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Hindu Press International
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Maha Kumbh Militant Threat
Posted on 2001/1/10 22:48:02 ( 850 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 11, 2001: Over 2,500,000 devotees and reports of a possible militant strike kept the police and mela authorities on their toes on the first day of the Maha Kumbh. The paush purnima snan (bath at full moon) at the Sangam attracted a record gathering of devotees, giving the police cause to worry over the scope of arrangements to be made for the two biggest bathing days yet to come. Tuesday's crowds were almost double the official estimates before the Mela began. Intelligence sources said they had received information about a possible subversive strike during the Kumbh. The Uttar Pradesh police officially denied any new threat, but stepped up their security to face any eventuality. A report from Lucknow said Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, responsible for a recent Army camp strike, had planned similar attacks at the Maha Kumbh. Allahabad has increased the number of police covering the event from 15,000 to 20,000 in the last two days. The force will be backed by 150 river patrol officers, 20 specially trained commandos and 10 Army teams specializing in anti-mine operations. Bomb disposal squads are also stationed at the mela complex.




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Tampin Strongman Sets New Record
Posted on 2001/1/10 22:47:02 ( 890 reads )


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KLANG, MALAYSIA: January 8, 2001: Tampin born V. Rathakrishnan, noted by the Malaysia Book of Records as the man with the strongest teeth, successfully set another record yesterday. He used his teeth to pull a 37.35 ton train coach for a distance of 8.37m at the Klang railway station, surpassing his first effort in 1995 where he pulled a 10.8 ton bus a distance of 5.12m. When Rathakrishnan started his attempt, the coach refused to budge. After several starts and stops and attempts to focus, he finally succeeded and the coach inched forward. With encouragement from the crowd, he reached just past the 8m mark in about 4 minutes then collapsed, exhausted, on the track. Later, Rathakrishnan revealed to the press he had been suffering from a cold and a slight fever. Officers from the Malaysia Book of Records confirmed his accomplishment.




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Millions Flock to Hindu Festival
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:49:02 ( 779 reads )


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ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 7, 2001: Pilgrims have begun arriving in the northern Indian town of Allahabad for Hinduism's most important spiritual gathering, which is expected to attract at least 70 million people over the next 42 days. The Kumbh Mela takes place every 12 years and sees millions of devotees bathe in the Ganga to purify their sins. The numbers in Allahabad are steadily growing as Tuesday approaches, itself an auspicious bathing day. For many, the bathing has already started, as they immerse themselves in the river, despite the bitter cold. Police posts have been set up and security measures have been drawn up to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.




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Saints Protest Land Allotments at Mela
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:48:02 ( 887 reads )


Source: Free Press Journal, Mumbai





ALLAHABAD, INDIA, December 15, 2000: Saints of various religious orders are upset with the mela administrators, alleging discrimination in allotment of land. They say fake saint committees have been given land, and object to the construction of 5-star facilities for foreigners and VIPS, which they said was against the religious sentiments linked with the Mela. For example, one camp is charging foreigners US$100 per day per person.




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Immigrants Bring Religious Devotion to Canada
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:47:02 ( 896 reads )


Source: Religious New Service





VANCOUVER, CANADA, December 30, 2000: With a multitude of multicultural flavors, Asian immigrants, 50% of whom attend regular religious services, have rescued three of Canada's largest cities. Previous to the wave of immigration, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto were considered places where there was an indifference to, or even of, rejection of religion. Now Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian institutions are flourishing with devotees.




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Attempted Burglary at Badrinath Temple
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:46:02 ( 870 reads )


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DEHRADUN, INDIA, January 5, 2001: ISI agent Ankur Sharma was apprehended by security guards on January 4 after attempting to steal a cherished statue from the sacred shrine of Badrinath. After some resistance, the culprit was handed over to the local authorities.




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Uttar Pradesh Government Offers Insurance to Pilgrims
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:45:02 ( 918 reads )


Source: India Abroad News Service





ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 2, 2001: Taking precautionary measures for the estimated 70 million devotees who are expected to pilgrimage to the holy "Sangam" at Allahabad, the Uttar Pradesh government is providing insurance coverage. Allahabad commissioner Sada Kant, who has orchestrated the huge event, is reported as saying, "Each of the visitors in the 20- to 60-year age group would be insured for US$ 2,174. Others will get an insurance coverage of US$1,087." Insurance will be paid to the pilgrim's surviving family. The cause of death must be other than natural and occur during the festivities. Sacred dips in the river at Allahabad will start January 9th and end on Maha Sivaratri, February 21st.




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Fatwas Ruled Illegal in Bangladesh
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:44:02 ( 854 reads )


Source: Amnesty International Press Release





January 5, 2001: The Bangladesh High Court made a landmark ruling that fatwas -- religious edicts issued by the Muslim clergy --are illegal. The court also ruled that such edicts, mainly issued against women, must be made punishable by an act of parliament. Usually imposed against women who assert themselves in village family life, dozens of fatwas are issued each year by the rural clergy, who justify their deed in the name of religion. The clergy impose flogging and stoning, and other humiliating punishments, and they are often involved in directly inflicting the punishment. In many cases there is a financial motive involved as fatwas can be a source of income for the local clergy.




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Indian History Congress Underway
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:43:02 ( 768 reads )


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CALCUTTA, INDIA, January 2, 2001: The 61st annual congress of Indian historians has begun in the city of Calcutta. At the opening ceremony the Nobel Laureate and economist, Amartya Sen, said that current "fundamentalist trends" in India threatened its secular traditions. He said that Hindu epics such as Ramayana should not be treated as part of Indian history. A BBC correspondent in the region says Mr. Sen's comments are likely to provoke angry reactions from various Hindu groups.




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Vishwa Sangh Shibir Successful Completion in Mumbai
Posted on 2001/1/6 22:42:02 ( 878 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, January 4, 2001: "All-round progress can be achieved only through adoption of a plan based on Hindu philosophy," said Shri K. S. Sudarshan, Sarasanghchalak (head) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The occasion was the valedictory function of a 5-day long Vishwa Sangh Shibir attended by total of 571 delegates coming from 39 countries. Issues addressed were the liberation and renovation of three temples of significance to the Hindus, and an appeal to NRI-Hindus to work for the people in distress.




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Accident at Sabarimala in Kerala
Posted on 2001/1/5 22:49:02 ( 847 reads )


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PATHANAMTHITTA, KERALA, INDIA, December 25, 2000: A woman pilgrim was killed and 150 others were injured when the iron barricade along the Marakkoottom-Saramkuthi section of the Sabrimala trekking path gave way under crowd pressure. The deceased has been identified as Samrajamma, age 55 of Andhra Pradesh. Sabarimala has been witnessing a high volume of devotees since Sunday morning, and the police personnel stationed along the path were struggling to control the crowd. The line of devotees waiting for darshan in the morning had stretched beyond 4 kms. The police found it difficult to control the crowd of pilgrims trying to squeeze through the crammed barricades. When the iron barricade broke, over 300 pilgrims in line were thrown out into the unprotected forest area. Fire and police personnel rescued all the injured and rushed them to nearby hospitals where many were treated for broken bones, head injuries, and abrasions. The more seriously injured are receiving maximum medical care. The path was closed temporarily, but reopened later in the day. A Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court said all possible steps had been taken to control the crowd.




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Conversion an Issue in Gujarat
Posted on 2001/1/5 22:48:02 ( 819 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 31, 2000: Conversion and reconversion to and from Christianity has been the source of contention between families and neighbors in India's state of Gujarat. However, the holiday season passed with no violent incidences among the tribals where the clashes between Hindus and those converted to Christianity are most predominant. Receiving lots of encouragement from its citizens, the government may introduce legislation on the conversion issue.




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Motive of Conversion Questioned by Dalai Lama
Posted on 2001/1/5 22:47:02 ( 804 reads )


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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, December 31, 2000: Well respected Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, spoke candidly about the issue of conversion. He is reported as telling the Swiss weekly "Dimanche," "Above all, let us not try to convert one another." This was in response to the flourishing of Buddhism in Europe and proselytizing by Christians in Asia. The Dalai Lama also elaborates by expressing that conversion should take place only after deep inner reflection and philosophical study so that the new convert is dedicated to his adopted faith.




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Teenage Virginity Pledges Prove Effective
Posted on 2001/1/5 22:46:02 ( 806 reads )


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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2001: According to a recent study, teenagers who take virginity pledges, promising to abstain from sex until marriage, often delay intercourse significantly longer than those who do not make a public commitment to chastity. The study, financed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, analyzed the answers of 6,800 students from 141 schools to a range of questions. The study is the first to provide strong data that shows that pledges do make a difference. When researchers controlled for characteristics associated with delaying sexual intercourse, they found that those who had taken chastity pledges delayed sex about 18 months longer than virgins who had never taken a pledge. The report found that the pledges did not hold when only one teenager took them but required the support of like-minded classmates. That is because taking a public stand on turning down sex offers teens an identity, much the way joining a club does. The pledges seemed more effective with 15 and 16-year-olds, and least effective with 18-year-olds. Tamara Kreinen, president of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, said half the country's teenagers had sex by the time they graduated high school.




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Russian Mythology May be Rooted in Vedic Culture
Posted on 2001/1/4 22:49:02 ( 585 reads )


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MOSCOW, RUSSIA, December 30, 2000: The mythological Grandfather Frost rooted in Indo-European culture delights children during New Year festivities in Russia by delivering presents. According to a Russian scholar, Grandfather Frost as the dear old man will be shedding his mask to reveal his true identity as Varuna, the Hindu Vedic God of the Seas. This revelation is expected to take place in the year 2003 marking the age of Aquarius. The Moscow government has provided funds to build two homes for the deity and his consort, the Snow Maiden. Parties, craft exhibitions and contests will be hosted at these wonderlands for the children of Russia.




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