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Norway Group Tackles Forced Marriages

Posted on 2002/2/1 8:46:02 ( 851 reads )


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OSLO, NORWAY, January 24, 2002: A self-help group in Norway is helping immigrants and refugees who have been coerced into forced marriages. Gerd Fleischer, leader of the group said, "Arranged marriages have nothing to do with religion." Her organization has helped young people from the Norwegian state church, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Last year twenty-three registered arranged marriages were identified as being under threat of death. The group helps its victims facing death threats to establish a new home and a new identity.




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Scientist Cross Pigs With Spinach

Posted on 2002/2/1 8:45:02 ( 968 reads )


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OSAKA, JAPAN, JANUARY 24, 2002: Scientist in Japan say they have successfully implanted vegetable genes in a living animal for the first time. Researchers at Kinki University, near Osaka, inserted genetic material from spinach into a pig, which they say will produce healthier pork. The experiment has yielded 2 generations of pigs with the spinach gene known as FAD2. Research team leader, Akira Iritani, said the pigs with the spinach gene had produced less fat then normal. The experiment involved inserting the spinach gene into a fertilized pig egg, which was then implanted in a female pig's womb to produce genetically modified piglets. The FAD2 gene was found to convert about a fifth of the piglet's saturated fatty acids into healthier linoleic acids. Professor Iritani said he hoped to prove the genetically modified pork was safe to eat, though the article doesn't mention who he is going to test it on.




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Fiji Christians Protest Evangelical TV Station

Posted on 2002/2/1 8:44:02 ( 895 reads )


Source: Fiji Sun





SUVA, FIJI, February 1, 2002: Christian churches here say the government breached protocol by not consulting them on the establishment of a new Christian TV station, Trinity Fiji. They object to the evangelical leanings of the new station. "If it was a TV station that preached a mature and radical message of Jesus according to the scriptures, and according to Christina tradition, fine. But the example of American Christianity that is come through the Pacific these days doesn't tend to be that. It tends to be fundamentalist," stated a Catholic social worker. The station transmits programs from the Texas-based Trinity Broadcasting Network. Mainstream Christians in Fiji have for years complained about the incursion of evangelical movements who have targeted not the Hindus, the usual objects of evangelism here, but fellow Christians, especially the Catholics.




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Thai Pusam Celebrated in Singapore

Posted on 2002/1/31 8:49:02 ( 844 reads )


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SINGAPORE, Jan 29, 2002: To mark Thai Pusam this year, 20,000 kavadi-bearers, milk-pot carriers and their supporters took part in the annual procession yesterday. This is a third more than the 15,000 who took part last year. The devotees made their way along a 4-km route from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road. The procession, which ended at midnight last night, was a glorious blaze of colour. Racial groups other than Indians also participated in the event.




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Hindus and Sikhs Pray Together in Afghanistan

Posted on 2002/1/31 8:48:02 ( 800 reads )


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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, January 20, 2002: Sikhs and Hindus worship and pray together at five ruined houses in the city of Kabul. In the early part of 1990, 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus lived in Afghanistan. Today less than 2,000 are in the country and according to this article, "In Kabul there are exactly 520 Sikhs and Hindus, in 40 Sikh and 10 Hindu families." Even though the two religions are distinct, they have chosen to pray together partly because of few numbers and also because they speak the same language and have the same origins. Once prosperous merchants, bankers, moneylenders or currency exchangers, they were uprooted from their homes and occupations in late 1992, early 1993, when Muslims in the country retaliated because of the attack on the Babri Masjid mosque in northern India. The mujahedeen government of this period did little to stop the looting. When the Taliban came into power in 1996, the Hindu and Sikh community kept secretly praying. However they were further segregated when the Taliban tried to force them to wear a distinguishing yellow cloth. Some lost property under this regime, and they could not live in the same house as Muslims. With the downfall of the Taliban, the community is leery about the future as part of the mujahedeen government is now in power again. However in December of 2001, the government met with Sikhs and Hindus to assure them that they are part of Afghanistan. Those who fled the country over a decade ago are watching in hopes of returning someday.




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Indians Mark Earthquake Anniversary

Posted on 2002/1/31 8:47:02 ( 980 reads )


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BHUJ, INDIA, January 27, 2001: Hindu priests in thousands of temples led community prayers Saturday as people in the western Indian state of Gujarat grieved on the anniversary of a devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake a year ago. Men, women and children crowded colorful tents that sprang up overnight at street corners and outside temples to accommodate the masses mourning the more than 13,000 victims. The temblor, rated the worst natural disaster of 2001 by the U.S. Geological Survey, destroyed 1.2 million homes and caused an estimated $4.5 billion in damage. The prayers reached a crescendo at 8:46 a.m., the moment the earthquake struck. Temple bells rang out and devotees banged tiny cymbals, blew on conch shells and sang in unison. Priests chanted prayers and read from sacred texts. Women in saris lit hundreds of small oil lamps in memory of the dead.




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Lata Mangeshkar: God I

Posted on 2002/1/31 8:46:02 ( 922 reads )


A HREF="http://spirituality.indiatimes.com/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=1749850092"GO TO SOURCE/A/P
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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 27, 2002: The following are excerpts from an interview with India's nightingale of song, Lata Mangeshkar, on her thoughts of God. "Nothing in this world can happen without God's mercy, that's my firm belief. I was raised in a very religious family and follow the precepts of Hinduism. Though I love my religion, I respect all religions as much. I visit and derive tremendous peace from all places of worship. I pray every night before sleeping and I have my own puja (shrine) room at home. Besides reciting formal prayers, I keep having informal conversations with God, more of telling than asking. If somebody has hurt me, been rude to me or wronged me, I confide in God as I would to a friend or my mother. But I never wish that any harm should befall that person because I believe in karma. If somebody wrongs me, I take it in my stride thinking I must have wronged that person in my past life...." The interview can be read in its entirety at source above.
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University Grants Commission Planning Courses in All Faiths

Posted on 2002/1/27 8:49:02 ( 850 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, JANUARY 25, 2002: After the decision to introduce Paurohitya (vedic priestly rituals) and Jyotirvigyan (vedic astrology) in Indian universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is now considering opening departments in other religions as well. Although the UGC has not made a final decision, the proposal is to open departments in Christian priesthood, Sikhism and Deeniyat (training of Muslim clergy). Before proceeding with the opening of the department of Paurohitya, it was felt that it would be appropriate if the UGC also opened departments for other religions as well to maintain regional balance. UGC officials said the measure was being considered after the commission received letters from different religious groups requesting specialized courses and training programs in their particular belief. The commission has received proposals from 42 universities for the Paurohitya program of priest training.




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Doctors: Dalai Lama's Condition "Not Serious"

Posted on 2002/1/27 8:48:02 ( 878 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 27, 2002: Ailing Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was flown in here on Sunday from Patna and admitted to Leelavati Hospital for treatment even as preliminary tests ruled out any "lump" in his stomach. "According to initial tests, there is no trace of any lump as was suggested in Patna," hospital sources told PTI, adding detail reports would be available on Monday. The Dalai Lama, who suffered a bout of gastroenteritis a fortnight ago, was brought to the metropolis for extensive investigation after doctors attending on him in Bihar diagnosed a "lump" in his stomach. "It is not serious. There is nothing to be worried about," they said giving a sense of assurance to the Tibetan leader's followers gathered at the hospital. The Dalai Lama's illness and security concerns both contributed to the cancellation of the ten-day Kalchakra festival in Bodh Gaya on January 24. The meeting had been threatened by Naxalites, Maoist type communist rebels who have formed a Peoples' War Group in Andhra Pradesh. According to HPI's correspondent in Delhi, "They have no specific score to settle with Dalai Lama but would try to attack any leader of any religious organization."




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Gujarat Ayurved University Holds International Seminar

Posted on 2002/1/27 8:47:02 ( 1006 reads )


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JAMNAGAR, GUJARAT, January 27, 2002: The Third International Seminar on Ayurveda is to be held February 3 to 5, 2002 at the Gujarat Ayurved University here. Detailed information is available at "source." His Excellency The Governor of Gujarat and Chancellor of the University Shri Sundar Singh Bhandari have consented to be the Chief Guest and Preside over the Inaugural Function on February 3, 2002 at 10 AM. Excellent response has been received from various corners of the world. The delegates from USA, Argentina, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Russia, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Venezuela, UK, Greece, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Czech Republic have already confirmed their participation in the International Seminar.




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Parmarth Niketan to Hold International Yoga Festival

Posted on 2002/1/27 8:46:02 ( 855 reads )


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RISHIKESH, INDIA, January 27, 2002: Jointly organized by Uttranchal Tourism and Parmarth Niketan Ashram (IHRF), this year's Yoga Festival provides a wide range of yogic theories and techniques. There will be classes in Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Power Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and Meditation. There will also lectures by renowned yogis and masters, question-answer sessions, discussions, and much more. The dates for this year's Yoga Festival are February 26 - March 3. For more information, e-mail "source" above.




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Vidyadeesha Theertha Swamiji Ascends Paryaya Peetha

Posted on 2002/1/26 8:49:02 ( 934 reads )


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UDUPI, INDIA, JANUARY 18, 2002: The unwritten spiritual philosophies propounded by Madhva, the great 13th century exponent of Vaishnava dualism, are being followed faithfully by the Udupi Srikrishna Math for the last 500 years, Sri Vishwapriya Theertha Sripada, the junior pontiff of Adamar Math, said here today. Speaking at the Srikrishna Math's Rajangana, he said that four days after Makara Sankranthi, the rights of performing puja to Lord Krishna will be handed over to the next swamiji. Palimaru Math seer Sri Vidyadeesha Theertha Swamiji ascended the Paryaya Peetha today amid religious ceremonies. Seers from the eight Udupi Mutts of Tirupathi, Sriranga, Pushkar, Dwaraka, Mantralaya, Kateelu, and Kandandala maths honored the new head priest. They take turns holding the right to perform the puja to Lord Krishna at the head temple.




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Thai Pusam Message From Malaysia Hindu Sangam

Posted on 2002/1/26 8:48:02 ( 919 reads )


Source: Press Release





KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 26, 2002: "Under the brightness of the full moon during the Tamil calendar month of "Thai" when the star of "Poosam" is in its prime, the devotees of Lord Muruga all over the world, especially where Tamils live in large numbers, fulfill their vows on Thai Pusam day. A festival which was once mainly held in Batu Caves and Penang has now spread to many other temples of Lord Subramaniya (popularly known as Muruga) to all parts of Malaysia, making it a truly national festival. It is now attracting thousands of devotees to Sungai Petani, Ipoh, Johor Baru and Kuala Selangor. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam calls upon all devotees to give top priority to devotion to Lord Muruga. Devotees should be disciplined and should co-operate with temple authorities and the security officials involved. Devotees must bear in mind the tremendous efforts of the officials and give a helping hand when required rather than be critics. It is believed that about 1.5 million devotees will be involved throughout the country with almost another one million tourists. The Malaysia Hindu Sangam wishes all Hindus success in fulfilling their respective vows during Thai Pusam and may they be blessed by Lord Muruga." A. Vaithilingam, President, Malaysia Hindu Sangam.




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Assisi Congregation Gets Vegetarian Lunch

Posted on 2002/1/26 8:47:02 ( 977 reads )


Source: Press Reports





ASSISI, ITALY, January 25, 2002: Pope John Paul II welcomed representatives of 12 religions to a vegetarian lunch in the Apostolic Palace today, calling them "friends" united in a "commitment to the cause of peace." The Roman Catholic pontiff offered lunch to the more than 200 men and women from throughout the world who had joined him Thursday on a pilgrimage to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. Only five Hindus were included in the gathering, even though one in six people today is a Hindu. There were 100 Christians, 11 Jews, 31 Muslims, 32 Buddhists and ten Sikhs. So as not to offend against the dietary laws of any religion, the Vatican served the religious leaders a vegetarian meal with no alcohol and no cream for the dessert, but the menu was mainly Italian. Each of the religions was sent to separate places in Assisi for a prayer session. The Catholics are forbidden from holding common worship with other religions in a way which might imply any equality of faiths.




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Canadian Scientist Reaches out Globally to Teach Food Preservation

Posted on 2002/1/26 8:46:02 ( 907 reads )


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MONTREAL, CANADA, January 14, 2002: With a philosophy that is all encompassing, Vijaya Raghavan teaches his students at McGill University, "We are on a globe in the universe and it is our duty to be helpful to others." From humble beginnings as the son of a silk factory worker in India, Vijaya teaches agriculture engineering and has been in North America since 1969. Working in the specialty of post harvest control, Raghavan has researched ways to control the 25-30% rate of spoilage that plagues most perishable crops grown in India and China. Having received almost 19 million dollars worth of grant money in the course of his career, Raghavan has introduced low-cost techniques to prevent food spoilage. These techniques are three-fold and include the following: 1. Osmotic Drying - -Fruits are soaked in a sugar solution to remove moisture before they are stored. 2. Micowave Drying -- Food is dehydrated in an oven which reduces the drying time by more than half. 3. Silicone membranes are used on the mouth of storage containers to slow down oxygen exposure and the resultant decay. With the movement of products in the global market in the last decade, Raghavan sees a huge potential for India in exporting fruits when his techniques are used to keep food fresh. He points out that the beloved mango is now readily available for purchase all year long in Montreal.




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