Immediate life insurance website launched, first in world

Immediate life insurance website launched, first in world

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The first website in the world allowing consumers to buy life insurance online instantly has been launched today, targeting specifically New Zealanders.

The website, run by life insurance company Pinnacle Life, allows New Zealanders in many countries in the world to buy life insurance online without the need for a medical examination. Once the application has been approved, which is done immediately, the consumer can receive a $500,000 life insurance policy via an automatic e-mail. However, if certain conditions have been highlighted, then person to person contact is required to finalise the process.

Ed Saul, senior partner and architect of the new website, says, “We’re giving consumers a quicker and easier way to buy life insurance. Instead of submitting an application form and waiting days for a policy to be approved and issued, we do it online and we do it immediately.”

“The revolutionary website gives consumers complete control over the buying process whilst eliminating the previously obligatory involvement of people and paper. This is a global test case eagerly watched by the insurance industry around the world,” Mr Saul said.

When applying online, a few typical questions are asked on personal information and if the applicant has had any previous illnesses or diseases.

The countries where New Zealand citizens are allowed to apply are UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA.

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Interview with Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis

Interview with Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis

Friday, December 14, 2007

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic condition causing benign tumors (neurofibromas) to grow along certain types of nerves and, in addition, it can affect the development of bones or skin. There are several variants of the disease but type 1 and type 2 NF account for the vast majority of cases.

The disease manifestations can vary from very mild to severe. Major symptoms include growths on and under the skin; skin pigmentations called café au lait spots in type 1; acoustic nerve tumors and consequent hearing loss in type 2. Growths can affect nearly all parts of the body, and pressure on nearby structures can cause a wide variety of complications. There is a small risk that the tumors transform into malignant cancerous lesions.

NF is one of the most common single-gene human diseases; around 1 in 2,500-4,000 live births are affected by NF-1, whereas NF-2 occurs in about 1 in 50,000-120,000. Both type 1 and 2 are autosomal dominant conditions, meaning that only one copy of the mutated gene need be inherited to pass the disorder. A child of a parent with neurofibromatosis and an unaffected parent will have a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder. The gene responsible for NF-1 and possibly NF-2 is thought to function as a tumor suppressor gene.

In most cases of neurofibromatosis 1, patients can live normal and productive lives. In about 25-40% of patients there is an associated learning disability with or without ADHD. In some cases of neurofibromatosis 2, the damage to nearby vital structures, such as the cranial nerves and the brainstem, can be life-threatening. When tumors are causing pain or disfiguration, surgery is thus far the only proven beneficial treatment option.

Reggie Bibbs is a 43-year-old-man living in Houston, Texas. Mr Bibbs was born with a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes him to develop tumors on his body (see infobox on the right). NF can be a subtle disease, but in Bibbs’ case it has left him with a disfigured face and deformed leg. But he is happy with the way he looks, and doesn’t want to change his appearance to please other people. He has launched a successful campaign entitled “Just Ask”, and that’s just what Wikinews did in a video-interview.

The interview was prepared by Wikinews reporter Michaël Laurent with the help of Bertalan Meskó (who has a popular genetics and web 2.0 blog). Their questions were sent to a close friend of Mr. Bibbs, Lou Congelio, who kindly conducted the interview.

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Horse Insurance And What It Covers

Horse Insurance and What It Covers


Scott Lipe

Do you have your own horses? Are you an equestrian? If you are, have you been planning to compete professionally? Do you want to have a business that greatly involves taking care of a bunch of horses such as horseback riding and the like? Do you like to invest in a horse ranch? If your answers to all of these questions are yes, then you are in for a big treat because you are about to find out the most important thing that you must make sure you have when dealing with horses and all. It is called horse insurance. It is truly surprising that not only humans can be covered but pets can be insured as well. Read on to learn more.

Defining Horse Insurance

By this time, you must be wondering about the very basic question, which is–what exactly is horse insurance and how can it help you with your horses, your ranch, and your equipment?Horse insurance is a kind of policy that can effectively and efficiently assist you in financial terms such as covering your pet\’s medical especially when she is experiencing medical conditions that include pulmonary diseases, intestinal pain, lameness, etc., helping you with the costs when emergency strikes like when the trailer of your horse was stolen, providing means of transport when you need to move your horse, and a whole lot more of provisions that can certainly benefit you in all the right ways.

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Horse Insurance: Why it is so important?

Now that you finally understand the meaning of this very helpful pet policy, it is time for you to know the sheer significance of having this kind of insurance in your life. You see, there are many things that can truly be an advantage to your current lifestyle and your horse\’s as well. These are:

Veterinary Expenses

Everyone who has had an experience or two with dealing with horses that these domesticated but rather very useful pets can be very expensive to maintain especially when it comes to their health. Horses are quite prone to different kinds of disease that is why it is crucial that you make sure you have your pets regularly checked. However, rest assured that you will save a great deal when you have horse insurance because these medical expenses will surely be covered even the major ones that include surgery.

Horse Mortality

There will come a time that your pet must go to the other side and you would want to make it easy for her as much as possible. Putting her to sleep is one of the most common ways to do this and this is also covered in your horse insurance. You will also find that there are certain expenses that you needed to pay for after your loss and you will automatically be secured by the current policy that you have.

Farm/Ranch Liability

Having horse insurance will cover all things that have been damaged and have gotten lost due to theft and natural causes (such as storms and the like). They will also give you protection and free pet plan advice when these kinds of emergencies arise thus making it the perfect savings plan.

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Doha round negotiations might restart in a matter of weeks

Doha round negotiations might restart in a matter of weeks

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has called for trade negotiations to restart on the Doha Development Round, citing the need for the round to be concluded to help the global economy. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the WTO, speaking at a United Nations conference, said “In the weeks to come, and depending on progress made by the negotiators, I am ready to call Ministers to Geneva to try and close the issues which remain open so that the scheduling process in both areas can commence.”

The Doha round of talks, named after Doha, the capital city of Qatar, where it was inaugurated in November 2001, focuses heavily on creating a fair system of trade for the benefit of developing countries, in particular for trade in agricultural products.

The last major negotiations collapsed in July, after nine days of talks, over issues of agricultural trade between the United States, India, and China. Since then, a series of small negotiations have been held. Lamy called for a ministerial level conference, which would involve ministers from member states.

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The WTO believes that a completed deal will restore confidence in the global economy and improve the global outlook. Lamy said, “A failure of the Doha Agenda would have serious implications on the ongoing efforts by all developing countries to address their challenges and in particular to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals. The reasons why we must conclude the Round are visible to all of us and are becoming more critical by the day as the economic and financial outlook continues to deteriorate.”

Since the collapse in July, there has been a willingness by member states to hold negotiations again. The United States has been willing to hold negotiations even though the U.S. presidential election will be held in November and a shift in policy on the Doha round might occur as a result of the election.

Huang Rengang, a senior diplomat at China’s WTO mission, told Reuters, “The problem now is that often in the negotiating rooms you find that some members are obsessed with market access rather than development, are obsessed with inventing new terms like ‘key emerging countries'”.

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Posted: January 11th, 2021 by Admin

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Navy helping New Orleans pets

Navy helping New Orleans pets

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spanish word “tortuga” means “turtle.” But in the wake of the New Orleans disaster, the USS Tortuga is helping other animals.

For nearly two weeks now, sailors from Tortuga’s repair division have devoted much of their time during this disaster relief operation to ensure the health and comfort of displaced pets.

September 4th, just after the ship moored to a pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, HT1(SW) Mark Hanley and DC1(SW) Antony Graves gathered materials from the repair shop on board to construct a kennel along the levee. The facility they made soon became a popular shelter for the homeless animals of the storm.

Tortuga’s search and rescue team brought aboard more than 170 displaced citizens during this past week, providing them with food, water, medical aid and a place to sleep.

Tortuga’s makeshift kennel, named ‘Camp Milo & Otis,’ has housed as many as 90 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, one guinea pig, a pair of parakeets and a flightless pigeon during the past week of operation.

Currently, there are 14 dogs that remain in Tortuga’s care, as many of the other pets have been taken to animal shelters in the area for extra medical attention, or been claimed by their owners upon arrival to Tortuga. The pets that Tortuga has registered have all been in the hands of professional veterinarians assigned to provide expert medical attention to the members of Camp Milo & Otis.

Dr. Kelly Crowdis and Dr. Latina Gambles, both from Tuskegee University and Christian Veterinary Missions, have treated many of the pets for infection, dehydration, malnourishment and broken bones at the Camp during the past week.

“The animals were bathed and assessed before physical interaction with the sailors,” said Dr. Crowdis. “They’ve been given immunizations, antibiotics and medications based on their medical needs.”

Dr. Crowdis added, “What these sailors have done on their own has been such a heart-warming thing. As an animal lover, it is so comforting to know that everyone cares about the animals in addition to the human lives rescued from the storm. I’m very pleased with these guys for taking the initiative to construct this kennel.”

Graves, Hanley and other members of their division have consistently bathed, fed, walked and given special attention to every dog, every day.

“We play with them,” said Hanley. “We take them out of their kennels to give them attention every day. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as our ship’s mission keeps us here.”

September 11th, the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University donated supplies to “Camp Milo & Otis” in support of Tortuga’s efforts to help the animal victims.

”We got medical supplies, bowls, food, cages, leashes, collars, toys, cat litter and cleaning supplies from these people yesterday,” said Graves. “It’s nice to know that so many people out there have heard about what our ship is doing, and responded by donating so much to support us the best they can.”

A photo gallery of unclaimed pets is on the USS Tortuga’s web site.

As part of disaster plans, the Department of Homeland Security has also deployed Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical care to pets and livestock, as well as provide any needed veterinary medical care for search and rescue dogs.

There are over 3,850 animals being sheltered around the state. If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to . More information is also available at

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Posted: January 6th, 2021 by Admin

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Booming Commercial Printing Business

By Viojieley Gurrobat

Printing jobs if done correctly can be very rewarding but can entail a great deal of working hours and a great deal of knowledge and skill. Commercial printing is the industry that produces hundred of billions of print materials that are integral and important part of the daily activities of a business. When you need high quantity and quality color printing, perhaps turning to commercial printing is a good idea. With the continuous demands of printers for high quality, distinctive outputs, not to mention the never ending rise of color printing technologies, commercial color printing has become a flourishing business today.

Some say that commercial printing has put the fun back in their businesses. It allows for endless possibilities when it comes to design, product and printing processes. Nevertheless, commercial printing has brought a lot of challenges. But these challenges can be easily avoided with proper knowledge and information about commercial printing.

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As a printer, avoiding these problems can be done by considering the following tips. First off, know what your customers really want. Make sure that you understand what they expect from their materials. Keep in mind that oftentimes customers have unrealistic expectations for their commercial printing projects. Ensure that the quality that they want matches the amount they are willing to pay. Question your customers about their expectations before the project begins to prevent unnecessary hitch.

Second, have proofreaders available always. Printers say that mistakes on commercial printing jobs often happen because customers don’t check their materials carefully before signing them off. When you have proofreaders at hand, you can prevent these problems and win the confidence of your customers.

Lastly, discrepancies in file formats often happen when customers supply text and graphics on disk. To avoid this problem you can create information sheets for your customers to fill out before submitting the disk for printing.

On the other hand, if you are a customer make sure that before you submit your material for printing that you have talked with the commercial printing company and have come with an agreement with them. Make sure that they understand what you want and constantly talk with them throughout the course of the print job.

The online marketplace is a good place to search for commercial printing companies. Make sure though that you familiarize yourself with the services they offer as well as their prices before you avail of any service. When you have done this you will feel more confident in the company that you choose.

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Posted: January 4th, 2021 by Admin

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John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.

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Posted: January 1st, 2021 by Admin

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Wikinews interviews John Wolfe, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Wikinews interviews John Wolfe, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Sunday, May 20, 2012

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Wolfe, an attorney based out of Chattanooga, announced his intentions last year to challenge President Barack Obama in the Democratic Party presidential primaries. So far, he has appeared on the primary ballots in New Hampshire, Missouri, and Louisiana. In Louisiana, he had his strongest showing, winning 12 percent overall with over 15 percent in some congressional districts, qualifying him for Democratic National Convention delegates. However, because certain paperwork had not been filed, the party stripped Wolfe of the delegates. Wolfe says he will sue the party to receive them.

Wolfe will compete for additional delegates at the May 22 Arkansas primary and the May 29 Texas primary. He is the only challenger to Obama in Arkansas, where a May 10 Hendrix College poll of Democrats shows him with 38 percent support, just short of the 45 percent for Obama. Such an outing would top the margin of Texas prison inmate Keith Russell Judd, who finished 18 percent behind Obama with 41 percent in the West Virginia Democratic primary; the strongest showing yet against the incumbent president. Despite these prospects, the Democratic Party of Arkansas has already announced that if Wolfe wins any delegates in their primary, again, due to paperwork, the delegates will not be awarded. Wolfe will appear on the Texas ballot alongside Obama, activist Bob Ely, and historian Darcy Richardson, who ended his campaign last month.

Wolfe has previously run for U.S. Congress as the Democratic Party’s nominee. On his campaign website, he cites the influence “of the Pentagon, Wall Street, and corporations” on the Obama administration as a reason for his challenge, believing these negatively affect “loyal Americans, taxpayers and small businesses.” Wolfe calls for the usage of anti-trust laws to break up large banks, higher taxes on Wall Street, the creation of an “alternative federal reserve” to assist community banks, and the implementation of a single-payer health care system.

With Wikinews, Wolfe discusses his campaign, the presidency of Barack Obama, corporations, energy, the federal budget, immigration, and the nuclear situation in Iran among other issues.

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Posted: December 23rd, 2020 by Admin

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Anti-junta demonstrations grow in Bangkok

Anti-junta demonstrations grow in Bangkok

Monday, June 11, 2007

Anti-junta demonstrations in Bangkok reached their largest point yet on Saturday night, when between 10,000 and 15,000 protesters marched from Sanam Luang to the Royal Thai Army headquarters to call for the resignation of Council for National Security chairman General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.

Yesterday, Sonthi, the leader of last year’s coup d’état, rejected the protesters demands, saying he would remain as chairman of the military’s governing body in the best interests of Thailand, and that he wasn’t doing the job for personal gain.

“And I doubt the motives of these people who are organizing the rallies,” Sonthi was quoted as saying by The Nation newspaper.

The demonstrations continued yesterday, albeit smaller, with crowds estimated at 3,000. The organizer is People’s Television (PTV), a satellite television station that supports ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Organizers have vowed to continue the demonstrations until the junta gives up power.

The protest movement has grown over the past two weeks, after the junta partially lifted the ban on political activities, and since a Constitutional Tribunal ruling that dissolved the former ruling Thai Rak Thai party, which was led by Thaksin, and banned 111 of the party’s officials from politics for five years.

The government has tolerated the protests, if only just barely. Text messages were sent out by the junta to mobile-phone subscribers, asking them to stay away from the protests. Police have surrounded the demonstration venue, Sanam Luang, an open field near the Royal Palace in Bangkok, an in effort to keep the demonstration contained.

But Saturday night, the 1,000-strong riot force, using only shields and no other weapons, was unable to keep the crowd, estimated at up to 15,000, in place. “We could not repel them and that has to be fixed,” Manit Wongsomboon, commander of Metropolitan Police district 1, was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.

Sonthi said he did not view the situation as serious or see a need to impose a state of emergency.

“There is nothing to worry about, they [protestors] can come, but everything will be within the rule of law,” he was quoted as saying by the Thai News Agency.

General Pongthep Thetprateep, spokesman for interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, said the premier agrees.

“The PM is following the situation closely. No one wants to impose a state of emergency. It is the last resort. If they do not listen and assault officials and destroy things then it may be necessary. There is a better way out right now,” Pongthep was quoted as saying by The Nation.

Surayud, the head of the military-installed government, yesterday appealed for acceptance of the Thai Rak Thai’s dissolution by the public. He said several major policies implemented by the populist government of Thaksin would continue, including a low-cost medical scheme.

“We must thank the Thai Rak Thai party for creating and implementing projects which benefit poor people, but at the same time we must accept the verdict of the Constitution Tribunal on dissolving this party because it had committed several political blunders,” Surayud said in an address on television and radio.

Surayud had harsh criticism for Thaksin.

“The rule of law came under fierce attack from the powerful, the rich and cronies. Corruption washed through our government,” Surayud said. “Even Thaksin accepted that this was the case when he told Time magazine’s readers around the world a few months ago that ‘corruption in Thailand won’t go away, it’s in the system’. What shameful words for any ex-prime minister of our country to say, especially one who had promised to wage a war against corruption.

“I would like to ask you this: Do we want to allow those people with ill intentions to steal our nation’s wealth day-by-day? I don’t think we do.”

At the Sanam Luang rally on Saturday night, former senator Kraisak Choonhaven was attacked by around 70 demonstrators.

“You are not on our side. Go away,” one of the demonstrators shouted at Kraisak, according to a report in today’s Bangkok Post, which also published photos of the attack, showing one demonstrator launching a flying kick at the senator as he was rushed away by aides. The senator, a critic of ousted premier Thaksin, received some bruises.

“This is the rudest demonstration I’ve ever seen,” Kraisak was quoted as saying at a press conference by the Post. “Crowd control police had to exercise extreme patience in dealing with such a misbehaved mob.”

A new constitution, which the Constitutional Drafting Assembly began debating today, is being drawn up. One of the provisions of the draft charter is that once it is enacted, the Council for National Security will be no more.

The drafting assembly, which has been fractious, must approve or reject the draft in 25 days. If the draft is approved, a national referendum, scheduled to be held in mid-August, will be held. If the draft is rejected, the Council for National Security could choose a an old constitution. Most likely, that would be an amended form of the 1997 “people’s constitution,” a military spokesman was quoted as saying on Radio Thailand by the Bangkok Post.

Among the controversial points in the draft charter, is a provision to make Buddhism the state religion, a move that critics say could further galvanize Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand.

The drafting body disagreed on motions about Buddhism and the creation of a national crisis council, and the motions were dropped.

As the constitutional assembly begins, a hunger strike is taking place by Buddhist monks outside Parliament House.

The Constitutional Drafting Assembly chairman, Noranit Sethabutr, told the Thai News Agency that the body “would have to find the best and most peaceful way to push through the draft.”

In the wake of the dissolution of the Thai Rak Thai, a new anti-junta party has formed, with around 60 former Thai Rak Thai lawmakers as leaders.

The movement has been referred to by various names, including Khon Rak Thaksin Mai Oaw Padejkarn (Supporters of Thaksin Against Dictatorship) or literally, “Love Thaksin, No Dictatorship,” or simply, Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship.

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Posted: December 23rd, 2020 by Admin

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German court upholds surveillance of Scientology

German court upholds surveillance of Scientology

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.

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Posted: December 16th, 2020 by Admin

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