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Zimbabwean War Veterans Target Asian Businesses

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:47:02 ( 950 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.

Designated Area for Fijian Hindus to Scatter Ashes

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:46:02 ( 1125 reads )

Source: The Daily Post, Fiji

SUVA, FIJI, February 18, 2003: The beach along Queen Elizabeth Drive, on the Suva foreshore, is designated to the Hindu community to be used to dispose of the ashes of their loved ones following cremation, Multi-Ethnic Affairs Minister George Raj said. Mr. Raj yesterday said he would make a detailed statement on the matter today in response to reports of complaints of human ash residue found in sea shells along the beach by squatters living nearby. Labor Parliamentarian and the national president of one of the largest Hindu organizations in the country, Kamlesh Arya, said the Hindu community had been designated the beach in the area and "there is nothing illegal about them disposing ashes there." Mr. Arya said there was an agreement between the Ports Authority and Multi-Ethnic Affairs Ministry over the disposal of human ashes. "It is the final funeral rite for Hindus and that is why the ministry has designated the area for the Hindu community to use," he said. "It is legal." He said the human ashes or the residue "will not cause pollution as it will be dissolved in the sea." Mr. Arya urged the members of the Hindu community not to dispose of flowers and wreaths along the beach. "This will certainly cause pollution," he said.

Arun Toke Honored with 2002 Writer Award

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:45:02 ( 1342 reads )


EUGENE, U.S.A., February 21, 2003: Arun N. Toke, executive editor of Skipping Stones Magazine, has been honored by The Writer magazine with the 2002 Writer Award. The Writer Awards celebrate and recognize writers who, through their work, contribute to the community of writers, bring about changes in the publishing field, or use their writing to make a difference by informing, inspiring and motivating others. Mr. Toke, a Hindu who was born and raised in India, published the first issue of Skipping Stones in 1988 in Oregon. Arun was honored for his work with Skipping Stones, which plants seeds of peace and tolerance by weaving together writing and art work by youth with issues of peace, social justice and ecological awareness. Readers may visit "source" above for additional information.

Elders Renew Marriage Vows On Valentine's Day

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:44:02 ( 1321 reads )


JAIPUR, INDIA, February 14, 2003: In a unique Valentine's Day celebration, eleven couples married for more than 50 years renewed their marriage vows in front of the holy fire, reaffirming their love for each other. Brain child of Mitroday Gandhi, President Rashtriya Yuva Chetna Parishad, the decision to celebrate these couples was taken to motivate the younger generation to view marriage as a relationship of love, trust and devotion that involved sacrifice and service to nurture a family. "It is an attempt to harmonize a Western ethos with Indian morality and customs," said Gandhi, especially when "relationships break at the drop of a hat. Valentine's Day has come to signify loud exhibitionism and commercialization of a tender feeling, it is necessary that we learn from the example of these people who've spent a lifetime with one another in building a home and a family." The significance of such a lasting bond was not lost on the younger generation who attended the celebrations in droves. Said young Sadhana Agnihotri, eyeing her grand parents' remarriage with admiration, "Their trust and fondness for each other is an eye opener. Their love has helped us grow into a united family."

An Attempt to Define Secularism

Posted on 2003/2/21 8:43:02 ( 1157 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 21, 2003: This very extensive website offers insight into India's secular constitution and what it means to be a secular nation as compared to a nation where religion and government power reside in the same hand. The authors comment that "the word Secular has not been defined or explained under the Constitution in 1950 or in 1976 when it was made part of the preamble. A Secular State means that the one that protects all religions equally and does not uphold any religion as the State religion. Unlike in England where the Queen is the Head of the Protestant Church, in India there is no provision to make any religion the 'established Church.' The state observes an attitude of neutrality and impartiality towards all religions." German, British, Turkish and American writers give their input on what it means to be a secular state from their particular national point of view. HPI adds: It is not correct to state, as the site does, that India observes "neutrality and impartiality towards all religions" because minority religion are allowed to teach their religion in schools funded with government money, while majority religion, that is Hindu, schools are not allowed to teach religion. Further, there is not a common civil code for all citizens, but personal codes adjusted to the traditions of each major faith and different for Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc. Countries such as the US allow only minor exceptions to the civil code by reason of religion.

Swami Maheshwarananda and President of India Meet

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:49:02 ( 969 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 30, 2003: An historical meeting of the mind and heart took place between His Excellency Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic of India, and His Holiness, Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda. The President welcomed Swamiji by reciting the Peace Mantra from the Vedas and commending Swamiji's worldwide service to humanity in order to bring inner and outer peace. Summarizing on three main points, His Excellency felt that children should have education that includes ethical and moral values, that religious leaders should seek harmony amongst themselves and that poverty should be fought. When Swamiji was asked by the President why people go to war, the conclusion after discussion was, "If you want peace remove the I and the Me, then hatred will vanish from mind and body and then peace will come."

Indian-Americans Honor Saraswati

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:48:02 ( 1032 reads )

Source: The Morning Call

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, USA, February 11, 2003: At the Hindu Temple on N. Airport Road, the icon of Goddess Saraswati was given Her own gold altar. Devotees placed offerings around the icon and a special priest, Mohan Bhattacharya of New Jersey, versed in the Bengali language and imbued with the rites of the Saraswati celebration, led the service. Following the early afternoon worship ceremony, worshippers gathered in the temple's social hall for an Indian lunch and live entertainment. The society encourages non-Hindus to attend the temple's services and cultural events. On Saturday, 10 members of the confirmation class and several adults from Bethany United Church of Christ visited. "It is part of their curriculum to experience other religions," said Berta Busocker, Bethany's director of Christian education. "We want them to understand we're not that different."

U.S. Nursing Shortage is an Opportunity for Indian Nurses

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:47:02 ( 1024 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, February 9, 2003: The shortage of nurses in the United States has caused the country to look elsewhere for dedicated professionals. After seeking candidates from Canada, Ireland and the Philippines, the demand is still there, and America has turned to India. Approximately 30,000 nurses a year graduate in India and they could typically earn $84 a month if they stayed in India. These same nurses are now being recruited by companies such as Nurses Anytime who have set up training centers across India to prepare nurses for American jobs. Vijay Madala, a doctor who lives in Dallas, Texas, started Nurses Anytime. The company prepares the candidates to pass an exam that will qualify them for a US$4,000 a month job in the United States. In order to qualify for the Nurses Anytime program, the center chooses nurses with a graduate degree, those fluent in English and those with at least three years experience. Dr. Mandala explains that more than seventy of his graduates are ready to take their exams and by July he expects to have 200 trained nurses a month ready to work in the United States. Presently only 500 work visas are granted to nurses in the U.S. each year. The American Immigration Lawyer's Association they have been lobbying for relaxed immigration rules covering nurses. There are presently 110,000 vacant nursing positions available and projected to exceed 700,000 by 2020.

Indian Sangam Convention in Fiji

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:46:02 ( 1113 reads )


LAUTOKA, FIJI, January 29, 2003: It has been one-hundred years since South Indians first arrived in Fiji and the community is celebrating the centenary anniversary by holding a Sangam convention. The event will be held from April 11 - 17 beginning with a grand inauguration on the 11th. Two full days of Centenary Sports, a children's festival, an evening program on Tamil New Year, a fashion parade, and a cultural presentation from overseas will follow. Food stalls will be serving South Indian food. As well as all of the above, there will be a Centenary Queen contest, souvenir stalls, and key note speakers. N. K. Naidu may be contacted at "source" above for further information.

India Week in Uruguay

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:45:02 ( 916 reads )


PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY, February 20, 2003: The Indian Embassy, joined by businesses and educational institutions, are organizing the Week of India 2003 in the Republic of Uruguay. A welcoming speech by the Indian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Rinzing Wangdi, will open the week celebration. Several films, musical performances, a lecture on Ayurveda and a festival of Indian foods will be featured. For additional information kindly contact "source" above.

Kumbha Mela Scheduled for Ujjain in 2004

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:44:02 ( 998 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 20, 2003: From all parts of India holy men and women and grihastha devotees come to worship the divine during the world's largest spiritual festival and confluence of humanity, the Kumbha Mela. Hosted every 12 years in a succession of four venues, the central Indian city of Ujjain is the home of the 2004 Kumbha Mela. It is estimated that millions will attend. The festival is punctuated by the taking of holy baths in the Shipra River on April 15, 22, 24 and May 1 and 4. Once again, Siddha Ashram will host some 300 guests, including at least 100 foreign seekers. If you are interested in staying at Siddha Ashram facilities at the 2004 Kumbha Mela, contact "source" above for further information.

Correction for Online Meditation and Relaxation Web Sites

Posted on 2003/2/20 8:43:02 ( 1162 reads )


WASHINGTON D.C., January 13, 2003: The url for yesterday's HPI story describing internet meditation sites was incorrect. For the correct address click "source" above.

Tirupati Pilgrims Return Without Darshan

Posted on 2003/2/19 8:49:02 ( 961 reads )


TIRUMALA, INDIA, January 18, 2003: Thousands of pilgrims returned home recently without darshan of Lord Venkateswara, because the waiting time for the Sudarshan tickets exceeded 50 hours. Although the Tirumala-Tirupathi Devasthanams had geared to meet the rush of Ayyappa devotees, the arrangements fell into disarray. Angry devotees raised slogans against the TTD management and the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. Thousands of pilgrims, particularly those who had bought the special tickets, were upset at the long waiting hours and wanted to collect the laddus provided free with the tickets.

Thailand's Elephant Polo is Tons of Fun

Posted on 2003/2/19 8:48:02 ( 1013 reads )


HUA NIN, THAILAND, September 18, 2002: Top-ranked polo players have converged on this sleepy resort town southwest of Bangkok, swapping their horses for elephants in a tournament aimed at raising awareness of the plight of the endangered animals. Ten teams are competing in the five-day tournament for the King's Cup. The game of elephant polo -- versions of which were played in the jungles of Asia during the years when they were used for logging, transport, even as battle warriors -- was yanked from the dustbin of history in 1982 by a pair of unlikely proponents of the game. Thailand has joined the ranks of the steadily expanding international tour, which some players here said they want to see grow into a genuine league. The game pits two three-a-side teams of pachyderm, player and perhaps the most important ingredient, the mahout, who translates the will of the player to the animal. While far slower than the equine version of the game, the players are intrigued by the elephant's intelligence, and their seemingly intuitive play on the pitch. Despite the sporting appeal, those involved say that increasing awareness of the Asian elephant is a crucial aspect of the tournament. US$16,300 is expected to be raised for elephant conservation efforts in northern Thailand during the event.

Online Meditation and Relaxation Web Sites

Posted on 2003/2/19 8:47:02 ( 997 reads )


WASHINGTON D.C., USA, January 13, 2003: Dozens of online meditation and relaxation web sites promise frazzled souls relief from the daily grind. Provided right at your desktop with a click of your mouse you can escape to nature (or its simulated sights and sounds) or practice desk-chair exercises (deep breathing, meditation and yoga) aimed at restoring that sense of well-being you lost at the fax machine. Readers may log onto "source" above for an array of web sites are available to check out.

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