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Benin cult priests charged over anti-voodoo prayer deaths

COTONOU, Feb 17 (Reuters) Four Christian priests from a Benin anti-voodoo cult were arrested and charged today for their suspected role in five deaths during prayers held last month in anticipation of the end of the world.
The followers of the "Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname" died after they were instructed to seal off their prayer rooms, burn incense and charcoal and wait for the world to end, residents and a survivor told Reuters. Others were treated in hospital for severe breathing problems.
The four priests were charged with manslaughter in the capital Porto Novo and were sent to prison pending trial.
The group's young woman leader, Vicentia Chanvoukini, known as "Lady Perfect" and considered a god by her followers, was not charged.
"Those who died are not really members of the church, they are people who came to test us," she told local radio.
The cult, which denounces Benin's local voodoo culture, has thousands of followers in the small West African country. There have been several violent clashes between the Baname followers, who often wear red scarves to identify themselves, and members of other faiths since 2009.
About 40 percent of Beninois follow voodoo, which includes worship of royal pythons at the country's pink Temple of the Python. Voodoo also enjoys its own national holiday.
Voodoo traditions endure despite efforts by Christian missionaries to stamp them out in centuries past. Today, many Christians and Muslims in Benin incorporate traditional African beliefs into their faith.
REUTERS CJ PR2039
Top News
Islamic State claims responsibility for British parliament attack

Islamic State claims responsibility for British parliament attack

CAIRO, Mar 23 (Reuters) Islamic State was responsible for an attack outside Britain's parliament which left four people dead, the group's Amaq news agency said today.

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23 Mar 2017 | 6:14 PM
Lok Sabha condemns terror strike in London, pays tributes to Bhagat Singh, others

Lok Sabha condemns terror strike in London, pays tributes to Bhagat Singh, others

New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) The Lok Sabha today condemned the terror attack outside the Parliament House in London and in solidarity against terrorism and to pay tributes to the departed, Members observe silence for a while.

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23 Mar 2017 | 7:05 PM
Strike enters fourth day as Mah docs defy govt warning

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Mumbai, Mar 23 (UNI) Health care services remained crippled in the city for the fourth consecutive day as resident doctors continued their stir today despite warning of suspension and pay cut by the government across various hospitals in Maharashtra.

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23 Mar 2017 | 6:28 PM
Anti-Romeo squad issue figures in Lok Sabha, Rajnath evades direct reply

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New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) Congress Member Ranjeet Ranjan today accused that within days of BJP coming to power in Uttar Pradesh, there are already instances of discrimination against minorities and other social groups.

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23 Mar 2017 | 6:19 PM
Govt in touch with US over visa provisions

Govt in touch with US over visa provisions

New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) The Government is constantly monitoring the proposed Bills on curbing H1B visas and is in touch with the US Government in this regard, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.

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23 Mar 2017 | 4:28 PM
Demonetisation shock was necessary to the system: Jaitley

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New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today staunchly defended demonetisation saying the 'shock was necessary to the system.

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23 Mar 2017 | 4:06 PM
Babri Masjid case: SC defers hearing till April 6

Babri Masjid case: SC defers hearing till April 6

New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) The Supreme Court today deferred the hearing in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case till April 6.

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23 Mar 2017 | 12:42 PM

IICT develops technology 'Nanofiltration membrane'

22 Mar 2017 | 8:08 PM

Hyderabad, Mar 22 (UNI) The city-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) has developed a technology called 'Nanofiltration membrane' which will enable the country's steel industry to tackle the challenging separation problem.

Honda WR-V crosses 4k mark in bookings within week, says Raman Kumar

Honda WR-V crosses 4k mark in bookings within week, says Raman Kumar

23 Mar 2017 | 5:59 PM

Chandigarh, Mar 23 (UNI) HSIL Senior Vice-President and Director Raman Kumar Sharma today announced that Honda WR-V, the new sporty lifestyle sub-metre crossover vehicle of Honda Cars India Limited (HSIL) has crossed 4k mark in bookings just in a week of its launch since March 16.

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