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The Swaminarayan School Achieves Second Position

Narottambhai K. Visaman Pattni, London

January 2010

Jai Swaminarayan


Jai Swaminarayan from Sadhu Yogvivekdas


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The Swaminarayan School Achieves Second Position in Independent Schools League Table


The Swaminarayan School Achieves Second Position in Independent Schools League Table


Crawley Hindu Temple in UK Faces Further Delay

An interview with the project manager Ashwinbhai Soni



CRAWLEY, UK, July 31, 2009: The opening of Crawley’s new mandir and community center in Ifield, planned for this month, has been put back to the end of the year.


So far, delays have cost the funding organization, the Gurjar Hindu Union, US$320,000. Now they may have to pay an additional $830,000, due to the councilors’ decision to require 250 parking spaces on site instead of a planned 99. The GHU is appealing that decision. Project manager Ashwin Soni said, “There isn’t any other place in Crawley which has the level of parking we have to have.” The GHU proposes to use a grassy area at the temple site for overflow parking for big events.


Their most pressing headache is the absence of a team of specialist stonemasons needed to carve the pink marble which will form the building’s exterior. They were due to arrive from India in April, but a change in immigration rules has prevented their arrival until the end of next month.


Mr. Soni said all this “has had a major, major impact on GHU and its funding,” but insisted the union has no problems financing the US$6.6 million temple. “There isn’t a temple anywhere in the UK which has suffered from lack of money. We’re confident that money isn’t going to be a problem.”


Between August 15 and 28, 2,500 people are expected to pack the unfinished site to attend a series of prayer recitals featuring Rameshbhai Oza, a famous religious singer. This event was planned as part of the opening ceremony of the temple.


American Visa – New Rules from January 12, 2009

LONDON, England (CNN) -- From today, travelers visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) risk being detained at airports and sent home if they don't comply with new U.S. immigration rules.

The introduction of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) means visitors from 27 VWP countries -- including most of Western Europe, New Zealand, Japan and Australia -- must now register their details online at least three days before departure.

ESTA -- which came into effect today -- replaces the written green I-94 form and allows travelers under the VWP to enter the U.S. without a visa and stay for up to 90 days.

The measure is designed to tighten security and make it harder for terrorists who are citizens of the participating countries to easily obtain entry to the U.S.

Critics fear the new rule will be an inconvenience for business travelers and the British Foreign Office is concerned that travelers who have not heard about the new rules may be caught out.

A British Foreign Office report on travel trends for 2009 predicted that 13 percent of British travelers are more likely to visit the States now Barack Obama has been elected. "The consequences of not registering through ESTA could therefore be far reaching," says the Foreign Office.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has assured travelers that the system can handle last-minute and emergency requests.

ESTA has been operating on a voluntary basis since 1 August 2008 and is compulsory from 12 January 2009.

Applications can be made at any time, even if travelers have no specific travel plans. If itineraries change, information can be easily updated on the ESTA Web site.

Once travelers are authorized, they can travel for up to two years or until their passport expires, whichever comes first.

Passengers must submit the same information that is currently required in the I-94 immigration form. This includes biographical data, travel information as well as questions regarding communicable diseases, arrests and convictions.

Registration is possible through the U.S. government ESTA Web site. In most cases, eligibility for travel will be approved immediately.

Applicants who receive an "Authorization Pending" response will need to check the Web site for updates. Applicants whose ESTA applications are denied will be referred to Travel.State.Gov for information on how to apply for a visa.

ESTA does not change the rules for citizens from countries that require visas.

Travelers are advised that ESTA does not guarantee entry into the United States. The final decision rests with the immigration official at the port of entry.

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