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Christianity Today: Maili Tamang clapped and sang along as the remnants of her husband’s Kathmandu church gathered for a noon prayer one week after a massive earthquake collapsed the “roof of the world.”
Religion News Service: When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake roared through this Himalayan nation last Saturday (April 25), leaving an estimated 5,500 dead and more than 11,000 injured, shrines and temples were sent crashing to the ground, many of them centuries old and irreplaceable cultural treasures.
National Right to Life: Last week NRL News Todayreported that the Indian Supreme Court had directed major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing to no longer carry ads for pre-natal sex selection services. The justices’ lamented selective abortion.
Nepal: CSW urges Constituent Assembly to heed Human Rights Commission call to defend freedom of conscience
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) urges Nepal’s Constituent Assembly to guarantee the rights of religious minorities in the new constitution, in line with the recent recommendation of the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Morningstar News: In a remote corner of Nepal, a church elder was summoned three times after midnight last month to pray for the head of a devout Hindu family.
International Business Times: Researchers from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine have just released a study in which they declared that the cultural preference for sons over daughters is even more of an intractable problem in Nepal than …
AP: An official says Nepal’s government will begin issuing citizenship certificates with the category “third gender” for people who do not wish to be identified as male or female.
AP: A Catholic church in Nepal says it has received threatening phone calls from a person claiming to belong to an underground Hindu group that bombed the church three years ago . . .
The Republic: Gays, lesbians, transgender people and their supporters marched in a Nepalese town Friday to demand recognition as a third gender in citizen certificates, to allow same-sex marriage and to criminalize discrimination based on sexual preference.
CRR: The Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization dedicated to the worldwide advancement of reproductive rights and their recognition as fundamental human rights, today formally announced the opening of its new office in Kathmandu, Nepal.
News from The Associated Press: Hundreds of Buddhists demonstrated in Nepal’s capital to protest the appointment of Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal to head a project to develop the area where Buddha was believed born in southern Nepal.
The Washington Post: Nepalese police detained more than 100 Tibetan exiles on Tuesday who had gathered to pray for nine Tibetans who set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule.
Christian Today: Christian Solidarity Worldwide has repeated its call for religious freedom to be respected in Nepal after the constituent assembly passed a Bill on Monday extending the deadline for a new constitution by a further three months.
AP: The deputy leader of Nepal’s former Maoist rebels took the oath of office as prime minister Monday and began forming a government that will attempt to complete a contentious and long-delayed peace process.
Christian Post: Whilst the Nepali government has lost its prime minister during the struggle in drafting a new constitution, the country’s Christians and other religions minorities are rallying to ensure that they will be ensured of their religious freedom.
Asia News: Changes to the criminal code are currently under review. Anyone preaching or trying to persuade others to change religion could get up to five years in prison and almost US$ 700 in fines. Christians fear new code could restrict religious freedom and be used by Hindu extremists.
Center for Reproductive Rights: “In a recent decision in the case of Lakshmi Dhikta v. Nepal, the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled that the country’s government must guarantee access to safe and affordable abortion services. Specifically, it affirmed the need for a comprehensive abortion law and emphasized the government’s obligation to ensure that no woman is denied a legal abortion just because she cannot pay for it.”
Bay Windows (GLBT Newspaper): “The Global Forum on MSM & HIV has called on Nepal’s Home Ministry to issue ‘third sex’ citizenship cards to transgender people in accord with a 2007 Supreme Court decision.”
Christian Today: “Nepal’s draft constitution has left Gospel for Asia with mixed feelings after a legislative committee last week proposed retaining a ban on activities aimed at religious conversions . . . The draft constitution guarantees the right of religious denominations to control their own affairs but the legislative committee wants a clause upholding a ban on encouraging conversions which has existed in Nepal since 1951.”
IBN Live: “Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra was prevented from attending an ancient religious function to honour the ‘Living Goddess’ at his former palace today, amid speculation that he has stepped up his public appearances in face of the deepening constitutional crisis in the country.”
Dallas Morning News (AP): “A Hindu priest performed the first wedding ceremony in Nepal for a foreign gay couple, a rights group said Wednesday, as activists and tourist agencies increasingly promote the Himalayan nation as a gay-friendly destination.”
Times of India: “The Nepal government Monday banned a school textbook after growing outcry by Muslims over an ‘objectionable’ illustration depicting Prophet Mohammed as a woman-like figure and containing ‘erroneous interpretations’ of Islam.”
Religion Clause Blog: “In Nepal, as law makers approach the May 28 deadline for completing a draft of a new constitution, tensions increase over whether the country will remain a secular state. In 2006, Parliament passed a resolution providing that the country would no longer formally be known as a Hindu nation. . . ”
Nepal News: “For the first time in Nepal’s history, its minority Christian community Tuesday joined the socio-political process, beginning a ‘vigil’ to ensure that the new constitution would be enacted in time and guarantee religious freedom to all.”
Jakarta Globe: “Today seven countries, five US states and several Latin American cities have legalized same-sex marriage. The Netherlands ushered the way in 2001, the first nation to permit same-sex couples to marry legally. This historic decision marked a turning point, with demands for equality reverberating across borders. Barriers fell as Belgium (2003), Canada and Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway and Sweden (2009) each approved legislation.”
Compass Direct News: “Four years after Nepal became officially secular, fear is growing that the country could revert to the Hindu state it was till 2006, when proclaiming Christ was a punishable offense and many churches functioned clandestinely to avoid being shut down . . .”
Christian Post: “Thrust from their homes in Bhutan after Buddhist rulers embarked on an ethnic and religious purge, Christian refugees in Nepal face hostilities from Hindus and others.”
CNA: “Following the recent bomb attack on the Cathedral of the Assumption, which was attributed to the Hindu group Nepal Defense Army, extremists are now threatening priests and religious in Nepal with death if they do not leave the country ‘within one month.’”
Religion Clause: “From South Asia comes three stories of murder of Christians impelled by religious fanaticism . . . The blast killed three people and wounded over a dozen others. Shrestha was inspired by the extremist Nepal Defence Army that aims to expel non-Hindus from Nepal and make Hinudism the country’s official religion.”
Buffalo Law Review: “This Article considers a recent programmatic shift among law and development scholars who have moved from advocating building rule-of-law processes, rules, and institutions to also building rule-of-law cultures. The Article carefully examines how these scholars envision culture as a tool to refashion the relationship between legal institutions and ordinary individuals. It traces the ways in which they use culture as a means to take law — general, universal, and acultural — and to make law specific, local, and embedded within the consciousness of ordinary people. It then suggests that this turn from law to culture produces a conceptualization of culture uncannily analogous to the conceptualization of law that the turn to culture was meant to supplement and correct.”
Jurist reports: “The Supreme Court of Nepal [official website] has directed the country’s government to end sexual orientation-based discrimination and to extend equal rights to gender minorities, including same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive].”
Barely two years out of the jungle, former Maoist guerrillas were poised on Monday to lead Nepal’s new government, as initial election results signaled that voters had chosen to remove most of their veteran politicians from office and seek a radical break with the past.