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Abusive Teacher Arrested, Suspended in Delhi

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:49:02 ( 1104 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 31, 2002: Shambu Nath Singh, the teacher of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's primary school at Sultanpuri accused of meting out corporal punishment to an eight-year-old girl, was arrested on Thursday by the Delhi Police. Last Monday, Shambhu, 33, had grabbed Rachna's hair and repeatedly struck her forehead against a table until her hair came out by the roots. She had failed to read aloud a passage in Hindi to his satisfaction. She now has a bald patch and refuses to go back to school. Shambhu has been charged with voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful restraint. He is currently out on bail. Officials of the Department of Education met on Thursday to initiate proceedings against Shambhu. He has already been suspended from the school where he worked since 1995. MCD Councillor Bansal said he would ensure the girl was given Rs 50,000 as compensation by the MCD. He also said action will be taken against O.P. Yadhuvanshi, the MCD area officer of Najafgarh zone, for not visiting the schools in his area regularly.

Thais to Shun Drug Dealers and Users

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:48:02 ( 970 reads )


BAN PA-KWOW, THAILAND, January 28, 2002: Ban Pa-Kwow's 200 adult villagers, seated in a Buddhist temple, are asked to write the name of persons suspected of involvement in use or trafficking of drugs. After the unsigned papers are put into a box, officials read the names and record them on a blackboard. A person whose name appears more than 5 times must answer the assembly. A confession results in the accused being sent for medical help and a denial leads to more discussion among villagers. If a majority finds the accusations warranted, the offenders are made social outcasts. People are urged not to help them with their harvests or invite them to parties or even talk to them. This threat of social sanctions is the latest weapon in a widening war on drugs, especially methamphetamine, the synthetic stimulant that has been declared Thailand's public enemy #1. The Health Ministry estimates 2.4 million of Thailand's 62 million people use the drug. Because Thai villagers are such close knit communities, it is hoped that such sanctions will help wipe out the medium and small scale dealers.

Ousted Badrinath priest Takes on BJP

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:47:02 ( 1075 reads )


DEHRA DUN, January 30, 2002: In a serious blow to the BJP, which is trying desperately to retain power in Uttaranchal, the suspended head priest of the famous Badrinath temple has announced that he will campaign against the party. Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari today ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. The priest -- "Rawal" Namboodripad -- was suspended by the Badrinath Temple Committee recently. He had been having a running feud with the panel over the issue of improvement of facilities for pilgrims visiting the shrine. The committee constituted by the state government is believed to be controlled by the RSS and BJP. The seat of the head priest of Badrinath has remained with the Namboodiri Brahmins of Kerala since times immemorial. But the recent head priest had been in the eye of the storm since he took over two years ago. He wanted to improve the facilities for pilgrims, which was resisted by the orthodox members of the temple committee. Namboodiripad returned from Kerala just today, after hearing of his suspension. He charged that a BJP minister and some leaders had hatched a conspiracy to suspend him.

The Mystical River Saraswati

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:46:02 ( 870 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, January 27, 2002: Vanishing from the Northern Indian terrain over 2000 years ago, the river Saraswati's disappearance has puzzled scientists until traces of it were spotted in satellite photos. Spoken of in the Rig Veda, the mighty Saraswati originated in the Himalayas before flowing through what is today known as Haryana and Western Rajasthan and emptying itself into the ocean. Professor K.S. Valdiya, a 65 year old leading geologist who has received numerous awards, has recently published a book called "Saraswati, The River that Disappeared." In this publication Professor Valdiya speculates that the river vanished due to " tectonic upheavals which were common in that part of the country." Research from satellite photography provided further evidence of the existence of river sand and mud in underground channels that once served as reservoirs for the passage of great volumes of water. The professor believes that earthquake activity in the Siwalik terrene robbed the mighty river of its water.

India's Universities to Train Priests

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:45:02 ( 931 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 3, 2002: Soon there will be 21 universities giving lessons in various Hindu rituals such as annaprashan, mundan, mahurat, naamkaran, Karvachauth and more. The new course for aspiring priests, named Paurohitya Pathyakram, will have its own Department of Karmakand to teach students Vedic rituals as varied as observing shraadh, putting up a wedding mandap, and ways to maintain grahshanti in your home. Like the controversial Vedic astrology course being taught in several universities, this one will offer graduate, post-graduate and Ph.D degrees, and get a special grant from the UGC.

India, Israel "Made For Each Other"

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:44:02 ( 1009 reads )


WASHINGTON, USA, January 26, 2002: It is coming up to a decade now, Jan. 29, to be precise, since India and Israel established formal diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. Since then, this report surprisingly states, Israel has become India's No. 2 arms supplier (after Russia) and now Jerusalem is planning to sell it Phalcon airborne early-warning systems worth US$1-billion. The news follows reports India has taken delivery of Green Pine radar of the Arrow system, upgraded cannons and unmanned aerial vehicles, useful weapons for guarding the line of control in Kashmir. In the past 10 years, trade between the two has quintupled to US$1 billion a year, mostly in the high-tech agricultural sector.

Churches Seek Right to Back Candidates

Posted on 2002/2/3 8:43:02 ( 1155 reads )


NORTH CAROLINA, USA, February 3, 2002: As far back as the Revolutionary War, America's religious leaders have taken to their pulpits to galvanize their followers on the political issues of the day, from taxation to slavery to abortion. But since 1954, when Senator Lyndon B. Johnson pushed a little-noticed law through Congress, ministers have been barred from preaching about political candidates. Under the law, churches are prohibited from endorsing or opposing candidates or risk being stripped of their tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. Nevertheless, the law is frequently flouted, and the I.R.S. rarely intervenes. Now religious conservatives are starting a campaign to remove the prohibition. The cause has been taken up by more than 12 religious conservative lobbying groups and is becoming a frequent topic on Christian talk shows on radio and television. Hindu temples in America should be aware that direct involvement in elections here could jeopardize their tax-exempt status.

Indian's "Holy Mud" Shrine Protected in War Zone

Posted on 2002/2/2 8:49:02 ( 1003 reads )

Source: New Zealand Herald

CHAMLIYAL, INDIA, January 23, 2002: Located 40 kilometers south of Jammu, the holy mud shrine dedicated to Chamliyal Baba, a 17th century saint having mystical powers, has been honored by Muslims and Hindus alike during the on-going conflict in the region. According to devotees, Baba was returning home from work in his fields one day when he was killed by thugs. One of close followers, suffering from eczema, was told by Baba in a dream that the soil surrounding his mortally wounded body would cure the ailment when applied to the inflamed area. After being magically cured, the disciple spread the word and a shrine was established for devotees to visit. Almost 350 years later, this shrine, on the border between India and Pakistan, is still considered a neutral zone where both Indians and Pakistanis reap the curative properties of the holy mud. Both armies allow cartloads of the mud to pass unhindered. Villages in the area have experienced constant fighting but the saint's shrine remains unscathed.

Thai Pusam Celebrated by 1.5 Million in Malaysia

Posted on 2002/2/2 8:48:02 ( 934 reads )


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 30, 2002: More than 1.5 million Hindu devotees and tourists visited temples nationwide to participate in Thai Pusam celebrations. More than a million converged at the Sri Subramaniaswamy temple in Batu Caves, the main venue for the celebrations. Many visitors, including about 100,000 tourists, were at the temple before dawn to participate in the ceremonies as were the thousands of others at temples nationwide. Taking advantage of the large turnout, various nongovernmental organizations set up booths to promote their cause and collect donations. Among the activities organized included a blood donation drive, distribution of free food and drink, visits to the Ramayana Cave, Art Gallery and Valluvar Kottaam caves and a funfair.

Researchers Warn on New Sex-Determination Test

Posted on 2002/2/2 8:47:02 ( 981 reads )

Source: South Africa Independent On Line

JERUSALEM, JANUARY 31, 2002: Israeli researchers said on Thursday they had made progress towards developing what could be a test to detect the gender of a fetus only 16 days after conception. Currently the gender of a fetus can only be determined by ultrasound about 14 weeks after conception, or at 16 weeks by amniocentesis. A team at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital found the level of maternal serum HCG -- the hormone used to test whether a woman is pregnant -- was 20 percent higher in mothers who carried female fetuses than in those who were carrying males. The blood test for HCG, given just over two weeks after conception, carries no particular dangers for the pregnant mother, but Doctor Yuval Yaron, head of the medical team conceded that such early sex diagnosis could carry some risks. "Certainly, some paces like India practice fetal sex selection which I find unacceptable. I would not like to see the results of our test misused in this way." It is estimated two to five million female fetuses are killed each year in India, where male offspring have traditionally been favored over females.

Hindi Dictionary On-Line

Posted on 2002/2/2 8:46:02 ( 501 reads )


February 2, 2002: Readers requiring a Hindi dictionary may click on "source" above. The site has links to a number of dictionaries, including ones for Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepalese and Sanskrit, to name a few.

URL: Scientist Cross Pigs With Spinach

Posted on 2002/2/2 8:45:02 ( 1007 reads )


For those who had difficulty with the URL for this story yesterday, clicking on "source" above should get you to the BBC report.

Thaipoosam In Seychelles

Posted on 2002/2/1 8:49:02 ( 1189 reads )


SEYCHELLES, January 30, 2002: A flamboyant religious procession by the Hindu community was staged through the streets of Victoria in commemoration of the birthday of Lord Murugan. Popularly known as Thaipoosam Kavadi, the procession started at the Navasakthi Vinayagar temple where the devotees walked through the streets and back to the temple. The procession was made up of a group of 30 devotees called the Algo Kavadi who carried the semi-circular metal structures (the Kavadis) on their shoulders, some 15 others (the Patkavadi) who carried some wooden structures and a third group of some 20 women called Paalkudam carrying milk pots on their heads. The onlookers were attracted to the procession by the lure of traditional Hindu beats that echoed through the streets.

Arya Orphanages Teach Religious

Posted on 2002/2/1 8:48:02 ( 1073 reads )

Source: Press Reports

NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 21, 2002: Orphanages usually give only physical sustenance to abandoned or orphaned children who have lost one or more parents. Not so with the Arya orphanages started over 30 years ago by Swami Shraddhanand and donated to Des Raj Chaudhury. Today, in addition to taking care of the physical needs of 1,100 children, the institution educates and instills morals and values in their wards. Assuming the mothering role, teachers at the six orphanages are also responsible for religious instruction. Six-year-olds perform six o'clock pujas and recite Gayatri mantras and other slokas. As they mature, students are well prepared to enter society. Many return to serve at the orphanage. Operating expenses average about $US38.00 per month for each child, most of which comes from grants and donations.

Bangalore Hosts Huge RSS Meeting

Posted on 2002/2/1 8:47:02 ( 1045 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, January 27, 2002: The IT capital of the country is the venue three-day harmony meeting of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which began on Friday. Over 36,000 RSS cadres from 16 districts of southern Karnataka are taking part in the event, being held at Manyatha Nagar on the outskirts of the city after a gap of two decades. In the 270-acre camp site, located on the outer Ring Road, off Hebbal tank, 16 separate townships have sprung up, each having a capacity to accommodate 3,000 delegates. The highlight of the three-day event is the route march on Saturday afternoon in six different directions, each procession having 6,000 RSS cadres. Some of the top Muslim leaders, including former Union Minister C K Jaffer Shareif, have already visited the venue of the camp and the RSS leadership has assured the minority community members that there was no cause for concern as the processions would be peaceful.

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