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Parsis Turn to Solar Power to Dispose of Their Dead
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:47:02 ( 637 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, JULY 18, 2001: The Parsi community of Bombay -- who leave their dead out in the open to be consumed by vultures -- have turned to science to aid them in their centuries-old ritual. The Bombay Parsi council has installed giant solar reflectors to speed-up the process of decomposition of corpses because there are not enough vultures around to consume the bodies. It is against the Parsis' Zoroastrian faith to either bury, burn or drown their dead. So the Parsi dead are disposed of by keeping the body in a "Tower of Silence." These large cylindrical towers are where the dead are left to be consumed by birds of prey. Because the vulture population has declined in numbers, apparently due to some kind of environmental poisoning, the bodies are left lying around for much longer. Although the solar reflectors have been successful, the long-term solution to the problem is the building of an aviary, where vultures will be bred in captivity.




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India Nationalists Denounce President Bush's Cat
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:46:02 ( 655 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, July 19, 2001: Nationalists protested in front of the U.S. Consulate here Thursday, saying the name of President Bush's cat -- "India" -- was an insult and should be removed from the White House Web site. "Mr. President, don't make a mistake. Indians are lions not cats," read posters held up by some of the 30 activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party. "We feel that this is derogatory and the Web site should be corrected," said Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a state legislator and member of the party. "We happened to see the Web site where the cat is introduced along with other Bush family members. That's when we realized that George Bush's cat is called 'India,' " said Lodha. "No, we are not asking for renaming. We just want mention of the cat to be removed from the Web site," said Lodha. He handed a protest letter to a consulate official, who said it would be forwarded to the White House. The Web site -- http://whitehouse.gov/president/ -- contains a thumbnail sketch of Bush and introduces his wife, twin daughters and the family pets -- two dogs and a cat.




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Last Chance for Meat and Drink Before Shravan Observances
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:45:02 ( 687 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, July 21, 2001: Yesterday was the last night of indulgence for meat-eaters as the one-month period of abstinence begins today with the onset of the month of Shravan. And indulge they did, according to this report in the Chalo Mumbai news web site. Manjunath Shetty, owner of Ashoka Restaurant & Bar in Dadar, said, "Business almost doubled today. It's only 10 pm, and already the chicken dishes are over. But these people are happy as long as they get anything non-vegetarian. We will be open longer than normal working hours." Ajit Lalani, owner of Sheetal Wines in Chembur, said, "We are happy with this huge rush. From tomorrow, in any case, we will be swatting flies for a month." Many are looking forward to the period of abstinence. Ananya Rao, a Thane housewife, said, "The abstinence will not only fulfill my religious duties, but also help me lose some weight." Rajesh Mahajan, a Navi Mumbai-based counsellor for drug and alcohol dependents, said, "Most consumers of alcoholic beverages, even confirmed alcoholics, take their pledge of abstinence quite seriously during this month. However, that is more than made up for during Ganesh Utsav festival."




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Americans Divided Over Whether Pets Get Heavenly Pass
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:44:02 ( 772 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2001: Will the family dog have a heavenly home or be shut out from the streets paved with gold? Americans are split on whether pets will gain entrance to heaven when they die, a new ABC News/Beliefnet poll shows. Forty-three percent think pets will go to heaven while 40 percent think heaven is only for people. The issue came up in the 1996 movie version of "Robinson Crusoe." In one scene, Crusoe explains to "Friday" that Crusoe's dog would not go to heaven, according to Christianity. Friday, supposedly the primitive pagan, consoled Crusoe and told Crusoe he'd take care of Crusoe's dog in his non-Christian heaven.




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Nepal to Amend Women's Property Rights
Posted on 2001/7/17 23:49:02 ( 702 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 17, 2001: Nepal's parliamentary Law and Justice Committee today approved the most controversial clause in the bill proposing an 11th amendment to the Muluki Ain, or civil code, that would now allow women to retain parental property even after marriage. The change is taking place after extensive research in all areas of the country to access the opinion of Nepalese citizens. Under present law, a women could be required to return property upon marriage which had been previously given her by her parents. The proposed bill recognizes daughters as equal heirs of the parental property and as having a share in the husband's property even before a divorce. It also removes age restriction for widows to claim property from her in-laws. Earlier this year, members of this committee spent days travelling to all 14 zones in the country discussing the controversial bill. They had prepared 20 questions asking if the people supported the idea of equal property rights and, if they did, what should be the mode of distribution: should the property be equally divided among the sons and daughters or first let the parents keep a part of it and then distribute it among the children? Other options were, should the "will" system be introduced and, if so, should the parent be free to give the property to the children of their choice or let the state decide after the death of the parents. The existing laws do not give rights to women to stake their claim on parental property unless they are over 35 years of age and unmarried until then.




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No German Law on Children's Names
Posted on 2001/7/17 23:48:02 ( 736 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





HAWAII, USA, July 17, 2001: Several responses to a query sent out on HPI regarding German laws on children's name has elicited several responses indicating there are no such laws. The issue arose when a Tamil father in a German town was told he could not give his new-born daughter anything other than a German name. It is suggested that parents encountering such a situation in Germany or any other country consult a lawyer to ascertain their actual legal rights, and not take the word of a local official as final.




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Believers in Laos Forced to Resign From Christianity
Posted on 2001/7/17 23:47:02 ( 750 reads )


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LAOS, July 18, 2001: In the communist state of Laos, officials in have declared Christianity the "No. 1 enemy of the state." Christians in droves are being forced to sign a declaration officially renouncing their faith. According to The Bible League, those who refuse to sign the document face prison sentences under very hard conditions. Laos ranks No. 2 on the Open Doors International Persecution List, which means it is the second most restrictive nation in the world in terms of religious freedom. This very interesting "persecution list" is available at http://www.gospelcom.net/od/wwlist.htm. Saudi Arabia ranks first, Pakistan 18th, Indonesia 29th, India 37th, Iraq 41st, Nepal 42nd, Sri Lanka 48th, Malaysia 49th, Israel 69th, Mauritius 70th, Bangladesh 71st, Thailand 72nd and Singapore 75th out of the 86 countries considered by this organization to seriously impair religious freedom, or more specifically, the freedom of Christians.




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Hindu Cultural Festival Slated for July 21 in Northern California
Posted on 2001/7/16 23:49:02 ( 677 reads )


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MILPITAS, CALIFORNIA, July 17, 2001: Thirty-five San Francisco Bay area organizations have gathered together to hold the "Hindu Sangam" on July 21. RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan will deliver the keynote address, Anup Jalota will lead bhajana and a Ramayana play will be staged over 300 children. A panel discussion for youth includes the topics of "Is Hinduism for Sale?," "Gender Equality, Does it Exist?" and "Outside Threats to Hinduism." Other topics include stress management though yoga, ayurveda and Hindu family values.




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Indian Handheld Computer to Aid Illiterate
Posted on 2001/7/16 23:48:02 ( 650 reads )


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INDIA, July, 17, 2001: Using the simple computer, or Simputer, and software that reads webpages aloud in native Indian languages, a group of Indian scientists and engineers has developed a handheld computer to help the poor and illiterate find out about aid projects targeted at them. The team has developed its own version of the web's formatting language to turn text into understandable Hindi, Kannada and Tamil speech. Trials of the Simputer should begin in August, and it could be widely used by early 2002.




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Abortion of Disabled Foetuses Supported by French Court
Posted on 2001/7/16 23:47:02 ( 729 reads )


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FRANCE, July 13, 2001: It all started in the year 2000 when a French court awarded damages to a mentally retarded boy because, "he had not been aborted." Rulings since then have supported the decision made in the Perruche case. Three families with physically deformed children have brought their cases before the court. As a result France's highest court of appeal has ruled, "that disabled children are entitled to compensation if their mothers were not given the chance of an abortion." Doctors and public supporters for the disabled are outraged by the court's decision. On behalf of the medical profession, lawyer Yves Richard said, "The ruling means that the handicapped have no place in our society." It is an example of the complex ethical questions which follow in the wake of the general acceptance of abortion.




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Herbal Remedies And Increased Risk in Surgery
Posted on 2001/7/16 23:46:02 ( 653 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, July 10, 2001: Patients are being warned that herbal medications can increase the risk of serious complications during surgery. The preparations can speed up or slow down the heart rate, inhibit blood clotting, alter the immune system and change the effects and duration of anaesthesia. Scientists have found some preparations have an impact if taken up to a week before a patient goes under the knife. Among the herbs studied were echinacea, ginkgo biloba, garlic, St John's wort and valerian -- all widely-available in tablet form. University of Chicago researchers have published guidelines on when patients should stop taking herbal medicines in the Journal of the American Medical Association and hope their work will encourage doctors to discuss the potential dangers with patients. Studies suggest that as many as one third of pre-surgical patients take herbal medications and many fail to disclose herbal use during pre-operative assessment, even when prompted. Between 1993 and 1998 a total of 2,621 adverse reactions attributed to herbs, including 101 deaths, were reported to the United States Food and Drug Administration. This report does not mention the many adverse reactions which occur because of prescription drug use before surgery.




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Hindu Wedding Given Official Recognition
Posted on 2001/7/15 23:49:02 ( 744 reads )


Source: Vishnu Bisram, Trinidad





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, July 14, 2001: When a Queens, New York, judge ruled that the marriage between a Guyanese couple be considered legal and binding, even though the union was not registered in the county, the decision has marked a turning point for Hindu religious unions. The husband of the union tried to receive a declaration from the court that the couple were never legally married. But his wife was able to provide proof that a Hindu wedding attended by family and friends had taken place over seven years ago. Judge Gavrin said, "that in several previous cases, New York courts had upheld marriages as valid even in the absence of a marriage license involving several other religions."




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Nepal's New Living Goddess
Posted on 2001/7/15 23:48:02 ( 639 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 15, 2001: Four-year-old Preeti Shakya has been chosen as the new living goddess of Nepal, to spend her childhood revered as the source of prosperity for the mountain kingdom -- a status she will hold until she reaches puberty. This BBC report is more detailed than earlier reports. The Kumari is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists who believe that she has blessed the king and the 22 million people of Nepal with peace and prosperity. Shortlisted candidates must pass tough tests, including spending a night among the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes. Past Kumaris have complained of being returned unprepared into the harsh realities of life when they reach puberty. In December, the government announced a monthly pension of $40 for serving and retired Kumaris.




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Dance Conference Announced
Posted on 2001/7/15 23:47:02 ( 732 reads )


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HOUSTON, TEXAS, July 16, 2001: The Samskriti organization announced today the "First North American International Conference on Indian Dance in the Diaspora -- Traditions & Innovations" featuring scholars, critics, performers, and dignitaries from around the world will be held in Houston, Texas from September 1 to 3, 2001. Performers include Mallika Sarabhai and Darpana Dance Company, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, Anita Ratnam and the Arangham Dancers, The Anjali Dance Company of Houston, and the Academy of Fine Arts of Boston. For details email "source" above.




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Hindu Sues After Cow Parts Used in Operation
Posted on 2001/7/14 23:49:02 ( 640 reads )


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SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND, July 13, 2001: A 34-year-old Hindu woman has won $US$5,640 in damages after surgeons used cow cartilage in her operation. The educational administrator said she would have never consented to the operation if she had known doctors were going to use parts of the cow, which is sacred to her religion. The woman, who has not been named, has fought a six-year battle to get the out-of-court settlement. The surgery was performed by Dr. Leo Strassen at Sunderland General Hospital to correct a lump on the woman's nose. Following the operation she was in severe pain and had trouble breathing. When she sought legal advice, she got access to her records and discovered the use of cow cartilage. She now plans to have the cartilage removed and faces an $15,510 bill. The City Hospitals Sunderland said that the payment had been made with no admission of liability, but it expressed sympathy for any discomfort faced by the woman, who now lives in London.




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