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Hindu Press International
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World Press Treats Islam's Hajj Pilgrimage Carefully
Posted on 2001/3/5 22:49:02 ( 809 reads )


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MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA, March 5, 2001: It is interesting to Hinduism Press International to observe the stark difference in reporting of the on-going Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and the recently concluded Hindu Kumbha Mela. In the Hajj report, of which "source" above is but one example, there is not a hint of the sarcasm, ridicule and demeaning portrayals that permeated nearly every report on the Kumbha Mela. The single most notable point is that the Western Press makes nothing of this: "Once they complete the stoning ritual, pilgrims shave or cut their hair and then slaughter more than a half-million camels, cows and sheep near this tent city that only comes to life during the Hajj. For pilgrims in Saudi Arabia this year, most of the animals will be sacrificed at a large slaughterhouse in Mecca that was built at a cost of about US$125 million. Pilgrims can go to slaughterhouses to buy and slaughter animals themselves or they can pay a bank or company to do it on their behalf. Meat is sent to the needy in 27 countries." All this is presented without comment of any sort. Imagine what would have happened if a slaughter house of this immense proportions were set up at the Kumbha Mela and one-half million animals offered to the Deities? At least, there would have been photos of it on the wire services, but a search of the major wire services -- AP, Reuters, AFP, UPI and 31 others -- revealed not a single photo or even mention in a caption of the ritual slaughter at Mecca. Nor have we seen any comment in any article on the practice.




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Buddhists Protest Christian Conversion In Sri Lanka
Posted on 2001/3/5 22:48:02 ( 803 reads )


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COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, March 6, 2001: The Centre for Buddhism International (CBI) in Kandy, the central province hill town where the Temple of the Buddha's Tooth is the focal point, has accused Christian missionaries of invading rural villages and tea and rubber plantations, using "unethical, coercive and sometimes barbaric methods" to proselytize their faith. The organization said in a statement that at least 73 foreign and local evangelical groups, with names like Campus Crusade for Christ and Christian Literary Crusade, had been studied by the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies. CBI asked the government to act according to the country's constitution and protect the Buddhist faith, charging that other Christian organizations tried to justify the work of the evangelists and decry opposition from Buddhists as "the work of extremists." The evangelists are from among newly sprung up groups with foreign links who blend religion with relief work, doling out jobs and material aid to converts, said the CBI.




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No Colors In 7 Race Course Road This Holi
Posted on 2001/3/5 22:47:02 ( 753 reads )


Source: Kaumudi Online





NEW DELHI, INDIA, March, 2001: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will not celebrate Holi, the festival of colors, as a mark of respect for the victims of the devastating quake that hit Gujarat in January, official sources said. Spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday said there would be no celebrations on Holi, which falls on March 10 this year, at 7 Race Course Road, Vajpayee's official residence, as he wanted to express solidarity with the people of Gujarat. About 25,000 people were killed and thousands rendered homeless by the quake that rocked the western state on January 26.




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India's States Take Action Against Domestic Violence
Posted on 2001/3/5 22:46:02 ( 850 reads )


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RAJASTHAN, INDIA, March 5, 2001: In a path-breaking initiative, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has ordered a change in the service rules so that action can be taken against male employees of the government who beat and harass their wives. Similarly, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has also ordered an assessment of the extent of sexual harassment in the state secretariat, following media reports of atrocities against women in the secretariat.




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Record Number Pilgrims Visit Holy Cave Shrine
Posted on 2001/3/5 22:45:02 ( 724 reads )


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JAMMU, INDIA, March 5, 2001: A record number of 432,000 pilgrims have visited the holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji since January 1, 2001. During the same time last year, 361,000 pilgrims had Darshan of the holy cave shrine. Of the 174,000 devotees who visited the shrine last month, over 136,000 were from outside the State. About 10,000 pilgrims a day reach Katra, the base camp of pilgrimage. The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has made elaborate arrangements for the comfortable stay of pilgrims.




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Vultures Needed for Tradition to Survive
Posted on 2001/3/4 22:49:02 ( 760 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, March 1, 2001: Parsis, descendants of the ancient Persians and followers of the prophet Zoroaster, have an ancient way of disposing of their dead in the city of Bombay. On Malabar Hill and the tranquil park at Doongerwadi, Parsi followers bring their dead to be devoured by vultures. Bodies that have been exposed to the sun and eaten by scavengers ensures that no pollution takes place and that all are equal in death. However this traditional way of disposing of their dead is being threatened. In 1988, 350 pairs of vultures nested in the park. Due to an infectious disease which has reduced the population of vultures to a mere dozen, the situation has escalated to a crisis. The Bombay Parsi council has collaborated with scientists to build an aviary so that vultures can be bred in captivity. The project will take at least four years to get off the ground. In the meantime, the Parsis are left wondering how to dispose of their dead. Many bodies are left to decompose in the tropical sun. At least 1,000 bodies are placed annually in the Tower of Silence and there are simply not enough vultures to uphold the tradition. They are considering switching to cremation.




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School Violence by Teachers--A Cowardly and Sad Crime
Posted on 2001/3/4 22:48:02 ( 731 reads )


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KERALA, INDIA, February 21, 2001: Sparing the rod and spoiling the child, a medieval concept that chipped away at a child's self esteem, has virtually been abandoned in most nations around the world. In 1989 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a move in favor of the "Rights of the Child" and the convention promoted that, "State parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity." However, India has only paid lip service to the U.N. directive. Allowing corporal punishment in certain circumstances, none of which have been defined, has literally given frustrated low paid teachers the license to abuse the children under their care. Several instances have been reported such as a teenager needing surgery because his ears were boxed by a principal, a 5-year-old requiring psychiatric care after physical torture by a teacher, and a 13-year-old was stripped naked and paraded at a New Delhi school. Results of such discipline has been proven completely contrary to the intended result of society and condemned by psychologists and social scientists. Children exposed to such punishment develop warped personalities with inclinations of defiance, hostility, and rebelliousness.




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When Elephants Make Music
Posted on 2001/3/4 22:47:02 ( 861 reads )


Source: New York Times





LAMPANG, THAILAND, December 16, 2000: Elephants are natural candidates for music-making! Their hearing is much keener than their sight, and they employ a vast range of vocalizations, many of which are heard on their recently released debut CD, by the New York-based Mulatta Records. The CD is a brainchild of Richard Lair, an American expatriate who has worked with elephants for 23 years and written an encyclopedic United Nations study of Asia's captive elephants, and David Sulzer, a neurologist who heads Columbia University's Sulzer Laboratory and works as a composer and producer under the name Dave Soldier. Together they organized six young pachyderm at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, near the town of Lampang, where they trained the Thai Elephant Orchestra members to play sturdier versions of traditional Thai instruments -- slit drums, a gong hammered from a sawmill blade, a diddly-bow bass and xylophone-like renats -- and a thundersheet and harmonicas. Sulzer said he and Lair merely showed the elephants how to make the sounds, cued them to start and stop, and let them play as they wished. After five practice sessions, they started recording. Mr. Sulzer admits he was skeptical at first. "I thought we would just train elephants to hit something, and I would tape that and have to paste it together with other things." Instead, he recorded the performances intact, without overdubbing. The players improvise distinct meters and melodic lines, and vary and repeat them. The results are both meditative and deliberate. For Lair, it's simply a matter of interpretation, as in all art: "Just as there are a lot things they don't understand about our music, I am sure there are things we will never understand about theirs." The proceeds from the CD will go to a milk bank for orphaned elephants and a school to improve mahout training. One trainer also said, "It's at least as good as New Age Music."




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Taliban Destroys Ancient Buddhas
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:49:02 ( 757 reads )


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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, March 3, 2001: Troops from the Taliban religious militia, under orders from their supreme commander, Mullah Mohammed Omar, used explosives and rockets Saturday to destroy two towering statues of Buddha in Bamiyan. Already two-thirds of the country's statues have been eliminated. All the rest will be reduced to rubble on Sunday and Monday, despite worldwide pleas to save the priceless treasures. "The head and legs of the Buddha statues were destroyed yesterday,'' said Taliban Information Minister Quadratullah Jamal. "Our soldiers are working hard to demolish their remaining parts." Most of the country's ancient Buddhist relics, fragments of Afghanistan's pre-Islamic past, were destroyed, Jamal said. It is a testament to the Taliban's arsenal that they are able to expend a so much ammunition in the endeavor, without apparently lessening their military capability. Several related articles follow.




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VHP Vows Retaliation
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:48:02 ( 823 reads )


Source: Times of India





KABUL, AFGHANISTAN,March 2, 2001: The Taliban's destruction of statues has evoked a strong response in India, with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) threatening suitable "reaction" in communally sensitive Ajmer town of Rajasthan if they do not stop "insulting" Rajput warrior Prithviraj Chauhan's memorial in Ghazni. "The destruction of Bamiyan statues is an insult to Buddhism," VHP senior vice-president Acharya Giriraj Kishore added. Asked what was meant by "reaction," Bajrang Dal leader Surendra Jain said, "you never know how people react."




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India Condemns Statue Destruction
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:47:02 ( 791 reads )


Source: The Hindu





NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 2, 2001: In a unanimous resolution adopted by both Houses of Parliament, India condemned "in the strongest possible terms'' the Taliban's decision to destroy the two 2,000- year-old Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. The Parliament also offered to bring these monuments to India at its own cost. The Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, Dr. Najma Heptulla, termed it the "blackest day in history'' and said the act was being perpetuated by "so-called protectors of Islam.''




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Experts Claim Taliban Misunderstand Islam
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:46:02 ( 817 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 5, 2001: The tradition of "but shikani" (idol or statue-breaking) practiced by Arab marauders in their quest to rule the Indian subcontinent, was done on the plea that idol or religious object worshipping was un-Islamic. One thousand years later, this intolerance has resurfaced, justifying the destruction of all statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan. Historian and expert on the Islamic period Satish Chandra, says under Islamic law, "old or dead monuments were not to be destroyed.'' An embarrassed Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the highest platform of the Muslim world, urged the Taliban on Saturday to abandon its decision to destroy the country's pre-Islamic statues.




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Meteorite May Show Ancient Life On Mars
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:45:02 ( 790 reads )


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WASHINGTON, February 26, 2001: A controversial finding that a meteorite from Mars might contain evidence of life has been given added credence by the discovery of a magnetic crystal that researchers say could have been made only by a microbe. Scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston say that a crystallized magnetic mineral, called magnetite, found in a Martian meteorite is similar to crystals formed on Earth by bacteria. The new study supports the original claim and may even suggest that there is still microscopic life on Mars.




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Correction on Tirumantiram Website
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:44:02 ( 953 reads )


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March 4, 2001: The Tirumantiram scripture is not yet available at http://www.angelfire.com/art/ thirumanthirarsearch. However, the English text can be found at the above site, along with several other ancient Tamil scriptures.




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Correction on Afghanistan Petition
Posted on 2001/3/3 22:43:02 ( 785 reads )


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March 4, 2001: According to information available at the above web site, the petition on the treatment of women in Afghanistan, while largely factual, is useless. The site says, "The problem with this petition is that the person who started the petition was not prepared for the consequences. A few weeks after the petition was started, her e-mail account was flooded with hundreds of thousands of messages. Because of this, her account was closed and all messages were discarded." So the petition continues to travel through the Internet, but to no purpose. This is, the site explains, always the case with any form of chain letter.




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