German Court Offers Mixed Ruling in Headscarf Case

In September Germany’s highest court issued a mixed ruling in the case of a Muslim woman who was denied a job at a German school because insisted on wearing a headscarf on the job.

Fereshta Ludin, 31, had successfully interned at another school, but when she applied for a job she was refused unless she agreed to remove the headscarf while teaching.

Annette Schaven, education minister in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg where Ludin sought employment, said the headscarf was “understood as a symbol of the exclusion of women from civil and cultural society” and thus was inappropriate to wear as a teacher.

The German high court ruled that on the one hand, Ludin should not have been denied employment at the school since there is no law against teachers wearing headscarves in public schools. On the other hand, it also ruled that state legislatures in Baden-Wuerttemberg and other German states could pass laws banning teachers from wearing headscarves.


Muslim teacher wins headscarf fight. The BBC, September 24, 2003.

Activists Throws Fake Blood on Yum! Brands CEO

German animal rights activists threw fake blood on Yum! Brands CEO David Novak is June as Novak arrived at the opening of the first A&W Restaurant in Germany. Along with A&W, Yum! Brands is the owner of KFC.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been waging a public campaign against KFC for what PETA claims are the cruelties that chickens killed for KFC are subjected to. PETA, however, claims that it was not behind the fake blood incident.

Which is a bit odd, considering that PETA is the group that initially notified the media that the action had taken place and was able to supply photographs of Novak covered in fake blood to news media quickly after the incident.

The brave animal rights activists who threw the red liquid immediately fled the scene.

PETA’s Dan Shannon claimed that,

It was an independent person, working on their own, on behalf of our campaign [against Yum]. We are not asking or encouraging people to do this sort of thing.

Somebody forgot to tell Bruce Friedrich they’re not encouraging such actions. In a quote on PETA’s web site, Friedrich says,

KFC stands for cruelty in our book. There is so much blood on this chicken-killer’s hands, a little more on his business suit won’t hurt.

Yum! Brands wasn’t buying Shannon’s pathetic spin. Yum! spokesman Jonathan Blum said,

This is the type of corporate terrorism groups like PETA have endorsed in the past. Corporate attacks and personal violence of this nature cross the line from expression of views to unacceptable acts of corporate terrorism. The perpetrator of this crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


KFC Chief “Blooded” In Germany. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, June 23, 2003.

Animal-rights activist douses Yum’s CEO. Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), June 24, 2003.

Animal rights activists spray KFC chief with fake blood and chicken feathers. Associated Press, June 24, 2003.

Sympathy for Leni Riefenstahl?

Reuters ran a story recently about Leni Riefenstahl’s upcoming 100th birthday in which Hitler’s favorite director thinks her post-World War II treatment was unfair.

As a young woman she struggled for fame as a ballet dancer, an actress and later as a film director. She sought out Nazi dictator Hitler, who commissioned “Triumph of the Will,” and “Olympia,” her pioneering film record of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

This artistic link to the Nazis, as well as rumors of a romantic link with Hitler, which she has always denied, made Riefenstahl a pariah after the war.

Asked if she was unfairly cast out from her profession, she said: “Yes, I agree 100 percent.”

She defends her movies during the Nazi era as art and said she does not deserve to be forever condemned for this past.

Actually she does deserve to be “forever condemend” for her Nazi past.


Turning 100, Leni Riefenstahl Speaks About New Film. Adam Tanner, Reuters, July 16, 2002.

Germany On Its Way to Embedding Animal Rights Into Its Constitution

Members of Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, voted 543-19 to amend that nation’s constitution to include rights for animals.

The proposed law would amend Article 20a of the German Basic Law. That section is concerned with requiring the state to protect human dignity and will now read,

The state takes responsibility for protecting the natural foundations of life and animals in the interest of future generations.

The bill will be taken up by the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German parliament, later this year where it is expected to pass.

The German Society for Health and Research called the proposal’s passage Black Friday, fearing the change will inevitably lead to restrictions on medical research.


Germany votes for animal rights. CNN, May 17, 2002.

Germany to grant animal rights. The BBC, May 17, 2002.

Covance Should Not Bury Its Head in the Sand

Just when you think testing firms are finally getting the message about the animal rights movement, along comes somebody to prove that some folks in the industry still have not learned a thing from the campaign targeting Huntingdon Life Sciences.

In an article for The Financial Times (London), David Firn contacted several biotechnology and testing firms. Most of the firms seem to grasp how dangerous the animal rights movement is to their business. The BioIndustry Organization, which represents British biotech firms, supports efforts to allow shareholder anonymity in companies likely to be targeted by violent protesters.

But the folks at animal testing firm Covance just don’t get it. Covance’s market is largely the same as that of HLS. It is a contract research organization — pharmaceutical firms that need to test drug compound contract with Covance to perform such tests. Covance has facilities in the United States, Germany, Great Britain and elsewhere, and does extensive animal testing including with specially-bred dogs and rabbits.

Yet Chris Springall, head of toxicology for Covance’s UK operations, tells Firn that his firm is not too concerned about animal rights activists targeting his firm. The way Firn describes it, Springall sees HLS as a special case. Huntingdon was targeted because of 1998 documentary that made allegations of cruelty against HLS. Because of this, Springall argues that,

HLS was targeted by a special organization, SHAC. (SHAC) could easily be transferred to the US but we are not anticipating any difficulties.

Springall and others at Covance are burying their heads in the sand if they think that SHAC is going to simply fade away should it ever achieve its goal of driving HLS out of business. Such a victory would immediately make Covance, Quintiles, and other testing firms immediate targets of opportunity, using the same strategy that has been deployed relatively successfully against HLS.

Whether or not it is accurate, clearly Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty clearly believes it has the pharmaceutical industry on the run and living in fear, and it is hardly like to be satisfied for long with simply harassing HLS.


Silent message to animal rights activists: The events at Huntingdon Life Sciences have cast a shadow of fear over the pharmaceutical industry. David Firn, The Financial Times (London) January 11, 2002.

Did Werner Heisenberg Sabotage the Nazi Atomic Weapons Program?

A few months ago I ran across a story on some news site about the discovery of documents that might clear up the controversy over Werner Heisenberg’s role in Nazi Germany’s atomic weapons program. Now the documents have been analyzed, and they do not offer much in the way of vindication for Heisenberg.

There has long been speculation — exemplified in Michael Frayn’s play “Copenhagen” — that since the Nazi atomic weapons program failed, a likely explanation is that Heisenberg either actively sabotaged the program or perhaps did not help as much as he could have. In Frayn’s play, there is a scene depicting a 1941 meeting between Niels Bohr and Heisenberg in Nazi-occupied Denmark. In the play, and in several historical accounts of the meeting, Heisenberg expresses doubts about the morality of helping the Nazis build an atomic bomb, and hints that he would be willing to sabotage efforts at building the bomb provided that the Allies do not build an atomic weapon either.

According to the Associated Press, however, those depictions of the meeting are not accurate. In a letter that Bohr wrote — but never sent — describing the meeting, he describes Heisenberg saying that the war might won by one side or another with atomic weapons, but expressed no qualms, moral or otherwise, about developing atomic weapons for Adolf Hitler.

This letter, along with 10 other documents written or dictated by Bohr before his death in 1962, are scheduled to be placed on the web site of the Neils Bohr Institute in February.


Secrets of the Nazi A-bomb effort. Associated Press, January 7, 2002.