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India To Enforce Ban on Prenatal Sex Tests
Posted on 2001/5/9 23:49:02 ( 766 reads )


Source: Agence France-Presse





NEW DELHI, INDIA, MAY 5, 2001: With the population count showing a dramatic drop in the male-female ratio among children in many parts of the country, India's Supreme Court has directed the government to enforce the ban on procedures to determine the sex of unborn children. Such procedures have led to abortions of female fetuses and an increasing imbalance in the ratio of males to females in the population. The Times of India reported that, "The court has asked state governments to furnish quarterly reports on the enforcement of laws banning sex-selective abortions in the country and to begin a campaign against female infanticide and prenatal determination of sex."




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Extremists Burn Buddhist Temple in Tripura
Posted on 2001/5/9 23:48:02 ( 847 reads )


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AGARTALA, INDIA, April 10, 2001: A Buddhist temple and several huts of the Chakma community were ransacked and torched by All Tripura Tiger Force insurgents in Dhalai district of Tripura, police said on April 10. A group of ATTF insurgents raided Taichakma village on Sunday night and ransacked and set ablaze a thatched Buddhist temple, police said quoting delayed reports. Villagers who tried to extinguish the flames were severely beaten by the extremists, who then set ablaze 13 huts belonging to five chakma families. Earlier, insurgents of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), which had served a notice in the hill areas last year warning of stern action against villagers who practice any other religion except Christianity, had on December fifth ransacked a Buddhist temple and taken away scriptures and the idol in Almara village of south Tripura district.




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Dalit Women Suffer Abuse at the Hands of Upper Class
Posted on 2001/5/9 23:47:02 ( 800 reads )


Source: The Guardian





NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 9, 2001: This heart-wrenching article exposing the injustices against Dalit ("untouchable") women in the feudal states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, is based on a study done by Amnesty International. Reportedly women from the untouchable class are routinely raped and harassed by upper caste villagers and landlords. To make matters worse, if rape victims report the attack to the police they could be assaulted, their families threatened, or their statement ignored and dismissed as false. Police have also been known to participate in the rape assaults. As a result, less than five percent of cases make it to court. Besides sexual assaults, the whole untouchable class have been treated poorly for years. Dalits riding a bicycle, wearing shoes in front of a upper-caste person or drawing water from a designated upper-class well could be harassed or beaten. Spokeswoman for Amnesty International, Emma Blower, is quoted as saying, "There is a hideous amount of violence against women in rural areas."




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US Official Criticizes Lanka Ban On GM Food Imports
Posted on 2001/5/9 23:46:02 ( 733 reads )


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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, May 10, 2001: A senior US official has criticized Sri Lanka's sweeping ban on genetically modified (GM) food imports, according to this report in India Abroad, describing it as "totally unwarranted" and without any "credible scientific evidence" to support it. Weyland Beeghly, the agricultural counselor at the US mission in New Delhi, said Thursday that Sri Lanka's ban, which came into effect May 1, was the first anywhere in the world. It is somewhat difficult to understand this claim, as both Europe and Japan prohibit the sale of GM foods out of safety concerns. In a related development, the New York Times reported that more than one quarter of the America's seed suppliers have found corn seed contaminated with traces of a biotech variety wasn't approved for human consumption. The biotech seed, named StarLink, was approved only for animal consumption because of unanswered questions about whether a special protein, called Cry9C, in the corn can cause allergic reactions in people.




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Historian Seeks Help on Sindhi Diaspora
Posted on 2001/5/9 23:45:02 ( 903 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, May 7, 2001: Hiro Shroff's project, "Sindhi Jottings," covers the worldwide migration of Sindhis from Pakistan following the partition of India in 1947. He would appreciate input from HPI readers for his project. Contact him at "source" above.




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Malaysia Muslim Leader Would Destroy Temples
Posted on 2001/5/8 23:49:02 ( 739 reads )


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PENANG, MALAYSIA, May 7, 2001: The Malaysia Hindu Sangam has demanded an apology of Idris Omar, a member of PAS, the Pan-Malaysia Islamic political party. This report in The Star newspaper states, "The Malaysia Hindu Sangam demanded a public apology from Idris for his statement that PAS would destroy all statues in non-Muslim places of worship if it came into power. 'We condemn him if he had made such remarks and call on him to apologize and retract the statement immediately,' said its president, A. Vaithilingam. He said the organization was shocked to find out about the statement, and had passed a resolution against Idris. Democratic Action Party national deputy chairman Karpal Singh said he believed Omar could be charged with sedition.




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China To Build World's Largest Buddha
Posted on 2001/5/8 23:48:02 ( 770 reads )


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CHINA, May 6, 2001: China has announced plans to build the world's largest statue, a 509-ft Buddha. The statue of Bodhisattva is to be built at Jiuhua Mountain, one of the four major Buddhist shrines in China. It is will be the largest statue of Bodhisattva, the Buddha of Compassion, in the world. When completed, the statue will consist of 1,100 pieces of copper and weigh over 1,000 tons. Construction will begin in September and is scheduled for completion in 2004. The entire project is estimated to cost around $55 million. Meanwhile, Indian and British planners, connected with the Maitreya project, may be dismayed at the announcement. A 500-ft Buddha, currently underway in the northern Indian province of Bihar, was in the running for the title of the world's largest statue. The Chinese appear to be planning to outdo their Indian competitors at the finish line also, with a projected finish date of 2005. The Indian Buddha will be completed a year after the Chinese project.




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Ganesha Displayed in Cambodia's National Museum
Posted on 2001/5/8 23:47:02 ( 813 reads )


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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, May 9, 2001: Phnom Penh's National Museum of Art, forgotten for many years, is once again showing the world its true colors. The extraordinary collection of bronze and stone statues on display here is unmatched elsewhere in the world. Tragically, looting and war have removed most of the decorative statues and reliefs from Angkor's temples, making the museum's collection all the more important as evidence of the artistic achievements of this ancient culture. The first temporary exhibition in the museum's history took place last year, with a display of statues of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god. Other gems include the 7th-century statue of the horse-headed Vaijmukha and a delightful tiny 11th-12th century bronze figure of a dancing woman on a lotus flower. Beauty is only part of it. For these are sacred objects, and the museum has taken care to position them much as they would have been placed in temples. Indeed, many of the Cambodians who come to the museum are not simply admiring art works -- they are paying homage to holy icons and small shrines have been set up where offerings of flowers can be made.




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Campaign to Stop Use of Live Animals in Medical Schools
Posted on 2001/5/8 23:46:02 ( 773 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 27, 2001: Many American schoolchildren now have the right to dissect a virtual frog or a plastic model rather than the real thing. Now American Medical schools are catching up and recommending others do the same. Dr Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon, is in India to introduce methods that replace animals. Computer simulators allow students to view the effect of drugs and invasive procedures by watching actual operating room footage or working with life-like human models. He encouraged Indian medical colleges to follow the Harvard Medical School example where such methods were used as they were less expensive, more effective, and relevant to human physiology. Students work without guilt and at their own pace. First year students should observe human bypass surgeries, rather than "veterinary medicine," he quipped. The use of animals for medical training is anti-educational, states the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington DC. More than half of the 126 Medical schools in the US had stopped using live animals for their physiology labs.




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Ganesha Purana Project Commences
Posted on 2001/5/8 23:45:02 ( 948 reads )


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May 9, 2001: The first three chapters of the Ganesha Purana in English translation are now available at "source."




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Shiv Sena Wants McDonalds and Their Fries Gone
Posted on 2001/5/4 23:49:02 ( 714 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 5, 2001: Taking the controversy of use of beef extract in the famous "French fries" of McDonald's further, Shiv Sena activists on Saturday demanded closure of all 28 McDonalds in the country. Describing the alleged use of beef extract as "attack on the religious sentiments of Indians," Delhi Shiv Sena leader Jai Bhagwan Goyal said, "we don't believe McDonald's clarification of not using beef extract in the French fries in India." The Shiv Sena is conducting its own test on the the fries for traces of meat.




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Even the People of Goa Go Vegetarian
Posted on 2001/5/4 23:48:02 ( 711 reads )


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PANAJI, INDIA, May 1, 2001: The meat-loving people of Goa are now turning toward vegetarianism, thanks to the concerted efforts of nongovernmental organizations to spread information on the ill-effects of meat. The NGOs point out that by virtue of an amendment to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, the central government has officially recognized vegetarianism as the benchmark for a "healthy diet." The amendment stipulates that non-vegetarian food-items should carry an indication, by way of a symbol and red color code displayed just above the brand name of nonvegetarian products. This report did not indicate how closely this coding system was followed.




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Three-Parent Kids Born
Posted on 2001/5/4 23:47:02 ( 793 reads )


Source: BBC News Online





NEW JERSEY, USA, May 4, 2001: In what may be a momentous milestone in our history, scientists have confirmed that the first genetically altered humans have been born. These births are the first cases of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children. According to researchers at St Barnabas Institute for Reproductive Medicine in New Jersey, up to 30 such children have been born, 15 as a result of one program at a US laboratory. One is four-years old. Genetic fingerprint tests on children confirm that they contain a small quantity of additional genes not inherited from either parent. The additional genes were taken from a healthy donor and used to overcome their mothers infertility problems. The just-disclosed project has created a strong reaction worldwide, and the work would be illegal in many countries. It is being regarded as a back-door entry to genetic modification of humans with the objective of getting such procedures made socially and legally acceptable.




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Sikh Day Parade in Manhattan
Posted on 2001/5/4 23:46:02 ( 716 reads )


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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 21, 2001: Forty-thousand onlookers witnessed the 14th Annual Sikh Day Parade, April 21, in Manhattan as part of the Baisakhi celebrations. The parade was led by Gurbax Singh Malhi, a member of parliament from Canada, who was the chief guest and members of the organizing committees from various Sikh gurdwaras and societies in the tristate area, Pennsylvania and even from Baltimore. Immediately following them was the float with Sri Guru Granth Sahib, their scripture, led by five Sikhs in yellow robes carrying Sikh flags. These five represented the "Panj Pyaras," who were baptized by the tenth master, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, on Baisakhi Day in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. Twelve more floats from different gurdwaras and societies followed, with groups of Sikh men, women and children from the respective areas, chanting hymns from the Sikh scripture, with full devotion and reverence. There were a number of bands in between the floats and one gurdwara even had a karate team displaying martial arts. As is traditional for Sikhs, vast amounts of free food were provided for spectators and participants.




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Las Vegas Hindu Temple
Posted on 2001/5/3 23:49:02 ( 745 reads )


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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, May 03, 2001: A US$2.2 million Hindu Temple and Cultural Center complex, which formally opened last month, will serve the more than 500 Indian American families in Las Vegas, Nevada and neighboring areas. The temple, which has taken six years to come to fruition, was inaugurated with the installation of the "utsav murtis," Radha-Krishna, Balaji, Ganesha and Laxmi, during three days of elaborate ceremonies. Large marble idols of Shiva, Ram, Mahavir and Durga will be brought from India in the coming months to be installed at the temple. Located on five-acres of land, the temple currently has a 5,000 sq. ft. prayer hall and a smaller building with priests quarters, library and classrooms. Plans for the second phase include a two-story building with 7,000 sq ft in each floor, to house a cultural hall, dining room and commercial kitchen.




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