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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, January 26

A dentist's employees complain of religious harassment. Women in rural India are hunted as "witches." And Taiwanese relations with mainland China become uncertain with the election of a new, pro-sovereignty president. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on societal and political news from around the globe. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

A Michigan dentist known for playing contemporary Christian music in her office is now being sued by four of her former employees. The plaintiffs claim that they were fired or otherwise punished for objecting to religious practices at the office. You can read more about the story here, at The Washington Post.

Chinese officials recently detained a Swedish human rights activist for "inciting opposition" and have recently released a "confession" from the man, possibly obtained under duress. As The Hong Kong Free Press notes, it's a sad sign that political freedoms in China are still in many important ways heavily restricted.

There's been a lot of attention recently on witch hunts in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia, but they're not the only places where such practices continue into the modern age. Witch hunts have also been reported in rural India and, as one might expect, the incentive behind them seems to have less to do with superstition and more with misogyny and property rights disputes hidden beneath a veil of "holy" violence.

Is the Republican Party is disarray? That's the question that many commentators have been asking over the last two years and one that statistician and writer Nate Silver, famed for his accurate predictions of both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections down to the individual states, is himself now pondering. You can read his analysis (as well as his review of the book The Party Decides) here.

For decades Taiwan has existed in a catch-22 in regards to its status relative to mainland China: claiming to be the sole government of China has resulted in its exclusion from most international bodies, but dropping this claim and instead pursuing its own identity as a separate government could ironically arouse China's wrath. Now, for the first time the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan has claimed victory in both presidential and legislative elections, placing the future of cross-strait relations into question.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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