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American Fast Food Establishments Adapt to Indian Tastes

Posted on 2000/11/9 0:48:02 ( 2116 reads )

Source: Inter Press Service, October 30, 2000

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Whether you ordered in New York, London, Rome, Tokyo or Mexico City, it was "Big Mac with fries" at McDonalds. No more, as the fast food chain adapted to local palettes with teriyaki burgers in Japan and kosher meat in Israel. Now they've introduced the vegetarian McAloo Tikki Burger to their menu in India. The fast food chains learned a lesson from the failure of Kentucky Fried Chicken in India. Local anti-multinational activists failed to oust the KFC chain, even after burning down a shop in Bangalore. But then the Indian consumer dubbed their food too bland, KFC refused to change and folded. Now Pizza Hut is adapting quickly to Indian tastes, running exclusively vegetarian restaurants. It even offers a sattvic pizza, containing nothing that grows below the ground, such as onions or garlic.

Chinmaya Mission Encounters Opposition to Temple

Posted on 2000/11/9 0:47:02 ( 1962 reads )

Source: The Record, Northern New Jersey, October 30, 2000

CRANBURY, NEW JERSEY: Local farmers oppose construction of a Chinmaya Mission center in this rural community. The Mission wants to build on a seven-acre tract in an area of permanently preserved farmland. The temple would be in a barn-like structure designed to fit in the area, and attract 100 people on Sundays and up to 350 on festival days. Local farmers fear the temple goers may eventually object to the use of heavy machinery and pesticides in the area. The Township Committee, at their request, is trying to change the zoning to block the planned temple. Under the new rules, the temple would have to be smaller and have less parking space. However, this zoning attempt may run afoul of the newly passed "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act" signed into law by President Clinton this year. That act specifically prevents towns from using zoning to restrict religious building, unless they meet stringent requirements.

Communist Politician Wants VHP Denied UN Consultative Status

Posted on 2000/11/8 0:49:02 ( 2324 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA: K. Suresh Kurup, a Marxist Member of the Indian Parliament, has urged Prime Minister A. B.. Vajpayee to instruct the Indian representative in the UN to object to the entry of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) into the UN Economic and Social Council. He also appealed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that VHP should not be granted consultative status in the council. He said the VHP, which "does not at all represent the lofty and tolerant tradition of Hindu faith," was trying to get a consultative status in the UN Economic and Social Council. There are currently more than 1,500 organizations with such status. The Council was "established by the UN Charter as the principal organ, under the authority of the General Assembly, to promote: (a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; (b) solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and (c) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion." (see www.un.org/). A quick scan of the list of 1,500 organizations (www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/) revealed only one other Hindu organization, the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (the Swaminarayan Fellowship under Sri Pramukh Swami Maharaj). There were dozens of Christian, Muslim and Buddhist organizations along with hundreds of social welfare groups and even the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations. Hardly any other India-based groups were noted on the list.

Trinidad Temple Helps Fund Emergency Surgery for Muslim Girl

Posted on 2000/11/8 0:48:02 ( 2056 reads )

Source: Hinduism Today, Pundit Ramesh Tiwari

EDINBURGH, TRINIDAD: A recent newscast on state-owned television in Trinidad showed a 15-year-old Muslim girl with a spinal deformity, together with her parents, making a desperate appeal for financial assistance to have surgery done in Canada to allow their daughter Saadia to live a normal life. The Edinburgh Hindu Temple of Trinidad, being an orthodox Hindu organization, through its spiritual leader Pundit Ramesh Tiwari and temple committee members, raised US$1,800 at the Temple's Divali 2000 annual fund raising dinner and presented a check for this sum to Saadia Hosein on state-owned television. Callers to the temple were in high praise for the committee's efforts to bridge the "religious gap" between the Hindus and Muslims. The parents subsequently informed Pundit Tiwari that they never imagined that a Hindu Temple organization would come to their assistance. They said that a female member of the Islamic community even chastised them for receiving the sum of money from the Hindus. Pundit Tiwari, later interviewed by the television reporter, stated that sickness knows no religion or race and that the Hindu religion teaches that the world is one family "Vasudeva Kutumba-kum." "We saw an opportunity to demonstrate kindness," Pundit Tiwari said, "and we will do it again for any person of any creed, race or religious persuasion. Hopefully though this gesture we can make a difference in religious harmony in the world."

French in a Panic Over Mad Cow Disease

Posted on 2000/11/8 0:47:02 ( 488 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE: A sharp increase in the number of cases of "Mad Cow Disease" in French herds has led to a national outcry over the safety of the nation's supply of beef. Some meat from these herds had reached supermarkets. Many schools have taken beef off the menu, and the government is considering restrictions on the sale of certain cuts. According to the BBC, French President Jacques Chirac has demanded an immediate end to the use of meat and bonemeal in animal feed, amid growing fears over Mad Cow Disease. Earlier, France's health secretary warned that the country could be facing the prospect of dozens of cases of the human form of the disease, variant CJD. Russia, Hungary and Poland have banned some French meat imports. More than 80 people have died of variant CJD in Britain and the government has warned that the number could grow rapidly. Mad Cow Disease is one reason for the popularity of vegetarianism in England, which is now 6% of the total population and nearly 20% of teenage girls.

"Poor Christian Liberation Movement" Agrees with RSS on "Swadeshi Church"

Posted on 2000/11/8 0:46:02 ( 2189 reads )

Source: Pioneer, November 8, 2000

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The audacious request by the RSS nationalist Hindu organization that Christians in India form their own "Swadeshi Churches," i.e., churches based in India and run by Indians, has received support from an unexpected quarter. The President of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement, R.L. Francis, complained that Christian leaders discriminated against backward Christians in India, and that most church organizations were "commercial enterprises." Francis said his organization will initiate an awareness campaign to demand equal rights for dalits (untouchable caste) in church bodies and strengthen harmony between Hindus and Christians. The Christian churches in India for the most part maintain caste discrimination even though it is against the law and even though the religion is not supposed to recognize caste. There exist "brahmin churches" and "non-brahmin churches," as even today in the Southern United States there are "white" and "black" churches still segregated by race.

Lord Siva Series Bought by Advertiser

Posted on 2000/11/8 0:45:02 ( 2219 reads )

Source: Hindustan Times, November 8, 2000

MUMBAI, INDIA: Rights for the popular 208-episode TV series on the stories of Lord Siva has been bought for US$2.2 million for one time telecast by Hindustan Lever company, India's largest supplier of consumer goods. According to a spokesperson, the series cuts across urban and rural markets and is of perennial interest to target users. "In a competitive market, it is essential to have the right kind of programming that fits in with our brand messages," he said.

Gods Continue to Star on Indian TV

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:49:02 ( 2631 reads )

Source: Dainik Hindustan, November 6, 2000

MUMBAI, INDIA: With the wild success of the Mahabharata and Ramayana series on Indian television, which brought whole sections of the country to a halt during their showings, Indian TV is proceeding with more series based on Hinduism. The latest is not one, but two competing series on Lord Ganesha, Shree Ganesh on Sony TV and Jai Ganesha on Zee TV, being shown 15 minutes apart on Sunday morning. Shree Ganesh is directed by Dheeraj Kumar, whose Om Nama Shivaya on Lord Siva is still running. Dheeraj told the press that the high-tech trunk for the Elephant-Headed God cost nearly US$10,000. Sunil Agnihotri, who is producing Jai Ganesha, is planning for 104 episodes. The two shows are being produced on sets 45 feet apart at Film City.

Information Revolution Reaches into India's Villages

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:48:02 ( 3295 reads )


BANGALORE, INDIA (AP): On remote heights of the Himalayas, awe-struck women from yak-herding tribes sit in front of computers for the very first time. In a farming region, poor village women step into video e-mail booths to send messages to their husbands working in faraway cities. State officials have set up 40 such information centers in remote areas, each with six computers and a direct satellite link. Villagers in some areas can access crop prices, land and health registers, complain to the government and even check horoscopes of prospective brides and grooms.

Thailand Elephants Form Band, Release First Tune

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:47:02 ( 2173 reads )


LAMPANG, THAILAND: An elephant sanctuary in Thailand has trained a group of five elephants to play percussion instruments, xylophones and an elephant-sized harmonica. They've released their first tune, "Chang, Chang, Chang," which means "Elephant, Elephant, Elephant," and is a child's song in Thai. Each elephant holds an instrument and plays it when prodded by its mahut. The next song they are learning is "Happy Birthday to You." This same center has trained elephants to paint, and the paintings have been sold with profits going to benefit the elephant programs.

Bahrain Hindus Celebrate a Grand Divali

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:46:02 ( 3321 reads )

Source: Bahrain Tribune, October 27, 2000

SITRA, BAHRAIN: The Indian ambassador, Surinder Singh Gill, was guest of honor at a grand Diwali celebration at the Al Bander Hotel and Resort in the Muslim country. Five hundred Hindus attended. A temporary temple was built at the hotel, and the resort's lagoon was filled with candles set afloat by the children. "The grounds were transformed into a typically Indian atmosphere, with stalls in a rustic style offering in-house refreshments with a comprehensive variety of recipes from regional Indian cuisine," says the report.

Kumbha Mela Arrangements Proceed on "War Footing"

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:45:02 ( 2353 reads )

Source: Punjab Kesari, November 6, 2000

ALLAHABAD, INDIA: Massive preparations continue here for the world's largest gathering of human beings. Officials released their estimate of the expected crowds for the main days: January 9 (Paush Purnima), 5 million; January 14 (Makar Sankranti), 10 million, January 24 (Mauni Amavasya), 30 million; January 29 (Basant Panchami), 17.5 million; February 8 (Maghi Purnima), 10 million; and February 20 (Maha Sivaratri), 2.5 million. The grand total for the two months is estimated at 75 million pilgrims.

27,000 RSS men to explain Hindutva in North Bihar villages

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:44:02 ( 2332 reads )


MUZAFFARPUR, BIHAR, INDIA: About 27,000 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteers will enter all the 28,613 villages of North Bihar state during the month-long national awakening drive from November 7 to tell the people that Hindutva is a way of life for every Indian and that it stands for nationalism and not for any community, according to Times of India. The massive propaganda thrust follows upon a similar program in Tamil Nadu, and is intended to counter growing Christian conversion efforts in this area among the tribal people.

Bomb Threat Clears Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:43:02 ( 2303 reads )

Source: Singapore Straits Times, October 27, 2000

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Police combed a Hindu temple for explosives for more than two hours yesterday after receiving bomb threats, forcing the evacuation of about 150 worshippers. The threat came two days after a powerful explosion rocked a nearby temple on the eve of the Deepavali festival holiday. The cause of that explosion has yet to be determined, but local reports point to the theft of armaments from a military post in northern Malaysia several months ago as possibly related. This would be a very unwelcome development in the country which has worked hard to prevent sectarian violence.

Chariot Festival Celebrated in Paris

Posted on 2000/11/6 0:49:02 ( 2518 reads )


PARIS, FRANCE: Thousands of Hindus participated in the yearly chariot procession of Lord Ganesh on September 10 from the Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam in Paris. The chariot carrying the image of Lord Ganesha departed the temple on its six-hour journey at 8am, pulled by a dozen bare-chested men on foot accompanied by the traditional nagaswaram horn and tavil drum. As a leading French magazine put it, the event was "a unique open and festive spectacle in Paris, for discovering the oldest religion in the world." The Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam was founded in 1983 by the current president whose family has founded many temples dedicated to Ganesha in Sri Lanka.

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