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Bathurst War Memorial vandalised before ANZAC service

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-10-2019

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The carillion war memorial in Bathurst in Central Western NSW was vandalised just hours before a dawn ANZAC day service. Police allege that five teenage girls aged 15 and 16 were involved.

Diggers‘ who had been looking forward to the dawn service said they were bought to tears after they learned that statements saying “ANZAC murderers” and “Aussies don’t fight” were painted on the war memorial.

Police say they were called to the memorial after reports that a group of vandals had covered the shrine with offensive graffiti. Sergent Andrew Holand from Bathurst police said “Police arrived a short time later and observed that they had painted approximately one metre high, [beige coloured] slogans all the way around the exteriors of the war memorial using words such as “ANZAC murderers” and “Aussies don’t fight” along with peace symbols”.

“They’ve then taken the remnants of the four-litre paint cans and splashed these on the doors and external steps of the war memorial,” he said.

When police located the group of five teenagers some were still covered in paint. All were taken to Bathurst Police Station where the 16 year-old girl was charged with maliciously damaging a shrine or war memorial and malicious damage to police property. It is alleged after she was arrested she damaged a police cell.

The four other girls involved, all aged 15 will be cautioned under the state’s Youth Offenders Act.

Jim McFerran from the Bathurst Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) said he was humbled by efforts to clean up the graffiti. He said an effort involving RSL members, local army personnel, council workers, volunteer firefighters and a group of young men on their way home after a night out.

“We had about a dozen young fellas that were going home from the pub, they sort of stopped and said: ‘What’s going on here?’,” said Mr McFerran.

“When they got told, they sort of walked over, bloody downed their things, grabbed … pads and rags and starting getting in there with the rest of us.”

NSW Premier Morris Iemma condemned the vandalism, saying “They need a history lesson and a good kick up the backside as well.”

Mahmoud Abbas asks UN urgently attend to hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-10-2019

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian Negotiation Group, delivered to the UN Security Council on Tuesday a letter from the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, urging the UN to tend to the issue of Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli prisons who have gone on a hunger strike. He further noted that a new Israeli bill, allowing to force feed hunger strikers, undermines international conventions.

The reportedly longest group hunger strike in Palestinian history is currently taking place. It was initiated in April by 125 Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli prisons, in a protest against Israel’s detention policy, which allows imprisonment without trial or conviction. Since the beginning of the hunger strike, about 80 of them are being treated in hospitals, some facing severe health risks. Some striking prisoners have told Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm they are determined and will not cease until they win or die a martyr’s death. They have also told the paper they had sent letters to the Egyptian leadership, asking it to tend to their situation and put an end to administrative detentions.

With the ongoing hunger strike, an Israeli bill has been drafted, allowing force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners, and use of extra force if needed. Arab Organization for Human Rights prisoners affairs committee manager Janan Abdu said, in communication with Al-Masry Al-Youm, “After the success of individual hunger strikes by Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi, and Samer al-Issawi and others, Israel is trying to apply a law on forced feeding, which is internationally forbidden and which violates international human rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to break the will of prisoners”.

Virgin Media investors want to discuss company’s strategy

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-10-2019

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Virgin Media announced weak results last week, in part due to competition from Sky. Virgin Media lost 47,000 customers from January to March 2007, while Sky gained 51,000 customers in the same time period.

Franklin Mutual Advisers, which has 9.4% of the Virgin Media shares (Sir Richard Branson owns 11%) wants to have a meeting with Virgin Media about its “strategic direction, corporate governance and management”. Franklin Mutual Advisers is known to take great interest in the companies in which it invests.

This has caused many of the other investors of Virgin Media to demanding meetings with the management of the company. The demands are due to confusion among shareholders at the direction in which the company is heading, The Guardian reports. After the attempt to buy ITV was stopped last year, the shareholders think that Virgin Media may lose its battle with Sky and TalkTalk.

Another issue causing concerns amongst investors is the £25.2 million pay cheques for the top seven executives of Virgin Media. Virgin Media reported a £15.3 million loss last year.

German court upholds surveillance of Scientology

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-10-2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A German court has upheld a ruling from a lower court, sanctioning the monitoring of the Church of Scientology by Germany’s intelligence services.

The North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court in Münster ruled that there is enough information present to continue to allow Germany’s intelligence agencies to monitor Scientology activities, asserting that the organization and its members have ambitions contrary to Germany’s democratic order. The agency which monitors Scientology in Germany is called the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and has had the Church of Scientology under surveillance in Germany since 1997.

There are concrete indications that Scientology’s activities are to implement Scientology’s program in Germany and to expand more and more Scientology’s principles in government, economy and society.

The ruling stated: “There are concrete indications that Scientology’s activities are to implement Scientology’s program in Germany and to expand more and more Scientology’s principles in government, economy and society”. The court did not rule on whether or not the organization should be considered a religion, saying that was irrelevant to the ruling. The German government considers Scientology a business, and not a religion.

The court cited “numerous indications” that “central constitutional values such as the dignity of mankind and the right to equal treatment would be suspended or restricted,” in a Scientology society. The statement released along with the court’s decision also said that “In particular, there is the suspicion that in a scientological society only Scientologists would enjoy civil rights”.

During the court proceedings the German court heard testimony concerning anti-democratic statements made by L. Ron Hubbard, the American founder of Scientology who died in 1986. The court did not find any evidence that the organization had distanced itself from Hubbard’s statements. Certain statements made by Hubbard detail how to harass ex-members and critics of Scientology. Scientologists presented other writings by Hubbard, and asserted that he was a peaceful person and was being quoted out of context.

Other evidence considered by the court included “The Way to Happiness” brochures, part of the organization’s campaign to disseminate Scientology principles worldwide. The project is called “Operation Planetary Calm”. A brochure was sent to the office of German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, whose office monitors Scientology and other groups deemed a threat to Germany’s constitution.

When the Church of Scientology opened new headquarters in Berlin in January, opponents of Scientology protested outside the building and accused the organization of brainwashing its members. In December, Germany’s top security officials stated that they believe Scientology is in violation of the German constitution, and requested state officials to investigate whether they have sufficient information to ban the organization in Germany.

Despite over 10 years of intrusive investigation and harassment of Scientologists, not one shred of evidence has been uncovered to justify this politically motivated investigation.

Scientology spokeswoman Sabine Weber said that the organization will appeal the ruling. Karin Pouw, public affairs director for the Church of Scientology International told the Associated Press: “Despite over 10 years of intrusive investigation and harassment of Scientologists, not one shred of evidence has been uncovered to justify this politically motivated investigation”. A statement released by the Church of Scientology in Germany said: “The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution should finally end this farce and turn its attention to real enemies of the Constitution and real danger so as to do what it is there for: to protect the German constitution and the basic rights of the people”.

The Church of Scientology took German authorities to court in March 2003, seeking to stop further surveillance of their organization. In a November 2004 ruling, a court in Cologne upheld the legality of the German government’s surveillance of the Church of Scientology.

The United States Department of State has criticized Germany for its surveillance of Scientology in its annual Human Rights Report.

Stingray kills head diver of Underwater World Singapore

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-10-2019

Friday, October 7, 2016

Following an accidental death at the closed Underwater World Singapore (UWS) aquarium in Sentosa on Tuesday, operations to relocate the facility’s animals have been suspended.

Phillip Chan, 62, the head diver of the defunct facility, was moving stingrays in preparation for transfer to another aquarium when one of them stung him in the chest. Singapore newspaper The New Paper reported no prior such stingray incident was known to have occurred in Singapore. Australian conservationist Steve Irwin died in a similar manner in 2006.

Following a call to the Singapore Civil Defense Force at 2:20 pm, Chan was found near the entrance of UWS, where attempts were made to resuscitate him via CPR. He was taken to Singapore General Hospital, where he died from his injuries. While Chan’s colleagues declined to comment to The New Paper, a staff member at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, who witnessed Chan being taken away by ambulance, stated, “It all happened very quickly. The ambulance came and quickly left the premises. I’ve never seen such an incident happening here before.”

UWS operator Haw Par Corporation described Chan as a “veteran diver, aquarist and animal caregiver who had been caring for the aquatic animals at UWS since its opening in 1991”. Ten staff, including Chan, remained at UWS after its closure on June 27 to facilitate care for its animals until they could be suitably relocated. In addition to assisting the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate with their investigations, Haw Par has pledged Chan’s family “all possible support and assistance”. Due to Chan’s death, MOM has ordered the cessation of animal transfers from UWS while investigations are pending.

In an interview with The New Paper, Dr. Tan Heok Hui, an ichthyologist and Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum operations officer, stated, “Stingrays attack when they feel threatened, cornered or alarmed. Sometimes, a stingray might feel threatened when someone accidentally steps on it. Stingrays have backward pointing barbs on the spine that have serrated edges. They don’t just cause physical pain, the toxins in the spine can also cause extreme discomfort. When a spine pierces human flesh, it breaks and releases toxins into the flesh.”

Stingray venom contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can induce severe muscle contractions. According to Dr Tan, “If a victim is hit in vital organs like the chest area, it may trigger a cardiac arrest, which could subsequently be fatal”. “Stingrays are not usually aggressive, and choose defensive methods to protect themselves. However, stingrays are still wild animals, and when provoked and left with no choice, they will defend themselves using their sting.”

In an interview with The New Paper at the time of UWS’ closure in June, Chan said of the animals he worked with, whom he described as his “band of friends”, “They are so quietly tame. […] We intend to find them the best homes and environment. The next time I see them, I might not recognise them any more but if I dive, they might recognise me.”

Chan’s work at UWS entailed diving into the tanks and feeding the animals whilst visitors took photos. In an interview at the time with The Straits Times, Chan stated, “I treat [the animals] like my babies.” Chan also related anecdotes where he was bitten by sharks who mistook him for fish, releasing him when they recognised their mistake, describing the animals as “gentle”. “Whenever I get in danger,” said Chan, “I just keep calm. I can overcome any danger by just being calm”.

MOM stated of Chan’s death, “The Ministry of Manpower was informed about an incident that took place at Underwater World Singapore Pte Ltd’s premises at Siloso Road on 4 October 2016. Officers from MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate responded to the scene immediately and commenced investigations. Preliminary findings indicate that a worker was pierced in his chest by the barb of a stingray while he was in the midst of transferring the stingray from its tank. He was conveyed to hospital where he subsequently succumbed to this injuries.[sic] MOM has instructed the occupier to stop all activities associated with the transferring of sea animals. Investigations are ongoing.”

Cambodian lawmaker calls for ASEAN website to be blocked over missing land

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-10-2019

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Thirty-five square kilometers, or 13.5135755 square miles, or 3,500 hectares or 8,648.68835 acres.

However you figure it, it’s a sizeable chunk of land.

And it’s missing from Cambodia on the website for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, a 10-member regional body of which Cambodia is a member.

The apparent rounding down of Cambodia’s territory, 181,035 square kilometers, on the ASEAN website, has some Cambodian lawmakers up in arms.

Parliamentarian Keo Remy, a member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, is calling for the ASEAN website to be blocked by Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications if the number is not corrected.

“We know that Cambodia has border disputes with its neighbors, and Khmer citizens are paying attention on these issues. We cannot accept such incorrect points. The most important thing is that the government should close this web site,” Keo was quoted as saying by the Khmer-language daily newspaper Kampuchea Thmey.

Though Keo acknowledged the error could be an honest, if careless, mistake, he said it could mean something more sinister – that ASEAN is trying to undermine Cambodia’s sovereignty, and that perhaps ASEAN is working for neighboring nations. It could even be treasonous, he said.

“If it was intentional and perpetrated by a Cambodian, this is treason. It is like not knowing your own parents,” Keo was quoted as saying by Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Other lawmakers also called on the Cambodian government to take action.

“The royal government must react urgently, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,” Monh Saphan, a Funcinpec parliamentarian was quoted as saying by Kampuchea Thmey. “The website [must] be corrected, because it affects the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia.”

And non-governmental organization leaders weighed in.

“The state’s figure is more important and appropriate than figures of other organizations. Therefore, we should urge the government to check this issue,” Seng Theary, executive director of the Center for Social Development, told Kampucha Thmey. “We also wonder where ASEAN got this figure.”

Kek Galabru, president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, said that incorrect figure is most likely a mistake, but said the government should investigate it. “Otherwise a small problem might turn into a bigger issue,” she said.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said he would investigate, and called for cooler heads in the meantime.

Border disputes are a hot-button political issue in Cambodia, which has some long-standing unresolved boundary conflicts with neighbors Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia joined ASEAN in 1999, the last country to gain admittance to the regional geo-political and economic body for Southeast Asia. It was founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Other members are Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Communist Party candidate Johan Boyden, Toronto Centre

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-09-2019

Friday, October 5, 2007

Johan Boyden is running for the Communist Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Toronto Centre riding. Wikinews interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

New Jersey to consider bikini waxing ban

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-09-2019

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Jersey is considering a state-wide ban on Brazilian waxes, the removal of hair from the bikini area.

Although genital waxing has never really been allowed in the state, the New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling plans to propose a ban with more specific legal wording, in response to two women who reported being injured during a wax. The board will consider the proposal at their next meeting on April 14.

If the measure passes, New Jersey may become the only US state to ban the practice outright.

Although millions of Americans engage in bikini waxes, which generally cost between $50 and $60 per session, the practice comes with risks. Skin care experts say the hot wax can irritate delicate skin in the bikini area, and result in infections, ingrown hairs and rashes.

Waxing on the face, neck, abdomen, legs and arms would continue to be permitted in the state under the proposed ban. Although New Jersey statutes have always banned bikini waxing, the laws were unclear and seldom enforced.

As a result, many salons from around the state have offered bikini waxing for years. Many salon owners spoke out against the proposed ban, which they said would severely damage their business.

“I really don’t know if the state can stop it at this point,” said Valentia Chistova, owner of the Monmouth County salon Brazil. “I know a lot of women who are really hooked.”

 This story has updates See New Jersey backpedals on proposed bikini waxing ban 

2008 Leisure Taiwan launched in Taipei World Trade Center

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-09-2019

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This year’s Leisure Taiwan trade show (a.k.a Taiwan Sport Recreation and Leisure Show) started yesterday, with 131 companies participating including sports media companies such as ESPN and VideoLand Television, businesses selling sports equipment and fitness clubs.

There were also a variety of sports being played in the arena built for the trade show. The events included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, free style shooting, and bicycle test-riding. In addition, conferences discussed issues related to sports and physical education.

A major topic in the trade show was energy-efficiency and, as a result, bicycles and similar sports equipment were being heavily promoted.

Next Tuesday, companies from the electronics industry plan to promote their industry at “2008 Digital E-Park.” In previous years, organizations from the electronics industry have showcased their products at Leisure Taiwan instead of at the Digital E-Park, so this move has reduced the number of markets covered by Leisure Taiwan.

UK minor faces charges for calling Scientology ‘cult’ at protest

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Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-09-2019

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News media in the United Kingdom are reporting that a boy under the age of 18 was served with a court summons by City of London Police because he held a placard calling Scientology a “cult” at a peaceful protest on May 10. Human rights activists have criticized the decision to issue the 15-year-old the summons as an affront to freedom of speech, and representatives for the City of London Police force explained the actions of the police.

Individuals from the group Anonymous were protesting Scientology in the fourth protest in as many months, as part of the anti-Scientology movement Project Chanology. The Project Chanology movement began when the Church of Scientology attempted to get a leaked Scientology promotional video featuring Tom Cruise removed from websites YouTube and Gawker.com.

Members of Anonymous were motivated by the actions of the Church of Scientology, and bombarded Scientology websites and were successful in taking some of them down. Anonymous later changed tactics towards legal measures, and held international protests against Scientology on February 10, March 15, April 12, and most recently May 10.

At the May 10 protest, the 15-year-old boy was present and held up a placard which stated: “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult,” with a mention at the bottom of the sign to the anti-Scientology website Xenu.net. He attended the protest held outside the Church of Scientology building on Queen Victoria Street, near St Paul’s Cathedral in London. In a post made by the boy on the anti-Scientology website Enturbulation.org, he stated: “Within five minutes of arriving I was told by a member of the police that I was not allowed to use that word, and that the final decision would be made by the inspector.” The website describes itself as “A Source for Information on Dianetics and the Scientology Organization”. Using the pseudonym “EpicNoseGuy” at the Enturbulation.org message board, the boy goes on to describe how he was “strongly advised” by police to remove the placard.

City of London Police cited section five of the Public Order Act 1986 to the boy, which deals with “harassment, alarm or distress“. In response, the boy cited a 1984 judgment given by Mr. Justice Latey in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice of Her Majesty’s Courts of Justice of England and Wales, in which Latey called Scientology a “cult” and said it was “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”. In the actual 1984 judgment made by Judge Latey, he stated: “Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. […] In my judgement it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. […] It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others.” According to the boy’s post at Enturbulation.org, the City of London Police told him he had 15 minutes to remove the sign in question. He was given a court summons by the police about a half-hour later, and his sign was removed and taken by the police as evidence.

I am going to fight this and not take it down because I believe in freedom of speech.

In videos of the May 10 protest posted to YouTube, City of London Police can be seen telling protesters not to use the word “cult” in their signs. Protesters discussed the issue with police and stated that they had checked with lawyers and verified that criticizing religion was a valid form of protest. The police warned protesters that if they violated police instructions regarding usage of signs “you will be prosecuted”. A female police officer read a form statement to the 15-year-old and stated: “I’ve been asked, if you could remove it [the sign] by 11:30, if not then I’ll have to come back and either summons you or arrest you.” The boy read Mr. Justice Latey’s 1984 judgment to the police, and then said: “I’m not going to take this sign down.” He told fellow protesters: “If I don’t take the word ‘cult’ down, here [holding up his sign], I will be either, I think, most likely arrested or [given] a summons. I am going to fight this and not take it down because I believe in freedom of speech, besides which I’m only fifteen.”

After the boy was given a summons one of the protesters asked a member of the City of London Police force: “Are we allowed to say Justice Latey says Scientology is a cult?”, to which the police officer responded: “I’ve already had this discussion with people. Direct quotes by individuals, I haven’t got a problem with.”

This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain’s free speech traditions.

“This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain’s free speech traditions. After criminalising the use of the word ‘cult’, perhaps the next step is to ban the words ‘war’ and ‘tax’ from peaceful demonstrations?” said Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti in a statement in The Guardian. The boy has appealed for help in order to fight the potential charges and possible legal action from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Ian Haworth of the United Kingdom-based Cult Information Centre also commented on the actions of the City of London Police to The Guardian, saying: “This is an extraordinary situation. If it wasn’t so serious it would be farcical. The police’s job is to protect and serve. Who is being served and who is being protected in this situation? I find it very worrying.”

News of the summons issued to the UK minor has received significant attention on the Internet, hitting the front pages of websites Slashdot, Digg, and Boing Boing on Wednesday. The story has also been discussed in hundreds of blog postings, including sites related to the tech-sector and others related to civil liberties.

City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May.

In a statement given to publications including The Guardian and The Register, a representative for the City of London Police explained the rationale for the summons: “City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May. Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service some demonstrators were warned verbally and in writing that their signs breached section five of the Public Order Act 1986. One demonstrator, a juvenile, continued to display a placard despite police warnings and was reported for an offence under section five. A file on the case will be sent to the CPS.”

“City of London Police upholds the right to demonstrate lawfully, but we have to balance that with the rights of all sections of the community not to be alarmed, distressed or harassed as a result of others’ actions,” said City of London Chief Superintendent Rob Bastable in a statement given to The Register and The Daily Telegraph. Unlike the City of London Police, the Metropolitan Police Service (the territorial police force responsible for Greater London excluding the City of London) has not raised an issue with protesters using the word “cult”, according to Londonist.

… if we receive a file we will review it in the normal way according to the code for crown prosecutors.

A spokesman for the CPS told The Guardian that they did not give City of London Police specific instruction about the boy’s protest sign. The spokesman said that the CPS gave the City of London Police “general advice” about the laws governing protests and “religiously aggravated crime”, but did not give advice about this specific case. “… if we receive a file we will review it in the normal way according to the code for crown prosecutors,” said the CPS spokesman.

The City of London Police has faced controversy in the past for its close association with the Church of Scientology. When the City of London Scientology building opened in 2006, City of London Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley praised Scientology in an appearance as guest speaker at the building’s opening ceremony. Ken Stewart, another of the City of London’s chief superintendents, has also appeared in a video praising Scientology. According to The Guardian over 20 officers for the City of London Police have accepted gifts from the Church of Scientology including tickets to film premieres, lunches and concerts at police premises. Janet Kenyon-Laveau, spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology in the UK, told The Guardian that the relationship between the City of London Police and Scientology was mutually beneficial, and said that Scientologists conducted clean-up campaigns in urban areas affected by drug use problems. A City of London Police spokesman released a statement in November 2006 saying: “We are conducting a review to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the force policy on accepting hospitality and to assess whether clarification or amendment of this policy is necessary.”

Each of the Project Chanology international protests against Scientology has had a theme: the February protest called attention to the birthday of Lisa McPherson, who died under controversial circumstances while under the care of Scientology, the March protest was arranged to take place two days after Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard‘s birthday, the April protest highlighted the Church of Scientology’s disconnection policy, and the May protest highlighted the Scientology practice of “Fair Game” and took place one day after the anniversary of the publication of Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Another international protest is planned for June 14, and will highlight the Church of Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” or “Sea Org”.

 This story has updates See No prosecution for UK minor who called Scientology a ‘cult’