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Gayatri Pariwar Expo Celebrated
Posted on 2001/6/29 23:48:02 ( 717 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 17, 2001: The men in saffron-colored robes sat cross-legged on the stage, the Gayatri Mantra reverberating through the tent. This was not the bank of the Ganges, but the County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, near the nation's capital. This weekend, it is filled with members of the Hindu movement Gayatri Pariwar, which claims a large worldwide following. About 3,000 people, mostly Washington area residents of Indian descent, performed the ritual of yagna at the Gayatri Scientific Expo 2001. "You are offering an oblation to the inner being," explained Vashisht Sharma, an engineer. For Indian immigrants in the Washington area, many of whom work in science or technology, Gayatri nourishes the part of them that yearns for home and for faith. "It refreshes your knowledge of your culture," said a chemical engineer with the U.S. Patent Office who left Bombay 30 years ago. "It's easy to lose touch with that. Also, since this is a religion based on science, it makes sense." The festival also included seminars on such topics as "Holistic Management" and "IT Revolution and Global Community."




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8,000 Ponies Mustered for Amarnath Pilgrimage
Posted on 2001/6/29 23:47:02 ( 764 reads )


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SRINAGAR, INDIA, June 28, 2001: An estimated 8,000 ponies are being pressed into service to transport pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra beginning early next month. The Jammu and Kashmir Animal Husbandry Department puts the ponies to vigorous health and physical fitness tests before they are pressed into service. This is done to prevent any pony with impaired vision, lameness or other ailment from serving yatra duty to safeguard pilgrims and vehicles alike. Veterinary medicare to the 8,000-strong equine contingent will be provided from seven camp veterinary hospitals being set up on the Pahalgam and Baltal cave routes. Two mobile veterinary dispensaries are being organized. All veterinary resources are targeted to be fully functional from July 3, a day ahead of the scheduled commencement of the yatra, officials say.




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World Conference on Spirituality and Peace Announced
Posted on 2001/6/29 23:46:02 ( 655 reads )


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BANGOR, NORTH WALES, June 30, 2001: The Life Foundation International invites interested persons to the World Conference on Spirituality and Peace at The Hague, Netherlands, from July 19 to 22, 2001. It will feature over 60 workshops on how to integrate spirituality into personal development, relationships, working place and efforts to raise global consciousness. Special features include: the World Peace Flame, spirituality and the teenager, conscious leadership and much more. The Conference is hosted by Life Foundation International and features speakers Mansukh Patel, Dadi Janaki and Edgar Mitchell, among others.




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Taliban Not to Force Hindus to Wear Badges
Posted on 2001/6/28 23:49:02 ( 674 reads )


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ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, June 27, 2001: Bowing to international pressure, the Taliban Government in Afghanistan has agreed not to force Hindus to wear yellow badges, an issue which created a world-wide stir, a newspaper here in Pakistan reported today. According to a fresh understanding reached between the Taliban and the Hindu community, the Hindus would be issued identification cards and they would be required to keep them in their pockets and produce them whenever needed, "The News" daily reported, quoting diplomatic sources. It said two Pakistani diplomats -- Additional Secretary Foreign Office Zziz Ahmad Khan and Pakistan's Ambassador to Kabul Arif Ayub -- met Afghan Foreign Minister Maulvi Mutawakil recently and convinced him to reconsider the militia's decision. (PTI)




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"Yob culture" Blamed For UK Riots
Posted on 2001/6/28 23:48:02 ( 785 reads )


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Burnley violence mirrored that in other northern towns By BBC News Online's community affairs reporter Cindi John. The involvement of Asian youths in civil disturbances and violence at the recent Pakistan/Australia cricket matches has painted a picture of a rebellious generation. But there are conflicting views among Asians themselves. One community leader said the recent disturbances involving Asian youths were the result of "yob culture" not race issues. "Yob" -- "boy" spelled backwards -- is, according to the Webster's, "A rowdy, destructive youth; a hooligan or ruffian." Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Leicester-based Federation of Muslim Organisations, said many British-born Asians in the riot-hit towns had assimilated the worst of English culture. He said: "They have the yobbish culture, they are defiant, not so obedient to their parents any longer, they don't comply with the peace and quiet the family want, the way their parents lived here and they are rebellious. They are following the norms of the youth culture of this country. Then because they come from a different racial group things do tend to acquire a racial complexion." While the current disturbances have involved mostly Muslim youth, Hindu communities have been drawn in at times. Sociologist Dr Virinder Kalra of Manchester University says the recent troubles are not a new phenomenon. He said: "Twenty years ago twelve Asian and African-Caribbean young people were arrested for making petrol bombs in Bradford, the so-called Bradford 12 case. "Their argument in court was they were defending their communities against the National Front. And in 1976 in Southall the murder of a young Asian taxi driver sparked a riot," Dr Kalra said.




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Reform Jewish Issue Guidelines on Ethical Conversion
Posted on 2001/6/28 23:47:02 ( 629 reads )


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MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, June 26, 2001: As people do some serious soul searching in life to discover a faith that fits how they really feel on the inside, the Reform rabbinate offered by the Jewish religion might fit the bill. According to Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College, new guidelines issued by the Reform sect of Judaism are an effort by rabbis to offer a more traditional approach to people seeking spirituality so that a healthy sense of community can be experienced. Expectant candidates for conversion are fostered through a series of events such as learning in the classroom, exploring spirituality and counseling by a rabbi. After these expressions of sincerity have been met, the new guidelines propose that the potential convert meet before a panel of three dedicated Jews. The guidelines make it very clear that the movement is open to new converts but they do not have an interest in proselytizing. This system of conversion among the Reform Jews closely parallels that of Hindus.




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India Attempts to Discourage Abortion of Female Fetuses
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:49:02 ( 660 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 25, 2001: When a study published in January of 2001 revealed that around five million procedures a year take place in India to abort female fetuses, it confirmed the reason why the male population exceeds the female one in India. Appalled by the shocking data, three organizations, UNICEF, the Indian Medical Association, and the National Commission of Women, organized a meeting with religious leaders of major faiths to put their heads together to develop a solution. Calling the practice, "a crime against humanity," the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, blamed the cultural practice of dowry and family pressure to have sons for the abortions. Experts in the medical field fault the misuse of the technology, ultrasound, that will detect a female fetus.




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Seniors Suffer in Old Age Homes
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:48:02 ( 705 reads )


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TORONTO, CANADA, June 20, 2001: When an elderly Indo-Canadian man of 74 years killed two fellow inmates and injured another in a nursing home, the shocking occurrence sparked an investigation of old age homes in the country. Results of the Ontario provincial government report indicate a series of problems for seniors in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Seniors may be restrained without their consent and not released for hours, they may be left in dirty and wet diapers for long periods of time, they often do not receive pain medication, many of them develop bed sores and receive no treatment and there was evidence of unexplained bruises and cuts on many residents. In such an environment, South Asian seniors fare even worse than other Canadians. They feel alienated because of religious, cultural and dietary preferences. The Chinese community in Markham has approached the problem by building facilities where a certain number of beds are allocated specifically for the South Asian elderly.




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Murthi Stolen From Temple in South Kerala
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:47:02 ( 748 reads )


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KERALA, INDIA, June 17, 2001: A murthi stolen from the Arampunna Ayyappa Temple at Punalur last Sunday was found in a nearby paddy field on Thursday. Weighing over 64 kg. and worth around US$6,500, the icon was discovered with one of the hands badly damaged. Fingerprint experts have examined the murthi to obtain evidence as to the identity of the culprits responsible for the theft.




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Study Focuses on Red Meat and Cancer
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:46:02 ( 706 reads )


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LYON, FRANCE, JUNE 23, 2001: New research indicates that eating lots of red meat may create as much of a certain cancer-promoting chemical in the colon as smoking does. The findings, presented in Lyon at the European Conference on Nutrition and Cancer, were part of a study that supports the theory that fiber wards off colon cancer, the second most deadly cancer worldwide. This latest research, linking eating habits and cancer, found that those who ate a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, had 40 percent less chance of developing colon cancer than those who ate the least roughage. The study involved 406,323 people from nine European countries. The findings redeem fiber as a potential anti-cancer agent. According to Dr. Sheila Bingham of Cambridge University, who led the study, lab tests have shown that the combination of red meat and colon bacteria produce chemicals called n-nitroso compounds, some of which are cancerous. One of them, known as NNK, is found in tobacco smoke.




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Forbes Magazine Focuses on India's Tiffinwallas
Posted on 2001/6/25 23:45:02 ( 727 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, August10, 1998: To appreciate Indian efficiency at its best, watch this city's tiffinwallahs at work, urges business magazine Forbes. In this old article, Forbes explains that these are the men who deliver 175,000 lunches (or "tiffin") each day to offices and schools throughout Mumbai, the business capital of India. Lunch is in a tin container consisting of a number of bowls held together in a frame. The meals are prepared in the homes of the people who commute into Mumbai each morning and delivered in their own tiffin carriers. After lunch, the process is reversed. Despite the complexity, the 5,000 tiffinwallahs make a mistake only about once every two months, according to Ragunath Medge, 42, president of the Mumbai Tiffinmen's Association. That's one error in every 8 million deliveries, or 16 million if you include the return trip. The charge for this extraordinary service is just 150 rupees ($3.33) per month. Forbes has done a more recent article (which we couldn't locate, but perhaps an HPI reader can) assigning the system a "Sigma 6" performance rating -- a score rarely received by any major company in the world.




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Leather Boycott Hits India
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:49:02 ( 954 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, June 21, 2001: While the plight of cattle at slaughter houses in North America is cruel beyond description, Indian cattle, in some cases fair no better. Cattle that provide leather for a growing industry, are forced to walk for days, often collapse and then are beaten cruelly until they die. When the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the U.S. brought this to public attention, they persuaded Marks and Spencer of Britain to stop buying leather from India. This boycott of Indian leather by several retail chains has cost India's leather industry US$27million in the first six months of 2001, resulting in a crippling impact.




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Pilgrims Rue Poor Facilities at Katra
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:48:02 ( 651 reads )


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KATRA, INDIA, June 19, 2001: An unprecedented rush of pilgrims to Vaishno Devi has created chaos and confusion right from Katra, base camp, to the bhavan where thousands of yatris are awaiting their turn for "darshan" in the open. Against the room capacity of 10,000 to 12,000 in hotels and private guest houses between 40,000 and 50,000 pilgrims land in this small town daily. Between 10,000 and 15,000 pilgrims reach Jammu by trains everyday and two holiday specials have been pressed into service to cope with the rush of the pilgrims. The chaos at the bhavan, too, is a matter of worry for the pilgrims as the maximum capacity for pilgrims at the bhavan is 18,000, but at present there are between 22,000 and 25,000 yatris waiting for their turn to enter into the cave.




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Hundreds of Thousands Witness Puri Car festival
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:47:02 ( 687 reads )


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PURI, INDIA, June 23, 2001: Over 800,000 devotees witnessed the famous car festival of Lord Jagannath, His elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra in the pilgrim town of Puri on Saturday. The downpour and power failure on Friday night didn't deter devotees who thronged to celebrate the annual sojourn of the Lord. The "Mangala Arati" of the deities started at about 5:00 am and was followed by other rituals. The festival then witnessed one of its finest moments when the three deities were brought out of the temple to their respective chariots in a spectacular procession called "Pahandi." The Shankaracharya of Gobardhan Peetha, Puri, Swami Neeschalananda Saraswati, was the first to have a "darshan," or sight, of the three deities on their chariots. There was a mad scramble to hold the ropes of the chariots, a lifetime wish of the devotees who had come from all corners of the country and abroad to witness the famous festival.




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Child Marriages In Andhra Pradesh
Posted on 2001/6/24 23:46:02 ( 747 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA, JUNE 23, 2001: Child marriages are banned under Indian laws, but a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh publicly organized 11 such weddings in one day. Uchita Viaha Vedika, a voluntary NGO which arranges free mass weddings of poor couples, organized those of 11 couples aged between 12 and 16 years old on May 20, in the presence of a local legislator and other eminent people. Child marriages are common in some back regions but this is perhaps the first time that a voluntary organization publicly arranged such weddings. In India, the legal age for marriage of boys is 21 and of girls 18.




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