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Sai temple opens in Auckland

SaiBabaTempleAuckland

After many months’ hard-work by the members of Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan of New Zealand, the brand new Sai Baba Temple in Auckland was inaugurated on Thursday 6 February 2014.

SaitempleAuckland

The four-day long opening celebrations began with a Ganesh puja at 8.30am on 6 February, and continued till the evening of 9 February.

For devotees outside Auckland as well as for international devotees, the event organisers made the opening ceremony available as a live stream on the Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan’s website.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the Kumbha Abhishekam and Prana Pratishta of Shri Shirdi Saibaba and other deities,  performed by Guruji Chandrabanu Satpathji on Sunday 9 February.

new saibaba temple new zealand

The temple consecration rituals began many days earlier, and Yantra Pratishta of all deities including Saibaba was performed on Thursday 6 February. As a part of this ritual Navaratnas offered by devotees were placed beneath the deities along with Yantras which will be there forever.

New zealand sai baba temple

The brand new temple complex also has a community centre, and is open to visitors every day from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm.

The dream of building a Sai Baba temple in Auckland was born many years ago – in February 2002 – when a group of Sai Baba devotees came together to form a group to the aim of building a temple.

After many years of tireless efforts, the Sansthan acquired freehold land with a total area of 2975 sq m which contained a 1960 sq m warehouse at 12 – 18, Princes Street in Onehunga in central Auckland – the site where the new temple is built.

While the temple dream was taking shape, Santhan began conducting weekly prayer-meetings (satsangs) that included bhajans, Sai japam, pravachans and meditation every Thursday Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall, 13 May Road in Mt Roskill in Auckland.

new Zealand Shirdi Sai Baba temple

Health News

Do graphic anti-smoking ads work?

When a serious message is to be given, being subtle is not a strength. And if the advertisement is about effects of smoking, graphic images seem to work well.

If you are in India, you will be familiar with the grose and long anti-smoking advertisement that’s shown in cinemas, if the movie contains any smoking scenes.

Anti-smoking ads
India’s Ministry of Health has now picked up a similar line and released another advertisement, which is shorter, to drive home the direct message.

With technical assistance from the World Lung Foundation, the ministry has adapted an Australian ad that shows how smoking cigarettes and bidis leads to the build up of dangerous fatty deposits in the heart, leading to strokes, heart disease and heart attacks.

The campaign, called Artery (video at the end of this article), is timely –  smoking is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD), after high blood pressure. One in 10 CVDs are caused by smoking.

According to WHO, heart disease and heart attacks are major causes of mortality in India, and smoking is the main risk factor.

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-India), 275 million people use tobacco in India. Each year tobacco use kills about 1 million Indians, and one in ten deaths is caused by smoking.

Beedi (a cheaper version of cigarette) are the most popular tobacco product used; beedi account for half of the tobacco products consumed while cigarette consumption is only 14% in India.

Smokers die 6 to 10 years earlier than non-smokers. As per ICMR, the majority of the cardiovascular diseases and lung disorders are directly related to tobacco consumption.

This nationwide campaign is being aired in 17 languages on all major TV channels and will run throughout January and February 2014.

Smokers need to know just how bad smoking is for the body, says Keshav Desiraju, secretary for health for Government of India.

“The ‘Artery’ campaign shows realistically what happens to the heart after years of consuming the toxic and cancerous chemicals found in both cigarette and beedi smoke.”

The campaign was extensively tested in 10 countries including India, by WLF and Cancer Council Victoria.

“In all countries, it emerged as one of the most effective ads for motivating smokers to quit,” says Dr. Nandita Murukutla, Country Director for WLF. “Artery was rated very highly as having a message that was understood, accepted, relevant, and likely to be effective. It also created feelings of concern and discomfort among smokers, and it was likely to be discussed.”

The Australian ad had to be adapted for Indian audience. “The original ad, which was developed in Australia, was adapted for local use,” says Dr. Murukutla.

“This essentially involved replacing all non-Indian people and contexts featured within the original ad with locally relevant people and places. Additionally, since beedi is the primary form of smoking tobacco consumed in India, WLF created two companion versions of the advertisement to depict the harms of smoking on both beedi and cigarette users.”

In India, too many people suffer from the health harms caused due to bidi and cigarette smoking, says Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy and Communications for WLF. “And campaigns such as this, would not only warn the public but will also urge them quit before it’s too late”.

 

(Photo: Kenji Aryan)

Lifestyle News

Amazon to remove Lord Ganesha yoga products

Amazon.com has reportedly agreed to remove yoga pants with Hindu god Ganesha’s imprints on them, following an alleged complaint.

In a release issued by Rajan Zed, who claims to be the president of Universal Society of Hinduism,  reportedly spearheaded the protest. Rajan suggested corporations to send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.

buy yoga pants

The pants in question are Ganesha yoga pants for women with an imprint of Ganesha in various parts of the trousers. They are selling on Amazon.com for $62 to $82.

Rajan believes such trivialization of Lord Ganesha was disturbing to the Hindus world over. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Rajan said.

While writing this article, some of these yoga pants with Ganesha imprints were still available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Editor recommends Lifestyle News

Kejriwal’s honesty jokes trend on Twitter

Kejriwal

Aam Admi Party’s spectacular victory in the recent assembly elections in New Delhi created an overnight brand – Arvind Kejriwal. His brand of honesty has even become a trending topic on Twitter, with a hashtag, #YoKejriwalSoHonest, leading on the social marketing site.

 

 

 

 

Entertainment Lifestyle News Sport

Game On: What world is playing in 2014

Suddenly, it seems, it’s possible to have a conversation with your grandmother about what her favourite online games are.

Ten years ago such a dialogue would have been unthinkable, but now smartphones have spread into every section of society.

Tech

Affordable touchscreen technology, the spread of connectivity via Wi-Fi, and ingenious game designers are responsible for this state of affairs.

Prices are likely to come down as devices spread further into the market, and ported versions of console games and gaming websites are released for smartphones.

In some developing countries, the used mobile phone market is huge. As the first wave of smartphones enters these markets we’re likely to see a situation where, eventually, the majority of humanity owns – and plays games on – such a device.

So, what’s the world playing? Anyone who can predict what we’ll want to do with our smartphones in, say, 18 months time is likely to make a lot of money.

So let’s have a look at the best and most successful games available now.

Gambling

One of the biggest markets in the world is online gambling. The ability to play poker, blackjack, roulette and slots on a smartphone is now limited only by connectivity and, sometimes, the legal situation in various countries.

In India, for example, Maharashtra is the only state that expressly forbids online gambling, and if you’re looking for a smartphone casino the choice is huge.

Some of the biggest casinos originate in the UK, where a well-regulated, legal online gambling industry contributes to billions of dollars that change hands every year globally.

Big Franchises

Grand Theft Auto V was the console hit of 2013, and developers Rockstar Games have managed to keep smartphone gamers excited by releasing mobile versions of earlier games including GTA: San Andreas. GTA V had sold nearly 30 million copies six weeks after its release in September 2013.

If that figure doesn’t blow your mind, consider the case of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”. It’s one of the biggest-selling records of all time, having been on the market for forty years.

In that time, industry figures suggest sales of 50 million. GTA isn’t for everyone, but smartphone gamers around the world love it.

Addictive Simplicity

Simpler games continue to keep people amused on the way to work, with well-designed puzzles like Candy Crush Saga played by millions. Angry Birds Star Wars seems uncannily designed to appeal to everyone on the planet, and has managed to fit that appeal into a four-word title!

Smartphone gaming is not going away – quite the opposite. Guessing how the market will look by the end of 2014 is a very interesting – and potentially rewarding – exercise. (Images courtesy of digitaltrends.com, thefuturescompany.com, telegraph.co.uk, imore.com, droid-life.com)

Lifestyle News

Are Black Friday deals worth Thanksgiving dinner?

Black Friday 2013 deals on TVs, HDTVs, iPads, iPhones

Black Friday ads appeal to the grey side of shoppers – a strong desire to get the best deal on electronics, mobile phones, latest gadgets and everything that helps in keeping up with the Joneses.

Astute shoppers don’t mind skipping the Thanksgiving dinner on the eve of Black Friday sale, so as to be in at the head of the serpentine queue.

The rush for deals is so high that Amazon didn’t want customers to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals. In counting down to Black Friday 2013 Amazon is bringing deals all day, every day. Check out Amazon’s Black Friday deals. (Affiliate link.)

But the carrot of discounted prices and bargains on the Big Friday sale is not the only attraction for people in those long queues.

Retailers double the appeal of Black Friday specials by creating a sense of scarcity and urgency. Most popular items are advertised as available “till stocks last”, which roughly translates to “for the first hour” of the sale on Black Friday. There’s also a sense that the products will have to be bought at regular prices after the Black Friday sale is over.
Black Friday 2013 deals on TVs, HDTVs, iPads, iPhonesThen there is one more marketing trick that’s used by retailers – headline products.

These are usually popular items like iPhone, iPad, HD television which are advertised at a heavily discounted price – these are sometimes sold even at a loss by the retailer. The idea is to attract customers into stores, and then hope that they would buy other items at regular or even marked-up prices.

The Black Friday sales work because of many human tendencies. It appeals to shoppers’ need to conform – to be able to be part of the conversation. Shoppers don’t want to be left out, and leave with a regret – having missed out on a ‘once in a lifetime’ offer.

Shoppers also get a sense of achievement by securing a bargain. The feeling of victory of securing that iPad 2 for $99 less than her neighbour, helps boost her self-image. Bargain hunters are also driven by this feeling of winning the game with the retailer.

And then there is that feeling of scarcity. If I don’t secure the first place in the queue, I will miss out on a great deal. That feeling drives the hoarders among us to pick up items which we may not need – at least immediately.

Finally, the biggest driver that keeps retailers salivating for the Black Friday deals are the foot-falls – the number of people visiting their shops or online stores like Best Buy, Amazon or Wal-Mart. Getting people to visit shops is the biggest challenge for marketers. To have people queue up outside the shop for the whole night before Big Friday is a dream come true.

Once inside the shop, retailers ‘milk the cow’ in as many as ways as possible, and by the end of the day, consumers buy discounted products as well as regular sales or even marked-up products.

Unless the shopper is savvy and experienced in such Black Friday deals.

Those who do their research online spot the deals when they see them. They profit from these deals. They know exactly what they want.

Clever shopper also knows when to stop – to avoid regularly priced items, to skip ‘nice to have’ items even if they are discounted, and to know items that would be available at even lesser prices in a few days (like toys).

Best things to do for the Black Friday sale

  • Do extensive research online and shortlist the products you want to buy and the stores you wish to visit.
  • Do you really need to visit a store? See if you can buy the stuff online. There are great bargains available on many websites.
  • Take someone with you for shopping.
  • Remember, if you can’t get a deal, it’s OK. There’s Cyber Monday a week later.

How to prepare for the Black Friday sale

  • Toys
  • High-end television set
  • Winter clothing
  • Game consoles
  • DSLR cameras
  • Fitness equipment
  • Christmas decorations
  • Apple iPad mini 2 with retina display
  • Kindle HDX
  • Wine
  • Jewelry
  • Home improvement tools
  • Car tools

Check out Amazon’s Black Friday deals. (Affiliate link.)