News Desk – Aggressive Exorcists in Iran

Iraq – Alcohol sales at Baghdad International Airport have been banned by Iraq’s transportation minister Salam Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, who says the facility is a holy and revered piece of Iraq. The airport duty-free shop so far has refused to comply, and Maliki is threatening to destroy its $800,000 supply of alcoholic beverages. Anyone who has either flown in or out of the place and has watched as rockets and tracer rounds go whizzing past the windows and engines as the plane takes off like the space shuttle, would be better off getting tanked up before take off, although you still have to drive along the airport road, considered to be the most dangerous stretch of tarmac in the world.


Come next April, foreign visitors will be able to visit both Thailand and Cambodia on a single visa, said Vimon Kidchob, Director General of Thailand’s Department of International Economic Affairs. During this week’s three-day Acmecs summit (Ayawaddy-Chao Phya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, which involves Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) held in Bangkok, Thai and Cambodian officials will sign a memorandum of understanding on a single tourist visa valid for both countries, Vimon explained. The visa, which comes as part of regional cooperation aimed at boosting tourism in the region, is expected to be in effect within six months, Vimon said. She added that details of visa fees and the synchronization of the two countries’ independent databases of blacklisted foreigners had yet to be worked out.

Sao Tome and Principe

Four people have died as a result of a cholera outbreak in Sao Tome and Principe since last month, the Lusa news agency reported, citing health officials in the West African island nation. There were 165 registered cases in October. The epidemic is limited to Sao Tome, the archipelago’s main island, and appears to have resulted from the use of untreated river water, they said. It is the second cholera outbreak in the former Portuguese colony, a remote pair of volcanic islands that lie on the equator, in the past five months. In April a cholera outbreak in the nation of just over 180 000 affected nearly 200 people, killing three.


An epidemic of ship hijackings off the coast of lawless Somalia is choking the delivery of relief supplies to more than half a million people facing acute food shortages in the country’s southern regions, the United Nations’ World Food Programme has warned. Despite the epidemic of piracy in the unpatrolled waters off the 3 700km coastline of the war-torn Horn of Africa country, WFP relief efforts continue in southern Somalia, where malnutrition rates reach 20 percent. Among the districts most devastated by the drought are Gedo, Bakool, Middle and Lower Juba, areas that normally account for more than 50 percent of the entire country’s cereal production. At least 23 hijackings and attempted seizures have been recorded off the Somalia coastline since mid-March, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which has warned ships to stay as far as possible from the coast.


Ten years after a Jewish extremist murdered Yitzak Rabin, the threat of another political assassination still haunts Israel as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gets bogged down in a fifth year. A survey published ahead of the 10th anniversary of Rabin’s death shows that one in three Israelis believes a new political assassination is likely. A survey published ahead of the 10th anniversary of Rabin’s death shows that one in three Israelis believes a new political assassination is likely. Among the younger generation, the figure rises to 54%. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who received a number of death threats over his hotly contested pull-out from the Gaza Strip, is one of the most closely guarded leaders in the world. “The gulf between the religious and the secular societies has deepened over the last 10 years,” say analysts. “Today, nearly 40% of Israelis believe that the rabbinical decrees have more value than a parliamentary law.”


Some illnesses are not cured by modern doctors and that’s when exorcists of the southern parts of Iran are asked to treat the patient with their own traditional methods. They are well known for their treatment to free someone of bad spirits. Whenever the patient is not cured, he may be possessed by evil spirits, therefore, exorcists of southern regions of Iran, called Bo-azar and Dizar, will beat him up so hard that he can not move for hours. In this method, hearing the sound of traditional instruments of Damam and Liva, the possessed will feel ecstatic. Exorcists will attack him and beat him so much that not only the evil spirits are expelled, but the guy too has a near death experience. This kind of traditional treatment is still popular among some of the southern people of Iran. When feeling ill, they refer to a medical doctor, but if his treatment is not effective, then they will go to the exorcists and those writing prayers. There are also a lot of herbs that are useful for curing different diseases, such as coughing, stomach-ache, blood pressure, etc. Nevertheless the modern methods of treatments have affected the traditional methods, and have reduced the number of those who refer to the traditional medicine. Spiritual therapy is the specialty of southern clerics. They will invoke praying to cure any kind of spiritual or physical diseases. Some of these prayers will be read and then poured into water, which the patient should drink of, some of them should be burnt as incenses, and some should be fastened to a part of the patient’s body such as the arm.

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