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French Reject Religion in Their Search for Answers

Posted on 2001/11/6 8:48:02 ( 348 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE, November 6, 2001: Cultural liberalism and the new individualism of democratic societies seems to be swaying the French away from religion. People are shying away from declaring their faith and have stopped approaching the Church at times of births, marriages and deaths. They are turning to science or the state and some to other forms of spiritualism. A survey by the weekly current affairs magazine L'Express showed that in the 1960s, 89 per cent of French people claimed to be religious, while today less than 55 per cent willingly state the same. It also showed that only 10 per cent of French people now attend weekly Mass, and as the churches empty out, the priests are dwindling in number while the faithful are getting older. A sociologist specializing in religion, Ms Danile Hervieu-Lger, said religion in France had lost its historical hold on the masses and there were very few real believers ready to publicly declare their faith. But the great paradox is that while Christianity is on the continuing decline, faith is not. People are putting their faith in people, in science, the state or in paganism, whatever means the most to them.

Indian Supreme Court Bans Public Smoking

Posted on 2001/11/6 8:47:02 ( 971 reads )

Source: The Hindu, Chennai

NEW DELHI India November 2, 2001: In a significant order concerning the health of the citizens, the Supreme Court today ordered a ban on smoking in public places throughout the country with immediate effect. Affected facilities included government buildings, courts, public transports, railways, hospitals, community halls, stadia, educational institutions and public libraries. The Bench also directed the Commissioners of Police of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Ahmedabad to comply strictly with the provisions of the Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975, relating to the sale, supply and distribution of cigarettes. They were also asked to submit status reports of action taken against cigarette manufacturers violating the advertising code. According to the petitioner, despite the 1975 Act being in force, the implementing authorities had failed to take note of this and the health of a large number of people was affected because of misleading advertisements and publicity for smoking cigarettes.

Religious Books Sales Booming

Posted on 2001/11/5 8:49:02 ( 995 reads )


ATLANTA, GEORGIA, November 1, 2001: The book business boomed during the '90s. The New Economy has suffered some setbacks, and general book sales are down. But in one part of the book business, business is still good: Sales of religious books are up more than four percent. "People are extremely hungry for experiences of God, experiences of faith, experiences of the divine," said Tom Beaudoin, a theologian and author. He observes that this spiritual desire comes even as church attendance in America has declined. "The more suspicious people are of their local church, then the more apt they are to just assemble their own books, to assemble their own spiritual life," he explained. The idea of drawing from many religions is a popular one these days, said Beaudoin. "Americans take very seriously their right to assemble in their shopping cart a little bit of John Paul II, a little bit of Judaism, a little bit of Hinduism, a little bit of Buddhism ... and say, "That is my spirituality."

Fourth Christian Church Torched in Malaysia

Posted on 2001/11/5 8:48:02 ( 945 reads )


SUBANG JAYA, MALAYSIA, November 5, 2001: The Christ Community Center Church here was destroyed by arson on October 27, according to a report from the Barnabas Fund. Police had been called out to the building in the early hours of Saturday morning after the burglar alarm went off. Finding nothing suspicious, they left. Three hours later, flames engulfed the building. Christ Community is the fourth Malaysian church to have been burnt in recent weeks, according to the report. The first three fires were the result of arson attacks, carried out by suspected Islamic militants, sources told The Barnabas Fund. The government is working hard to combat these trends and preserve Malaysia's reputation as a majority-Muslim nation where Christians and other minorities do not need to fear violence.

Indian-Americans Plan Meet for 2005

Posted on 2001/11/5 8:47:02 ( 980 reads )


USA, November 3, 2001: Mihir Patel is working with a team of Indian people trying to get a national conference for Indians of all walks of life together in Washington D.C. or New York for the year 2005. Students, professional, parents, religious leaders and political leaders would have a chance to network and discuss different issues facing Indians in America today, as well as Indians in general. Contact Mihir at "source" above.

Dalits Take Oath to Convert to Buddhism

Posted on 2001/11/4 8:49:02 ( 1103 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 4, 2001: Twenty thousand Dalits assembled at the Ambedkar Bhawan in Delhi today and took a verbal oath converting to Buddhism. The Dalits, Hinduism's lowest caste, were told they are Buddhists just by attending the rally and having wanted to convert to Buddhism. The ceremony was held despite being banned by the Delhi police who feared unrest. There was an elaborate ceremony to initiate Dalit leader Ram Raj into Buddhism. Ram Raj said "Today I am giving a call for change and I will take the issue to the people." But there is pressure on the government from the RSS to prevent the Buddhist rally while the VHP has gone a step ahead and asked for the organizers of the rally to be arrested.

Maharashtra Government Arrests VHP Leader Praveen Togadia

Posted on 2001/11/4 8:48:02 ( 964 reads )


AHMEDABAD, INDIA, November 1, 2001: Vishwa Hindu Parishad's international general secretary, Dr. Pravin Togadia, was arrested by the Maharashtra government at Bhusaval town in Khandesh in the backdrop of communal riots in Malegaon and anti-national rhetoric of some Muslim groups in the country. Togadia was arrested on Wednesday morning when he arrived in Bhusaval to grace a program in connection with the upcoming "Ram Jaap Yagna" of the VHP.

V.S. Naipaul on Islam

Posted on 2001/11/4 8:47:02 ( 983 reads )


TRINIDAD, November 1, 2001: When asked about whether he was surprised by Osama bin Laden's support in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Iran, V.S. Naipaul, Nobel-prize winning author commented, "No, because these are the converted peoples of Islam, these are the people who are not Arabs. Part of the neurosis of the convert is that he always has to prove himself. He has to be more royalist than the king, as the French say." When asked if this is what he refers to when he writes about Islam's imperial drive to extend its reach and root out the unbeliever, he answered, "Yes. It is not the unbeliever as the other person so much as the remnant of the unbeliever in one's customs and in one's ways of thinking. It's this wish to destroy the past, the ancient soul, the unregenerate soul. This is the great neurosis of the converted." The interview can be read in it's entirety at source given above.

Banned Gujarat Cotton Enters Market

Posted on 2001/11/4 8:46:02 ( 1054 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, November 1, 2001: More than half the genetically modified "bt cotton" grown illegally over thousands of acres in Gujarat is suspected to have entered the market. The company which sold the seeds to Gujarat farmers has also sold the same seed to farmers in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab. If Indian farmers completely adopt this seed for cotton which generates its own pesticide, and do not follow the guidelines required in the US for its use, insects will rapidly develop resistance to it.

U.S. Army Fields Portable Worship Center

Posted on 2001/11/3 8:49:02 ( 936 reads )


USA, October 27, 2001: A little-known weapon in the U.S. Army's arsenal is a mobile house of worship that could be called "The Stealth Sanctuary," according to a report by smh.com of Australia. The "containerized chapel" can be dropped from a cargo plane and within six hours be transformed into a multi-denominational religious center serving Christians, Jews and Muslims. "Removed from its storage container and assembled, it is 20 meters long and seats 100. It has its own altar power supply, electronic piano and a digital hymnal." It's all in a day's work for Natick Labs, the scientific center that develops high-tech products for the military. "We like to say that we not only take care of the soldier's body, but of his spirit," said Ben Richardson, the chaplain at Natick Labs, who helped develop the chapel. "It's true that there are no atheists in foxholes."

Lego Halts Use of Some Names for Toys

Posted on 2001/11/3 8:48:02 ( 949 reads )


WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND, October 30, 2001: Danish toy maker Lego has agreed to halt production of a range of toys based on ethnic cultures after protests about its use of indigenous Maori names for some toys. Lego senior executive Brian Soerensen has just returned to Denmark after meeting Maori lawyers in Auckland where he acknowledged that Lego had used Maori words in its Bionicle range of toys. "Lego have made a decision to withdraw from the market any future production of Bionicle toys based on Maori knowledge, or indigenous knowledge from any other culture, out of respect for the issues that we've raised with them," said Maui Solomon who represents Maori claimants arguing for greater protection for Maori intellectual property. Lego is not withdrawing any of the current products, but won't make new ones. The products included spiritual people called Tohunga (Maori for priest), face masks called Kanohi (face), a stone warrior called Pohatu (stone) and a tunneling character called Whenua (earth). The case is similar to one a few years ago where Matchbox Toys included several Hindu Deities amongst there "Monster in My Pocket" toy collection which were withdrawn after complaints from UK Hindus.

Inner-City Students Get "Om Schooling" in Yoga

Posted on 2001/11/3 8:47:02 ( 1005 reads )

Source: Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA, October 30, 2001: "We can be grateful we are here in such a safe place," Hatha Yoga instructor Tara Guber says in a soothing tone. "We can be happy to be here together to stretch, let our bodies open and our minds be set free, so that perhaps when we leave our yoga class we can move into another mind-set. More at peace with ourselves and others." This is what Yoga Journal calls "Om Schooling." Here at the Accelerated School in Los Angeles, a high-performing campus that serves kindergarten through eighth grade, Guber is giving brainy underprivileged children a head start in high-end hatha. Guber is not America's only yoga apostle. Pro bono yogis across the country are teaching yoga to prisoners, pregnant teenagers, people in halfway houses and at Boys and Girls clubs. Guber even invited one of South-Central's yoga-baptized gang members to detail his newfound inner peace at a symposium. "This is their birthright too," Guber said. "Consciousness is for everybody."

Court Won't Review Virginia Silence Law

Posted on 2001/11/3 8:46:02 ( 977 reads )


WASHINGTON DC, October 29, 2001: The US Supreme Court, confronting again the vexing issue of school prayer, rejected a challenge Monday to a state law requiring students to observe a daily minute of silence. The court did not comment in turning down an appeal from opponents who claim Virginia's minute of silence is an unconstitutional government encouragement of classroom prayer in public schools. The state says the minute of silence does not violate the separation of church and state, because children may meditate or stare out the window for 60 seconds if they choose, so long as they are quiet. The court's action means the daily minute of silence will continue, and opponents are left with no immediate options to challenge it.

Salvation Army Ranks as Top US Charity for Ninth Consecutive Year

Posted on 2001/10/30 8:49:02 ( 954 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, October 29, 2001: The Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of the nation's leading charities reports the Salvation Army raised US$1.44 billion in 2000, an increase of 3.1 percent since 1999, making it the number one charity. Overall, the top U.S. charities saw donations increase 13 percent from 1999 to 2000. The Philanthropy 400 survey ranks 400 of the nation's largest nonprofits by the amount of money they raise from private sources. Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund was ranked second and the YMCA was ranked third. Other than the Salvation Army, several religiously oriented charities were among the top 25 in the ranking. Lutheran Services in America ranked fifth, with $710 million. Catholic Charities USA ranked No. 13, with $414 million. Feed the Children, a Christian relief organization based in Oklahoma City, ranked 16th with $396 million. World Vision, a Christian relief organization based in Federal Way, Wash., ranked No. 17, with $372 million. Habitat for Humanity International ranked No. 18, with $371 million. Campus Crusade for Christ International ranked No. 21, with $326 million. The Salvation Army has an intensive program aimed at being designated in wills. This long-term strategy has greatly increased their income.

Expert Says Roots of Terrorism Found in Home Environment

Posted on 2001/10/30 8:48:02 ( 915 reads )


SWITZERLAND, October 29, 2001: Alice Miller, a 1986 recipient of the Janusz Korczak Literary Award by the Anti-Defamation League, has sought to find answers to the tragedy of terrorism and the people who perpetrate it. She believes, "On the basis of the research I have done into the childhood histories of the most ruthless dictators, like Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Ceaucescu, terrorism in general and the recent horrifying attacks on the United States are a macabre but precise demonstration of what happens to millions and millions of children the world over in the name of good parenting." She adds that "nobody comes to the world with the wish to destroy. Every newborn, independently from the culture, religion or ethnic origins needs to love, be loved, protected, and respected. This is his biological design. If he is maltreated by the cruel upbringing he will develop the very strong wish to take revenge. He will be driven to destroy others or himself but only by his history and never by inborn genes. The suppression and subsequent denial of early rage that often ends up in hatred with an endless number of ideologies." Miller resides in Switzerland and hosts a website www.alice-miller.com where her readers can share their experiences with others.

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