Indian Government Bans Sex Education In Karnataka’s Schools

The main aim of the project entitled “Life skill module”, proposed for the schools in Karnataka, was to introduce children between the ages of six and twelve years to sex education, in efforts to contain the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. The programme put forward by the Union Government in cooperation with the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), has been blocked by he Prime Minister of the Indian state.

Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj S. Horatti says that the Karnataka government does not want the programme introduced, although it may help prevent AIDS spreading because it may traumatize children of such a tender age. “In today's world, - he said - we need moral education and not sex education”.

Prior to the Minister’s rejection ,the All-India Mahila Samskrutika Sanghatane (AIMSS) and the All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) had called for a debate involving parents, teachers, educationists and psychologists on the issue before "experimenting" with young minds in this manner. The Aparna B.R., secretary of the State unit of the AIMSS told press in Bangalore that owing to the influence of UNICEF and condom and contraceptive-manufacturing companies, the Union Government had taken a decision to introduce sex education in higher primary and high schools. It believed that the programme would help children learn about the human body and create awareness about AIDS.

With more than 4.5 million people infected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, India has become the world's second largest hub of the disease. That means that while India has the second-largest population of HIV sufferers after South Africa.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the spokesperson for the Indian Bishops conference’s commission for pastoral health care, Msgr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore said “I think that sex education should be reserved for secondary schools and university; children who are so young could be unprepared for such a topic. It should be the family who teach children respect for life and the human body, starting from when they are young gradually and according to the needs of their age”.

“Unfortunately mass media and magazines are sending out the wrong messages to our young people which have absolutely nothing to do with a positive approach to this type of education. In Catholic schools we have sexual, moral and ethical education programmes for our secondary students. Teaching values must be an integral part of our whole education system, it is of the greatest importance in forming the personality and character of the students and the Catholic schools help the younger generations to do so by teaching them moral and ethical values”.

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Man Built His Own Kaaba, Sentenced To Death

Kasur District Court sentenced Abdul Hameed, 45, to death for blasphemy. In the charges filed against him by Imam Ghulam Mustafa Zia, Mr Hameed is said to have built a replica of the Kaaba (Islam’s earliest place of worship containing the ‘Black Stone’) in his courtyard and proclaimed himself prophet.

Judges found him guilty and gave him the maximum sentence in accordance with Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, the infamous “blasphemy law,” which severely punishes anyone who desecrates Islam, its prophet and holy scriptures.

According to some eyewitnesses who testified at the trial, Hameed built the Kaaba replica and invited local Muslims to come on pilgrimage since the “original stone” was in his courtyard.

Mr Hameed’s defence attorney, Pervez Aslam Chaudhry, announced that he will appeal the sentence. In his view, the trial was flawed because of a procedural error in the investigation phase. Under the law, blasphemy cases must be investigated by an official no lower than the rank of a superintendent of Police. In Mr Hameed’s case the inquiry was handled by sub-inspector who investigated the case in just two days.

The blasphemy law was passed in 1986. Since its introduction more than 5,000 people have been charged. In 560 cases the accused was found guilty with sentences ranging from five years to hanging. Another 30 are currently pending.

For many human rights activists, the law is used too often by people who want to settle scores. The law also fails to take into account cases where the accused is mentally ill.

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Beatification Of Pope John Paul II Underway

A solemn ceremony in Rome on April 2nd will mark the first step in the process of John Paul II’s beatification. On that day the Rome Vicariate – the city where the Pope died and therefore where the cause was initiated – will close the diocesan phase of the process, which opened on May 13th 2005, and the paperwork will pass into the hands of the Vatican Congregation for the cause of the saints. The process will follow the normal itinerary and will not aim for the immediate canonization of John Paul II, contrary to the hopes expressed by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former secretary to the late Pope.

This was clarified by Msgr. Slawomir Oder, postulator for the cause, during a brief meeting with journalists. He said “Card. Dziwisz naturally expressed his personal conviction and deep desire which is also shared by many of God’s people. My hope – he added – is the same, however as an officer of justice I must add that the precepts of Canon Law must be respected and that Church procedure must be followed”. Msgr. Oder added that “besides the Papal dispensation for the 5 year period of waiting from the death of John Paul II, there have been no other dispensations; all canonical norms have been observed as with all other causes".

It was also confirmed that sr. Marie-Simon-Pierre, the French nun who attests she was miraculously cured through Pope Wojtyla’s intercession, will be present at the April 2nd ceremony. During a press conference held yesterday in Aix-en-Provence she declared “I had Parkinson’s disease, diagnosed in June 2001”. “By Easter 2005 my symptoms had worsened: I shook terribly, my limbs were rigid and I suffered great pain and insomnia”, but “I wanted to see the Pope on television, because I felt that he was near to his end and that it would be that last time, I so admired his courage and his strength while I found it hard to fight this disease being so young”. At the time she was only 44 years old.

Her illness progressed. “By the first of June – she continued – I could no longer stand, my mother superior encouraged me, asking me to await her return from Lourdes, because she said, ‘John Paul II has yet to complete his work’”. So the Superior “asked me to write his name on a piece of paper. It was five in the afternoon, I wrote it with great difficulty and it was almost illegible”. “At about nine o’ clock that evening, I felt a great need to write, I heard a voice as if someone was telling me to “take pen o paper’; it was about 21,45, exactly two months since John Paul II had returned to the home of the Father. I wrote a little more, with great difficulty and then I went to bed. I awoke then at about 4.30 in the morning, shocked by the fact that I had been able to sleep and immediately I jumped from the bed, because my body was no longer rigid or in pain, it was no longer the same. I felt a call rise up from within me and a strong desire to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, I went to the chapel and stayed there in adoration with a profound sense of peace and well being. It was an experience of such magnitude that it is very difficult to put it into words”.

On June 3rd, “my left hand no longer shook, I could write again and I stopped taking medicine”. June 7th the neurologist, who had been treating me for over 4 years, noted the sudden disappearance of all my symptoms, despite the fact that I had stopped taking treatment 5 days before. “Since then I have not taken any medicine, I am well, I feel as if I have been reborn”. The sister has returned to her work as a nurse in the maternity ward of Sainte-Felicit√© hospital.

The French Nun’s story is one of the “many” cases of miraculous events that have been reported to Msgr. Oder. Many regarding couplet who after years of sterility finally receive the gift of a child, or difficult pregnancies brought to term as well as many cases of cued tumours. Msgr. Oder clarified that he has not chosen miracles from this area because “the Congregation for the cause of Saints is very strict in its evaluation of cures from cancer and that would have required a period of investigation that may have lasted between 8 and 10 years”.

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The Post-1980 Generation - Chinese Most Materialistic

People born in the 1980s, who are currently at the age between 17 and 26, are viewed as the “post-1980” generation in society. In China, there are 200 million people classified as a member of this group. The post-1980 generation are said to be the main consumption group in society in future, the People's Daily reported.

Under the influences of market economy, globalization, and the Internet, the post-1980 generation display a very different consumption mode from their parents.

Born as the only child in the family, most children in this generation despise tradition and cherish individuality. They like things which are unique and reflect people’s personality. They do things as they like.

Their life is surrounded by ads, posters, video programs and Internet culture, which promote a totally different consumption culture from the past. Under this influence, the younger generation pursue pleasure in life. They like expensive stuff and vie with each other in everything they buy, from food to clothes.

Compared with their parents, who live a frugal life, most people born in the 1980s spend lavishly. They spend all the money they earn, or sometimes overspend. They seldom save money in preparation for their future life.

Needless to say, most young people of this generation have a credit card, which is often overdrawn. Although they don’t make much money, they buy houses or cars with loans from banks. As some banks nowadays issue debit cards on campus, many college students become cardholders, too.

The consumption habits of the post-1980 generation reflect the consumption preferences of people at their age. They are not to be blamed for this. People of this generation is apt to learn new things and skilful at playing with modern equipment. Their fondness for electronic products helps push the development of modern technology. These are all their advantages. On the other hand, as many of the young people have lived a comfortable life since they were born, most don’t save money and spend whenever they want, which is no good for society, said Xia Jianzhong, a professor at the Renmin University of China School of Sociology.

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Increasing Number Of Korean Women Becoming International Prostitutes

Park Chung-a

The number of Korean women engaged in prostitution overseas - both voluntary or forced - has been steadily increasing after the government's crackdown on the domestic sex industry in 2004.

According to the US State Department on Monday, based on the law for protecting victims of slave trading, the country provided shelter to 230 foreign victims in 2005 and Koreans accounted for the largest portion at 23.5 percent.

Korea was followed by Thailand, Peru and Mexico in terms of the number of the victims who were offered shelter. It also said that a sudden increase in Koreans seems to be related to the 2004 crackdown.

Although victims of labor exploitation are included in the victims of slave trade, most of the Korean victims were involved in the sex trade, according to the officials.

Yoon Won-ho, a lawmaker of the ruling Uri Party who has been leading an investigation into the Korean sex trade in the United States, said it was highly likely the illegal activity was enjoying a rebound in Korean communities abroad through underground means, such as massage parlors, bars, private homes and the Internet.

``I have been shocked by the fact that there are an increasing number of young Korean women in their 20s and 30s going to the United States to earn money through prostitution after the anti-prostitution law went into effect,'' said Yoon. ``Unfortunately, we do not yet have specific statistics, which show how closely the crackdown on prostitution is related to the increase of the Korean sex trade abroad. I will try to enact a law which strictly punishes those who recruit Korean women through the Internet for prostitution abroad, or coerce them to perform work for their personal gain.''

Yoon's seven-member investigation team has been discussing the issue with Korean residents in the US as well as officials from human rights organizations there.

Skeptics have argued that the strengthened crackdown on prostitution opened the doors to other venues for the sex industry, which law enforcement authorities find it harder to deal.

Meanwhile, ``Hanyoyon,'' an association of female sex laborers from 10 red-light districts dotted with brothels including Chongnyangni, Chonho-dong and Miari yesterday held a press conference in central Seoul to urge the government to abolish the anti-prostitution law and Seoul's urban redevelopment project which entails pulling down brothels.

``The government should abolish the anti-prostitution law and should listen to the voices of sex laborers. The city's redevelopment project chases sex laborers away to the streets, making our lives more miserable. Brothels are our precious workplace through which we can make our future better,'' the workers said with sunglasses on. ``The government should show how much of its budget was specifically spent for rehabilitation and welfare of women in the sex industry after the anti-prostitution law went into effect.''

The organization also pointed out that there is a lack of disease control for sex laborers who have come back to the country after being expelled from foreign countries for prostitution.

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Safe Sex, - Luxury For Chinese Migrant Workers

Lei Xiaoxun

"We feel kind of sorry when these young guys struggle against each other to get one condom," said Zhang Jixiao, Director of Home of Green Apples, a sex health education institute affiliated to China Population Information and Education Centre.

"They are young and energetic fellows in their twenties. Physical demands are quite common to them, we bring altogether 4,000 condoms and now they are gone in just few seconds." Zhang makes the remarks when he and his colleagues are busy with lecturing AIDS prevention know-how to migrant workers at a construction site.

"Sex is somehow a luxury for many of them, and this is the last scene I want to see," said Zhang.

When talking about migrant workers, a sweaty scenario of hard labor working always jump into one's mind, however, too few attention have been drawn to their sexual health and wellbeing. Most of migrant workers lack proper and safe ways to vent their long-suppressed lusts.

They are, as a matter of fact, more affectionate than their urbanite counterparts, because they have to leave their hometowns to seek a better life, and that in turn makes them nostalgic and sensitive, Zhang said. To complicate the case, they are accommodated in undesirably small workmate dorms where they have almost no private space.

"By doing this," Zhang said, "their boss can cut short the budget and to avoid unintended security problems, however, the consequences end up with that they have no proper outlets to resort to, when they are sexually in dire need."

Last April, the Research Office of State Council officially publicized the Study on Chinese Migrant Laborers. In the report, psychologist points out that, longish suppression of sex needs will definitely lead to irrational sexual impulse, it will affect one's psychological wellbeing, and in worst cases, those with weak abstention willpower may risk on criminal leeway.

Being physically obsessed but having nowhere to 'quench the thirst' is believed to be the most torturous ordeal for migrant workers. "You got no idea how it feels" said Li Shun, a brickie working at a site near Beijing CBD district. We have nothing recreational when nights draw on, except for playing cards and mah-jongg, sometimes small wages are involved, to make the game a bit more thrilling, that's all. A recent survey conducted by Oriental Outlook shows that, only 5% migrant workers can enjoy sex thrice a week, while up to 19% have already forgotten when was their last time.

About 21% of the surveyed choose 'street-girls' as their major way-out to meet sexual demand, another 25% prefer porn videos or trash talks to get virtually satisfied.

Migrant workers in general, said Director of China Sexology Institute, Hu Kaicheng, dramatically lack basic knowledge of sexual health, they don't know how to protect themselves and how to have safe sex. "AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are unheard about to most of them," Hu said. "Let alone how to use condom and contraceptive meds."

He cited a true anecdote headlined in a Guangzhou local newspaper, 2 migrant worker were hospitalized because they have their 'things' stuck in mineral water bottles, in wake of conducting bottle-based self-consolation. "It's quite a woeful thing for me to read it, they just don't know how to do that. At this stage, I believe, education is the matter of utmost urgency," Hu said, "the point is to let them know what is safe sex, and how to have safe sex, instead of lecturing them stop thinking about sex."

More or less, society as in general, has the obligation to render proper solutions to meet migrant worker's long-neglected natural needs, such as 'spouse room' or constant SEDUCATION lectures which help to demystify the word SEX. In return, a more sophisticated understanding of sexual health and safe sex for migrant workers will play its reciprocal role to both migrant workers and the cities we dwell in, as part of a healthy lifestyle to the former and an indispensable stabilizer to the latter.

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A Pornographic Video Clip Tops Yahoo Korea

A pornographic video clip posted for about six hours on Yahoo Korea and soaring straight to the top of the most watched list on Sunday sent police into action. It was posted on Yahoo's pages for user-created content, which had been negligent in monitoring content. Experts, however, worry that similar incidents can happen any time since many sites lack an advance screening mechanism.

A scene from a one-minute porn video that was freely accessible on Yahoo Korea for five hours and 40 minutes until it was deleted at 11:40 pm on Sunday.

The one-minute clip was posted at around 6 pm on Yammy, Yahoo¡¦s UCC site, which does not require log-in or adult authentication from viewers, so children would have had unlimited access.

Presumed to have come from a Japanese adult site, the clip rapidly attracted some 25,000 viewers, sending it to the top of the automated "most popular video" list. Yahoo Korea did not find out about the clip, belatedly deleting it at 11:40 pm, five hours and 40 minutes after it was first posted, when the press had been alerted. Yahoo Korea apologized Monday and suspended the video posting function.

The Cyber Crime Investigation Division of the Seoul Metropolitan Police have tracked a suspect through the IP address and other data, who could face imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to W10 million (US$1=W944).


A gang rape video posted on Naver in September 2006.

Porn clips are no rarity on UCC sites, but they are usually restricted or deleted by the site operators. But in reality, weak monitoring or hiding the clip with a disguised title make it possible for them to remain on the site for extended periods.

Last September, a clip showing a gang rape was accessible to the public for 18 days on Naver, the biggest portal site in Korea. An elementary student searching for "extraordinary ideas" for a homework assignment was referred to a blog showing the clip. 'Extraordinary ideas' was the ID of the blogger.

More commonly, porn videos are posted on UCC sites late at night, when monitoring is even more lax. A Naver staffer admitted that a large number of porn videos are hidden in the website, "but it's practically impossible to delete all of them."

Need for controls

A total of 260 staff monitor content on Naver, which has 16 million visitors a day. Since the staff work eight hours in three shifts, there are actually 90 people monitoring the site at any time. Yahoo Korea only has 50 people for the job. Yahoo Korea on Monday vowed to re-examine the UCC service. Experts say a fundamental solution is impossible without strengthening monitoring.

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Porn Industry Booming Worldwide With US And China Leading

Geoffrey Fattah

Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being produced in the United States. Every second, 28,258 Internet users view pornography worldwide and 372 Internet users are typing search keywords looking for adult-oriented material.

These are just a few of the statistics featured in a study conducted by Ogden-based TopTen Reviews. The company claims revenues for the world pornography industry hit an estimated $97 billion in 2006, overshadowing the revenues of the top technology companies - the likes of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Apple - combined.

"The pornography industry is a very large industry, and it's growing," said TopTen Reviews CEO Jerry Ropelato.

The study shows two of the world's largest economic powerhouses, the United States and China, dominate the markets in adult-oriented Internet sites and adult products, respectively.

The report shows China saw estimated revenues of $27.4 billion in 2006, mainly for being one of the largest producers of sex toys, Ropelato said. The other top-ranking countries for adult-related revenues were South Korea and Japan.

The study shows two of the world's largest economic powerhouses, the United States and China, dominate the markets in adult-oriented Internet sites and adult products, respectively.

The report shows China saw estimated revenues of $27.4 billion in 2006, mainly for being one of the largest producers of sex toys, Ropelato said. The other top-ranking countries for adult-related revenues were South Korea and Japan.

The United States hosted a whopping 244 million adult Web pages, compared to second place Germany, which hosted only 10 million pages. About 12 percent of all total Web sites on the Internet are considered pornographic in nature.

TopTen Reviews compiled statistics from more than 10,000 sources, including the pornography industry, media reports and anti-pornography organizations. The report paints a picture of an exploding industry.

Other findings show most viewers of Internet pornography tend to be those with higher incomes. The report states 35 percent of Net porn viewers earn $75,000 a year or more. The next highest, 26 percent, are those who earn $50,000 to $75,000 a year.

Ropelato said the main reason appears to be the ability of people with higher incomes to afford computers, and those with higher incomes can also afford broadband Internet service.

The exposure of minors to pornography on the Internet was also assessed. According to the report, 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core pornography, mostly while doing research for homework. Ropelato said it appears most of these incidents came as the result of a mistyped Web address, pop-up ads or other incidental exposures.

"I feel that people are being exposed to hard-core porn," said Chris Ahearn, section chief for the Internet Crimes Against Children task force at the Utah Attorney General's Office. Ahearn said he has looked at the TopTen Reviews report, and while he cannot confirm any of its findings, he felt there is a likelihood that many of the statistics could be accurate, based on other studies he has seen.

Ahearn said parents should have some kind of Internet filter software installed on their computers as a first step. Parents should also supervise younger Web surfers and talk to older children about Internet safety.

TopTen Reviews has also reviewed and ranked a list of the best parental software in its opinion. The ranking and the report can be viewed at

"I think it's a huge danger for kids, and I think parents need to be aware of it, and if they don't have an Internet filter on their computer they should get one," Ropelato said, adding he agrees with law enforcement that parents need to sit down with their children and talk about Internet safety.

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Indian Government Pay Parents To Keep The "Girl-Child" Alive

Steven Ertelt

The government is India is unveiling yet another proposal to try to stem the tide of sex-selection abortions and female infanticides there. The Asian nation, where cultural values place more emphasis on boys, has had a hard time stopping the practices and the skewed male-female gender ratios they produce.

Legislators announced the new effort in the Lok Sabha, the lower chamber of the Indian Parliament. It would involve giving state-funded insurance coverage for female children, including medial help and education assistance.

Minister of state for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury told AsiaNews, "The proposal is under consideration under the 11th plan and is meant to ensure the girl child's survival and overall development."

She said the payments would be "based on fulfillment of four important conditions viz. birth and registration of the girl child, immunization, her retention in school and delaying her age of marriage beyond 18 years."

Female children are seen in many tribal areas as a hindrance and many girl babies are simply taken to remote areas and left to die.

Jarpula Peerya Nayak, a 27 year old father said "My wife gave birth to a female baby for the third time, a daughter is a burden and we decided not to feed her. So she died."

"It is very difficult to bring up girls and marry them off," he said, according to local press reports from Hyderabad. He's reportedly killed another female baby as well.

Last month, his cousin J. Ravi and wife Sujatha let their newborn baby starve to death.

"My daughter died two days after birth since we did not feed her," Ravi told AsiaNews. "We already have two girl children and can't afford to have one more."

Local officials say villagers don't report the deaths until well after the child has been killed and claim the baby was born stillborn or prematurely. Without advanced medical technology there's little way to prove the death was intentional.

The new proposal comes just one month after the government launched a new "cradle campaign" outside every government district headquarters to encourage parents to not abort their baby girls and to give them up to the sate instead.

It coincides with the opening of centers were parents can leave their unwanted children rather than killing them via abortion or infanticide.

The new program has the strong support of the Catholic Church in India and the archbishop of Mumbai called it a "continuation of the work of the Church for life."

Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Mumbai said the government plan was a continuation of the "good work being done by the Church."

He told Asia News he appreciated the initiative of cradles to protect little girls "because in our social context, strong gender discrimination persists."

"The Indian Church has been working on this front for decades: the sisters of Mother Teresa and other religious congregations accept unwanted babies, keeping a cradle outside the door of their institutions," Archbishop Gracias added.

Last December, a new report by UNICEF indicated 7,000 fewer female babies are born every day because parents can determine the sex of their unborn baby and kill her before birth. In 80 percent of India's districts, a higher percentage of boys are born now than a decade ago.

The report cites the increased availability of cheap ultrasound technology as playing a role despite attempts by the India government to crack down on its use.

UNICEF says the resulting gender imbalance from sex selection abortions is particularly prevalent in the wealthier regions of the nation where access to the ultrasound technology easier.

UNICEF based the findings on Indian census data and they follow a report in early 2006 from the British medical journal Lancet, which estimated that 10 million baby girls have probably been aborted in the last 20 years.

The results show that a 1994 law prohibiting the use of ultrasounds to determine the sex of a baby for non-medical reasons is not working, even though the Indian government has announced several recent arrests in a renew effort to enforce the law.

Some Indian states such as Punjab and Haryana face male-female ratios as low as 799 girls born for every 1,000 boys.

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Muslim Cleric Urge Indonesians To Stop Fornicating

A Muslim cleric has urged Indonesians, in particular teenagers, to stop having sex out of wedlock to avoid worsening the country's morality, a local report said Friday.

'The moral damage caused by pre-marital sexual behaviour has negative effects that are far worse than the tsunami disaster in Aceh province in 2004,' cleric Abdul Rasyid said after leading regular Friday prayers at a mosque within the Presidential Palace grounds.

Around 177,000 people were killed in Indonesia's Aceh province after an earthquake-triggered tsunami struck nine Asian countries on December 26, 2004. In all, more than 220,000 people perished in the international disaster.

'Research has shown that almost 50 per cent of Indonesian girls have sex out of wedlock, which will ruin us,' Rasyid said, according to the state-run Antara news agency.

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority nation but has a secular government and constitution. The vast majority of the country's 190 million Muslims practice a moderate version of Islam, and drinking, smoking and pre-marital sex are commonplace within society.

Some Indonesian nationalists and moderate Muslim leaders have warned about back-door attempts by conservative and hard-line Muslims groups to change the constitution to make Indonesia an Islamic state.

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Japanese Busy, No Time For Sex

Richard Lloyd Parry

The secret of Japan's exceptionally low birthrate is out - more than a third of married couples do not have sex.

"The situation is dismal," said Kunio Kitamura, director of the country's Family Planning Association, after a government survey suggested that 34.6 per cent of couples had not made love for more than four weeks.

"My research shows that if you don't have sex for a month, you probably won't for a year. This is very bad news for the country's birthrate, and something the Government needs to look into urgently."

The survey of 1400 people, for Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare, indicated that 39.7 per cent of all Japanese couples aged 16 to 49 had not had sex for more than a month, a 5 per cent increase on the results of the same survey two years ago.

Doctors and anthropologists say that there are a number of reasons why the Japanese are giving up sex. One is the lifestyle of many urban Japanese men, who leave home early, return home late and tired after a long commute, and tend to spend weekends and other free time socialising with work colleagues or catching up on their sleep. Women, too, are more likely to work and have less time to themselves.

Some couples do not expect to maintain a regular sex life after the arrival of a child and small, thin-walled apartments offer few opportunities for privacy.

Poor communication is also cited as a factor, especially among older people, who are constrained from discussing sex, even with their spouses.

The Japan Sexual Science Association defines a sexless marriage as one in which there has been no sexual contact between husband and wife for more than a month, and in which this situation is expected to continue.

Japan also came last in a table of 29 countries compiled by University of Chicago researchers into which had the greatest sexual satisfaction. (Austrians were first.)

It also came last in a survey by Durex, the condom manufacturer, which found the Japanese have sex 45 times a year, compared with an average of 103.

In the past 10 years, Japanese politicians and bureaucrats have become preoccupied increasingly by the country's declining birthrate. The fertility rate, the number of children that the average woman will bear in a lifetime, fell to a record low of 1.25 last year, well below the "replacement rate" of 2.1.

At the same time, Japanese are living longer. A situation looms in which a decreasing number of working taxpayers have to support a growing population of pensioners, leading to budgetary collapse.

Various reasons have been advanced to explain the declining fertility rate, but it may be mainly due to the most basic reason of all - that the Japanese are giving up on sex.

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Gay Politician Ken Togo Makes Appeal On Politics, Freedom, And Sex

Ryann Connell

Japan's leading sexual minority politician tells Spa! that his path from "pillow biter" to "freedom fighter" shows there's no love in Japanese politics.

Japanese society has long prided itself on being homogenous, but has for a long time bordered on homophobic. Now it's slowly embracing sexual minorities, and there is a growing number of openly transsexual and homosexual politicians; but it wasn't always this way.

Ken Togo ran in 14 elections from 1971 through to 1995, openly and aggressively campaigning as a gay during an era when homosexuality remained well and truly in the closet.

"I was the only one in the political world at the time who ever openly disclosed being an okama," Togo tells Spa!, using to describe his preference the somewhat derogatory Japanese term for gay that is roughly akin to the English "faggot."

It's common for Japanese politicians to campaign by riding around the streets in a loudspeaker van with a policy message (or more likely the candidate's name) shouted out repeatedly. In his early campaigns, Togo's catchcry was "I'm the faggot. Ken Togo the faggot." Spa! notes Togo's other policy slogans included "I love cocks" and "Slip one in for Ken Togo," a message that could suggest voting for the gay campaigner or, well, something a little different.

Perhaps not surprisingly given the full frontal approach of his campaigning, many people saw Togo was a weirdo, or, more alarming in conformist Japan, a henjin, or "different person." Though now recognized as a harbinger of better fortunes, even large sectors of the gay community once hated Togo because they believed his approach further alienated them from mainstream society, which tended -- and sometimes still tends -- to view all political homosexuals as militant.

Togo was unrepentant, though, and in 1977 formed the Zatsuminto -- the Crude People's Party.

"Gays weren't the only people discriminated against. Lesbians, the disabled, entertainment industry workers, they're all discriminated against," Togo says. "Until all discrimination and segregation are eliminated, there's no true liberty of equality."

Togo struggled to find much support throughout his political career, a fate that seems to have baffled him but one he has come to terms with.

"What's wrong with a man loving a man? I think it's far more shameful to live a life while lying to yourself. What's truly shameful is not ever being loved," the 74-year-old says. tells Spa! "I'm too old for politics now. If I ever get the chance now, I wouldn't mind talking about what love is, and what discrimination is. I've got my bar now (in Shinjuku's Golden Gai). I've had it since January. This is the stage where I'll play out the last few acts of my life."

Togo sees current Japanese politics as a heartless wasteland.

"There's no love in Japanese politics. There's nothing shameful about standing around holding each other's cocks," the veteran gay rights campaigner tells Spa! "A society that criticizes people for loving people isn't much of a society. We need more love. It's clearly far more important to have sexual politics with love than it is to just have plain politics."

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Same-Sex Sexual Assault Must Be Severely Punished To "Deter Potential Offenders".

A Chinese lawmaker has called for amendment to or judicial interpretation of the country's existing Criminal Law to severely punish those making sexual assaults on victims of the same sex.

"Same-sex sexual assaults seriously harm personal dignity and undermine social morality, but under the current criminal law the offenders often get away with light punishment," said Fan Yi, a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, in its annual full session which opened here Monday.

According to Fan, China's old Criminal Law enacted in 1979 used to include a clause defining sexual assaults between same sex, mainly male to male, as a crime. "It stipulated that sodomy should be punished as a 'crime of indecent assault'," he said.

The crime of indecent assault was discarded and replaced by four specific criminal offenses when the Criminal Law currently effective was adopted in 1997, but same-sex sexual assaults was not mentioned at all, Fan explained.

"As a result, the courts could hardly find any legal basis to punish those same-sex attackers as rapists, and often had to render light sentences on them after convicting them of other offenses," he added.

In recent years, Chinese media have reported cases in which male employees were sexually harassed or abused by their same-sex bosses, but the police couldn't even file a criminal investigation due to the lack of a solid legal foundation.

Fan, who is president of foreign languages college of Ningbo University in East China's Zhejiang Province, said that he plans to submit a motion to the ongoing NPC session regarding the issue.

"I suggest either the existing Criminal Law be amended to add the crime of same-sex sexual assault, which should receive the same punishment as the crime of rape, or the Supreme People's Court give a judicial interpretation to define same-sex sexual assault as a form of rape," Fan noted.

As a "violent crime" often targeting children and teenagers, said Fan, same-sex sexual assault must be severely punished to "deter potential offenders".

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Sex workers Want Recognition among Entertainment Workers

Are sex workers 'entertainment workers'? At the end of a seven-day all-India conference of sex workers, this is what women who refuse to accept old tags are asking.

'For more than a decade we have been striving for our rights as entertainment workers. We work hard to entertain our clients as everyone does. We do it in our own way and at the end of the day we earn our livelihood,' said Mira Malik, a Sonagachi-based sex worker here.

The All India Conference of Entertainment Workers 2007, which kicked off Feb 25, concluded March 3 - the International Sex workers' Day - with the sex workers demanding a specific identification for themselves.

'If any other entertainment worker - like singer, dancer, magician, actor - can get social recognition, why not the sex workers? We also entertain people and we think it's the highest form of pleasure,' Mira said.

The representatives from the sex workers community of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh attended the conference to voice their demands.

There are 70 'red light areas' in West Bengal with 14 in Kolkata alone, and the conference provided sex workers, both male and female, with a common platform while they rubbed shoulders with actors, dancers, singers and others.

'Thousands of participating sex workers - both organised and individuals - from across India met here to press their demands for the same labour rights, social assistance and recognition,' said Smrajit Jana, chief advisor of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) (The Committee for Indomitable Women), an apex body of about 65,000 sex workers that organised the meet.

'On behalf of DMSC we are preparing a list which will include our demands like new labour law and a self regulatory board for the sex workers,' Bharati Dey, the programme director of DMSC, told IANS.

She said the list was being prepared on the basis of the discussions and problems of all sex workers who participated in the conference.

'We have started a signature campaign for setting up a cultural academy in Kolkata. We will give this proposal to the union government and to the ministry of social welfare of the West Bengal government for the betterment of our community,' Bharati said.

DMSC had started off in 1992 with only 12 sex workers and got registered in 1995. It has also expanded outside West Bengal to bring the sex workers under a single forum and help them to fight for their own rights.

It has also ventured into other welfare activities like formation of Usha Multi Purpose Co-operative Society Ltd - the largest co-operative society for the sex workers in Asia with annual transactions worth over Rs.900 million.

Festival of Pleasure, Entertainment in Development, Mehboob Ki Mehendi (Colours of Love), Sexual Rights and Relationship, Entertainment in Revolution, Rang De Basanti (Coloured with Spring) were the various sessions of the meet in which the sex workers gathered in a sprawling park beside Sonagachi in north Kolkata.

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Hamas: Keep Our Schools Free From Books With Sexual Innuendo.

The Hamas-run Education Ministry has ordered an anthology of Palestinian folk tales pulled from school libraries and destroyed, reportedly over mild sexual innuendo, officials said Monday, in the most direct attempt by the Islamic militants to impose their beliefs on Palestinian society.

Horses made of roots

The book ban angered and worried many Palestinians, who long feared that Hamas would use its victory in last year's parliamentary election to remake the Palestinian territories according to its hardline interpretation of Islam.

West Bank novelist Zakariya Mohammed said he feared Hamas' decision to ban "Speak Bird, Speak Again," a collection of 45 folk tales, was only the beginning and urged intellectuals to take action. "If we don't stand up to the Islamists now, they won't stop confiscating books, songs and folklore," he said.

The Education Ministry declined immediate comment. A senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters, confirmed that 1,500 copies of the book had been pulled from school libraries and destroyed.

Hanan Ashrawi, an independent lawmaker and former Cabinet minister, said the decision to pull the book was "outrageous."

"If this is what is to come, it is extremely alarming," she said.

With Hamas slated to retain the Education Ministry under a power-sharing agreement with the secular Fatah party, Ashrawi called for the creation of an independent body to deal with issues related to arts and education.

"Education and culture and social issues should not be handled by anybody that has a closed, ideological, doctrinal attitude," she said. "It should be in the hands of professionals."

Since taking office last year, Hamas, which advocates an Islamic Palestinian state, has largely shied away from trying to force its mores on Palestinian society, as rights activists had feared. Some analysts speculated that the group was too busy trying to fend off international sanctions and keep its government from collapsing to focus on banning alcohol or other measures.

However, in recent months the Hamas-controlled ministries have begun forcing women to don headscarves to enter. And two years ago, Hamas officials in charge of the West Bank town of Qalqiliya sparked fears of a culture crackdown by banning a local music festival, arguing that the mingling of men and women at such an event was "haram," or forbidden by Islam.

In a letter sent to the Nablus school district last month, the Education Ministry said "Speak Bird, Speak Again" must be removed within a week, and asked school officials to notify the ministry once they had complied. The letter did not explain why the book was considered objectionable. Excerpts of the letter were read to The Associated Press by a Nablus school official who spoke on condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.

Palestinian folklore

The 400-page anthology of folk tales narrated by Palestinian women was first published in English in 1989 by the University of California at Berkeley. It was put together by Sharif Kanaana, a novelist and anthropology professor at the West Bank's Bir Zeit University, and by Ibrahim Muhawi, a teacher of Arabic literature and the theory of translation, the AP reports.

A French version, published by UNESCO, followed in 1997, and an Arabic one in 2001, said Kaanana, who lives in the West Bank town of Ramallah. At the time of the first publication in Arabic, the Palestinian Culture Ministry requested 3,000 copies and had them distributed in schools, Kanaana said Monday.

Kanaana said that two of the 45 tales contained what some might consider vague sexual innuendo, referring to body parts in colloquial Arabic. "This is our heritage, this is our life," he said of the folk tales.

One of Kanaana's neighbors, pharmacist Nabil Nahas, 60, said the book was a treasure, and that he was deeply upset by what he said was Hamas' attempt to silence other opinions.

The author said the stories shouldn't be altered because this is how they were transmitted from generation to generation. He didn't mind having a revised version for young children, but the original should be freely available, as a historic record, he said.

"It's not their right to judge this book," Kanaana said. "It's a scientific, academic book."

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Rape: Japanese Weapon Of War

Hiroko Tabuchi

Yasuji Kaneko, a foot soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, speaks at his home in Tokyo about countless women he raped in China as a soldier.
Yasuji Kaneko, 87, still remembers the screams of the countless women he raped in China as a foot soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.
Some were teenagers from the Korean Peninsula serving as sex slaves in military-run brothels. Others were women in villages he and his comrades pillaged as they battled in eastern China.

"They cried out, but it didn't matter to us whether the women lived or died," Kaneko said in an interview at his Tokyo home. "We were the Emperor's soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance."

Japan's forced prostitution of some 200,000 women in military brothels in the 1930s and '40s has long constituted one of the most horrifying chapters of its wartime rampage across Asia. The top government spokesman was finally forced to acknowledge wrongdoing in 1993.

Now the government is questioning whether the apology was needed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday publicly denied women were forced into the military brothels in conquered lands, boosting renewed efforts by rightwing politicians who claim the women involved were professional prostitutes rather than victims of abuse.

"There was no evidence to prove there was coercion as initially suggested," Abe told reporters. "That largely changes what constitutes the definition of coercion, and we have to take it from there."

The debate is heating up just as a private fund set up to compensate some of the victims is about to expire at the end of March amid accusations it was only a cover for the government to avoid taking responsibility. The government has rejected most compensation claims, saying they were settled by postwar treaties.

Victims are outraged and are pressing ahead with their demands for a full government apology rather than the 1993 statement of remorse by a spokesman.

"The Japanese government must not run from its responsibilities," said Lee Yong Soo, 78, who said she was taken as a 14-year-old from Daegu, Korea, by Japanese soldiers in 1944 to work as a sex slave in Taiwan. "I want them to apologize. To admit that they took me away, when I was a little girl, to be a sex slave. To admit that history."

The issue is not limited to Japan. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives held hearings on a resolution that urges the government of Japan to "apologize for and acknowledge" the military's use of sex slaves during the war.

The sex slaves issue has also sparked tensions between Japan and its neighbors, who accuse Tokyo of trying to whitewash wartime atrocities.

Historians say that up to 200,000 women, mainly from the Korean Peninsula and China, were forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers in military brothels as so-called "comfort women." Many more were raped at gunpoint as Tokyo's troops rampaged through the region.

After decades of denial, incriminating defense documents discovered in 1992 forced the government to acknowledge that the military government ran brothels populated by women forcibly taken from their homes, and to offer an apology the following year.

The Asian Women's Fund, created in 1995 by the government but independently run and funded by private donations, has provided a way for Japan to compensate former sex slaves without offering official government payments.

Many women have rejected the fund, calling for a direct government apology -- approved by the Diet -- and compensation funded directly by Tokyo.

For rightists, however, Japan's apology went too far. Just hours before Abe spoke, a group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers met to prepare a proposal that urges the government to water down parts of the 1993 apology and deny direct military involvement.

"Some say it is useful to compare the brothels to college cafeterias run by private companies, who recruit their own staff, procure foodstuffs, and set prices," said Nariaki Nakayama, chairman of the group of 120 lawmakers, of which Abe is a member.

"And where there's demand, businesses crop up.. ..but to say women were forced by the Japanese military into service is off the mark," he said. "This issue must be reconsidered, based on truth.. ..for the sake of Japanese honor."

Though rightwingers are unapologetic, actual participants say the assertions are far from the truth.

"The brothels were run by the military. There's no question about that," Kaneko said, adding that he was once ordered to guard sex slaves being circulated around military posts.

"There were so many soldiers, and so few comfort women. Sometimes, four or five women had to serve several hundred soldiers," he said.

Those memories are still vivid for Lee, the former sex slave. For 10 months in the northern Taiwanese town of Hsinchu, soldiers raped her, kicked her and cut at her with swords.

"I was so young. I did not understand what had happened to me," Lee said. "My cries then still ring in my ears. Even now, I can't sleep."

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Korea - Where Human Desire (Prostitution) Seems Stronger Than Stringent Law

We are surprised at the survival power of the sex industry. It was shocking to hear that a host of massage parlors employing prostitutes are thriving in downtown Seoul even though a strong anti-prostitution law is in force. The law is so strong as to put brothel owners in prison for up to 10 years with a maximum fine of 100 million won. But some of the massage parlors earn about 10 billion won ($10.3 million) a year.

According to police who recently cracked down on the brothels, people who frequented such places included lawyers, professors and other leading figures of society. This shows the shameful reality of our sex morals. It was three years ago when a stringent anti-prostitution law was passed to crush the sex trade once and for all. However, the recent clampdown indicates the widening gap between reality and the law.

The move by government to restrain human desire by stringent law has proved ineffective. The law was able to remove the red light areas from people's sight. But prostitution prospered in massage parlors, sports massage centers and other places. The brothels that used to exist in certain regions have infiltrated residential and office areas.

Many lawmakers were skeptical about the effectiveness of the law when it was first put forward. But none of them were able to oppose it for fear of being branded supporters of prostitution. The Ministry of Gender Equality and some women's organizations were in the forefront for the legislation and there was no place for male politicians to oppose their fundamentalist approach to the affair. Their intention to do away with sex trade was right. But relying on a stringent law was naive.

It must be pointed out that the law has made it more difficult to resolve the matter. The brothels used to be confined to certain areas, but the law has made them go underground. Outwardly, they are nowhere, but actually they are everywhere. Outbreaks of venereal disease are said to be increasing. Another outstanding matter is that even the women selling sex do not support the law.

Those who used to work in red light districts are supported by the government in their attempts to abandon prostitution and become self-reliant according to the law. But in reality, most of the prostitutes have returned to their original work. The government's move to eradicate prostitution through passing a law has ended in failure. The government should work out measures to check prostitution's rampant growth before it is too late.

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Isaac Cohen: 'Britney and her family are in my prayers.'

The male model who briefly dated Britney Spears earlier this year has sent the troubled singer his best wishes during her current stint in rehab.

Spears, 25, checked into Promises Residential Treatment Center in Malibu, California, on Feb. 21, following months of incessant partying.

Cohen, who dated Spears for a month earlier this year, admits he was surprised to hear of the extent of her problems, because she didn't seem that out of control when they were together.

He says, "I was definitely surprised that she went into rehab. I didn't feel it had to come to that, but you know, if that's what it takes and if that's what she needs.

"It's the best thing for her, her children--for everyone around her, actually. She's a strong girl and I really feel that she'll be okay.

"(Britney and her) family are in my prayers."

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The Holy Texts Guide Policies On Blood

In Old Testament verses, God repeatedly tells the Israelites to not eat blood.

At the Last Supper, which is described in the New Testament and is the theological foundation for Christian eucharist, Jesus bids His disciples to drink wine, for it is His blood which seals a covenant with God.

Occasionally, controversy over the medical use of blood boils to the surface.

When it does, Jehovah's Witnesses are usually central figures in headline news about battles pitting religious freedom against the power of the state.

In January, a Jehovah's Witness woman in British Columbia gave birth to sextuplets who were three months premature. Four survived.

Doctors argue that babies born extremely prematurely often need blood transfusions -- which are strictly against Jehovah's Witnesses teaching.

Last month, the B.C. government seized three of the babies, against the parents' objections, and gave transfusions to two of them before returning custody to the parents.

The lawyer for the parents, who are challenging the childrens' seizure in court, has argued that the province violated Supreme Court of Canada directives to ensure parents have a say before medical procedures are performed over their objections.

Jehovah's Witnesses use the Bible as the foundation to their objection to blood transfusions, said Mark Ruge, director for public information for Jehovah's Witnesses Canada.

Some critics argue biblical prohibitions on consuming blood only ban the eating of blood.

But Ruge says Jehovah's Witnesses consider receiving a blood transfusion as consuming blood.

"It's like a doctor said, 'I want you to abstain from alcohol. No more drinking, it's going to kill you. No more alcohol.' That doesn't mean (the patient) can put it in a syringe and put it in his vein . . . he's still taking it into his body.

"The Creator, we believe Jehovah, we know He knows more about blood, what it can do and what it can't do, than anybody else."

Ruge pointed to the tainted-blood scandal of the 1980s when thousands of Canadians contracted HIV and hepatitis C after receiving contaminated donor blood.

"The Creator, who has foreknowledge, can look ahead and know what things are going to transpire in the future," Ruge said.

Because Jehovah's Witnesses don't support consuming blood, they also do not donate blood.

Ruge noted doctors are using, and further developing, medical techniques that can be used as alternatives to blood transfusions.

In the case of the B.C. sextuplets, most news reports indicated the children would die without transfusions, Ruge said.

But doctors can't guarantee the outcome of a medical treatment for any patient, he said.

"Only God can be positive in saying (it) will save that (patient)."

In Judaism, biblical prohibitions on taking blood are on eating it, Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig says.

Rosenzweig, spiritual leader at Beth Jacob Congregation in Kitchener, said in an interview that God forbids Jews to eat any blood from any mammal.

But there is no prohibition on either donating blood or receiving a blood transfusion, he said.

"Saving a life . . . it's not a concept, it's a human being."

In Judaism the soul is considered to be housed in the blood, he said.

"Contrary to popular myth, the soul is not a spirit, a human-like ghost form," he said. "The soul is the life force that moves through the body in the blood."

So it must be respected.

When a Jew dies in a traffic accident, in surgery, or from a violent attack, his or her bloody clothes, bandages and sheets are buried with the body, Rosenzweig said.

"We don't want the blood to go down into the sewer system," he said. "We want the blood to go back into the earth."

Consuming blood isn't allowed in Islam, said Abdul Mannan Syed, imam at the Muslim Society of Waterloo and Wellington Counties mosque in Waterloo.

In the Qur'an, in a chapter called the Table, God forbids followers to eat pork, carrion or blood.

The prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, taught that blood must be treated respectfully, Syed said.

"Each other's blood and wealth should be sacred to each other as you keep the house of God sacred for each other -- not violated."

One reason that the Canadian Blood Services may not be getting ample blood donations from immigrant communities is that many new Canadians aren't familiar with western systems of donating and collecting blood, he said.

People in his home city in India would donate blood for relatives who are undergoing surgery, he said. Otherwise, the practice of donating blood isn't common.

Christian Science (not to be con- fused with the Church of Scientology) is a system for healing through prayer, says Eric Nickerson, public information officer for Ontario on the practise of Christian Science.

Church members opt first for healing through prayer, he said in an interview.

But there is no prohibition on receiving modern medical treatment, donating blood or receiving a blood transfusion, Nickerson said.

"It's really up to the individual."

In Sikhism, there is no religious prohibition on donating or receiving blood, says Chattar Ahuja, spokesperson for the Golden Triangle Sikh Association, which has a temple near Petersburg, west of Kitchener.

Ahuja said his congregation wanted to hold a blood donor clinic at the temple recently, but couldn't meet the health requirements because extensive renovations were underway.

Now that renovations are complete, Ahuja said, he is exploring the possibility of hosting a clinic.

Chaitanya Jyoti, one of two spiritual leaders at Shri Ram Dham Hindu Temple in Kitchener, says scriptures about blood in Hindu traditions formed the foundation of the caste system in India.

People used to not marry outside of their caste in order to maintain the purity of bloodlines, she said.

For example priests and intellectuals of the highest caste, called Brahman, would usually marry within their own caste in order to more easily pass on religious traditions to their children, Jyoti said.

"Some things, people automatically adopt. It's easy for them to follow."

Brahman would accept young women for brides from other castes, but they wouldn't give their daughters as brides to lower caste grooms in order to maintain blood purity, she said.

In modern times some maintain that practice, others don't.

People can improve their blood through spiritual practices, she added.

Lama Karma Phuntsok, teacher at the Palpung Yeshe Chokhor Meditation Centre in Kitchener, said he knows of no restrictions in Tibetan Buddhism on receiving a blood transfusion.

But donating blood is a positive act of generosity, he said.

"Giving is really really important, he said. "Giving is actually receiving."

In Theravada Buddhism, there is no prohibition on donating blood or receiving a blood transfusion, said Ven. Deba Mitra Bhikkhu, one of the resident monks at Phommaviharam Buddhist Temple in Kitchener.

Blood donation is beneficial for the patient who needs blood, he said, but also spiritually beneficial for donors.

"By practising generosity they're sharing something valuable," Bhikkhu said of donors. "Blood gives life to other people"

But the donor's intention is important, he added.

Bhikkhu's congregation is mostly composed of people from Sri Lanka and Laos. Sri Lanka's military has been fighting a war against Tamil independence fighters. So some people donate blood as a patriotic act, Bhikkhu said, because donations would go to the government army hospital.

"From an ideological perspective, an ideal way of giving something is to give something for the sake of giving, Bhikkhu said. "Rather than thinking who . . . would receive it."


The Bible

Book of Genesis 9:4

"The one thing you must not eat is meat with blood still in it; I forbid this because the life is in the blood."

Leviticus 3:17

"No Israelite may eat any fat or any blood; this is a rule to be kept forever by all Israelites wherever they live."

Leviticus 17:10-13

"If any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community eats meat with blood still in it, the Lord will turn against him and no longer consider him one of his people. "The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the Lord has commanded that all blood be poured out on the altar to take away the people's sins. Blood, which is life, takes away sins.

"That is why the Lord has told the people of Israel that neither they nor any foreigner living among them shall eat any meat with blood still in it.

"If any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community catches an animal or a bird which is ritually clean, he must pour its blood out on the ground and cover it with dirt."

Deuteronomy 12:16

"But you must not eat their (animals') blood; you must pour it out on the ground like water."

Acts 15:19-20

"It is my opinion," James went on "that we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any blood."

Acts 15:29

". . . eat no food that has been offered to idols; eat no blood; eat no animal that has been strangled . . . "

The Qur'an Table 5:3

"You are forbidden carrion, blood, and the flesh of swine; also any flesh dedicated to any other than God."

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Sex Slavery And Male Prostitution Plaguing Russian Army

According to the UN International Panel for Struggle against Sexual Exploitation, the Russian army is plagued with male prostitution. A small amount of money is enough to find a Russian soldier-prostitute in the center of Moscow.

Russian soldiers in a line-up seemingly experiencing the discomfort of conscripted participation Servicemen may become male prostitutes in the Russian army for various reasons. There are young men who voluntarily offer sexual favors to their homosexual clients; others are forced into prostitution against their own will. Newcomers, especially those who finished higher schools before joining the army, suffer from sexual harassment more often than others. Brave soldiers try to protect their honor and rights, although there is no one to help them: commanders and military officials may often be involved in the sex business too.

"When I was standing on duty, two bullies came up to me and shoved me into the stockroom, a soldier serving at one of Moscow's military units recollects. They raped me there in turn. It was very painful and revolting. It didn't take them much time to finish, but the next day I started noticing other soldiers giving me strange looks. I instantly realized that those bastards let everyone know what they had done to me. An officer came up to me one day and said to me point-blank: 'Tomorrow you will to serve two clients.' I knew that if I said 'no' then I would spend my last days spitting blood. But still, I told him 'no.' When the officer heard that, he pulled out pictures of me being raped in the stockroom. 'If you don't serve the clients, you mother will see these pictures' said he. I was forced into prostitution," the soldier said.

Another serviceman, named only as Ilya, became a male prostitute during his second month in the army. The young man received a letter from his girlfriend. "The sergeant told me that day that I would no longer need girls. He and three other men forced me to go behind the barracks to the abandoned construction site. They made me kneel their, tied me up to a lamppost and hit me several times in the groin. The pain was so strong that I lost the will to fight them back. They made me open my mouth and raped me. I don't remember how long it continued. When I came to my senses I didn't want to live. I was seriously thinking about committing suicide. I was shocked that the rapists were visiting me regularly afterwards bringing fruit and vodka for me. When it ended they made me a prostitute," Ilya said.

There were many incidents when soldiers prefer bid farewell to their lives being unable to cope with humiliation. However, military officials mostly say that such stories occur because of the unbalanced state of mind of the soldiers.

Solder Aleksey I. from the town of Taganrog was also going to commit suicide. He wrote a letter to his mother before: "Hello Mum. I have been raped like a whore. I have decided to kill myself. Please forgive me. I will hang myself, and nobody will call me a whore ever again. If I find out that my younger brothers will serve in the army too, I will curse you. I don't want to live like a faggot. I hate myself." The man's attempt to commit suicide failed. He is now a patient of a hospital for mentally unbalanced individuals.

Pimps in uniform aim at bringing a person down and humiliating him. If they succeed, they make a soldier become either a passive or an active male prostitute (an active one is more expensive). Prostitute soldiers are divided into three groups in Russia: the secluded, the street boys and the affiliated.

Street boys are the most common and cheapest male prostitutes in the Russian army. They can be found in many places of Moscow during weekends. When on a leave warrant, the street boys wander about the capital looking for clients and offering sex services to them. They can be basically found in the center of Moscow: on Tverskaya Street, on the square in front of the Pushkinsky Cinema and in the Alexandrov Garden near the Red Square. Sometimes they can be found on railway stations too. They try to guess the sexual orientation of a potential client and approach him asking for a cigarette or a little money. Sometimes they ask to use a cell phone to make one single call home. Just a little attention to such a soldier is enough to make him start seducing the client. The conversation mostly ends with a quick oral action in a toilet nearby.

"The street boys don't ask for much money. The majority of them come to Moscow from Russia's provinces. They are ready to do anything for a bowl of soup or a cigarette," a client (he asked to call him Igor) said. "When they return to the military unit, they share their earnings with bullies, who in their turn share with officers," the man said.

Unlike street boys, the secluded do not spend their time rambling about Moscow and looking for clients. They gather in certain places of which their potential clients know - for example the monument to heroes of Plevna, otherwise known as Pleshka.

Pleshka is the most notorious place in the Moscow homosexual environment. Gays can be spotted their all day long, although gay prostitutes and their pimps appear in the evening time. Some of them put on military uniform and pretend to be soldiers. Such a 'professional' asks for $300 USD, although a genuine military man on Pleshka charges only $20-30 USD dollars.

The so-called affiliated army prostitutes make the biggest earnings in comparison with the two of the above-mentioned groups. They 'serve' in their own military units waiting for clients in the barracks.

Finding an agent to establish a contact with army prostitutes is very easy. There are several websites on the Russian Internet that carry quite a list of adequate advertisements. However, going on a gay adventure in the military can be a risky endeavor. It is strongly recommended not to show money to soldiers before sex. "If they see the money they may kill you without giving it a second thought. Five hundred rubles ($20) is a whole fortune in the army," a man who wished to remain anonymous said.

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Why Japanese Guys Wont Give A Head

Ryann Connell

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Beautiful Country" plan aims to reinvigorate the nation, but Weekly Playboy uses some cunning linguistics to come up with an idea it says will really lick Japan into shape.

Removing the "O" from "Beautiful Country" gives the prime minister's plan an entirely different meaning and, as the men's weekly does, performing a similar twist of the tongue in Japanese by adding an "n" transforms the original name of the scheme from utsukushii kuni to utsukushii kunni - or "Beautiful Cunnilingus."

It's an important alteration, the weekly argues, because love hotels across the country are reporting that men in their 20s are refusing to go down to places where their mouthed ministrations would be most appreciated, and using only the lamest of excuses for their boorish behavior.

"It's not like it's the most visually appealing area, is it?" one refusenik tells Weekly Playboy.

When it comes to explaining why they dislike oral sex, it's plain to see from another man that neither cat nor pussy have got his tongue.

"All the hair gets caught between your teeth," the 27-year-old illustrator tells Weekly Playboy. "And I don't do anything down there with my fingers, either, because they end up smelling."

Weekly Playboy says that young men who refuse to orally pleasure women can be divided into the traumatized (who are frightened by the sight of female genitalia), the neglectful (who aren't even aware of the practice of cunnilingus), and the rawboned -- who simply dislike anything uncooked, including sashimi.

Luminaries from Japan's netherworld, however, say regardless of whatever type of guy they are, it's every young man's duty to stop giving lip and get to work, lickety split.

"If Japanese men are refusing to get between women's legs and lick, it'll be the end of Japan," Goro Tameiki, renowned adult movie auteur, tells Weekly Playboy.

Fubuki Takazawa, an author of erotic novels, also sticks her tongue out at those who refuse to lap up the labia.

"Women have no obligation to perform fellatio on any man who refuses cunnilingus," she says. "I'd say about the only men who've never made a woman orgasm are the ones who think they'll make them climax just by sticking their thing in."

Surprisingly, Dr. Yamanaka of the Toranomon Hibiya Clinic, says there may be a scientific explanation behind why young Japanese men today have developed a phobia toward dining at the wire.

"Because of all the preservatives in food, people today can consume enormous quantities of organic phosphorus. Once a certain amount of organic phosphorus builds up in the body, it attaches itself to calcium and is expelled through waste products. But what this means is that a large build-up of organic phosphorus leads directly to a calcium deficiency," Yamanaka tells Weekly Playboy. "Then you've got the human nervous system, which is made up of sympathetic nerves and parasympathetic nerves. Parasympathetic nerves feed only on calcium. When the body doesn't have enough calcium, the parasympathetic nerves don't work as well as they should.

That sends the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves all skew-whiff. When the sympathetic nerves work stronger than the parasympathetic nerves, it becomes easier to get nervous and aroused. 'Rage' attacks have been discussed pretty frequently in recent years and they're probably triggered by this mechanism. If there is a decreased sexual desire or erection problems, it probably means the parasympathetic nerves aren't working as well as they should be."

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Have You Ever Seen A Vessel Sink Made From Granite?

If you're remodeling a bathroom, a new sink is probably in the cards. Back in the day, a sink was a sink, purely functional and with few options to choose from. Today, there is an endless supply of colors, materials, and styles to choose from. To start with, you should decide if you want a sink that mounts into the vanity or a vessel sink.

Vessel sinks sit above the countertop and are often more dramatic and eye-catching than in-counter varieties. For example, this granite sink would be certain to make an impression on visitors. The inside is polished to a smooth sheen while the outside retains the look and feel of natural, rough-cut stone. Available from Modern Danish, the granite vessel sink costs $270.

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Israeli airline El Al sued in sexual harassment case

An employee of Israel's national airline El Al filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the carrier, claiming her supervisor repeatedly groped her and demanded that she have sex with him.

Clara Perez, 50, said in court papers that her supervisor Willie Licht, the head of US ground operations for El Al, has been commenting on her body, grabbing her buttocks and demanding sex from her since they met in the summer of 2002.

Perez, an El Al employee for 15 years, said in her lawsuit that her supervisor created a totally hostile work environment.' Her court papers alleged that Licht has accused her of running a bordello and having sex with the airline's pilots and passengers.

Perez's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, seeks unspecified damages and legal fees from Licht and the airline.

Perez, a divorced mother who lives with her two teenagers, said in her lawsuit that El Al management did nothing when she complained about her treatment by her supervisor. She said she even traveled to Israel in 2003 to complain in person to several of the airline's top executives.

El Al's personnel department sent Perez a letter dated Dec. 21, 2006, saying, Based on our investigation, we were unable to substantiate your allegations of improper conduct.' The letter is filed with her court papers.

Perez's lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, said they gave her two demotions (in title, but not in work responsibility) since she complained, so she's getting 60 percent of her former pay for the same work.'

When she had a female supervisor in 2004, Jaroslawicz said, she got an Employee of the Year award from the airline's US general manager.

Neither El Al's public relations department nor its lawyer immediately returned a telephone call for comment Tuesday. Licht could not be reached for comment.

Perez's court papers say that at least four sexual harassment lawsuits have been filed against El Al in recent years by female employees.

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Sexual violence on children rises 33% in Korea

Bae Ji-sook

Child molestation is becoming a serious social problem with the number of cases of sexual violence on children under 13 increasing every year.

In 2006, the number of victims under 13 was 980 or 6.4 percent of the total of 15,326 reported cases of sexual violence, according to the National Police Agency. This represents a significant rise from 738 or 5.5 percent of 13,446 cases in 2005 and 721 or 5.1 percent of 14,089 cases in 2004.

However, the figure does not show the actual situation well according to some specialists as the victims are young and cannot express what happened to them. Also not everybody takes legal steps against the assaulters. According to the Sunflower Children's Center, a state-funded clinic dealing with child sex abuse cases, only 25.9 percent of parents of the 1,088 child victims take legal action against the offender.

Also the seven-year statute of limitations for crimes on sexual violence also hampers the victims from asking for charges to be filed. Related to this, the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court to abolish the statute of limitations on sexual violence and crimes last December and the proposal is now under study.

Currently, when a child becomes a victim of sexual violence, the parents or legal guardians can report the crime to the police, the sexual violence relief center, or the sunflower center.

The child will be asked a few questions and if she or he is ready to give statement, the center will provide the victim with therapy, video recording of the testimony as well as other medical and legal processes.

``Sexual violence against children is a serious crime as the trauma stays with the victim for a long time,'' a consultant of the sexual violence relief center said.

The first ceremony for the ``Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence Against Children'' will be held today by the child sexual violence prevention committee consisting of officials from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the Commission on Youth Protection, and 30 other civic groups.

February 22 is the funeral date of Huh, an elementary school student who was sexually assaulted and killed by a molester last year in Yongsan, Seoul. The government said it will keep the day as one to hold a nationwide campaign to get rid of sexual crimes from society.

The ceremony will be held at a hall of Huh's school with the minister of gender equality and family, the commissioner of the Commission on Youth Protection, lawmakers, non-governmental organization members and school officials in attendance.

The parents of Huh will give a memorial speech and the deceased's schoolmates will give a commemorating performance. A declaration to root out child molestation will be made.

Also, the ministry will hold seminars and public hearings on the policies to prevent child sexual violence next Tuesday.

``We are aiming to make everyone aware of the danger of molestation or sexual assault happening to children. Huh's death was a shock to everyone, and we will not let something like this happen again,'' Seo Young-hak of the ministry's Women's Rights Promotion Bureau said.

Choi Kyung-sook, the director of the Sunflower center, said that more structural support is needed. ``The abolishment of the controversial statute of limitations, stricter punishment and mandatory education on molesters to prevent recurrences should be mandatory,'' she said.

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Woman flees from captors and a life of prostitution

Sunita Menon

A 31-year-old woman recently escaped from her captors in Dubai before being pushed into prostitution.

The woman, from the south Indian state of Kerala, who came to the UAE on Saturday to work as a housemaid made her escape while she was being taken by her captors to a flat located in Hor Al Anz.

Chased by her captors, the woman took refuge in a furniture shop.

The shop owner immediately notified the matter to Dubai Police who asked the woman to be handed over to the Indian Consulate in Dubai.

"When the woman came to our shop she was trembling. She kept looking at the entrance. I went outside the shop to see if anybody was coming after her," said Thamben, the furniture shop owner.

Blunt reply

"I saw two men standing outside the shop. They left the scene when a crowd started gathering in front of the shop. The woman later told me that the men were her captors," added Thamben.

Speaking to Gulf News, the woman said she learnt of her being trapped when she heard the agent talking to someone on his mobile phone. "The agent had come to pick me up from the Sharjah airport on my arrival," she said.

The woman said the agent was taken aback when she told him that she had come to work as housemaid.

"He shook his head and bluntly said that I would be entertaining men. From that minute onwards I had been planing my escape," she said.

Then she fell sick due to fear and yesterday the captors told her to get ready to go to the hospital. When the car stopped in a busy residential area in Hor Al Anz, she escaped.

B.S. Mubarak, labour consul at the Indian Consulate said the woman will be given refuge at the shelter house run by the Indian Community Welfare Committee.

"We have taken down all the details from her and forward it to the authorities concerned over here," said Mubarak.

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How hard is it to accommodate religious practice?

Kevin L. Boonstra

THE PAST several weeks have been difficult ones in Canada when it comes to the accommodation of religious belief and practice.

The Quebec town of Herouxville has published 'standards' for its community. While the town purports to welcome all people without discrimination, its stated goal is to inform new arrivals how they can integrate into the community.

There are some obvious standards based on Canadian criminal law. These include the statement that Herouxville considers that "killing women in public beatings, or burning them alive" are not part of their community standards. That seems reasonable.

However, there is also a 'standard' that patients in hospitals are offered "traditional meals," and another indicating that, in schools, "children cannot carry any weapons . . . symbolic or not."

Standards which protect the safety of people are laudable; but some of these standards appear to communicate a refusal to accommodate cultural or religious differences. Precluding students from carrying weapons makes sense; but that particular standard appears to be a response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Multani (March, 2006).

In that decision, the court permitted a Sikh student to carry a kirpan, or ceremonial dagger, because of the need to accommodate his religious belief and practice. A standard forbidding 'symbolic' weapons portrays a negative message regarding the Sikh religious practice of carrying a kirpan.

Perhaps even more troubling is the standard regarding hospital food. How does it harm the community if a patient in a hospital requires a non-traditional meal to accommodate his or her religious beliefs?

Despite purporting to invite all to live there without discrimination, Herouxville is telling the world that religious accommodation is not a standard to which it ascribes.

Those in the religious majority may identify with this. Those in the religious minority may not feel welcome at all in Herouxville. Religious freedom requires that we accommodate religious practices, to the extent that they do not pose unmanageable health or safety risks.

That brings us to another key event. The parents of the sextuplets born in Vancouver are Jehovah's Witnesses and, based on their religious beliefs, refuse to approve blood transfusions for their new children.

Two of the children have died; the cause of the deaths is not known. The B.C. government has obtained court orders to seize three of the surviving sextuplets, to ensure they get transfusions if deemed medically advisable.

The father has sworn an affidavit in the court proceedings concerning the seizure of the children. He explains that during his wife's pregnancy, they were given the opportunity to abort some of the fetuses -- and they refused, because of their religious beliefs. He also says that just prior to the children's birth, doctors said they support parents' decisions not to resuscitate children born so premature. The parents decided to resuscitate the children at birth.

These appear to be parents who very much want their children to live. The father's affidavit says the refusal to approve transfusions was motivated by a desire to obey God. He describes leaving the hospital in distress when "they were violating [our] little girl" with a transfusion. While it may seem peculiar or wrong to many, this is evidently a deeply held belief -- and the parents appear to be suffering because of it.

The difficulty is that the children are not of an age to choose their own beliefs. The courts in Canada have protected the constitutional rights of parents to rear children according to their religious beliefs. However, the extent of this right is not without limits.

In a similar case involving Jehovah's Witnesses in 1995, a majority of the Supreme Court concluded the right of parents to rear children according to religious beliefs, including that of choosing medical treatments, is fundamental to freedom of religion. They also said imposition of medical treatment was a justified breach of religious freedom.

These are cases in which the courts have held that a child's right to life trumps the parents' right to freedom of religion. One media commentator stated that since we do not live in a theocracy, this result is inevitable.

That is a superficial analysis which does not accord parents appropriate respect and toleration. It also undermines Canada's proud history of accommodating religious practices that seem odd or untenable to the majority.

There's a fine line between religious intolerance and appropriate accommodation. Herouxville has exhibited a level of intolerance by setting standards that appear to interfere with the need for appropriate religious accommodation.

Occasions do arise in which interfering with religious practices may be justified. If the surviving sextuplets required blood transfusions to save their lives, many would agree the parents' beliefs could not be accommodated. But even if this is the right conclusion, we must recognize these parents have had to deal with something horrific, which most of us will never have to grapple with: choosing between what you believe is obedience to God and life for your children.

Limits to religious accommodation should be made cautiously, remembering that respect for perspectives other than one's own is the cornerstone of religious freedom.

Kevin Boonstra is a partner in the law firm Kuhn & Company, in Vancouver and Abbotsford.

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