Thursday, December 31, 2009

ANTIBIOTICS IN FARM ANIMALS: HIGH RISK, LITTLE GAIN

OVERSUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN FOOD ANIMALS CREATE
RISK IN HUMANS DUE TO DRUG-RESISTANT INFECTIONS
NEW YORK (ABC News) - Antibiotics keep animals healthy and make them grow faster, but they also create drug-resistant infections that can be deadly when spread to humans. In the United States, industrial farm animals are commonly given low doses of antibiotics and related drugs in their daily feed. Food animals - poultry, swine and cattle - are routinely fed antibiotics and related drugs for disease prevention and growth promotion. Recently, major increases in antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in human populations have led to public health concerns regarding antibiotic use for nontherapeutic purposes (i.e., not used to treat disease) in animals destined for food production. Bacteria are able to develop antibiotic resistance when exposed to low doses of drugs over long periods of time. To promote growth and weight gain, entire herds or flocks of farm animals are routinely fed antibiotics and related drugs at low levels in their feed or water - a practice that has been identified as a major contributor to antibiotic resistance. In addition, the crowded and often unhygienic conditions of many industrial farms facilitate transfer of bacteria and infection, increasing the need for antibiotic use in the hopes of preventing diseases that might arise from these conditions. Broiler chickens and laying hens are conventionally kept in crowded sheds or battery cages in conditions which contribute to the rapid spread of contagious diseases.

The overuse of antibiotics and related drugs in food animals is leading to increased risk of human illness and increased healthcare costs, with little to no agricultural economic benefit. Recent economic analysis of antibiotic use in poultry disputes the myth that using drugs nontherapeutically results in large economic gains. In fact, data show that improving management of farm animals (e.g., cleaning facilities more thoroughly and frequently) achieves the same benefits as nontherapeutic antibiotic use, which represents just an unnecessary human health risk.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Humans who misuse their free will have to lose their free will, at least for a time. Chapter sixteen of the Bhagavad-gita says that such human beings will have to take birth in lower species of life. Thus some souls in human dress later wear the dress of an animal and the degree of suffering or enjoyment they have in animal life is directly related to what they did in human life. Animals cannot create new karma because they are completely controlled by their nature. Similar to criminals being incarcerated by the state, souls wearing animal bodies serve out their karmic sentences until they are again eligible for a human form of life, where they will have another chance to act responsibly and progress toward liberation.

Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Mahārāja :
“Animals and Karma” - Śrī Caitanya Sanga
Vol. VIII, No. 3 - Mar. 17, 2006.
http://www.swami.org/pages/sanga/


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'BEST JOB' WINNER STUNG BY DANGEROUS JELLYFISH

MAN WITH WORLD'S 'BEST JOB' AS CARETAKER OF
TROPICAL ISLAND SURVIVES DEADLY JELLYFISH STING
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) - Ben Southall, the British winner of the Best Job in the World competition, has discovered that life in paradise can sometimes turn ugly, and rather painful. Just days away from the end of his six-month stint as "caretaker" of Hamilton Island in Queensland, Mr Southall was stung by a deadly Irukandji jellyfish. Ben Southall wrote in his online diary that he was lucky to have survived his brush with the extremely venomous Irukandji jellyfish. In his blog, which he keeps as part of his job, he describes the incident as "a little sting on the beach". But it was his progressive symptoms of fever, headache, lower back pain, chest tightness and high blood pressure that led doctors to diagnose the sting. "I thought I'd done particularly well at avoiding any contact with any of the dangerous critters that consider this part of the world their home," Mr Southall said.

"I've avoided being boxed by a kangaroo, nibbled by a shark and bitten by a spider or a snake - but then in my final few days on Hamilton Island I fell foul of a miniscule little creature known as an Irukandji," his blog continues. The jellyfish is virtually invisible to the naked eye and can be deadly - in 2002 two tourists died after being stung. It is so small it can pass through the nets that protect popular swimming spots in Queensland from larger jellyfish. But Mr Southall - who has fully recovered after a dose of antibiotics and rest - admitted that he had been inadequately dressed for the excursion. "I had a couple of injections which immediately took away the uncomfortable pain I was feeling." He has learned his lesson: Anyone entering the waters of the Great Barrier Reef is advised to wear a full protective swimming suit, advice that Mr Southall had ignored. Australia is well-known for its myriad deadly creatures, but the peanut-sized Irukandji remains rather mysterious. It is virtually impossible to see and is tiny enough to pass through nets. In 2002, two tourists were killed after being stung by these tiny australian creatures.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
A lack of interest in the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna is the conditioned soul's chief defect. The basis of all sin is ignorance, whose symptom is the rejection of Krishna. The seed of all sin, i.e., the tendency to sin, is present in the flaw of ignorance. From there, sinful activity is inevitable. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami compares this deficiency in the conditioned jivas to coming under the influence of a witch's spell: “For rejecting Krishna, the witch of illusion punishes the jiva, causing him to suffer the three kinds of misery - adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. The unfortunate conditioned soul then becomes the slave of his desires and his frustrations, suffering their kicks and abuse. ... ” (Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrita Madhya 22.13-15).

Śrīla Bhakti Promode Puri Mahārāja :
“Art of Sadhana” - Ch XV: ‘Ignorance means Rejecting the Lord’
http://www.gosai.com/krishna-talk/disciples-mentality.html

INDIA, JAPAN TO DEEPEN ECONOMIC TIES

INDIAN AND JAPANESE PRIME MINISTERS
RESOLVED TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION
NEW DELHI, India (Xinhua) - India and Japan on Tuesday finalised an action plan to strengthen security cooperation, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his visiting Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama signing a joint statement here. In his opening statement, Dr. Singh said economic partnership between the two countries was the bedrock of the relationship. The two Prime Ministers shared the view that the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project was moving forward from planning to the implementation stage. Dr. Singh urged Mr. Hatoyama to liberalise the visa regime to promote investment and the latter too made a similar request. Dr. Singh highlighted the move to provide visa on arrival to visitors from Japan. Hatoyama and Singh also identified nine areas of collaboration and reviewed economic cooperation especially in infrastructure development.

Japan offered to provide bullet train technology to the Indian Railways in its quest to build the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor project from Rewari in Haryana to Vadodara in Gujarat. Both sides decided to work to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Act at the earliest. The joint statement expressed satisfaction at the deepening of the annual strategic dialogue between the Foreign Ministers as well as other policy dialogues and the desire to enhance exchanges in the defence field. Strengthening of collaboration on issues of common strategic interest; setting up of a strategic cooperation mechanism; increase in defence and coast guard cooperation, exchange of information to fight terrorism and other transnational crimes; cooperation at the U.N.; and cooperation on disarmament and non-proliferation were some of the areas earmarked for enhanced collaboration. Both nations will hold annual bilateral exercise alternately off India and Japan, and if possible hold multi-lateral cooperation too. The Malabar 2007 exercise involves five navies — India, Japan, the United States, Australia and Singapore. The plan also envisages participation as observers in major army and air force exercises and passing exercises during ship visits.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
This movement can solve all the problems of life, all the problems in the world. Social, political, philosophical, religious, economic - everything can be solved by Krishna consciousness. Therefore, we request those who are leaders - like His Excellency, who is present here - to try to understand this Krishna consciousness movement. It is very scientific and authorized. It is not a mental concoction or a sentimental movement. It is a most scientific movement. So we are inviting all leaders from all countries to try to understand. If you are sober, if you are actually reasonable, you'll understand that this Krishna consciousness movement is the most sublime movement for the welfare of the whole human society.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Journey of Self-Discovery”
Chapter II: ‘Superconsciousness - Who Is Krsna?’.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 30 ON SHIA PROCESSION

PAKISTAN: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS AT LEAST 30
IN KARACHI
DURING SHIA RELIGIOUS CEREMONY
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - A suicide bomber struck a procession marking a Shia Muslim holy day in Pakistan's biggest city today, killing at least 30 people in an attack blamed on extremists trying to spark a sectarian war. The minority sect has suffered frequent attacks by Sunni extremist groups. The suicide bomber who struck yesterday targeted thousands of Shias marching through the streets to observe Ashura, the most important day of a month-long mourning period for the seventh-century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein. More than 50,000 Shias, 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population, marched through the city whipping themselves to mark the holy day of Ashura. The procession, commemorating the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson in the 7th century, is held every year on Ashura, the tenth day of the Islamic holy month of Muharram. Shias traditionally wear black, beat their torsos with chains and slice their skin with knives.

The bomber managed to get into the procession despite the presence of more than 10,000 paramilitary troops. The attacker blew himself up at the front of the procession in the city centre.
Outraged Shias responded to one of the worst sectarian attacks in the country this year by setting fire to buildings and vehicles at the blast site and pelting security forces with stones. Furious participants in the ceremony turned on police, soldiers and media after the blast which sent smoke billowing over the centre. Witnesses in Karachi said that armed Shias in the procession fired shots in the air after the bomb blast, while others pelted police and medical teams with stones. The southern city of Karachi has largely been spared the Taliban-linked violence that has struck much of the rest of the country. But it has been the scene of frequent sectarian, ethnic and political violence. Yesterday's bombing was the third explosion in as many days to hit Karachi, although authorities attributed a blast that wounded 30 on Sunday to a buildup of gas in a sewage pipe. On Saturday, a blast near a Shia procession wounded 19 people.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
I happen to be an entity dominated by the knowledge of the five mundane elements. I am entrapped in the functions of littleness by abstaining from thoughts of the great one. Because I have preferred to remain confined to the functions of my littleness, the egotistic sentiment that I am the master of myself and of all entities has appeared in me. It has become necessary to get rid of this desire for domination. Nothing is easier than to assert that the little should aim at being identified with the great. If one allows oneself to be mastered by such senseless ambition and tries to realize his oneness with the divinity, such egotistic vanity effectively blocks the course of all real well-being.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada :
“Transcending Littleness”
Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu - Issue No. 50
28 March 2003 - www.gopaljiu.org.

Monday, December 28, 2009

CHINA UNVEILS SUPER TRAIN

CHINA UNVEILS THE WORLD'S
FASTEST BULLET TRAIN SERVICE
BEIJING (Xinhua) - China launched the world's fastest train on the weekend, running from Wuhan to Guangzhou, local media reported. With an average speed of 350km/h, the journey of 1,068.6km would take three hours, compared with the previous 10.5 hours, a Wuhan railway official told the government-run China Daily. The new high-speed service uses technology developed in co-operation with foreign firms including Siemens, which provided technology for the railway's command centre's signal system. The new service is expected to impact on the number of passengers travelling between the two cities by air. Some airlines, including China Southern, have already halved the price of tickets on the route. The train ride connecting the cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan was originally over seven and half hours long and is now only a three hour ride. The system only took four years to build.

The average speed for trains in Japan was 243 kilometers per hour while in France it was 277 kilometers per hour. The unveiling of China's first high-speed system came at the time of Beijing Olympics in 2008, and now this new train "can go 394.2 kilometers per hour, it's the fastest train in operation in the world," said the head of the transport bureau at the railways ministry. Beijing is planning to increase the national network from the current 86,000 kilometers to 120,000 kilometers, making it the most extensive rail system outside the United States. Officials said in September they planned to build 42 high-speed lines by 2012 in a massive system overhaul as part of efforts to spur economic growth amid the global downturn.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Seeing my wretched condition, my true well-wishers and friends on the spiritual path repeatedly counsel me to refrain from these whimsical activities and take again to the protective guidance of Guru, Vaishnavas and Śāstra. Previously, when I considered their instructions to be nectar, I bade farewell to worldly pleasures and came to perform bhajana, spiritual practices. My extreme misfortune, however, now keeps me in the guise of a saint, directly or indirectly impelling me to become mad in the pursuit of wealth, women and prestige. Instructions for my welfare no longer seem beneficial.

Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Madhava Mahārāja :
“Realistic Solution for Diverse Humanity”
Speech at a ‘Spiritual Summit Conference’ - 1968 Calcutta.
http://www.sreecgmath.org/scgmtimes/scgmsbdm.php

Sunday, December 27, 2009

NESTLE IS MISLEADING CONSUMERS, FDA SAYS

NESTLE MISLEADS ON NUTRITIONAL AND HEALTH
BENEFITS CLAIMS ON ITS PRODUCTS, THE FDA SAYS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Swiss food giant Nestle made misleading claims about the health benefits of some children's beverages, U.S. regulators said in warning letters these days. Another consumer packaged goods company is facing questions from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about its marketing of health claims. Earlier this year, the FDA sent a warning letter to General Mills for claiming that Cheerios is clinically proven to lower cholesterol, and now Nestle - the world’s biggest food company - was questioned by the federal agency about the company's use of nutrient claims for some of its products. The FDA, said Nestle made unauthorized nutrient content claims on certain Juicy Juice products marketed for children under age 2. The agency said that the Nestle's Juicy Juice is labelled with "no sugar added" and Nestle's Boost Kid Essentials Nutritionally Complete Drink, is promoted as a "medical food" but did not meet requirements for that type of claim, so it is falsely promoted as such, the FDA said.

The federal agency also points out that content labeling for Nestle’s orange tangerine and grape juices which claimed to be 100 percent juice, and the labeling claim that the Juicy Juice drinks help “support brain development” in young children are “misleading”, the agency said. Regarding the Nestle’s Boost Kid Essentials Nutritionally Complete Drink, the FDA points out that the company’s promotion of the drinks as “medical food” suitable for treating the medical condition of “failure to thrive” in newborns and for “pre/post surgery, injury or trauma, chronic illnesses” do not meet federal standards for those claims. By law, medical food is “a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation,” the FDA said. The Boost beverages fail to meet that standard but are still marketed as such. “It is your responsibility to ensure that all of your products are in compliance with the laws and regulations enforced by FDA.” “Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in regulatory actions without further notice, such as seizure and/or injunction,” the FDA wrote in the letters.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The four common faults are not present in these great souls. These faults are namely illusion which is mistaking something which is not true as real, carelessness or instability of mind, imperfection of the senses, as in the seeing of mirages and the usual cheating tendency which is to insist you know something when you do not. In this regard, the great souls who are well versed in the highest truths and have knowledge of the scriptures are free from these four faults. They are by nature equipped with good conduct and completely devoid of enviousness, enmity, anger and hypocrisy. The profound truthful words of such teachers are regarded as “evidence”.

Śrīla Bhakti Promode Puri Mahārāja :
“Essence of Pure Devotion” - Part V ‘Preaching and Self-Practice’

Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library - http://bvml.org/SBPPG/

Saturday, December 26, 2009

INDIA: CIVIC UPRISING IN VRINDAVAN

PACIFIC PROTEST MARCH AGAINST BUILDING
OF BRIDGE WHICH THREATENS
THE KESHI GHAT
VRINDAVAN, India (IANS) Eco-activists and environmentalists marched in a procession Friday afternoon to protest the construction of a new bridge in Vrindavan, around Keshi Gath. During the past months, the central government of India is building a huge big and it has risen a lot of criticism from local environmental activists. According to the environmental activists, the building is against the will of all the local residents in Vrindavan, and it threatens Vrindavan's heritage the Keshi Ghat - the only remaining ghat in Vrindavan. The activists points out that the governor of the state of Utthar Pradesh is doing this without consulting anyone and not revealing the plans to anyone. Local residents mantains that the building of a big bridge across the Yamuna would seriously affect the river’s flow along Vrindavan’s banks, and it will obscure the magnificent panoramic view of the Yamuna River, “Keshi Ghat, which happens to be the last ghat of Vrindavan from where river Yamuna flows through, is being endangered,” they said.

Yesterday, several Vaishnava Missions and representatives of the World Vaishnava Association marched in a procession to the Yamuna and made a public pacific protest. This ceremony was called bridge breaking ceremony. It was about breaking symbolically a part of the bridge. Along with them, many eco-activists led by former director general of police K.P.S. Gill and working under the Save Yamuna to Save Vrindavan campaign have demanded rethinking on building a new bridge at the heritage Keshi Ghat. “The new bridge will also increase the level of pollution in the river,” an activist said. A sadhu said Yamuna was the lifeline of Braj Mandal. “The river has to be saved at any cost.” The representatives of the WVA expressed that “This new bridge project is an ecological disaster, unethical and anti-aesthetic. The bridge brings a freeway in front of the sanctuary. As hundreds of activists are against this we are having a civic uprising with the presence of respectful leaders, citizens and schools students. We only see economic interests of some politicians behind this bridge.” Kids of the Sandipani Muni School of Vrindavan joined the pacific march with dancing art. Environmentalists also invite many people to join them in their claims by signing their petition and giving support to their protest in this internet address: http://www.petitiononline.com/NObridge/petition-sign.html. Up to now, many foreign and Indian religious people have joined the signature campaign to stop the construction of bridge, which they considered utterly unnecessary.

You can watch a video of the event here:




WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Śrīla Rupa Gosvami has written this song: "If you still desire to amuse yourself with your friends, you should not go to Vrndavana. And if you go to Vrndavana, you should especially not go to Kesi Ghat. There is a danger lurking there. What is that danger? It is Sri Hari, Krishna Himself, who has taken the form of Govinda, Govinda vigraha dhari. The danger is that if you go there and see Him, if you have a vision of Govinda, you will not be able to return to the customary amusements of your ordinary household life. ... Unfortunately, we go to Vrndavana and still come back. We do not have such devotion. If anybody truly had the greed for Govinda, he could not return to his mundane life. His worldly relations would be destroyed. Greed for devotion is developed by associating with the pure devotees of the Lord. By their grace it becomes possible for us to attain Krishna prema, divine love for God, the ultimate goal of life.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Suddha Bhakti” - Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library -http://bvml.org/SBBTM/

Friday, December 25, 2009

CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

TODAY DECEMBER 25th, CHRISTMAS IS
COMMEMORATED ALL AROUND THE WORLD
BBC News / AFP - Christians all over the world are commemorating this Friday, December 25, the Christmas, a celebration for the birth of Jesus Christ, son of God, and his revelation to human beings. All over the world jingle bells are tolling and Christmas trees and decorations adorn homes and business premises. The atmosphere of Christmas is unmistakable. It is highly evocative. Turkeys and hampers are moving around as typical yuletide gifts despite the current global economic downturn, and the air is filled with moving carols. In many countries, the Christmas celebration actually started way back in October with shopping and aggressive sales promo aimed at stimulating consumption. The birth of Jesus Christ was always a reason for happiness among Christians, since it brings a message of love, fraternity and equality amongst man. Christmas is considered by people from various religious as the date devoted to family union, peace, fraternity and solidarity amongst human beings.

Survey shows that no single religious festival is nearly as influential as Christmas. For many families, including non-Christian ones, it has become a time of family re-union, a time for catching up with friends and relations not seen for long. There is therefore a tendency for all of this to make us miss the real significance of Christmas or to trivialise the reason for the season. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the founder of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ whom Christians believe to be God incarnate who came into a sinful world to save mankind.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Once, in Melbourne, a group of Christian ministers came to visit me. They asked, “What is your idea of Jesus Christ?” I told them, “He is our guru. He is preaching God consciousness, so he is our spiritual master.” The ministers very much appreciated that. Actually, anyone who is preaching God's glories must be accepted as a guru. Jesus Christ is one such great personality. We should not think of him as an ordinary human being. The scriptures say that anyone who considers the spiritual master to be an ordinary man has a hellish mentality. If Jesus Christ were an ordinary man, then he could not have delivered God consciousness.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda:
“The Science of Self Realization”
Chapter IV - ‘Understanding Krishna and Christ’.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

PILGRIMS CROWD BETHLEHEM ON CHRISTMAS EVE

CROWDS ATTENDED CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATIONS
AT THE BIRTHPLACE OF CHRISTIANITY IN BETHLEHEM
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) - Thousands of Christians crowded into Bethlehem on an unseasonably warm Thursday evening, before celebrating Christmas midnight mass in the Church of the Nativity at the birthplace of Jesus. While much of North America and Europe shivers in the grip of winter, visitors to Bethlehem were buying chilled fruit juice in Manger Square and stripping off sweaters in the mild weather. Christmas Eve began with festive marches through Manger Square by Palestinian boy and girl scouts. The celebrations took place outside the ancient Church of the Nativity, where tradition says Jesus was born. Bethlehem is in the Palestinian-ruled West Bank, and religion mixed with nationalism. Manger Square was decked out with Christmas trees and lights and Palestinian flags. Religious observances began with the arrival of the Latin Patriarch, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land.

Priests and monks in white robes held a procession into the Church of the Nativity leaving a trail of fragrant incense. Palestinian police with assault rifles patrolled the streets but the atmosphere was calm. A lull in violence brought a big turnout of tourists; some 70,000 are expected to visit Bethlehem this week. At the same time, the Palestinians complain that Israel's separation wall at the entrance to Bethlehem casts a dark shadow over Christmas. Israel erected the wall to stop a wave of suicide bombers, but Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh says the town of Jesus' birth has become a prison. "We need bridges of love and understanding between the people, not walls of hatred," he said. Tourism in Bethlehem has picked up in the past few years, hotels expect a 60 to 70 percent rise in business this year. Still, many locals say development is hindered by elaborate security arrangements Israel has put in place to keep Palestinian attackers out, including an 8 meter (25 foot) high wall between Bethlehem and neighboring Jerusalem. Visitors and local people cannot escape the sight of the wall but they were not allowing it to dampen the Christmas spirit.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
To understand the goal and the path and yourself, you see Jesus. Jesus always knows his goal. He always says "I am son of God" What is this meaning? He never accept himself "I am God". Because if there are not two, how there will be love? He said that "I am son. He is my Father. I love my Father." People say: "You are God", but HE never said from his mouth "I am God". He said: "I am son, he is the Father". Because without two you cannot love! So you see very clear. He is a pure devotee of his Father. He is pure devotee of Krishna. Krishna and Kristos, you see - link: Kris Kris… Krishna and Kristos - Father and son. ... You never see Jesus showing five fingers, he always shows two fingers. What is two? This two - yourself, the soul - and my Father. Two things to understand.

Śrīpad Bhakti Vedanta Sadhu Mahārāja :
“The Path and the Goal”
Talks on ‘Chaitanya Charitamrita’
Sofia, July 2003 - http://www.sadhumaharaja.org

ABDUCTED COLOMBIAN GOVERNOR FOUND DEAD

KIDNAPPED COLOMBIAN GOVERNOR CUELLAR
WAS FOUND WITH SLASHED THROAT IN JUNGLE
BOGOTA, Colombia (AHN) - The body of kidnapped Colombian governor, Luis Francisco Cuellar was found beheaded. Leftist rebels kidnapped the governor from his home on Monday night. The kidnapping and burtal murder of one of the country's top lawmakers has shocked many of Colombia's residents, who believed the days of political kidnappings were over. Addressing the nation Colombian President Alvaro Uribe revealed that the governor, of the southern Amazon province of Caqueta, was brutally slaughtered by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). His body was found in a jungle area where the rebels are known to frequent. Reportedly the rebels were being pursued by government forces when they killed and dumped Cuellar's body. The governor was seized from his home in Florence, the provincial capital Monday night in an attack.

The attacking guerrillas, who were reportedly wearing uniforms similar to police, fought an intense gun battle with Cuellar's security guards. Ten assailants, dressed in army uniforms and identified by the government as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, seized a pajama-clad Cuellar, 69, in his residence. The attackers killed one police guard, wounded two and exploded a grenade to gain entry.
Hours after a massive military operation was launched to rescue him, his body was discovered, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) south of the provincial capital Florencia, with a slashed throat. Cuellar was the most high profile politician abducted and murdered since Uribe came to power in 2002, promising a "safe democracy" and a heavy military crackdown on armed rebel groups. Cuellar, who turned 69 on Tuesday, had already been kidnapped four times in the past 23 years before he became governor. He became governor in January 2008 and, to date, his abduction has been the most high profile kidnapping in Colombia since 2002.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
The soul of the beings is not killed when the body is killed. It is inseparable part and parcel of God. Compare the sun and sun's rays to God and jiva souls. As we cannot think of the sun without the rays nor the rays without the sun, so we cannot think of God without jiva souls or the jiva soul without God. The difference between the two is that one is Brihat, great, nothing greater nor equal to God, while the soul is tiny and atomic. The cloud may intercept and obstruct the rays when coming to earth but the cloud cannot cover the sun. Maya may intercept jivas from God but cannot cover God. It is well established in Vaishnava Philosophy that both God and the individual souls are distinct entities jivas are plural coexisting in the absolute.

Śrīla Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Mahārāj:
“Preface to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva Dharma”
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library - www.bvml.org/SBTP/

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

COPENHAGEN FELL VICTIM TO A WORLD DIVIDED

UN CLIMATE SUMMIT IN COPENHAGEN
FAILED TO DELIVER A CLIMATE DEAL
BRUSSELS (BBC News) -The Copenhagen climate summit fell victim to a cumbersome negotiating process involving 193 countries with very different political agendas that just didn't allow for a visionary agreement. World leaders are simply too divided - by distrust and outright hostility, by economic competition and ideological fervour, by the dire need for development and recession-fuelled fears of economic decline - to have overcome their differences and concluded a firm deal. What emerged instead was a kind of agreement in principle among the developed world and leading developing countries to rein in their greenhouse-gas emissions and an aim to keep global temperatures from increasing by more than two degrees Celsius, the threshold beyond which scientists say the most devastating impacts of climate change will occur.

European Union leaders on Tuesday sought to deflect criticism that they had fumbled their strategy at the Copenhagen climate summit meeting, just as a feud between the British and the Chinese over whom to blame for the outcome worsened. Despite the warts and failures, the Copenhagen Accord should not be underestimated, especially since only a year ago, the major developing countries insisted that they had no responsibility for cutting emissions, and that demands for such action represented an effort by the developed world to stifle their economic growth. For the first time, leading developing countries such as China, India and Brazil have agreed to rein in emissions as part of an international treaty aimed at battling climate change. United Nations climate chief Ivo de Boer had set out a series of ambitious goals, including commitment from developed countries to meet mid-term and long-term targets that would result in global emissions peaking prior to 2020, and falling to half of 1990 levels by 2050. The developing world was demanding commitments for financing from the developed countries that would grow to several hundred billions of dollars by 2020, as well as the transfer of technology needed to cut emissions.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
As forecasted by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself, today, this movement is out to conquer the heart of every individual, throughout the world, by its unfailing message of love and compassion. ... Especially in the West, where reckless industrialization and consumerism have reduced human mind to a slave of greed and passion, where the body has become a ruthless machine rather than the Temple of God, the message of love and piety, as pronounced by Him, has met with warm reception and enthusiasm. In particular, the Indians residing abroad consider our organization as a boon, which has provided them an opportunity to serve people in distress, whether physical or moral, and to uphold the message of the transcendental incarnation of their motherland.

Śrīla Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaja :
Lecture: “Śrī Gopinath Gaudiya Math”
‘Our Organization: Its Aims and Objectives (Activities)’
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library - www.bvml.org/SBBBM/


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NIGERIA RUNAWAY TRUCK KILLS NEAR 100

TRAILER CARRYING FERTILIZERS LOST CONTROL
AND RAN INTO A MARKET, KILLING MORE THAN 90
NIGERIA (BBC News) - Up to 100 people have been killed after a runaway truck ploughed into a crowded market in Nigeria. Kogi state police said the lorry hurtled down a hill at speed, smashing cars and motorcycles then crashing into the market, injuring up to 40 people. Eyewitnesses told that the market in Allo village in the Dekina area was filled to capacity when it was rammed by the lorry. A number of vehicles caught fire, burning people beyond recognition. Authorities informed that the accident was as a result of reckless driving on the part of the driver and brake failure. Governor Ibrahim Idris explained that the state government would take full responsibity for the medical bills of the 38 injured persons, stressing that the state government will also foot the burial expenses of those killed during the accident.

"I am very shocked that this accident is happening just towards the end of the year, this is my saddest day on earth to see my people that elected me in office to provide the much-needed dividend of democracy to them, been killed just like that as a result of a careless driver", Governor Idris
said. He then appealed to the officers to do more by constantly carrying out proper test on both the drivers and their vehicles before leaving their parks and also the road, to reduce some of these accidents. Traffic accidents are common in Nigeria because vehicles and roads are badly maintained. Last week, more than 20 people burned to death when a bus carrying mourners to a funeral collided with a truck on a road in Oyo state, south-west Nigeria.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Citraketu, a great devotee of the Lord Vishnu, praised the Lord: “Oh Lord, I don't want anything in this world. I don't want the throne of Indra or throne of Brahma. I don't want to be the master or the ruler of the whole world. I don't want even freedom from birth and death.” … “I want you. You are my wealth. And if you bless me I will be happy.” … Likewise, here in this world we are suffering. Always suffering, suffering, suffering. Nobody can say that I am not suffering. Suffering 1%, 200% and 1000%. There is no limit in suffering. Only we forget that suffering when the reaction comes and for a second we feel happy. But again we have to be dissatisfied. So, real satisfaction comes to us, real happiness comes to us through the association of a sadhu.

Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj:
“Lecture in Tivoli, Slovenia, on June,24 1999”
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission.

Monday, December 21, 2009

SPIRITUAL FATHER OF IRAN'S REFORM MOVEMENT DIES

IRAN’S MOST SENIOR DISSIDENT CLERIC AND DEFENDER OF IRANIAN OPPOSITION AYATOLLAH MONTAZERI, DIES AT 87
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The spiritual father of Iran's reform movement died Sunday at the age of 87, prompting thousands of his followers to immediately head to the holy city where the dissident cleric is to be buried. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was one of Iran's most senior dissident clerics, a staunch defender of the nation's opposition movement as well as a learned theologian and pillar of the Islamic revolution 31 years ago. A huge display of mourning for Montazeri could transform his funeral today Monday into another display of power by the opposition, whose activists have for months defied a brutal crackdown, a mass trial and abuses in detention to denounce the country's hard-line clerical rulers. Opposition leaders called for people to turn out for a day of mourning. Police reinforcements were also called out into the streets of Qom, the religious center south of the capital where commemorations will take place today.

Montazeri was a key figure in the 1979 Islamic Revolution who later accused his fellow clerical leaders of imposing dictatorship in the name of Islam. His criticism persisted after June's disputed presidential election ignited a new wave of anti-government protest. In particular, he opened the door to direct condemnation of the ruling clerics, a bold step that energized Iran's young activists. In August, he decried the "despotic treatment" of protesters at the hands of the ruling theocracy. A month later, he accused the regime of committing "crimes ... in name of Islam." "From the beginning of the revolution, we have been chanting slogans of independence, liberty, Islamic republic," he said. "The complaint I have is why the slogans we have been chanting since then and are still chanting haven't been fulfilled." Interviewed by the Guardian in 2006, he accused the regime of encouraging people to hate religion by "misusing Islam".

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of the sect of Brahmoism, did not think it worth his while to study the Bhagavata. … Ram Mohan Roy was an able man. He could not be satisfied with the theory of illusion contained in the Mayavada philosophy of Shankara. His heart was full of love for Nature. He saw through the eye of his that he could not believe in his identity with God. But Ram Mohan Roy was also a patriot. He wanted to reform his country in the same way as he reformed himself. … His noble deeds will certainly procure him a high position in the history of reformers. But then, to speak the truth, he would have done more if he had commenced his work of reformation from the point where the last reformer in India left it. … Suffice it to say, that the Bhagavata did not attract the genius of Ram Mohan Roy.

Śrīla Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thākura :
The Bhagavata. Its Philosophy, Its Ethics, and Its Theology
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library - www.bvml.org/SBTP/

Sunday, December 20, 2009

US MAN FREED BY DNA EVIDENCE AFTER 35 YEARS IN JAIL

MAN LIVED 35 YEARS IN PRISON AFTER BEING WRONGLY
CONVICTED OF KIDNAPPING AND RAPING A BOY IN 1974
FLORIDA (BBC News) - James Bain, 54, was just 19 years old in 1974, and without a criminal record, when he was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old Lake Wales boy, largely on the jury's faith in the boy's identification. Now a DNA evidence proved he was innocent of the crime he was convicted of 3 decades ago. He spent 35 years in jail after being found guilty of kidnapping and raping a boy. Bain's conviction was largely based on the strength of the victim's eyewitness identification. The boy said his attacker had bushy sideburns and a mustache. The boy's uncle, a former assistant principal at a high school, said it sounded like Bain, a former student. The boy picked Bain out of a photo lineup. But now the DNA test proved that Bain was not the rapist. On his release from prison in Florida on Thursday, he said he was not angry and the support of his family and his religious faith had helped him get through his ordeal. "[It] just was the right time for God to release me from this. I just had to be very patient for that. I cannot feel angry. I put all that in God's hands," he said. He plans to spend time with family, to go back to school for reading and writing, and to watch "Titanic," a film he says helped him survive prison life.

James Bain remained calm and patient, while his family waited eagerly to take him home. "I can't be angry," he said. "People had a job to do back then. It's just sad the way the outcome was." Had Bain's case been investigated today, the State Attorney's office says the trial might have gone differently. Many investigators are now trained to interview children, and DNA testing is available. Until the Innocence Project became involved, he said he felt "neglected" in the slow and complicated judicial process. He has always maintained his innocence, but was only allowed a review of his case following an appeal.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Material happiness invariably turns to unhappiness in its absence. Thus one should tolerate both happiness and distress knowing them to be one and the same in the ultimate issue. From a world of apparent variety one must learn to identify with its underlying unity. … This is the message of the Bhagavata (see SB 10.14.8). It tells us that our happiness and distress are our karma, behind which is the sanction of God. We are to tolerate not only because happiness and distress are mere fluctuations of the mind and thus categorically different from ourselves, but moreover because they can be traced to the sanction of God in deference to the principle of justice (karma).
Śrīla Bhakti Vedanta Tripurari Maharaja :
“Tolerance: the Ornament of the Saints”
Sri Caitanya Sanga - Vol. I, No. 3 - http://www.swami.org/

Saturday, December 19, 2009

BAD MEMORIES ERASED WITH THERAPY

FEARFUL RECOLLECTIONS AND BAD MEMORIES
CAN BE BLOCKED OR CHANGED WITHOUT DRUGS
WASHINGTON, DC (AHN) - Researchers with New York University say they have, for the first time, blocked conditioned fear memory in humans using non-invasive behavior therapy, and without drugs. Researcher Elizabeth Phelps said in a statement that her and her colleagues' results suggest a "non-pharmacological, naturalistic approach" is a more effective way to treat anxiety due to emotional memories. "This is the first study without drugs showing what we think is the permanent alteration of the memory," she said. The findings also could have implications for treating phobias in a more permanent way, say the researchers. The current therapy of choice involves exposing patients to the feared object, though in a safe environment. This so-called extinction method works, but the fear can come back when the person is under stress.

Phelps and her colleagues detail their findings in the Dec. 9 online issue of the journal Nature.
Researchers are finding our memories get consolidated over and over again each time we retrieve a certain bit of information. Let's say we see a snake: At that moment our brains pull out past information we've stored on snakes, such as a close encounter with one. By revisiting the snake memory a portal of sorts opens, and that memory is open to manipulation. From past studies, scientists think that the window of opportunity opens up between three and 10 minutes after spotting the snake, or its equivalent. And it stays open for at least an hour, but no longer than six hours, Phelps said. The research team "seized the moment" by changing the fearful information before the memory got reconsolidated or sealed up again. Their research was conducted with a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Krsna says: “mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca” (Bg 15.15)
He is the prime cause of remembrance, forgetfulness, and intelligence. He is the controller. For his own pleasure, his līlā, he can do anything. This is true not only in the material world, but also in his own domain. What is meant by this statement of the Gita concerns this brahmanda, this material world. The gist of this statement is that from the lower planetary systems up to the highest - this entire area of evolution and dissolution - everything is manipulated by him. No credit can be attached to any external thing. All credit should go to the center who controls everything.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
"Subjective Evolution of Consciousness"
Chapter 1: ‘Fossilism, Hypnotism, & the Cosmos’.


Friday, December 18, 2009

'BLACK MAGIC RITUAL' LEAVES 42 NEEDLES INSIDE BOY

BRAZILIAN TODDLER GETS 42 SEWING NEEDLES
INSERTED IN HIS BODY DURING BLACK MAGIC RITES
RIO DE JANEIRO (ANSA) - A Brazilian man confessed to pushing more than 40 sewing needles into his two-year-old stepson in what may have been a black magic ritual. The boy, who was admitted to hospital last week by his mother after complaining of stomach pains, was found to have dozens of metal needles inside his abdomen, neck, thorax and legs. One group of needles had punctured his lungs and doctors believe two have pierced his heart. The boy’s stepfather, Roberto Carols Magalhaes, a 30-year-old labourer, was arrested and admitted inserting the needles into the boy one by one during black magic rites, police said. The boy was last night in a serious but stable condition after being airlifted to a hospital in Salvador, the main city in his state of Bahia, where he is expected to undergo cardiac surgery. “He did that for revenge. He did it aiming to kill the child, to take revenge on the child's mother, with whom he used to fight a lot. His mistress told him to kill the child through a macabre ritual,” Helder Fernandes Santana, the police chief said. Brazilian media reported that Mr Magalhaes took the boy each weekend to the home of a woman named Angelina, who ordered him to plunge the sewing needles, some two inches long, into the boy. Police also arrested two women who have helped him to push the needles in. One of them reportedly belongs to a religious group.

The boy’s mother first became alarmed last week when her son began vomiting - the result, doctors say now, of a needle piercing a lung. When he began to complain of stomach pains, Maria Souza Santos, 38, a maid, took him to hospital in Barreiras, a town close to the poor village where they live. Mrs Santos also handed over to police objects thought to have been used in rituals or black magic, including a bottle of cachaca, a common Brazilian rum made from sugar cane. X-rays televised across Brazil clearly show dozens of needles deep in his body, some clustered near his lungs and others in his abdomen, neck and legs. There are no signs of surface wounds. The boy, was rushed by helicopter to Bahia's main city Calvados for emergency operations to remove the needles, but doctors said an infection near his heart prevented immediate surgery.


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
After consulting with his demoniac ministers, Kamsa instructed a witch named Pūtanā, who knew the black art of killing small children by ghastly sinful methods, to kill all kinds of children in the cities, villages and pasturing grounds. Such witches can play their black art only where there is no chanting or hearing of the holy name of Krishna. It is said that wherever the chanting of the holy name of Krishna is done, even negligently, all bad elements - witches, ghosts and dangerous calamities - immediately disappear. And this is certainly true of the place where the chanting of the holy name of Krishna is done seriously - especially in Vrindāvana when the Supreme Lord was personally present.


Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda:
"Krishna Book" - 'Chapter 6: Pūtanā Killed'.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

MAYON VOLCANO SPEWS ASH, LAVA

LAVA AND ASH FLOW FROM PHILIPPINE VOLCANO
EXPERTS FEAR MAJOR ERUPTION VERY SOON
MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' most active volcano spewed ash as high as 500 meters and burning rocks and mud a kilometer down its slopes on Wednesday and volcanologists expect a major hazardous eruption soon. The Mayon volcano, which has blown its top nearly 40 times in 400 years, menaced nearby residents with small eruptions of ash and lava. It spewed burning mud and rocks for a third day. Volcanologists recorded at least five minor explosions from Mayon volcano, famed for its near-perfect cone shape in a coconut-growing region of the central Philippines, in Albay province. During the day, the summit is shrouded in white clouds of dust and ash, and dark orange lava becomes clearly visible in the nighttime. The volcano is a popular tourist attraction at Legazpi city on the foothills of the cone-shaped mountain. Many people, from a safe distance, have been enjoying the spectacle as lava spews from its perfect cone.

Philippine authorities have evacuated more than 30,000 people from around Mayon's danger zones, to shelters in case of a larger eruption. Trickles of lava rolled down the 8,070-foot mountain towering over the central Philippines, while five new ash explosions, one of them reaching 550 yards in the air, shook Mayon's steep slopes, said chief state volcanologist Renato Solidum. He also said lava had rolled down about 1 km from the summit while burning rocks have started detaching from the crater summit, generating ash falls in two towns near Mayon's slope. Solidum advised people in three cities and five towns near the base of the volcano to cover their noses and mouth with masks or wet cloths to prevent inhaling ash from the volcano. "The danger is when residents inhale the fine ash and this weakens their lungs, especially those with lung ailments," he later explained. The Philippines lies on the "Ring of Fire," a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes. Mayon is the most active of 22 volcanoes in the country, having erupted more than 50 times in the last four centuries. The last time Mayon erupted was in 2006.

WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
A firm confidence that the Supreme Lord will protect us in all circumstances is needed. In fact, who is saving us from all the dangers and calamities that are hovering around us every moment ? … This firmness in his belief makes him steady ever the more. This spirit of confidence saves him from the unsteady nature of the mind. It laughs in time of dangers. It strengthens his weak enthusiasm. It enables him to overcome his enemies within. It makes the life of a striver light and easy, and his journey remarkably smooth and pleasant.


Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhava Purī Mahārāj :
"Guru and Atma Nivedan" - ‘Firm Confidence in the Lord’
Śrī Krishna Chaitanya Mission.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

LONELINESS CAN BE "CONTAGIOUS"

LONELY PEOPLE ATTRACT FELLOW "LONELIES" AND
THEY CAN INFLUENCE OTHERS TO FEEL THE ISOLATION
NEW YORK (ABC News) -It only takes one individual in a group to begin to feel lonely for the feeling to spread to others, according to a US study. After tracking more than 5,100 people and their social contacts over 10 years, researchers found that loneliness can be contagious and that lonely, disconnected people tend to move to the fringes of social networks. "On the periphery, people have fewer friends, yet their loneliness leads them to losing the few ties they have left," said University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo. The study also found that women were more likely to "catch" loneliness from others, in line with previous work suggesting that women rely more on emotional support than men. Before lonely people sever relationships, they transmit loneliness to their friends who then also become lonely, according to study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "Loneliness can spread from person to person to person - up to three degrees of separation," said James H. Fowler. Indeed, the study suggests that not only is loneliness contagious, but lonely people tend to isolate themselves in small groups that somehow compound or increase those feelings of solitude.

"Non-lonely people who are exposed to lonely people may make others in their network a little more lonely. Perhaps this is why the effect of loneliness can be seen at three degrees of separation. My friend has a lonely friend, so my friend starts acting less affirming overall, which makes me act a little less positively, which then affects my other friends." The study uncovered a pattern of loneliness showing that lonely people "infected" those around them with the negative emotion and that lonely people moved to the edges of social networks. The neighbours of lonely people who experienced an additional day of loneliness a week caused their own neighbours and close friends to feel lonely and share less time together. Fowler co-authored the findings with John T. Cacioppo (University of Chicago) and Nicholas A. Christakis (Harvard University).


WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
Seeing my wretched condition, my true well-wishers and friends on the spiritual path repeatedly counsel me to refrain from these whimsical activities and take again to the protective guidance of Guru, Vaishnavas and Śāstra. Previously, when I considered their instructions to be nectar, I bade farewell to worldly pleasures and came to perform bhajana, spiritual practices. My extreme misfortune, however, now keeps me in the guise of a saint, directly or indirectly impelling me to become mad in the pursuit of wealth, women and prestige. Instructions for my welfare no longer seem beneficial.

Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja
“My Devotional Practice” – ‘My extreme misfortune’.
B
haktivedanta Memorial Library - www.bvml.org/SBDMM/.