In FRANCE the National Assembly has adopted Europe's toughest anti-cult legislation, which would create a controversial new crime of "mental manipulation" punishable by a maximum fine of $75,000 and five years in prison. Both Protestant and Catholic leaders are concerned about the bill's possible consequences. "Without understanding the risks, it is dangerous to create a crime of mental manipulation—something that sooner or later will be assimilated with a crime of opinion," said Stephan Lauzet, general secretary of the French Evangelical Alliance. The new anti-cult bill, dated May 30 and unveiled on June 6, was written by National Assembly member Catherine Picard and signed by all French Socialist members of the Assembly. It must now go back to the Senate for approval of the latest amendments. The bill, which contains 11 articles, represents the latest effort to pass repressive legislation against minority religions. In 1996 the French government published a list of 173 "dangerous sects" that included an evangelical church with connections to Baptists in the United States, as well as Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientologists.

In NORTH KOREA, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has installed 100 solar kitchens at orphanages, hospitals, kindergartens, and other institutions. Now in a second phase, ADRA will double the number of solar kitchens in areas without reliable energy. The solar kitchens use parabolic mirrors, which focus sunlight for heating. ADRA officials constructed portions of the units with spare bicycle parts so owners could easily make repairs.

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Christianity Today
Briefs: The World
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September 4, 2000

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