News & Current Affairs

September 24, 2008

Kidman hails ‘fertile waterfalls’

Kidman hails ‘fertile waterfalls’

A pregnant Nicole Kidman at an awards ceremony with husband Keith Urban in May 2008

Kidman already has two children, but both were adopted

Nicole Kidman has credited a waterfall with bringing about a flurry of pregnancies – including her own – on the set of one of her films, Australia.

The actress said seven babies had been conceived during production of the film in a small town in Australia’s outback.

“There is something up there in the Kununurra water”, in which she and six other woman swam, she told The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Kidman, 41, gave birth to her third child, Sunday Rose, in July.

She is married to country music singer Keith Urban and has two children – both adopted – from her previous relationship with fellow star Tom Cruise.

‘Fertility waters’

Kidman filmed Australia, directed by Baz Luhrmann, in Kununurra, a small town in the far north of the state of Western Australia.

“I never thought that I would get pregnant and give birth to a child, but it happened on this movie,” she said in the interview.

“Seven babies were conceived out of this film and only one was a boy. There is something up there in the Kununurra water because we all went swimming in the waterfalls, so we can call it the fertility waters now.”

September 8, 2008

Scientology ‘faces French trial’

Scientology ‘faces French trial’

Church of Scientology headquarters in Paris

France keeps Scientology sites under surveillance

The Church of Scientology in France will be tried in court for “organized fraud”, according to legal sources.

The lawyer for one of the plaintiffs behind the case told that if convicted the controversial Church could be banned.

The Church has faced stiff opposition in France as well as Germany, where it has been declared unconstitutional.

The French branch of the Church of Scientology said it had been cleared of “numerous” similar charges.

It said such charges should not be brought to court again.

This case stems from claims by a woman who said she was approached by Scientologists in a Paris street in 1998 and offered a free personality test.

She says she ended up handing over more than 20,000 euros (£16,000) for courses, books, illegally prescribed drugs and an “electrometer” supposed to measure fluctuations in her mental state.

Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the woman and for one other plaintiff in the case, says the case could be brought before the court by the end of the year or in early 2009.

‘Commercial operation’

Scientology was founded in the United States in the 1950s by science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard.

It has attracted stars such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and the late Isaac Hayes.

But it been accused in some countries of cult-like practices and exploiting its followers financially.

Scientologists reject this and say that they promote a religion based on the understanding of the human spirit.

France refuses to recognise Scientology as a religion, categorising it as a purely commercial operation and keeping it under surveillance.

In Germany last year, federal and state interior ministers declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional, and in France in 2000 a government committee recommended dissolving the Church.

However, in October a Spanish court ruled that the Church of Scientology of Spain should be re-entered into the country’s register of officially recognised religions.

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