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Fiji Minister Criticises Country's Indians


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:47:02 ( 876 reads )


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SUVA, FIJI, August 3, 2002: A Fiji cabinet minister who likened ethnic Indians to "weeds taking up space" this week came under fierce attack from politicians, Fiji's ethnic Indian community and women's groups. Minister for Women Asenaca Caucau made the remark in Parliament and Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's silence over the issue has not helped his government's image. Race relations are tense among Fiji's 830,000 people, 51 percent of whom are indigenous Polynesian or Melanesian, while 44 percent are ethnic Indian. An Indian-dominated government was overthrown in a coup in 1987 and the first Indian Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, was overthrown in a 2000 coup. Caucau told Parliament Monday that Indians were like weeds taking up space just as they were doing globally. She was speaking in Fijian. She blamed Chaudhry for the 2000 coup attributing it to his "arrogant leadership style." Later she told television her comments were "not racist." Unlike previous reactions to such widespread outcry against this government, there has been no letter in support of Caucau or the State and no government official has come to her defense.






Fiji Military Recruits Indian Officers For First Time


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:46:02 ( 993 reads )


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, March 6, 2002: Ethnic Indians have been admitted to the officer ranks of Fiji's battered military force, 60 years after their grandfathers raised a controversy for not signing up to fight the Japanese during World War II. "It's been my childhood ambition to become a soldier and to serve the nation," Shalesh Kumar, 20, told the Fiji Sun on Wednesday. He was one of 10 ethnic Indians signed into the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) officer cadet corps for the first time. At one press conference during the 2000 coup drama, then RFMF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini, referring to World War II, said that rather than fight even when the Japanese were close by, Fiji's Indians went on strike for more pay. Journalist Shubha Singh, whose father served in Fiji as an Indian diplomat, notes the long-term impact in a just-published book, Fiji: A Precarious Coalition. "To this day, the Fijians point to the Indian reluctance to join the armed forces as a negative feature that called into question their loyalty to their new homeland." Around 51 percent of Fijis 800,000 people are indigenous Fijian and 44 percent Indian.






Freed Bonded Laborers Thank Swami Agnivesh


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:45:02 ( 891 reads )


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GWALIOR, INDIA, July 10, 2002: The initiative of Swami Agnivesh freed 89 bonded labors and their families of almost ten years. The contractors subjected them to exploitation, molestation, rape and all sorts of inhuman treatment. "We had a sound sleep last night and the bright sun this morning is making us realize the end of the slavery era," said laborers Batan Lal and Siddha after escaping to reach Swami Agnivesh's Delhi office to narrate their despicable condition. Freed and gathered at Morar Hospital the laborers undergo medical checkup. It has been a sort of feast day for them with elaborate arrangements by the administration. There was jubilation among the liberated laborers. The laborers touched Swami Agnivesh's feet as mark of respect. They said no one else could have dared to penetrate the invincible fortress of Devi Singh. The contractor hired laborers with assurance of paying US$2.05 per person per day. Instead, he paid them ration coupons worth $1.23 and never made payment in cash. In case of an accident or minor injury, a hefty sum of money was deducted from their wages in the name of treatment, said a laborer. Urging the administration to eliminate the evil from the society, Swami Agnivesh reported about 4,000 to 5,000 bonded laborers in Gwalior and Shivpuri region with similar exploitation.






Three Thousand UK Hindu Youth Celebrate


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:44:02 ( 841 reads )


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PRESTON, ENGLAND, 26 July, 2002: Three thousand youth, volunteers, dignitaries and families gathered in the first of three ground-breaking national events branded Get Connected and developed by Hindu Youth UK. Prime Minister Tony Blair commented, "This event provides young British Hindus with an important opportunity to explore their culture and their faith." The event was opened with obeisances to Lord Ganesha followed by a series of addresses from visiting dignitaries and inspiring Hindu hymns sung by the local youth. Attendees witness a whole myriad of on and off stage activities. A Hindu priest went through the intricacies of a traditional marriage ceremony. Young ladies illustrated how to correctly sport a sari and others were mesmerized by the transformations achievable using the science of Vaastu Shastra, the ancient mystical treatise on architecture. Several leading Hindu youth organizations, were also on call to talk about on-going seva, service, and spiritual activities taking place around the UK. A creative kids zone where children of all ages took part in supervised games, coloring competitions and screenings of animated Hindu epics. Spirituality zone played host to a series of speakers and debates on popular Hindu topics. Visitors from all faiths and cultural backgrounders attended the event.






Argentina University Opens Indo-Oriental Studies Department


Posted on 2002/8/4 9:43:02 ( 1073 reads )


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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, August 4, 2002: Dr. Edgardo Nestor de Vincenzi, president of the Interamerican Open University announced the inauguration of their new Department of Indo-oriental Studies August 8. The department will be under the academic direction of Dr. Sergio Lais-Suarez, Chairman of the Department of Ayurveda Medicine, Main Professor of the Unity of Statistics Development of the University, and President of the Argentina-India's Friendship House, together with Dr. Fernando Fernandez Escalante former Ambassador of Argentina in India. During this celebration the Interamerican Open University will convey to the Indian Ambassador in Argentina, Mr. Nigam Prakash the "Honoris Causa Diploma of Professor" and the Indian Embassy will honor Dr. Sergio Lais-Suarez with the "Friends of India 2002" Award, all in the presence of more of 250 top personalities of the country including scholars, congress man, faculty, journalist, etc. For more information, contact "source" above.






White House Defends Bush's Omission of Hinduism


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:49:02 ( 809 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2002: White House press secretary Ari Fleischer had a tough time explaining why President George W. Bush failed to mention Hinduism among the religions practiced in the US, even as he asserted that in line with the country's pluralistic traditions, the President had equal regard for people from all faiths. Bush had reportedly failed to list Hinduism among the religions practiced in America, though he took Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the reckoning. However, Fleischer said that he was not sure about the authenticity of the statements and would check the record to ascertain whether the President had really made such an omission. He also pointed out that President had included Hindus at faith-based meetings, where he met members of the community personally.






Police Battle Black Magic in Andhra Pradesh


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:48:02 ( 920 reads )


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HYDERABAD, INDIA June 24, 2002: Several cases of people being killed on suspicion of practicing sorcery in Andhra Pradesh have spurred the police to launch a campaign to combat age-old superstitions. The latest victim was stoned to death by four people as they suspected he had put a curse on a member of their family. In another incident a month ago, a man was dragged out of the house and set on fire, blaming him for using witchcraft to steal gold chains. The lack of basic medical care in areas of rural Andhra Pradesh force many people to seek the help of self-proclaimed sorcerers. For a small fee, the practitioners of black magic not only offer to cure an ailing person, but also cast spells on presumed enemies. However, things can go horribly wrong when angry mobs turn against the so-called sorcerers. On an average, between a dozen to two dozen people accused of practicing sorcery are killed every year in Andhra Pradesh. Judicial magistrates and other officials have been talking to the villagers to impress upon them the serious consequences of killing someone.






Eat Less, Live Longer


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:47:02 ( 910 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 3, 2002: For the first time, US researchers have found evidence suggesting people may live longer by eating fewer calories each day, a dietary restriction that already has shown in experiments to extend the lives of laboratory animals by up to 40 per cent. Even if the evidence proves to be correct, it's unknown how much extra time people might live. Laboratory studies for decades have shown that reducing the calories fed to lab mice and rats enabled the animals to live much longer, but the same effect has not been positively demonstrated in monkeys or in humans. Now, George S Roth and his colleagues at the National Institute on Aging say they have preliminary evidence that biological changes that help create superaged rodents may also work in humans.






Immigration Naturalization Service Admits Backlog of Documents


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:46:02 ( 848 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 2, 2002: More than two million documents filed by foreigners, from change of address forms to requests for benefits, have been piling up for years and only now are being reviewed by the government, senior U.S. officials said Friday. Immigration experts and civil rights groups said the situation is embarrassing to the government and an affront to foreigners who have tried to play by the rules. "It exposes one of the INS' dirty secrets," said Lucas Guttentag, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's immigration rights project. "The agency's own record-keeping and information systems are completely inadequate, yet it so often turns around and punishes law-abiding immigrants when the agency's own shoddy record keeping is at fault."
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Caste Discrimination Lives On


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:45:02 ( 1081 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, July 28, 2002: Despite police action against the practice of untouchability in tea shops of rural Tamil Nadu, several shopkeepers, under pressure from caste Hindus, continue with the discriminatory "two-tumbler" system. Tea shops in several villages serve hot beverages in "two tumblers"--cheap glass ones for the Dalits and shiny stainless steel containers for the caste Hindus. And now, a "three-tumbler'' system too is adopted in some areas-plastic cups for outsiders whose caste identity is not known. Despite a law prohibiting it, the ubiquitous "Two Tumbler" system is still in operation in rural teashops around Tamil Nadu. Though the "two and three-tumbler" system is a brazen violation of the SC\ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Civil Rights Act, it is an accepted practice in southern Tamil Nadu. If tea shops do not discriminate against the Dalits, the caste Hindus will throw the shop owners out. The only positive development over the years is the withdrawal of coconut shell, referred to as "sirattai," which served as the tea cup for the Dalits. Though widespread, the practice has been escaping the attention of officials. The primary reason is that the Dalit victims are not willing to lodge a formal complaint for fear of further oppression by the caste Hindus. Another reason is that the villagers do not want to ignite caste flare-ups over a cup of tea. When officials make surprise inspections, the tumblers vanish and disposable cups take their place. Whenever there is a threat of agitation from any organization, the villagers "unite together.''






World Hindu Conference Set For Trinidad October 25, 2002


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:44:02 ( 836 reads )


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TRINIDAD, July 31, 2002: A conference on Hinduism in Trinidad, West Indies, will be held on October 25 to 27, 2002. The conference forms part of the observance of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha. The conference will be hosted jointly by the Sanatan Dhama Maha Sabha Inc, (SDMS) of Trinidad and Tobago and the History Department of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on the Hindu Presence in Trinidad & Tobago. Panels of scholars from Trinidad and Tobago and abroad will explore the Hindu presence and influence in the area. Among the proposed panels are: The Hindu Family, The Early Establishment of Hinduism, Hindus and Politics, Leadership in the Hindu Community and the Hindu Youth Movement. The Conference will be held at the SDMS Headquarters and the Learning Resource Center UWI, St. Augustine. For more information, e-mail "source" above.






Science and Meditation Conference


Posted on 2002/8/3 9:43:02 ( 1094 reads )


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DEHRADUN, INDIA, August 3, 2002: Swami Veda Bharati will conduct an International Conference On Science And Meditation at his Ashram and Medical College, Rishikesh - Dehradun, November 10 to 12, 2002. For more information, contact "source" above.






England's House Of Commons Votes For Own Indian Restaurant


Posted on 2002/8/2 9:49:02 ( 973 reads )


Source: Sify.com





LONDON, ENGLAND, July 28, 2002: Britain's House of Commons will soon have an authentic, in-house Indian restaurant to the delight of curry fans including: Chancellor Gordon Brown, Leader of the House Robin Cook and Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short. Conservative Members of Parliament have cheekily suggested a name for the restaurant: "Hinduja's, after the controversial Indian-born industrialists who are said to have incurred favors from Tony Blair's Labor-led government," the Sunday Telegraph reported. Until now, Members of Parliament had to leave the House of Commons for Indian restaurants around Westminster, with the worry that they could miss a vital vote. David Hinchliffe, the Labor chairman of the Commons health select committee and a fan of hot Madras curries, told the Telegraph: "It's a fantastic idea provided it is authentic curry. I don't want a tame English version."






Amarnath Siva Lingam Melts in Unusual Weather


Posted on 2002/8/2 9:48:02 ( 1009 reads )


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AMARNATH, INDIA, July 31, 2002: Unusually high temperatures in Kashmir have melted an ice stalagmite considered the image of Lord Siva, but this makes little difference to thousands of pilgrims who have braved potential and real rebel attacks to reach the Himalayan cave. "When a large number of people gather in the shrine, the temperature rises," said Kaniya Lal, a scientist in Kashmir's meteorological department. "Even if there is a rise of two degrees (Celsius) inside the cave, the Lingam starts melting." "Besides, there has been a gradual rise in overall temperature and drought-like conditions are prevailing in the state," he said. Most pilgrims, however, believe that even without the Lingam the site is still holy. "The absence of the Lingam does not reduce the reverence of the place," said Mohan Lal, from Haryana. The cave, is expected to draw more than 175,000 pilgrims this year.






Nepal's Crown Princess Gives Birth to a Boy


Posted on 2002/8/2 9:47:02 ( 816 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 30, 2002: A healthy prince was born Tuesday to Nepal's crown prince, making the newborn next-in-line to the throne of the Himalayan kingdom after his father. Soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army gave a traditional 21-gun salute after the birth, the first royal celebration after a palace massacre and a year of mourning. The baby was born to Crown Prince Paras and Princess Himani. He is heir to the throne of this Hindu kingdom, a constitutional monarchy where most people regard their kings as reincarnations of the Hindu God Vishnu. The birth is potentially significant for the kingdom, and may increase the chances of Prince Paras being accepted by the people when his turn comes as king. Having an heir may make a difference for the widely disliked and misbehaving prince.




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