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Violence Targets Bangladesh Hindus Ahead of Navaratri


Posted on 2002/10/11 8:49:02 ( 994 reads )


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DHAKA, BANGLADESH, October 9, 2002: Police have detained ten people suspected of vandalizing eight statues of the Hindu goddess Durga at the Shivkarunamoyee Laxmi Narayan Jeu temple in Narayanganj, near the capital city of Dhaka. The temple's security guard and nine others have been detained on suspicion of vandalizing the statues, police said. Temple authorities said the attack might be linked to a long-running feud with local residents over temple land because on Saturday a court ruled the land belonged to the temple. Ahead of the festival, Bangladesh has detained more than 1,400 people in a security crackdown. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Reaz Rahman said security forces would guard 13,000 places of worship during the festival. "The people and the government of Bangladesh believe in and are deeply committed to communal harmony and equal rights to religious activities of all its citizens," Rahman said. Many non-Hindus participate in the festivities, and the main prayer day is a national holiday in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country. Nearly 88 per cent of the country's 130 million people are Muslims, 10 per cent are Hindus and the rest are Buddhists and Christians.






Leicester Hindus Celebrate Navaratri


Posted on 2002/10/11 8:48:02 ( 907 reads )


Source: Leicester Mercury





LEICESTER, ENGLAND, October 4, 2002: Thousands of people will join the colorful celebrations next week marking the Hindu festival of Navaratri. The festival runs from Monday until October 15. The nine nights are dedicated to the three main Goddesses of Hinduism -- Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Visitors will travel nationwide to join huge parties at De Montfort Hall and the Ramgarhia Community Center, in Ulverscroft Road. Maganbhai Patel, the president of Leicester Hindu Festival Council, said Leicester's Navaratri festival is one of the best in the country. He said: "Leicester is a multicultural city with a strong Hindu community so people like to come here to celebrate. We have musical groups from India and our events are professionally arranged so that everybody is safe and happy." Smaller celebrations are planned at the city's temples, community centers and school halls where families and friends will dance and pray together.






Curry May Treat Radiation Burns


Posted on 2002/10/11 8:47:02 ( 1081 reads )


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ENGLAND, October 8, 2002: A spicy ingredient of many curries may be an effective treatment for radiation burns, according to a study. Researchers in the United States believe it may prevent skin blistering and redness associated with cancer radiation therapy. The compound, which gives the spice turmeric its yellow color, was effective in tests on mice. Turmeric is found in everything from mild Kurmas to the hottest Vindaloos. The crucial chemical -- curcumin -- has long been used as a traditional medicine. It is now being investigated for the treatment of colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease as well as burns. "If a nontoxic, natural substance can help prevent this damage and enhance the effectiveness of our radiation, that's a winning situation," said team leader Dr Paul Okunieff, chief of radiation oncology at the university. The spice is thought to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is said to have a number of other health benefits, such as aiding digestion and helping fight infection. Professor Andy Gescher of the department of Oncology at Leicester University, UK, is part of a team testing curcumin capsules on colon cancer sufferers. He believes there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that members of the Asian community in the city may be better able to resist colon cancer because they use the spice in cooking.






Miss America Told to Stop Advocating Abstinence


Posted on 2002/10/11 8:46:02 ( 866 reads )


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WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES, October 9, 2002: Miss America 2003, Erika Harold, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Illinois, yesterday said pageant officials have ordered her not to talk publicly about sexual abstinence, a cause she has advocated to teenage girls in Illinois. "Quite frankly, and I'm not going to be specific, there are pressures from some sides to not promote [abstinence]," the 22-year-old woman from Urbana, Ill., told The Washington Times. In her first visit to Washington since winning the crown Sept. 21, Miss Harold resisted efforts by Miss America officials to silence her pro-chastity opinions. "I will not be bullied," Miss Harold said yesterday at the National Press Club. The pageant has tried for years to improve the image of Miss America to include brains as well as beauty, and now that they've succeeded, may be having trouble handling the results. Miss Harold has for years advocated premarital chastity, an ethical code equally valued by Hindus, in Illinois. After winning the Miss America crown, Miss Harold said a young girl from an inner-city Chicago school sent her an e-mail asking her to continue the abstinence campaign. "She said, 'You changed my life because of what you said, and now I made the decision to be abstinent.....I really hope that as Miss America you continue to share that because it changed my life and I think it can change lots of others.' "






Astrological Calendar Released for Trinidad


Posted on 2002/10/11 8:45:02 ( 989 reads )


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PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, October 11, 2002: Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Campus Principal & Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus, has endorsed the ninth edition of the Kashi Ka Patra for year 2003-2004. The Patra is a listing of all astrological information necessary for the year for calculating auspicious days, festivals, etc. Many in Trinidad had been using the listings for India, which are not accurate for Trinidad. In 1995 the Trinidad and Tobago version of the Patra was launched by Pundit Narendra Ragoonanan and his wife Ashwinee. For further information contact source above.






Mata Amritanandamayi Devi Receives Gandhi-King Award


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:49:02 ( 889 reads )


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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, October 7, 2002: The Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence was presented to Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in Geneva in recognition of Her lifelong work in furthering the principles of nonviolence. Previous award winners include Nobel Prize honorees Kofi Annan (Secretary-General of the United Nations) in 1999 and Nelson Mandela (the former President of South Africa) in 2000. Jane Goodall, the British primatologist who won the Gandhi-King Award in 2001, presented the award to Amma in recognition of Her commendable work of spreading the message of love and peace throughout the world, and uplifting the poor and needy through the vast network of charitable institutions she has established. The ceremony took place in connection with the Global Peace Initiative for Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders, which has assembled over 1,000 delegates to the United Nations in Geneva. In her acceptance speech, Amma praised the work of both Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "This award is in the name of two great beings who fearlessly devoted their lives towards the cause of peace, harmony and equality. Amma accepts this award on behalf of all those who pray and work for peace the world over. May this be an inspiration for people everywhere to redouble their efforts in bringing peace to our planet."






Lord Ganesha Joins Ireland's Delhi Embassy


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:48:02 ( 911 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 7, 2002: Lord Ganesha has attracted new devotees in the capital and surprisingly in the embassy of Ireland, a predominantly Christian country. "Let Ganesha, considered to be a symbol of luck and prosperity instill confidence and shower blessings on hundreds of visa seekers who frequent the embassy," said the Ireland Minister of Trade and Commerce, Michael Adhern, unveiling the 3 x 4 foot black granite statue at the green embassy lawns today. The Minister who is on a trade visit said the installation of Ganesha will not only prove auspicious for the Irish embassy, but also link the cultures of India and Ireland. The Ambassador of Ireland, Philip Mc Donagh, who was instrumental in bringing the deity to the consulate, said during a visit to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, he was fascinated by the Ganesha statues made by Bhaskaran, a sculptor and ordered one for the embassy.






Refresher Course for Durga Puja Priests


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:47:02 ( 862 reads )


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KOLKATA, INDIA, October 8, 2002: Bangiyo Purohit Sabha, an organization of priests, has organized refresher courses, Pourahitya Prashikshan Sibir, training for performing pujas (ritual worship), at Sobhabazar Rajbari to assist priests in performing the rituals of Durga Puja in a ''perfect and professional way.'' According to Sabha Secretary Ram Gopal Shastri, who also runs a Sanskrit academy at Thakurpukur, priest work has ceased to be an attractive profession for the younger generation. ''There is a serious need to train priests to perform the worship correctly,'' Shastri said, lamenting that most of the present-day priests lacked adequate knowledge in Sanskrit. ''Respect for the priests can be regained only when they perform the rituals with perfection and for that purpose, the refresher courses can be of great importance,'' he added.






Temple Burnt, Idols Destroyed In Bangladesh


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:46:02 ( 841 reads )


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KISHOREGANJ, BANGLADESH, October 8, 2002: In the northern area of Kishoreganj, a temple was set ablaze and badly damaged Saturday. A leaflet left behind called for an end to "idol worship" and for a mosque to be built in the temple's place, the Sangbad newspaper reported. One day later, a group destroyed statues of deities, made ahead of the major Hindu festival of Durga Puja on Thursday, in Narayanganj near the capital Dhaka. Opposition leaders have alleged persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus since Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Islamist-allied coalition swept into power last October. The government has denied any campaign against Hindus, who form about 12 percent of Bangladesh's 130 million-strong population, and has assured full security for the festival Thursday. The US State Department's 2002 International Religious Freedom Report said Bangladeshis "generally are free to practice the religion of their choice," but said police are often slow to assist minorities who are victims of crimes.






Amnesty International Concerned about Attacks on Bangladesh Hindus


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:45:02 ( 922 reads )


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DHAKA, BANGLADESH, October 10, 2002: The Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has criticized Bangladesh, alleging large scale attack on the country's minority community, particularly Hindus. Expressing concern over human rights situation in Bangladesh, Amnesty said the attack against Hindus by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party supporters increased after the October general elections for their perceived support to the Awami League.






Skipping Stones Magazine Celebrates Gandhi


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:44:02 ( 813 reads )


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EUGENE, OREGON, October 4, 2002: Skipping Stones, an international, multicultural magazine based in Oregon, celebrated the life of Mahatma Gandhi and his contributions to the world with a multicultural concert on October 2. The theme of the two-hour evening program was: Cultural Diversity, Nonviolence, Gandhi. Peace stories and dances for all ages, and multi-ethnic music that included Hindi and Punjabi spiritual songs, heart-touching Andean music, a classical Indian Raga on Spanish Guitar, and a peace song in Hebrew and English, brought an atmosphere of bliss and peace to a capacity crowd at the First Christian Church in the heart of the city. One of Mahatma Gandhi's favorite bhajanas, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, which was heard countless times during his prayer services in India, was led by Bidyut Das during the program. A two-voice narrative highlighted the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, and how his spirit continues to guide countless social activists as well as alternative publications such as Skipping Stones, which was conceived at a Gandhian Ashram in Gujarat, India, in 1986. During the last 14 years, the magazine has served the children and youth around the world by giving an expression for their creativity and by offering them an international forum for communication. The interfaith tribute to Gandhi was organized by Arun Toke (e-mail at "source" above), founder and executive editor of Skipping Stones. A native of India, Mr. Toke, stressed the relevance of Gandhi's simplicity, truthfulness, and nonviolent ways in today's world.






Hindu Student Conference Scheduled for January


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:43:02 ( 868 reads )


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OHIO, USA, October 10, 2002: The Hindu Student Council of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM) is inviting all interested college and graduate students to a conference over Martin Luther King Day Weekend, January 18 and 19, 2003, in Columbus, Ohio. The subject areas and speakers are from a wide variety of disciplines ranging from Vedanta, Temple art, and puja (worship) to bioethics and Indian politics. The deadline for early registration and accommodations is December 1st; the deadline for late registration is January 5th. For more information, click "source" above.






Molestation Charges at Catholic School in India


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:42:02 ( 871 reads )



Christians, Muslims Upset Over Tamil Nadu Conversion Decree


Posted on 2002/10/10 8:41:02 ( 992 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 7, 2002: Christian and Muslim organizations on Monday sharply reacted to the Tamil Nadu Government's Ordinance banning use of force or inducement in religious conversions in the state. The All India Christian Council (AICC) has threatened to challenge the measure in court. "Forcible or induced conversion is an oxymoron. It is not possible, and is rejected by the Church. Conversion is the exercise of free choice by an individual in fulfillment of his or her own spiritual needs. This is a basic human right and is guaranteed in the Indian Constitution and by the United Nations," AICC said in a statement. Terming the Tamil Nadu ordinance a serious infringement of the Freedom of Religion, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat said the constitution grants anyone not only the right to freely profess and practice a religion of one's choice but also to propagate it. A similar, long-standing law regulating religion conversion in Orissa has been upheld by India's Supreme Court.






Akshardham Temple Reopens After Terrorist Attack


Posted on 2002/10/9 8:49:02 ( 1108 reads )


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GANDHINAGAR, INDIA, October 7, 2002: On Monday, the Akshardham temple complex at Gandhinagar was a picture of serenity. Throughout the day, people kept filtering in through the main gate and almost all visited the main temple and exhibition halls. Had the metal detectors and armed security personnel been absent, one would not have guessed that this was the site of a bloody militant attack. Opening as it did to the public after a fortnight, Akshardham was full of activity on Monday. The temple had been shut since September 24, when militants entered the complex and shot dead 30 civilians and three security personnel. It was re-opened to public under heavy security today. ''The temple has once again got an air of serenity and peace. Despite people knowing the temple is closed on Mondays, over 2,000 people visited since morning,'' said Jayesh Mankanda, a volunteer.




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