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Gujarat Students Boycott Exams

Posted on 2002/4/21 9:49:02 ( 1108 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, April 19, 2002: Thousands of Muslim students in the western Indian state of Gujarat did not attend school-leaving exams which began on Thursday, Muslim leaders said. They said parents refused to let their children travel to exam centers located in Hindu-dominated areas of the state's largest city Ahmedabad and a number of other cities. Authorities said police and paramilitary forces have been deployed at exam centers across the state to prevent attacks. More than 700 people, mostly Muslims, have died in communal clashes in the state which began when almost 60 Hindu activists were killed after their train was torched by Muslim suspects. Authorities said some exam centers had been changed at the request of parents and school authorities. Gujarat's Education Minister Anandiben Patel rejected complaints voiced by the Muslim parents. "The boycott is largely limited to Ahmedabad," she said. "Adequate security protection has ensured appearance of most of the students." New killings in religious violence are reported almost daily from Gujarat.

India's Military Turn to Yoga

Posted on 2002/4/21 9:48:02 ( 1131 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 19, 2002: India's military research industry is to launch experiments with yoga to sharpen the skills of troops in modern warfare and help cope with the stress of battling domestic insurgencies. For the first time journalists were taken on a tour of one of the military's top research facilities, the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences. It was set up after 1962 when Indian troops were badly mauled in a border battle with China. Besides yoga and novel cures for mountain ailments, the institute is also on the verge of patenting a water-cooled combat suit for high-temperature battlefields. Chief scientist W Selvamurthy said research into yoga had shown the ancient discipline to be more effective than routine physical exercises as it could be practiced on a glacier, in the confines of submarines or even a battle tank. "Yoga reduces wear and tear of the heart and on our objective scientific scales we have seen it produce mental tranquility, greater alertness, flexibility and enhanced tolerance to cold." Experiments so far have been conducted on groups of 60 volunteers.

Ancient Temple Grabbed in Bangladesh

Posted on 2002/4/21 9:47:02 ( 1131 reads )


BANGLADESH, April 19, 2002: A gang of land-grabbers has started demolishing a 100-year-old "abandoned" Hindu temple at Rankin Street at Wari in the name of building a primary school. Walls and columns around the temple, which should otherwise be preserved as a historical relic, have already been demolished. Haji Abdur Rab, who lives next door and also an official of the school committee, is overseeing the demolition of the temple and extension work of the school. Haji Abdur Rab said that the Facilities Department of the Ministry of Education is financing the construction of a four-story school on "whatever land" is available. When asked why then they had removed the columns and walls, he replied that the laborers mistakenly removed the bricks. The Hindu community of the area had stopped worshipping in the temple several years ago after a section of local people built a wall around the temple, blocking access to it. Many residents of Wari condemned the decision to demolish such an old structure bearing the mark of traditional architecture.

Bangkok to Hand Out Holy Water

Posted on 2002/4/21 9:46:02 ( 1183 reads )


BANGKOK, THAILAND, April 20, 2002: Bangkok authorities will distribute 100,000 vials of 100-year-old holy water from a Hindu temple to celebrate the city's 220th anniversary this weekend, a religious leader said Saturday. The distribution of the holy water at a ceremony Sunday is intended to recreate a ritual performed at the city's founding, when religious figures spread holy water to bless and protect the city. The water had been stored at Thailand's national Brahmin temple in Bangkok for more than 100 years, said Pra Rachakru Varmthepmuni, a Hindu priest who will supervise the ceremony. City officials will issue 100,000 tickets that can be exchanged for the vials of holy water at the City Pillar shrine, in the historic Sanam Luang area of central Bangkok. During the ceremony, Hindu priests and Buddhist monks are expected to read out ancient verses to bring good fortune to the city and its dwellers. Several major avenues in central Bangkok will be closed for parades. More than 90 percent of Thailand's 62 million inhabitants are Buddhists. However, Thai Buddhism has strong elements of Hinduism, and many Thais believe in Hindu Gods.

"Colonial Outlook" Alleged at BBC World Service Investigation

Posted on 2002/4/18 9:49:02 ( 1115 reads )


UK, April 16, 2002: White male journalists rule the BBC's World Service with a "colonial mentality" that embarrassed and demeaned ethnic minority colleagues, an employment tribunal was told yesterday. An Asian journalist, Sharan Sandhu, 51, claimed that she was repeatedly passed over for promotion between 1994 and 1999 because of her race and sex. The tribunal in central London heard that Sandhu suffered depression and stress at having to endure a "boys' club" culture in which ethnic minority staff were deliberately kept in junior posts. Sandhu, who is alleging direct and indirect discrimination, told the first day of the hearing that her workplace was dominated by white male journalists. Sandhu said other staff made derogatory comments about Hindus after telephone conversations with them, suggesting they did not understand what was going on or would make mistakes. She said these comments were made in front of colleagues from other departments to no objections. "No one would pick them up on that and it was embarrassing." The BBC denies discrimination and the hearing continues.

India's Soaps Expose Children to Violence

Posted on 2002/4/18 9:48:02 ( 1035 reads )


MUMBAI, DELHI, INDIA, April 14, 2002: Children are becoming increasingly hooked on soap operas, adult family dramas, in particular. They are also keen on horror and crime shows and this fascination has intensified since September 11. So says a recent study on "Media Violence and Its Impact on Children," conducted by the Center for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) in Delhi with the support of Unicef, Unesco and the Ford Foundation. The survey covered 1,350 children ages 6 to 14 from various socio-economic groups in five cities. Parents might consider family serials safe for their kids, however, such programs are injurious to the psychological health of children, warns the study. CFAR conducted a content analysis of 22 episodes on prime-time television, comprising 11 family dramas, and found that more than 55 percent of their substance was violence. "Conflict, emotional upheaval, violence, death and uncertainty come packaged as a family drama," says the study, adding that this can only "impair impressionable minds." Though domestic discord, adultery and bigamy are common themes, the serials end up being watched by vast numbers of children. And given that the kids lack the emotional and intellectual maturity to understand what is really going on, they turn precocious and start acquiring prejudices and preconditioned ideas about relationships, says CFAR senior researcher Shailaja Bajpai. The researchers were also alarmed by the children's passion for crime and horror shows. Children confessed that they were fascinated by visuals of the WTC collapse and now the Gujarat carnage, and that they had become more addicted to gruesome serials since then.

Eighth Annual TV-Turnoff Week

Posted on 2002/4/18 9:47:02 ( 1044 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 16, 2002: The eighth annual TV-Turnoff Week will be observed from April 22nd through the 28th. The whole family is invited to make a clean break from the tube, where the average viewing time is 28 hours per week for adults and 21 hours for children. "TV-watching is the default setting for many people," says Frank Vespe, executive director of the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based TV-Turnoff Network. "TV isn't going away and we're not saying that it should. But if we can get people to the point where they're making a conscious choice to watch when they watch, and to spend more time doing other things, we will have made a difference," he says. On the TV-Turnoff Network's Web site (www.tvturnoff.org), you'll find tips on how to encourage children and fellow adults. There are lots of alternative activities with which you can fill your TV cooling-off period. The web lists 101 suggestions, including baking, learning yoga, tending the garden and reading a book. The site also gives plenty of arguments for re-examining your free time priorities. One reason: the connection between obesity and TV-watching drawn by then Surgeon General David Satcher as he endorsed last year's TV-Turnoff Week. The objective is to occupy yourself with something other than TV, Web-surfing and video games.

Homespun Services Keep Tabs on Teen Drivers

Posted on 2002/4/18 9:46:02 ( 1108 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 15, 2002: Sunnyvale police officer Russell Howard has witnessed many careless driving moves by teenagers in his 20-year career. In his dual role as an emergency medic, he has also seen the fatal consequences that can result. Now Howard runs a small sideline business that, for a $50 annual fee, supplies bumper stickers that ask: "How's my teen driving?" An 800 number allows others to weigh in, and reports are passed on to parents via phone, fax or e-mail. "A lot of people are trying to get this going," said Merry Banks, manager of the California State Automobile Association's Traffic Safety Department. The stickers remain rare. Howard's 1 1/2-year-old service has fewer than 50 subscribers. Yet other services have grown over time, along with awareness of the issue. Danville's safedriver.com, nearing its third year, boasts about 900 participants in the Bay Area and beyond. Wisconsin's tell-my-mom.com has similar numbers and even has a European offshoot. Nationally, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers. One parent confessed his teenager, "hated the sign."

How Do I Break a URL?

Posted on 2002/4/18 9:45:02 ( 1102 reads )


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, April 18, 2002: Everyone in publishing is familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style, the bible of the industry with its comprehensive rules for the English language into print. Now they've established a web site, "source" above, where you can find out the latest developments, or even ask questions. For example, web url addresses often break (automatically hyphenate) in the middle of text, introducing a spurious hyphen in the address. What to do? Part of their lengthy analysis, "Break the word between syllables but omit the hyphen."

UK Releases Statistics on Religion

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:49:02 ( 1058 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, April 16, 2002: The UK Yearbook published by the Office of National Statistics offers these statements on the country's Hindu community. "The Hindu community in the UK originates largely from India, although others have come from countries to which earlier generations had previously migrated, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi. The number of members is around 400,000 to 550,000, although some community representatives suggest a considerably higher figure, close to one million. They are predominantly Gujaratis, between 65% and 70% and Punjabis, between 15% and 20%. Most of the remainder have their ancestral roots in other parts of India, such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and the Southern states, as well as other countries such as Sri Lanka." The report mentions that there are 1.5 million Muslims in the country, 40 million Christians, 500,000 Sikhs and 330,000 Jews. There are 140 Hindu temples in UK, and over 1,000 mosques. The entire yearbook may be downloaded at "source" above.

Smoking -- Nation's Tragedy

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:48:02 ( 986 reads )


ATLANTA, GEORGIA, April 11, 2002: Lighting up a cigarette, according to a study recently completed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is costing the country US$3,391 a year per smoker, or $157.7 billion annually for the whole nation. Breaking the cost down, the CDC study estimates that the habit costs $3.45 per pack for medical costs incurred by the smoker and another $3.73 per pack for lost job productivity as a result of early deaths. Considering that in 1999, a pack of cigarettes cost $2.92, society is nowhere near recovering the cost from taxes on the product. Dr. David Fleming, the CDC's acting director says, "The fact that nearly half a million Americans lose their lives each year because of smoking-related illnesses is a significant public health tragedy." The article goes on to list other statistics such as, "Smoking causes an average man to lose more than 13 years of life and an average woman to lose 14.5 years" and that "Smoking during pregnancy causes 1,000 infant deaths each year."

Alternative Medicine Is Finding Its Place In Nation's Hospitals

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:47:02 ( 1109 reads )


SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, April 13, 2002: Combining traditional and alternative medicine, Memorial Health University Medical Center has joined with Dr Chopra, the best-selling author and holistic health exponent, to create a center where patients and Savannah residents can come for yoga, meditation or a treatment called Shirodhara in which herb-infused sesame oil is dripped onto their foreheads. Nearby, St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital opened a Center for Wellbeing, where people can take yoga classes and learn about aromatherapy. Hospitals in search of paying patients and a competitive edge are increasingly offering their patients some form of alternative medicine. The number of hospitals offering alternative therapies nearly doubled form 1998 to 2000, according to a a survey by the American Hospital Association, to 15.5 percent of all hospitals. Programs are offered by community hospitals as well as academic medical centers like Beth Israel Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Duke and Stanford, and they range from relaxation therapies and acupuncture, often given to patients with serious illness, to treatments more commonly found in spas.

Prince Charles Gears Up To Be Prince Of Faiths

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:46:02 ( 1027 reads )


LONDON, UK, April 16, 2002: The Prince of Wales is to launch a multi-faith campaign that is being seen as a move to take on an expanded royal role following the death of the Queen Mother. His plan to enlist millions of people in a movement to bridge the religious divide in schools, relief work and deprived areas represents a high-risk intervention for the heir to the throne and eventual governor of the Church of England. Schemes under discussion include opening Muslim faith schools to other religions, providing sanctuary for victims of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and joint Christian-Muslim aid for the West Bank. He will launch his movement, called Respect, alongside the leaders of all of Britain's principal religions in Birmingham on April 29, at an event coordinated by the Prince's Trust. The leaders will include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Wales. Also present will be Zaki Badawi, a leading Muslim; Indarjit Singh, of the Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations; and Barnabas Leith, of the Bahai faith. There will also be Hindu, Buddhist and Jain representatives.

Indonesia's Bali Proposes Four Sites for World Heritage Status

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:45:02 ( 1014 reads )


JAKARTA, INDONESIA, April 17, 2002: Indonesia's resort island of Bali is proposing four cultural and natural sites for inclusion on the World Heritage list next year, the Jakarta Post reported Wednesday. The four selected sites are the Taman Ayun Temple and Water Park in Mengwi; the Pakerisan river area and archaeological site in Gianyar; the Jatiluwih Subak area (traditional Balinese farming and irrigation system) in Tabanan; and the Bali Barat National Park along the border between the regencies of Jembrana and Buleleng in northwest Bali. In making the proposal on Monday to a visiting team of experts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Bali's Deputy Governor Alit Putra said the four sites had a great deal of cultural and natural significance, and needed to be preserved for future generations. Ron Van Oers, an UNESCO expert, said an international team in Paris would review all of the selected sites in Bali and decide whether they would be listed with the center. The Paris-based World Heritage Center has 175 member countries including Indonesia, which has six cultural and natural sites listed with the center, including the Borobudur Buddhist Temple, the Lorojonggrang Prambanan Hindu Temple and the Sangiran archaeological site, all in Central Java province.

Goat Sacrifice Stopped in India

Posted on 2002/4/17 9:44:02 ( 1145 reads )


ORISSA, INDIA, April 17, 2002: A government minister has helped save the lives of 1,000 animals that were to be sacrificed at a temple here. The goats and sheep are slaughtered on Maha Bishuva Sankranti day as an offering to Goddess Kali. Federal minister Maneka Gandhi intervened and convinced priests to abandon the ritual at the Bayani Thakurani, or Goddess Kali, temple in Orissa state. Some warned it would bring ill fortune but they agreed despite protests from thousands of devotees. A number blocked the road in protest. One animal was sacrificed as a symbolic ritual, reports Sify News. The other 999 are likely to meet a less public death at the hands of the local butchers.

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