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Norwegians Impressed With India's Jail Reform
Posted on 2001/4/26 23:48:02 ( 877 reads )


Source: The Daily Pioneer





NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 24, 2001: A Norwegian man arrested and jailed in India for smuggling heroin has made such a remarkable transformation through the Vipasana meditation program the jail offers that the Norwegian government is looking into instituting the same program in its jails. Vipasana is a Buddhist meditation method involving long hours of meditation and silence packed in a short period, such as ten days. It was instituted when Kiran Bedi was warden. Norway became aware of the man's transformation after his mother visited the jail and was astounded at her son's improvement. She told Tihar authorities that she had regained her son, whom she had lost to drugs. A Norwegian TV crew shot a film on the man and other foreigners in Tihar, many of whom had benefitted from the meditation and the jail's other innovative rehabilitation programs.




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Britain National Dish is.... Chicken Tikka Masala??
Posted on 2001/4/26 23:47:02 ( 954 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, April 21, 2001: A bland red curry known as chicken tikka masala has joined the ranks of pizza and chow mein in culinary history. That is, just as until a few decades ago no Italian in Italy had seen a pizza, and no Chinese in China ever tasted "chow mein," now the British have not only invented an Indian-like curry, their foreign secretary, Robin Cook, called it "Britain's national dish." Some 23 million dishes are served every year to satisfy British palates, preceded by onion bhajis and cooled down by pint after pint of English lager. Retail chain Marks and Spencer sells 18 tons of its readymade version every week. The dish is spiced grilled chicken served with a thick sauce, and apparently invented to satisfy a British customer's demand for gravy with his meal. The designation as national dish has not gone unchallenged, however. Some culinary experts have proposed fish and chips, others rib eye steak and chips, neither noted for their contributions to the consumer's health.




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Are Bradford's Troubles Ethnic or Social?
Posted on 2001/4/25 23:49:02 ( 950 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, April 25, 2001: A recent outbreak of violence in West Yorkshire County and Bradford has led to controversy as to the cause. This Times of India article is just the latest of several articles that discuss the incident. By appearances the looting, fire-bombing and street fighting could be attributed to racial tensions between Hindus and Muslims. However the writer of this article digs deeper and speculates that the real source of tension lies in a class difference where poor whites and Muslims are pitted against middle-class whites and Hindus. Stacy Burlett of Bradford University, who has studied the multi-ethnic community for several years, believes that the fight was about the "poor working class fighting the richer outsiders." In the case of the recent uprising, it would have been the rich wedding party of Hindu girl and white boy celebrating under the noses of the poor whites and Muslims in the neighborhood. True to fact, most Hindus arrived in Britain well educated and with money, whereas most Bangladeshis and Pakistanis came to Britain with very little education and less money. By appearances, each group migrated socially toward peers among the English with similar levels of education and income. Thus a poor Bangladeshi teen living on the streets finds a comrade in the poor Irish youth, while the well-educated son of an Indian doctor finds friends among the better-off whites. The debate continues and politicians have been warned that the situation is escalating from a multi-ethnic one to a huge social problem.




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France Love's for Lord Siva!
Posted on 2001/4/25 23:48:02 ( 1033 reads )


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PARIS, FRANCE, April 26, 2001: Lord Siva continues to fascinate the French literary world that has already seen the publication of numerous books on Him. Two more books on differing aspects of Siva have joined the list. "Le religion de Shiva" (The religion of Siva) which tries to explain Hinduism through the famed temple art of South India in the medieval ages, has been written by renowned Sanskrit scholar, N. Ramachandra Bhatt and translated into French by French Sanskrit scholar Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat. The second book, written by Catherine Clement, a renowned French writer and wife of a former French diplomat who had served in India, deals with Varanasi, a city closely related to Siva. "Bhatt has reunited Indian tradition, history, ethnography and art to approach one of the principal compositions of religion in India," says Filliozat. Both the books were released recently by Indian Ambassador to France, Kanwal Sibal, at separate functions.




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Singapore Hoping for a Baby Boom
Posted on 2001/4/25 23:47:02 ( 824 reads )


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SINGAPORE, APRIL 15,2001: The tiny city-state of Singapore, with a scant four million population, is encouraging its citizens to have more babies. Concerned with its declining birthrate, the government has developed monetary and workplace incentives to persuade people to have larger families. The government is offering cash for couples who have a second and third child, extended maternity and paternity leave, flexible working hours and sometimes, special deals on apartment rentals. Like other nations with rising living standards, most Singaporeans have been choosing to have smaller families. The birthrate has fallen to 1.5 children per woman of childbearing age where 2.5 is needed to maintain the population level. Even this figure masks the true situation, which is that poor Muslim Malays are having three or four children per family, while the educated Chinese and Indians are having just one. That would explain why, although the new baby-boom incentives do not discriminate on the basis of education, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, recently stated, "Our educated people should have three children per family." Singapore at least is still increasing in population, at just 1.15% per year, whereas Russia, Italy and several other countries are dropping each year. Germany has reached zero population growth.




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Farmers Aand Scientists Fight Over Genetic Modification of Crops
Posted on 2001/4/25 23:46:02 ( 860 reads )


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LONDON, U.K., April 23, 2001: Indian and British farmers joined hands to fight new agriculture techniques being planned by scientists from their countries. The contest took place in Norwich in East Britain where the John Innes Center held its Global Agriculture 2020 conference from April 17 - 21 on genetically modified (GM) crops with the theme "Global Agriculture 2020 - Which Way Forward." Chairing the event was M.S. Swaminathan, of India's Green Revolution who called for an "evergreen revolution" through progressive use of gene technology to develop new crops. Some of Britain's senior-most agriculture scientists attended, supporting the work of the Swaminathan Institute in Chennai. In opposition, a rival meeting themed "Feeding or Fooling the World?" and backed by Oxfam, ActionAid, Greenpeace and the Soil Association was called by a group of non-governmental organizations to oppose GM foods. It was held from April 17 to 21, alongside the conference of scientists. The rival meeting was better attended because of increasing unpopularity of GM food in Britain. British farmer Ed Cross teamed up with Umnapur Lakshmi, a farmer from Andhra Pradesh who told of how she rotates crops to grow as many as 80 varieties in a year and gets good yields without any genetic modification. Devinder Sharma, chair of the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security in Delhi told the conference that GM foods are unnecessary. "India has a surplus of foods and still people go hungry," he said. "The problem is one of access and distribution, not of shortfall of production."




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Britain's Asian Diversity--the Sources of Conflict
Posted on 2001/4/24 23:49:02 ( 898 reads )


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BRITAIN, UK, April 20, 2001: In Britain, the non-white minority ethnic groups are estimated at 3.8 million or just under seven per cent of the population. Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities make up about 1.87 million of this figure. Along with religious and cultural differences, socio-economic levels vary widely within the Asian community. Indian children show the highest rates of success at school, while the lowest rate is seen among Pakistani and Bangladeshi students. According to Department of Education and Employment statistics, whites have the lowest rate of unemployment, followed by people of Indian origin. The highest rate is found among the Bangladeshi community. Tariq Modood, a professor of sociology at the University of Bristol, notes that Indians were the first Asians to bring their families to Britain, as early as the 1960's. Pakistanis and Bangladeshis came much later and were generally less qualified when they arrived. Although all Asian youth are increasingly going to university, there is growing social and economic division within the communities. The gap between well educated and under educated is leading to tensions among the black and white people from all communities.




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South African Youth Hold Large Religious Gathering
Posted on 2001/4/24 23:48:02 ( 833 reads )


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FAKIR HASSEN, JOHANNESBURG, APRIL 21, 2001: Fifteen South African Hindu youth organizations collaborated to present one of the largest religious gatherings in the mainly Indian populated area of Lenasia. The organizations are hosting Ram Kathas, or recitals of the story of Hindu Lord Ram, by well-known Indian preacher, Morari Bapu. The event, which will continue through April 22, has been attracting over 5,000 people every day since it started last Saturday. Local Hindu leaders have expressed pride that the South African Hindu youth showed an interest in taking care of their religion and cultural heritage.




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Mark Tully's Love of India
Posted on 2001/4/24 23:47:02 ( 890 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 21, 2001: Speaking from the heart, this article expounds on Mark Tully's love of India. Tully worked most of his life for the BBC in India, and is widely respected. Born over sixty-five years ago in Kolkata, Tully's early upbringing took place within the lavish British society with servants and tea. Moving back to wartime England was rather shocking to Tully. He was used to running barefoot and having many servants, not one insistent nanny. Studying history and theology at Cambridge after grade school sparked his interest in both Christianity and Hinduism. After graduation these studies landed him a job at the BBC, in the personnel department. At the age of 30, he sailed back to India as assistant reporter for the BBC and felt a real home-coming. Known internationally as the famed journalist from India, Tully's career has covered the Bangladesh War, the Maha Kumbh Mela and the internal emergency declared by former prime minister Indira Gandhi, to name only a few major events. Winning awards such as the Order of the British Empire and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC, Tully considers the covering of the Maha Kumbh Mela one of his greatest, magical and mystical stories. Retiring in the Indian capital, Tully's love of India is evident in his home with motifs on the walls, murthis of Indian Gods in his living room and audiocassettes of Bollywood. He said he wants to be reborn as an Indian.




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Elephant Band Gets Rave Reviews
Posted on 2001/4/24 23:46:02 ( 890 reads )


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LAMPANG, THAILAND, April, 23, 2001: 59-year-old American Richard Lair, aka Professor Elephant, is the conductor of the world's first and only elephant orchestra comprising 12 jumbos on a wide range of ingenious percussion, string and woodwind instruments. While Phangkhawt and her fellow musicians are unlikely to put the Vienna Philharmonic out of business, their 19-track compact disc got a warm review from Robert Halliday, classical music critic for the Bangkok Post. "The results of this inter-species musical experiment are, at their best, so communicative that I defy listeners unfamiliar with the circumstances to spot them as non-human in origin." Lair and fellow conservationists hope the CD will draw attention to the tragedy of Thailand's domestic elephant population, which is down to 2,500 from some 100,000 a century ago. Funds garnered through the elephants' performances and CD go back into conservation of the species. So after music, painting and an occasional Hollywood role, what can the elephants do for an encore? "The next step," says Lair, "is to teach them how to write novels."




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Abortion in India is Tipping Scales Sharply Against Girls
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:49:02 ( 1016 reads )


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AFFARPUR, INDIA, April 21, 2001: Though India outlawed sex-determination tests in a weakly enforced law in 1994, their use has spread to small towns served by itinerant doctors who carry an ultrasound machines from clinic to clinic. Here in the northern state of Punjab, Gurjit Kaur, 22, said she paid 500 rupees, US$10.87, for an ultrasound test a year ago, then aborted her pregnancy after a doctor told her she was carrying a girl. Pregnant again with the longed-for male child, she said "our elders wanted a boy." Early figures from the 2001 census have made it clear that female fetuses are being regularly aborted, continuing a trend that first became marked in the 1980's. The number of girls per 1,000 boys dropped to 927 this year from 945 in 1991 and 962 in 1981. The fall in the ratio of girls to boys over the past decade, when India's population grew by 181 million, has been most extreme in the richest states of the north and west, where people can afford tests and abortions. India has the lowest ratio of females to males among the 10 most populous countries in the world. In the USA, 1.6 million of 6 million pregnancies each year are aborted, with no distinction between boys and girls, and at an average cost of $300.




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Racial Tensions in Bradford
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:48:02 ( 909 reads )


Source: The Times





BRADFORD, ENGLAND, April 20, 2001: West Yorkshire County and downtown Bradford was scene to a small riot fuelled by drunken whites who ignited the tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Apparently, a Hindu engagement party was rudely interrupted with racial slurs from a group of whites. When the trouble spilled out into the street, Muslims owning a nearby restaurant entered into the brawl which soon escalated beyond control. Starting at 7 p.m. last Sunday, the trouble was finally brought under control by the police at 2 a.m. Two pubs were fire bombed, eight people were injured, shops were plundered, and a Hindu-owned pharmacy ransacked. The city is well aware of the racial tensions which seem to prevail among Muslim youth. These immigrants live in areas of the city where unemployment is twice the national average.




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Paris Hosts Indian Festival
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:47:02 ( 886 reads )


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PARIS, FRANCE, April 21, 2001: With a mission to expose the people of France to Indian culture, Anne Klasen, a French author, has organized her third Indian festival. Fascinated with Indian people and culture, Klasen has made annual visits to India since 1960. It is this love of India that has given the fire necessary to organize the festival where the French people will be entertained by popular Hindi films, music concerts and dances. Indian handicrafts and food will be on sale and, for the intellectual, debates on Indian politics and society. French schools will be visited by the festival and Indian meals served in their cafeteria for a day.




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Impressed by the Kumbha Mela, Israelis Organize Boombamela
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:46:02 ( 856 reads )


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ASHKELON, ISRAEL, April 22, 2001: Over 30,000 Israelis gathered last week for four days at Nitzanim beach on the Mediterranean to celebrate "Boombamela," a festival modeled loosely on the Kumbha Mela. As well, it appears to have a connection with dance "raves." The organizers said they were inspired by Kumbha Mela and started the event in Israel three years ago. Many of the visitors at the festival have been to India or are planning to visit. ''The New Age festivals are finding increasing takers in this country, reflecting the trend among Israelis to seek escape from the inevitable cycle of violence they see in this land,'' said a professor of Tel Aviv University. Searching for essence of life in esoteric and mystical philosophies, a number of Israelis get attracted to Indian philosophy and spiritualism like that of Tantra Buddhism and Shirdi Sai Baba. Over 25,000 Israelis visit India every year.




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Link Shown Between Behavior and Child Care
Posted on 2001/4/23 23:45:02 ( 830 reads )


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WASHINGTON, April 18, 2001: The results of a study financed by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development that began in 1990 in ten different cities across the U.S. has been tabulated. More than 1,100 children that receive child care defined as care by someone else other than the child's mother for at least 10 hours per week were observed. Quoting the article, "The study found a direct correlation between time spent in child care and traits like aggression, defiance and disobedience." Behavior ratings of the children were given by their mothers, other caregivers and kindergarten teachers. Researchers, including Dr. Belsky who has overseen the study, are unable at this point to identify why children in child care may be more aggressive or disobedient. Dr. Sarah Friedman who has coordinated the study for the child health institute suggests that child care providers may not be trained to emotionally support children or parents may simply be too overworked.




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