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Hindu Press International
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Catholics Settle Another Sex Abuse Case
Posted on 2001/8/20 23:45:02 ( 804 reads )


SANATA ANA, CALIFORNIA, August 21, 2001: Roman Catholic leaders in Orange and Los Angeles counties agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle a lawsuit accusing a once-popular priest of molestation. Church leaders also agreed to a code of conduct, which would be enforced by a judge, to crack down on Catholic clergymen who prey on children. The settlement, which still needs to be approved by a judge, stems from accusations that Monsignor Michael Harris, 56, molested a 17-year-old Catholic high school student, Ryan DiMaria, in 1991. "I'm very happy with what we got accomplished," DiMaria, now 28, told The Orange County Register. "I think it will protect a lot of victims in the future," DiMaria, said Monday. Harris, who declined to be interviewed, has always denied wrongdoing and never has been charged with a crime. However, he agreed to leave the priesthood and has been on inactive leave from the church since 1994. The settlement in DiMaria's suit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange calls for a toll-free number and the creation of a Web site for reporting molestation, as well as for educational pamphlets to be distributed to Catholic churches and schools. It also requires that priests sign agreements not to molest, among other things. DiMaria, a former Santa Margarita Catholic High School student, brought the suit because he claimed that the dioceses turned their backs on the predatory behavior of Harris, who allegedly targeted young men in need of spiritual counseling. The Catholic Church has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle similar lawsuits across the USA.

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Prime Minister Criticizes Conversion Motives
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:49:02 ( 755 reads )

Source: Press Trust of India

NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 19, 2001: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday said there was a "conversion motive" behind the welfare activities being carried out by some Christian missionaries in the country's backward areas and that it was "not proper," though conversion was permissible under the law. Speaking at a function here to release a book on a prominent RSS activist, Vajpayee said Christian missionaries were engaged in laudable social work, "though some have a conversion motive, which is not proper." He, however, added that the Christians had a right to practice and preach their religion. Referring to abduction and recent killing of four RSS activists by insurgents in the Northeast, Vajpayee regretted that the media gave very little coverage to their "sacrifice." "The RSS activists had gone there to serve the people. I was sad to learn that their sacrifice went unnoticed. Had the news been about Christian missionaries, it would have been widely covered. The media's attitude should change," the Prime Minister said.

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Treatment of Hindus in Zimbabwe
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:48:02 ( 933 reads )


ZIMBABWE, AFRICA, February, 24, 2001: Whites were not the only race coming under attack in the racially-motivated parliamentary election campaign currently ravaging Zimbabwe. Asians, in particular, are being targeted, through a hate-filled document sent to prominent businessmen in the community and believed to have originated from the offices of black economic empowerment organization, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG). The document, "Indigenization versus Indians" comes as a rude shock to many Asians who, as second or third generation Zimbabweans, considered themselves "indigenous." The contents of the document state that this is not how the propagators of affirmative action in Zimbabwe view them. "Black people did not die for this country so that Indians could go on oppressing them," states the document. The situation is the same as in many other countries where the Indian communities have lived, even for generations.

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Astrology in Universities
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:47:02 ( 823 reads )

Source: The Sunday Times

UNITED KINGDOM, June 17, 2001: Several British institutions are to make the study of astrology mainstream again. Southampton University has formed a research group for the critical study of astrology and three students are to investigate links between the planets and various aspects of human behavior. Researchers from universities in Manchester and Plymouth are testing data in other projects for astrological "truth." By the end of this year, two more British universities hope to start astrological research. Academic astrology is now available in the United States, too. According to Dr. Christopher French, who investigates the psychology of the paranormal at Goldsmiths College in London, about 75% of people read horoscopes. Nancy Reagan brought back the idea of a court consultant and is said to have rescheduled important meetings according to the stars. The late Princess Diana also had her own personal astrologer. Some big businesses, too, take astrology seriously enough to spend money on it, believing that astrology can be an invaluable guide to trends.

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Naipual Interview On-Line
Posted on 2001/8/19 23:46:02 ( 973 reads )


WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND, August 13, 2001: Interested HPI readers may find the entire interview of V.S. Naipual at the above website. A short summary appeared in the August 17 issue of HPI. Our thanks to Ashok Chowgule for finding this site.

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Australian Construction Union Installs Ganesha
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:49:02 ( 815 reads )


LIDCOMBE, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, August 17, 2001: The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union announced today the consecration of a statue of Lord Ganesha at their new head office here on August 22, Ganesha Chaturthi. This union had intervened on behalf of a group of Indian stone carvers at a Hindu temple under construction, ultimately winning them substantial wages in line with Australian labor laws. According to their press release, "The workers carved the gift for the CFMEU at the same time the union was fighting to win them their proper wages and entitlements. Ganesha is the elephant-headed Hindu patron of new undertakings and the remover of obstacles. It is traditionally associated with everything new, including buildings and projects. It is appropriate for the CFMEU to have the statue consecrated now, because we have just moved into our new Lidcombe head office. The CFMEU embraces all cultures and the colorful cultural event is being conducted as part of our commitment to encourage a more tolerant society."

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Wives Rewarded When Husbands Abstain from Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:48:02 ( 756 reads )


ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA, August 13, 2001: A clever tactic has been adopted by the boss of a chemical company in the state of Andhra Pradesh. To discourage smoking and drinking alcohol, the company pays the wife of a male employee a bonus of ten dollars a month when her husband abstains from the two habits. According to Mr. Venkatesh, "99% of his 1200 employees stick to the regime." Even though the program costs the company US$150,000 a year, the results have encouraged employees to be faithful and disciplined.

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Smoking Ads Still Aimed at Kids
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:47:02 ( 690 reads )


BOSTON, USA, Aug. 15, 2001: The multibillion-dollar 1998 national tobacco pact has failed to turn back a torrent of cigarette advertising placed in magazines and aimed at children, a study concluded. "What surprises me is the sheer gall of the tobacco industry in general: their willingness to continue to find ways to get around the very agreement they entered into," said former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, who signed the pact. He is now president of Common Cause, a citizen's lobbying group. The study by two Boston-based researchers says that cigarette makers have kept up a high level of spending for magazine ads targeted at middle and high school-age children. It says that last year, magazine ads for cigarette brands popular with teenagers reached 82 percent of them. That percentage was down from 88 percent in 1999, but the study's authors said it was still way too high.

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Naipaul: Indian Writers Have No Sense of History
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:46:02 ( 821 reads )

Source: The Hindu

LONDON UK AUG. 12, 2001: "The full text of Mr. V.S. Naipaul's interview to the Literary Review is now available and Indian writers are not likely to be amused by what Sir Vidia thinks of them. In short, he says Indian writing exists in a historical vacuum. R.K. Narayan is singled out for "lacking a sense of history, his writing 'hangs in the air' because of a lack of historical perspective." This will likely infuriate the liberal opinion in India due to Naipaul's admiration for "movements from below," such as the Shiv Sena which, he says, are more authentic than the "middle class chaps with no feel for the wretched of the earth." In what many might regard as a sweeping generalization, Mr. Naipaul says, "The thing about being an Indian, and it remains true of Indian writing now, is that it seems to work without history, in a vacuum. Indian writers don't know why their country is in such a mess. They can't understand the poverty of India, they don't know why early travelers talk of a derelict countryside. Very easy to think that it might be because of the British but much easier in fact to pay no attention to it at all. This lack in Indian writing, even Narayan's writing, is a fatal flaw." He attacks Jawaharlal Nehru for encouraging a certain "construct' of Indian history which, he believes, is a refusal to face facts. The Nehruvian idea of India, he argues, was constructed to get the independence movement off the ground. "They had to get people together for the independence movement, and they had to tell stories." Naipaul is considered one of the world's foremost authors in English today.

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Nepal Outlaws Caste Discrimination
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:45:02 ( 741 reads )


KATMANDU, NEPAL, Aug, 16, 2001: The Nepalese government said it would outlaw discrimination against lower-caste Hindus and pledged to pass a law ending the centuries-old system that deems certain people "untouchable." "Effective from this day the practice of untouchability and any discrimination based on it will be considered a crime punishable by a severe sentence," Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba told Parliament, announcing his new government's policy. He did not say what the punishment would be. Deuba, who came to power last month after the resignation of an unpopular prime minister and the massacre of Nepal's royal family, said his Cabinet reached the decision as part of a package of sweeping reforms. The country's latest census has yet to be made public, and it was unclear how many Dalits are among Nepal's 23 million people.

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Fiji Temple Robbed
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:44:02 ( 835 reads )

Source: News Reports

SUVA, FIJI, August 13, 2001: Thieves broke into two Hindu temples in Suva today during the night and stole musical instruments from both places worth US$1,152. Committee member Satish Deo of the Ram Krishna Mandir said, "We request assistance in replacing the musical instruments as we are borrowing from other temples during prayers." Police spokeswoman Sergeant Unaisi Vuniwaqa said, "We request members of the public to have respect for all places of worship, whether it be church, temple or mosque, and also to promote religious tolerance, especially during this very crucial time." The first elections since the aborted coup of last year take place in a few days.

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Grooms Lose Along With Dot-Coms
Posted on 2001/8/16 23:43:02 ( 855 reads )

Source: India Tribune

BANGALORE, INDIA, August 11, 2001: Software engineers here used to have their pick of brides in the very competitive arranged marriage market. No more. With the fall of the dot-coms worldwide has gone the premium formerly placed on the engineers. Said one engineer, "For the past four months, I have seen the majority of parents hesitating to marry off their daughters to a software engineer as they are not sure whether we will have our jobs next year." One marriage bureau has a backlog of 500 dot-com professionals on its books. Said one manager, "Previously the information technology sector was hot, now brides are shifting to management guys, chartered accountants and company secretaries." Returned engineers from America, having lost their visas with their company's downfall, are facing the same problem in finding wives.

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New York Times Article on Child Sex Selection
Posted on 2001/8/15 23:49:02 ( 762 reads )


NEW JERSEY, August 15, 2001: This major article in the New York Times reports that in recent editions of India Abroad, a weekly newspaper for Indian expatriates in the United States and Canada, advertisements have run soliciting customers for doctors who will tell the parents the gender of their unborn baby. The objective is to insure a boy child, girls being almost always aborted. The article explains that this procedure is legal in the USA while illegal in India itself. The Times describes the ads as an example of "niche marketing," the selling of a product to a relatively small group who desire it. There has been little objection to the practice from the general Indian community, although India Abroad itself yanked the ads as soon as they were brought to the attention of the publishers. "As immigrants, we really had a chance of starting with a clean, fresh slate," said Shamita Das Dasgupta, a founder of Manavi, a New Jersey group that provides counseling for abused South Asian women. "These practitioners are taking advantage of a practice that is totally misogynous, and unless the good-thinking people of our community stand up and let their voices be heard, such practices will continue happening."

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Hong Kong Monastery Economic Downturn's Latest Victim
Posted on 2001/8/15 23:48:02 ( 819 reads )

Source: Straits Times

HONGKONG, Aug 16, 2001: Even monks have been hit by the economic slowdown. A dwindling number of tourists has thrust Hongkong's biggest Buddhist monastery into the red, forcing it to ponder cost-cutting measures such as voluntary retirement. Showing it is not immune to the financial troubles hitting many Hongkong businesses, officials at Po Lin Monastery said yesterday that they had been running a deficit of US$77,000 a month since June. Chief monk Sik Chi Wai said any staff quitting the monastery would not be replaced, although there were no plans to impose layoffs on the staff of 150. He said rainy weather and two recent typhoons cut into the number of visitors. People on the payroll include cooks, kitchen workers, secretaries, cleaners, security guards and gift shop cashiers. Monastery operations manager Poon Kwok-kun said the monastery's revenue had fallen by at least 30 per cent over the past year as Hongkong's economy slowed, with only a few hundred visitors to the monastery on bad days. The monastery claims its outdoor seated bronze Buddha, perched on a mountain in Hongkong's outlying Lantau island, is the world's largest. Since the giant Buddha site opened in 1993, it has drawn more than seven million visitors. Lantau is known as the Island of Prayers, with almost 300 tiny Buddhist monasteries.

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MacDonald's Says It Will List More Ingredients of Its Food
Posted on 2001/8/15 23:47:02 ( 757 reads )

Source: Religion News Service

USA, August 14, 2001: More than three months after Hindu and non-Hindu vegetarians sued McDonald's USA, claiming the company failed to disclose that its french fries contained beef, the fast-food corporation announced it would provide more ingredient information to customers. In an Aug. 13 press release, the chain said the company's Web site,, now includes updated details on whether "a natural flavor comes from a dairy, meat or vegetable source." The site admits the natural flavors used in McDonald's french fries contain beef, whereas previous ingredient listings did not explain the makeup of "natural flavors." The updated information also will be available in printed pamphlets in McDonald's restaurants.

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