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Missionaries Face Opposition in India
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:42:02 ( 673 reads )


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ONTARIO, CANADA, June 7, 2001: Two reports appeared recently on the evangelical site, "Persecution.net." The first states, "National and expatriate Christians in India continue to face threats and false accusations, as the Gospel continues to spread throughout the subcontinent. Gladys Staines, widow of Graham Staines, an Australian missionary slain in 1999 along with his two sons, is facing a visa expiration in August and Indian officials have made it clear they do not intend to renew it. The state government is also attempting to repossess the leprosy hospital that Mrs. Staines has been raising funds for, in memory of her husband. Another missionary in the southern state of Karnataka is facing imminent deportation. 79-year-old Francois Marie Godest has served in India since 1948 and has indicated that he wishes to stay in India until he dies. The government, however, is refusing to renew his residence permit." The second says, "On Friday, VOM's Finnish mission, Stephanus-Lahetys Ry, reported that in the last week of May in the village of Funda, Kalahanda area, in Orissa, a Hindu temple was burnt down by an unknown person/persons. The police are investigating the case, but with no results to the present time. Unfortunately, Hindus are accusing Christians of the crime. There are about 100 Christian families living in the area. Shortly after the arson, groups of Hindus began going from one Christian house to another, asking about the incident and threatening the inhabitants. Joseph Senapati, an evangelist who lived in Funda was beaten when, on Monday, June 4th, a Hindu mob came into his house to threaten him. The situation became so dangerous that he had to flee with his family. Four other Christian families have also fled to a safer place, leaving behind their homes, cows and other possessions. There are still nearly a hundred families in the area facing the hatred and violence of Hindu gangs. The Hindus have blocked the roads to prevent Christians from escaping. The police are proving to be of no help to the Christians. Two Christian families have been forced to convert to the Hindu religion."




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Lucknow University Offers Course on Astrology and Vedic Rites
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:41:02 ( 1047 reads )


Source: The Times of India News Service





LUCKNOW, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, May 21, 2001: Lucknow University is leading the way in promoting the ancient science of Astrology and Vedic Rites on its campus. Two hundred university students, many of them girls, have called the three-month long course an unique experience. The curriculum teaches Sanskrit chants, how to perform fire ceremony the correct way and rituals related to birth and cremation, both theoretically and practically.




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Nepal Royal Witnesses Confirm Dispute
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:49:02 ( 678 reads )


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KATMANDU, NEPAL, June 16, 2001: The witnesses' interviews confirmed widely held suspicions that his parent's opposition to his choice of bride was the provocation for Nepal's crown prince gunning. The government released new details from its report on the June 1 mass killing that shocked this Himalayan nation. One of those present during the shooting was Paras, the son of new King Gyanendra. He said Crown Prince Dipendra's choice of bride, Devyani Rana, had divided the family. "This was the main issue,'' Paras told investigators. Paras said that Dipendra appeared intoxicated when he asked Dipendra what was troubling him. Dipendra replied that it was the marriage issue. Supreme Court Chief Justice Keshav Prasad Upadhyaya and House Speaker Taranath Ranabhat investigated the case for a week before confirming on Thursday that Dipendra was the lone gunman. The report said the 29-year-old prince was drunk and high on hashish. A translation of the official report can be found at www.nepalnews.com/.




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Christians Feel Uncertainty in Nepal
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:48:02 ( 726 reads )


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ONTARIO, CANADA, June 14, 2001: The following item appeared on this Christian evangelical website: "Christian Aid Mission's Nepal representative, Sarla Mahara, said there are some concerns about how the recent upheaval in Nepal could affect the church. 'The late king was a pro-democracy guy, so he really had nothing against the Christians; but now, it's so unstable. We don't know if this situation would make the Maoists stronger because the Palace is very weak right now. It's a very tough situation for the Christians.' There are concerns that Maoist rebels, who have been actively fighting the government in western Nepal, could use this situation as an opportunity to make gains in taking over the government. Mahara said, 'The ruling government is totally confused with this new king who is, in my opinion, a real hard-liner. He's just not very much for democracy.' Since the democratic revolution of 1990, there has been a measure of freedom of religion in Nepal. During this time the number of Christian believers has risen dramatically -- over 10 times what it was in 1990. It is estimated that Christians make up 2 percent of Nepal's population." It is illegal to convert to another religion in Nepal, but the law is not enforced.




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Into the Afterlife, Free As a Bird.
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:47:02 ( 645 reads )


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BALI, INDONESIA, June 6, 2001: Although most of Indonesia's provinces are predominantly Muslim, Bali is mainly Hindu. Hindus cremate their dead. In Bali a cremation is an important occasion, lavish and expensive. Sometimes, poor families that cannot afford an immediate ceremony will preserve the body and wait, sometimes for years, so that the body could be cremated along with a rich person. Now several families plan to pool resources and share the cost of a mass cremation.




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The Blessed Get Poorer
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:46:02 ( 674 reads )


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ENGLAND, June 15, 2001: The Church of England is in financial turmoil. It is merging parishes, chopping jobs and relying increasingly on "weekend priests" who are happy to work for nothing. It is squeezing the faithful for donations. Last autumn the Diocese of London admitted that it was raiding its reserves at the rate of US$1.6 million a year. A recent report suggested that the Church of England's 44 dioceses will be $17.6 million in the red within two years. A survey last month revealed that hundreds of priests now rely on State benefits to support their families. With stipends averaging about $27,200 a year, they have little choice. One great paradox about the Church is that although it embraces the principle that worldly possessions are not of great important, it managed to accumulate immense wealth during the Middle Ages. "There is always talk of the state being asked to help," one former cathedral dean says. But perhaps the reluctance to appeal for state help is rooted in a deeper unease: a feeling that the Church of England, far from being at the centre of the "British Establishment" is increasingly marginalized in a society that seems to get more secular by the day.




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In Defense of Ayurveda
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:45:02 ( 664 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 19, 2001: Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine whose treatises date back to the first millennium, has been given a bad rap by a report from the British House of Lord Committee on Science and Technology last November, 2000. In their report, Ayurveda is grouped with other disciplines such as Chinese herbal medicine and naturopathy and classified according to this article as, "an alternative discipline that offer diagnosis as well as treatment but for which scientific evidence is almost completely lacking." Needless to say, the secretary of the Indian government's Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy, Shailaja Chandra, has responded by sending a letter of protest to Lord Walton who headed the British committee. Ayurveda's popularity has grown in the U.K. and the West, and it is feared that if this report is published it could damage the good this form of medicine is doing. With extensive research and clinical trials having already been documented, Chandra is forwarding the results on ailments such as bone healing, menstrual disorders, and anxiety plus many others, back to the British committee. A delegation was also sent to London in March of 2001 to try to alter the views on Ayurveda.




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India Has Less Than 500 Homes For 75 Million Senior Citizens
Posted on 2001/6/17 23:44:02 ( 628 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 13, 2001: A 1998 case filed by four old men in the small town of Kollam in Kerala stresses the problems facing the elderly. The success of Kerala's primary health programs has resulted in a life expectancy here of 70 years, while the whole of India averages 59. A high percentage of younger Keralites work abroad, leaving their parents alone and uncared for. That is one of the reasons why Kerala is India's suicide hub -- every hour, one person commits suicide and nine people try to kill themselves. Three years ago these four men shocked their relatives as they demanded the legalization of assisted suicide in India. Their lawyer's office was flooded with letters from hundreds of senior citizens who supported them. Mukundan Pillai, one of the four, told the court that the elderly are increasingly discarded by their descendants. The government should either help them live, or it should help them die. Today almost 7 percent of India's citizens are elderly -- 75 million people, and the numbers are rising. A directory compiled in 1995 by the Centre for the Welfare of the Aged listed only 492 old age homes. So The nation needs 217,000 more homes to shelter all the elderly, if the young are no longer going to care for their parents.




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At 115, Swami Bua Charms Miami
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:49:02 ( 813 reads )


Source: The Miami Herald





MIAMI, FLORIDA, June 4, 2001: His Holiness Sri Swami Buaji Maharaj, has been in Miami since mid-May teaching hatha yoga at Wayne Krassner's Shakti Yoga Loft, where Madonna and other stars have practiced. "He won't tell you his age if you ask," explains Krassner who said the Swami "indirectly" revealed that he is 115. Krassner met Swami Bua in New York City, where the Swami has lived for three decades and where he founded the Indo-American Yoga-Vedanta Society. He still teaches free yoga and meditation classes every day he's in town. Swami Bua is happy to talk about his lifestyle: He consumes mostly fruit and vegetable juices -- figs, dates, kiwi, grapefruit and oranges are his favorites. The magazine Hinduism Today honored Swami Bua as Hindu of the Year in 1998.




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Genetic Study Indicates Gene Mixing in India
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:48:02 ( 728 reads )


Source: India Express





HYDERABAD, INDIA, May 15, 2001: According to a study in this month's Genome Research Journal, scientists said that India's higher ranking castes are genetically more similar to Europeans, and the lower castes are more similar to Asians. The study, done by an international team, is believed to be the most comprehensive attempt to date, to explore the impact of ancient western migrations on people in India. According to this study, the origins of people living in India are under debate. Some 5,000 years ago, Indo-European speaking people from West Eurasia entered India and purportedly mixed with native Proto-Asian population in the region in an "Aryan Invasion." This research would appear to support such a scenario, which has been under considerable attack recently. However, Prof. Richard Villems, one of the co-authors of the paper, when contacted by HPI, said, "Europe here may mean anything even slightly west from Indus river" and said it is most likely that the genetic material in question arose in the region of Iran and Afghanistan. He concluded, "a more correct interpretation is that in some upper castes, there is a statistically weakly reliable, but still apparent shift of frequencies towards those variants more frequent west of Indus. Europe as such has, however, nothing to do with that."




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Modern Asia's Anomaly: The Girls Who Don't Get Born
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:47:02 ( 697 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 6, 2001 : Women are making strides in both India and China, living longer and are more likely to be able to read and write than ever before. Despite this progress women are making, female fetuses are being aborted at startling rates in China and across broad swaths of India, new census data shows. The spread of ultrasound technology in these societies, has made it easy to abort unwanted daughters. In most parts of both India and China, it is a son who carries on the family line, inherits ancestral land, cares for his parents as they age and performs the most important ceremonial roles when they die.




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Texas Hindus File Suit Against McDonalds
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:46:02 ( 672 reads )


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New York, USA, June 12, 2001: After Seattle vegetarians, it is now the turn of Texas Hindus to charge fast-food giant McDonald's in a class-action lawsuit over the issue of beef-flavored french fries. The lawsuit alleges that from 1990 until the present the defendants intentionally concealed from the plaintiffs the use of beef in their fries and other products and advertised these products as containing vegetable oil and/or natural flavoring. Under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act of Texas, McDonald's has been charged with "causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the source of goods and services."




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Daughter Continues Iyengar Yoga Dynasty
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:45:02 ( 727 reads )


Source: Los Angeles Times





LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, June 10, 2001: Devotees watch and listen intently to this middle-aged woman from India. Geeta S. Iyengar, the world's leading female yoga teacher, challenges them to drop their lingering doubts and tap their inner strength to achieve proper alignment of various yoga postures developed by her father, BKS Iyengar. At the age of nine she suffered a kidney disease that left her breathless and occasionally unconscious. Her father admonished her to embrace yoga and within months she began to feel better. Yogini Iyengar is pleased by the growing recognition that greets both yoga and her own teaching. After four decades as a student and assistant to her father, she has increasingly moved into the forefront as the director of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute established by her father a quarter of a century ago in Pune.




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Taking a Big Breath, N.F.L. Tackles Yoga
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:44:02 ( 696 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 3, 2001: The New Age mind-body connection that is normally associated with actresses, supermodels and Buddhist monks is now the exercise du jour with some of the hulks in the National Football League. The Giants and Denver Broncos have worked with a yoga instructor to incorporate yoga as part of the team's diversity training. The seed was planted by fullback Greg Comella and wide receiver Amani Toomer, both students of Sarah Margolis and Marilyn Barnett, who run the Yoga Connection TriBeCa. "Coach Jim Fassel wanted to continue the theme of providing new and different activities rather than just the traditional running and lifting," said Dunn, noting that last year the team offered martial arts as part of its training regimen. "Yoga gave us that. Obviously, the flexibility that comes with yoga is important."




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Reusing Cooking Oil for Frying Food Raises Cancer Risk
Posted on 2001/6/16 23:43:02 ( 878 reads )


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BANGKOK, THAILAND, June 16, 2001: According to the director of the Institute for Scientific and Technological Research, Mr Phirasak Worasuntharosot, food prepared from cooking oil that has been used repeatedly is likely to be contaminated by cancer-causing dioxins. Laboratory tests indicated that cooking oil used more than a few times released carcinogenic free radicals or dioxins. He said hospitals were swamped with cancer cases and attributed the high number to the consumption of food cooked in lard or vegetable oil that had been used more than once.




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