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Restrictions on Religion Rise Around the World

religion
Legal limits and social pressures against religion have risen to the point where three-quarters of the world's population live in states where practicing their faith is restricted in some way, a new study said on Thursday.

Restrictions on religion, ranging from a Swiss ban on minarets to Islamist attacks on churches, rose in all major regions of the world during the study period from mid-2009 to mid-2010, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey said.

Christianity and Islam, the world's largest and second largest religions, suffered the most harassment by governments and groups or individuals, it said.

Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Myanmar, Iran, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nigeria ranked as the countries with the most restrictions on religion - both by their governments and by their societies - in mid-2010, the survey showed.

"A rising tide of restrictions on religion spread across the world between mid-2009 and mid-2010," the 86-page survey said.

Heart - Black

Washington state woman convicted in electric saw attack on husband


Everett, Washington - A Washington state woman accused of trying to decapitate her sleeping husband with an electric saw was convicted Thursday of attempted murder.

Jurors needed only about three hours to reach a verdict in the trial of Renee Bishop-McKean of Everett. They also convicted the 44-year-old woman of first-degree assault for hitting the man in the head with a hatchet and mallet.

The jury was told the noise of the saw woke the victim last Oct. 14 and he fought his wife off. He was treated for cuts and scrapes.

Bishop-McKean told police an attacker must have entered the home through an open window, found the saw and attacked her husband. Deputy Prosecutor Paul Stern noted the window was locked so it would only open a few inches. He called the woman's theory the "Tinkerbell did this" defense.

The woman, who did not testify, shook her head in disagreement when the verdicts were announced.

Bishop-McKean faces at least 15 years in prison at sentencing set for Oct. 4.

The couple had been living apart but jurors were told the woman invited her husband over and told him to sleep on a mattress that she had wrapped in plastic, then covered with normal sheets.

Light Sabers

Arizona Prison Fight: Several Injured After Melee Breaks Out Among 200 Inmates

Image
© The Associated Press/Matt York
Phoenix - Authorities say a fight among 200 inmates at an Arizona state prison has left several of them injured.

Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux says a unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex at Tucson will be locked down for several days as a result of Thursday's melee.

The Arizona Republic reports that fighting broke out around 5:30 p.m. in the Santa Rita Unit yard among some 200 inmates.

Lamoreaux says guards and other prison personnel gained control of the yard within a half hour without using force.

He says several inmates were injured, but did not provide details. The Arizona Daily Star reports that fire officials took 10 people to hospitals.

One prison staff member suffered a rib injury.

There was no immediate word on what sparked the disturbance.

Source: The Associated Press


Brick Wall

Friendly Fire: US Iraq War Vet Detained after Canadian Deportation

Image
© Screenshot from YouTube user WarResistersCanada
Kimberly Rivera
A US soldier, who fled to Canada to escape further service in the Iraq War, has been arrested at the US border. The mother of four children may now face between two to five years behind bars.

Kimberly Rivera, an Army private, has lost a deportation case in Canada, where she spent five years with her family, and was ordered to leave the country until September 20, AP reports.

The 30-year-old served in Iraq in 2006 but then became disillusioned with the mission. After being ordered to serve another tour in 2007 she decided to cross into Canada where she applied for refugee status.

The War Resisters Support Campaign (WRSC) - a Canadian non-profit organization that assists US military personnel who refused to participate in the Iraq war - launched a campaign in support for Rivera with some 19,000 people signing an online petition protesting her deportation order. Rallies were held in several Canadian cities on Wednesday, with supporters calling on the Canadian government to let Rivera stay in the country.

Airplane

Manitoba senator's wife pleads guilty over plane ruckus

Maygan Sensenberger
© Devin Heroux/CBC News
Maygan Sensenberger, 23, was put on probation after pleading guilty Thursday to causing a disturbance on a plane.
Canada - The wife of Manitoba Senator Rod Zimmer was spared jail time but put on probation for a year and must undergo counselling after pleading guilty today to causing a disturbance on a flight to Saskatoon last month.

Maygan Sensenberger, 23, received a suspended sentence during a court appearance Thursday.

Sensenberger was also accused of uttering threats against her 69-year-old husband, but the Crown withdrew that charge.

Under the terms of her sentence, she must take any counselling required by her probation officer. The Crown prosecutor said that could include addictions counselling, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or anger management classes.

When she was charged, police alleged Sensenberger said she would slit her husband's throat during the flight.

On Thursday, provincial court Judge Marilyn Gray said she believes much of the disturbance caused on the flight would have been avoided had Sensenberger not been drinking.

Outside court, Sensenberger was hugged by several people. Her husband was nearby.

Source: CBC News

Cut

Ohio Amish Sect Leader, Followers Convicted of Hate Crimes

Image
© The Associated Press
In this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo, from left: Johnny Mullet, Lester Mullet, Daniel Mullet, Levi Miller and Eli Miller
Cleveland - An Ohio Amish sect leader and 15 of his followers were convicted on Thursday of federal hate crimes in connection with a string of beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Amish people last autumn that shook the religious community.

Samuel Mullet Sr. and each of his followers were found guilty on multiple charges stemming from attacks on six Amish men and two women, and likely face years in prison.

The jury verdict came on the fifth day of deliberations at a federal courthouse in Cleveland, which at times during the trial was filled with Amish spectators. Some witnesses said they had never been outside the counties of their birth before traveling to Cleveland for the trial.

Prosecutors contended the crimes were motivated by religious disputes between Mullet, 66, the leader of a sect in Bergholz, Ohio, and other Amish religious leaders who had accepted into their communities people Mullet had excommunicated from his.

"This was a crime of violence," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach told a news conference after the verdicts. "From day one, this case has been about the rule of law and defending the right of people to worship in peace."

Defense attorneys said they would appeal the convictions. The defense called no witnesses, but attorneys had argued the assaults were the result of family or financial disputes and not religious differences, and therefore could not be classified as hate crimes.

Amish women and married Amish men do not cut their hair or beards as symbols of living a religious life. The Amish are known for their plain dress, simple living and shunning of technology.

Laptop

Man posted 'all soldiers should die' Facebook update, court told

Image
© Anna Gowthorpe/PA
Azhar Ahmed, the man accused of posting an offensive Facebook message about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan.
A man posted an offensive message on Facebook following the deaths of six British troops stating that ''all soldiers should die and go to hell'', a court heard today.

Azhar Ahmed, 20, admitted what he wrote was ''unacceptable'' in the status update on the social networking site after reading about the deaths of the soldiers in March has told a court

The six soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

Today Huddersfield Magistrates Court heard Ahmed posted his message two days after the deaths.

It said: ''People gassin about the deaths of Soldiers! What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed [all sic].

''The women who have been raped. The children who have been sliced up!

''Your enemy's were the Taliban not innocent harmful [sic] familys [sic]."

''All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE F****N SCUM!

''gotta problem. go cry at your soldiers grave and wish him hell because thats where he is going.''

Ahmed told the court he immediately started to receive critical comments on his page and realised the second half of his post was ''unacceptable''.

Comment: This is an example of racial profiling and discrimination in the UK as part of the 'war on terror'.


Crusader

Priest Dies Before Sex Abuse Trial

Francis Markey

Fr Francis Markey
An 84-year-old Irish priest extradited from the United States to face sexual assault charges against teenage boys has died while awaiting trial.

Fr Francis Markey was due to appear in court in Monaghan later this year for allegedly raping a 15-year-old boy in 1968 during a religious pilgrimage to Lough Derg. It was claimed the priest subsequently abused the same teenager after the funeral of the boy's father in Co Galway the following November. In November 2005 the man told his wife and a councillor after reading a copy of the Ferns Report into allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Ferns, Co Wexford, when it all came back to him.

The former cleric was arrested by US marshals at his home at Miller Court in South Bend, Indiana in 2009 in connection with the rape of the boy more than 40 years ago. He was extradited to Ireland in July 2010.

Heart - Black

Kate's breasts, Pussy Riot, virginity tests and our attitude on women's bodies

Kate Middleton
© Getty Images
It seems as if we are in a time of unprecedented struggle over the meaning of women's bodies and sexuality. Controversy is swirling about an American University professor who breast-fed a baby in class; topless photos of Kate Middleton have been released; and a Time magazine cover showing a mother breast-feeding her toddler sparked even more tittering in May.

It is not just the breast that is contested: Pussy Riot, the punk band, was sentenced to two years in a Russian prison after a staged performance in which they did high kicks that showed too much of their bodies. They tried, from prison, to explain "what pussy meant" and "what riot meant."

Michigan representative Lisa Brown got into hot water -- and fought back -- for using the words 'my vagina' in the Michigan statehouse. Michigan women supported her by standing in front of the statehouse with a giant "V" symbol and spelling out the words 'VAGINA' in pink letters.

Arrow Up

Number Of Factors Raising Suicide Risk In Middle-Aged Men

Suicide
© Photos.com
Researchers in the UK are suggesting that suicide rates among middle-aged males are climbing after years of dropping off.

Reasons for this trend are varied for individuals, but as a group, a panel of psychologists, economists and social scientists concluded that the pressure to meet the expectations of others is too much for some.

Other reasons include a breakdown in supportive family units and the collapse of traditional male-dominated industries creating a "masculine identity" crisis. Traditionally, males are also more unwilling to discuss personal problems, which could alleviate their self-imposed pressure.

Working class men who have lost not just a job, but an entire career, find themselves struggling to provide for the family. A reluctance to talk about emotions and a greater tendency to turn to drink and drugs were also cited as reasons for the suicide rates among this group, BBC Health News reports.

Rory O'Connor, professor from the University of Stirling, suggested the shift could be partially explained by an aging generation of at-risk people. "The data would suggest it is the same group of people. We think of young people 20 years ago and the societal expectations of what is a successful man or a successful contributor to society, the expectations were particularly high."

"And with the change in the male role being less well-defined now than it was 20 years ago, men have great difficulty responding to the challenge of how we define ourselves as men."