News briefs

Campus Briefs:

UVU receives $200,000 to promote democracy – UVU’s Center for the Study of Ethics was recently granted nearly $200,000 from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) to begin the three-year Utah Democracy Project. The purpose for this venture, according to the grant’s proposal, is to cultivate political literacy and encourage political engagement through a variety of educational programs.
Hoping to answer the question “What is fundamental to Democracy?” the Utah Democracy Project includes a series of on-campus public forums. It also consists of media productions and student projects wherein students, faculty, civic leaders and the community come together to address a variety of issues in an effort to build a stronger democracy in Utah.
The project is also in charge of Ethics Awareness week. Also, after the Second and Third Congressional District Debates broadcast locally by UVU, there will be Democracy week, which will coincide with the Nov. 2008 general election.

UVU professor to be awarded the Gandhi Peace Award – Michael Minch, UVU associate professor of philosophy and director of UVU’s Peace and Justice Studies program, was recently announced as one of the three recipients of the Gandhi Peace Award.
The Gandhi Peace Award is presented annually by the Gandhi Alliance for Peace, a local activist group preserving the memory and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Gandhi Alliance board of directors noted that Minch leads a respected academic program that teaches and conducts research on peace conditions and processes and reaches out in a practical way to engage the community.
As an associate professor at UVU, Minch specializes in political and moral theory and coordinates the annual Dialogue on Peace and Justice. In addition to directing the Peace and Justice Studies program, he serves on the Religious Studies Committee.

National Briefs:

Plastic associated with health risks defended by FDA – Bispehenol, a hormone-like chemical used in making plastic baby bottles and reusable water bottles, was found to be safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
Bispehenol A (BPA) has been linked to an increased risk in heart disease and diabetes by a preliminary study of the chemicalís effects on health.
A senior FDA scientist explained to an expert panel that a margin of safety exists with the chemical. However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that adults exposed to increased amounts of BPA were more likely to report having heart disease and diabetes.

Texas teen told to take off rosary at school – A Dallas high school student was asked to remove her silver and ruby beaded Catholic rosary while at school.
The rosary, which school authorities and local police called a “gang symbol,” was a gift from the teen’s mother.
The teen’s mother said she had no idea that rosaries are considered gang-related items and has vowed to take the district to court if necessary.

Judge says no to more snowmobiles in National Parks – A federal judge rejected a plan to allow the use of more than 500 snowmobiles in the boundaries of the National and Grand Teton Parks.
The judge, Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court in Washington, said that the plan violated the National Park Service’s responsibility to protect the parks.
Excited about the decision, environmentalists are encouraging park officials to allow only 260 snowmobiles into the park — and eventually to disallow snowmobile usage altogether. They say that the exhaust from the machines pollutes the park and the sound agitates wildlife. However, snowmobile enthusiasts argue that new technology has made snowmobiles cleaner and quieter.

World Briefs:

JAPAN: Oldest man alive celebrates 113th birthday – In southern Japan, Tomoji Tanabe celebrated his 113th birthday on Sept. 18. As part of the celebration, the local mayor presented Tanabe with flowers and a giant teacup with his name and birth date on it. Last year, Guinness World Records recognized Tanabe as the oldest living male. He eats mostly vegetables, drinks milk every day and believes that not drinking alcohol is the key to longevity. A large number of Japanese live long. A government report showed a record of 36,276 people in Japan who were over 100 years old.

YEMAN: Terrorist attack on U.S. Embassy – Sixteen people were killed in a well-coordinated terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen. The attack included firing automatic weapons, setting off grenades and a car bomb. Those killed included six militants, four civilians and six Yemeni soldiers guarding the embassy. A senior official said some of the attackers were dressed as Yemeni troops and that the first emergency personnel to arrive on the scene were hit by heavy sniper fire.
The U.S. State Department stated that the attacks bore “the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda attack.” According to the al-Arabiya news channel, a group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened to carry out similar attacks in the Persian Gulf region if al-Qaeda prisoners are not released by Yemen.

UGANDA: Minister wants to ban miniskirts – The ethics and integrity minister of Uganda, Nsaba Buturo, told reporters that wearing a miniskirt should be regarded as indecent and therefore punishable under Ugandan law. Buturo said wearing a miniskirt was like walking around naked. According to BBC reporter Joshua Mmali, reporters found Buturo’s comments “extremely funny.” Buturo’s comments included the following: “What’s wrong with a miniskirt? You can cause an accident because some of our people are weak mentally,” and “If you find a naked person, you begin to concentrate on the make-up of that person, and yet you are driving. These days you hardly know who is a mother from a daughter; they are all naked.”

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