June 20, 2007

TOP STORIES * June 14-20

Anti-Gay Protests “Fall Flat” in Jerusalem

Fundamentalist, ultra-conservative — the Haredi Jews of Israel may be all that, but their message of intolerance towards gays and lesbians has so far failed to bring out the Orthodox masses.

Their protest last weekend against the upcoming Jerusalem gay pride parade fell far short of the hoped-for “100,000 strong” crowd, and Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said their campaign to cancel the parade has failed. Even the most Orthodox non-Haredi Jews skipped the affair, primarily because they didn’t want to expose their children to a lifestyle they disapprove of.

Agent Orange Persists — in Court

On the eve of Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet’s trip to the United States — the first such visit since the 1970s — a federal court in New York City is hearing an appeal of a ruling that exonerated producers of the toxic Agent Orange herbicide for birth defects and disabilities among more than 3 million Vietnamese.

The chemical, which was used to defoliate jungle cover used by guerrillas during the Vietnam War, was produced by 37 American companies, including Monsanto and Dow. A 2005 ruling found no evidence that Agent Orange causes birth defects, and its producers say they acted under wartime presidential orders.

Adam and Eve Photos Bring Calls for Death

The publisher and editor of Octane, an Islamabad fashion magazine, have been condemned to death by a local cleric for publishing a suggestive image of the proverbial first family, Adam and Eve.

The magazine’s editor says the image was an advertisement that has run previously, and is willing to apologize. But another religious leader has called for an additional charge of blasphemy be added to the obscenity complaint.

Sources:

“Ultra-Orthodox protests against gay pride parade fall flat”
Haaretz (Israel), June 19, 2007

“Agent Orange appeal in U.S. court”
BBC, June 19, 2007

“Pakistan bans sale of magazine”
The Times of India, June 17, 2007

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