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The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors

Graham `Fair and Improving' in Hospital

BY DANIEL BURKE                                                                                                ©2007 Religion News Service
 
vangelist Billy Graham is in "fair and improving" condition at a North Carolina hospital after he was admitted on August 18 for intestinal bleeding, a spokesperson said Monday.
 
Graham, 88, is alert, walking around and visiting with family, said Graham spokesperson Melany Ethridge. The evangelist remains near his home, at Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville, N.C., for "evaluation and rest," Ethridge said. Graham's physicians have said the illness does not appear to be life-threatening.
 
Medical tests showed no areas of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, according to the hospital. The bleeding may have come from small pouches that form in the lower intestines, Graham's doctors said.
 
The evangelist, whose wife of 64 years, Ruth Graham, died in June, suffers from Parkinson's disease and has been largely home-bound in recent years.
 

Study: Sex Trafficking Contributes to AIDS Epidemic 

BY ERIN ROACH                                                                                                           ©2007 Baptist Press                

Intervention to release sex-trafficked girls and women from forced prostitution may be an important strategy in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, according to a study released in August by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers called for strengthened efforts to prevent sex trafficking and to protect trafficking survivors after they found that victims of forced prostitution in India contributed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic when they were repatriated into their native country of Nepal.

"Currently, relatively few such efforts exist, and organizations that do engage in this work often lack adequate political or financial support," the authors of the report from the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in reference to intervention work.
The study's authors worked with a nongovernmental organization to examine the medical records of 287 girls and women who were rescued and repatriated after being sex-trafficked from Nepal to India between 1997 and 2005, and 38 percent of them tested positive for HIV. About 14 percent of the girls were trafficked before they were 15, and 60.6 percent of that age group was infected with HIV, researchers found.

Most victims were transported by people they knew on promises of domestic jobs or offers of marriage. Others were drugged and kidnapped. More than half of the girls and women were trafficked to Mumbai, the most populous city in India.
A decade ago, researchers said, international human rights organizations calculated that between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepalese girls and women were sex trafficked to India each year, and the study's authors predicted that number has risen significantly because of recent civil conflict in Nepal.

India has about 2.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, ranking third in the world behind South Africa and Nigeria. The U.S. State Department estimates that 800,000 people are trafficked worldwide each year, and 80 percent are women and girls. The Associated Press noted that 150,000 are trafficked annually across South Asia and most end up in major Indian cities.
"The high rates of HIV we have documented support concerns that sex trafficking may be a significant factor in both maintaining the HIV epidemic in India and in the expansion of this epidemic to its lower-prevalence neighbors," Jay Silverman, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and a lead author in the study, said.

To read the rest of the story, please click here.
 

Study Finds Criminal Futures for Many Aboriginal Victims

BY DOUGLAS TODD                                                                                           ©2007 Religion News Service
 
A startling psychological study suggests more than half the aboriginal students abused at Canada's church-run residential schools went on to criminal activity. The new research also counters widespread preconceptions that clergy were most responsible for abusing the former students.
 
The study, published in the August edition of the B.C. Medical Journal, shows that almost two-thirds of 127 aboriginals who say they were abused while attending Canada's residential schools ended up involved in crime; three former students became murderers. The former students who turned to crime, all of whom are now adults, have been convicted of physical assaults, robbery, major driving charges, and numerous sex crimes.
 
The two criminologists who coauthored the report--Ray Corrado of Simon Fraser University and Irwin Cohen of University College of the Fraser Valley--link a century-long history of abuse at Canada's more than 100 residential schools with the chronically high incarceration rate that continues among Canada's aboriginals.
 
Another revealing discovery made by the study's five researchers, led by psychologist Ingrid Sochting of suburban Vancouver's Richmond General Hospital, is that the largest group of perpetrators at the now-defunct residential schools were non-clergy staff.
 
Canada's aboriginal residential schools were operated for about a century by churches while being funded by the federal government, until the last ones were shut down, mainly in the 1960s and 1970s.
 
While many Canadians blame the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and United Church of Canada denominations for what that went wrong inside residential schools, this study, for the first time, provides hard data suggesting priests were the abusers in only 3.7 percent of cases studied; nuns in 2.9 percent.

A minority of the aboriginals who agreed to be interviewed for the study--70 percent of whom were male--admitted they had also been abused in their villages, usually before they were forced to attend residential schools. When it came to physical abuse in the aboriginal villages, mothers were the victimizers in 37 percent of the cases, followed by fathers at 31 percent.

Vatican Starts Low-Cost Flight Service for Pilgrims

BY PADDY AGNEW                                                                                               ©2007 Religion News Service
 
The Vatican has its own bank, its own postal system, its own pharmacy and its own soccer tournament--but until now, no official state-sponsored airline.
 
That will change when the Holy See teams up with a small Italian charter company, Mistral Air, to launch a low-cost charter service to ferry pilgrims to many of the most important Catholic shrines, including Lourdes in France, Fatima in Portugal, Czestochowa in Poland, and Santiago di Compostela in Spain.
 
"The spirit of this new initiative is to meet the growing demand by pilgrims to visit the most important sites for the faith," Father Cesare Atuire of the Vatican pilgrimage office, Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, told the Rome newspaper La Repubblica.
 
Founded in 1981 by the Italian cinema actor Bud Spencer, Mistral Air functions mainly as a cargo transport service. The Italian state postal service and the Vatican pilgrimage office are both shareholders in the company, which intends to use the same aircraft to fly pilgrims by day and cargo by night.
 
The new service will be able to count on not only parishes and churches throughout Italy for clients, but also the Rome-based religious travel agency Quo Vadis. According to some estimates, as many as 150 million pilgrims travel annually to religious sites worldwide, with 8 million going to Lourdes and 10 million to Mexico for the Virgin of Guadalupe.
 
The vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, is expected to be on the company's first flight, to Lourdes on August 27. The plane's headrests will bear the inscription, "I search for your face, Oh Lord."


   
 

 
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