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Hindu Press International
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Harappan Mound of Dead Suffers Neglect
Posted on 2001/8/21 23:45:02 ( 713 reads )


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LOTHAL, INDIA, August 19, 2001: The Harappan site of Lothal in Gujarat whose name means "mound of the dead" has conservationists worried. The ancient site is suffering the vagaries of weather and neglect by the institution that's meant to preserve it: the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Harappan site was discovered by the ASI in 1954, 84 kms out of Ahmedabad. It boasts a warehouse, a wharf and a 37-meter long dockyard built of bricks. Now, salt water and prolonged exposure to the rain and sun are gradually eating away the remains of the site. The dockyard is living proof that the Lothal civilization that flourished here between 2400 bce and 1900 bce was an early exponent of maritime trade. Heavy rain in the region over the past few seasons has damaged the remains of the sun-dried mud brick constructions. And stagnant rain water has layered the brick and mud work with moss. Past conservation attempts by ASI have not been too successful due to lack of funds and weather conditions. "The site hadn't been cared for over the past four or five years. But this year, we are taking up some important conservation projects at Lothal," reports ASI Regional Director, R.N. Gehlot.




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Portrayal of Karunanidhi as Christ Condemned
Posted on 2001/8/21 23:44:02 ( 675 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, August 20, 2001: Various Christian organizations in Tamil Nadu on Monday took out a procession here to condemn the DMK's action in putting up posters in several parts of the city, portraying the political party's leader, former Tamil Nadu chief minister, Karunanidhi, as Jesus Christ. Recently, Karunanidhi had told newsmen that he had ordered the posters to be removed as soon as he came to know about their appearance all over the city. The DMK party is officialy atheistic. When the present chief minister, Jayalalitha, was in power during 1991 to 1996, some of her party activists had put up posters describing her as Virgin Mary.




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Keeping Saivism Alive in South Africa
Posted on 2001/8/20 23:49:02 ( 702 reads )


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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, Aug. 17, 2001: It is because of the efforts of the Siva Gnana Sabay that Saivism thrives in the mainly Indian residential area of Lenasia, the township south of Johannesburg that was created under apartheid to forcibly resettle the Indians of the Greater Johannesburg area. Today the organization that started out in a small way in 1969 runs two temples, a nursery school and a pre-school, as well as facilities for weddings and social events. It runs a Tamil school on Saturdays that has growing enrollment, as parents want their children to learn about their roots. Music classes are conducted immediately after the Tamil classes, where children learn to play Indian musical instruments like the harmonium, tabla and mridingam. In the afternoon members of the women's wing of the Sabay get together to discuss charity projects.




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Trees Lock Angkor Temples in a Life-and-Death Embrace
Posted on 2001/8/20 23:48:02 ( 647 reads )


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SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA, August 19, 2001: This descriptive article details the challenges facing restorers at the massive temples of Angkor, one of the world's great cities between the 9th and 15th centuries, and one of history's architectural glories. Consecrated in 1191 by Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan served as a monastery and teaching complex, its walls carved with both Buddhist and Hindu images. For hundreds of years after the empire of Angkor collapsed, the temples lay buried in remote jungle. They were rediscovered by European explorers in the 19th century and some of the jungle was cleared away. But it is only in the last decade that large-scale efforts at restoration have begun. This has brought a quandary at some of the temples. The huge trees spread throughout the temple sites at Angkor are both protector and destroyer of the ruins. While their strength may be what holds parts of the structures together, other problems can be caused by spreading roots which undermine the walls and falling trees which damage fragile structures. The challenge of the project is to preserve the huge trees while minimizing damage to the temples.




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Hindu Leaders Plan Visits to U.S. Cities to Discuss Faith and Deflate Myths
Posted on 2001/8/20 23:47:02 ( 704 reads )


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WASHINGTON, USA, August 18, 2001: In a new survey of Americans' attitudes about Hindus, 666 people -- two-thirds of those surveyed -- said they have no familiarity with Hindu beliefs and practices. When asked if they wanted to learn more about the religion, 59 percent said no. Members of the Hindu Leaders Forum, a global network that commissioned the survey, are not surprised at Americans' limited knowledge of their faith, which with one billion adherents worldwide, is the third-largest religion after Christianity (1.9 billion) and Islam (1.2 billion). To further understanding by people of other faiths and foster pride among Hindus, the forum, a project of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Overseas, has begun a 38-country, 47-city yatra, or pilgrimage, to spread the message that "the world is one family." This is the first international yatra in more than a century, organizers say, and it will bring spiritual leaders from India to have discourses with local Hindus. The guests will visit five major U.S. metropolitan areas: Events are scheduled Monday in Miami, Tuesday in Atlanta, Wednesday in Washington, Friday in Chicago and Saturday in Los Angeles. The program includes talks and discussions on such topics as the fundamentals of Hinduism, religious-related violence and the global environment. For details on the global tour, go to www.hindunet.org.




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Doctors to Get Training in Pranic Techniques
Posted on 2001/8/20 23:46:02 ( 737 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, Aug, 17, 2001: Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced that medical doctors and nurses would be trained in the system of Pranic healing to supplement the medicare system in the rural areas of the state. Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, an international expert, was asked by Naidu to start a Pranic healing centre at the Marri Chenna Reddy Human Resources Development institute. Naidu said that the government was spending about US$235 million on health sector every year -- without satisfaction, he added.




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Catholics Settle Another Sex Abuse Case
Posted on 2001/8/20 23:45:02 ( 741 reads )


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SANATA ANA, CALIFORNIA, August 21, 2001: Roman Catholic leaders in Orange and Los Angeles counties agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle a lawsuit accusing a once-popular priest of molestation. Church leaders also agreed to a code of conduct, which would be enforced by a judge, to crack down on Catholic clergymen who prey on children. The settlement, which still needs to be approved by a judge, stems from accusations that Monsignor Michael Harris, 56, molested a 17-year-old Catholic high school student, Ryan DiMaria, in 1991. "I'm very happy with what we got accomplished," DiMaria, now 28, told The Orange County Register. "I think it will protect a lot of victims in the future," DiMaria, said Monday. Harris, who declined to be interviewed, has always denied wrongdoing and never has been charged with a crime. However, he agreed to leave the priesthood and has been on inactive leave from the church since 1994. The settlement in DiMaria's suit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange calls for a toll-free number and the creation of a Web site for reporting molestation, as well as for educational pamphlets to be distributed to Catholic churches and schools. It also requires that priests sign agreements not to molest, among other things. DiMaria, a former Santa Margarita Catholic High School student, brought the suit because he claimed that the dioceses turned their backs on the predatory behavior of Harris, who allegedly targeted young men in need of spiritual counseling. The Catholic Church has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle similar lawsuits across the USA.




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Prime Minister Criticizes Conversion Motives
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:49:02 ( 683 reads )


Source: Press Trust of India





NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 19, 2001: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday said there was a "conversion motive" behind the welfare activities being carried out by some Christian missionaries in the country's backward areas and that it was "not proper," though conversion was permissible under the law. Speaking at a function here to release a book on a prominent RSS activist, Vajpayee said Christian missionaries were engaged in laudable social work, "though some have a conversion motive, which is not proper." He, however, added that the Christians had a right to practice and preach their religion. Referring to abduction and recent killing of four RSS activists by insurgents in the Northeast, Vajpayee regretted that the media gave very little coverage to their "sacrifice." "The RSS activists had gone there to serve the people. I was sad to learn that their sacrifice went unnoticed. Had the news been about Christian missionaries, it would have been widely covered. The media's attitude should change," the Prime Minister said.




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Treatment of Hindus in Zimbabwe
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:48:02 ( 857 reads )


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ZIMBABWE, AFRICA, February, 24, 2001: Whites were not the only race coming under attack in the racially-motivated parliamentary election campaign currently ravaging Zimbabwe. Asians, in particular, are being targeted, through a hate-filled document sent to prominent businessmen in the community and believed to have originated from the offices of black economic empowerment organization, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG). The document, "Indigenization versus Indians" comes as a rude shock to many Asians who, as second or third generation Zimbabweans, considered themselves "indigenous." The contents of the document state that this is not how the propagators of affirmative action in Zimbabwe view them. "Black people did not die for this country so that Indians could go on oppressing them," states the document. The situation is the same as in many other countries where the Indian communities have lived, even for generations.




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Astrology in Universities
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:47:02 ( 749 reads )


Source: The Sunday Times





UNITED KINGDOM, June 17, 2001: Several British institutions are to make the study of astrology mainstream again. Southampton University has formed a research group for the critical study of astrology and three students are to investigate links between the planets and various aspects of human behavior. Researchers from universities in Manchester and Plymouth are testing data in other projects for astrological "truth." By the end of this year, two more British universities hope to start astrological research. Academic astrology is now available in the United States, too. According to Dr. Christopher French, who investigates the psychology of the paranormal at Goldsmiths College in London, about 75% of people read horoscopes. Nancy Reagan brought back the idea of a court consultant and is said to have rescheduled important meetings according to the stars. The late Princess Diana also had her own personal astrologer. Some big businesses, too, take astrology seriously enough to spend money on it, believing that astrology can be an invaluable guide to trends.




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Naipual Interview On-Line
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:46:02 ( 915 reads )


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WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND, August 13, 2001: Interested HPI readers may find the entire interview of V.S. Naipual at the above website. A short summary appeared in the August 17 issue of HPI. Our thanks to Ashok Chowgule for finding this site.




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Australian Construction Union Installs Ganesha
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:49:02 ( 744 reads )


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LIDCOMBE, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, August 17, 2001: The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union announced today the consecration of a statue of Lord Ganesha at their new head office here on August 22, Ganesha Chaturthi. This union had intervened on behalf of a group of Indian stone carvers at a Hindu temple under construction, ultimately winning them substantial wages in line with Australian labor laws. According to their press release, "The workers carved the gift for the CFMEU at the same time the union was fighting to win them their proper wages and entitlements. Ganesha is the elephant-headed Hindu patron of new undertakings and the remover of obstacles. It is traditionally associated with everything new, including buildings and projects. It is appropriate for the CFMEU to have the statue consecrated now, because we have just moved into our new Lidcombe head office. The CFMEU embraces all cultures and the colorful cultural event is being conducted as part of our commitment to encourage a more tolerant society."




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Wives Rewarded When Husbands Abstain from Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:48:02 ( 702 reads )


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ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, August 13, 2001: A clever tactic has been adopted by the boss of a chemical company in the state of Andhra Pradesh. To discourage smoking and drinking alcohol, the company pays the wife of a male employee a bonus of ten dollars a month when her husband abstains from the two habits. According to Mr. Venkatesh, "99% of his 1200 employees stick to the regime." Even though the program costs the company US$150,000 a year, the results have encouraged employees to be faithful and disciplined.




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Smoking Ads Still Aimed at Kids
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:47:02 ( 638 reads )


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BOSTON, USA, Aug. 15, 2001: The multibillion-dollar 1998 national tobacco pact has failed to turn back a torrent of cigarette advertising placed in magazines and aimed at children, a study concluded. "What surprises me is the sheer gall of the tobacco industry in general: their willingness to continue to find ways to get around the very agreement they entered into," said former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, who signed the pact. He is now president of Common Cause, a citizen's lobbying group. The study by two Boston-based researchers says that cigarette makers have kept up a high level of spending for magazine ads targeted at middle and high school-age children. It says that last year, magazine ads for cigarette brands popular with teenagers reached 82 percent of them. That percentage was down from 88 percent in 1999, but the study's authors said it was still way too high.




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Naipaul: Indian Writers Have No Sense of History
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:46:02 ( 748 reads )


Source: The Hindu





LONDON UK AUG. 12, 2001: "The full text of Mr. V.S. Naipaul's interview to the Literary Review is now available and Indian writers are not likely to be amused by what Sir Vidia thinks of them. In short, he says Indian writing exists in a historical vacuum. R.K. Narayan is singled out for "lacking a sense of history, his writing 'hangs in the air' because of a lack of historical perspective." This will likely infuriate the liberal opinion in India due to Naipaul's admiration for "movements from below," such as the Shiv Sena which, he says, are more authentic than the "middle class chaps with no feel for the wretched of the earth." In what many might regard as a sweeping generalization, Mr. Naipaul says, "The thing about being an Indian, and it remains true of Indian writing now, is that it seems to work without history, in a vacuum. Indian writers don't know why their country is in such a mess. They can't understand the poverty of India, they don't know why early travelers talk of a derelict countryside. Very easy to think that it might be because of the British but much easier in fact to pay no attention to it at all. This lack in Indian writing, even Narayan's writing, is a fatal flaw." He attacks Jawaharlal Nehru for encouraging a certain "construct' of Indian history which, he believes, is a refusal to face facts. The Nehruvian idea of India, he argues, was constructed to get the independence movement off the ground. "They had to get people together for the independence movement, and they had to tell stories." Naipaul is considered one of the world's foremost authors in English today.




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