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Religion News Report

August 12, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 242) - 2/2

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Rainbow

» Continued from Part 1

=== Hate Groups / Hate Crimes
20. Nation of Islam Leader Raises the Loyalty Issue
21. ADL Backgrounder on Anti-Semitism in the United States
22. Germany bans two far-right demos, police on guard
23. Hamburg Bans Neo-Nazi Club
24. ''Heil Hitler'' - grounds for dismissal
25. Court delays ruling over Yahoo! Nazi site
26. French Yahoo! Battles Censorship
27. Two start-ups say have answer for Yahoo in France
28. 5th Circuit Upholds Texas Separatists' Convictions
29. Furrow longed to kill others, U.S. says

=== General Assembly Church of the First Born
30. 3rd baby dies after refusal of care

=== Other News
31. Kenya: Paper reports growing panic in Nairobi over alleged cult murders
32. 'Daughter of God' Gets 25 Years
33. Cult Leader Jailed in Australia for Molesting Girls
33a. A death unpunished. No jail for killer exorcist couple.
34. Cult headed by Robin's Brod in fake gold, currencies
35. Custody case shines light on church practices
36. Reform's John Hagelin, Transcending Politics
37. Oral Roberts To Help Launch Church
38. Russian builds pyramids to cure ills
39. Self-hypnosis for better health
40. Herbalife Faces Struggle After Death of Founder Mark Hughes

=== Hate Groups / Hate Crimes

20. Nation of Islam Leader Raises the Loyalty Issue
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 12, 2000
http://www.latimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Friday questioned the national loyalty of Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman, asking if his Jewish religion would make him more faithful to Israel or the United States.

''Mr. Lieberman, as an Orthodox Jew, is also a dual citizen of Israel,'' Farrakhan asserted incorrectly. ''The state of Israel is not synonymous with the United States, and the test he would probably have to pass is: Would he be more faithful to the Constitution of the United States than to the ties that any Jewish person would have to the state of Israel?''

Farrakhan made his remarks at a news conference before an appearance in Los Angeles. The fiery Muslim leader, in town to promote his Million Family March, scheduled for October, insisted that allegations that he is anti-Semitic are ''so mistaken.'' But the accusation of dual loyalty is one of the most long-standing of charges against American Jews and is certain to further inflame relations between him and the Jewish community.

''The canard of dual loyalty is nothing new from Farrakhan or anti-Semites,'' said David Lehrer, Los Angeles regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. ''Bigotry and hatred has been his hallmark for the past 30 years.''

Lieberman Has Said His Loyalty Is to U.S.
Lieberman himself, in a televised interview this week, addressed the issue.
''If I'm honored and fortunate enough to become the vice president of the United States, my first and primary loyalty is of course to the United States of
America,'' he told CNN's Larry King.
(...)

Some Muslims hailed Farrakhan for openly voicing concerns they have been more quietly raising over what the choice of Lieberman will mean for U.S. policy on the Mideast.
(...)

Farrakhan, in his remarks Friday, urged the Democratic team to pursue a ''just and fair policy . . . to Muslim states who may have some disagreements with Israel.'' He said such nations as Libya, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Sudan all want better relations with the United States.

He also repeatedly called for dialogue with Jews, saying, ''I really want this.''
(...)

But Jewish leaders remained suspicious in light of his remarks about Lieberman.

''This is Louis Farrakhan up to his same old tricks and old habits of spewing anti-Semitism,'' said Matt Dorf of the American Jewish Congress. ''If anyone had any doubt that he had turned over a new leaf, as he claimed a few months ago, this should put that to rest.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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21. ADL Backgrounder on Anti-Semitism in the United States
U.S. Newswire, Aug. 10, 2000 (Press Release)
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
NEW YORK, Aug. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by the Anti-Defamation League:

TO: EDITORS/REPORTERS/COLUMNISTS/PRODUCERS
(...)

BACKGROUNDER: ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE UNITED STATES

The selection of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut as the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate has led to a heightened awareness of anti-Semitism in the United States. The Democrats' choice of Lieberman, an observant Jew, has raised new questions about the level of anti-Semitism in the United States, whether anti- Semitic attitudes will play a role in the election, and the use of the Internet as a vehicle for anti-Semites. Following is a backgrounder on the current state of anti- Semitism in America based on recent studies, statistics on anti-Semitic incidents and ongoing Internet monitoring conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE INTERNET
In the days since the selection of Sen. Lieberman for the Democratic ticket, anti-Semites, racists and bigots have taken to the Internet to spread anti-Semitic vitriol in chat rooms and online message boards. While the majority of the messages were posted by anti-Semites and racists with the intention of reaching others of a similar bent, remarks have also begun to appear on a handful of racist Web pages operated by some of America's most notorious anti- Semites, including Don Black's Stormfront and Matt Hale's World Church of the Creator.

For the most part the messages play into classical anti-Semitic stereotypes and canards, including conspiracy theories and the age- old myth of Jewish power and influence. There have also been isolated incidents on shortwave radio broadcasts and talk radio programs. The following is a selection of examples of anti-Semitism found on the Internet:
(...)

Anti-Semites and racists continue to use the Internet to spread hateful messages, to raise funds and to recruit and organize members. Because of the near total anonymity offered by the Internet, haters are less prone to disguise their ideas or mask their online identities. As a result, there are literally hundreds of Web sites that spew racism and anti-Semitism. A number of sites are also devoted to Holocaust denial and revisionism. Further information on hate on the Internet, as well as the report Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online is available on the League's Web site at www.adl.org.

ANTI-SEMITIC ATTITUDES
In November 1998, the League released a Survey on Anti-Semitism and Prejudice in America. The survey, conducted in October of that year by the Boston firm of Marttila Communications/Kiley & Co. found that the number of Americans who hold strongly anti-Semitic views had dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent since 1992.

The national poll of 999 Americans found that between 20 and 25 million Americans -- slightly more than one in ten -- embraced a wide range of stereotypes about Jews, including that ''Jews have too much power'' and ''Jews are more loyal to Israel than America.'' This marked a significant decline from the 20 percent of Americans found to have such views in 1992, and the 29 percent of Americans found to have a significant number of anti-Semitic views in 1964.

The survey marked a significant overall decline in anti-Semitism. This included a continued decline in the acceptance of classical anti- Jewish stereotypes and a new decline in the belief that Jews have too much power. Those who believed ''Jews have too much power in the U.S. today'' declined 11 percent from 31 percent in 1992. Those who believed ''Jews have too much control and influence on Wall Street'' was down to 16 percent from 27 percent.

ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS
In 1999, acts of vandalism, harassment and other expressions of hatred against Jews declined 4 percent nationwide, according to the ADL's annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported 1,547 anti-Semitic incidents, the lowest number recorded since 1989.

The 1999 statistics, gathered using combined data from the League's 30 regional offices and law enforcement, reflected the continuation of a downward trend that has resulted in a 25 percent drop in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide over the last five years. In 1998, the Audit counted 1,611 incidents in 41 states and D.C., an increase of 2 percent over the previous year.
(...)

The ADL Audit has been conducted annually for the last 19 years. The number of anti-Semitic incidents peaked in 1994, with a total of 2,066 incidents reported to ADL.

EDITORS NOTE: For additional information on Anti-Semitism in America or to arrange an interview with an ADL expert, contact the Media Relations Department at 212-885-7749, or visit our Web site at www.adl.org.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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22. Germany bans two far-right demos, police on guard
Reuters, Aug. 12, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BERLIN, Aug 12 (Reuters)- Germany banned two planned marches by far-right groups on Saturday and police made a show of force in one of the targeted cities to prevent violence amid growing sentiment for a ban on the country's oldest rightist party.

About 1,000 police were on hand to prevent the National Democratic Party (NPD) from gathering before the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, which has the power to outlaw political parties. NPD members stayed away.

Germans are increasingly calling for a ban on the NPD in a backlash against racist violence sparked by a bomb attack that injured 10 including six Jews in Duesseldorf two weeks ago. It remains unclear if the far right was involved in the incident.

In interviews released on Saturday, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, both left-wing Greens, said they backed an NPD ban if it could be justified.

``The NPD is a legal mantle for those who have knitted an underground web of violence in Germany,'' Trittin told the Magdeburger Volksstimme newspaper.

Germany's post-World War Two constitution, written with memories of Hitler's rise to power in 1933, allows the Constitutional Court to ban parties opposing democratic rights.
(...)

On Friday, German officials began a legal process that could lead to the NPD being outlawed.

The government has asked a commission of local and federal officials to make a recommendation by October on whether to appeal to the Constitutional Court for a ban against the fringe party, which was formed in 1964.

But the government wants to avoid a failed lawsuit that would merely give publicity to the 6,000-member movement. Germany has a population of 82 million.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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23. Hamburg Bans Neo-Nazi Club
Associated Press, Aug. 11, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BERLIN (AP) -- Officials in the German city of Hamburg shut down a neo-Nazi club Friday and government leaders in Berlin considered similar action against an extreme-right political party.

Authorities raided the office of the Hamburger Sturm, a group of about 20 people who put out a racist newspaper and attend neo-Nazi demonstrations. The police took a computer, T-shirts, and a plaque honoring Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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24. ''Heil Hitler'' - grounds for dismissal
taz (Germany), Aug. 10, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000810b.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Fewer and fewer Berlin operations intend to tolerate rightwing radicals among their staff. Employees who bring attention to themselves in this way risk disciplinary measures - up to and including dismissal.

''We do not accept radical, rightwing endeavors in our business,'' said one ''Bewag'' spokesman. That, he said, could harm the company's image. As a result, ''Bewag'' takes action against staff in that regard - according to the severity of the offence. ''Which could include termination without notice.'' But before that come verbal and written warnings. ''We want dismissals to endure labor court.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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25. Court delays ruling over Yahoo! Nazi site
CNN, Aug. 11, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
PARIS -- A French court has ruled that more technical information is needed before ruling whether to fine Internet giant Yahoo! over online sales of Nazi memorabilia.

Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez said experts from the U.S., France and another European country should look into ways of blocking the U.S.-based sites that are barred under French law.

Yahoo! has argued that it is technically impossible to ring-fence French Internet users from U.S.-based Web sites governed by less restrictive U.S. laws.

At issue is Yahoo!'s auction site, where Nazi medallions, swastika-emblazoned battle flags and other Third Reich paraphernalia can be bought and sold.

The case centers on freedom of speech, which is caught between some nations' laws and the Internet's borderless, hard-to-regulate nature.
(...)

The case was brought after two Paris-based human rights groups filed a lawsuit in April against Yahoo! for hosting the auctions of Nazi objects.

In May, Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez ruled that Yahoo! had offended the nation's ''collective memory.''

He ordered the company to pay fines of up to 400,000 Euros (U.S. $360,000) a day to the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism and the Union of Jewish Students of France, which brought the lawsuit, and to find a way to block French users from the U.S.-based pages in question.

At present there is no international treaty outlining international jurisdiction on the Web, an issue that already has been recognized as a potential quagmire for e-commerce.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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26. French Yahoo! Battles Censorship
The Associated Press, Aug. 11, 2000
http://my.aol.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
PARIS (AP) - A French judge on Friday ordered a team of technology experts to find ways to block French Internet users from U.S. giant Yahoo!'s auction site - the latest step in a transatlantic legal battle over racism in cyberspace.

The Web pages that have unleashed the impassioned debate are posted on Yahoo!'s online auction, where users can buy more than 1,000 objects of Nazi memorabilia. On the site at auctions.yahoo.com, a Nazi battle flag sells for $16, a Third Reich dress sword for $150.
(...)

Benjamin Canet, secretary-general of the Union of Jewish Students of France, said the trial was becoming more complex than foreseen.

``Perhaps we were a bit naive at the beginning,'' he said. ``We thought Yahoo! would react quickly in an intelligent way and pull the material off its site.'' The Jewish students' group sued Yahoo along with the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.

The case has sparked enormous interest here, with many cheering on the small advocacy groups that launched a David-vs.-Goliath attack on a superstar U.S. company. An article in the respected center-left newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur even called for a boycott of Yahoo! - ``portal of Nazis.''

Several European countries have tough laws aimed at squelching racist expression. But in the United States, the Constitution protects many Web pages expressing extremist ideas. The Net is one key area where these differing ideas have often collided.

On Friday, Judge Gomez once again dismissed one of Yahoo's key arguments: that its U.S. site does not fall under the jurisdiction of French courts. Yahoo! is worried the case could set a global precedent that could leave Web sites vulnerable to legal attacks from abroad.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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27. Two start-ups say have answer for Yahoo in France
Reuters, Aug. 11, 2000
http://my.aol.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two North American start-up companies said they have technology that can help Internet media network Yahoo Inc comply with a French court's orders to keep French web surfers from tapping into online sales of Nazi memorabilia including SS badges and gas canisters.

Internet media giant Yahoo has responded to the order, saying it is technically impossible to block French Internet users from sites governed by less restrictive American laws.

French law prohibits the sale or exhibit of objects with racist overtones.
(...)

A consultant working with Yahoo did get in touch with Info Split about its technology, but the company's founder, who testified on behalf of the anti-racist groups in the trial, said Info Split's technology was not mentioned in Yahoo's report to the court.

``If Yahoo has their own solutions, we don't know,'' said Houri. ``They are trying to make believe there is no solution but we are here to prove that (there) is and we do exist.''

Canadian start-up Border Control also said it has developed software that can identify the location of the local server through which a user is connecting to the Internet and then map out virtual borders on the worldwide computer network.

The company's Chief Executive Officer Farrel Miller said he offered their software to Yahoo but the Palo Alto, Calif.-based giant said it was not interested.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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28. 5th Circuit Upholds Texas Separatists' Convictions
Law.com/Texas Lawyer, Aug. 10, 2000
http://www.law.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has affirmed the convictions of two Republic of Texas separatists on charges of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The court on July 31 upheld 24-year prison sentences for Johnie Wise and Jack Abbott Grebe Jr. The two were sentenced in federal district court in Brownsville, Tex., on Feb. 5, 1999, for allegedly threatening federal officials. FBI agents said the two planned to shoot their targets with cactus thorns carrying deadly viruses and fired from modified Bic lighters.

The FBI became involved in the case in 1998 when a computer consultant, John L. Cain of Harlingen, told federal agents that he had been approached by members of the separatist group Republic of Texas. He said the group wanted him to send threatening e-mail messages to President Bill Clinton, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and other federal officials, according to the 5th Circuit's opinion.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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29. Furrow longed to kill others, U.S. says
The San Diego Union-Tribune, Aug. 8, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
LOS ANGELES -- White supremacist Buford O. Furrow Jr. described himself to jailers as a terrorist, said he was playing his psychologist ''like a fool'' and declared that he sometimes felt like killing his lawyers, according to government documents filed yesterday.

The filings seek to show that Furrow knew what he was saying in post-arrest interviews and had been given adequate warnings about his rights.

The motions argue that his statements should be admissible either in the evidence phase of his trial or in a penalty phase if he is convicted of murder and hate crimes in the 1999 North Valley Jewish Community Center shooting and the killing of a Filipino-American letter carrier.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== General Assembly Church of the First Born

30. 3rd baby dies after refusal of care
Denver Post, Aug. 11, 2000
http://www.denverpost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Aug. 11, 2000 - For the third time in the past 18 months, a baby has died after the parents and church elders at a controversial Delta church turned away medical care on religious grounds.

The latest death occurred July 17 at a rural Olathe home during a breech birth that left the dead baby in the mother's birth canal for two to three days.

The parents belong to the General Assembly Church of the First Born, whose members turn to prayer rather than medical care to deal with health problems.

An employer of the baby's father called authorities with concern for the mother and baby's welfare. The employer reportedly knew the family belonged to the First Born church.

When Montrose County sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene, they found Ruth Berger-Belebbas with the baby still stuck in her birth canal two days after the baby had died during birth. The baby had been turned the wrong way in the womb - a common birthing problem that can be rectified by rotating the baby or removing the baby by Caesarean section. The birth was attended by midwives who also belong to the First Born church.
(...)

In the most recent case, Montrose County Sheriff Warren Waterman said that when deputies arrived at 8 a.m. on a Monday, the Berger-Belebbas home was crowded with church elders and members who were praying for the mother, whose life was also in danger.

Warren said the mother and the other church members and elders refused help. The father, who is from South America and speaks little English, also reportedly refused help.
(...)

Hotsenpiller said it was too late to do anything for the baby, but social workers investigated to see if the mother was making the decision on her own and making it based on religious beliefs.

Colorado law allows protective services to step in when an adult is at risk of harm from self-neglect. Authorities can investigate but have no authority under the law to order care if care is being turned down because of the religious beliefs of a recognized religious denomination.

The controversy now surrounding the case revolves around County Coroner Bob Brethouwer's decision not to order an autopsy to determine if the baby had ever drawn a breath, which would have caused it to be considered legally alive. The parents could then be charged with homicide or child abuse.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other News

31. Kenya: Paper reports growing panic in Nairobi over alleged cult murders
BBC Monitoring, Aug. 12, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Text of report by Kenyan newspaper `East African Standard' web site on 12th August
Two men who escaped from the hands of suspected ritual killers in Nairobi's Mwiki-Njiru area yesterday narrated their ordeal to the `East African Standard'.

The two, Mr Jimmy Mulinge and Mr Njuguna Ngathe said that they were held hostage by the suspected ritual killers for three and 11 days respectively.

They said they were captured by suspected believers of a devil worship cult that is believed to be behind the killing of over nine people in Nairobi's Mwiki area, now christened the Valley of Death.
(...)

Contacted for comment, the new Nairobi provincial police officer Mr Geoffrey Mwathe said that his officers are investigating the suspected ritual killings.

The bodies of victims are mutilated and the private parts and the tongue cut off.

Last Monday, angry members of the public demonstrated against police officers at Njiru police post after they allegedly released a suspect who had been caught with human body parts.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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32. 'Daughter of God' Gets 25 Years
The Associated Press, Aug. 9, 2000
http://my.aol.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - A woman who called herself the ``daughter of God'' was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for masterminding a string of New Year's Eve armed robberies to support an opulent lifestyle.

Richelle Denise Bradshaw, self-proclaimed Queen Shahmia, denied ever telling her ``manservants'' to steal.
(...)

Jurors had convicted Bradshaw of seven felony counts on July 3 after a follower testified Bradshaw directed her entourage to go out and ``plunder the Earth.''
(...)

Bradshaw's nomadic ministry group included her husband, Phillip Bradshaw, four followers and eight children. They traveled around Florida living on donations and staying in luxury hotels, authorities said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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33. Cult Leader Jailed in Australia for Molesting Girls
AFP, Aug. 11, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug 11 -- A 71-year-old ''guru'' of a religious cult who collected a harem of nine wives was Friday jailed for seven-and-a-half years for molesting four young girls.

County Court Judge Mervin Kimm ordered Alistah Laishkochav to serve a minimum non-parole term of five years.
(...)

The trial was told that New Zealand-born Laishkochav had in the 1970s drawn followers to him attracted by his ''spiritual powers''.

Over the years he fathered 63 children.

Crown prosecutor George Slim said he became a guru, leading a cult devoted to beliefs set down by him and based on the Jewish, Muslim and Mormon religions.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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33a. A death unpunished. No jail for killer exorcist couple.
News.com.au (Australia), Aug. 12, 2000
http://www.news.com.au/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A couple walked free yesterday after they were given suspended
sentences for the manslaughter of a small boy who drowned during an
exorcism
.

The three-year-old boy died after his mother forced 12 litres of
water down his throat in ''an attempt to rid him of evil'' on June 17
last year.

During the exorcism, at a Revesby home in Sydney's west, the boy
cried and struggled while Penetito Mika, 37, and his wife Siniue
Sagota, 35, pinned him down.

Yesterday Mika and Sagota, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter,
were both given two-year suspended sentences by Justice Michael
Grove.

The boy's 36-year-old mother, who cannot be named to protect her
surviving children, already has been found not guilty, on the basis
of mental illness, of the three-year-old's manslaughter and of
assaulting his four siblings.
(...)

The couple have been denied custody of their children, except for a
baby born since the tragedy. They left the NSW Supreme Court at
Darlinghurst yesterday with an infant in their arms.
(...)

Justice Grove said the boy's mother, who had been found not guilty
on the grounds of mental illness, caused her son to drown ''when she
forced water into his throat''.

''The reason she did this was that she had become obsessed with the
belief that her child had had his body entered by a demon.''
(...)

He said Mika and Sagota were liable for the crime because they had
deliberately held the boy down while his mother poured water down
his throat for the purpose of ''this bizarre'' form of exorcism.

However, the couple, ''persons of good repute within the community'',
had come before the court with no prior convictions, Justice Grove
said.

At the time of the boy's death the couple, from relatively
unsophisticated backgrounds, had ''a sincere belief in the existence
of demons'', Justice Grove said.

They belonged to an insular church, the Samoan Assembly of God,
which believed the devil was capable of entering the body of humans
and this, he said, lead to Mika having difficulty coping with the
modern, industrialised society.

''The death of a human being is always a matter of seriousness. It is
an aggravated matter when the victim is a defenceless child,''
Justice Grove said.

''No civilised community can tolerate fanatical beliefs, whether
based upon religion, or more accurately, on misinterpretation or
misapplication of religion.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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34. Cult headed by Robin's Brod in fake gold, currencies
Philippine Headlines News (Philippines), Aug. 12, 2000
http://www.newsflash.org/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Manila, Aug. 12, 2000 - Agents of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force announced the arrest yesterday of a ''brigadier general'' and a ''captain'' of H-World, a religious cult reportedly headed by a brother of controversial actor Robin Padilla, for allegedly distributing fake foreign currencies and fake gold bars.

Superintendent Magtanggol Gatdula, PAOCTF officer in charge, identified the suspects as ''B/Gen.'' Alfonso Dilla and his associate, ''Captain'' Kevin Jimenez, a discharged Army sergeant.

The two are active members of H-World, a religious group founded and headed by Robin's brother, Royette Padilla.
(...)

Seized from them were five bundles of fake Kuwaiti dinar in 20 denominations; a bundle of Argentinian pesos in 1 billion denominations; 12 pieces of Japanese yen in different denominations; an album containing different currencies; nine US$100 described as ''Gold and Silver certificates,'' a one million US dollar note, nine Yugoslavian Dinare in 500 billion denomination, ultra-violet fluorescent lantern, a Colt .45 cal. pistol, a cal. .380 pistol, two cal. .38 revolvers, a shotgun and four Motorola transceivers.

Gatdula tagged the suspects as among those responsible in the manufacture and proliferation of fake foreign currencies, fake golden buddhas and fake gold bars in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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35. Custody case shines light on church practices
Associated Press, Religion Briefs, Aug. 10, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) -- In a custody dispute, former members of The Word of Faith Fellowship accuse church leaders of restraining children and screaming prayers at them to drive out demons.

''I have seen children with bruises on their bodies, scratches made on their arms, fingernail marks on their arms,'' said former church member Sheri Nolan.

A hearing, expected to conclude Tuesday, will determine temporary custody of three children belonging to Ben and Pamela McGee. Ben McGee left the church and his wife in April; she remains a member. Their children range in age from 4 to 9.

The fellowship, with an estimated 300 to 400 members, was established in Rutherford County in 1978. Over the past decade, former members and neighbors have made allegations that church elders mistreated children and brainwashed congregants.

The State Bureau of Investigation examined the church five years ago after more than 40 former members told their stories to news organizations. The probe concluded without any charges.

Church elders acknowledged that children were paddled, but denied they were abused.
[...entire item...]


36. Reform's John Hagelin, Transcending Politics
Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2000
http://washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) The problem is: Hagelin is the candidate of one faction that is convening here. And the convention center is where the other faction - the Pat Buchanan faction - is holding its meeting. The factions hate each other and if Hagelin tried to walk through the convention center - well, CNN isn't taking any chances.
(...)

Hagelin has calm in his eyes. Is it his cosmic attitude based on his occupation as a quantum physicist? No.

His press secretary, Robert Roth, thinks he knows the reason: ''Thirty years of meditation,'' he says.

The security guys give him the okay, and Hagelin slips into the van. He sits down and starts talking about Transcendental Meditation.
(...)

He is a Harvard PhD who worked in the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Switzerland and at Stanford University, where he co-authored a paper on Grand Unified Field Theory, ''Supersymmetric Flipped SU (5).'' But he was so enthralled with Transcendental Meditation that he left Stanford in the mid-'80s to teach physics at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, the epicenter of American TM.
(...)

Now, as the CNN van pulls out into the street, Hagelin is talking about how TM helps when you're running for president.
(...)

He's talking about the time he and his colleagues brought 4,000 Transcendental Meditators to Washington, D.C., back in the summer of 1993 to do a scientific study to see if their meditation could lower the rate of violent crime in the city. And it worked, he says.

''There was a statistically significant reduction of major crimes,'' he says.

About 22 percent, he claims.

He slides out of the van, climbs up on a loading dock and into the bowels of the convention center, stepping over wires and puddles as he explains how 4,000 people meditating could affect the activities of local criminals.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on
Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, DC:
Results of the National Demonstration Project, June-July 1993
Maharishi University
http://www.miu.edu/tm_research/tm_dc/Abstract.htmlOff-site Link
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37. Oral Roberts To Help Launch Church
Denver Rocky Mountain News, Aug. 9, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
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Friendship is drawing Oral Roberts to Denver this November where he will launch the new Word of Life Christian Center.
(...)

Roberts, now in his 80s, met the Word of Life's pastor, Rev. Mark T. Bagwell, several years ago at a California church conference. The two men hit it off, says the church's project manager, Chris Nelson. Both men share a faith that emphasizes speaking in tongues, supernatural healing and a literal interpretation of the Bible.
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38. Russian builds pyramids to cure ills
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aug. 12, 2000
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Moscow --- Unlike Fox Mulder of ''The X-Files,'' Russian mathematician Alexander Golod doesn't believe the truth is out there --- he says it's in there.

In a four-story gray pyramid, to be precise.

The pyramid rises unexpectedly from a potato field alongside the main highway leading north from Moscow.

Golod, an academic turned businessman, built the structure because he believes in what he calls ''pyramid power,'' a force that mankind can harness to cure AIDS and eliminate crime, civil war, bad harvests, cancer and earthquakes.

''I am not a faith healer. I am a scientist,'' said Golod. ''As a result of this pyramid being built, I predict that AIDS and hepatitis will disappear (in the Moscow region) in a few years.''

His predictions are based, he says, on scientific truths and mathematical theorems that humans do not yet understand.

Thousands of Russians, disenchanted with traditional religions, apparently believe him and flock to the eight pyramids he's built.
(...)

Golod's ideas have been embraced by Russian cosmonauts, medical doctors and politicians.

A handful of amethysts charged at the Moscow pyramid were taken aboard the space station Mir to promote world peace.
(...)
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39. Self-hypnosis for better health
Reuters, Aug. 8, 1000
http://livenews.24.com/Off-site Link
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[Alternative healing]
New York - When an asthma patient came to Dr Ran Anbar complaining that he suffered attacks any time he smelled cheeseburgers, the paediatric lung specialist realised just how strong the power of suggestion could be in very real medical conditions. Now he helps his patients use this power to their own advantage with self-hypnosis.

''Relaxation is a way of healing,'' Anbar, of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, told Reuters Health. In the August issue of Paediatrics, Anbar reports on a 13-year-old patient with cystic fibrosis who learned to control pain and anxiety by using a hypnosis technique where he imagined communing with President Theodore Roosevelt.
(...)

''He's a history buff,'' Anbar explained, noting that Roosevelt had suffered from respiratory symptoms that were similar to Larry's.

Over time, Roosevelt became Larry's ''inner advisor'', or what Anbar believes was a representation of his patient's mind.
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40. Herbalife Faces Struggle After Death of Founder Mark Hughes
Bloomberg News, Aug. 11, 2000
http://my.aol.com/business/Off-site Link
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Los Angeles, Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Herbalife International Inc.'s Web site still uses a video of Mark Hughes hawking weight- loss pills and nutritional supplements two months after the company's founder died of a prescription drug overdose.

Focusing on the past is one way the 20-year-old company is coping with a future that no longer includes its charismatic leader.
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There are also new problems: ephedrine, used in Herbalife weight loss pills, has been linked to cardiac arrests, strokes and deaths by the Food and Drug Administration. The new chairman, identified as Mark Hughes' father, is accused of being an imposter. Hughes' assertion his mother died of an overdose of prescription diet pills is contradicted by her autopsy. And Hughes' own image of clean living has been tarnished by evidence he smoked cigars and died after a four-day drinking binge.

``It's very much a cult of personality,'' said David Stewart, professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. ``When you begin to hear things that are inconsistent with the image, that can cause all kinds of problems.''

Still Pitching Herbalife
Hughes, who died May 21 in his $27 million Malibu mansion, had led hundreds of sales rallies -- resembling religious evangelical gatherings -- drawing people both to the products and the prospect of getting rich selling them. His pitches are still broadcast on Herbalife's Web site.
(...)

But the herbal health entrepreneur, who began selling diet products from the trunk of his car in 1980, may not have led the life of health he had preached. Hughes smoked six to eight cigars a day and died after a four-day drinking binge, according to his autopsy. It found that he suffered an accidental overdose of alcohol and doxepin, an anti-depressant.
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