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Many World Languages Face Extinction
Posted on 2001/6/22 23:48:02 ( 771 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2001: Among the world's 6,800 languages, half to 90 percent could be extinct by the end of the century. Half of all languages are spoken by fewer than 2,500 people each, according to the Worldwatch Institute, a private organization that monitors global trends. Languages need at least 100,000 speakers to pass from generation to generation. War, genocide, fatal natural disasters, government bans and the adoption of more dominant languages also contribute to their demise. Several languages in India face extinction.




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Unique Educational Experience Available for Poor New Delhi Families
Posted on 2001/6/22 23:47:02 ( 726 reads )


Source: The Pioneer





NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 12, 2001: An unique gurukulam (priest school), Shri Hanuman Sanskrit Mahavidalaya, has been in operation in West Delhi since 1978. Attracting students from poor families who cannot afford food or education for their offspring, the institute is run by a branch of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. While teaching common subjects such as history and English as well as astrology and Sanskrit grammar, the school cannot afford to offer any sciences in its curriculum. Upon graduating with Class 12 from the school, students can continue their post secondary studies in a shastri course. With an excellent grasp of English and history, graduates can become lecturers, work in historical museums, become astrologers or work as priests in temples run by the government.




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Sri Lanka Fails to Recruit Quota of Buddhist Monks
Posted on 2001/6/22 23:46:02 ( 738 reads )


Source: Sri Lanka Newspaper





COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, June 5, 2001: In an attempt to meet the needs of 13.7 million Buddhists on the island, the government has advertised for monks. With only 39,000 monks, many of them aging, to serve the Buddhist congregation, an additional 1,000 candidates are needed in the Buddhist Clergy. However, only 671 aspirants responded, and the mass ordination has been postponed. These aspirants will however serve in temples until they are ordained at a later date. Traditionalists of the Buddhist clergy have objected to the way the Prime Minister has, "short-circuited the strict process of choosing aspirants."




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PM Urges Sri Lankans to Have More Children
Posted on 2001/6/22 23:45:02 ( 692 reads )


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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, June 19, 2001: Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, blaming the island's low population rate for a shortage of Buddhist monks and soldiers, has urged Sri Lankans to have more children. Offering special bonuses as incentives, he advised citizens to disregard slogans promoting small families. He blamed Sri Lanka's slow population growth, held up as a model among developing countries, for the failure of his recent drives to recruit 10,000 soldiers and 2,000 monks, the Sinhala-language "Divaina" reported.




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Gurkha Soldiers Honor Death of Royal Couple
Posted on 2001/6/22 23:44:02 ( 777 reads )


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FOLKESTONE, UNITED KINGDOM, June 16, 2001: Recruited from the hill tribes in eastern and western Nepal, Gurkha soldiers serving in the British Army paid their respects to the King and Queen of Nepal last Saturday. Offering fresh picked flowers to five-foot-high portraits of the Royal couple, the Gurkhas had been shocked by the deaths. A Hindu priest was on hand at the ceremony to offer condolences. However, these soldiers who are hand picked for the Army every year after rigorous tests, are resilient and according to a senior army officer, "After the shock, life will go on."




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UNICEF Photo Illustrates Plight of Girl Child in India
Posted on 2001/6/21 23:49:02 ( 767 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 13, 2001: A UNICEF picture of an Indian mother with her twin children -- a boy and a severely malnourished girl -- has become a symbol of the plight of the girl child in India. The picture has been used to epitomize the discriminatory feeding practices in India at a briefing, "Saving Women's Lives: The Impact of Violence on Safe Motherhood Worldwide", in New York. The briefing also covered issues of the Taliban's role in denying Afghan women adequate healthcare, health status of immigrant women in the US, and domestic violence and abuse of women by present or former partners all over the world. The UN Undersecretary General said, "Violence is something that all countries and classes have in common. One in three women worldwide has probably experienced violence in some form, by someone close to her. It is the result of sex-related abortions that we have 60 million fewer girls than expected."




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Buddhism Blooms Amid the Forests of the Catskills
Posted on 2001/6/21 23:48:02 ( 763 reads )


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LIVINGSTON MANOR, NEW YORK, June 18, 2001: Major Buddhist centers have spread throughout the wooded hills and valleys of the Catskills. Academics and others say the Buddhist presence is steadily growing, both in the number of centers and in the increasing variety of their traditions. "The borscht belt has become the Buddhist belt," said Melvin McCleod, the editor of The Shambhala Sun, a leading Buddhist magazine. (The area was called the "Borscht belt" because of the large number of Jewish-oriented hotels built here in the 1950s.) The Dai Bosatsu opened here in 1976. "Some of America's most well-regarded and important Buddhist centers make their home in the Catskills," said Mr. McCleod. There are also several major yoga centers in this area.




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Website Offers Traditional Indian Wedding Packages
Posted on 2001/6/21 23:47:02 ( 710 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, JUNE 15, 2001: Now, at the click of a button, families can decide the budget for a marriage or get a wedding manager to take over the task of organizing their entire wedding. Promoted by Indian marketing guru Shunu Sen and one of India's early woman entrepreneurs Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, shaadionline.com is introducing the concept of wedding management in India and to Indians abroad. The facility is expected to be a boon for hard-pressed families, particularly from the Indian diaspora who are often more strict about rituals than their counterparts in their motherland. The site offers full management services or any segment, from the priest to "puja" materials to rituals of 37 Indian communities from Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities. India's wedding market is estimated to be worth US$110 million during the four-month wedding season.




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Bradford Intimidation Claims Denied
Posted on 2001/6/21 23:46:02 ( 786 reads )


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BRADFORD, ENGLAND, June 14, 2001: Allegations that Hindu families are being driven out of their homes by young Muslims have been disputed by local community leaders. Police have confirmed they are aware that tensions between some members of the two communities exist. A local Vishwa Hindu Parishad trustee, whose pharmacy was allegedly firebombed, believes that Muslims have undertaken a systematic ethnic cleansing, citing a 90% reduction of the area's Hindu population over the last 10 years. Muslim leaders have strongly denied that attempts have been made to exclude Hindus from some areas of the city, saying such behavior would not be tolerated. (See following report also.)




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Bradford England Uneasy as Hindu-Muslim Tensions Emerge
Posted on 2001/6/21 23:45:02 ( 731 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, June 14, 2001: Tensions between Hindus and Muslims have become evident in the city of Bradford where a 350,000 strong white majority coexists uneasily with 85,000 Asians, predominantly Pakistani Muslims, according to this report. Paresh Mistry, 18, an organizer of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (Hindu Voluntary Corps) in Bradford, says his organization's aim is "to encourage Hindu youths to become good and decent citizens of this country." His group runs cultural activities for people of all ages and weekly sessions are regularly attended by more than 100 members, some as young as five. Mistry says the good work of the club is being undermined by the behavior of Muslim youths intent on provoking Hindu youngsters to react to their taunts. In one recent incident, a gang threw bricks at members attending a club meeting. He insisted that there would be no retaliation. The Vice President of Bradford Council of Mosques admits the existence of unruly Muslim elements, but says there is also a problem with a small minority of Hindus who identify with the right-wing Shiv Sena. He expressed his willingness to meet with Mistry and the police to identify when these problems occur and who the troublemakers are. "These sorts of yobs (hooligans) don't come to the mosques and it is a difficult job to get them into line. They don't listen to elders, they don't listen to police and they don't listen to authority. People practicing their faith properly would not involve themselves in such behavior as violence, disrespectful behavior and rowdyism."




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Nepalese Priest Defiles Himself For National Atonement
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:49:02 ( 715 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, June 10, 2001: Nepalese bade an ancient Hindu farewell to Crown Price Dipendra that they hope will banish the ill fortune that has struck the palace. Dipendra, as Crown Prince, was named king as he lay dying in a coma from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As for his father just a few days before, the "katto" ceremony required a brahmin priest to deliberately defile himself by eating meat, then dressing as Dipendra and crossing the Bagmati River on elephant back. At first, the elephant appeared reluctant to go. As Nepali dignitaries slapped its buttocks to send the bad luck on its way, the elephant turned and chased them up a narrow path. Once brought under control by the mahouts, it lumbered across the river and away. The priest will be banished for the rest of his life, supported in exile by gifts and money donated by wellwishers anxious to rid the capital of the bad luck that has plunged the nation into crisis.




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India's British Mission Rescues UK-Born Indian Girl From Parents
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:48:02 ( 772 reads )


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CHANDIGARGH, INDIA, June 19, 2001: Officials at the British High Commission in New Delhi have come to the rescue of a young Briton of Indian descent who was kept captive by her parents to prevent her from marrying against their wishes. Jaspreet Kaur, 17 and a resident of London, had come to her native village of Bagha Purana in Punjab with her father Jagdish Singh Brar on June 4. She managed to mail a complaint to the British High Commission and asked for immediate help. A police party rescued her and took her to Delhi where the High Commission arranged for her journey to London. This is the second case in the past month in which NRI parents have detained their daughters due to differences over the choice of life partners.




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Main Elephant of Meenakshi Temple in Madurai Dies
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:47:02 ( 860 reads )


Source: The Hindu





MADURAI, INDIA, June 18, 2001: The 70-year-old she-elephant, Meenakshi, of the Meenakshi Sundereshwarar temple, which served the temple for more than five decades, died on Sunday night after a prolonged illness. Old age and its associated symptoms of illness were said to be the main reason for the death. The body was taken to the Devasthanam's garden at Koodal Senkulam, a city suburb, where she was buried. Worship services were cancelled until her remains were removed from the temple premises. The docile animal had been a house-hold name for temple visitors and led all important temple processions. The temple has two more elephants -- Angayarkanni, age 35 and Parvathi, 4.




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Divers Locate Refugee Shipwreck
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:46:02 ( 902 reads )


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SICILY, ITALY, JUNE 16, 2001: A search team has found what is thought to be the wreck of a ship which sank off the Italian coast five years ago with hundreds of illegal immigrants on board, including many Hindus. About 280 people, mainly from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are believed to have drowned when the ship went down in waters off Sicily in December 1996. Investigations by the Italian and Greek authorities at the time failed to find any trace of the alleged disaster. Survivors told police at the time that they had been forced to board the doomed ship from a larger vessel.




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Clinton Encourages East Indian Americans to Support India
Posted on 2001/6/18 23:45:02 ( 769 reads )


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NEW YORK, U.S.A., June 13, 2001: A whopping 1.3 million dollars was raised for the villages in Gujarat at a dinner concert held last Tuesday on Wall Street. At a US$1,000/per plate, the dinner was organized by the American India Foundation. Former President Clinton, an honorary member of the AIF, was a guest speaker at the event.The evening program highlighted Indian music and a fashion show of India's leading designers. However, Clinton was the main attraction at the event and his support was appreciated by the Indian community who gave him a standing ovation when he announced, "What happens in India is one of the three or four most important things that will determine the course of the 21st century."




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