Schwaz, Austria - Jehovahs Witnesses knock on doors
Tiroler Tageszeitung, February 24, 2004, (a.h.)
300 Jehovahs Witnesses took their version of the Holy Scripture from door to door in the Schwaz district in 2003. Emanuel Otasek does not take unfriendly people or doors being shut in his face personally. "There are so many people who know nothing about the message of the Bible," says the press spokesman of the Jehovahs Witnesses. He likes to keep a look-out for anyone who might be interested. He knocked on 3,000 door himself in the district. He is convinced that it was worth the effort. "Six people were baptized," he sums up his year's work.
Berlin - Scientology Church now twice as big
German-language Scientology press release by "Sharky" of d.s.w.s newsgroup, February 29, 2004
(this English-language version is not Scientology's official release)
It was a special day for the Scientology Church Berlin. After diverse legal successes in the Berlin Administrative Court and the suspension of various repressive measures the Scientology Church Berlin has now officially presented its new spaces, more than twice as large as before, on 45 - 49 Mariendorfer Damm, to the public. The guests of honor included his Excellency, the Ambassador of Mauritius, Mr. Mohurrlall Haton. Appearing as representative of the US Embassy in Berlin was Dr. Franz Seitz, who has been documenting human rights violations against religious minorities across Germany for several years. In the opening ceremony he couldn't resist giving a little speech. Dr. Seitz explained that "For years, the US State Department has engaged in a factual discussion on the theme of Scientology. I am convinced that this will lead to an easing of tension, similar to the USA, and will finally lead to acknowledgment. ... In the name of the government of the United States of America I wish you well in everything."
Another guest was super-biker Alfred Guenthoer, who with his racing cycle has put a total of 42,000 km behind him for people in need. In doing this he collected donations for children with cancer and fully paralyzed children. In his last tour in 2003 he accumulated 17,300 km for the Scientologists' "Say NO to Drugs" campaign, which brought him through 28 countries.
Together with his Excellency, the Ambassador of Mauritius, the representative from the US Embassy and the super-biker, president Ute Ehrhardt now invites the public to form their own picture of Scientology.
- end of article -
For background on Scientology in Berlin see http://cisar.org/usa/minton.htm#030903
Hamburg - Government agency dismisses US Scientology criticism
excerpt from BILD of February 27, 2004, as posted by "Sharky" of d.s.w.s.
The "Arbeitsgruppe Scientology Hamburg" dismissed US criticism of Germany's treatment of Scientology. In its human rights report the Washington State Department criticized the treatment of religious minorities in Germany and gave Scientology as an example. The "Arbeitsgruppe Hamburg" responded, "Scientology is not a religious denomination, but a political group with totalitarian characteristics."
Poland - Scientology imported almost 100 tax-free Rolls Royces
Deutsche Welle, February 25, 2004
Excerpt - Catholic Church, largest landowner in the country, and EU entry
Warsaw, 19.2.2004, TRYBUNA, poln.
Jozef Oleksy, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Interior and Administration cannot say with certainty whether the Church can retain its customs privileges during the country's entry into the European Union. [...]
These privileges caused a stir in the early '90s when many efficient priests had automobiles imported into Poland "for the diocese" without paying customs fees. These cars were then either resold at a profit, or used in a manner that had little to do with the practice of religion. In 1995, the state attorney's office office uncovered a group in Lublin, which included 18 priests and 8 "lay" people. This group brought 43 expensive vehicles, without paying customs, into Poland, which supposedly fulfilled a "churchly need," but in reality were just resold to third parties. The state calculated losses in the amount of over 200,000 zloty (about 50,000 euro).
The import of cars "for churchly purposes" was so rewarding that some frauds founded churches and religious associations for the sole purpose of importing cars into Poland without paying customs. The Scientology Church held the record, importing almost 100 Rolls Royces duty-free into Poland [...]
North Korea - Moon's automobile factory
Heidenheimer Zeitung, February 26, 2004
Rupert Neudeck was underway in North Korea for his "Gruenhelme" aid organization to find out if it would be feasible to launch a project for renewable energy in the almost inaccessible country. Now he writes about hunger, orders and a little opening. Here is an excerpt:
It's hard to believe your own eyes, when you ride down the long stretch of empty road from the Pyongyang airport to the center of North Korea's capital city. There a shimmering sign advertising a brand-new car with the name of Hui Ra Ram. That means "Whistle," and the car is the newest hit that clearly shows the contrast in the society of North Korea. In a country with widespread hunger and health care problems that are painfully obvious, a new factory is being built. The money comes from the Moon sect, whose founder came from North Korea. The Italian Fiat company is part of a joint venture, and it brings parts for 200 cars every month by ship for a model that, so we hear, is not selling well on the international market. The price: 8,000 US dollars. Who can pay that, when the monthly wage of a North Korean, if he has work, is around 4 dollars. Well! as many in the diplomatic parade of the foreign community tell us, there are now North Koreans, the ones that come back from Japan, who are doing good business here and can afford such a wagon.