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McDonald's: Where's the Beef? Just About Everywhere, Including the Fries!

Posted on 2003/6/1 9:45:02 ( 1004 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, June 1, 2003: An HPI reader asked a logical question upon hearing about the $10,000,000 settlement and apology coming from McDonald's for misleading vegetarians into thinking the company's french fries were vegetarian. He asked, "Did they take the meat out?" The answer is no.

On their list of ingredients ("source" above) is this: "Large French Fries: Potatoes, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor (beef source), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to preserve natural color). Cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (may contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated corn oil and/or partially hydrogenated canola oil and/or cottonseed oil and/or sunflower oil and/or corn oil). TBHQ and citric acid added to help preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an anti-foaming agent."

Prior to the lawsuit, this list just said "natural flavor" without any further qualification, and vegetarians often assumed the flavor was not meat-derived.

So, what can a vegetarian eat at McDonald's? Not much. A scroll through the list of ingredients reveals vegetarian lettuce and tomatoes (hard to change that), maybe a Big Mac bun, but not the Big Mac sauce (egg yolks). Forget the "Creamy Herb Sauce" and "Tartar Sauce" (both with egg yolks) as well as "California Cobb Salad (without chicken)" but with chopped cooked eggs. You can -- but would you? -- eat the mustard (out of the packet), the ketchup, the dried onions and the pickle slices. You might be tempted by the "Ceasar Salad (without chicken)" except for the part about Paramesan Cheese, cheese culture and "enzymes," any of which could contain rennet (an enzyme derived from calf's stomach, but also produced artificially, used to make cheese). It does appear -- but we make no guarantee -- that the "Side Salad" and the "Butter Garlic Croutons" along with "Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vianaigrette" salad dressing, might be vegetarian, but not vegan, what with the "butter oil" in the croutons.

Have a nice lunch. The coffee's OK.

Hinduism Today Benefits from McDonald's Settlement on Beef-Tainted Fries

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:49:02 ( 983 reads )

Hindu Press International

KAUAI, HAWAII, May 29, 2003: McDonald's corporation is settling a lawsuit brought by vegetarians who were misled into believing McDonald's french fries were vegetarian when, in fact, they were flavored with beef (see HPI, May 27). Out of the US$10 million, $250,000 was allotted to the Hindu Heritage Endowment (www.hheonline.org/) to endow 1,000 complimentary subscriptions to Hinduism Today magazine in the United States. The money will be put in a conservative investment fund and the proceeds used to pay for the subscriptions. The principle, however, remains intact forever. This is the same fund which holds the money paid for lifetime subscriptions to Hinduism Today. HHE was founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, also founder of Hinduism Today and Hindu Press International, as a permanent endowment for the benefit of various Hindu institutions and causes. The total endowment has recently passed $3.3 million. Thousands of Hindus have donated to it, and some have established their own special funds within it to endow projects of their choice to the benefit of Hindus and Hinduism. The terms of the settlement required, among other things, that the recipient organizations be dedicated to the values of Hindu, Sikh and other beef-less dietary rules, vegetarianism or Kosher dietary rules, or children's nutrition or hunger relief. Hinduism Today qualified for its consistent and on-going advocacy of vegetarianism.

Over 3,500 pilgrims to Take Part in Amarnath Yatra

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:48:02 ( 919 reads )


SRINAGAR, INDIA, May 29, 2003: Over 3,500 pilgrims are expected to take part in the annual Amarnath Yatra that will commence July 12, official sources said here on Thursday. Base camps for the month-long yatra at Nunwan and Baltal will start functioning on July 5. Of the 3,500 pilgrims who will take part in the yatra, 2,700 are scheduled for the traditional route passing through Pahalgam, while 800 yatris will take the shorter Baltal hill track. Drinking water, diesel generator sets, sufficient quantities of food grains and firewood will be available for the pilgrims. Medical camps will be set up at all stages of the yatra, besides the mini-hospitals at Nunwan, Pahalgam and Baltal. BSNL will install telephone booths at Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panchtarni, the Amarnath Cave itself, Baltal Sonamarg and Manigam, and the police telecommunication department would provide wireless facilities for coordination along the hill track. The authorities said the ban on polyethylene bags, plastic crockery and pitching plastic tents at all stages of the yatra will be strictly enforced to prevent pollution hazards.

Yoga Craze In UK Offers New Avenues For Indian Designers

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:47:02 ( 884 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, May 27, 2003: Yoga has been in vogue for some time among celebrities, but this month it officially goes mainstream in Britain. It's a come-on cue for yoga instructors in India and fashion designers like Rohit Bal, Adarsh Gill and Ritu Beri. Yoga expert Aina Wethal attracts at her Pineapple Fitness Center at Coven garden in London disciples who are as keen on fashion as much as they are on yoga. She believes that clothes must flow when one is doing yoga, so they must be light and breathable. High Street chains led by Marks and Spencer (M&S) have realized not only the craze for yoga's "inner strength and realization of peace" but also women's desire to wear comfortable clothes. M&S are about to launch a Yoga and Pilates range of clothes, called Mind and Body, in stores throughout Britain. Reportedly, the range will go to their Indian stores in the near future. Julia Robson, fashion writer, said yoga clothes are fueling a fitness-gear scramble not seen since Jane Fonda's Workout topped the video charts in the 80s. Other chains from French Connection to Gap are featuring clothes in their ranges that are apt for yoga. They now join the sportswear brands like Nike's and Adidas.

Navaratri Festival Called a Cultural Not Religious Event by U.K. Gujarati Community

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:46:02 ( 978 reads )

U.K. Newsquest Regional Press

LONDON, ENGLAND, May 23, 2003: This year's Navaratri Festival may receive no funding because of council guidelines not to support events which have the primary purpose of promoting religion. The Sarvoday Hindu Association has sent the grant appeal back to the committee which rejected it in hopes of changing the decision. The contention was whether the event was primarily religious or not. More than 60 members of the Gujarati community argued it was a cultural event with people from all religions as well as nonreligious Gujaratis attending. They said the only religious part of the festival is a 15-minute prayer said each night which is as much a part of their culture as the dance, dress and food associated with the event. Navaratri is a nine-day festival associated with the worship of the Goddess in the form of the Universal Mother, but many younger residents spoke about the relative insignificance of the religion and the importance of the event socially and culturally with people from all walks of life attending. Speaking after Tuesday's meeting, grants and awards chairman councilor Rolson Davies said, "I can understand and appreciate the argument being put forward by the representatives of the community as to why they felt it was a cultural event. The allocation of a grant depends on whether the panel decides the cultural element outweighs the religious element." HPI adds: It is unfortunate that the Gujarati community made such a declaration, that one of the most holy festivals of Hinduism is a mere "cultural event." Perhaps it has been reduced to such in England, but in India the religious aspect of it remains intact. If the city council were to have accepted their request, the council would also have to fund Christmas, which, with the decline of belief in Christianity, has become as much or more a social observance than a religious one.

Dr. N. S. Rajaram to Lecture on History and Archeology of the Mahabharata

Posted on 2003/5/29 9:45:02 ( 1096 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, May 29, 2003: NHSF King's College London is hosting a lecture by respected academician and scientist, Dr. N.S. Rajaram, on the history and archeology of the Mahabharata. This free lecture is scheduled for Saturday, May 31, at 3:00 p.m. The venue is King's College London, Waterloo Campus, Stamford Lecture Theater, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN. Dr. Rajaram has worked in U.S. academia and the high technology industry for over twenty years. Since 1992, he has been an independent researcher and writer working on the history and science of ancient civilizations. He is the author of ten books including the widely known Vedic Aryans and The Origins of Civilization with Dr. David Frawley and The Deciphered Indus Script with N. Jha, and Search for the Historical Krishna. Kindly contact "source" above for further information regarding the lecture.

Priests Of Orissa's Puri Temple to Receive Health Care From the Government

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:49:02 ( 994 reads )

Aajtak Television News (India)

ORISSA, INDIA, May 28, 2003: After a report on the poor physical and mental condition of the priests of the Puri Temple, the government has now decided to have a "medical camp" to take charge of their medical care. This action was taken after Aajtak Channel highlighted the illnesses being faced by these priests. The priests themselves are also very relieved for, until the news report, no one had been concerned about their debilitated health condition. Prafful Chand Gadhai, Health Minister in the Orissa Government says, "The camp will have general physicians, neurosurgeons and other surgeons and specialist doctors examine the priests. After the results of the camp are out, the requisite treatment would also be given to those who need it."

Last week Aajtak telecast a news story telling how over two thousand priests of the Puri Temple have to walk up and down the stairs of the temple a number of times everyday. After doing much physical work daily, these priests consume bhang (marijuana), an intoxicating drug for relaxation. Due to this, around seventy percent of the priests are suffering from mental diseases. Dev Khunita, a priest, said that they are happy with the government's decision. Starting from May 30, the camp will be held for three days, and over 1,500 priests will be examined during this time.

Thai Hindu Temple to Reopen

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:48:02 ( 988 reads )

The Nation (Thailand)

BANGKOK, THAILAND, MAY 24, 2003: The ancient, Hindu-style Preah Vihear Temple will reopen the same day as next weekend's joint Thai-Cambodian cabinet meeting, Defense Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, said yesterday. "The reopening is expected on May 31, the day both cabinets meet to discuss several matters of bilateral cooperation," he said. Chavalit said Deputy Prime Minister Chaturon Chaisang would be present when the sole access to the temple in Preah Vihear province, adjacent to Thailand's Si Sa Ket, is reopened from the Thai side. Citing poor sanitation and polluted water issuing from the Cambodian side, Si Sa Ket authorities had closed off access, blocking all entry to the ancient structure. The opening is also intended to smooth relations between the countries which have become strained due to border disputes over who has claim to certain ancient temples.

International Hindu Human Rights Seminar to be Held in The Hague

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:47:02 ( 1112 reads )


NETHERLANDS, THE HAGUE, May 26, 2003: Working Group Agni is an organization whose goals are to protect the values of Hinduism throughout the world. In this context it also promotes human rights and provides humanitarian aid. In Bangladesh, and other countries, Hindus are facing extreme human rights violations which they believe needs the attention of the global community. For this purpose Working Group Agni, together with other Hindu institutions, has organized an international human rights seminar to bring to the world stage human rights violations on Hindus in Bangladesh and other countries. The seminar will be June 27 to 30, 2003, in The Hague at the International Court of Justice, the Netherlands, Europe. During the seminar, participating organizations will discuss the creation of an international Hindu human rights' organization which would have more power and impact in discussions with established organizations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and other governments. Readers may kindly contact Mr. Sradhanand Sital, Chairman, and read further on Working Group Agni at "source" above.

Indonesia May Become Home to World Meditation Center

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:46:02 ( 919 reads )

Jakarta Post

PURWOKERTO, INDONESIA, May 23, 2003: The government is considering turning Java's oldest Hindu temple complex at the Dieng plateau in Central Java into an international center for meditation. State Minister for Culture and Tourism I Gde Ardika said on Wednesday that due to its historical importance, the Dieng complex deserved to become an important center for meditation. He said many Hindu priests meditate at the temple complex, which is located on a 2,000-meter-high plateau 26 kilometers northwest of Wonosobo in Central Java. Ardika said the plan should be carefully considered, taking the impact on the non-Hindu community living nearby the complex into account. The name Dieng comes from Di Hyang which means "Abode of the Gods"

Help Us Rate the Airline's Vegetarian Menus

Posted on 2003/5/28 9:45:02 ( 957 reads )


KAUAI, USA, May 28, 2003: Hinduism Today is preparing a story on in-flight vegetarian meals, inspired by the discovery that EVA's "Hindu" meal includes chicken. Send a short statement to "source" on your experience with in-flight vegetarian meals, including your best and worst experiences and your suggestions for fellow veggie travelers.

US$10 Million Settlement Awards Announced in McDonald's Beef-Laced French Fries Case

Posted on 2003/5/27 9:49:02 ( 978 reads )


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, May 21, 2003: A Cook County judge has named 24 groups to divide a US$10 million settlement from McDonald's over beef-laced french fries, resolving a dispute about which organizations would share in the awards. The ruling Monday by Circuit Judge Richard Siebel followed months of legal wrangling since Oak Brook-based McDonald's agreed to the payment last year. The settlement was intended to make amends to customers who unwittingly ate the fries cooked in beef-flavored oil during the 1990s, when the burger chain had said it used only pure vegetable oil. Lawsuits filed in Illinois and other states charged the restaurant chain deceived people who don't eat meat for personal or religious reasons. McDonald's offered 60 percent of the settlement to vegetarian groups, 20 percent to Hindu and Sikh groups, 10 percent to children's nutrition and hunger-relief efforts and 10 percent to promoting understanding of kosher practices. Last month, Siebel rejected three proposed groups, but he added the Hillel Jewish group.

HPI adds: The list of organization receiving funds was also released by the courts. There is an unlikely chance of appeal which could change this list. They are, along with the dollar amount and percentage of the total as follows:

Vegetarian Organizations, total: US$6,000,000.00

1. Vegetarian Resource Group $1,400,000 [14.0%]

2. ADAF Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group $600,000 [6.0%]

3. Preventive Medicine Research Institute $550,000 [5.5%]

4. North American Vegetarian Society $1,000,000 [10.0%]

5. Vegetarian Vision, Inc. $250,000 [2.5%]

6. The American Vegan Society $500,000 [5.0%]

7. Loma Linda University $300,000 [3.0%]

8. Tufts University $850,000 [8.5%]

9. Muslim Consumer Group For Food Products $100,000 [1.0%]

10. Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) $450,000 [4.5%]

Hindu/Sikh Organization, total: $2,000,000

11. International / American Gita Society $50,000 [0.5%]

12. Hindu Heritage Endowment $250,000 [2.5%]

13. SEED (Supporting Excellence in Education) $900,000 [9.0%]

14. Council of Hindu Temples of North America $200,000 [2.0%]

15. SSV Temple $50,000 [0.5%]

16. Guru Harkrishan Institute of Sikh Studies $50,000 [0.5%]

17. Hindu Students Council $500,000 [5.0%]

Kosher Groups, total: $1,000,000

18. Jewish Community Centers Association $200,000 [2.0%]

19. Orthodox Union $150,000 [1.5%]

20. Star_K/Torah.Org $300,000 [3.0%]

21. CLAL $50,000 [0.5%]

22. The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life (Hillel) $300,000 [3.0%]

Children's Groups, total: $1,000,000

23. Produce for Better Health Foundation $500,000 [5.0%]

24. CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity $500,000 [5.0%]

Hinduism Today magazine is planning a story on the settlement, and would like the organizations to e-mail ar@hindu.org their plans for their share.

Women Take the Lead to Empower Themselves

Posted on 2003/5/27 9:48:02 ( 943 reads )


TEHRI, INDIA, May 25, 2003: In the remote hilly regions of Uttaranchal, where the constant struggle for life is an everyday affair for most women, a social forum has succeeded in changing their lives by connecting its activities with their daily routine. "We have connected our activities with 'Jal, Jameen, Jungle aur Zindagi' (literally, "water, earth, forest and life")," says Kusum Rawat, state coordinator of Mahila Samakhya, a five-year project of the central government and a powerful pressure group that protects women's rights. The impact that Sahara Sangh has had on the daily lives of women in these hilly districts, can be felt everywhere -- ranging from stopping of child marriage to rallying around a fellow comrade when her family subjected her to harassment. The Sangh has monthly meetings on the 8th of every month which are attended by representatives from every village. These meetings are crowded with everyone wanting to get a word in on how they had contributed to the cause in the past one month since the last meeting. Rajashree narrates how the Sangh in her village helped to stop her daughter being abused by her husband by sending him a letter and issuing an ultimatum that if he did not stop his behavior, he and his family would have to face social ostracism. In fact, social boycott is a very effective tool that has helped in keeping the antisocial elements in villages at bay, says Rawat. The Kishori Sangh, which is a group for teenage girls too is growing in the rural areas and as Unita Damwal, a 15-year old says, it has stopped many an injustice by the simple technique of dialogue. Talking about the problems which the Sangh has effectively tackled, Rawat says passing on water harvesting techniques to village women, as also the practice of clearing mountains of twigs to prevent forest fires and protecting the ecology around the village have helped women identify with the Sangh. "The women are now slowly gaining confidence that their destiny is in their own hands. In fact, a few days ago when they suspected that a sarpanch of a neighboring village had embezzled US$570 from the panchayat (village council) funds, the women sat on a dharna (protest) in front of his house and demanded that he give back the money. The pressure was so intense that he had to relent," says Parvati and the entire amount was returned to the panchayat.

Dot-Com Bust Affects NRI's Charity

Posted on 2003/5/27 9:47:02 ( 1063 reads )


MUMBAI, INDIA, May 24, 2003: Two out of three nonresident Indians in the Silicon Valley have been significantly affected by the dot-com bust and the impact has reflected in the community's philanthropy. Two surveys, one conducted last month and the other two years ago, show how NRI attitudes in the Valley towards philanthropy have changed with the economic cycle of boom and bust. A survey conducted last month, among 46 charter members of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) on the impact of the dot-com bust says that NRIs are now giving lesser amounts to fewer charities. "The nature of the impact has been predominantly to 'give less.' There is a 3-to-1 decrease in giving over increase. Of those giving less, two-thirds have reduced their giving by 50 percent or more," says Shahnaz Taplin of Shahnaz Taplin & Associates who has conducted the study.

At the peak of the boom, Professor Tyzoon Tyebjee of Santa Clara University and Shahnaz Taplin and Associates had conducted a qualitative study, "NRIs: Care, Commit, and Contribute." The study focused on Silicon Valley NRIs, specifically, social entrepreneurs and IT professionals and showed record giving at the peak of the economic boom by Silicon Valley. The study highlighted patterns and profiles of giving and factors like childhood imprints, family traditions, religious teachings and socioeconomic reasons that influence the Diaspora generosity. It focused on attitudes, motivations and deterrents to philanthropic giving among 'Midnight's children' (born around the time of India's Independence), Generation X and women. At the peak of the economic boom, many NRIs were contributing increasingly generously to Bay Area nonprofits believing, that "charity starts at home in their own backyards." The bust reversed this trend, as NRIs now prefer to then send contributions to charities or nongovernmental organizations in India. The lack of accountable, trustworthy and credible institutions through which NRIs can transmit funds to Indian NGOs has been cited as a reason that acts as a significant barrier towards charity.

Canadian Textbook Publisher Promotes Religious Understanding

Posted on 2003/5/26 9:49:02 ( 1144 reads )

Hinduism Today

Kauai, USA, May 26, 2003: Thomson Nelson, a school text publisher in Canada, is including two excerpts from Hinduism Today in its upcoming book "My Place in the World" for ninth graders. The book's straightforward advocacy of religious tolerance is really quite remarkable, as shown by their choice of excerpts.

The first excerpt: "The following was published in Hinduism Today (March, 2002): 'In Australia, Sydney's Anglican Archbishop, Rev. Peter Jensen, at an August crusade shocked many with his comment that non-Christians and Buddhists in particular were brought to Australia by God to enable them to "share in the gospel of the Lord Jesus." Vehement objections were published in The Sydney Herald. Dr. A. Balasubramaniam wrote, "Jensen's comments are breathtaking in their arrogance. Christians do not enjoy a monopoly on the route to heaven." '

"Student assignment: Write a short letter to Jensen expressing your views."

The second excerpt: "Reporting fairly and accurately on the activities and beliefs of individuals of different faith traditions can be a challenge for reporters. For example, in 2001, the largest-ever Kumbha Mela was held in India. Some Hindus objected to the media coverage of this event by Western journalists stationed in India. Hinduism Today magazine had a detailed complaint:

" 'Did journalists and photographers have a narrow depth of field? Sooner or later, some conscience-struck journalism student will finally send Hinduism Today a copy of "The Journalist's Guide to Reporting on Hinduism." We already know what is in it: "If you are a journalist posted to Delhi for a year, then proceed in sequence to report on the following items: child marriages, widow burning and abandonment, bride burning and beating, caste oppression, the Ram temple, Hindu fundamentalists, harassment of Christians, phony gurus, greedy priests and, when you really have nothing else to report, the rat temple. At no time in your reports shall you extol Hinduism or ever compare any of these topics to identical or parallel issues in the West, such as teenage pregnancies, abuse of the aged, domestic violence, racial and ethnic discrimination, Christian fundamentalists, harassment of religious minorities, disgraced preachers, pedophile priests, or even the pervasive mistreatment of laboratory rats." '

"The quotation makes clear how easily Western journalists can fall into the trap of presenting the same old picture of India to their readers. And it raises a question for anyone living in Canada as to how accurately we understand India and other foreign nations."

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