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Thailand Elephants Form Band, Release First Tune

Posted on 2000/11/7 0:47:02 ( 2289 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 ( 3449 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 ( 2476 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 ( 2457 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 ( 2443 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 ( 2648 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.

NY Temple Wins Place in Hall of Fame

Posted on 2000/11/6 0:48:02 ( 2295 reads )


FLUSHING, NEW YORK: The temple to Lord Ganesha here in Flushing, New York, is entering the "People's Hall of Fame." According to a report in News India, City Lore, who sponsor the hall of fame, says that with 18,000 members of many different nationalities, the ornate temple on Bowne Street, Flushing, is not only the center of New York's Hindu community, but a cultural center that helps to beautify the city with a wide array of cultural and religious arts. The temple was one of the first Hindu temples built in America, and has been very successful since its founding in 1977.

British Airways Stops Using Buddha Images

Posted on 2000/11/6 0:47:02 ( 2388 reads )

Source: The Hindu, Nov 3rd, 2000

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA: British Airways has stopped using images of Buddha to promote its business class following protests from Sri Lankan travellers, airline officials said here today. Sri Lankan expatriates had launched a campaign on the internet to call for a boycott of BA for using Buddha images in advertisements. The airlines has now withdrawn the images.

Government Minister Wants to Tap Religious Tourism in India

Posted on 2000/11/6 0:46:02 ( 3122 reads )

Source: Hinduism Today

DELHI, INDIA: Developing the potential of pilgrim and cultural tourism in India and taking steps for reconstruction of culturally significant cities can contribute as much as Rs 850,000 crores (US$185 billion) to India's gross domestic product and create 33 million jobs by 2020 says Jagmohan, India's minister of urban development and poverty alleviation minister. He spoke today at the inauguration of Annual Travel and Tourism Summit organized by the Associated Chamber of commerce and Industry, on Tourism: Catalyst for Employment and Economic Growth. To give a boost to ethnic tourism, the urban development ministry has begun implementing special schemes to develop culturally significant towns and cities like Varanasi, Madurai and Puri by reconstructing, repairing and sprucing up historical monuments and civic amenities without burdening the public exchequer. He said that a comprehensive blue print for redevelopment of Varanasi city has been drawn up and its implementation initiated. Generally speaking, tourist travel within India is already religious travel, with most destinations being holy sites.

Bihar State Celebrates "Chhath Puja"

Posted on 2000/11/6 0:45:02 ( 3019 reads )

Source: The Hindu, November 3

PATNA, BIHAR, INDIA: Hundreds of thousands of Hindus including the Chief Minister of Bihar, Mrs. Rabri Devi, offered worship to the Sun throughout Bihar yesterday. Devotees took a holy bath in the Ganga, Kosi or Gandak rivers and offered prayers and water to the setting Sun.

Ballon Flights Expected to be Hit of Pushkar Fair

Posted on 2000/11/6 0:44:02 ( 2803 reads )

Source: Source: The Hindu Business Line

RAJASTHAN, INDIA: The famed Pushkar Fair in Ajmer district of Rajashtan begins today, complete with a hot air ballon ready to take one and all across the large fair grounds. The event is a pilgrimage/festival combined with an annual six-day market for camels and cattle. The balloon flight, which will allow a complete view of the Pushkar area, is expected to be very popular. The Rajasthan Tourism Development corporation chairman, Mr. Rajiv Arora, said here that the corporation was setting up a tourist village comprising 32 huts, 250 swiss tents, 75 ordinary tents and two dormitories along with the coffee shops. It will have a dining hall, a bank, post office, phone facilities and handicraft market , he said. There would be a camel safari too, as well as several cultural programs.

Legend of Bagger Vance movie, based on Bhagavad Gita, opens in theatres to mixed reviews

Posted on 2000/11/5 0:49:02 ( 3709 reads )


USA: Robert Redford's latest movie, "The Legend of Bagger Vance," which opened in 2,000 theaters across America this weekend, is based upon the book of the same name. The book is an adaptation of the "Bhagavad Gita" into the story of a 1920's game of golf. Most viewers won't make the connection, and most professional reviewers seem clueless, too, though a few sensed a "Zen" or "Hindu" flavor to the philosophy. For example, Roger Ebert called it the "first Zen movie about golf." The movie's plot centers around a has-been golfer, "Rannulph Junuh" (read "R. Junnuh," as in "Arjuna"), played by Matt Damon, who is advised by a caddy, Bagger Vance (read "Bhagavan," i.e. Lord Krishna), played by Will Smith. Ebert likes the movie, but CNN reviewer Paul Tatara said, "you've certainly seen worse movies, but Redford really blew an opportunity here." Steven Rosen has written a book, "Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance," detailing the novel's derivation from the Bhagavad Gita. It can be advance ordered at Amazon.com.

UK forum calls for state funding for religious organizations to tackle social problems

Posted on 2000/11/5 0:48:02 ( 2916 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND: In a UK meeting, Conservatives said they would give churches and other faith communities new opportunities to establish their own full-time schools to teach their religious values along with providing a general education. Already the UK has a state-funded Sikh school. Conservative leader William Hague said, "Close to their communities and offering role models that pupils can identify with, they would be one sure way to guarantee diversity, increase standards and give children the values they need."

Trinidad's Hindu PM likely to return to office

Posted on 2000/11/5 0:47:02 ( 2818 reads )

Source: Hinduism Today: Anil Mahabir, Trinidad Correspondent

PORT LOUIS, TRINIDAD: Trinidadians will go to the polls to elect a new government on Monday, December 11, 2000. The two major parties in the race are: the UNC, widely touted as "the Indian/Hindu party" which is led by Basdeo Panday and the PNM, which is seen as the "African/Christian party" led by Patrick Manning. The country is presently run by a Hindu Prime minister in Basdeo Panday. All the recent polls seem to suggest that the incumbent government (the UNC) will return to office, however, it is premature to come to a conclusion. The PNM has vowed to re-visit all the legislation passed "by the Hindu Prime Minister," especially the "blasphemous libel law" which makes it illegal for anyone to publicly criticize any of the world's religions. The PNM only wants it to protect the "Christian faith against the pagans"--as did the original English Common Law version in force up to this year. Things are peaceful in a country which has never seen a single act of election violence even when, in 1995, the country got its first Hindu Prime Minister.

South Africa Hindus act against AIDS

Posted on 2000/11/5 0:46:02 ( 2665 reads )


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Yogapragasan Naidoo has organized an AIDS awareness concert with the help of religious, cultural and nongovernment organizations in South Africa. A float procession through Lenasia will be followed by a concert of bhajan and kirtan groups (religious singers) and speakers from various AIDS organizations. "The idea," explained Naidoo, "is part of the schools initiative run by the South Africa National AIDS Council, which requires schools to do something about AIDS education."

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