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Holi Traditions in Richmond Hill

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:48:02 ( 1157 reads )


NEW YORK, USA, April 14, 2002: When Mickey Sankar immigrated to the United States six years ago, he brought along happy memories of Holi, the Hindu New Year. "For the whole week, we played," Sankar, 24, of Ozone Park, recalls of the celebrations in his hometown on Guyana's Caribbean coast. "We went to every house. We had a nice time with our jars of paint." Now his spiritual home is the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, a small Hindu temple on commercial Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill. This year, Sankar and his twin brother, Ricky, enjoyed Holi in the mandir's warm embrace, praying, eating sweets and marching in a parade along Jamaica Avenue in Hollis. They wound up at a concert in Haggerty Park along with hundreds of Hindus from seven mandirs, or churches, throughout Queens. Many of the mandirs' devotees are originally from Trinidad or Guyana, where Holi is a national holiday marked by neighborhood-to- neighborhood revelry. Gyanda "Eric" Shivnarain, 42, a New York City Democratic political consultant, used this year's Holi celebration to bring greater visibility to the city's Hindus -- which Shivnarain estimated at 150,000 of Indo-Caribbean descent and 200,000 from India.

Himalayas Lakes May Burst

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:47:02 ( 1051 reads )


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, April 16, 2002: Lakes in the Himalayas are filling so rapidly because of rising temperatures melting more snow that they could burst their banks within a decade, sending walls of water crashing down into valleys, the United Nations warned on Tuesday. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said a scientific study in Bhutan and Nepal had revealed that at least 44 glacial lakes were filling swiftly with water as rising temperatures accelerated the melting of glaciers and surrounding snowfields. It said data in Nepal showed that high altitude lakes could suddenly burst banks formed by mud and debris once they reached peak levels, unless preventive action was taken. The quantities of water involved were such that they would spread for hundreds of kilometers along the valleys, according to UNEP. "We are giving early warning," director-general Klaus Toepfer told a news conference. Average temperatures in Nepal have risen by about one degree centigrade at high altitudes since the mid 1970s, UNEP noted.

Stop Use of Asbestos in India, Advise Experts

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:46:02 ( 1060 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 16, 2002: A group of medical professionals have urged the government to immediately stop mining and milling of asbestos in India, as it can cause lung cancer in those exposed to it. At an international symposium on health effects of hazardous material in New Delhi, participants urged the government to provide medical follow-up as well as compensation to affected workers. Asbestos tends to break into very fine fibers -- some of these pieces may be 700 times smaller than human hair. Once released into the air, they may remain suspended for hours and even days. Asbestos is already banned in most developed countries, including the US. The European Union has decided to phase out asbestos by 2005. In India, however, the bulk of asbestos continues to be imported from Canada (which exports 99% of the asbestos it produces) and used for making pipes, laminated products, asbestos textiles, brake lining among others. The National Institute of Occupational Health at Ahmedabad has shown the prevalence of asbestosis, an irreversible and progressive lung condition which results from the inhalation of asbestos fibers amongst workers.

Nepal King Calls For Unity

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:49:02 ( 1060 reads )


NEPAL, April 15, 2002: Nepal's King Gyanendra has called for national unity to fight the long-running Maoist rebellion. In a message to mark the Nepalese New Year, King Gyanendra said the continuing violence and destruction of the infrastructure had ruined the economy. His statement followed one of Nepal's worst outbreaks of violence on Friday, in which more than 130 people were killed. Rebels attacked four western towns with guns, grenades and rockets, killing nearly 50 policemen and six civilians. Some unconfirmed reports said the death toll could be much higher. This marks one of the worst spells of violence in Nepal since King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency in November after the rebels withdrew from peace talks.

Morari Bapu on Peace in Gujarat

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:48:02 ( 1144 reads )


GUJARAT, INDIA, April 15, 2002: Morari Bapu is among the country's foremost preachers on the Ramayana, traveling around the globe preaching in Gujarati or Hindi interspersed with joyous song. He was also one of the few prominent religious figures to join peace efforts (in Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Mehsana) during last month's sectarian disturbances in Gujarat. In an interview he refused to be drawn into specifics or certain controversial areas but with references to the Ramayana and other sources he expressed his views on the recent disturbances in Gujarat and the Ayodhya movement. "In the Ramayana it says 'Param Dharam Shruti Bidit Ahimsa.' In other words Ahimsa (non violence) is param dharam (prime religion). Violence in the name of religion is not good. What divides is not religion, what joins is religion," said Morari Bapu. When asked how peace could be brought to Gujarat, he said: "In my view whatever events have happened, they should stop and we should build a bridge of trust in each other and love. People should go to the victims. The Ramayama talks of love of all towards one another. That is the kind of atmosphere we should create and in the true sense build a Ramrajya which is Prem Rajya (kingdom of love)."

Bali Observes Day of Silence

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:47:02 ( 1210 reads )


JAKARTA, INDONESIA, April 14, 2002: Indonesia's tourist island of Bali was eerily quiet yesterday, with the international airport closed and tourists confined to their hotels as residents observed the Hindu New Year or Day of Silence. Flights, including those passing over the island, were banned for 24 hours starting at 6:00 a.m. for Nyepi, a day of purification and self-reflection for Hindus. Shipping links to and from the island were also closed for 24 hours. Bali is predominantly Hindu. The rest of Indonesia has a Muslim majority. The holiday began on Friday night, when villages across the island held rituals to send evil spirits out to sea. The island was closed yesterday, according to tradition, to prevent the spirits from returning.

Bali's Day of Silence Marred by Clashes

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:46:02 ( 1101 reads )


JAKARTA, INDONESIA, April 14, 2002: Bali's normally solemn Day of Silence, a Hindu religious day of introspection, turned rowdy at the weekend when devotees went on a rampage in two villages. Brawls broke out during processions of the giant Ogoh-Ogoh puppets late on Friday, the eve of the Nyepi festival, leaving at least four people injured, including one with severe burns. The ghoulish effigies, up to 5 meters high and 2 meters wide, are paraded on the night before the Nyepi to banish evil spirits. Denpasar Police Detective chief Budi Wasono said the melees were a result of misunderstanding. Nyepi is observed throughout Bali for 24 hours, during which it is forbidden to light lamps or fires, work, travel or indulge in physical, social or business activities.

History of Celibacy

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:45:02 ( 0 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 14, 2002: "For a species that has transformed mating into an obsession, human beings over the centuries have shown an abiding interest in the opposite of sex -- celibacy," begins this interesting article. "The practice is in the spotlight these days because of the molestation scandal which has rekindled debate over whether the Roman Catholic Church should allow married priests. But it's actually been followed in many cultures since ancient times: by secluded monks, Rome's Vestal Virgins, and powerful leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi and Queen Elizabeth I. It remains an exalted ideal in several religions, and has become a trendy lifestyle choice for some people with no religious motives. ... In Hinduism, celibacy is considered an important virtue, practiced by supreme priests but not required of all priests. Many Hindus, Gandhi among them, believe abstinence is a way to convert sexual energy into spiritual energy." For the rest of the article, click "source" above.

PETA Ranks Oakland A's Ballpark Four for Meatless Fare

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:44:02 ( 953 reads )


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 8, 2002: While the hot dog (a beef sausage in a bread roll, not a cooked canine) remains the overwhelming favorite at American ballparks (where baseball and American football games are played), fans are increasingly snacking on broiled tofu, boiled soybeans and other vegetarian fare. So big is the trend that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently ranked America's top-10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks. Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum placed fourth. PETA's Dan Shannon admits the survey was unscientific but says it shows sports arenas have learned that America's 17 million vegetarians who gain 1 million converts annually -- are a cash cow. "This is a trend you're going to see increase," he said. "Not only is it common sense, it's financial sense. These things sell." Until recently, baseball's vegetarian fans had to snack on junk food or go hungry through the game. Ballparks have long offered quasi-vegetarian snacks like cheese pizza, nachos and fries. But only in the past few years have they offered truly vegetarian fare like veggie dogs, veggie burgers and veggie stir-fries.

Request for Articles for Trinidad's Indian Heritage Day

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:43:02 ( 1168 reads )


TRINIDAD, WEST INDIES, April 14, 2002: The Indo-Caribbean Cultural Council (ICC) is inviting writers to submit their work for publication in its Indian Arrival Day 2002 magazine. This Indian heritage day, which commemorates the arrival of indentured laborers from India to Trinidad, will be observed as a national holiday on May 30, 2002. Writers who wish to contribute on cultural topics, socio-political issues, current events, or any other subject relevant to the history of Indians in Trinidad and the Diaspora are asked to submit their material in the form of articles, reviews, short stories and poems. The theme of the magazine is "Protection of Traditional Knowledge." The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines traditional knowledge as the information in a community transmitted orally form generation to generation that has not been documented. The deadline for submission of articles not exceeding 1,000 words is May 13, 2002. For further details e-mail "source" above.

Counterfeit Drugs Are a Problem in South-East Asia

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:42:02 ( 1047 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, April 5, 2002: Alarming research published recently in the British Medical Journal has revealed that a significant number of medical drugs sold in south-east Asia are counterfeit. Scientists have found that drugs used to treat malaria are fake, that a vaccine to prevent meningitis was made from tap water and that birth control pills were made of wheat flour. Imitating what legitimate drug manufacturers use for packaging such as a blister-pack design and holograms, fake drug production is suspected to be linked with organized crime. According to this article, the World Health Organization estimates that one in 10 pharmaceutical drugs sold around the world are counterfeit. In Cambodia alone, 60% of anti-malaria drugs are fake and five other SE Asian countries estimate that 38% of anti-malaria drugs used are ineffective. Dr. Paul Newton of Oxford University, who led the team conducting the research published in the BMJ says, "One third of all the anti-malarial drugs artesunate that we bought in south-east Asia was fake, containing none of the drug it was supposed to contain." Lambert Rago of the WHO further adds, "Counterfeit drugs kill people. There are a lot of case reports where vaccines do not contain anything and you just don't vaccinate people at all." The BMJ goes on to say that, "Drug companies have tended to avoid publicizing the problem for fear of damaging public confidence in medicines."

Thought For the Day

Posted on 2002/4/15 9:41:02 ( 1273 reads )

Source: Hinduism Today

Worry kills more people than work because more people worry than work.

Kashmir Pundits Criticize Silence on Their Plight

Posted on 2002/4/14 9:49:02 ( 1025 reads )


NEW DELHI, April 14, 2002: As political parties vie with each other in expressing concern over the plight of communal violence victims in Gujarat, Kashmiri Pandits today criticized the political spectrum for "maintaining a deafening silence" over the sufferings faced by a populace of more than 350,000 after their migration from the Kashmir Valley due to militancy in 1990. "Kashmiri Pandits can understand the plight of victims of the Gujarat violence as we have also undergone similar sufferings," said Kashmiri Samiti President Sunil Shakdher. He, however, alleged that the Gujarat incidents had "exposed" the double standards of the political parties, particularly the "so-called secularists." "We find copious tears being shed for the Gujarat riot victims. But not even verbal sympathies have been expressed over the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, whose almost entire population of 3.5 lakh was uprooted because of Islamist terrorism," Shakdher said. "The political parties found nothing wrong in uprooting of an entire community simply because it does not constitute a vote bank," he charged.

Gujarat Politician Stabbed for Helping Minorities

Posted on 2002/4/14 9:48:02 ( 1101 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, April 14, 2002: When communal violence tore the state apart, Someshwar Pandya attempted to keep the social fabric together, according to this report in the Times of India. On Saturday morning, Pandya, of Sardarpura, a village where 32 members of the Muslim community were burnt alive on March 1, was attacked by six persons armed with sickles and lathis. He was admitted to the Civil Hospital here with deep wounds on the forehead. "They had threatened me with dire consequences for helping the Muslims in the village," Pandya told the Times. He has identified all six assailants and named them in an report lodged with the Vijapur police station. Pandya is the general secretary of the Vijapur unit of the Congress and is reported to have helped minorities to shift to safer places after March 1 attack. He is also said to have helped several riot-affected get their complaints registered which were not being accepted by the police.

RSS Honors Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Posted on 2002/4/14 9:47:02 ( 1016 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA, March 15, 2002: Kaushalendra ("source" above), secretary for the Nagpur RSS offices, writes, "The meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha held at Jansewa Avasi Vidya Kendra, Bangalore on March 15, 16 and 17, 2002. Sarkaryawah Shri Mohan Bhagwat presided over the meeting. Param Pujya Sarsanghchalak Ma. K. S. Sudarshan and Ex-Sarsanghchalak Ma. Rajjubhaiyaji were also present at the General Body meeting. In the beginning, the meeting paid homage to Poojya Swami Sivaya Subramuniya at his attaining the Mahasamadhi by observing two minutes silence. It is a great loss to his organization and to the whole Hindu society world over. The A. B. P. S. shares the unbearable grief of the bereaved family and prays to the All Merciful to give fortitude to all his followers to suffer it. May his vision lead us all to enlightenment."

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