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India's Violent Homes
Posted on 2001/2/19 22:48:02 ( 754 reads )


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INDIA, February 19, 2001: Every six hours somewhere in India a young married women is burnt alive, beaten to death, or driven to commit suicide. Lawyer and social activist, Indira Jaisingh, who heads the Women's Legal Aid Center in Delhi, has been campaigning for a new law to deal with violence in the home. At least 20 percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 experience domestic violence, many of them on a continual basis. Activists say a major source of concern in India is that society has failed to bring about strong social sanctions against violent men. A recent survey by the International Institute for Population Studies, showed that 56 percent of Indian women believed wife beating to be justified in certain circumstances. Currently, there is no law in India dealing specifically with domestic violence.




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Idol-smuggling Racket Busted
Posted on 2001/2/19 22:47:02 ( 836 reads )


Source: Kaumudi





TRIVANDRUM, INDIA, February 20, 2001: Museum police held a three-member gang specializing in smuggling out rare idols to foreign countries. Top sources said that the gang comprising Syed, 50, a fake homeopathic doctor, Mohanan, 43, and Mohanachandran, 35, had smuggled out ten idols so far. They were caught while negotiating an audacious deal to smuggle out the panchaloha idol of Navneetakrishnan near the Hanuman temple here. Two Cochin-based agents of the gang were being traced, police said.




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A Reflection On Maha Sivaratri
Posted on 2001/2/18 22:49:02 ( 947 reads )


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MONTGOMERYVILLE, PHILADELPHIA, February 18, 2001: As America has become a more multicultural nation, the youth today are free to express their religious and cultural roots without the fear of being misunderstood or ridiculed. So expounds the author of this essay while recalling the most auspicious festival of her religion, Maha Sivaratri. As a teen she expresses her fascination with the night dedicated to Lord Siva and the intensity of the celebrations that left a deep impression on her youthful mind. The bathing of the Siva Lingam, the chanting of Sri Rudram by the priests and the fasting proceeding the annual event filled and thrilled the young Hindu. These traditions have been passed on to her own daughter who openly brings a friend along to the temple to partake in the celebration.




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California College of Ayurveda Inaugural Conference
Posted on 2001/2/18 22:48:02 ( 824 reads )


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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, February 19, 2001: The California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine will host its Inaugural Conference for Ayurvedic Practitioners, Educators and Students at U.C. Berkeley in Northern California on April 20, 21 and 22, 2001. We expect nationwide attendance. We would like to know if you would join us in supporting this great profession by letting your community know about our event on your website and placing some flyers and brochures about the conference on your premises. Sponsorship privileges, booth spaces and advertisement spaces are available. California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, P.O.Box 744 Sacramento, California 95812, Ph. 800.292.4882.




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Writer Seeks Hindu Input on The Simpsons
Posted on 2001/2/18 22:47:02 ( 1003 reads )


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ORLANDO, FLORIDA, February 19, 2001: Mark Pinsky, religion writer for the Sentinel newspaper here is publishing a book, "The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of America's Most Animated Family." His thesis is that despite its reputation (and beneath the jokes and sarcasm), "The Simpsons" television show treats God, faith and spirituality in a supportive, favorable fashion. He's included a chapter on the treatment of Hinduism, through the recurring character Apu. Informed that some Hindus have taken strong exception to the program, he is soliciting the opinion of Hindus on "The Simpsons" and the treatment of Hinduism, specifically if we feel the show treats Hinduism in a "supportive, favorable fashion," as he contends it does for Christianity. Write to him at "Source" above.




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Stress Questionnaire
Posted on 2001/2/18 22:46:02 ( 806 reads )


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February 15, 2001: The research team at the Department of Psychology at the Catholic University of America is interested in examining the ways in which people turn to religion in times of stress. They are looking for response from a wide variety of religious denominations, as well as people who are not currently affiliated with a religious denomination. Participation is voluntary and all responses are strictly anonymous. The website, which contains a series of questions, is located at http://research.cua.edu/psy.




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India Refuses Visas For Afghan Hindus In Germany
Posted on 2001/2/17 22:49:02 ( 858 reads )


Source: The Navhind Times, Panaji, Goa





GOA, INDIA, February 12, 2001: Some 8,000 Hindu refugees fleeing religious fanaticism and the civil war in Afghanistan have found shelter in Germany, but they have extreme difficulties in securing visas to India as red-tape prevents their visiting holy places or from immersing the ashes of their dead in the Ganges, as prescribed by the Hindu faith. Mr. Kewal Nagpal, who works as an administrator of a Hindu temple in Cologne run by an Afghan association called the Afghanische Hindu Gemeinde, lost his mother four and a half months back. Her ashes which should have been immersed within 10 days of cremation are in a funeral home. "I get terrible dreams in which she appears and seems to tell me her soul is not at peace," Mr. Nagpal said. But the Indian government refused to grant him a visa because of "security reasons," he was told by the Indian embassy in Bonn. Afghan Hindus are denied visas, as India, driven by security concerns has its security specialists screen applications which can take between six weeks to a year. Many Afghan Hindu refugees hold stateless identity cards issued by the German government which the Indian embassy does not recognize. Approximately 50,000 Hindus lived in Afghanistan prior to the civil war; hardly a handful is left.




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Nepal to Select New Goddess
Posted on 2001/2/17 22:48:02 ( 884 reads )


Source: Religion News Service





KATHMANDU, NEPAL, February 15, 2001: Honored by both Hindus and Buddhists alike, a new Goddess is being sought to serve in an ancient temple in Kathmandu. Selected from the Buddhist Shakya family, the new young Kumari would be assigned duties including several daily appearances to bless devotees. Many parents are avoiding the process as they want to educate their daughters for the work force, the life of the young Goddess is very isolated, and many Kumaris remain unmarried when their service ends. Tradition dictates retirement after puberty and until recently the money received was meagre. Retired Kumaris now receive about $40 a month from the government.




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Indian Firm Offers Deep Discount On AIDS Drugs
Posted on 2001/2/17 22:47:02 ( 763 reads )


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SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA, February 17, 2001: A Mumbai-based drug giant Cipla Limited has attracted worldwide headlines by offering accessibility of a cocktail of generic life-saving AIDS drugs to voluntary organizations and governments at a whopping 95 percent discount or more compared to American retail prices. Company chairman Yusuf K. Hamied says he has a reason for doing this. The AIDS epidemic, he said, "is a tragedy. By making this humanitarian offer, we are telling the world, 'Please wake up.' Otherwise we are in for another holocaust." Cipla, India's third-largest drug company by sales, is offering the life-saving AIDS cocktail, which comprises three drugs -- stavudine, lamivudine and nevirapine. Cipla offers three-tier pricing: $1,200 to wholesalers for a year's supply for a single patient, $600 for governments, and $350 to Medecins Sans Frontiere (Doctors Without Borders). MSF is the Nobel Prize-winning voluntary organization of doctors that gives medical care to the underserved. They get the drugs on the condition that they distribute them free of charge. The offer to MSF is below the cost of manufacture. Bought from drug companies licensed to produce these drugs, a year's supply of these same drugs can cost anything from $10,000 to $15,000 in the U.S.




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Dalai Lama Gives Advice to Journalists
Posted on 2001/2/16 22:49:02 ( 774 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 14, 2001: Journalists from around the world were honored at the International Press Institute World Congress in January with the Dalai Lama's presence. Charming the audience with his wit and humor, the revered religious leader of the Tibetan people gave his input on the Freedom of the Press. He alluded to the analogy of comparing journalists to elephants whereby they should sniff all around and investigate everything and everyone with sincere motivation. Encouraging the people of the press to practice nonviolence and compassion and to find peace in the midst of adversity, the 14th Tibetan Pontiff won the hearts of those in the audience. Many members of the press at the conference asked for clarification on the Dalai Lama's view of conversion. Reiterating his original comments, the humble Tibetan leader expressed that it is better to keep the religion you are born into because it influences your thinking. If conversion is forced, the individual never becomes a sincere convert but, if after deep self-reflection and philosophical study, the person commits to the premises of their new faith, then conversion is true, he explained.




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Tirade Against Valentine's Day
Posted on 2001/2/16 22:48:02 ( 810 reads )


Source: Times of India and Hindustan Times Reports





NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 13, 2001: A 100-strong mob ransacked a shop selling Valentine's Day cards in east Delhi, smashing glass windows and burning the cards. The attack was one of many at various places in the country following a call by the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray not to celebrate "this shameless festival that is totally contrary to Indian culture." In Lucknow, a handful of activists of the Hindu Jagaran Manch forced gift shops selling Valentine's Day cards to shut down. In Kanpur, several shops selling Valentine's day cards were destroyed. It was in Mumbai that the Shiv Sena activists had a field day, destroying several heart shaped arches and gateways built for the occasion by shops and hotels across Mumbai. They also had a go at 'Madness,' a popular disco in suburban Mumbai and the Hallmark's outlet at the Crossroads mall. Police seemed to be looking the other way, though later made some token arrests. They don't want any major law-and-order trouble on the eve of the Indian Navy's first international fleet review beginning Thursday. In satellite townships of Kalyan, Dombivli and Thane several card shops closed their shutters, calling off their promotionals as a preventive measure.




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Vietnam Closes Two Fake Temples
Posted on 2001/2/16 22:47:02 ( 830 reads )


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HANOI, VIETNAM, February 16, 2001: Vietnamese authorities have sealed off two phony temples built to bilk Buddhist pilgrims out of offerings at one of the country's most popular religious sites, an official said Friday. The first two of 42 fake shrines at the Perfume Pagoda were sealed off Thursday, and local officials plan to close the others as well, said Nguyen Xuan Sinh, deputy chair of the People's Committee of Huong Son village, where the pagoda is located. The site has 31 temples and caves that are recognized as historical relics. The others were built by enterprising villagers in the mid-1990s to collect donations from unsuspecting pilgrims, Sinh said. He said three villagers were sentenced to probation for violating a historical site. "We faced fierce resistance from the owners of the fake temples, but we are determined to close the rest of them by the end of this month,'' Sinh said. Perfume Pagoda, 45 miles west of Hanoi, is one of Vietnam's most popular pilgrimage sites, drawing an average of 450,000 people during the three-month pilgrimage season that starts after the Lunar New Year.




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Activists Deter Valentine's Day Celebrations
Posted on 2001/2/15 22:49:02 ( 861 reads )


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KANPUR, INDIA, February 12, 2001: Attacking and raiding shops selling Valentine's Day gifts and cards, Hindu Jagaram Manch activists attempted to curb the Western celebration that has become popular among the youth in the last ten years.The District Magistrate in Kanpur has ordered Special Police pickets to be posted at hotels, markets and gift shops to deter the culprits. So far no arrests have been made.




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Youth Taught to Respect Animals
Posted on 2001/2/15 22:48:02 ( 820 reads )


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KAITHAL, INDIA, February 12, 2001: Attempting to kindle a "reverence of all forms of life," the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals has started teaching 30 members in the local OSDAV school. On a larger scale the society intends to set up Karuna Clubs in other schools in the district where the philosophy of compassion for animals will be taught. The recipients of the classes promoted by the Society will be educated, "to raise their voice against killing animals," and to protect both animal and human rights.




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Faith Funds Face Punishment Law
Posted on 2001/2/15 22:47:02 ( 821 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 12, 2001: The Vajpayee government proposes to replace the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) with new legislation which will contain strict penalties to prevent anti-India and fundamentalist activities. Under the old FCRA, it is mandatory for all organizations receiving foreign funds to register with the home ministry and file returns on receipt and expenditure of foreign exchange. But there are no stiff penal clauses if any organization is found diverting money to build institutions that act as "fronts" for terrorist activities. The existing law has only a provision to cancel the organization's registration. The law scheduled to replace the 1976 Act will propose a maximum punishment of imprisonment as well as fines for such organizations. All organizations receiving foreign funds will have to register with district magistrates and submit details of the amount received and names of the donors. It has been suggested that associations operating in the border regions and religious organizations be registered anew with the home ministry. This is to keep better watch on religious organizations which receive thousands of dollars as foreign contributions which are often channelized for activities other than those the funds were actually meant for. Reports have noted the increase in mosques and madarsas (Muslim schools) in the border areas and pointed to the growing use of these by terrorist outfits.




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