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Demise of Tulsi Plant Critical to Science and Religion
Posted on 2000/12/1 22:48:02 ( 915 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times, November 23, 2000

PATNA, INDIA: Lord Vishnu's beloved is now down to the path of obscurity. Falling victim to neglect and the coming up of concrete jungles all around the city, the plant species with the richest cultural heritage is vanishing from sight. Tulsi, the plant which once enjoyed a high position in the flora of Bihar now finds it hard to survive in the present socio-climatic condition of the state. Noted environmentalist Dr. R.N. Trivedi found only three species of this medicinal plant in Patna. Tulsi, meaning "matchless," earned the status of a living deity in Hindu pantheon and is considered a symbol of good luck. Researchers are of the opinion that the adoption of ornamental plants in kitchen gardens coupled with the decline in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as well as the lack of awareness in the preservation of flora resulted in the extinction of many species. The rise in the mosquito menace is also directly related to the loss of tulsi plants as it has been scientifically proven that tulsi has repellent properties. The departure of the Deity's form spells an irreparable loss in terms of science and religious heritage.

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Are New Delhi's Crematoria Receiving Their Fair Share?
Posted on 2000/12/1 22:47:02 ( 945 reads )

Source: The Hindu, November 28, 2000

NEW DELHI,INDIA: The populace of New Delhi lacks proper facilities for the honorable disposal of our mortal encasement after the soul continues its journey. Of the 271 crematoria available in the city, only three well-maintained ones, Nigambodh Ghat, Punjabi Bagh and Lodi Road, are primarily used. Most of the other crematoria lack adequate lighting, boundary walls, approach roads, and in most cases wood to fuel the funeral pyre. Even though the Municipal Corporation of Delhi runs 60 of the crematoria, only eight have acceptable standards. In residential areas over 210 are below sub-standard. The government appears to be making no effect to rectify the situation. However, according to New Delhi mayor, Mr. Shanti Desai, the goal of the MCD is to provide well-kept facilities across the Capital every three square kilometers. This would ensure that families do not have to pay exorbitant fees to have bodies transferred to an acceptable crematorium. Funding of US$391,000 was provided to the MCD for development of the crematoria in the year 2000.

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U.S. Advocates Resolution of Nepal-Bhutan Refugee Problem
Posted on 2000/12/1 22:46:02 ( 788 reads )


KATHMANDU,NEPAL, December 1, 2000: Advocating a peaceful resolution for the refugee problem in Kathmandu Nepal, is a top U.S. envoy for Asia, Karl Inderfurth, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs. Since the early 1990's, Hindu refugees numbering over 98,000 have lived in UN-supervised camps in Nepal after fleeing Buddhist Bhutan. After several rounds of ministerial talks between Kathmandu, Nepal and Thimpu, Bhutan, neither country will verify the status of the refugees. Thimpu claims that non-Bhutanese live in the camps while Kathmandu insists Thimpu restore Bhutan citizenship to the displaced refugees. Inderfurth, scheduled to leave Bhutan on Monday, December 4th, would like to see a successful completion of this issue.

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The Cows Get Even in Europe
Posted on 2000/12/1 22:45:02 ( 800 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE, November 30, 2000: It is not only the French who are in a frenzy about mad cow disease. A panic that began here in France several weeks ago has now spread throughout Europe.In Germany, a hot line set up to answer questions from the public about the disease collapsed because of too many calls. In Italy, celebrities have gone on television to offer their favorite vegetarian recipes. Governments are promising action. Many countries are banning one another's beef to reassure consumers that the meat they are buying is free of contamination. Europeans are not letting beef pass their lips and even inspecting their cosmetics and candy to check for a base of beef gelatin. Wholesalers report a drop of about 50 percent in beef sales. Butchers have seen their businesses devastated. "It's as if we were suddenly facing bubonic plague," said Pietro Stecchiotti, a quality butcher in Rome whose clients include the Italian presidential palace. "Is it the cows, or have we who have gone mad?" France's number of cases of mad cow disease remains minuscule compared with the epidemic that hit Britain in the mid-1980's. More than 100 cases have been reported this year against 31 last year, though expanded testing could have contributed to the higher numbers. Fears were heightened after Germany and Spain had discovered their first cases of mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Portugal and Switzerland have had hundreds of cases. Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have also had a few. "Mad cow disease knows no borders but is moving from one member state to another," Franz Fischler, the European Union's agricultural minister, said at a recent news conference.

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American Kids Go Vegetarian, Parents Try to Adjust
Posted on 2000/11/30 22:49:02 ( 862 reads )


WASHINGTON, DC: When James Dusel, 16, announced that he was becoming a vegan -- shunning not only meat but dairy products--his father Jim Dusel, a Baltimore teacher was concerned whether he'd be getting adequate protein. In a past generation, parents might have refused to accommodate such pronouncements, but not in today's more tolerant times, according to this report in the Washington Post. Parents do fret about nutrition and meal preparation, but circumstances have made life easier for the mixed-diet family. "There's a lot more convenience foods," says Reed Mangels, nutrition adviser for the Baltimore-based Vegetarian Resource Group. Teenagers can just "put something in the microwave and zap it." Also parents and kids on different schedules may all be eating different things. Animal welfare is also drawing kids into vegetarianism at much younger ages, according to a recent Roper Poll. Two percent of American children ages 8 to 12 never eat beef, poultry or fish--the same percentage as kids ages 13 to 17. Six years ago, Elisa and Janna Schrank, then 8 and 10, announced that they weren't eating meat anymore (although they continued to eat chickens for awhile, since they think they're "ugly," according to their mother). But when the birds flew the coop too, the Bethesda family eats a lot of vegetable soups, as well as rice and bean dishes. "It's probably better for us," says Tom Schrank. "It's a comical household," says Vida Antolin of Alexandria, whose daughter, Christina Jenkins, 16, "was going to be a vegetarian who didn't eat vegetables." In the two years since Christina stopped eating beef and chicken, she has learned to like a lot more vegetables. Several teenagers said that their parents bought them books and required them to do research before embarking on their meatless regimes. Aside from nutritional concerns of their parents, local teens say their vegetarianism is generally socially accepted by their peers and considered "cool." As for how the meatless minority treats his carnivorous parents, father Jim Dusel says his son is extremely tolerant. At dinner, there's only "minor proselytizing," says the elder Dusel. "But nothing heavy handed."

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Hindu Youth Gathering
Posted on 2000/11/30 22:48:02 ( 847 reads )

Source: Hinduism Today, Shibani Khanna, December 1, 2000

HOUSTON, TEXAS: Endeavoring to promote Hindu Solidarity among the youth, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Student's Council, and NetOhm held a "Lock-in" at a Texas Rock Gym. A "Lock-in" is when a group of students (with chaperones) book a venue and stay up the entire night engaged in various activities, in this case ranging from sports, games, and movies to the highlight of the night, rockclimbing on the artificial cliffs. Hindu philosophy was touched on in a discussion group about the relationship between body and mind. However, the main focus of the night was socializing and creating bonds of friendship among the youth ranging in age from 8-18. Many of the young people had previously attended the Hindu Heritage Camp in July 2000, where the focus was primarily of a religious nature. Coordinators and participants look forward to holding the event annually.

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Ramayana Play Seeking Sponsors
Posted on 2000/11/30 22:47:02 ( 957 reads )


A Ramayana play featuring actors from the popular TV serial, including Arun Govil are touring with "Glimpses of the Ramayana" during the summer of 2001. The organizers are looking for sponsors in various cities. Contact for all additional information including show availability and sponsorship costs per program.

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Is Race an Issue in UK Politics?
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:49:02 ( 836 reads )


NORTHAMPTON SOUTH, ENGLAND: In a crude and desperate attempt to sidetrack a political campaign, Mr. Tony Clarke, a Labour MP running for the seat of Northampton South, has been accused of bringing race issues into the election. His off-handed comments suggested that Mr. Vara, his Tory opponent, was an Ugandan Hindu who could not rely on the Muslim community for a vote. To make matters worse, Mr. Clarke continued by stating, "The 20% rural vote have shown themselves in the past to be quite racist in their voting." Mr. Shailesh Vara himself has never encountered racism in Northampton South. The Labour Party's chairman, Michael Ancram, requested that Mr. Clarke retract his statement and apologize to his Tory opponent and the voters of the constituency. On the evening of November 17th, Mr. Clarke condemned the use of racism in any election by individuals, parties, or the media. Endeavoring to redeem himself, he is quoted as saying, "If my remarks have caused offense to anyone, then I would be the first to apologize."

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Jain Temple Would Not Be Allowed To Come Up In Badrinath
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:48:02 ( 1097 reads )

Source: Punjab Kesari [Hindi], November 17, 2000

DEHRADUN, INDIA: Uttranchal's chief minister Nityananda Swami denied the possibility of the construction of a Jain Temple in Badrinath and said that the sanctity/purity of this religious place would be maintained. He said, "We cannot permit the construction of a Jain temple in Badrinath. By this the purity of this religious place would be destroyed." Swami said Badrinath is one of the four dhams and it has a special place in Hindu dharma.

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Madhya Pradesh Plan for Sanskrit Board
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:47:02 ( 868 reads )

Source: The Hindu, November 21, 2000

BHOPAL, INDIA: The Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Mr. Digvijay Singh, has announced the setting up of a Sanskrit Board by January, 2001, to promote the language. Mr Singh said this at a function organized by the Avdhesh Pratap Singh University in Rewa the other day. A task force, comprising Sanskrit scholars, would be set up to identify the existing resources of Sanskrit and to make recommendations for its development, the Chief Minister announced.

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ICCR brings Ganga and Mekong Together
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:46:02 ( 937 reads )

Source: The Hindustan Times 29- 11-2000

External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh's idea of retracing the path that India's ancient cultural links with South East Asia had carved was given an aesthetic shape by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the dancer Madhvi Mudgal. The one-hour presentation "Ganga to Mekong Swarnabhumi," [the Ganga River to the Mekong River's "Land of Gold," as the region was known in ancient India] was first performed by Madhvi and her troupe of twelve young dancers at Laos last month. Not too many civilizations can match an impact comparable to India's with Sanskrit being the official language of the region by the 4th century CE and great memorials coming up such as the Buddhist stupa of Borobudar in Java or the Saivite temples of Angkor in Cambodia. "Ganga to Mekong"did well to throw a torch backwards into the long tunnel of history.

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Brahmakumari's Collect 35 Million Signatures for Peace
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:45:02 ( 982 reads )

Source: The Hindustan Times, November 29, 2000

DELHI, INDIA: The United Nations Information Centre organized a ceremony today to recognize the unique effort of Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vidyalaya in collecting 35 million signatures for the Culture of Peace Manifesto.

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Book Released on Hindu Environmental Design
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:44:02 ( 812 reads )


VERMONT, USA: The noted publisher of Eastern books, Inner Traditions, announced today the release of "Vastu: The Indian Art of Placement" by Rohit Arya. The book explains how to design and decorate homes to reflect eternal spiritual principles using the ancient practice of vaastu, the Hindu art of environmental design. The book elucidates principles that orient and plan each element of a structure, both the big picture and small details, to create personal environments that promote peace, harmony and health.

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Native Americans Call for Translators
Posted on 2000/11/29 22:43:02 ( 881 reads )


LAKEWOOD, COLORADO: Native American Mark Lewis the the No Boundaries Project appealed for translators to help with a web project listing "Let's all work together" in as many of the world's 6,700 languages as possible. So far they have 350, and would like help with translating this phrase into Hindi, Sanskrit and other Indian languages. They are also using the related phrase, "We have to live together in peace."

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Lower Caste Hindu Fined For Touching Goddess
Posted on 2000/11/28 22:49:02 ( 817 reads )


CALCUTTA, INDIA: A Hindu lower-caste "untouchable" family in eastern India is to appeal to the human rights commission after being fined for touching a statue of the Goddess Kali. According to villagers, one family member, Malati Sith, entered a Kali temple and touched the forehead of the statue, angering the upper caste brahmin community in Pursurah village, near Calcutta. The brahmins called a special meeting and imposed the extraordinary fine of 8,000 rupees (US$173) on the family to meet the cost of purifying the icon. "We would have to sell off all our valuables to pay the fine," said Sith's husband Madan Mohon. The temple priests insisted they acted correctly. "We are abiding by the rules of the temple," said head priest Sufal Chakaborty. Although discrimination on the grounds of caste is illegal in India, it continues in many forms. This is an unusual case because it would be a grave offense for anyone, regardless of caste, to enter the inner sanctum, let alone touch the Deity, without the express authorization of the temple priests. At least it would be a form of trespassing. A local village committee member Asit Patra said they were "investigating the matter."

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