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Hindu Press International
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American Hindus Want a Divali Stamp
Posted on 2000/12/21 22:47:02 ( 866 reads )


Source: Hinduism Today





WASHINGTON, D.C., December 21, 2000: Since President Clinton recognized the value of Hindu's contributions by way of a Divali message from the White House, American Hindus have started to promote the idea of a Divali stamp to be issued by the US Postal Service next year. Aside from Christmas stamps which are issued by the hundreds of millions, the Jewish holiday of Hannukah was commemorated by the U.S.P.S. by way of a postage stamp in past years. They have also announced that a stamp in celebration of the Islamic religious holiday, Eid Mubarak, is being designed for the year 2001. Hindu's are requested to send e-mail to pmgceo@usps.gov.




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National Organic Standards Released
Posted on 2000/12/21 22:46:02 ( 754 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 20, 2000: The government released the first national standards for growing and processing organic foods. Foods that meet the new federal standards will bear a seal "USDA Organic" and replace dozens of local standards. The new regulations will ban the use of biotechnology or irradiation in organic products, which are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. It will also ban the use of antibiotics in organic meat and require dairy cattle to have access to pasture. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman called the rules "the strictest, most comprehensive organic standards in the world." Farmers and handlers will have 18 months to comply with the standards to earn the USDA seal.




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Mauritius to Strengthen Links With India
Posted on 2000/12/20 22:49:02 ( 722 reads )


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CHENNAI, INDIA, December 20, 2000: Mauritius has decided to strengthen its links with India to enhance its educational and training facilities. Mr. Ramduthsing Jaddoo, a former Minister for Human Resource Development in Mauritius and the brain behind a movement to revamp higher education is in India to establish links with some South Indian centers like Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. He told "The Hindu" newspaper that both Mauritius government ministries and institutions and the private sector needed modern, IT-friendly management training to equip themselves for the era of globalization. He visited the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) and met educationalists, on the premise that a consultancy centre would be established very soon to source the talent from this region for Mauritius in both employment and in the training faculty. A package for Indians to both invest in Mauritius and take up professional appointments there would be unveiled by an official delegation visiting India in January.




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Reactions Vary to Beauty Contest Ban
Posted on 2000/12/20 22:48:02 ( 752 reads )


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UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA, December 17, 2000: Chief Minister Rajnath Singh's decision to ban beauty contests has caused heated debates among opposition parties and BJP allies. Comments range from total agreement by Muslim organizations and religious leaders, to total disagreement by a female opposition leader who described the ban as an attack on the fundamental rights of women. Middle roaders oppose the ban but support limitations on the beauty contests. Keeping a firm stand, Rajnath Singh is quoted as saying, "I would not allow beauty contests to be organized in the state at any cost."




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Anti-Smoking Youth Program Abandoned
Posted on 2000/12/20 22:47:02 ( 801 reads )


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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, December 20, 2000: After 14 years and 15 million dollars, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has abandoned a project that was aimed at controlling tobacco use among the youth. 8,388 school children and 640 teachers in 40 school districts were targeted for the study. The curriculum, arming the children with tools to resist peer pressure and advertising influences, was taught from grade three through grade ten. However recent surveys indicate that the amount of smokers from this group mimics the general populace who did not participate in the program. Associated Press said, "24.4 percent of the girls and 26.3 percent of the boys were daily smokers by the 12th grade" -- no different from the rest of 12th graders. Richard Clayton, a University of Kentucky researcher, feels that the decision to smoke is an emotional one and the Washington State program focused incorrectly on a rational approach.




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US Religious Organizations Love the Internet
Posted on 2000/12/20 22:46:02 ( 791 reads )


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WASHINGTON, DC, December, 2000: The Pew Internet and American Life Project surveyed over 1,000 congregations to see to what extent they're using the Internet for religious work. The survey found that churches are using the Internet to offer virtual tours of their grounds, webcast their services, and post church bulletins, allowing consumers to shop for churches, just as they shop for goods, online. Clergy surveyed often turn to the Internet to get material for sermons, church-education programs and their own personal devotions. Most of the sites are made by members of the congregations. Although not part of the survey, many Hindu churches and temples around the world maintain websites.




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Encroachment and Mining Threaten Tribal Lands
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:49:02 ( 841 reads )


Source: Outlook Magazine





NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 20, 2000: The government has secretly initiated a move to open up tribal-owned properties for acquisition and commercial exploitation, according to a report in the leftist "Outlook" magazine. The Union ministry of mines has put up a note marked "secret" -- No16/48/97-M.VI -- for the committee of secretaries to encourage an amendment to the constitution's fifth schedule which covers tribal land. The amendment would circumvent a Supreme Court ruling of 1997 that any lease or license to non-tribals as "absolutely void and impermissible." The move has set off angry reactions and threats of protest in Jharkhand and several states which will be affected. De-reservation of tribal land and rehabilitation of those displaced has always been a tricky issue. By official estimates only one-fourth of all tribals displaced between 1951 and 1990 by government projects, in the name of "national interest," have been resettled. It is feared that once tribal land is opened up to mining companies, large-scale displacement of people will occur.




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RSS Disapproves of Small Families
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:48:02 ( 742 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, December 17, 2000: Even as the country struggles with the challenges of over-population, the RSS strongly disapproves of "small families." As noted in their recently prepared booklet, to be distributed during a month-long, door-to-door campaign in Northern India, the RSS attributes the rising number of unwed mothers to increased use of condoms and other family planning methods. Citing some American high schools where infant care is provided for young student's babies, as examples of condom use leading to pre-marital sex, they encourage people not to follow Western ways. They believe a desire for independence on the part of the young in these small familes has lead to an increase in old-age homes, as the children are unwilling to care for their aged parents.




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The Search for the River Saraswati
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:47:02 ( 809 reads )


Source: The Times of India





NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 13, 2000: Establishing the location of the Saraswati River alluded to in ancient Indian religious literature would authenticate its existence as a mighty Himalayan river. Over 160 Indus sites were nurtured by the Saraswati, far from the Indus River Valley. Now satellite photos and ground studies of clay, silt, sand and gravel deposits establish the course of the river from the Himalayan foothills to the Sind gulf. This enormous river, over five miles across from shore to shore, changed its course four times always in a westerly direction. Initially flowing from the Himalayas in a south-west direction about 4000 bce, the Saraswati disappeared sometime between 2000 bce and 1500 bce With the disappearance of the Saraswati River and the migration it caused, the Ganges and Indus River populations became the central focus towards the end of the early Vedic period.




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Sanskrit for Madonna's Wedding
Posted on 2000/12/19 22:46:02 ( 793 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, December 19, 2000: Madonna's wedding may assume a multicultural flare at Skibo castle in Scotland on December 22. A Hindi scholar has been asked to provide Sanskrit prayers for the ceremony and Reverend Susan Brown, the first women minister in a British cathedral, will be conducting the marriage. A senior Hindu leader in London told India Abroad News Service, "Madonna is well known to have respect for Sanskrit and for Hindu beliefs, and she is a dedicated yoga practitioner."




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Plea For Entry of Non-Hindus In Temples Denied
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:49:02 ( 849 reads )


Source: Hindustan Times, Dec. 15





THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, December 15, 2000: A division bench of the Kerala High Court dismissed a petition seeking entry for non-Hindus into temples. Advocate J. William John petitioned the court claiming that all Indians are Hindus, and therefore Rule 3 (A) of the Kerala Hindu Places Worship Act of 1965 preventing the entrance of Christians into temples was against the fundamental rights of citizens as stated in the constitution.The division bench rejected the petition observing that Article 25 (2) B of the constitution empowers the government to allow all sections of Hindus, but not necessarily all Indians, in Hindu public institutions. So, they said, there is no constitutional right to the petitioner to get an order declaring that all citizens be allowed in temples.




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Forced Arranged Marriage an Issue in Denmark
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:48:02 ( 851 reads )


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ARHUS, DENMARK, December 18, 2000: Ali Simsek, like millions of Turkish immigrants drawn to Europe came to Denmark in 1970. His family joined him but in all the years, Mr. Simsek never learned a word of Danish or forsook Turkish customs. When his oldest son, Bunyamin, turned 17 in 1987, Mr. Simsek arranged a marriage for him with Sorgul Ceran from Turkey, a daughter of an old friend. But after the birth of a child and the completion of Bunyamin's education, things quickly soured, failure owing to unsettling contradictions of their lives."My wife was wearing a veil, a problem for me in Denmark, as my friends are Danes," he says. This is one case of why forced arranged marriage is a target of ridicule across Europe. "Immigrants must adapt to Danish cultural norms," said Nils Preiser, a senior Interior Ministry official. Bunyamin, now 30, is a Danish-speaking citizen at ease with the give-and-take of Western society, an olive-skinned Muslim in a land of Vikings. Some people call him a "Nydansker," or "New Dane," a term that sets him and others like him apart. "Like many second-generation immigrants, I have two identities," he says. Arranged marriage is also an issue in the UK where too often the match is forced.




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India's Lost Africans: World Response
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:47:02 ( 828 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, December 19, 2000: The story of the Sidis, the Indian community of African descent which has lost contact with its African origins, has attracted enormous interest from around the world. A recent report on BBC News Online by Andrew Whitehead about the Sidis' quest for their history has prompted hundreds of e-mails. "The song of the Sidi ladies in India," wrote Basha Sebro in Ethiopia, "is very similar to one sung by my father's tribe in Harar in Ethiopia." But it's possible that Sidis' had west African origins, with the Sidi village of Jambur, sharing a name with a village in The Gambia. "The Sheedi or Makrani community outside Karachi in Pakistan was part of the Sultanate of Oman," explains Asim Alavi in the US, "and Sheedis came here as slaves." E-mails about an African trading community near Belgaum, again in southern India, and about small settlements in western Sri Lanka were also received. Some emails reflected resentment that Sidis were being regarded as an anthropological curiosity.




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Temple in Bergen County
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:46:02 ( 763 reads )


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BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, December 15, 2000: Bergen County in North Jersey has become the home to the third-highest number of Indian Asians in the U.S.A. In order to keep their religion and culture thriving, the Hindu Samaj has purchased 5 wooded acres where the congregation of about 200 families plans to build a 26,000-square foot temple and community center. An old Victorian House is in the process of being renovated to house a priest for the temple. Upon completion in January, 2001, a priest will be hired to host prayer groups in the house until the temple is completed. Construction will begin after the group has raised at least $1 million. The new temple will cost in the vicinity of $3 million. Other religions have places of worship nearby and the mayor of Bergen Country said the temple has no strong opposition.




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Concordia University Announces Mahabharata Conference
Posted on 2000/12/18 22:45:02 ( 949 reads )


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MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, December 19, 2000: Concordia University announced it would hold an international conference on the Mahabharata June 7, 8 and 9, 2001. The themes are: methodological problems of teaching the mahabharata; character analysis based on ethical issues; and challenges and responses in the context of philosophical, social and other issues. Postal Address: Dr. Shrinivas Tilak, Department of Religion, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8.




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