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UK Bans Human Cloning
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:46:02 ( 687 reads )


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BRITAIN, UK, April 19, 2001: Britain announced on Thursday that the government is bringing forward legislation to outlaw human cloning within months. Currently, cloning work is restricted to scientists granted licenses. Health Secretary Alan Milburn said that the only way to ensure human cloning never takes place is to ban reproductive human cloning by law. While agreeing that Britain should aim to become a world leader in the genetic revolution in healthcare, the health secretary stressed that strict boundaries must be set to reassure the public that genetic technology be harnessed for beneficial use only.




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Private Temple Opposed in South Africa
Posted on 2001/4/20 23:45:02 ( 688 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, April 16, 2001: Striving to fulfill his religious duty with meditation and prayer, a wealthy South African Indian gentleman has chosen to build a temple on his property exclusively for family use. The plans for the structure were approved by the municipality and construction was well on its way. Fearing that the temple would be disruptive to their quiet neighborhood, Mr. Ishwar Mangaroo's neighbors have filed a petition against the construction. "If the objectors do not understand my culture and my religion, how can they object?" said Mr. Mangaroo in a statement he made to the Sunday Times Extra in Durban. Mr. Mangaroo chose to build his house in an affluent suburb occupied mostly by a white community. His neighbors claim their objections are not based on race but rather on practical considerations.




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BJP Focus on Sri Lankan Issue
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:49:02 ( 710 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, April 17, 2001: Till such a peaceful settlement is arrived at and the Island Tamils are able to return to Sri Lanka, the BJP will continue to urge the Union Government to intervene in the Sri Lankan issue for a solution that is acceptable to all Sri Lankan Tamils and will ensure peace in the island. This was one of the highlights of the party unit's election manifesto released here by the manifesto committee leader and State unit vice-president, Mr. Vaithialingam. It also urged the Indian government to continue to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lankan refugees until it was safe for them to return home.




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Time Magazine Runs Cover Story on Yoga
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:48:02 ( 721 reads )


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April 15, 2001: Time magazine ran an extensive story on the "Science of Yoga." High profile celebrities such as Christy Turlington, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sting are among the most persuasive advocates of the current wave of yoga practiced in the US. According to the article, yoga has evolved in American consciousness in several stages: first as a spiritual cleansing and rebirth, second as a kind of preventive medicine and currently as a fitness wave, a way to gain strength, flexibility and endurance. According to the article, more than 15 million Americans include some form of yoga in their fitness regimen, twice as many as did five years ago, and 75% of all U.S. health clubs offer yoga classes. "The Indian tradition develops metaphors and ways of describing the body (life forces, energy centers) as it it is experienced, from the inside out. The Western tradition looks at the body from the outside in, peeling it back one layer at a time, believing only what it can see, measure and prove in randomized, double-blind tests. The East treats the person, the West treats the disease," the magazine says. The article, mainly positive about the effects of yoga and the research into using it as a therapy to treat or prevent disease, also brings up the critics who cite the lack of conclusive evidence about yoga's health benefits. The magazine states, "The traditional funders of studies, the pharmaceutical giants, see no financial payoff in validating yoga: no patentable therapies and no pills."




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Ramayana in British Theatre
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:47:02 ( 672 reads )


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UNITED KINGDOM, April 13, 2001: Influencing the United Kingdom with their presence, the East Indian community has culturally infiltrated into many corners of British society. Last year saw the staging of the Mahabharata in British Theatre and this year Indhu Rubasingham's production of the Ramayana is playing at the National Olivier Theatre. This mixed review, titled "Farcical mystical tour" says the play is a "refreshingly immediate piece of rough theatre," and "Hindu epic as British panto," but we at HPI are at a loss to understand quite what either statement means.




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Meat Banned at Gujarat Government Rest Houses
Posted on 2001/4/19 23:46:02 ( 830 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





GANDHI NAGAR, INDIA, April 19, 2001: In a debatable decision, Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has banned for a year serving of non-vegetarian food in the government premises like circuit houses and rest houses. The controversial decision is actually of no consequence as the circuit houses in Gujarat in any case do not cook any nonvegetarian stuff in view of the state's sizeable Jain population and also a large number of Swaminarayan sect followers who also preach vegetarianism. The chief minister has personally issued this order in view of the 2,600th birth anniversary celebrations of Lord Mahavira. The order is being viewed as his way of wooing the politically and financially influential Jain community.




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Priest Reconverts to Hinduism Amid Vedic Chants
Posted on 2001/4/18 23:49:02 ( 694 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, April 17, 2001: Amid Vedic chants and sprinkling of holy Ganges water, Father Anthony Fernandes was reconverted to Hinduism after twelve years as a priest with the Catholic church in Gujarat and given the name Shankar Dev. The ceremony was carried out by Hindu Sanskar Kendra at the Radhakrishna temple in Varanasi. Eleven Vedic scholars performed the ceremony. Fernandes bathed in the holy Ganges and was escorted to the temple. He clarified that he was "returning to the ancestral roots of his free will and without any coercion from any person or organization." Father Fernandes' reconversion followed serious allegations of irregularities against the Church, which was quick to disown him. Fernandes had publicly criticized missionary activities, dubbing the diocese as "Papal Mafia," he has demanded that Bishops appointed by Rome should be derecognised and urged an investigation into the property under the Diocese and Bishops which, he said, was being misused. He has also alleged rampant discrimination within the Church.




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VHP Targets Conversions in Sikkim
Posted on 2001/4/18 23:48:02 ( 668 reads )


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GANGTOK, SIKKIM, April 16, 2001: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad's international general secretary, Pravin Togadia, claimed that about 33,000 people had been converted to Christianity in Sikkim in the last 25 years. "Sikkim had only a few Christians 25 years ago, but now their number has crossed 33,000. The churches are targeting Hindus and Buddhists for conversion," Togadia said in Gangtok. He said the figure of 33,000 was based on computations made by 47 VHP preachers touring villages in the state to caution people against conversions. Togadia said the release of the government census figures would confirm the VHP count.




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Slaughterhouse Abuse Brought into the Limelight
Posted on 2001/4/18 23:47:02 ( 703 reads )


Source: Washington Post





PASCO, WASHINGTON, April 10, 2001: In this heart-wrenching article researched by the Washington Post, slaughterhouse abuse against animals across the U.S.A. has been brought into the limelight. It should give pause for thought to meateaters who believe the animals "went painlessly." Twenty-three years ago a federal law called the Humane Slaughter Act was put into place. Basically this law states that, "Slaughtered cattle and hogs first must be stunned, rendered insensible to pain with a blow to the head or an electric shock." The implementation of this law was given to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to oversee. However, very little was done by this agency to enforce the law and major violations by the slaughterhouses were simply overlooked. Even today, many animals are butchered while still conscious. Since 1998, government agencies were no longer required to even track the number of humane slaughter violations at a slaughterhouse, and by appearances the government seemed to remove itself even further from the atrocities. The only thing which has prompted change is a boycott of McDonalds by animal rights groups, which resulted in the company's requiring suppliers to use proper animal stunning techniques before slaughter.




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Use of English Increasing in Europe
Posted on 2001/4/18 23:46:02 ( 669 reads )


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THALWIL, SWITZERLAND, April 16, 2001: The whole world is debating English. From India to Mauritius to Europe, the steady growth of English is a concern for those advocating preserving local languages. But here in multi-lingual Switzerland, English is just part of the daily routine for schoolchildren. Most parents are delighted, believing that it is something that is needed today. European universities are giving courses in science, philosophy and business in English. There are European companies that use English as their internal language. Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark already conduct most business, science and even intellectual discussions in English.




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Child Abuse Documentary Showing
Posted on 2001/4/18 23:45:02 ( 873 reads )


Source: Daya Press Release





HOUSTON, TEXAS, April 17, 2001: DAYA, INC., an organization serving South Asian families in crisis, is screening an award winning documentary, "The Children We Sacrifice," at the Rice Media Center, Rice University, on April 28, 2001. Shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada and the U.S., the 61-minute video looks at the cultural and social resistance to dealing with the incestuous sexual abuse of South Asian girls and the traumatic effect on it's victims. Malaysian activist, writer and producer/director of the documentary, Grace Poore, will be present to speak as a survivor, whose personal experience is the driving force behind her work as an activist to end violence against women and girls. For further information, call DAYA voicemail at 713-914-1333.




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Delhi Conference on "Bottom Up" Economic Reform
Posted on 2001/4/18 23:44:02 ( 685 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 17, 2001: The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Manushi, a women's activist magazine, will hold a series of discussions on the theme of "Laws, Liberty and Livelihood Towards a Bottom up Agenda of Economic Reforms" at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Conference Hall, starting 27th and 28th of April, 2001. The first series will highlight the interface between agriculture, industries dependent on agro-products and policy makers, while the second day focuses on the urban self from the informal sector such as street vendors, rickshaw pullers and garbage recyclers who shall tell of the actual workings of municipal laws, regulations and police powers, and how they impact the lives of the self-employed.




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Gujarati Community Opens New Temple in South Africa
Posted on 2001/4/17 23:49:02 ( 440 reads )


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, April 11, 2001: After nine years of tireless work, the Gujarati community officially opened a new Hindu Temple and community center to serve the local population of Hindus and international visitors. Renowned swamis from India and local members of the Theosophical Society and the All-Africa Hindu Council were present at the event. The resultant Lotus Flower Shaped Temple has combined both Western Architecture and Eastern traditional designs found at ancient temples in India. Starting on Friday, April 13, the celebration of the opening of the temple lasted for four days and the festivities featured beautifully decorated floats, a brigade, drum majorettes, bedecked horses, as well as ethnic folk dancers and singers.




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South African Hindus Shocked by Theft of Temple Deities
Posted on 2001/4/17 23:48:02 ( 622 reads )


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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, April 13, 2001: The South African Indian community is shocked by the theft of brass murthis, or temple deities, that were stolen from the Mariamman Temple. The Pretoria Tamil League has offered a reward of US$300 for the safe return of the idols, which were imported from India. Police suspect that the five idols and three brass lamps were stolen from the temple by thieves who sell metals such as copper and brass to scrap metal dealers. The temple is never kept locked to enable 24-hour worship access to Tamils who were forced to move from the area by apartheid segregation laws. In 1984, the temple was declared a South African national monument, and two years ago it had undergone a major renovation.




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UK Report Calls for Police Checks on Catholic Clergy to Stem Sexual Abuse of Children in Parishes
Posted on 2001/4/17 23:47:02 ( 642 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, April 17, 2001: A report commissioned last year by the Roman Catholic Church and headed by Lord Nolan, a former appeals judge, said clergy, staff and volunteers at Catholic institutions should be subject to police checks to stamp out sexual abuse of children, and that the church must also not hush up allegations of abuse. "We believe that the Catholic Church in England and Wales should become an example of best practice in the prevention of child abuse and in responding to it," Nolan said. The report said the Church should set up a national child protection unit and that every parish should have a designated child protection representative. Anyone who refuses to consent to a records check should not be appointed. Any allegation of abuse should be investigated and the police, social services agencies and the child protection officer appointed by the diocese or religious order should be informed. Between 1995 and 1999, 21 of the 5,600 Catholic priests in England and Wales were convicted of offenses against children, and two archbishops have been embroiled in controversies about their handling of pedophile priests. "Our hope is that this report will help to bring about a culture of vigilance where every single adult member of the Catholic church takes responsibility for creating a safe environment for children and young people," the report said.




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