Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:00:21 AM EST
Hindustan Times: Ganges dolphins struggling for existence

When the Goddess Ganga, according to Hindu mythology, came down to Earth from the skies, the dolphin was amongst the creatures that heralded the descent of the holy river.

Today, the Ganga river dolphin, which was one of the world's first protected species, given special status under the reign of Emperor Ashoka, is crying for its existence.

The Ganga river dolphin is an extremely valuable species for monitoring the aquatic environment. It acts as an indicator of health for the ecosystem of the river system. Being at the top of the food chain, its presence in adequate numbers signifies a rich biodiversity within the river system.

But the IUCN's (World Conservation Union) red list of threatened animals has recently changed the status of this species from vulnerable to endangered.

Concerned over this alarming phenomenon, WWF India is organising a riverboat rally, as part of their "Save the River Dolphin" campaign, from May 7-8 on the Ganga river.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:13:44 AM EST
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BBC: Prayer vigil targets Devil's Day

Dutch evangelical Christians are to hold a round-the-clock prayer vigil to ward off the forces of evil on Tuesday - the so-called Devil's Day.

They believe that the sixth day of the sixth month of 2006 has great significance for evil-doers and Satanists who revere the number 666.

In a bid to counteract the forces of evil, more than 2,000 Dutch Christians will hold "a violent day of worship".

They will be joined by Christians in 23 other countries, organisers say.

The reference to 666 is taken from the Biblical book of Revelation, which talks about the events leading to the end of the world.

Revelation 13:18 states: "If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:37:18 AM EST
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Dare we ask what a "violent" day of worship entails ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 06:40:43 AM EST
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IHT: Tai chi: Old energy for a new age

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day has recently come and gone, with thousands of participants in 34 countries giving free tai chi demonstrations and classes. Now in its seventh year, the event aims to send a "positive wave of energy" around the world and draw attention to the benefits of this ancient Chinese form of exercise which is steadily establishing itself in the West.

The early morning practice of tai chi, which can be seen in city parks throughout China, is now an increasingly common sight in Europe and America, too, where it is hailed as the new yoga. Its benefits have been validated by recent studies indicating that regular practice contributes to better balance, flexibility and mobility, can reduce cardiovascular stress, and can help with symptoms of arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Tai chi could well join a growing list of "alternative" therapies invoked by Western health authorities to counter the stress and strain of modern living.

Tai chi was originally developed as a discipline for Taoist monks and hermits who fled the restlessness of the cities to find quiet in remote and mountainous regions. Those places had their dangers, from poor climatic conditions to wild animals, bandits and other aggressors. How was the poor hermit to protect himself against all those threats? The answer, supposedly devised by a 12th-century monk of the Wu Tang monastery, Zhang Sanfeng, was a progressive series of exercises, based on Taoist observation of nature, which would become known later as tai chi chuan, meaning "supreme ultimate fist."

The name reveals it to be a combative art, but much practice and guidance with a master are required to be able to draw on tai chi in a situation of real conflict. Many will not get past first principles, but as the first stage is to make yourself mentally and physically fit and healthy, that is already well worth attaining.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:58:21 AM EST
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What do you think about Tai Chi, Fran?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 03:52:14 AM EST
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When I think of Tai Chi first thing that comes into my mind, is a documentary about Vietnam I have seen a long time ago. I missed the beginning, and went right to the scene were they showed a Rikshadriver jumping and I mean jumping and laughing on his bike, speeding around in Saigon. They also showed him doing Tai Chi. I was wondering way they showed him for such a long time. Well, it turns out he was 95 years old, with black hair and really fit. He did Tai Chi everyday for over 50 years.

However, I am biased as I found my home in Yoga and I have no personal experience with Tai Chi. From observation and listening to people who do it, I would say it teaches  concentration and focuses the mind, it relaxes and probably also improves flexibility and stamina. However, in Yoga there is also the often underestimated aspect of weight training, which I consider important, especially for women, as it has been shown that it can be a helpful factor in osteoporosis prevention. Also, I have had clients who do Tai Chi and still do not breathe properly. With Yoga I have seen the right breathing to generalise more easily into everyday living. But, I would say doing Tai Chi is better than not doing anything.

My guess it has the same challenge like Yoga. To really make a difference you should be doing it every day. Once a week feels nice, but doesn't really change anything. I go with motto, which I also preach to my Yoga student: "a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing". So a daily small program can make a big difference over time, also with Tai Chi.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 08:55:50 AM EST
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I just had to translate this one, look closely at the "sexual preference" question, its result and its phrasing ... talk about politically correct bullshit. Why don't they just say "would be bothered by a gay-fucking-queerwad"?

Le Monde - French people do not want a politically engaged anchorman.

Eight out of 10 French people would be bothered by an anchorman displaying political convictions, and at least as many (77%) by an anchorman displaying religious convictions, according to an Ipsos/TV Hebdo poll published Tuesday by this weekly.

TV viewers would also be bothered if the anchorman made mistakes in French (73%) or if he displayed his sexual preferences (52%).

They however accept a non-white anchorman (97%), an anchorman speaking in his original accent (91%), who has a visible handicap (88%) and who is in a relationship with a political figure (80%) [a nod to anchorwoman Beatrice Schoenberg]. Finally, 80% are not bothered by an anchorman staying at his job for over 10 years nor by an anchorman in casual wear.


by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 03:54:05 AM EST
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