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1,000 Lower-Caste Hindus Convert to Christianity
Posted on 2001/6/30 23:48:02 ( 878 reads )


Source: AFP





NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 30, 2001: About 1,000 lower-caste Hindus in southern India have converted to Christianity after alleging ill-treatment at the hands of upper castes. The group, comprising members of over 200 families from the state of Tamil Nadu, said they had been "humiliated and harassed" by upper caste Hindus for the past ten years. They were not allowed to participate in temple ceremonies or other functions despite repeated representations to the local authorities, one of the new converts said. The conversions took place on Friday at a simple religious function organized by a priest.




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Honored Holy Man Brings Muslims and Hindus Together
Posted on 2001/6/30 23:47:02 ( 746 reads )


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PAKISTAN AND INDIA, June 28, 2001: Honoring the life of Baba Daleep Singh, a holy man who lived 300 years ago, approximately 100,000 Hindus and Muslims gathered for a seven-day religious festival. Occurring on the border between Pakistan and India, the festival is organized by an Indian paramilitary force. Those attending the event expressed that the devotees present were happy and expectant about the upcoming summit meeting between India and Pakistan later this year.




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Racial Violence in Britain
Posted on 2001/6/30 23:46:02 ( 735 reads )


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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, June 29, 2001: Lancashire county has again become victim to racial attacks as the situation between disaffected Asian and white youth gangs continues to escalate. Community leaders of Asian and white origin fear that the racial violence is out of control. The towns of Burnley, Oldham, Leeds, and Bradford have been hit the hardest and a right-wing British party called the British National Party is advocating that the two races be physically separated. Others, such as MP Alan Simpson, told the Commons, "I know the leader of the House will be as appalled as anyone else about the rioting that has taken place, and the ways in which the National Front and the BNP have targeted areas in order to ferment divides that split and devastate communities." A member of the House of Lords, Tony Greaves, has stressed that the police should work closely with the community leaders in areas where racial tensions exist. However, the police are often reluctant to handle the sensitive problems in fear of provoking the large ethnic minorities. Quoting the article, "In 1999-2000, there were 249 racist attacks reported by whites in Bradford. This has leaped to 324 in 2000-2001. The number of attacks on Asians rose by nine percent to 275."




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Now It's "Englishes"
Posted on 2001/6/29 23:49:02 ( 683 reads )


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SINGAPORE, June 30, 2001: In this entertaining New York Times article, we learn that the English language is in the process of splitting into Englishes, perhaps ultimately to spawn different languages, as Latin split into French, Italian and Spanish. Author Seth Mydans writes, " 'Wah! Government say Singlish no good, must learn how to speak proper English. It a bit the difficult. How can?' In their latest initiative to perfect society, Singapore's leaders have begun the Speak Good English Movement -- a campaign to eliminate a rough-and-ready patois known as Singlish that has spread through their nation like a linguistic virus." Today, 350 million people are native English speakers, but by some counts more than a billion speak at least some English as a second language. Most of them are in Asia." Mydans cites experts who say the attempt to get Singaporeans to all speak good English is doomed.




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Gayatri Pariwar Expo Celebrated
Posted on 2001/6/29 23:48:02 ( 783 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 ( 817 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 ( 714 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 ( 734 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 ( 844 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 ( 698 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 ( 739 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 ( 770 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 ( 820 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 ( 771 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 ( 812 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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