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Lectures by Author Who Brought Nepalese "Amma to America"

Posted on 2002/5/16 9:46:02 ( 986 reads )


WILSON, WYOMING, May 16, 2002: Aama's Journey: A Pilgrimage Between Continents and Cultures is an illustrated lecture presentation by Broughton Coburn, a best-selling author and Harvard graduate who has spent two of the past three decades in the Himalayas. This program headlined America's Knife and Fork Clubs (35 appearances) and has thrilled museums, associations, social groups, universities, schools, libraries and professional societies across the United States. If you know of a venue that may be interested in booking this fascinating, rollicking and poignant program, please visit "source" above, www.unusualspeaker.com or phone (307) 733-4124. Broughton's original book, "Amma in America" is the delightful tale of the former peace-corp volunteer who decided to bring "Amma," an elderly lady in the village in Nepal he served in, to America. The ensuing adventures of this very odd couple in America are a charming commentary on the wisdom and insight of this supposedly "backward" village lady who fearlessly takes on, among other issues, Western irreverence for the Divine.

Yatra to Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash Planned for June

Posted on 2002/5/16 9:45:02 ( 936 reads )


KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 14, 2002: On June 11, 2002, a group of pilgrims will head to Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet. The yatra, or pilgrimage, is organized by Parmarth Niketan ashram in Rishikesh. It will include the official inauguration of the hospital and ashram in the Kailash area which has been built by India Heritage Research Foundation, under Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji)'s blessing and guidance. Pilgrims will arrive and meet in Kathmandu on June 11 and depart for Lhasa on June 13, then travel from Lhasa to Mansarovar by jeep. The itinerary includes the inauguration and the parikrama, or circumambulation, of Mt. Kailash. The group will return to Kathmandu on June 28. For full details and registration information click on "source" above.

Sri Lanka Army Continues to Occupy 274 Hindu Temples in Jaffna

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:49:02 ( 960 reads )

Source: TamilNet

JAFFNA, SRI LANKA, May 13, 2002: The Sri Lanka Army continues to occupy two hundred seventy four Hindu temples in the Jaffna district, according to initial estimates, sources in the Sri Lankan Ministry of Hindu Affairs said Sunday. The Sri Lanka army should have vacated "places of religious worship" by March 26, 2002, under the terms of the cease-fire agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers. The SLA continues to occupy hundreds of Hindu temples, as well as some Christian churches, in other parts of the northeastern province despite the lapse of 46 days since the deadline set by the agreement for vacating them. The largest number of temples occupied by the Sri Lankan military is in the Tellipalai Division. Many of them are within the high security zone of the sprawling Palali military base in the northwestern part of Jaffna. The cease-fire agreement says: "Places of worship which are situated in "high security zones" shall be vacated by all armed personnel and maintained in good order by civilian workers, even when they are not made accessible to the public".

Ban on LTTE Extended by Indian Government

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:48:02 ( 1064 reads )

Source: The Hindu

NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 14: The Central Government today extended the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for a further period of two years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The earlier ban was scheduled to come to an end today. Announcing the decision, the Government said the LTTE's unlawful activities on the Indian soil as well its contacts and liaison with other extremist groups had been a matter of grave concern. Sympathy for the Tamil Eelam concept still remained and forces were still at work to further the cause of a "separate Tamil Nadu," through secession from India and for this they drew inspiration and sustenance from the LTTE. In view of the sensitivity of the matter and keeping in view that the LTTE had systematically infiltrated into Tamil Nadu, the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government felt that circumstances existed which rendered it necessary to declare the LTTE as unlawful. The Tamil Nadu Government had sent a proposal to the Centre for banning the organization for a further period of two years, an official press release said.

Christianity Gains Converts in Developing Countries

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:47:02 ( 1039 reads )

Source: Religion News Service

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 15, 2002: Excerpts from a report by William bole of Religion News Service: "One of the often-heard comments since Sept. 11 is that Islam is growing so rapidly it will soon become the world's largest religion, overtaking Christianity in just a couple of decades. Many of these projections are traceable to the work of Harvard University scholar Samuel P. Huntington, who has put forward the idea of a 'clash of civilizations.' But a new book about Christianity in the Third World says Huntington and others are missing the global demographic picture. Islam is indeed expanding as Christianity loses its force in the Western world, particularly Europe, says historian and religious studies scholar Philip Jenkins, author of 'The Next Christendom.' But the numbers of Christians are exploding in the southern hemisphere, he reports. In his book, newly published by Oxford University Press, Jenkins argues that the post-Sept. 11 commentaries have overlooked the dramatic upsurge of Christianity in places like Africa. 'Basically, you're talking about Africa being 9 percent Christian back in 1900, and close on 50 percent today. That's a huge change,' Jenkins said in a telephone interview from his home in State College, Penn., where he teaches at Penn State University. 'Somewhere in the 1960s, the number of Christians in Africa outpaced the number of Muslims in Africa. A great, historic change -- and nobody paid attention to it.' As of 2000, there were approximately 2 billion Christians and 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia, which Jenkins draws upon extensively in his book. While disputing Huntington's prediction of a reversal of numerical fortunes, Jenkins does think Christians and Muslims are heading toward a clash that could become cataclysmic. But he sees Islam as facing off in the future not primarily with Western Christianity, but with Christian countries in the developing world. In a worst-case scenario, he pictures Christian and Islamic countries of the southern hemisphere locked in religious conflicts reminiscent of the Middle Ages. 'Imagine the world of the 13th century armed with nuclear warheads and anthrax,' Jenkins writes."

Buddhist Monks Oppose Government Inventory of Temple

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:46:02 ( 1091 reads )


RUMTEK, SIKKIM, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Followers of the 17th Karmapa claimant Urgyen Thinley Dorjee have decided to prevent a Reserve Bank of India official from entering Rumtek monastery to make a court-ordered inventory of its fabulous wealth, a monastery spokesman told reporters here on Saturday. "We will oppose the RBI official tooth and nail if he tries to come here as the very order of the court hurts our sentiments and religious belief," the spokesman said. Buddhists in Sikkim, especially the followers of Dorjee, have termed the court order as "sacrilege" saying the religious articles cannot be touched by a "non-Buddhist." Indian law permits the government to investigate and even take over the financial affairs of religious institutions. While in theory the permission extends to all faiths, in practice it is applied almost exclusively to Hindu institutions.

Hindu Weddings Make NY Times Society Page

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:45:02 ( 1234 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 12, 2002: The NY Times "Fashion And Style" page recently contained the announcements of two Hindu weddings. The "High Society" announcements both appeared in the May 12 edition. Interestingly, both marriages were between Hindu women and non-Hindu men and both ceremonies were conducted by Hindu priests. Dr. Neeta Sharma, daughter of Dr. Usha Sharma and Dr. Madho K. Sharma of Edison, NJ, was married at her parents' house yesterday to Dr. Alfred Trecartin Ogden III. Pandit Anand Mohan performed the Hindu ceremony. Aparna Mukherjee, daughter of Maitreyee and Subir Mukherjee of Fort Washington, PA, was married yesterday at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, NJ, to William B Swarts IV. Suvhendu Bagchi, a Hindu priest, performed the Hindu ceremony with the Rev. Gawain F. deLeeuw, an Episcopal priest. The announcements go on to list the education and occupations of the couples.

Study Finds Teen Vegetarians Healthier Than Meat-Eaters

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:44:02 ( 938 reads )


WASHINGTON, USA, May 13, 2002: U.S. Researchers say vegetarian teenagers have a healthier diet than their meat-eating counterparts. "It seems that rather than viewing adolescent vegetarianism as a difficult phase or fad, the dietary pattern could be viewed as a healthy alternative to the traditional American meat-based diet," epidemiologist Cheryl Perry and colleagues wrote in Sunday's issue of the Journal Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. They studied more than 4,500 teenagers in Minnesota. Of them, about 262, or nearly 6 percent, said they were vegetarian. They compared the diets of these teen to the Healthy People 2010 recommendations, which are dietary targets issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services. They include goals of getting less than 30 percent of one's daily calories from fat and less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat, eating more than two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables daily. "Overall, adolescent vegetarians were significantly more likely to meet the dietary recommendations of Healthy People 2010," Perry's group wrote. "Vegetarian adolescents, similar to their adult counterparts, have dietary patterns that, if maintained, could significantly lower their risk of the leading causes of death as adults," the researchers said.

Cakes Decorated With Hindu Gods Withdrawn by UK Store

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:43:02 ( 1442 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, May 13, 2002: Selfridges store has stopped selling cakes with icing decoration depicting Hindu Gods and Goddesses after complaints that they offended religious sensibilities. The cakes were featured as part of a three-week summer promotion of Indian foods, and were on sale next to a food counter where Hemant Oberoi, the Indian Prime Minister's personal chef for overseas visits, was supervising the preparation of curry recipes. Hindu customers who complained said that Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary seldom appeared as cake decorations. "I think this is depicting the Hindu pantheon in a mocking way," Bimal Krishna Das, of the UK Council of Hindu Temples, said. The cakes came from Seriously Scrumptious of Glastonbury. Its founder, Rita Hraiz, of Indian and Lebanese parentage, said that they were made with love and not intended to offend. She said that the firm gave a fifth of its profits to an Indian charity supporting Indian villages near the Hindu sacred city of Vrindavan.

San Francisco Bay Area Cuisine has Changed

Posted on 2002/5/15 9:42:02 ( 955 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 24, 2002: People from more than 60 countries settling in California in the last ten years have brought with them their customs, beliefs and ethnic food. As a result, Bay area cuisine has changed accordingly. Ethnic cuisine once meant Italian and Chinese food. Now it could be Indian curries, Taiwanese hot pot restaurants, Filipinos and Latinos taquerias and take-out bakeries, Mexican tortillas, Vietnamese and Thai flavors or an Ethiopian menu. The article says, "The numbers of Asian Indians living in the nine-county Bay Area region jumped by a staggering 170% between 1990 and 2000." In the south in the towns of Fremont and Sunnyvale, Indian high-tech workers have settled and the neighborhood is called "Little India." As a result, Beyond Curry, a refined fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisine is part of the menu in South Bay restaurants such as Tumerik. Other establishments cater to Mexican, Japanese and Hawaiian food. Tsegai Berhe, owner of the former Mayes Oster House, now an Ethiopian restaurant, sums it up, "I think people want to try different food these days."

Nepal Rebels Set Fire to Sanskrit University

Posted on 2002/5/14 9:49:02 ( 1021 reads )

Source: Times of India

KATHMANDU, NEPAL, May 13, 2002: Some 500 Maoist rebels stormed a Sanskrit university in west Nepal, set the building on fire and destroyed office records, an official said on Monday. District officer Mathur Prasad Yadav said that the guerrillas snapped telephone lines and overpowered the night guard of the Mahendra Sanskrit University in Dang in west Nepal late on Saturday before setting the building ablaze. "No one was injured in the incident," Yadav said, adding that several office rooms had been destroyed. The rebels, who are fighting to topple the constitutional monarchy in the world's only Hindu kingdom, oppose the teaching in schools of Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. HPI adds: Sthaneshwar Timalsina, a Nepali Sanskritist currently at UC Santa Barbara, reports that the rebels reduced to ashes much of Mahendra Sanskrit University's main campus. Dr. Timalsina estimates that the damage is irreparable.

Asia 2000 and Auckland City Join Hands to Organize Deepavali

Posted on 2002/5/14 9:48:02 ( 1052 reads )


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, May 14, 2002: Asia 2000 and Auckland City both joined hands and holding an authentic Deepavali festival in Auckland, New Zealand at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre on 26 October 2002. An official press release states that the Deepavali Festival of Lights will be the first of its kind on this scale in Auckland. As well as being a celebration for the Indian community, it will be designed to raise awareness and understanding of Indian culture amongst Auckland families in general. Deepavali will feature a wide range of activities, reflecting the richness of Indian culture and the tradition of Deepavali, including a rangoli/kolam competition, traditional performances, sweetmaking and, of course, lights, lamps and candles. This report was filed by Rohit Kumar ("source" above), editor of Bharat Darshan.

Seattle Lawsuit Claims Pizza Hut's "Veggie Lover's" Not Veggie

Posted on 2002/5/14 9:47:02 ( 1068 reads )


SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, May 2, 2002: The Seattle lawyer who successfully forced McDonald's to publicly admit its use of beef extract in its supposedly vegetarian french fries now has set his sights on another popular fast-food chain: Pizza Hut. The proposed class-action suit, filed by attorney Harish Bharti on behalf of 15 million vegetarians and 1 million Hindus throughout the country, claims that Pizza Hut has used beef products in its "Veggie Lover's" pizza, but has been falsely promoting otherwise. "Defendants intentionally market their pizza to the vegetarian community," according to the complaint, "knowing full well that the foods are not vegetarian." "While they claim it's a vegetarian product, they have a beef product in their cheese," Bharti said. The practice, he said, is both deceptive and harmful to vegetarians and fellow Hindus who never knowingly eat beef. Pizza Hut doesn't identify the amount of beef used in its ingredient list, the suit contends, because it is considered to be the "secret ingredient" that is the source of the flavor of its pies. Pizza Hut denied the charge yesterday. "We do not have any beef product in our pizzas," said Patty Sullivan, spokeswoman for Dallas-based Pizza Hut.

Cymbal of Rhythm: Shivamani Creates Melody in Tandav

Posted on 2002/5/14 9:46:02 ( 1043 reads )


CAMPAL, GOA, INDIA, May 15, 2002: Percussionist Shivamani is recognized as "Shiva" in the world of South Indian percussion in the present day, for he becomes the epitome of Shakti on stage with his assortment of percussion instruments. Shivamani creates magic with just about anything from his conventional cymbals to the timbale to the batajon to the vastly unconventional shells and conches. His trademark is biryani kadai, meant for cooking but used by him for music. Exposure to the world of rhythm started at home for Shiva with his father, S.M. Anandan, who was much-sought-after drummer in the South Indian film industry. He had his first studio break playing for South Indian master creator K.V. Mahadevan. Shiva also played with Carnatic maestros like Kunnaikudi Vaidyanathan, T.V. Gopalakrishnan, Thavil masters Vallayampatti Subramaniam and Pazhani Vel. Even south Indian geniuses like Ilayaraja and A.R. Rehman use Shiva's rhythms extensively. Shiva has a longstanding relationship with Indian Jazz-fusion master Louis Banks, whom he regularly accompanies as part of the world music group.

Help for Mansarovar Pilgrims

Posted on 2002/5/14 9:45:02 ( 957 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, May 12, 2002: The state government will help pilgrims from Gujarat who have been selected by the Ministry of External Affairs for the June 2002 Kailas-Mansarovar Yatra. Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board chairman, Bhupendra Khatri said that the ministry conducted a drawing to select the participants for the pilgrimage. He said pilgrims from the state should contact the board office at Gandhinagar with a copy of the telegram received by them from the ministry announcing their selection for the Yatra. The board will provide a monetary gift to those completing the journey for spiritual purposes. In addition, the participants will receive mountaineering and trekking gear, train fare to New Delhi and free accommodations. The board office will also provide any additional information or guidance necessary for the pilgrims.

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