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Hampi Site Needs Protection
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:48:02 ( 732 reads )


Source: The Hindu





BELLARY, INDIA, June 10, 2001: The Cabinet will take a final decision on the formation of the Hampi Development Authority, according to the Minister for Tourism and Haj, Mr. Roshan Baig. The formation of the authority has become necessary following the fiat from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that Hampi would be deleted from the list of World Heritage Sites if steps are not taken to protect the ancient monuments. The UNESCO has included Hampi in the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger'' following the construction of two bridges, encroachments on ancient monuments, and construction of "Janata" houses near the major monuments. The functions of the authority will include systematic development of Hampi, conservation of the monuments, clearing the encroachments and providing facilities for tourists.




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The Future of Indian Classical Music is in Good Hands
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:47:02 ( 678 reads )


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KASHMIR, INDIA June 9, 2001: With discipline, fortitude, commitment, and flexibility, a new generation of Indian musicians is emerging. Some, following in the footsteps of famous parents are expected to perform outstandingly, while others under the guidance of devoted gurus have had to work extra hard to chart and make a place for themselves in the music world. Indian classical music is in good hands with Anoushka (Ravi Shankar) playing the sitar, Rakesh Chaurasia (Hari Prasad) playing the flute, and Rabul Sharma (Shiv Kumar) charming audiences with the santoor. All three young artists have performed well in their parents' shadows. Anoushka learned the sitar well from her father. Rakesh Chaurasia has perfected his technique on the flute and plays classical, semi-classical, light or folk music. He also does work for radio and accompaniment in Hindi films. Rabul Sharma has developed a style distinct from his father's lyrical and folksy pieces. Those who have made it on their own while receiving continuous instruction from devoted gurus include Tabla artists Anuradha Pal and sought after Mukundraj Dev who plays the tabla as an accompaniment to vocal, instrumental or dance music. Charming and talented female vocalists such as Asha Parasnis, Devki Pandit and Meeta Pandit have all perfected different classical traditions while Sanjeev Abhyankor, has been a major hit in the concert circuit with his effortless gayaki and pleasant voice.




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Twist and Shout
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:46:02 ( 755 reads )


Source: Straits Times





SINGAPORE, June 3, 2001: The ancient Hindu science of yoga is catching on fast here, mostly as a means of improving health. Almost all the more popular fitness centers here, including Planet Fitness and California Fitness, offer variations of yoga and yoga-based classes. Hotel clubs, swimming clubs as well as community clubs also offer yoga classes. A number of neighborhood Sports & Fitness Centers have started Learn-to-Play Yoga classes. According to a People's Association spokesman, there were 3,767 participants, mainly housewives and working women, in the community club courses last year, compared to 2,580 in 1999, an increase of 46 per cent. He attributes the rise to an increased health consciousness among the people. Men are also getting into the act. Some companies have even hired freelance yoga teachers to teach staff at the office itself. Some doctors are also recommending yoga to their patients to promote relaxation.




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Demand for Clergy is Rising Across America
Posted on 2001/6/10 23:45:02 ( 684 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 9, 2001: Pursuit by potential candidates of more lucrative and less emotionally demanding careers in a booming economy has led to a shortage of clergy to serve in Christian congregations across America. Seminary graduates are often teaching spirituality outside the confines of institutional religion at seminars, retreats and in lay Bible study groups. The average mean age of most seminary students is 35 and even though this age group brings professional experience, they often lack the flexibility needed for this career. In 1994, 944 Presbyterian congregations were able to choose from a possible 1697 candidates in selecting a pastor. However, in May of 2001, 1450 congregations looking for a new pastor soon found out that the new clergy was interviewing them for suitability as only 1277 members of the clergy were available. Unlike the Roman Catholic church that has had problems for years attracting new priests and keeping existent priests who often opt to marry and leave the priesthood, most Protestant denominations have not felt the impact of declining numbers of clergy until recently. Orthodox Jews are also feeling the pinch, especially in smaller communities. According to Rabbi Steven Dworken, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, "We have taught our children and imparted the message all too well that you can be a Jew at home and in the marketplace. They went to Wall Street, they went to law school, they went to advertising." As a result, 50-75 synagogues are without a rabbi this year. Evangelical churches have tackled the shortage problem by training lay people to serve as pastors. The United Methodist Church with 8.2 million members has increased the number of people serving as local pastors, those who complete a special study, non-seminary in nature and serve a congregation. Similar problems are occurring with the clergy of all religions of the world.




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Indian Government Contributes Funds to Temples
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:49:02 ( 742 reads )


Source: The Hindu





THANJAVUR, INDIA, June 5, 2001: Low-income temples in India are at long last receiving help from the government. Each qualifying temple will receive US$357 and contribute an additional $53 from their own coffers. Priests of the each of nearly 2,000 temples will conduct a grand "Kala Puja" that will generate shakti to attract devotees and additional funds for upkeep. As as result, it is hoped the temples will be able to get back on their feet. Temples who are struggling to come up with the $53 will be waived this amount and given the full $425 by the government. The new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms. J. Jaylalitha, has announced that an additional 250-500 temples in Adi Dravida colonies are being renovated with $532 being allotted for each temple.




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UH Study Shows Aids Strikes Five Nations Hardest, Including India
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:48:02 ( 660 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 8, 2001: India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa each have at least two million adults suffering from AIDS or infected with the HIV virus, according to a new UN statistical analysis released on Thursday. And in five African countries -- Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- at least 20 percent of the population or one out of every five adults is infected with the killer disease. "We've gone from a bad to a worse situation and we haven't reached the peak yet in terms of illness, death, population loss and human suffering," said Joseph Chamie, director of the United Nations Population Division, which prepared the charts.




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Hundred-Ton Granite Block Worshiped
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:47:02 ( 797 reads )


Source: India Tribune





BANGALORE, INDIA, May 26, 2001: A 40-foot long green granite block weighing 100 tons destined for carving into a statue of Lord Hanuman fell off its 96-wheel trailer onto the roadside while negotiating a turn near Bangalore. Upon learning the huge stone's sacred destiny, the local villagers immediately began worshipping it. The popularity of the stone is such that thousands now visit it, boosting substantially the local businesses. It took 50 days to get the stone on the trailer in the first place, and the owners have yet to decide whether or not to try to load it up again. The block required 18 months to carve from a larger block located in a farmer's field.




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Why is the West Crazy About Sanskrit?
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:46:02 ( 704 reads )


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CALCUTTA, INDIA, June 9, 2001: While we in India battle each other on the streets on whether Sanskrit should be revived in the school curricula or not, top notch Western universities have been busy churning our one esoteric dissertation after another on Panini's Ashtadhyay and comparing Bhartihari's and Patanjali's grammatical logic. The irony has been in place for over two centuries now. Even as we neglect our rich cultural heritage, it is the West that has revived interest in the East. Ever since 1786, when Sir William Jones, in a paper presented to the Royal Asiatic Society, in Calcutta, said, "the wonderful structure" of the Sanskrit language, is "more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either," the West has been busy learning from Sanskrit. Today several American campuses offer Sanskrit along with modern Indian languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Tamil.




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Delhi Works to Upgrade Cremation Grounds
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:45:02 ( 831 reads )


Source: The Hindustan Times





NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 29, 2001: The subcommittee set up in 1997 to prepare a status report on the condition of cremation grounds in New Delhi and to formulate a policy for their improvement is yet to finalize its report. Lack of interest on the part of members and health officials is cited. The committee was set up by the apex policy -making body of the Municipal Corporation to put a stop to the harassment faced by the public when they use the Corporation-maintained cremation grounds. Opposition leader Ram Babu Sharma has issued a strong letter to Municipal Commissioner S. P. Aggarwal saying that pundits demand large fees to perform the last rites. Also fuelwood used for cremation is also sold at exorbitant rates. He urged fixing of prices which should be displayed prominently on a board. There are 269 cremation grounds under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation, and 57 are maintained by MCD.




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Church Donations on Decline in America
Posted on 2001/6/9 23:44:02 ( 845 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





VENTURA. CALIFORNIA, June 7, 2001: Tithing, the ancient practice of contributing one-tenth of your income to the religion of your choice, is on the decline in America. According to the Barna Research Group who conducted a telephone poll on 1,005 adults, 17% claimed to tithe but in actuality only 6% donated one-tenth of their income to a religious charity. According to this article, "Sixty-one percent of adults donated money to one or more churches in 2000, compared to 66% in 1999. The average church donor contributed a mean of $649 to churches in 2000, compared to $806 in 1999." The research company pointed out that young adults contribute meagerly to their churches as does the generation of baby-boomers 30-50 years of age. Both groups tend to contribute more to charitable organizations. The article also points out the challenge that church ministries will face in the future to instill the value of tithing upon their congregations. Other studies have shown that members contribute liberally to churches which provide a great deal of service to their members. Cutting back of services because of lack of donations only causes a further drop.




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Malaysian Police Uncover Band Waging "Jihad"
Posted on 2001/6/8 23:49:02 ( 732 reads )


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, June 8, 2001: Malaysian police said yesterday a Muslim militant group which has been behind a trail of bomb blasts, armed robberies and attempted murders was planning to wage a "holy war" to turn Malaysia into a "purist" Islamic state. Nine members of the group, all Malaysians who were arrested recently, had fought with the Mujahideens in Afghanistan and against Christians in Ambon, Indonesia. The authorities were probing their links with international terrorist groups. Describing the deviant group as a major threat to national security, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai said the members were involved in 17 criminal cases in the past two years, including the bombing of a church and an Indian temple and an attack on a police station. He also listed a long string of other crimes they had committed, from the murder of a prominent Barisan Nasional politician and an attempted bank robbery to a botched arms heist. Police have recovered a cache of weapons, including an M-16 rifle, several pistols, ammunition and bomb-making parts, such as explosives, detonator caps and wires.




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The Plight of Hindus in Afghanistan
Posted on 2001/6/8 23:48:02 ( 782 reads )


Source: United News of India





NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 21, 2001: Once wealthy merchant families numbering around 50,000 who lived an honorable life contributing to their society for thousands of years, the plight of Hindus has been reduced to a slum-like existence in Afghanistan. After the Taliban hard-liner regime took over power in the country, they imposed a fundamentalist approach in their interpretation of the Koran upon their Muslim citizens. Now, they have targeted the minority Hindu population by threatening prosecution upon households where Hindus and Muslims might live together and forcing the Hindus of the home to leave within three days. To add insult upon insult, Hindus are not allowed to build any new temples, Hindu men cannot wear turbans, Hindu women must cover their body with a yellow chadder (Muslim women wear this garment) with two small holes for the eyes, and Hindu women are being forced to wear an iron necklace when shopping in the marketplace. This helpless minority has watched while their homes, businesses, and temples have been destroyed. Escaping to India, the U.S. and Germany at the beginning of this reign of terror, these Hindus were the fortunate ones. Those remaining can now only make a difficult escape via Pakistan.




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Singapore EDB and Indian Firm to Make Film on Buddha
Posted on 2001/6/8 23:47:02 ( 708 reads )


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SINGAPORE, June 7, 2001: The Economic Development Board (EDB) has joined forces with an Indian multimedia company to make an animated film about Buddha. The US$5.5 million production entitled "Buddha," due to be finished next year, will be the first full-length animated film to be co-produced here. The 90-minute story about Prince Siddharta's journey towards enlightenment will combine the best of traditional cartoon drawing and high-tech computer animation. The film should be released internationally by the end of next year.




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Asians Lead in Australian Population Growth
Posted on 2001/6/8 23:46:02 ( 735 reads )


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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, June 9, 2001: The Australian Social Trends 2001, compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, shows that the Asian-born proportion of the population is the most rapidly growing. The Australian-born caucasian is being replaced by predominantly Asian immigrants and their offspring. Based on last year's figures compiled by the annual study, 4.5 million people or a quarter of the population were born overseas, 1.1 million of them in Asia. The Asian-born component of the population is expected to continue to be the fastest-growing as Asian immigration grows and Asians already in Australia have children. The Asian population is concentrated in the 20-44 year age group. About 91 per cent live in capital cities. Asian women outnumber Asian men, particularly among Filipino immigrants where males are outnumbered by two to one. The largest source country is Vietnam, at 3.9 per cent or 174,000 of the Asian-born population. This is due to the influx of boat people who started arriving in the late 70s. Other studies have shown that the greatest rate of increase in inter-marriages is between Anglo men and Asian women.




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Yadagirigutta Temple Burgled, Watchman Killed
Posted on 2001/6/8 23:45:02 ( 752 reads )


Source: The Hindu





HYDERABAD, JUNE 6. The Laxmi Narasimha Temple at Yadagirigutta was burgled and one of its watchmen, Ram Bahadur, was stabbed to death. Bahadur would remain inside the temple after the main doors were locked every evening at 10 p.m. The victim's body was found in a pool of blood by priests arriving at 4 a.m. for the morning worship and immediately the police were alerted. Unidentified culprits managed to break open the lock of the main hundi (collection box) but had to escape empty-handed as they could not reach collections at the bottom of the 8-foot-deep hundi.




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