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Correction on Vivekananda Center London

Posted on 2003/2/26 8:45:02 ( 1189 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, February 26, 2003: The Vivekananda Center London in yesterday's HPI was incorrectly named. Instead of the Vedanta Center London, they are correctly known as the Vivekananda Center London, which is a different organization from London's Ramakrishna Vedanta Center.

A Quest for the Saraswati River

Posted on 2003/2/25 8:49:02 ( 995 reads )


KATGARH, INDIA, February 15, 2003: Dozens of archeologists have fanned out across the northern Indian state of Haryana in the last seven months to look for traces of the Saraswati River. A group of geologists and glaciologists, armed with satellite imagery maps and remote sensing data, are studying rocks, glaciers and sediments in the Himalayas, seeking any trace of the river's course. Last summer, the Culture Ministry appointed a special committee of experts to prove that the Saraswati was not a mythological river. If the panel succeeds, the birth of Hinduism would be pushed back at least 1,000 years by establishing that the ancient Indus Valley civilization was Hindu in character. "Saraswati is not only a matter of Hindu faith, but also fact," said Ravindra Singh Bisht, director of the Archaeological Survey of India, who supervises excavation along what is believed to be the course of the river. "The overwhelming archeological evidence of ancient settlements along the course of what was once the Saraswati River proves that our earliest civilizations were not confined to the Indus river alone. Those who wrote the Hindu Vedas on the banks of the Saraswati were the same as the Indus Valley people." HPI adds: Be advised that a lot of negative comments are made about Hinduism in this article in the course of its report on the scientific investigations.

London's Vedanta Center a Hub of Religious Activity

Posted on 2003/2/25 8:48:02 ( 791 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, February 24, 2003: London's Vedanta Center is heavily involved in providing input for a series of television shows and public talks around London. A series of four TV programs with ITV have already been recorded and edited and are ready to be aired later this year. Future programs under discussion are a series on science and religion and "The Concept of God" with contributions from various faiths. In the last few weeks participants from the Vedanta Center have been invited to speak at Imperial College, King's College, Queen Mary's College, The London School of Pharmacy, School of Oriental and African Studies and Greenwich College. The next talk is at Imperial College on February 25. There are also two talks a month on Sunday mornings at the Sindhi Center in Harrow where around 150 people regularly attend. The Neasden Swaminarayan temple has arranged a seminar on Hinduism for a hundred religious education teachers this week. The Vedanta Center hopes to be able to contribute to the presentation. Readers may kindly contact "source" above for securing speakers knowledgeable on Hinduism or arranging for talks at the center.

Women and Hinduism in U.S. Textbooks

Posted on 2003/2/25 8:47:02 ( 897 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 5, 2003: In a recent article on Sulekha, Sankrant Sanu examined Microsoft Encarta's treatment of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. He concluded that Encarta's portrayal of Hinduism was biased and negative in comparison to the more evenhanded and sophisticated treatments granted Islam and Christianity. Sanu's article prompted a closer at a world religions textbook, Mary Pat Fisher's "Living Religions" (5th ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002), published by one of the largest textbook publishers in the U.S. and is an often-used text in American colleges, universities and prep schools. It was found to contain biases and misrepresentations on how women are portrayed within Hindu society. The author believes "It is clear that religion and theology can be and is often used to sustain and reinforce patriarchal attitudes in societies, whether they be Hindu, Christian or Muslim. It is also clear that religion and theology can and have been used in ways to challenge, break down and replace patriarchal attitudes in these same societies."

U.S. Vegetarian School Lunches

Posted on 2003/2/25 8:46:02 ( 850 reads )


CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., February 25, 2003: Letters of support are needed for a vegetarian school lunch bill recently introduced in California. Assemblyman Joe Nation of Marin County, California, has introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 16 calling for schools to offer a daily plant-based vegetarian option on the daily lunch menu. If you represent a recognized institution, religious community, or are an individual committed to children's health and/or vegetarian issues, please consider writing a letter of support. Send letters to your California state legislators and to the Resolution's author: Assemblyman Joe Nation, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814 or fax to 916-319-2106. On March 5 at 1:30, California State Capitol, Sacramento, a meeting is scheduled of the education committee hearing on ACR 16. For more information and to review the resolution in it's entirety see "source" above and click on "State Resolution."

Correction for Indian Sangam Convention in Fiji

Posted on 2003/2/25 8:45:02 ( 958 reads )


SUVA, FIJI, February 24, 2003: The e-mail contact for Mr. N. K. Naidu in Fiji was incorrect in HPI's recent summary regarding the Sangam Convention in Fiji. For correct e-mail see "source" above.

Haryana to Make "No-Dowry" Declarations Mandatory

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:49:02 ( 923 reads )


CHANDIGARH, INDIA, February 15, 2003: Men working for the Haryana government might soon be required to give a written declaration following their marriage stating they have not taken a dowry. In an attempt to stop this practice, Haryana is planning to appoint a chief dowry prohibition officer whose job will be to collect these declarations and lists of gifts employees receive at their weddings, a government spokesman said. Every employee, within a month of marriage, will have to furnish the declaration to the head of department stating he has not taken any dowry. His in-laws and wife would also be required to sign the declaration. A list of gifts received at the time of marriage would also have to be submitted. The list would include a brief description of each gift, its value, as well as the presenter's name and relationship with the couple. The list would have to be signed by the newlyweds and their parents.

Handloom Saris, the Fashion Rage in Tamil Nadu

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:48:02 ( 783 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, February 16, 2003: A glut of unsold inexpensive handloom saris designed for the poor have become an overnight favorite of college students in Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was faced with the task of selling 4.5 million saris after the "Free Sari - Dhoti" distribution plan was scrapped. Following this, the handloom businesses were plunged into an unprecedented crisis with more than 21,000 weavers facing unemployment. However, university women decided to address themselves to the cause of the weavers and started wearing the saris, and the entire stock was sold out in two months. Recently a women's college came out with the plan of celebrating "Handloom Day" by wearing the saris. The entire women staff at the State Secretariat wore them on January 30, and later all women MLAs were seen in handloom saris in the State Assembly. Buoyed by the overwhelming response, Co-optex, in a bid to retain the market, has introduced one million saris in new designs.

Study on India's Medicinal Plants Proposed

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:47:02 ( 874 reads )


TIRUPATI, INDIA, February 17, 2003: Forest Department officials have been asked to take up a comprehensive study on conservation of medicinal plants in South India and document the endangered plants before initiating steps to conserve them. At the inaugural session on "Policy consultation on threatened medicinal plants of Eastern and Western ghats, trading and promoting their cultivation" it was felt that a balance had to be struck between conservation and commercial use of the medicinal plants with a rise in awareness of, and preference for, naturo-therapy. Senior officials shared the view that they have to study more on the plants grown in their forests, their medicinal value and market potential and initiate steps for their controlled commercialization.

Angry Crowd Storms Swaminarayan Temple and Curfew Imposed

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:46:02 ( 936 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, February 16, 2003: An unruly crowd estimated at 1,500 people stormed the famous Swaminarayan temple on Sunday, damaging furniture and burning posters following a dispute over who will head the trust which runs the shrine. This resulted in an indefinite curfew. District superintendent of police (Kheda) Manoj Agrawal said that the mob in Vadtal village was demanding reinstatement of their former acharya on the highest position of the temple, chairman of the trust who manages its affairs.

VHP Plans Go Ahead with Trisula Distribution

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:45:02 ( 877 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 19, 2003: Brushing aside opposition criticism of its program to distribute tridents as a "misinterpretation," the VHP on Wednesday vowed to go ahead with it, describing it as part of religious practice. After distribution of the tridents at Jaipur on Tuesday and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, the Sangh Parivar plans to organize programs for its distribution among Bajrang Dal activists in Khera town near Aligarh on Thursday. "Either this has been misunderstood or has been manipulated," VHP senior vice president Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters on Wednesday. Terming the trident as a "symbol of religion," he said the government cannot ban the practice of distribution as these were smaller than six inches and blunt objects. The Rajasthan State Government tried to ban the tridents "but failed as it did not fall under the purview of illegal activity as per rules," Kishore said.

Bethesda Murugan Temple Seeks Help for Priests' Contract

Posted on 2003/2/22 8:44:02 ( 840 reads )


BETHESDA, U.S.A., February 22, 2003: The Executive and Religious Committees of the Murugan Temple here are seeking input for rewriting their employment agreement for priests. Their goal is to have a contract that is positive for their priests, fairly ensuring their rights and responsibilities and protection for the temple. If any temple committees have contracts they are willing to share, advise on selection of a labor lawyer or if an attorney skilled in labor law would care to offer his or her services, kindly contact Nigel Siva at "source" above.

Vidya Yoga Ashram Inaugurated in Portugal

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:49:02 ( 919 reads )


LISBON, PORTUGAL, February 21, 2003: The World Philosophical Order Vidya Yoga Ashram inaugurated its international headquarters in Lisbon February 10, 2003. The Ordem Filosofica Mundial Vidya Yoga Ashram is a philosophical-spiritual, cultural, educational and assistance congregation. Established by H.H. Shri Swami Vyaghrananda Pashupᴩ Bhagwan, Master Shri Uberto Gamma and others, their focus is serving as an instrument for worldwide peace and education. Vidya Yoga Ashram was first established in the State of Paran᠅stado do ParanᬠBrazil, having its headquarters in the city of Curitiba, Rua Bar㯠de Guaruna, 645, Bairro Juveve, Brazil. Kindly contact "source" above for further information.

Study Suggests Violent Video Games Cause Adverse Changes in the Brain

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:48:02 ( 802 reads )


CHICAGO, U.S.A., December 2, 2002: Hours of playing violent video games can affect the way the brain works on a cellular level, causing misfiring of signals between nerve cells or slowing brain activity, researchers have discovered. The adverse effects are most apparent among teens that are diagnosed with a condition called disruptive behavior disorder or DBD. These kids, according to Dr. Vincent P. Mathews of the University of Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, are the ones most likely to "act out by harming animals or property or fighting with other kids." When he used a high tech scanning device called functional magnetic resonance imaging to track brain function in adolescents with DBD, he discovered "less activity in the frontal lobes," the area of the brain that controls emotions and impulses as well as attention span. Moreover when the DBD kids were exposed to violent video games, "there was even less activity," Mathews said. The study suggests repeated exposure to the violent video games is "desensitizing the brain ... the result is that the child can no longer understand the real effect of violence," said Dr. Carol Rumach, professor of radiology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, who was not involved in the study. Even normal teens who said they frequently watched violent television and movies as well as regularly playing violent games had decreased activity when exposed to the violent video, Mathews said. Moreover, the brain changes were most apparent among "heavy users, meaning those who played for several hours every day," he said.

Zimbabwean War Veterans Target Asian Businesses

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:47:02 ( 778 reads )


ZIMBABWE, AFRICA, February 15, 2003: President Robert Mugabe's "war veteran" militia is changing its land-grabbing campaign in Zimbabwe from white-owned farms to Asian-owned businesses. The move has echoes of the policy pursued by Idi Amin in Uganda 30 years ago, which saw 60,000 Asians expelled while their land, money and businesses were seized. Last week, the veterans accused the 12,000 people of Asian descent in Zimbabwe of being economic criminals. They were ordered to hand over money and computers, which might have recorded transactions that violate the country's foreign-exchange laws, or risk having their homes "nationalized." Leaders of the small but affluent Asian community are considering telling families to prepare to leave. Asian community leaders have said they fear they are being targeted by the militia groups because European farmers have been effectively neutralized following the seizure of white-owned farms over the last two and a half years. Last year Andrew Ndlovu, second in command of the National Liberation War Veterans, told the Herald, a state-controlled newspaper, "We want these Indians to surrender a percentage of their land. They are not here to develop our country or to work with us. They are economic looters." Most of Zimbabwe's Asians were born here. They are descended from families that arrived in east and central Africa at the end of the 19th century, to work as artisans and clerks while the Germans and British built roads and railways.

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