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The Plight of the Working Child in India
Posted on 2001/12/10 22:49:02 ( 623 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 16, 2001: In this article Sue Lloyd-Roberts reveals a stark reality about the working children in India. Domestic girl workers in Bangalore, age 12-14 years of age, rise at 3:00 am to haul water home to their families and by 9:00 am have started a six-hour shift at another job. Child rag pickers, 12-15 years of age sort rubbish into piles of salvageable paper, plastic and metal, which sells for a few rupees. In an attempt to make their plight understood by others, girls in Bangalore have formed a collective called Hasiru Sangha. Together they try to better their life by complaining about the water supply to the local water board and encouraging other slum children to attend government schools. Boys have also joined together to discuss issues of health care and police harassment. They produce a monthly newsletter on their situation.




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Book on Indian Migration in the Pipeline
Posted on 2001/12/10 22:48:02 ( 701 reads )


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SINGAPORE, December 8, 2001: Work is underway on a book that charts the history of migration from India, and the impact that Indians living overseas have on their host nations. The brainchild of Singaporean Indians, the book will chart the social, economic and cultural impact of overseas Indians. International experts on the Indian diaspora have spent the past two days in Singapore discussing the best ways of collating and presenting this information. Several Indian Singaporean businessmen were inspired by The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas, which was published here in 1998, and which describes past and present Chinese communities around the world. The South Asian studies program of the National University of Singapore organized the workshops, which started on Thursday. They were supported by the Singapore chapter of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin. Program coordinator Peter Reeves says it will take at least three years to collect all the research and information the team needs from contributors around the world. He expects the book to take five years to produce. For more information, e-mail lordsiva@cyberway.com.sg.




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Temple Reclassification in Andhra Pradesh
Posted on 2001/12/10 22:47:02 ( 1119 reads )


Source: The Hindu





HYDERABAD, INDIA, December 5, 2001: After meeting with Mr. Ajeya Kallam, Endowments Commissioner working for the government in the state of Andhra Pradesh, priest leaders have been assured that temple wage schedules in the state are going to be revamped to account for inflation. They have also been assured that by January 15 an Archaka (Priest) Welfare Fund will be activated, retirement age will remain at 65 years, instead of being lowered. A pension plan is promised. Taking into consideration these benefits plus others listed in this article, the priest delegation has decided to wait for the government to fulfill its promises before mounting further protests.




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Study of British Racial Riots Released
Posted on 2001/12/10 22:46:02 ( 683 reads )


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LONDON, U. K. December 11, 2001: Twenty-first century Britain is composed "shockingly divided communities," Tony Blair's government has said. The Cantle report, commissioned by the Home Office, warned there would be no quick fixes. It makes 67 recommendations covering areas such as housing, political leadership, education, youth and leisure facilities and regeneration. It called for a change in the way regeneration schemes are managed, which force groups to "compete against each other" and lead to resentment. Home Secretary David Blunkett welcomed the reports and called for a debate on citizenship. The summer's disturbances were some of the worst seen in the UK, with the Bradford violence alone causing damage estimated at US$16 million, and injuring 300 police officers. In a startling indictment of "the growing disaffection of Pakistani Muslims and youths of Pakistani origin," the British government released a new plan to prevent a repeat of the riots in mainly Pakistani and Bangladeshi-populated north-west English towns. Sikh-dominant Southall and Gujarati-dominant Leicester are singled out for praise, "In Southall and Leicester in particular, it was clear to us there was a pride in their community... it was also notable that diversity was seen as a positive thing," the government said. The report praised these communities ability to fit in to society and peacefully resolve problems that occurred.




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Immigrants Should Try "Feeling British"
Posted on 2001/12/9 22:49:02 ( 724 reads )


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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, December 9, 2001: UK Home Secretary David Blunkett has urged people from ethnic minorities to develop what he calls a "sense of belonging" in Britain. In a newspaper interview, he says racism is often deep-seated and must be confronted, but immigrants who settle here must do their bit to ensure that future generations grow up "feeling British." But Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said there was a danger the home secretary's remarks could be misinterpreted to mean immigrants should abandon their culture in favor of that of Britain.




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Non-Vegetarian Products Require Mandatory Labeling
Posted on 2001/12/9 22:48:02 ( 715 reads )


Source: The Hindu





NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 3, 2001: India's Health Ministry ordered companies October 4 to label their food products with a mandatory brown dot if they contain nonvegetarian ingredients. However, after two months, the food industry has yet to comply. Some companies say they are confused. Many are in the process of changing their packaging while others would like to see the labeling consistent across global markets. Others such as MNC Companies, only export vegetarian lines into India. For example, their cheese going to India is made with plant rennet. Extra labeling for them means extra costs passed onto the consumer. Rather than be stumped by the guidelines which do not categorize dietary supplements, the Murugappa group has decided to label their products with a complete ingredient list. Even with all these obstacles, the Health Ministry is forging ahead to enforce the brown dot.




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India: 23 People Per Minute Infected With Aids
Posted on 2001/12/9 22:47:02 ( 656 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 9, 2001: Aids campaigners in India say that as many as 23 people a minute are being infected with the HIV virus. They say that the battle against AIDS in the country is still being inhibited by a lack of unity among the various charities and non-governmental organizations that have been set up to fight the spread of AIDS. The latest figures released by the National Aids Control Organization show that four million people are infected. Campaigners such as Karuna Roy say that there is still a great deal of fear and ignorance surrounding the virus, plus a lack of co-ordination among the various groups set up to fight the spread of AIDS. The spread of AIDS is advanced by low awareness and literacy levels, combined with large migrations of labor.




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Guruvayur Temples Deluged with Elephantine Gifts
Posted on 2001/12/8 22:49:02 ( 666 reads )


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GURUVAYUR, KERALA, December 9, 2001: After Jayalalitha, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, donated an elephant to her favorite deity here four months ago, there is a big rush to make the jumbo offering. The media glitz over Jaya's offering spurred four more devotees, including a Malayalam actor, to offer elephants to Lord Krishna, taking the temple's collection to 56. The temple already has perhaps the world's largest private collection of elephants. Its officials are worried whether they will have enough money to look after any more. The food bill for all the elephants is totalling US$520 a day. Besides their staple diet of palm leaves and green grass, the temple feeds the pachyderms the special temple offering, Ana Ootu consisting of rice, green dal and jaggery.




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George Harrison Made Eastern Spirituality Cool
Posted on 2001/12/8 22:48:02 ( 779 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, December 9, 2001: This detailed article explores the influence of the Beatles and particularly George Harrison on the American spiritual landscape. "The evidence can be seen in every health club in America that offers yoga, every athlete who meditates before the game, everyone who shops at a holistic health food store, and every rock star who gives a benefit concert. It was George Harrison and the Beatles who popularized Eastern spirituality and later crafted a different role for the American rock star. He took Indian religious practices from being counter-culture weird to pop-culture cool." 'It would not have happened' without Harrison, says Deepak Chopra, the Indian doctor who himself popularized so many Eastern concepts. 'Overnight they made the world aware of Indian spirituality.' 'The Beatles opened the door for yoga to be accepted in a worldwide way,' says Lilias Folan, an internationally known yoga teacher and author."




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A Claim to Help Choose Baby's Sex Sets Off Furor in India
Posted on 2001/12/8 22:47:02 ( 754 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 9, 2001: The advertisement in The Times of India offering a product from the United States, a kit that claims to improve the odds of picking your baby's sex, seems sinister to women's groups and government agencies here that are fighting discrimination against girls in a society with a powerful preference for sons. A. R. Nanda, a senior civil servant in the health ministry, said today that the advertisement clearly violates a 1994 law against prenatal sex determination tests. Two lawyers have filed a complaint against The Times for printing the ad and Vibha Parthasarathi, the head of the National Commission for Women, an independent body established by Parliament, denounced the product as unethical. The Times replied to its critics today in an unsigned editorial entitled "Sophie's Choice" contends that Indian laws do not prohibit sex selection techniques used before conception.




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Lutheran Priest Faces Expulsion for Praying with Other Faiths
Posted on 2001/12/8 22:46:02 ( 658 reads )


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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, December 8, 2001: To the Rev. David Benke, the ceremony at Yankee Stadium a month ago was a blessing, an opportunity to join other religious and civic leaders in offering comfort to a nation raw from the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He joined the celebrities and politicians on stage to sing patriotic songs and to pray. But some fellow clergymen took quite a different view: They saw his participation in an interfaith event as heresy. Last week, six pastors from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the nation's second-largest Lutheran denomination, filed formal charges calling for Benke's expulsion from the church. Benke "participated in idolatry by participating with non-Christians," one of the dissident pastors, the Rev. David Oberdieck said, objecting to Benke's "syncretism," or promoting the view that all religions are equal. Benke insists that the Yankee Stadium ceremony was not a formal worship service, and thus was not off-limits to Missouri Synod members. A Hindu priest was part of the service, along with Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and Christians.




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Scientists to Study Near-Death Experiences
Posted on 2001/12/8 22:45:02 ( 608 reads )


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SOUTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM, November 30, 2001: Dr. Sam Parnia, a physician at Southampton General Hospital, has been given approval to conduct a large scale study on this experience. A pilot project on 63 patients who were revitalized after cardiac arrests revealed that four of these patients reported encounters with pre-deceased relatives or tunnel journeys. Patrick Tenney, a patient whose heart stopped ten years ago, vividly recalls, "It was beautiful, one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen. I floated or walked down the tunnel, moved into another tunnel -- it wasn't very long -- and I stood there and saw a huge mass of color." Dr. Parnia is hopeful that the study will help the medical community and society to make a more informed decision about euthanasia. BBC Radio 4 reports and an opinion poll with 1000 participants revealed that 10% of people have had an "out of body experience."




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Stony Brook University Celebrates Center's Fourth Year
Posted on 2001/12/5 22:49:02 ( 762 reads )


Source: Press Release





STONY BROOK, NEW YORK, December, 3, 2001: Leaders of the Indian community, scholars, and artists gathered last Saturday to celebrate Stony Brook University's Center for India Studies' fourth year of bringing Indian culture and scholarship to the New York area. The evening's program included the honoring of distinguished contributors to Indian art, education and community fellowship. The gala event raised $250,000 toward a $750,000 fund-raising goal. Dr. Nirmal K. Mattoo, the new President of the India Studies Foundation said that the monies are intended to create a permanent endowment for the Center, so that the kind of quality programs on India that the Center has initiated and that have found resonance in the community can continue in perpetuity. The Center offers about 20 courses a year on topics such as Indian history, languages, literature, religions, music, dance, and foreign affairs. In the last four years, over 2500 undergraduates have taken courses in India Studies. The Center has conducted numerous outreach programs in area schools, universities, museums, libraries, and community organizations.




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Taiwan Buddhist Open World's First Museum of World Religions
Posted on 2001/12/5 22:48:02 ( 725 reads )


Source: Central News Agency





TAIPEI, TAIWAN, November 9, 2001: Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian, and 12 local and foreign dignitaries, including Swami Dayananda Saraswati, opened the Museum of World Religions" in suburban Taipei today. Chen said, "The inauguration of the museum is a pride and glory of the 23 million people of Taiwan, as it is the first of its kind in the world. The museum symbolizes respect, tolerance and benevolence." The museum was developed by Master Hsin-tao Shih, abbot of Ling Jiou Mountain Wu Sheng Monastery, in Fulon, Taiwan. It cost US$58 million and took ten years to complete. There are on display numerous religious scriptures, artifacts, instruments, object d'art, more than 7,000 books on various religions, as well as 2,000-plus video and audio recordings on religious subjects. The Ling Jiou Mountain Wu Sheng Monastery, one of the five most prominent monasteries in Taiwan, was established on a mountain facing the Pacific Ocean in the northeastern township of Fulon by Hsin-tao Shih more than two decades ago. Hsin-tao Shih was born in Burma to Chinese parents in 1948. He came to Taiwan as a youth and practiced Buddhism, striving for virtue by isolating himself for years before taking formal monastic vows. Hsin-tao Shih decided to build the world religion museum some ten years ago in an attempt to break lay people's superstitions, to help raise cultural standards and to help cultivate the inner virtues of human beings, a spokesman of the museum said.




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India to Allow Sale of Genetically Modified Cotton
Posted on 2001/12/5 22:47:02 ( 588 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, December 6, 2001: Following the illegal sale of genetically modified cotton seed in India, the government has now said it will soon allow the cotton crops to be sold commercially for the first time. The government has been studying the GM cotton for over a year. It is resistant to the bollworm, which causes considerable damage to India's cotton crop each year. HPI adds: This report does not say whether the government will enforce the rules set up for this cotton in the USA. There, the Environmental Protection Agency requires farmers to plant a certain percentage of non-GM cotton along with every GM crop, to ensure that the bollworm does not quickly develop immunity to the built-in pesticide of the GM cotton.




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