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US Agencies May be Indirectly Funding Religious Conversion in India
Posted on 2015/3/29 17:38:49 ( 402 reads )

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INDIA, March 30, 2015 (by Rupa Subramanya, Firstpost): An unsettled and ongoing debate in the area of foreign development assistance concerns the extensive role played by faith-based organisations (FBO). In the US context, in particular, FBOs have been heavily involved in the delivery of both domestic social and foreign development assistance activities funded by the US government. One of the principal avenues through which FBOs receive taxpayer support is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Indeed, several major US-based FBOs, which receive USAID funds, are active in India in a big way. An obvious concern is that when explicitly religious organisations are funded by tax dollars, what happens if those organisations are tempted to use the funds for proselytising activity rather than just the intended humanitarian or charitable purpose?

Nothing prevents an FBO from quickly transitioning from a humanitarian activity such as disaster relief to evangelizing to the same group of people -- and such activity is widely reported. Second, as monies are fungible, the fact that FBOs receive government support means that they can transfer money away from humanitarian activity toward proselytising, and still come out ahead financially. This sort of activity, blending charity and Christian evangelism, has aroused the concern of the Indian government. "Can social service not be performed without resorting to conversion and will any country allow changes to its demographic character?" asked India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently while addressing a government commission charged with protecting the rights of minorities in India.

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Simple Way to Cook Rice that Dramatically Cuts the Calories
Posted on 2015/3/29 17:38:34 ( 385 reads )

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UNITED STATES, March 25, 2015 (Washington Post): Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations' cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. Rice is popular because it's malleable--it pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food--and it's relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn't that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

An undergraduate student and his professor at the University of Sri Lanka have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice. "What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil--about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you're going to cook," said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. "After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That's it."

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2015/3/29 17:38:27 ( 227 reads )

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You shine, all living things emerge. You disappear, they go to rest. Recognizing our innocence, O golden-haired Sun, arise; let each day be better than the last.
-- Rig Veda (10.37.9)

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Graduate Theological Union Announces New MA and Certificate Options in Hindu Studies; Lecture by Anantanand Rambachan
Posted on 2015/3/28 17:32:38 ( 470 reads )

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BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, March 3, 2015 (Press Release): The Graduate Theological Union has introduced new degree options in Hindu Studies and Interreligious Studies for its Master of Arts program, and has extended the application deadline through July 1, 2015, for students seeking to enroll in these programs for the Fall 2015 semester.

The Master of Arts with an area of concentration in Hindu Studies will be offered in connection with the GTU's newly established Hindu Studies Initiative. The primary foci for the program will be the study of Hindu philosophy of religion, theology, art, and sacred texts; Hinduism and world engagement in consideration of its historical and cultural contexts; and the interrelationships of Hinduism with other Indic Dharma faiths--particularly Jainism and Indian Buddhism. In accordance with the interreligious environment of the GTU, the Hindu ethos will be studied in dialogue with other religious traditions, in order to deepen understanding and relationships amongst cultures and faiths while honoring the distinctiveness of each religion. With this new degree option, the GTU becomes one of the first masters programs in North America with a clear focus on Hindu Philosophy of Religion and Theology (which integrates art and music), as well as engaged Hinduism.

GTU will also offer a Certificate in Hindu Studies which can count toward later graduate studies.

The most important Endowed Lectureship of the GTU Berkeley is the Singh Lecture Series in Comparative Religious Thought. It is known as the "Flagship" GTU lecture. This is an annual lecture delivered by an invited eminent scholar. Renowned authors, poets, professors and public intellectuals have given this lecture, which is shared across the academy.

The 2015 GTU "Flagship" lecture will be delivered by a Hindu scholar to promote and announce the groundbreaking Hindu Studies initiative at the GTU, on April 10th, 2015 at the Doug Adams Gallery in Berkeley. Professor Anantanand Rambachan, an expert in Vedanta, and Indian Philosophy of Religion will deliver the GTU 2015 Singh lecture to celebrate the development of the world's most ancient and vibrant spiritual tradition at the nation's singular and eminent interreligious graduate university. See http://gtu.edu/events/2015-surjit-singh-lecture for details.

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Input Requested for Proposed Directory of Indian Spiritual Organisations Functioning Abroad
Posted on 2015/3/28 17:32:23 ( 446 reads )

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MARCH 27, 2015 (DISOA):The booklet titled "The Global Vision and Mission of Swami Vivekananda, and how it inspired the Indian Spiritual Thrust World-wide" (downloadable online at http://tinyurl.com/nta7ocy) highlights the need for a DIRECTORY OF INDIAN SPIRITUAL ORGANISATIONS FUNCTIONING ABROAD, and presents the details of the Project. It also contains an appeal from the President of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, the Convener of the Project, who has undertaken it with the blessings and support of the leading spiritual institutions of Bharath. Given at the end of the booklet are details about the particulars required for the Directory, the guidelines for submission online at www.disoa.org , categories of participating institutions, their various particulars to be incorporated in the proposed Directory, and the future plan.

More information at source.

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