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Global Briefs

Japan

Curry Patent Withdrawn
No need to worry over curry. The Japanese company House Foods Corp., a maker of spices and prepackaged curry, is not trying to seal one of the world's favorite flavors up in a patent, contrary to a report in a British newspaper. They just wanted to patent one special process. But we might not have noticed anyway, since the sweet Japanese curries are distant kin to Indian cuisine. "If you ask me, I would say Japanese curry isn't even curry," said the owner of an Indian restaurant in a posh part of Tokyo.


Israel

No Spanking
Israel's supreme court ruled on January 25, 2000, that corporal punishment, including spanking, of children by their parents is never educational and always causes serious harm to the child. This makes Israel the tenth country to ban corporal punishment. Yitzhak Kadman, head of the National Council for the Child, declared that the ruling established a precedent and "finally recognized the right of children not to be exposed to violence of any kind, even when those who use violence make excuses for it, saying it is 'educational' or 'punitive.'" The court was ruling on a appealed case of a mother who hit and slapped her children and, in two specific cases, struck her daughter with a vacuum cleaner and punched her son in the face, breaking his tooth. Two of the three justices rejected the appeal, allowing punishment of the mother. Justice Dorit Beinisch wrote, "We are living in a society where violence is spreading like a plague. If we allow 'light' violence, it might deteriorate into very serious violence. We must not endanger the physical and mental wellbeing of a minor with any type of corporal punishment. The message is that corporal punishment is not allowed."


N
epal


Heritage in Danger
A high-level team from the United Nation's cultural organization, UNESCO, is visiting Nepal to inspect the World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, according to the BBC. The visit comes amid reports that the area described by UNESCO as "Nepalese art at its height" is being spoiled by modern development projects. Keshav Raj Jha, Nepal's ambassador to UNESCO, said management of the area, which has Hindu and Buddhist temples and three royal palaces, is suffering from neglect. UNESCO has the authority to approve or strike off proposed heritage sites in member countries. A delegation visited the area last year to assess which heritage sites were suitable to stay on the approved list or needed to be put on a list of endangered sites. "The major problems are the demolition of privately owned traditional buildings and construction of houses without approval from the municipalities and Department of Archaeology," Jha was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP. "Electrical transformers, floodlights fixed on or adjacent to monuments, advertising billboards and obtrusive displays of merchandise are all directly affecting the environment of the monuments as well as the monument zones." The delegation will spend a week inspecting and will advise the World Heritage Committee.


T
he Brain In Meditation


Science is moving in on religion's turf. Newsweek reports that brain imaging techniques are revealing that a region at the top rear of the brain is related to meditation. It appears to weave sensory data into a feeling of where the self ends and the rest of the world begins. But it can not sustain these distinctions when the subject is meditating. Deprived of sensory input, this "orientation area" has no choice but to "perceive the self to be as one with all of creation," says Dr. Andrew Newberg. He is one of many neurologists interested in the study of religious experience in a new scientific field called neuro-theology.


A
ir Powered


Perhaps this vehicle's odd shape isn't the exact look of the future, but its technology certainly brings new hope to our choking planet. It costs just us$10,000 and can travel 120 miles for 30 cents. Introduced in Johannesburg, South Africa, and promoted as being simple, economic and clean, the e.Volution's piston engine is powered by the release of compressed air which is stored in tanks, very similar to scuba diving tanks, attached to the underside of the car. The technology was actually developed as a means to move Formula One racing cars without starting their engines. The car can go ten hours at 50 miles an hour per charge and has an onboard compressor. Just plug into an outlet and go go go.


S
oy Solutions


Soy and most soy-based products are nutritional powerhouses, according to Monique N. Gilbert, author of Virtues of Soy. Soybeans are the only plant food that has all of the essential amino acids our body requires, making it a "complete protein." Soybean products are usually cholesterol-free, high in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals. Here are some of soy's properties and how they can positively affect you. Soy's protein lowers cholesterol and decreases blood clotting, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It improves blood pressure and promotes the development of healthy blood vessels, which boosts the immune system and lowers the risk of hardening of the arteries, heart disease and high blood pressure. It protects the body from many digestive related cancers, such as colon and rectal cancer. It helps alleviate many menopausal and PMS symptoms. It also regulates and controls diabetic conditions and kidney disease. In the ayurvedic medical system of India, soy is used as a demulcent and diuretic.

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