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Singapore Religious Groups Join Charity Drive

Posted on 2003/6/30 9:48:02 ( 939 reads )


SINGAPORE, JUNE 29, 2003: Several social and religious groups, led by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), are collaborating to raise US$200,000 for this year's President's Challenge. As of this writing, Sinda, the Eurasian Association, Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple and Sri Siva Krishna Hindu Temple are involved in this group effort while other organizations are being actively recruited to help. The President's Challenge, which aims to raise $7 million this year to benefit 45 charities, will be held from August 29 to September 14. Mr. A. Sivalingam, chairman of Sri Siva Krishna Hindu Temple, said he hoped to promote an understanding of Hinduism through the temple's participation in the charity drive.

U.S. Religious Land-Use Law Struck Down

Posted on 2003/6/30 9:47:02 ( 956 reads )

Charisma News Service

LOS ANGELES, U.S.A., June 30, 2003: In a ruling that could significantly impact land-use issues for all religious congregations nationwide, a Los Angeles district judge this week struck down a federal law that protects churches, synagogues, and temples from attempts by local governments to limit new construction of religious buildings with restrictive zoning and land use regulations. In a case involving Elsinore Christian Center, Stephen Wilson ruled that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) is unconstitutional. The bill had been passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President Clinton, the attorney representing ECC noted. "In its opinion, the court said that the city violated RLUIPA, but instead of sticking with that decision, the court decided to declare RLUIPA unconstitutional," he added, and vowed to appeal Wilson's decision to the Supreme Court.

The case goes back to 2001 when EEC sued city officials after the Assemblies of God congregation was denied a permit to move to a commercial building. Citing RLUIPA, the church also alleged violations of its First Amendment rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and free exercise of religion. The church wanted to buy an old grocery store and move its congregation to the new location. Officials denied the permit, saying that the city would lose sales-tax revenue and downtown residents would lose their only market. As the litigation worked through the courts, the owner sold to another buyer. HPI adds: RLUIPA provided protection for Hindu temples also, in that local governments could not "zone" them out of their area.

How Many Americans Only Eat Their Veggies?

Posted on 2003/6/30 9:46:02 ( 1020 reads )


UNITED STATES, June 30, 2003: In the United States the interest in vegetarian foods has exploded in the last few years, as evidenced by the increased number of vegetarian products now available in stores throughout the country. However, how many people are actually vegetarian? A 2003 Vegetarian Resource Group Harris Interactive survey indicated that 2.8 percent of those surveyed said they never eat meat, poultry, or fish/seafood and over half those vegetarians can be classified as vegans, those who do not consume meat, poultry, fish/seafood, dairy products, eggs, or honey. Six percent of the population said they never eat meat while ten percent within the 25-34 year age bracket indicated they have a meatless diet. As to how many vegetarians -- the U.S. 2000 census found that there are 209 million people 18 and older in the U.S. If we subtract 4 million institutionalized of all ages, based on 2.8 percent vegetarians, we calculate there are about 5.7 million adult vegetarians in the U.S. For additional statistics on vegetarianism in the United States kindly see "source" above.

The American Divorce Myth

Posted on 2003/6/30 9:45:02 ( 983 reads )


UNITED STATES, June 27, 2003: For the past 30 years Americans have used the idea that "if divorce is better for you, it will be better for your kids," to justify their increasing recourse to divorce. However, recent evidence indicates that these justifications are illusions. The widespread practice of divorce in this culture has been based on the wishful thinking of adults while its tragic cost has been borne by children. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's "The Divorce Culture" analyzes the history and social significance of divorce.

A troubling picture emerged from studies of larger populations and from tracing the effects on children over time. Even though 80 percent of men and 50 percent of women felt their lives were better after divorce, the effects on children were disastrous. By almost every measure, children in divorced families fared worse: emotional problems, early sexual experimenting, dropping out of school, delinquency, teen pregnancy and drug use. Remarriage was no solution; children in stepfamilies were two to three times more likely than their counterparts to suffer emotional and behavioral problems and twice as likely to have learning problems. Long-term studies by Judith Wallerstein and others argue that the impact of divorce on children is cumulative. Even 15 years after their parents' divorce many children are emotionally troubled and unable to sustain a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Their parents' inability to sustain the relationship that counted most to them and the subsequent loss of connection to their fathers seem to have eroded these young peoples' sense of identity and ability to trust others and commit themselves.

International Conference on Mahabharata and Puranas Planned

Posted on 2003/6/30 9:44:02 ( 1047 reads )


KANCHIPURAM, INDIA, June 30, 2003: An International Conference on the Mahabharata and Puranas is planned for December 24 to 28, 2003, in Kanchipuram, India, under the auspices of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Sankaracharya Mutt. The conference will focus attention on the contribution of the Mahabharata and Puranas to art, thought and literature in Asian and South East Asian countries. Scholars interested in attending the conference and presenting academic papers may register their names before August 1, 2003, by writing to the Convener of the Conference, Dr. R. Nagaswamy, Former Vice Chancellor, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati University of Kanchipuram, 11, 22nd Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai, India 600090 or by contacting Dr. Nagaswamy at "source" above.

Honoring Alain Danielou

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:49:02 ( 1184 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE, June 22, 2003: During 2004, a number of programs are being planned to mark the tenth death anniversary of well-known writer, historian and Saivite, Alain Danielou. A French film about Alain Danielou by Joel Farges will be released in Francophone countries, with filming already completed in Rome, Venice, Varanasi and Paris. A film in English by the Indian director Rohit Singh Negi is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. A touring exhibition of watercolors by Alain Danielou depicting his years in India will be mounted in Rome and Paris while Fayard, the French publisher of Alain Danielou's book on photographs, "The Traditional India" will hold exhibitions of these photographs at the Cini Foundation, Venice. Shantiniketan, in West Bengal, will also show an exhibition of photographs concerning Rabindra Nath Tagore. Tagore's 18 songs, set in Western notation by Alain Danielou, will be played in different concerts in Europe and India. Additionally, there will be a seminar on the relationship between Alain Danielou and Tagore. The Association Adelante has adopted the plays of Harsha, translated by Alain Danielou for staging in Paris. Translations of various books by Alain Danielou are being prepared in Hindi and English languages for publication in 2004. For additional information, kindly contact Jacques Cloarec at "source" above. Readers may also visit the website at http://www.alaindanielou.org however, one must be fluent in French to gain full enjoyment from the site.

Moo's Soon to be Silenced on New Delhi's Roads

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:48:02 ( 903 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 25, 2003: Next January Delhi roads will see a major change as MCD Commissioner Rakesh Mehta is all geared up to rid the roads of the estimated 36,000 stray cattle. Says Mehta, "As per a Supreme Court order, we have to make Delhi cattle-free by January 1, 2004. We are pressing 24 trucks into service to get the cattle transported outside the city. Working with a colony-wise approach, we have assigned two trucks with humane cattle-lifts to each colony." After the cattle are picked up, they would be sent to goshalas outside the city." Animal rights activist Gita Sushmani says, "Even if they are serious about it, how can they get rid of 36,000 cows? How will they find so many goshalas?"

Community Arts School for Preston

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:47:02 ( 1090 reads )

Lancashire Evening Post

LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND, June 20, 2003: There are ambitious plans to create a community school dedicated to Indian arts in Preston, England. The project is being spearheaded by the Gujarat Hindu Society based at its temple and cultural center on South Meadow Lane in the city. It is hoped the school will allow people to learn dance and traditional Indian musical instruments, including the tabla and harmonium. Around US$824,650.00 is needed to help make the dream a reality and negotiations are now taking place for Heritage Lottery Funding and other sources of funding. Ishwer Tailor, president of the Gujarat Hindu Society says, "At the moment, there is no provision in the community for the promotion of traditional Indian dancing and instruments."

Japan's Delightfully Delectable Vegetables

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:46:02 ( 935 reads )


TOKYO, JAPAN, June 22, 2003: If you grew up in America in the 40's and 50's you ate the usual vegetables -- carrots, potatoes, peas and corn. However, upon arriving in Japan in the 60's the author of this very long article encountered the most incredible variety of plant foods and claims the Japanese botanical bounty continues to amaze, delight and nourish her daily. Describing the culinary delights of five exceptional restaurants, three in Tokyo and one each in Kyoto and Yokohama, that celebrate Japan's rich array of native vegetables, this article will entice you with unique vegetarian dishes. Although not all the restaurants are strictly vegetarian, their vegetarian fare and accompanying mouth watering photographs make this well worth the read.

Ujjain Hosts Simhastha in 2004

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:45:02 ( 1028 reads )


UJJAIN, INDIA, June 27, 2003: In the summer of 2004 the ancient city of Ujjain will be part of an historic event, The Simhastha, which signifies the movement of the planets into the zodiac of Leo, Simha Rasi. The spiritual milieu at the Kumbha Mela, the largest human gathering on the planet for the purpose of worshipping the Divine, attracts people from all over the world. The sheer size of the event is stunning. Thousands of sadhus, along with millions of pilgrims making their obeisance to an ancient tradition will be on hand. SITA World Travel has set up a camp called Sita's Nivana and from the comfort of the camp one can participate in one of the oldest rituals of Hinduism. Complete details of this event, together with a program outline can be found at "source" above.

Hindu Youth Conference Planned in Canada

Posted on 2003/6/27 9:44:02 ( 1131 reads )


ONTARIO, CANADA, June 27, 2003: The Hindu Students Association at McMaster University at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in association with The Federation of Hindu Temples of Canada, are sponsoring a Hindu Youth Conference, for ages 16-27, on July 6, 2003, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The goal of the conference is to teach Hindu youth, and interested non-Hindus, about Hindu Dharma and to unite Hindu youth for a more dynamic future in the 21st century. For additional information kindly contact Vikas Tandon at "source" above or log onto their website at http://www.geocities.com/hyconference where program details are available as well as registration information.

Arranged Marriages Get A Little Rearranging

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:49:02 ( 1137 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, JUNE 21, 2003: Young Indians and Pakistanis are reshaping the tradition of arranged marriages in Britain. While couples were once introduced exclusively by relatives and friends, there is now a boom in Asian marriage web sites, chat rooms and personal advertisements. But South Asian "speed dating" -- Hindus one night, Muslims the next -- is the latest phenomenon to hit London, with men and women meeting each other for just three minutes at restaurants and bars before moving on to the next potential mate. Arranged marriages are still the norm within these communities in Britain, but the nature of the arrangement has evolved, mostly by necessity. What the young Indians and Pakistanis of Britain have done, in effect, is to modernize practices that had evolved among the urban middle class in India in recent decades, allowing the prospective bride and groom a little more than one fleeting meeting to make up their minds. "The term we use now is 'assisted' arranged marriage," said Maha Khan, a 23-year-old London Muslim woman. "The whole concept has changed a lot. Parents have become more open and more liberal in their concept of marriage and courtship." HPI adds: One wonders how open the parents will be when the UK catches up with the US, where one out of every three babies is born to an unwed mother, according to the most recent statistics.

India's Mega Crop Diversity

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:48:02 ( 1305 reads )


NEW DELHI,INDIA, May 20, 2003: National and international debates on agriculture are increasingly talking of a new buzzword: agrobiodiversity (HPI's translation: "the old way of doing things"). Diversity in agriculture can produce a variety of foods which are safe to eat and also provide fodder for farm animals. It is in contrast to the dominant viewpoint that you grow a single crop, sell the produce, and purchase your food from the market. This lengthy article relates the success of several farmers who are preserving biodiversity in India despite the struggle against State policies that aggressively promote a monoculture (single cropping) system. Diversified crops maintain soil fertility for crops are planted in such a way that if one crop draws upon soil nutrients, another crop puts it back into the soil. Diversity also means insurance against crop failure for if one crop fails there is another crop to fall back on. And diversity ensures food security -- at any time of the year, some crop is ready for harvest; and lastly, diversity helps preserve locally adapted seeds not available in the market. India is classified among the 12 mega-diversity centers of the world, in relation to crops. As many as 167 species of crops have originated here and the genetic diversity within these species is astounding. For example, there are 50,000 varieties of rice and 1,000 varieties of mango. This diversity is the result of centuries of careful selection and crossbreeding by India's farmers and herdsman.

St. Louis Temple Arson Teen Gets Time in "Boot Camp"

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:47:02 ( 936 reads )


ST. LOUIS, U.S.A., June 24, 2003: A judge has ordered 120 days in a prison boot camp for a young man who firebombed the Hindu Temple in west St. Louis County this year. Nathaniel Connor, 17, pled guilty Tuesday in St. Louis County Circuit Court of two counts each of second-degree arson and criminal possession of a weapon. Judge John F. Kintz also sentenced Connor to five years of probation if he graduates from boot camp -- or three years in prison if he flunks. Also part of the plea agreement is restitution for the damage to the temple. That figure has yet to be determined. Connor admitted that he and an accomplice threw Molotov cocktails at the temple's door on February 22 and through a window on March 1 of 2003. Resulting fires caused minor damage to the temple, but considerable consternation to temple members, who worried they had been targets of hate crimes. HPI adds: a prison boot camp is run like an army training camp with an extremely strict regime of physical and mental education.

Bankim Chand Gossai Awarded MBE for Service to U.K. Hindu community

Posted on 2003/6/26 9:46:02 ( 1018 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, June 14, 2003: Guyanese Bankim Chand Gossai was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his services to the Hindu community in South London during Her Majesty's Queen Elizabeth II birthday honors. Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan in London said that Gossai and Ramesh Charan formed the Maha Lakshmi Vidya Bhavan some 21 years ago. The institute promotes Indian culture and Sanatana Dharma where classes in Hindi, Indian music, yoga, Sanskrit and Hinduism are held. The organization has among its members Guyanese, Trinidadians, Mauritians, East Africans, Indians, Fijians and Europeans.

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