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India's Soaps Expose Children to Violence

Posted on 2002/4/18 9:48:02 ( 1055 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 ( 1067 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 ( 1128 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 ( 1116 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 ( 1081 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 ( 1019 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 ( 1123 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 ( 1047 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 ( 1028 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 ( 1162 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.

Blast on Vaishno Devi Shrine Route in Jammu State

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:49:02 ( 1191 reads )


JAMMU, INDIA, April 16, 2002: Suspected militants set off a blast on Monday night at a place on the way to the famous Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir injuring two persons, police said. The blast took place near an autorickshaw at Darshini Darwaza near Banganga about 1.5 km from Katra as thousands of pilgrims made their way up to the Vaishno Devi shrine on the occasion of ongoing Navratra. However, the pilgrims' progress from Katra to the shrine remained unaffected by the blast, police said, adding security personnel had been posted in strength in and around Katra and the Vaishno Devi shrine to foil the militants who had been active in the area in recent months. Five militants were gunned down by security personnel at Trikuta hills behind the shrine last month.

Holi Traditions in Richmond Hill

Posted on 2002/4/16 9:48:02 ( 1186 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 ( 1082 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 ( 1076 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 ( 1078 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.

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