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Taleban Puts a Stop to Christian Relief Program
Posted on 2001/8/7 23:45:02 ( 650 reads )


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AFGHANISTAN, August 5, 2001: Cracking down on any agency or person that might disagree with their Islamic beliefs, Taleban hard-liners have now closed down a Western aid agency called Shelter Now International. After accusing the agency of promoting Christianity to its emergency relief victims, twenty-four members of staff were arrested. Eight have allegedly admitted to the crime. Afghanistan introduced the death penalty in the year 2000 for any Muslim converting to another religion or to any person responsible for causing a Muslim to convert.




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Mumbai Prayer On-Line
Posted on 2001/8/6 23:49:02 ( 646 reads )


Source: Cybernoon





MUMBAI, INDIA, August 6, 2001: For the overseas devotees of the elephant-headed Lord of the Siddhi Vinayak Temple here, the decision to make the auspicious arati and puja ceremonies in the temple going on-line, is a reason to rejoice. The temple trustees have joined hands with www.forindia.com to uplink the live Angaraki Puja to be held tomorrow (Tuesday, August 7), on their official website. The chosen day to go on-line is doubly auspicious as the Sankashta Chaturthi, the fasting day for devout Ganesh bhaktas, coincides with Tuesday, the traditionally auspicious day for Lord Ganesh. Sanjay Bhagwat, trustee and executive officer, says, "We get a lot of donations in dollars from non-resident Indian devotees. So we thought if they can see us performing the Ganesh arati live, that we can serve them better." Ashok Nadkarni, the web developer for the site concurs that the site is most suited for the ones living in far-off lands. "We have e-mails thanking us because students can now see the Lord before going for their exams," says Nadkarni.




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Canadian Christians Flee to U.S. Because of Child Beating Dispute
Posted on 2001/8/6 23:48:02 ( 641 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





AYLMER, ONTARIO, August 4, 2001: A Christian fundamentalist group in Canada has moved their children to Indiana and Ohio in the USA to take advantage of looser laws on corporal punishment. The Canadian authorities forbade them from beating their children with sticks, something the group says is allowed by their Bible. The group may even claim religious persecution by the Canadians (possibly a first for that country), according to the Washington Post, and seek asylum in the US. The 28 mothers and their 80 children, all under 16, emigrated to the US about three weeks ago. They are members of the nondenominational Church of God. Seven children had been removed from one of their homes in Canada until the parents promised not to beat them with sticks any more. The Canadians will remain in the United States "until we get the OK that we're not going to be checked up on," group member Christine Rabel said. Rabel, a mother of four, said she "occasionally" punishes some of her children with a switch. "I was raised that way and that's the way that I want to raise my children," she said.




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US$34,000 for New Sanskrit Department
Posted on 2001/8/6 23:47:02 ( 614 reads )


Source: Tribune News Service





SHIMLA, INDIA, August 3, 2001: The University Grants Commission has sanctioned US$34,000 to Himachal Pradesh University for setting up a department of astrology and a Sanskrit speaking center. This was stated by Dr S.K. Gupta, vice-Chancellor, while inaugurating a two-day National Symposium on Sanskrit today. He said our literary heritage Sanskrit was not only but also a tool to unearth the treasures of scientific achievements and researches that were carried out by the Indians in the ancient part. It was emerging as an instrument to meet the needs of many other disciplines which could be enriched with the knowledge of Sanskrit.




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Yoga Flourishes in the San Gabriel Valley
Posted on 2001/8/6 23:46:02 ( 687 reads )


Source: The Los Angeles Times





PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, July 27, 2001: The engraved concrete steps leading up to Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary explain what yoga is all about before you even enter. "Increase strength," "Reduce stress," "Improve flexibility," Increase energy," and "Improve concentration," all lead to the top step of "Inner peace." The ancient Hindu discipline of Yoga, which means "union" in Sanskrit, involves meditation, controlled breathing and prescribed physical postures. Nadeer Shagagi, the director of Yoga Kingdom and a yoga practitioner for 18 years, said asanas, or postures, are designed to reinvigorate the body. There are local yoga classes for those with multiple sclerosis, senior citizens, pregnant and postnatal women, toddlers, kids and teens. Virginia Lumb, 54, has been teaching yoga in the San Gabriel valley for five years. She holds classes at 12 places, including Foothill Gym and the YMCA in Monrovia, and Pasadena Jewish Temple. She's noticed a definite increase in the popularity of yoga. Lumb has taught graduate students and professors at Caltech, cancer survivors at the Wellness Center in Pasadena and even car dealership employees.




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Innovative Production Plants
Posted on 2001/8/6 23:45:02 ( 638 reads )


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USA, August, 2001: A clever system of miniature processing plants set up in 40-foot containers may be a boon for developing countries. The mini-plant system is designed in such a way that all the production machinery is fixed on the platform of the container, with all wiring, piping, and installation parts, all ready for production. There are more than 700 portable production systems, according to this brief report from Financial News, including bakeries, metal products, tires and plastics.




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No Danger of Cancer From Joss Sticks in Singapore
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:49:02 ( 755 reads )


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SINGAPORE, August 4, 2001: In response to the Taiwanese study which found levels of cancer-causing chemicals in temple smoke that were 19 times higher than in normal outdoor air, the Environment Ministry (ENV) has said that Singaporeans can carry on burning incense as it will not harm their health. ENV's spokesman said the ministry has monitored the levels of PAHs in air since 1996 and they were lower than in cities in the United States and Europe. PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are chemicals that are given off when certain substances, including tobacco, are burned. ENV also said that if enclosed areas are ventilated sufficiently the smoke would be dispersed and the carcinogens would not build up to harmful levels. The ministry has previously carried out tests on the burning of joss sticks and in some instances, minute traces of some heavy metals were detected. However, the ENV spokesman said that levels emitted do not constitute a health risk. Three years ago, ENV also set stricter rules on burning incense, limiting the length and width of large joss sticks, including barring the burning of large joss sticks and candles within 30 meters of any building.




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Korean Women Pray for Their Aborted Foetuses
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:48:02 ( 624 reads )


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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, August 5, 2001: Temples in South Korea have begun offering special ceremonies for women to pray for the foetuses they have aborted. The ritual, called naktae chondoje or offering ceremony for aborted foetuses, lasts for 49 days, the usual duration of a Buddhist funeral ceremony. Besides fruit and sweets, the women also make offerings of milk, instead of the traditional wine, to appease the restless spirits during the ceremony. Koodamsa, a Buddhist temple run by women, is one of several such temples in South Korea now offering these special ceremonies. The Venerable Ji Yul explained that by providing this service, she hopes to help women cleanse themselves of the guilt they feel at taking a life and eventually reduce the number of abortions. Nearly 40 per cent of married women have had at least one abortion, a recent survey showed. But of more concern to the authorities is the fact that the abortion rate for young, single women appears to be on the rise. According to estimates, more than one million abortions take place in South Korea every year, which is roughly twice the number of babies born. Forty-nine percent of South Koreans are Christian, 47% are Buddhists.




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Sri Lanka's Buddhist Clergy Want to Ban Conversion to Christianity
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:47:02 ( 648 reads )


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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, August 5, 2001: Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy have called for laws to ban Christian conversions, which are spreading in poverty-stricken rural villages, and vowed collective action against the practice. They have adopted an 11-point plan to fight proselytizers, active in several districts of the island, and called on the authorities to immediately pass laws to prevent conversions taking place under the cover of helping rural communities to improve their economic standards. They say a shortage of Buddhist monks in several temples is also allowing Christian priests to make inroads into the Buddhist heartland by converting farming communities. The monks say about 23,000 Buddhists are being converted to Christianity each year and proselytizers have targeted 5,000 out of the 25,400 villages in the country for their activities.




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Brits Fear Evangelical Crusades on Religious TV
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:46:02 ( 628 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, August 5, 2001: Broadcasters in the United Kingdom want to a fight digital license ban, despite fears that opening the gates to U.S.-style evangelism will hit the weak and vulnerable. The BBC might just have appointed its first agnostic head of religion and ethics, and ITV may have already attracted doubts over whether it will breach the code of conduct for balance with its series on the evangelical Anglican Alpha course. But the battle for religious broadcasting is only just heating up. Broadcasters, particularly from the evangelical Christian community, are lobbying the government to relax regulations preventing them from applying for digital licenses to broadcast across Britain. They claim that the ban is discriminatory and especially unfair from a government headed by an avowed Christian. Any relaxation is being resisted by the National Secular Society, which argues that allowing religious broadcasters more access to the airwaves would open the way to manipulative U.S.-style evangelizing. The society says religious broadcasting is dangerous and does not deserve to be allowed to bid for licenses.




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Polyethylene Bags Banned in the Holy City of Rishikesh
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:45:02 ( 633 reads )


Source: Sandhya Times (Hindi)





RISHIKESH, INDIA, August 2, 2001: In the pilgrimage city of Rishikesh, use of polyethylene bags have been banned from August 1, 2001. According to the chief of the Nagar Palika Parishad Srimati Snehlata Sharma, a committee of citizens will keep an eye on the use of polyethylene bags, and five officials will be looking after the implementation. It has been informed that the users of polyethylene bags, whether they are buyers or sellers will be warned for the first time. There after, a heavy economic penalty has been proposed. If the polyethylene bags are found in front of any house, legal action can be taken against the neighboring residents as well. People are encouraged to bring their own cloth bag when shopping. The bags are a great hazard to the cows which roam freely as the plastic accumulates in their stomachs.




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Indian Cosmetics a Big Hit in Britain
Posted on 2001/8/5 23:44:02 ( 791 reads )


Source: Sandhya Times (Hindi)





JAIPUR, INDIA, August 2, 2001: In England's 2,500 beauty parlors, Indian traditional cosmetics are frequently used. According to information received from World Communication Centre in Jaipur, in these beauty parlors cream, shampoos and other synthetic materials are out of favor. In the place of these, turmeric, honey, lemon, etc. are being used. India shampoos such as amvla, reetha and shikakai are favored. Similarly, for head and body massage, traditional Indian pastes are employed. Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cherry, has visited the beauty parlor of Bharti Vyas. Other traditional Indian beauty parlors have a booking schedule of two and a half months.




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Lord Hanuman Removed From Demolished Mosque
Posted on 2001/8/1 23:49:02 ( 713 reads )


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BHILWARA, INDIA, August,1, 2001: The tension that was brewing in the Rajasthan town of Asind after a group of Gujjars allegedly razed an ancient mosque and installed a Hindu icon at the site, was defused after a marathon five-hour discussion between leaders of the Hindu and Muslim communities, where authorities managed to persuade the former to remove an icon of Lord Hanuman which the Muslims said was installed at the site of a 16th century mosque which stood in the precinct of a temple. The government has described the situation in Asind, 200 km from Jaipur, as being "under control" and said that a large police force has been deployed as a precautionary measure. Trouble had erupted on Friday when a 300-strong mob demolished the mosque built by Akbar.




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Tribals Unite Against Conversions in Tripura
Posted on 2001/8/1 23:48:02 ( 734 reads )


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TRIPURA, INDIA, August 2, 2001: Tribal Hindus in Tripura have formed vigilante groups to thwart attempts by separatist militants to convert people to Christianity at gunpoint, community leaders said on Thursday. "It is a very serious threat to Hinduism with armed militants of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura forcibly converting tribal villagers to Christianity," said Rampada Jamatia, a leader of the Jamatia tribe. "We believe up to 5,000 tribal villagers were converted to Christianity by the NLFT in the past two years," Jamatia told IANS in Jirania, 25 km east of Agartala. At least 20 Hindu tribals, including a senior priest of the Jirania Ashram, Santi Kali Maharaj, have been killed by NLFT rebels in the past two years for disobeying orders. The NLFT, fighting for an independent tribal homeland since 1989, has issued orders demanding villagers not celebrate Hindu religious festivals.




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Incense in Unventilated Temple Linked To Cancer
Posted on 2001/8/1 23:47:02 ( 758 reads )


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TAIWAN, August 2, 2001: Researchers in Taiwan found that the smoke produced by burning incense is laden with cancer-causing chemicals. Levels of one chemical believed to cause lung cancer were 40 times higher in a badly ventilated temple in Taiwan than in houses where people smoke tobacco. Incense burning also creates more pollution than road traffic at a local intersection. Ta Chang Lin, of the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan told New Scientist magazine: "We truly hope that incense burning brings only spiritual comfort, without any physical discomfort. But there is a potential cancer risk. We just cannot say how serious it is." Inside the temple, they found very high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a large group of highly carcinogenic chemicals that are released when certain substances are burnt.




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