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Non-Hindus Help to Build Temple in Singapore
Posted on 2002/2/15 22:49:02 ( 596 reads )


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SINGAPORE, February 12, 2002: Non-Hindus of various religions and ethnic groups are helping to rebuild the 127-year-old Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road, a Katong landmark often referred to simply as the Ceylon Road temple. Their generosity has helped the temple to raise more than US$2.7 million in three years. Mr R. Theyvendran, chairman of the rebuilding project, said that many contributors were non-Hindus. Some donors contributed cash, while others contributed by paying to light lamps during temple ceremonies. One donor paid for 5,004 lamps to be lit during a 10-day festival and pledged to pay for another 5,004 lamps when the building is ready. The temple has to be rebuilt because its foundations are weak. More than 20 craftsmen from India are working on the intricate carvings that will adorn the walls and roof. The one-story granite building is expected to be completed by next year.




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Indian Composer Sets Sanskrit to Western Harmonies
Posted on 2002/2/15 22:48:02 ( 617 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, JANUARY 16, 2002: "I was destined to do this. I grew sick of Sanskrit in school, but it's caught me again," says 74-year-old composer Vanraj Bhatia, of his newest double album Ananta. He was trained in Indian classical ragas as a child and later studied composition in Western classical music with Nadia Boulanger. The text begins with the prayer "Asatoma Sad Gamaya" ("From darkness, lead me to light"), proceeds to the creation of the sacred syllable Om, and follows with a quantity of prayers and blessings. The second disc/audio cassette tells the evolutionary story of three ideas: Anant (the endless flow of creation), Atman (the eternal soul) and Anand (the joy of living). Bhatia was the first in India, in the late 1980's, to set Vedic chants in Western style harmony.




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The Importance of Mountain Ranges For Our Planet
Posted on 2002/2/15 22:47:02 ( 689 reads )


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NEW YORK, USA, February 11, 2002: War, pollution and logging are despoiling the world's mountain ranges. The Alps, the Rockies and the Hindu Kush are most threatened, according to a UN study released today. Mountains are the "water towers of the world," supplying water to more than half the world's population, said the report by the Tokyo-based United Nations University. But 23 of the world's 27 current conflicts, from Afghanistan to Chechnya and Kashmir, are being fought in mountainous areas and are destroying the environment. Non-violent activities are scarring mountain ecology as well. The United Nations has designated 2002 the International Year of Mountains with the goal of alleviating the crippling poverty among mountain people and spotlighting the importance of mountains as the source of rich plant and animal life and more than half the world's fresh water.




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Boston Catholic Leaders List 80 Priests Accused of Abuse
Posted on 2002/2/15 22:46:02 ( 632 reads )


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MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, February 15, 2002: In a growing scandal for the Archdiocese of Boston, Roman Catholic leaders on Friday named 14 New Hampshire priests accused of sexual misconduct over a quarter-century. The Diocese of Manchester, which covers the state, gave the names to prosecutors and the public. "What I report is sad in one way because it is about sin, sickness and crime," Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack said Friday. "And yet in another way it is hopeful news in that our church and community will know that no priest is now serving in ministry who has to our knowledge engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor." Eighty priests in Massachusetts have been identified in recent weeks as having abused children over the past 40 years. Previously the Church had keep secret any reports of misconduct. Now some priests and the church face dozens of lawsuits there. Some of the lawsuits accuse Cardinal Bernard Law and other leaders of knowing about sexual assaults but failing to stop them.




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University Course on Ayurveda in Argentina
Posted on 2002/2/14 22:49:02 ( 607 reads )


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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, February 14, 2002: The Universidad Abierta Interamericana (Interamerican Open University), Argentina, is offering the first universitary post-degree course for Spanish-speaking medical doctors in ayurveda medicine starting March 2002. This one year training course is being offered through the Department of Ayurveda Medicine of the university and the Chairman Professor Doctor Sergio Lais, pioneer of ayurveda in Latin America. The course is for one year with 240 hours of intensive learning. Requirements to enter the course is that the candidate has to hold a medical doctor degree. For more information click "source" above.




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Wasson's Alternative Candidates for the Vedic Soma Plant
Posted on 2002/2/14 22:48:02 ( 807 reads )


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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, February 15, 2002: Citing recently published challenges to R. Gordon Wasson's identification of Vedic soma as the psychoactive mushroom Amanita muscaria (fly-agaric), this article reviews unpublished letters by Wasson in which he considered and rejected other psychoactive plants as candidates, including the mint Lagochilus inebrians, Convolvulaceae (morning glory) seeds, the fungal parasite Claviceps purpurea (ergot), and especially the psilocybin mushroom Stropharia cubensis, known also as Psilocybe cubensis. On www.askme.com Hinduism Board, a controversial question was asked about Hinduism and drugs, mentioning the poisonous and deadly mushroom Amanita Muscaria which is now identified as the Soma as mentioned in the Rig Veda. It has come to light that some people are using this mushroom as a hallucinogenic drug, and are relating it to Hinduism. To gain more insight on this subject, click "source" above or http://www.entheogen.com/amanita.html.




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Shiv Sena Protestors Burn Valentine Cards
Posted on 2002/2/14 22:47:02 ( 590 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, February 15, 2002: Hard-line slogan-shouting Shiv Sena Hindu activists burned cards and gifts in protest against Valentine's Day which they say offends Indian tradition. Cane-wielding policemen guarded shops to prevent violence. The activists waved placards saying, "Down with Western Culture, Down with Valentine's Day," "Keep Hindu culture alive, Ban Valentine's Day" as they set fire to merchandise. "We are taking action against shop owners who have not followed our request. We had already warned them not to sell Valentine's Day cards or gifts," Anil Parab, a senior Shiv Sena leader said. Card shop owners in Bombay, who have tried to disguise the occasion as "Prem Din Utsav" (Festival of Love) to avoid trouble, said they were facing huge losses.




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Where to Find Fonts with Diacritical Marks for Sanskrit
Posted on 2002/2/14 22:46:02 ( 751 reads )


Source: HPI





KAUAI, HAWAII, February 15, 2002: Several readers responded to the request for a font with diacritical marks for Sanskrit. Fonts are available on these web sites: http://www.omkarananda-ashram.org/Sanskrit/Itranslt.html; http://www.hknet.org.nz/fonts.htm; http://www.myfonts.com/Search?searchtext=devanagari; http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/indologie/font.html; http://www.vada.nl/talensa.htm#SAN




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Is Human Evolution Finally Over?
Posted on 2002/2/14 22:45:02 ( 653 reads )


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FEBRUARY 3, 2002: For those who dream of a better life, science has bad news; this is the best it is going to get. Our species has reached its biological pinnacle and is no longer capable of changing. That is the controversial view of a group of biologists who believe a Western lifestyle now protects humanity from the forces that used to shape Homo sapiens. "If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around. This is it," said Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, who is to present his argument at a Royal Society Edinburgh debate, 'Is Evolution Over?' next week. This view is controversial, however. Other scientists argue that mankind is still being influenced by the evolutionary forces that created the myriad species which have inhabited Earth over the past three billion years. Human populations are now being constantly mixed, producing a blending, that some scientists believe, blocks evolutionary change. Hence, the blending of our genes which will soon produce a uniformly brown-skinned population. Apart from that, there will be little change in the species. However, such arguments affect only the Western world -- where food, hygiene and medical advances are keeping virtually every member of society alive and able to pass on their genes. In the developing world, no such protection exists. Sri Aurobindo taught that the next evolution of humanity would be in consciousness more than the physical form.




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Press Criticism Continues on Corporal Punishment in Delhi Schools
Posted on 2002/2/14 22:44:02 ( 601 reads )


Source: Press Reports





NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 8, 2002: Despite the December 1, 2000, High Court order, corporal punishment appears to be commonplace in Delhi schools. In just the past week, three cases of violence against students were reported. Eleven-year-old Arti fainted after her teacher beat her with a stick for not bringing her English notebook to school. Student of a government school in Mukherji Nagar, Arti had to be hospitalized for five days. Nine-year-old Anuj, student of a reputed public school, has not attended classes for the last two months because his teacher slapped and ridiculed him in front of the whole class for faring poorly in exams. Anuj has threatened his parents that he will run away from school if they force him to attend classes. Experts say corporal punishments have a significant impact on a child's personality. "Every time a child is traumatized, he loses self-esteem. Due to this, he develops complexes, which become an inherent part of his personality," says Dr. Jitender Nagpal, consultant psychiatrist at Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences. In most cases children awarded corporal punishment become more aggressive and defiant, he says. Vijender Kumar of the Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh says all schools are still practicing Victorian rules and the government is doing little to check the menace. The Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh is filing a contempt petition against the Delhi government for defiance of orders of the Delhi High court.




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Uproar Over UK Minister's Call to Marry British Resident
Posted on 2002/2/13 22:49:02 ( 611 reads )


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LONDON, UK, Feb 9, 2002: Ethnic communities have condemned strongly the British Home Secretary after he urged families who arrange marriages to find partners in Britain and not in Asia, triggering a new row over multi-culturalism. Mr David Blunkett was accused of "dangerous interference" in Asian culture when he said parents and men and women taking part in arranged marriages should look for British partners. In particular, Asian women educated in Britain would be better off finding a husband who spoke English, rather than just the language of their ethnic origin, he said. Mr Blunkett, who was launching his immigration White Paper, made his controversial statement after a record numbers of spouses entered Britain last year from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other Asian countries. More than 19,800, more than double the number in 1996, came to join their husbands or wives, many of them after arranged marriages. Under the new immigration proposals unveiled by Mr Blunkett, would-be immigrants must pass English tests, take citizenship classes and make loyalty pledges. The measures are the latest in a series which ministers have brought in or want to introduce to curb the number of immigrants arriving in Britain, as well as to integrate new citizens into Britain's way of life.




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Delhi Papers Continue to Highlight School Abuse
Posted on 2002/2/13 22:48:02 ( 727 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times





NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 30, 2002: This article in the Hindustan Times is the latest in a series of reports appearing in Delhi papers regarding corporal punishment in schools. When eight-year old Rachna could not properly read her Hindi lesson, her teacher at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) primary school reprimanded her by repeatingly banging her forehead against a table. It was only when a patch of her hair came off in his hand did he stop. Rachna's father, Brij Lal, filed a complaint at the school but when they ignored the incident, he filed his grievance at the NW Delhi police station. In the year 2000, the Delhi High Court ruled that, "Corporal punishment for schoolchildren was a violation of the right to equality, protection of life and personal liberty." The teacher and the school principal have since written a letter of apology to Rachna's family. This has done little to alleviate the girl's fear of returning to school. Under investigation by the police, Shambhu, the teacher, could face six month's imprisonment and a possible suspension.




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Request for Sanskrit Font With Diacritical Marks
Posted on 2002/2/13 22:47:02 ( 624 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, February 14, 2002: An HPI reader asks, "Can you advise on where and how I can purchase fonts of roman characters with diacritical marks for the the transliteration of Sanskrit terms in English texts, to install in my PC (Word 95)." Any HPI readers who know of such fonts may kindly respond to "Source" above and we will in a few days publish a list of available options.




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Cell Phone Use May Harm Children
Posted on 2002/2/13 22:46:02 ( 843 reads )


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OSLO, SPAIN, February 7, 2002: With significant reduced brain activity after using a cell phone for only a few minutes, child subjects at the Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research center in Marbella were compared to adult subjects. Conducted by German investigator Michael Klieeisen, the tests clearly showed that brain activity in large sections of the brain was reduced for up to 50 minutes after cell phone usage by the children. Klieeisen further elaborates by saying, "We do not know if it is dangerous, but we do know that children's brains, which are not fully developed, are more vulnerable than adult brains. My advice to all parents is not to allow children to use mobile phones." Researchers in Britain, Norway, and Sweden are also studying the health risks created by cell phone use and British studies confirm Klieeisen's research.




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India's Laughing Guru Spreads His Message of Happiness
Posted on 2002/2/13 22:45:02 ( 860 reads )


Source: Reuters





NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 7, 2002: With his "don't worry, be happy" slogan and a breathing technique to reduce stress, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar is known as the laughing guru in India. Appealing to India's Westernized urban elite who have lost contact with their religious roots and priests, Ravishankar's message has given this group back their sense of community. At least 1.5 million people in India have completed the course called the "Art of Living Movement." Ravishankar's 30-acre ashram is located near the city of Bangalore. His followers say he has changed their lives and quoting a New Delhi devotee, "He's brought me joy. You feel like kicking off your shoes and jumping. You love him. He has given me unconditional love." His followers have taken his message into India's prisons and rehabilitation centers. At Tihar Jail in Delhi, tough, mean, prisoners have been given breathing courses and Jail superintendent G. Sudhakar says, "the course made the prisoners more responsible, more respectful, more polite." According to this story news magazine, India Today, has labeled Ravishankar as "the fastest growing guru in the marketplace of happiness."




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