-10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks. Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum placed fourth. PETA's Dan Shannon admits the survey was unscientific but says it shows sports arenas have learned that America's 17 million vegetarians who gain 1 million converts annually -- are a cash cow. "This is a trend you're going to see increase," he said. "Not only is it common sense, it's financial sense. These things sell." Until recently, baseball's vegetarian fans had to snack on junk food or go hungry through the game. Ballparks have long offered quasi-vegetarian snacks like cheese pizza, nachos and fries. But only in the past few years have they offered truly vegetarian fare like veggie dogs, veggie burgers and veggie stir-fries.

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