Dalai Lama pleased with prospect of female successor: News Roundup

While some religious leaders might shy away from establishing a tradition of helping women ascend to high-ranking positions, the Dalai Lama voices a more progressive view: His Holiness says he would be pleased if a woman were to succeed him.

Cathy Newman, a presenter with the United Kingdom's Channel 4 News, recently asked the Buddhist leader whether he would be happy about a woman successor. Without skipping a beat, he answered yes.

"I think [it would be] good because you see, biologically, female[s] have more potential to develop affection or love to other [sic]," the Dalai Lama told Newman. "Some scientists, they tested two person, one male, one female looking at one sort of movie. Female [was] more sensitive: response is much stronger. So therefore…now we are 21st century…female have more potential so should take more active role regarding promotion of human compassion [all sic]."  Huffington Post

The 11th-century minaret of a famed mosque that towered over the narrow stone alleyways of Aleppo's old quarter collapsed Wednesday as rebels and government troops fought pitched battles in the streets around it, depriving the ancient Syrian city of one of its most important landmarks.

President Bashar Assad's government and the rebels trying to overthrow him traded blame over the destruction to the Umayyad Mosque, a UNESCO world heritage site and centerpiece of Aleppo's walled Old City.

"This is like blowing up the Taj Mahal or destroying the Acropolis in Athens. This mosque is a living sanctuary," said Helga Seeden, a professor of archaeology at the American University of Beirut. "This is a disaster. In terms of heritage, this is the worst I've seen in Syria. I'm horrified."  USA Today

Images of police detaining women for public worship at the Western Wall could be a thing of the past, after an important ruling today by the Jerusalem District Court.

A judge considered the main grounds that police cite for detaining members of Women of the Wall, the interdenominational feminist group that gathers monthly for prayers a the Western Wall. He concluded that there was no justification for the detention of five women earlier this month, and that the police’s request for restraining orders to keep them away from the Wall can’t be granted.

Significantly, the judge ruled that in the Law of Holy Places, which compels Western Wall visitors to pray and hold religious celebrations according to the “local custom,” this phrase doesn’t necessarily mean Orthodox custom.  Jewish Daily Forward

In 2004, a hospital in Maine was perplexed by the number of female Muslim patients canceling outpatient appointments. The hospital's effort to reach out to the community ultimately uncovered the cause: The hospital's gowns were too skimpy. They conflicted with the patients' religious and cultural beliefs about modesty.

This is not the only way religion shows up as a factor in healthcare. Religion also emerges around every day health issues including reproductive health, diet and hygiene. In contrast to the frequent assumption that religion is only an issue during the final stages of end-of-life care, it actually becomes relevant far more often. In fact, during doctor visits or hospital stays, many healthcare providers are overlooking key information that is influencing their patients' activities and health decisions.  Executive Insight