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Fiji Temple Robbed
Posted on 2001/8/17 1:44:02 ( 905 reads )

Source: News Reports

SUVA, FIJI, August 13, 2001: Thieves broke into two Hindu temples in Suva today during the night and stole musical instruments from both places worth US$1,152. Committee member Satish Deo of the Ram Krishna Mandir said, "We request assistance in replacing the musical instruments as we are borrowing from other temples during prayers." Police spokeswoman Sergeant Unaisi Vuniwaqa said, "We request members of the public to have respect for all places of worship, whether it be church, temple or mosque, and also to promote religious tolerance, especially during this very crucial time." The first elections since the aborted coup of last year take place in a few days.

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Grooms Lose Along With Dot-Coms
Posted on 2001/8/17 1:43:02 ( 942 reads )

Source: India Tribune

BANGALORE, INDIA, August 11, 2001: Software engineers here used to have their pick of brides in the very competitive arranged marriage market. No more. With the fall of the dot-coms worldwide has gone the premium formerly placed on the engineers. Said one engineer, "For the past four months, I have seen the majority of parents hesitating to marry off their daughters to a software engineer as they are not sure whether we will have our jobs next year." One marriage bureau has a backlog of 500 dot-com professionals on its books. Said one manager, "Previously the information technology sector was hot, now brides are shifting to management guys, chartered accountants and company secretaries." Returned engineers from America, having lost their visas with their company's downfall, are facing the same problem in finding wives.

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New York Times Article on Child Sex Selection
Posted on 2001/8/16 1:49:02 ( 835 reads )


NEW JERSEY, August 15, 2001: This major article in the New York Times reports that in recent editions of India Abroad, a weekly newspaper for Indian expatriates in the United States and Canada, advertisements have run soliciting customers for doctors who will tell the parents the gender of their unborn baby. The objective is to insure a boy child, girls being almost always aborted. The article explains that this procedure is legal in the USA while illegal in India itself. The Times describes the ads as an example of "niche marketing," the selling of a product to a relatively small group who desire it. There has been little objection to the practice from the general Indian community, although India Abroad itself yanked the ads as soon as they were brought to the attention of the publishers. "As immigrants, we really had a chance of starting with a clean, fresh slate," said Shamita Das Dasgupta, a founder of Manavi, a New Jersey group that provides counseling for abused South Asian women. "These practitioners are taking advantage of a practice that is totally misogynous, and unless the good-thinking people of our community stand up and let their voices be heard, such practices will continue happening."

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Hong Kong Monastery Economic Downturn's Latest Victim
Posted on 2001/8/16 1:48:02 ( 903 reads )

Source: Straits Times

HONGKONG, Aug 16, 2001: Even monks have been hit by the economic slowdown. A dwindling number of tourists has thrust Hongkong's biggest Buddhist monastery into the red, forcing it to ponder cost-cutting measures such as voluntary retirement. Showing it is not immune to the financial troubles hitting many Hongkong businesses, officials at Po Lin Monastery said yesterday that they had been running a deficit of US$77,000 a month since June. Chief monk Sik Chi Wai said any staff quitting the monastery would not be replaced, although there were no plans to impose layoffs on the staff of 150. He said rainy weather and two recent typhoons cut into the number of visitors. People on the payroll include cooks, kitchen workers, secretaries, cleaners, security guards and gift shop cashiers. Monastery operations manager Poon Kwok-kun said the monastery's revenue had fallen by at least 30 per cent over the past year as Hongkong's economy slowed, with only a few hundred visitors to the monastery on bad days. The monastery claims its outdoor seated bronze Buddha, perched on a mountain in Hongkong's outlying Lantau island, is the world's largest. Since the giant Buddha site opened in 1993, it has drawn more than seven million visitors. Lantau is known as the Island of Prayers, with almost 300 tiny Buddhist monasteries.

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MacDonald's Says It Will List More Ingredients of Its Food
Posted on 2001/8/16 1:47:02 ( 842 reads )

Source: Religion News Service

USA, August 14, 2001: More than three months after Hindu and non-Hindu vegetarians sued McDonald's USA, claiming the company failed to disclose that its french fries contained beef, the fast-food corporation announced it would provide more ingredient information to customers. In an Aug. 13 press release, the chain said the company's Web site,, now includes updated details on whether "a natural flavor comes from a dairy, meat or vegetable source." The site admits the natural flavors used in McDonald's french fries contain beef, whereas previous ingredient listings did not explain the makeup of "natural flavors." The updated information also will be available in printed pamphlets in McDonald's restaurants.

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Legislation to Prevent Violence Against Women
Posted on 2001/8/15 1:49:02 ( 880 reads )

Source: Kashmir Times

NEW DELHI, INDIA, Aug 14 , 2001: There is a proposal to enact the legislation to prevent domestic violence against women, human resource development Murli Manohar Joshi told the Lok Sabha. It is based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Women. The government proposes to set up a Bharat Siksha Kosh to receive contributions and endowments from individuals and corporations including non-resident indians for educational development in the country. The world bank has committed an International Development Association credit of US$4 million dollars for implementation of the district primary education program in Bihar.

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Newspaper Solicits Views on Cloning From Spiritual Leaders
Posted on 2001/8/15 1:48:02 ( 1036 reads )

Source: Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, August 10, 2001: Deciding that the act of human cloning will be treated as a felony with violators receiving up to ten years in prison, the U.S. House of Representatives has received varying opinions from the public. Other countries have not followed suit to date, and as a result an Italian doctor and a U.S. researcher have announced they will be implanting cloned human embryos in 200 women in the near future. Soliciting advice from six spiritual leaders, the Inland Valley Times has asked if "it makes sense to make human cloning illegal here when it will take place in other countries." Three of the six leaders expounded differing views from Christian sectors. A pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church said that, "the evil we seek to avoid is going to happen anyway." Upholding scientific research, the reverend of a United Methodist Church said, "the technology hasn't been perfected well enough to justify cloning human beings." Representing the Catholic view, a priest elucidated on the "intrinsic value of human life." An atheist compared cloning to blood transfusions and organ transplants and saw no need to oppose human cloning. Feeling that upholding the law is the most important, a Religious Science reverend trusts that God will guide humanity on this important issue. The Hindu Sector was represented by Prithvi Raj Singh of the Federation of Hindus-Associations Inc. who spoke as follows, "In my opinion, irrespective of whether human cloning is carried out successfully or otherwise in other countries, the act should not have become a felony by the U.S. House of Representatives."

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British Priests Run Same High Risk of Attack as Policemen
Posted on 2001/8/15 1:47:02 ( 826 reads )


LONDON, UK, Aug 15, 2001: Being a priest may be the most dangerous profession in Britain, according to the first survey of its kind compiled for the Home Office. Nearly three-quarters of priests in the south-east of England who responded to a questionnaire said they had been abused or assaulted in the past two years. One in eight of them said they were physically attacked. Six priests have been murdered since 1996, including two this year. Although all the clergymen who responded were from the Church of England, the Guardian newspaper said yesterday that there was no indication the figures would be any different for any other Christian denomination. The newspaper speculated that it may be higher for other religious groups because their priests minister more exclusively to congregations. The results were from a report compiled by London's Royal Holloway University on Workplace Violence Affecting Professional Workers. According to the British Crime Survey, a member of the clergy was on par with a policeman when it came to the risk of an attack but was way ahead of other caring professions such as doctors, nurses or probation officers. Eighty per cent of priests said they had no guidelines from the church on dealing with violence.

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New Fuel-Saving Lantern Developed
Posted on 2001/8/15 1:46:02 ( 889 reads )


MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, Aug, 13, 2001: An improved kerosene lantern called "Noorie" has been designed and developed by Anil K. Rajvanshi and Sudhir Kumar of the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute in, Maharashtra, India, but is getting little recognition. It is a pressurized mantle lantern producing a light equivalent to a 100-watt bulb and can run on diesel, ethyl alcohol and other fuels. It uses only 60% of the fuel required to get the same output from the current popular lantern, a Petromax, and operates more safely, at one-third the pressure. The Noorie, which costs US$5.43, also doubles as a cook stove. The lantern has potentially enormous importance in India. Many rural areas and even the cities rely on these lanterns when local electrical production is insufficient or fails.

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Smugglers Plunder Old Rajasthan Fort
Posted on 2001/8/14 1:49:02 ( 845 reads )


MASALPUR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA, August 12, 2001: Near the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border in Masalpur is the fort of Timangarh, which has often been the site of much antique smuggling. "We have seen the helicopters landing near the Timangarh fort so many times. We can identify the noise of a helicopter even in our sleep," says villager Anant Ram Gujjar. Helicopters make the getaway by the smugglers simple and easy. The fort is said to have been built by local kings in 1100 ce. Inside this fort are thousands of idols carefully preserved in underground stone quarters. Gangs from Delhi, Mathura and Agra go to the three villages to hire the locals, the only people who know where the idols are hidden. Even after being tipped off about an operation, the police find it very difficult to catch the culprits, mainly because of the location and architecture of the fort. The idols are carved in the exquisite Gandhara style with the typical hairdo seen in the Ajanta and Ellora caves.

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Temple Accused of Mistreatment of Mentally Ill
Posted on 2001/8/14 1:48:02 ( 851 reads )


INDIA, August 10, 2001: A temple in Rajasthan puts the mentally ill through unspeakable rituals in the quest for a cure, a newspaper reported on Friday. At the Mehendipur Balaji Temple, 100 km from Jaipur, the victims are forced to inhale the fumes of burning dung cakes, bathe in and drink water from a filthy water tank, and stay chained or lie pressed under heavy rocks, The Indian Express said. "Unfortunately, cruelty outside mental hospitals, especially in places of worship, doesn't fall under the Mental Health Act. The law itself needs to be amended," said Shiv Gautam, head of psychiatry at Jaipur's SMS Hospital, who has treated many who have been to the Balaji temple.

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Birla Temple Packed for Janamashtami
Posted on 2001/8/14 1:47:02 ( 909 reads )

Source: Aaj Tak Hindi TV Channel

DELHI, INDIA, AUGUST 12, 2001: Over 250,000 devotees waited in long lines to worship at Lakshmi Narayan temple today. There were even devotees still waiting at midnight, but the exhausted priests had to call it a day. The temple's chief priest, Sri Lakshmi Narayan Shastri, said that the enthusiasm and interest of people in the festival was going up year after year. Kuldip, a young man said that he prayed to God to nab the wrongdoers in the UTI scam. Whereas Kusum Juneja, a housewife prayed to the Lord for the well being and welfare of one and all.

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Study Suggests Shaken Faith Can Worsen Poor Health
Posted on 2001/8/14 1:46:02 ( 781 reads )


USA, Aug. 13, 2001: Researchers have asserted in studies over the last half decade that religion and good health go hand in hand. One study of 596 elderly hospitalized patients, mostly Christians, began in 1996. Each was was asked if they "wondered whether God had abandoned me," "questioned God's love for me" or "decided the devil made this happen," among other statements. Those who endorsed such negative statements were more likely to die than patients who did not. Other experts, however, expressed skepticism about the study's findings.

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Married Catholic Archbishop Abandons Wife
Posted on 2001/8/14 1:45:02 ( 830 reads )


VATICAN, August 14, 2001: An African archbishop of the Catholic Church, Emmanuel Milingo, 71, is reported by the Vatican to be "renouncing my living together with Maria Sung and my relationship with the Rev Moon," according to a letter released by the Vatican. The announcement came after a meeting with the pope. Maria Sung, 43, is a Korean who married the archbishop in a ceremony performed by the controversial Christian leader Sung Myung Moon whose followers are popularly known as "Moonies." Maria told reporters she may be pregnant by the archbishop, and that she has gone on a hunger strike, vowing to die if the archbishop renounced their marriage. The Vatican has not disclosed Archbishop Milingo's whereabouts, other than to say he "had decided to pass a period of reflection and prayer ahead of his full reconciliation" with the Catholic Church. He would have been excommunicated had he not abandoned his wife. Catholics are forbidden to divorce, and it is not explained how the Church justifies the breaking up of a consummated marriage.

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Warning on World's Water Supplies
Posted on 2001/8/14 1:44:02 ( 898 reads )


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, August 13, 2001: Water experts are gathering in Sweden to discuss the pressure on the world's water supplies. Delegates meeting in Stockholm will discuss a range of issues from how to recover and re-use waste water, to what part dams have to play in providing water supplies. Professor Frank Rijsberman, head of the International Water Management Institute say the world's farms will need to use much more water over the coming 25 years to feed the world's growing population. There will also be discussion in defense of dams as a method of providing water, including the controversial Narmada Dam in India, whose opponents say is being built at the expense of local people and the natural environment of the region.

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