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Quake sees Tibetan Buddhist monks assert roles
Chris Buckley ("Reuters ," April 16, 2010)
Yushu, China - The earthquake that devastated northwest China's Yushu has unleashed a quiet contest for influence between the government and Tibetan Buddhist monks who say they speak for the people of this arid mountain region. The Chinese government, which is run by the Communist Party, has responded to Wednesday's disaster with a heavily-publicized rescue effort.
Europe struggles with Muslim dress code
Robert Wielaard (AP, April 16, 2010)
Antwerp, Belgium - Chances of seeing a burqa in Belgium are only a little better than spotting a liquor shop in Saudi Arabia. Yet Belgium soon may be the first European nation to outlaw the burqa and other Islamic garb that completely hides a woman's body and face.
Bishop convicted for denying Holocaust
Verena Schmitt-Roschmann (AP, April 16, 2010)
Berlin, Germany - A German court convicted ultraconservative British Bishop Richard Williamson on Friday of denying the Holocaust in a television interview. A court in the Bavarian city of Regensburg found Williamson guilty of incitement for saying in a 2008 interview with Swedish television that he did not believe Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.
Church members face trial for hiding girl from family
Ad Crable ("Lancaster Online," April 15, 2010)
Lancaster, USA - At the time, the teenage girl from the Denver area said, her neighbors from the splinter Mennonite church were her only friends. So, when Megan Ramsey's parents forbade her from seeing them any more, she followed a church member's instructions and slipped away in the middle of the night in Plain Sect clothing.
Mexico Catholic Church seeks child sex abuse pardon
(AFP, April 14, 2010)
Mexico City, Mexico ��� Mexico's Roman Catholic Church sought pardon for child sex abuse cases after the admission by an influential religious order that their founder was involved in sexual abuse. The Tuesday's apology followed a string of child abuse scandals to hit the Catholic Church, including in Ireland, the United States, Germany and Malta.
Lawyer: Charges Off Against 9 Missionaries
(AP, April 16, 2010)
Port-au-Prince, Haiti - A lawyer says Haiti has dropped kidnapping charges against nine of the 10 U.S. missionaries who were arrested trying to take a busload of children out of the earthquake-ravaged country. The group's leader, Laura Silsby of Boise, Idaho, remained in jail Friday in Haiti. The other nine were let go in February and early March.
Hastings case tests religious freedom on campus
Newt Gingrich and Jim Garlow ("Washington Post," April 16, 2010)
Washington, USA - Americans like to think of their college campuses as marketplaces of ideas where students have the opportunity to freely browse a host of competing beliefs, attitudes and philosophies. Unfortunately, today's academic marketplace is more like a company store. A single, humanistic, decidedly leftist worldview is sold in too many classrooms . . .
Africa, Caribbean lead way in LDS growth
Peggy Fletcher Stack ("The Salt Lake Tribune," April 15, 2010)
Salt Lake City, USA - The LDS Church is growing fastest in Africa and the Caribbean, while the United States, Brazil and Mexico continue to add the most new members. So say new 2009 statistics released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Polygamist sect members plead no contest to bigamy
Michelle Roberts (AP, April 15, 2010)
San Antonio, USA - Two members of a polygamist sect were sentenced to prison Thursday on bigamy charges, the first legal finding of multiple marriages in a community that has mostly dodged questions about the practice. Lehi Barlow Jeffs pleaded no contest to bigamy and sexual assault of a child in San Angelo, avoiding a trial that had been set for April 26.
Federal judge rules Day of Prayer unconstitutional
Todd Richmond (AP, April 15, 2010)
Madison, USA - A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional Thursday, saying the day amounts to a call for religious action. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote that the government can no more enact laws supporting a day of prayer than it can encourage citizens to fast during Ramadan, attend a synagogue or practice magic.
Russia & the CIS:
TAJIKISTAN: Officials insist unregistered activity "illegal"
Mushfig Bayram ("Forum 18 News Service ," April 15, 2010)
Dushanbe, Tajikistan - Tajikistan continues to seriously restrict freedom of religion or belief, Forum 18 News Service has found. At least 236 Five-fold, 48 Central cathedral, and 12 Cathedral mosques, as well as over 12 non-Muslim religious organisations have not been re-registered under the Religion Law.