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U.S. Embraces Religion More Frequently than Other Developed Nations

Posted on 2003/5/2 9:48:02 ( 806 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., May 2, 2003: The Pew Research Center surveyed 44 nations from around the world and discovered religion is much more important to Americans than to people living in other wealthy nations. 59% of people in the U.S. say religion plays a very important role in their lives. This is roughly twice the percentage of self-avowed religious people in Canada and an even higher proportion when compared with Japan and Western Europe. Americans' views are closer to people in developing nations than to the publics of developed nations. The survey shows stark global regional divides over the personal importance of religion. In Africa, no fewer than eight-in-ten in any country see religion as very important personally. Majorities in every Latin American country also subscribe to that view, with the exception of Argentina. More than nine-in-ten respondents in the predominantly Muslim nations of Indonesia, Pakistan, Mali and Senegal rate religion as personally very important while 92% of people living in India subscribe to the view that religion is important in their daily lives. Secularism is particularly prevalent throughout Europe, even in heavily Catholic Italy where fewer than 27% people say religion is very important personally, a lack of intensity in belief that is consistent with opinion in other Western European nations. This poll is part of the Pew Global Attitudes Project whose first major report, "What the World Thinks in 2002," focusing on how people view their lives, their countries and the world, was released Dec. 4, 2002 and is available online at www.people-press.org .

Fasting May be Good For You

Posted on 2003/5/2 9:47:02 ( 1164 reads )

Associated Press

WASHINGTON D.C., U.S.A., April 29, 2003: The health benefits of sharply cutting calories may occur after periodic fasting, even if the fast does not result in eating less overall, a new report indicates. Scientists are now planning a study to see if fasting, which seems to benefit mice, will also be good for people, too. Benefits ranging from longer life to less stress and greater sensitivity to insulin have been reported in recent studies of severe reductions in diet. The plan is to compare the health of a group of people fed the normal three meals a day with a similar group, eating the same diet and amount of food, but consuming it within four hours and then fasting for 20 hours before eating again. "Overeating is a big problem now in this country. It's particularly troublesome that a lot of children are overweight. It's still unclear the best way to somehow get people to eat less," Mattson said. "One possibility is skipping a meal a day. Our study suggests that skipping meals is not bad for you."

Tamil Nadu Doctors Assisting in Female Feticide May be Prohibited From Practicing

Posted on 2003/5/2 9:46:02 ( 329 reads )


CHENNAI, INDIA, April 26,2003: In a move against female feticide, the Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) declared today that it would come down heavily against doctors participating in discriminatory abortions of girls, and will prevent them from practicing medicine if necessary. Speakers attending a meeting on the "Role of Doctors in Halting the Declining Sex Ratio and Implementation of the Prenatal Diagnostics Tests Prevention Act," said they hold the medical fraternity "squarely responsible" for the high incidence of female feticide in the country. Doctors, they said, were helping parents kill girls before birth through abortions after determining the sex of the unborn child using scanning (ultrasound) devices. TNMC president, M. Balasubramanian, said the medical fraternity should not dismiss the accusations lightly. On their entrance to the profession, doctors were clearly instructed in a booklet on medical ethics that female feticide was a heinous crime. Sabu M. George, an independent researcher, said most of Tamil Nadu was not safe for girls, and that the sex ratio in nearly all the State's districts had declined in the last 10 years. The girl child sex ratio in the State has declined from 1010 for 1000 boys in 1941, to 948 in 1991 and 939 in 2001.

Additional Information on the Ramramapatri Bank

Posted on 2003/5/2 9:45:02 ( 977 reads )


KAUAI, U.S.A., May 2, 2003: Mr. R.K. Mehrotra is the present manager of Ramramapatri Bank located at 5/35 Tripura Bhairvi, Dasaswamedh, Varanasi, India. Readers may mail "deposits" to the above address and log onto "source" above for additional information.

Maha Ganapati Society of Alberta Hosts H.H. Srimath Sri Viswamatha

Posted on 2003/5/2 9:44:02 ( 992 reads )


EDMONTON, CANADA, May 2, 2003: H.H. Srimath Sri Viswamatha, visiting from India, will give two talks in the Temple this month. "The Scientific Significance of Homa and Puja," is scheduled for Sunday, May 4, at 11:30 a.m. and "Modern Science and Religious Rituals" is the topic for Friday, May 9, at 8:30 p.m. A question and answer session will follow after each talk. The Cultural Center of the Maha Ganapati Society of Alberta is located at 128 Running Creek Road, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. For additional information, kindly contact "source" above.

Hindi Mela Planned in Surinam

Posted on 2003/4/29 9:49:02 ( 373 reads )


PARAMARIBO, SURINAM, April 29, 2003: The World Hindi Conference is to be held in Paramaribo, Surinam, June 5-9, 2003. Five hundred scholars and experts are expected to attend the conference in the South American country, which has a Hindi-speaking population of more than 150,000, around 30 percent of its total population. The decision to hold the conference in Surinam, which won in a close contest over Holland, its former colonial master, was taken on the urging of the Indian diaspora based there, the descendants of 19th century migrants.

World's Wettest Area Dries Up

Posted on 2003/4/29 9:48:02 ( 931 reads )


MEGHALAYA, INDIA, April 29, 2003: Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, located in a remote part of northeast India, usually experience torrential rains. Increases in pollution and deforestation have been blamed for the environmental changes. Meghalaya, which means "Home of the Clouds" in Sanskrit and Hindi, enjoyed the distinction of having two of the world's wettest places, Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, but Cherrapunji is drying up. During the winter, rains almost stop and the springs dry up. S.C. Sahu, deputy director of the Central Meteorological Department in Meghalaya's capital, Shillong, says, "In July 1861 alone, Cherrapunji had 366 inches of rain. Between August 1860 and July 1861, Cherrapunji got a record 1,042 inches of rain -- a world record. But now the annual rainfall there has sharply fallen to less than a third of that." HPI adds: While environmentalists rightly claim deforestation as the cause of the marked decrease in annual rainfall, the reasons for deforestation are not mentioned here. Deforestation has become rampant because after the villagers converted to Christianity, the forests were no longer considered sacred and they indiscriminately cut them down, changing their climate.

Coloring Books To Resolve Racial Differences

Posted on 2003/4/29 9:47:02 ( 997 reads )


SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, April 26, 2003: In an effort to raise cultural awareness about the Sikh community, all public elementary school students in California will receive a new coloring and activity book which explains why Sikh boys and men wear turbans and refrain from cutting their hair. Introducing the book entitled "The Boy With Long Hair," Lt. Governor Cruz M. Bustamante said, "This project will educate children about cultural diversity and help promote an understanding and acceptance of our differences. Following the terrorist attacks against America and the resulting suspicion and violence towards Sikh and Arab Americans, this project is more than timely. After completing the lesson, I hope that students will learn that California's diversity is something to celebrate," said Bustamante. The book's writer and illustrator, Pushpinder Singh, hoped the book would help develop some understanding about the challenges facing Sikh children so that they were able to follow their traditions with pride and be treated with friendliness by their peers. HPI adds: Similar books could be developed for other minority religions, including Hinduism.

New Delhi Bestowed Honor as World Book Capital

Posted on 2003/4/29 9:46:02 ( 893 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 23, 2003: New Delhi has been given the prestigious honor as World Book Capital by a UNESCO panel represented by the International Publishers Association. Since 1896, the IPA has been a forum for 67 countries who believe in freedom in publishing, and respect for creativity and copyright laws. Managing director of Prentice-Hall, Kokee K. Ghosh says, "I don't know how many people realize this, but publishing is the largest industry in the capital." Mr. Ghosh was elected as vice-president of the IPA in 2001 and many believe that it was Mr. Ghosh's influence that brought New Delhi the recognition as World Book Capital. Alexandria, Egypt was bestowed the honor in 2002 and Madrid, Spain in 2001. On April 23 New Delhi joined the ranks with celebrations beginning at the India International Center where a host of publishers witnessed the announcement. Elsewhere around the capital, publishing houses were busy at work producing the 70,000 titles that hit Indian bookstore shelves every year, including large numbers of religious titles. Tejeshwar Singh of Sage Publications sums it up, "Every day is a World Book day for us."

Banking in the Name of Lord Rama

Posted on 2003/4/29 9:45:02 ( 978 reads )


KAUAI, U.S.A., April 29, 2003: An HPI reader responded with details of the bank that deposits the names of God: "The name of the bank is Ramramapatri Bank, 5/35 Tripura Bhairvi, Dasaswamedh, Varanasi, India. This was established in 1927 and has more than 7000 billion Ramnam (names of Lord Rama.) On Ram Navami day, all the Ramnams are brought out, worshipped and prasad is given to a large number of brahmins. After a week of celebration these are put back in the storage."

Hindu Family Runs Kolkata Mosque

Posted on 2003/4/28 9:49:02 ( 1204 reads )


KOLKATA, INDIA, April 29, 2003: An ordinary middle-class Hindu family with a real estate business and a kerosene shop runs a mosque in Barasat near Kolkata. "I feel good that the Basu family looks after the mosque on their compound," Muslim priest Mohammed Abu Bakkar says. "It shows that despite all the religious hatred, Muslims and Hindus are basically one." The Basus, who live in a middle-class Hindu neighborhood dotted with small temples, have looked after the small Amanati mosque since 1964. Every Friday, around 50 to 70 Muslims of an adjoining area cram into the Amanati mosque on the Basu compound to pray. "We all pray to God, whether it is Allah or Ram. Why should there be disputes? We should think rationally," said Dipak Basu, who is in his fifties and a practicing Hindu, as he sits next to the mosque on which his family is spending around US$1,266.41 to renovate. The Basus left Muslim-majority Bangladesh in 1964 after religious riots there and settled in Barasat. They exchanged their house with a Muslim family who left for Bangladesh. "The property we got in exchange had a mosque. At that time, some neighbors said that since we were Hindus, we should demolish the mosque on our property. But my father said the mosque was God's place and we must look after it," Basu said. "Some people call me (Osama) bin Laden because my family looks after a mosque being Hindus. But I know we are all humans first, and then Hindus or Muslims."

Hindu Helps Review Draft Afghan Constitution

Posted on 2003/4/28 9:48:02 ( 970 reads )


KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, April 25, 2003: Hindus make up only a small fraction of Afghanistan's predominately Muslim population of around 25 million, however a member of the Hindu minority has been appointed to a commission that will review a draft constitution for Afghanistan. Businessman Leek Raj will be the first non-Muslim participant in the 35-member Scrutinizing Commission. "The idea is to have every strata of the country represented in the work of the constitution," said Sayed Fazi Akbar, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai. The commission, which already includes members of other minority groups and some women, is to canvas public opinion on a draft constitution due to be approved in October. "Hope has been created that our nation, with sincerity and honesty, can rebuild the country after the approval of the constitution," said Vice-President Nimatuallah Shahrani, who heads the Constitution Commission that wrote the draft. Officials said the document would stress traditional Islamic values and democracy while emphasizing social justice, equal rights for ethnic groups and women's rights.

Planetary Alignment Makes For a Lean Wedding Season Ahead

Posted on 2003/4/28 9:47:02 ( 1042 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 5, 2003: Planetary alignments have put the wedding business in the doldrums. Astrologers say this particular planetary alignment between July 23 and October 7, occuring once every 12 years, is extremely inauspicious and marriages should be put off until this phase passes. Jupiter enters Leo on July 23. While malefic Jupiter stays in Leo until August 31, 2004, the worst phase will be between July 23 and October 7. "Jupiter is basically a beneficial planet, but Simhasta Brihaspati (Jupiter in Leo) is considered bad for certain activities. Apart from weddings, one should also avoid buying property or moving into a new house," said Acharya Vikramaditya of Vivekanand Yuvashram. Astrologer Shashi Walia said despite Jupiter being in the fifth house for over a year, things will brighten for prospective couples once Venus enters Libra around October 5.

New Delhi Turns to Ancient Practice of Rainwater Harvesting

Posted on 2003/4/28 9:46:02 ( 1012 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 26, 2003: With a current population of 14 million and growing by at least 500,000 each year, New Delhi's need for water has become paramount. If current rates of water consumption continue, conservationists predict that groundwater will be depleted by 2020. In an effort to find a solution, municipal water authorities are encouraging everyone to participate in rainwater harvesting, an elegant but simple practice rooted in the traditions of ancient India. Rainwater harvesting involves channeling water from rooftops or storm drains into sand-lined underground boxes called soak pits. Water that would otherwise run off through storm sewers then percolates through the soil, replenishing natural aquifers several hundred feet below the surface. Krishan Saigal, a former official at a United Nations-funded environment agency, heads a resident's association in Panchshila Park where they have tried rainwater harvesting. Mr. Saigal says, "The project has been so successful that the water table has risen three feet in less than a year. I would never have believed it, but it works."

Banking in the Name of Lord Rama

Posted on 2003/4/27 9:49:02 ( 983 reads )


AYODHYA, INDIA, April 23, 2003: A bank was founded in 1971 by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das in the Ram Janam Bhoomi temple. However, money is the last requisite for opening an account in this bank because the lockers safeguard deposits in the form of the name of Lord Rama written on various media. Currently the bank holds 3,500 billion deposits from people living in places as far off as Indonesia, China, Germany, Japan, Thailand and Nepal. Each account holder is issued a valid passbook, with a record of credits and the balance in the particular account. Clients are directed to use only red ink while writing the name of Lord Rama for deposits, as red is considered an auspicious color. According to traditional beliefs, the name of Lord Rama when written by a devotee is considered a hundred times more effective and powerful than when recited. Credits are accepted in all the Indian languages, as well as six foreign languages. HPI adds: If someone has an address for this bank, please send it to ar@hindu.org so we may share it with our readers.

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