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World briefs 11/13/06

Monday, November 13, 2006

German pastor's suicide seen as 'cry against Islam'

ERFURT, Germany -- The 73-year-old pastor's last sermon focused on his fear that Christian Europe would be overwhelmed by Islam. A few weeks later, at one of the most important Lutheran landmarks, the Rev. Roland Weisselberg soaked himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze. He died the following day. He left no suicide note. But in a time when Christians and Muslims in Europe lurch from one crisis to the next, the poetry-quoting, retired Lutheran minister is being proclaimed a self-martyr -- the latest victim in a growing conflict between the cross and the crescent. In his last sermon in late September -- called from retirement to fill in for an absent minister -- Weisselberg said Christians in Europe must unite or risk being overrun by Islam in generations to come. His widow -- who has refused to speak publicly -- told a church official that her husband left behind a letter describing his angst over Islam's rising power in Europe.

Poor Pakistanis sell kidneys for money

JANDALA, Pakistan -- Nassem Kausar has done it. So, she says, have her sister, six brothers, five sisters-in-law and two nephews. Each has sold a kidney to a trade that has led Pakistan's media to dub the country a "kidney bazaar." "We do this because of our poverty," said Kausar, who is in her 30s and lives with her family in Sultanpur Mor, a village in eastern Pakistan. A kidney nets the donor $2,500, sometimes less than half that amount, while recipients -- some 2,000 a year -- pay $6,000 to $12,000, compared with $70,000 in neighboring China. Critics blame an economic system that enmeshes farmers in chronic debt, forcing them to sell their kidneys, and say the trade should be banned. The government says it is taking action.

-- From wire reports


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