News Bites

Kiwi Ban.

Kiwi Ban. New Zealand’s National Party gave up an attempt to rescind that country’s anti-nuclear law, indicating that they did not want to fight a popular law in an election year. The law prevents all nuclear-powered ships from entering New Zealand waters.

Act Up. In the past two years, more than 322 municipalities and four states have passed resolutions calling on Congress to repeal or change parts of the USA Patriot Act. The Bush administration is pushing for the act to be renewed.

Sick & Tired. Almost one-third of American women are low-income (having an income that is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level). Women comprise nearly 70 percent of the Medicaid population over age 15. Nationwide, almost 18 percent of women ages 18-64 are uninsured, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Prayer Warriors. In November 2003, Asra Q. Nomani and her mother, Sajida, entered their mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia, by the front door and prayed in the same room with men, breaking a practice on the rise in many mosques in which women are forced to pray behind partitions. In June 2004, five women from around the country joined the Nomanis to pray in Morgantown’s mosque.

Mitzvah Making. Elizabeth Goldhirsh, right, a 25-year-old Boston philanthropist and Harvard Divinity School student, has partnered with the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies to launch a $100,000 religious essay contest for students ages 16-22 in hopes of improving Christian-Jewish relations in the wake of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ.

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