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India Considers Vegetarian Label Policy
Posted on 2002/5/16 23:47:02 ( 600 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Officials in India are considering categorizing and labeling all cosmetics and personal hygiene products as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The practicalities of implementing the idea are now being considered by a technical committee and the courts. Many Hindus in India are strictly vegetarian for religious reasons -- and some pro-Hindu political groups often express concern about non-vegetarian ingredients in food, especially products imported from the West. If approved, all personal hygiene products and cosmetics would be tested by officials, categorized as vegetarian and non-vegetarian and labeled accordingly. Advocates of the plan stress that consumers have the right to make an informed choice. Critics cite the effect on business, particularly on imports and exports, and the expense of comprehensive testing and labeling. A similar plan to categorize medicines in the same way was earlier rejected, partly, from concerns that if critical drugs were classed as non-vegetarian, strict vegetarians might be deterred from accepting them.




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Tiruvannamalai Temple Renovation Nears Completion
Posted on 2002/5/16 23:46:02 ( 529 reads )


Source: The Hindu





TIRUVANNAMALAI, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Ninety percent of the renovation work has been completed on the famed Arunachaleswara Temple in Tiruvannamalai and arrangements are being made for the kumbhabhishekam, or rededication ceremony, to be held on June 27. Presiding over a meeting on Saturday to review the arrangements for the kumbhabhishekam, PC Ramasamy, Minister for the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, estimated the total cost of the renovation work at US$865,000. Funding for the renovation included specific contributions from donors and a special renovation fund created through general contributions. The "Alankara Mandapam" was constructed with the help of a grant from the government. Meetings are being conducted regularly to review the progress of the various works undertaken by the departments of health, PWD and highways, and local agencies to provide infrastructure and amenities to the pilgrims. The temple's last kumbhabhishekam was held 25 years ago. Nearby the temple is the ashram of Ramana Maharshi.




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South India Dance Gets Center Stage in Geneva
Posted on 2002/5/16 23:45:02 ( 521 reads )


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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, May 17, 2002: From May 8 to November 17, 2002, the Musee d'ethnographie of Geneva Switzerland presents Bharatanatyam: The Dance of the Gods. The exhibit, the first of its kind in Europe, includes interactive displays, workshops and dance performance by Manjula Lusti Narasimhan and her school Silambam a Geneve. At the exhibit the museum launches its newest publication (in collaboration with Adam Biro), "Bharatanatyam, la Danse Classique de l'Inde", a 176-page book of the dance by Manjula Narasimahan with photos by Johnathan Watts. See "source" above for museum hours, dance performance dates and for information on how to order the book.




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Gunmen Kill 30, Including Ten Children, in Kashmir
Posted on 2002/5/15 23:49:02 ( 559 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 17, 2002: In one of the deadliest attacks India has witnessed in recent years, three men disguised in army fatigues killed 30 people and wounded 48 with sprays of automatic gunfire in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim. The attack could provoke a military retaliation by India, which massed troops on the border after it blamed Pakistan-based militants for a suicide attack on its Parliament last December. In the attack, which took place at Kaluchak, on the outskirts of Jammu, Kashmir's capital, the gunmen first opened fire on a busload of people, killing seven. They killed 23 more people, including 10 children, most of them ages 7 to 10, who were in a camp for families of the soldiers. The assailants were killed by soldiers in an hours-long siege. Indian intelligence officials said the attack was probably carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of two Pakistan-based militant groups that they also accused in the December attack on Parliament, which left 14 people dead.




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Hindu Nationalists are Enlisting India's Poor
Posted on 2002/5/15 23:48:02 ( 538 reads )


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ANDOLI, INDIA, May 16, 2002: This New York Times article is an example of the Western media picking up the biases of the Indian press. Originally HPI had not planned to include it, but as several readers mentioned it to us in both a positive and negative light, we include it here in part: "Just beyond the bustle of this nation's capital, is a microcosm of some of India's most destitute: children from pockets of poor. The nearly 300 boys here at the Sewa Dham school, most of them from what are called the tribal belts of central and northeastern India, hew to a rigorous daily schedule from 5 in the morning until 10 at night. They learn Hindu chants in the ancient language, Sanskrit. They are taught to give up their meat-eating ways and to become vegetarians. Patriotic to some, frightening to others, this school represents a central project of the increasingly militant and powerful Hindu right in this country. It is substantially bankrolled by Indians in the United States and run by a charity affiliated with the oldest and most prominent of the Hindu nationalist groups, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the National Voluntary Service, known as the R.S.S. Education is a centerpiece of the Hindu revivalist campaign, which is natural, considering its cause: to build a Hindu nation out of what is officially a secular country with rights accorded to religious minorities."




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"Yoga for Dancers" Published in India
Posted on 2002/5/15 23:47:02 ( 726 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, May 16, 2002: Do you want to be a healthy dancer? Yoga specialist E.R. Gopalakrishnan's latest book explaining yoga practice for dancers could guide you to be one. Gopalakrishnan says that the book is a result of his work with dancers over the years. Having worked with his daughter who is student of dance, he has analyzed the dance movements, postures, pressure points, areas of weakness, breathing patterns, manipulation of breath in movements, energy centers and dynamics of weight shifting. He adds that his interaction with dance gurus and students at the residential workshops organized by Natyarangam the last two years helped him understand better the problems faced by dancers. E. R. Gopalakrishnan who now runs Yoga Maiam, a center for yoga studies in Madras, trained under Dr. Nagendra of Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari and T. K. V. Desikachar of Yoga Mandiram, Madras.




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Lectures by Author Who Brought Nepalese "Amma to America"
Posted on 2002/5/15 23:46:02 ( 570 reads )


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WILSON, WYOMING, May 16, 2002: Aama's Journey: A Pilgrimage Between Continents and Cultures is an illustrated lecture presentation by Broughton Coburn, a best-selling author and Harvard graduate who has spent two of the past three decades in the Himalayas. This program headlined America's Knife and Fork Clubs (35 appearances) and has thrilled museums, associations, social groups, universities, schools, libraries and professional societies across the United States. If you know of a venue that may be interested in booking this fascinating, rollicking and poignant program, please visit "source" above, www.unusualspeaker.com or phone (307) 733-4124. Broughton's original book, "Amma in America" is the delightful tale of the former peace-corp volunteer who decided to bring "Amma," an elderly lady in the village in Nepal he served in, to America. The ensuing adventures of this very odd couple in America are a charming commentary on the wisdom and insight of this supposedly "backward" village lady who fearlessly takes on, among other issues, Western irreverence for the Divine.




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Yatra to Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash Planned for June
Posted on 2002/5/15 23:45:02 ( 531 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 14, 2002: On June 11, 2002, a group of pilgrims will head to Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet. The yatra, or pilgrimage, is organized by Parmarth Niketan ashram in Rishikesh. It will include the official inauguration of the hospital and ashram in the Kailash area which has been built by India Heritage Research Foundation, under Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji)'s blessing and guidance. Pilgrims will arrive and meet in Kathmandu on June 11 and depart for Lhasa on June 13, then travel from Lhasa to Mansarovar by jeep. The itinerary includes the inauguration and the parikrama, or circumambulation, of Mt. Kailash. The group will return to Kathmandu on June 28. For full details and registration information click on "source" above.




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Sri Lanka Army Continues to Occupy 274 Hindu Temples in Jaffna
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:49:02 ( 539 reads )


Source: TamilNet





JAFFNA, SRI LANKA, May 13, 2002: The Sri Lanka Army continues to occupy two hundred seventy four Hindu temples in the Jaffna district, according to initial estimates, sources in the Sri Lankan Ministry of Hindu Affairs said Sunday. The Sri Lanka army should have vacated "places of religious worship" by March 26, 2002, under the terms of the cease-fire agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers. The SLA continues to occupy hundreds of Hindu temples, as well as some Christian churches, in other parts of the northeastern province despite the lapse of 46 days since the deadline set by the agreement for vacating them. The largest number of temples occupied by the Sri Lankan military is in the Tellipalai Division. Many of them are within the high security zone of the sprawling Palali military base in the northwestern part of Jaffna. The cease-fire agreement says: "Places of worship which are situated in "high security zones" shall be vacated by all armed personnel and maintained in good order by civilian workers, even when they are not made accessible to the public".




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Ban on LTTE Extended by Indian Government
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:48:02 ( 588 reads )


Source: The Hindu





NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 14: The Central Government today extended the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for a further period of two years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The earlier ban was scheduled to come to an end today. Announcing the decision, the Government said the LTTE's unlawful activities on the Indian soil as well its contacts and liaison with other extremist groups had been a matter of grave concern. Sympathy for the Tamil Eelam concept still remained and forces were still at work to further the cause of a "separate Tamil Nadu," through secession from India and for this they drew inspiration and sustenance from the LTTE. In view of the sensitivity of the matter and keeping in view that the LTTE had systematically infiltrated into Tamil Nadu, the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government felt that circumstances existed which rendered it necessary to declare the LTTE as unlawful. The Tamil Nadu Government had sent a proposal to the Centre for banning the organization for a further period of two years, an official press release said.




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Christianity Gains Converts in Developing Countries
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:47:02 ( 569 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 15, 2002: Excerpts from a report by William bole of Religion News Service: "One of the often-heard comments since Sept. 11 is that Islam is growing so rapidly it will soon become the world's largest religion, overtaking Christianity in just a couple of decades. Many of these projections are traceable to the work of Harvard University scholar Samuel P. Huntington, who has put forward the idea of a 'clash of civilizations.' But a new book about Christianity in the Third World says Huntington and others are missing the global demographic picture. Islam is indeed expanding as Christianity loses its force in the Western world, particularly Europe, says historian and religious studies scholar Philip Jenkins, author of 'The Next Christendom.' But the numbers of Christians are exploding in the southern hemisphere, he reports. In his book, newly published by Oxford University Press, Jenkins argues that the post-Sept. 11 commentaries have overlooked the dramatic upsurge of Christianity in places like Africa. 'Basically, you're talking about Africa being 9 percent Christian back in 1900, and close on 50 percent today. That's a huge change,' Jenkins said in a telephone interview from his home in State College, Penn., where he teaches at Penn State University. 'Somewhere in the 1960s, the number of Christians in Africa outpaced the number of Muslims in Africa. A great, historic change -- and nobody paid attention to it.' As of 2000, there were approximately 2 billion Christians and 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia, which Jenkins draws upon extensively in his book. While disputing Huntington's prediction of a reversal of numerical fortunes, Jenkins does think Christians and Muslims are heading toward a clash that could become cataclysmic. But he sees Islam as facing off in the future not primarily with Western Christianity, but with Christian countries in the developing world. In a worst-case scenario, he pictures Christian and Islamic countries of the southern hemisphere locked in religious conflicts reminiscent of the Middle Ages. 'Imagine the world of the 13th century armed with nuclear warheads and anthrax,' Jenkins writes."




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Buddhist Monks Oppose Government Inventory of Temple
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:46:02 ( 609 reads )


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RUMTEK, SIKKIM, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Followers of the 17th Karmapa claimant Urgyen Thinley Dorjee have decided to prevent a Reserve Bank of India official from entering Rumtek monastery to make a court-ordered inventory of its fabulous wealth, a monastery spokesman told reporters here on Saturday. "We will oppose the RBI official tooth and nail if he tries to come here as the very order of the court hurts our sentiments and religious belief," the spokesman said. Buddhists in Sikkim, especially the followers of Dorjee, have termed the court order as "sacrilege" saying the religious articles cannot be touched by a "non-Buddhist." Indian law permits the government to investigate and even take over the financial affairs of religious institutions. While in theory the permission extends to all faiths, in practice it is applied almost exclusively to Hindu institutions.




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Hindu Weddings Make NY Times Society Page
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:45:02 ( 732 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 12, 2002: The NY Times "Fashion And Style" page recently contained the announcements of two Hindu weddings. The "High Society" announcements both appeared in the May 12 edition. Interestingly, both marriages were between Hindu women and non-Hindu men and both ceremonies were conducted by Hindu priests. Dr. Neeta Sharma, daughter of Dr. Usha Sharma and Dr. Madho K. Sharma of Edison, NJ, was married at her parents' house yesterday to Dr. Alfred Trecartin Ogden III. Pandit Anand Mohan performed the Hindu ceremony. Aparna Mukherjee, daughter of Maitreyee and Subir Mukherjee of Fort Washington, PA, was married yesterday at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, NJ, to William B Swarts IV. Suvhendu Bagchi, a Hindu priest, performed the Hindu ceremony with the Rev. Gawain F. deLeeuw, an Episcopal priest. The announcements go on to list the education and occupations of the couples.




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Study Finds Teen Vegetarians Healthier Than Meat-Eaters
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:44:02 ( 538 reads )


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WASHINGTON, USA, May 13, 2002: U.S. Researchers say vegetarian teenagers have a healthier diet than their meat-eating counterparts. "It seems that rather than viewing adolescent vegetarianism as a difficult phase or fad, the dietary pattern could be viewed as a healthy alternative to the traditional American meat-based diet," epidemiologist Cheryl Perry and colleagues wrote in Sunday's issue of the Journal Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. They studied more than 4,500 teenagers in Minnesota. Of them, about 262, or nearly 6 percent, said they were vegetarian. They compared the diets of these teen to the Healthy People 2010 recommendations, which are dietary targets issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services. They include goals of getting less than 30 percent of one's daily calories from fat and less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat, eating more than two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables daily. "Overall, adolescent vegetarians were significantly more likely to meet the dietary recommendations of Healthy People 2010," Perry's group wrote. "Vegetarian adolescents, similar to their adult counterparts, have dietary patterns that, if maintained, could significantly lower their risk of the leading causes of death as adults," the researchers said.




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Cakes Decorated With Hindu Gods Withdrawn by UK Store
Posted on 2002/5/14 23:43:02 ( 914 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, May 13, 2002: Selfridges store has stopped selling cakes with icing decoration depicting Hindu Gods and Goddesses after complaints that they offended religious sensibilities. The cakes were featured as part of a three-week summer promotion of Indian foods, and were on sale next to a food counter where Hemant Oberoi, the Indian Prime Minister's personal chef for overseas visits, was supervising the preparation of curry recipes. Hindu customers who complained said that Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary seldom appeared as cake decorations. "I think this is depicting the Hindu pantheon in a mocking way," Bimal Krishna Das, of the UK Council of Hindu Temples, said. The cakes came from Seriously Scrumptious of Glastonbury. Its founder, Rita Hraiz, of Indian and Lebanese parentage, said that they were made with love and not intended to offend. She said that the firm gave a fifth of its profits to an Indian charity supporting Indian villages near the Hindu sacred city of Vrindavan.




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