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Angkor Wat Creaking Under Weight of Tourist Invasion

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:47:02 ( 1087 reads )


PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, March 11, 2002: A massive tourism invasion threatens to overwhelm Cambodia's legendary Angkor Wat temples. With an airport upgrading master plan, conservationists predict that the Unesco World Heritage site will be ill-prepared for the millions of visitors expected to arrive in the next five years. Tourism has seen a dramatic take-off since 1997 when Prime Minister Hun Sen permitted airlines to fly direct to Siem Reap, bypassing the capital Phnom Penh. Direct flights from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China and Vietnam brought 353,981 passengers to Siem Reap in 2001, a 50-per-cent rise over the previous year. Deputy Tourism Minister Dr. Thong Khon said Siem Reap had many problems. He said that the picturesque river that flows through the city centre is strewn with garbage, only a few toilets exist around the temples, and many new hotels lack proper sewage treatment. Apsara, the Cambodian authority responsible for the conservation of Angkor's 12th-century antiquities and heritage, has worked with Unesco to set up a series of regulations and restrictions to safeguard the temples. To prevent tourist traffic jams developing around the temples, it will restrict the number of tourists visiting a temple to 300 at a time. Sightseeing will be limited to one to two hours beginning 2003.

Looted Diamond on Exhibit in Canada

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:46:02 ( 1138 reads )


TORONTO, CANADA, March 1, 2002: From March 1st to June 30th, Toronto is hosting an exhibition from 'Scuderie del Quirinale' showcasing diamonds estimated in worth at US$440 million. This display from the President's palace in Rome will feature 20 world-famous diamonds, 200 diamond jewellery masterpieces, and over 150 jewels. Of special interest to Hindus is the "Idols Eye diamond." According to this article, "This 70 carat stone is one of the most famous historical diamonds in the world. It adorned the forehead of a statue of Shiva in a Hindu temple close to the city of Nasik." No mention has been made of returning this looted artifact to Hindus.

Houston Yoga Conference

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:45:02 ( 1240 reads )


HOUSTON, TEXAS, March 7, 2002: Yoga practioners, physicians and researchers from all cities of US, India, Germany, Japan and China shared a common platform at the International Conference and Workshop on Yoga for Positive Health held here from March 2 - 7. Erudite scholars and researchers from the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (sVYASA), as well as the research team from Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital provided valuable data culled from years of studying the positive and beneficial effects of yoga as additional treatment therapy in patients with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Featured guest speakers from sVYASA included Dr. A. Malathi, CEO of Manipal Hospital. Padma Bhushan Dr. E.C.G. Sudarshan, Professor of Physics at U.T. Austin, spoke on how consciousness interacts with the mind and brain, yet is distinct from them. Other well-known speakers were Dr. Blair Justice, Dr. Larry Dossey, Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Subhash Kak. The general consensus was that the research on yoga be presented at a medical conference so that it's benefits could be better understood and implemented more diversely.

Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda to visit Australia and New Zealand

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:44:02 ( 1075 reads )


AUSTRIA, March 11, 2002: In April 2002 one of the world's most loved and respected spiritual Masters, Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda (Swamiji) will visit New Zealand and Australia with the message that "World Peace is in Your Hands." Sri Swamiji kicks off his world tour "Down Under" with a seminar in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 5-7. (Contact yoga-idl@top.net.nz for more details.) Then he's off to Australia for 3 weeks to share his Yoga in Daily Life teachings. He will be visiting all the major cities across Australia starting in Brisbane on April 9th. For more information about satsang with Swamiji and his programs in Australia click "source" above.

Washington Post Reports on Child Molestation in the Catholic Clergy

Posted on 2002/3/11 8:43:02 ( 1022 reads )


WASHINGTON, D.C. March 10, 2002: Excerpts from this long article: "As the Roman Catholic Church faces a widening scandal over child abuse by priests in Boston and around the country, some Catholics cite cases of misconduct by clergy of other religions and ask: Does the Catholic Church really have a bigger problem with sexual abuse? Or are the public and the media just more fascinated by stories involving priests? Many victims, psychologists and academic researchers believe that the Catholic Church does have a greater problem. They point to egregious abusers long protected by superiors, such as John Geoghan, the former Boston priest accused of molesting more than 130 children. They argue that ... the church's structure allows abusers to move around and avoid exposure." ... "Sylvia M. Demarest, a Texas lawyer, began tracking allegations against [Catholic] priests in the mid-1990s, when she won a $119 million jury award on behalf of former altar boys abused in Dallas. As of 1996, she said, she had found 1,100 priests accused of molesting children. She plans to update the list and expects that it will top 1,500 names -- between 2 percent and 3 percent of the roughly 60,000 [Catholic] priests who have served in the United States since 1984. A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest turned therapist, estimates that 6 percent of U.S. priests have had sexual contact with minors -- 4 percent with adolescents and 2 percent with younger children." ..."'I'm convinced that there is higher sexual abuse of minors in the priesthood than in other professions and religious groups,' Sipe said. 'If there were somebody in the Washington, D.C., school district with Father Geoghan's history, would he have gotten away with it for 20 years? No. Not in any private industry either. There is a dynamic in the church that allows this to be covered up.'" ... "a wealth of information could be collected from counseling centers that have treated hundreds of priests for pedophilia and other psychological problems. These include St. Luke's Institute in Silver Spring; St. Michael's Paraclete Center outside St. Louis; St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, Pa.; the Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn.; and Southdown Hospital near Toronto. But church leaders have rejected the idea."

One Dead, 32 Hurt in New India Violence

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:49:02 ( 1052 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA, March 10, 2002: Hindu activists on Sunday fought police trying to enforce a ban on large gatherings imposed after India's worst religious violence in a decade. One activist was killed and 32 people, mostly police, were injured. Police and paramilitary forces were attacked when they tried to break up the crowd at a train station in Paldi, 12 miles south of Calcutta. Police responded by beating the group back with wooden sticks, lobbing tear gas and finally opening fire, said local government administrator Alapan Bandopadhyay. Dozens of Hindus were defying a ban on congregations of more than four people. The ban was imposed after more than 700 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim clashes earlier this month. A member of the Viswa Hindu Parishad, which organized the ceremony, was killed in the shooting, and 32 people including 25 police officers were injured. Most of the injured activists had bullet wounds in their legs, while policemen were injured by rocks and other objects hurled by the mob, Bandopadhyay said.

Muslim Leaders Reject Compromise Plan on Ayodhya

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:48:02 ( 1047 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2002: Muslim leaders in India have rejected a proposal which was meant to ease tensions over a disputed holy site in the northern town of Ayodhya. The proposal was made by one of India's top Hindu religious leaders who is mediating with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati, had suggested that Hindus be given the land next to the disputed area for a symbolic prayer pending a judgement by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Senior Muslim leaders under the banner of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board rejected the idea at a meeting in Delhi. Muslims are angry that although the VHP says it will accept whatever ruling the Indian Supreme Court makes on the future of the site, it is still planning to hold a symbolic prayer ceremony there on 15 March. There is apprehension in India that this ceremony could spark a new round of violence.

400,000 Pilgrims Expected for Maha Sivaratri in Mauritius

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:47:02 ( 1032 reads )


GRAND BASSIN, MAURITIUS, March 10, 2002: Since last Thursday, March 7, Maha Sivaratri pilgrims have begun their long walk towards the sacred lake here known as Ganga Talao. Most of these pilgrims are from the north of the island, which is the farthest point from the sacred lake. Devotees who live closer to the lake will begin their walk in the days to come. Drivers are urged to use caution to avoid pilgrims walking at night on the main road to the southern mountain shrine. The organizers of the event estimate that there will be not less 400,000 pilgrims this year participating in the pilgrimage. Lots of preparation this year will ensure that pilgrims benefit from better traffic control, improved lighting, and improvements on the banks surrounding the sacred lake. Extra police will be stationed along the pilgrimage route to assure the safety of the pilgrims. At the initiative of the Human Service Trust, the leaders of Hindu corporations of the country, notably those of the Hindu Maha Sabha, the Hindu House, the Mauritius Andhra Maha Sabha, the Mauritius Marathi Mandali Federation, the Voice of Hindu, among others, have grouped together their efforts to prepare for the Maha Sivaratri celebration. The great festival in honor of Lord Siva is celebrated around the world by devotees who worship Him throughout the night. This year it happens to fall on Mauritius Independence Day.

Hindu Community Offered Protection in Pakistan

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:46:02 ( 931 reads )


KARACHI, PAKISTAN, March 1, 2002: Rioting in the state of Gujarat and the resultant violence against Muslims has caused Pakistani authorities to offer vigilant protection of the Hindu community. Minority Hindus live mainly in the southern Sindh province and mostly in the capital city of Karachi. Deputy Inspector General of Police in Karachi, Tariq Jamil said, " Extra policeman had been stationed outside Hindu temples and residences to deter any retaliation." In the past the small Hindu Pakistan community has suffered any backlash from violence against Muslims in India.

Shivarudrabalayogi's Sivaratri Message

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:45:02 ( 1078 reads )

Source: Press Release

INDIA, March 6, 2002: Sri Shivarudrabalayogi issued the following message on the occasion of Sivaratri in response to devotees' questions about violence in the world. "Do not worry, the violence will recede. Since the Beginning, these tensions have always come in the Creation of the Divine from time to time. There is no need to worry. Meditate, light a candle and pray for peace. Pray that peace and happiness prevail in the world and that people's minds will become peaceful and non-violent. Pray for a better world. You can pray as individuals or in a group. Even one person praying sincerely can make a difference. Results come from sincerity. Do not worry, God will help with world. Prayer is very important. Sincerely close your eyes, concentrate between the eyebrows and then pray to the Divine directly. Pray for your individual peace and for the peace of the world. We need not pray using any specific name of God, necessarily. God is One. Pray to the all-pervading Divine. Mind also belongs to the Divine. Like a concentrated ray of the Sun touches back to the Sun -- when the mind gets concentrated it touches introvert to the Divine and and Divine Grace will naturally flow. Concentrate your mind and pray sincerely for yourself and the whole world so that all may have Peace."

Proof of Prayer's Power

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:44:02 ( 1056 reads )

Source: BBC

UNITED KINGDOM, February 27, 2002: This BBC news report brings to light some of the insights about prayer. Dr. David Laws of the University of Manchester, who has studied the effects of prayer on sick patients said, "For me it's not a matter of persuading God to do something, but of people praying for peace looking to become peaceful people. It starts with the internal effect and that, hopefully, will have an impact on the outside world." Professor Leslie Francis of the University of Bangor has conducted 31 experiments to determine the results of prayer. Hundreds of patients recovering from heart surgery were divided into two groups, one group was prayed for, one group was not prayed for. No one in either group knew about the experiments. Laws said, "The findings are quite staggering. Studies show that patients in hospital who are being prayed for (even when they do not know they are being prayed for) are more likely to recover."

Assistance Sought with Business Study

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:43:02 ( 1068 reads )


QUEBEC, CANADA, March 10, 2002: Dorra Skander, a researcher at Laval University, Quebec, seeks assistance from fellow Canadians for her project on Indian methods of business negotiation. If you can help with her project, kindly e-mail her at "source" above.

Hinduism Today Seeking Help With Article on Mark Twain in India

Posted on 2002/3/10 8:42:02 ( 1133 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, March 10, 2002: Hinduism Today is running an article on the experiences of famed American author and lecturer Mark Twain in India in the 1890s. We are looking for photos of him taken in India, and would be delighted to consult with anyone who is knowledgeable in any way about his visit there.

Bharat Sadhu Samaj Accuses VHP of Surrender on Temple Issue

Posted on 2002/3/9 8:49:02 ( 1109 reads )


PATNA, INDIA, March 8, 2002: The Bharat Sadhu Samaj on Friday accused the VHP of abject surrender on the issue of temple construction at Ayodhya by committing itself to adhere to the Court's verdict. ''The VHP's abject surrender on the Ayodhya issue is under political pressure.....The VHP leaders should desist from misguiding the Hindus any further,'' the BSS general secretary, Swami Harinarayananand, said in a statement here. ''It (VHP) has played with the sentiments of millions of people as the birthplace of Lord Rama is only one in the world which cannot be adjudicated, shifted or altered,'' he said. There was no point in pressing ahead with shilapujan on March 15, he said adding that by its surrender before the Prime Minister, the VHP has, in one stroke, laid waste all the sacrifices made by hundreds of karsevaks. The swami said since the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court was looking into the title claims between the Nirmohi Akhara of Ayodhya and the Sunni-Shia board, the VHP should not have come into the picture. He suggested that the matter could best be settled by mutual consent and understanding between the religious leaders of the two communities of Ayodhya.

US Gives Grant for Varendra Museum in Bangladesh

Posted on 2002/3/9 8:48:02 ( 998 reads )


BANGLADESH, March 1, 2002: United States Ambassador to Bangladesh Mary Ann Peters presented a check from the US government amounting to $10,800 US to Dr Faisul Islam Farouqui, Vice-Chancellor of Rajshahi University and Dr Sayefuddin Chowdhury, Director, Varendra Museum at the US Embassy yesterday, says a US Embassy press release. The money, from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, will be used to improve the lighting and display of precious and historic materials housed in the Varendra Research Museum in Rajshahi. For more than 70 years, the Varendra Museum has been a vital resource for scholars and researchers intent on study of the arts, culture and history of Bengal. The museum houses the richest and largest collection of Buddhist and Hindu stone sculptures in this country. It is also a repository of priceless manuscripts, books and periodicals. The museum houses an outstanding collection of Bangla document and rare Bengali, Arabic and Sanskrit manuscripts as well as other rare document in Persian and Sanskrit.

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