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News Briefs II

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal On School Prayer

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

The Supreme Court Monday rejected an appeal by Mississippi officials seeking to allow student prayer in public schools, choosing once again to stand clear of the trench debate over prayer in the nation's classrooms.

The justices refused to revive a 1994 state law that would have allowed student-led prayer at all school events, a law that a lower court had found unconstitutional.

In their failed appeal, Mississippi officials had asserted that "in a public school climate characterized by a recent dramatic increase in teenagers' drug use loss of moral values, lack of respect for authority a court-sponsored message of hostility to student-initiated prayer and religious viewpoints is exactly the wrong message."

Since the Supreme Court first banned school prayer in 1962, the debate over religion in schools has been a constant in America, as those favoring prayer recitations battle with an equally determined group who believe public prayer has no place in the schools. Through the years, the high court has at times seemed more willing to allow religious activities in public schools, but it has never in 30 years reversed its ban on prayer and Bible readings.

In 1992, the court narrowly ruled unconstitutional a faculty-organized invocation and benediction at a junior high school graduation in Providence, R.I.

The statute in yesterday's case, Moore vs. Ingrebretsen, arose from state lawmakers' indignation over the temporary suspension of a Jackson, Miss., school principal who let students begin each school day with a prayer over the intercom.

Lamb Burger, Not Hamburger, At New Delhi McDonald's

The Washington Post
NEW DELHI, India

Under the first golden arches hoisted in India, Ronald McDonald has made a deep bow to the Holy Cow.

No all-beef patties sizzle at the packed McDonald's restaurant that opened last month in upscale south Delhi. Ground lamb has been substituted in the "Maharaja Mac" and other "100% pure mutton" burgers, menu changes made to show respect for the Hindu majority's reverence for the cow.

The cultural correctness goes even further. The first no-beef McDonald's in the world also serves no pork - to avoid offending India's Muslim minority.

The capital's many vegetarians can choose between veggie burgers and "Vegetable McNuggets," all cooked by a separate staff of burger flippers who do not handle meat products, conforming to a Brahmanical sense of cleanliness. Egg-less mayonnaise is spread on vegetarian sandwiches.

Meatless fare has accounted for 30 percent of the rupees reaped since the Oct. 13 opening. McDonald's had mistakenly figured its Delhi market to be "predominantly vegetarian," according to a company background paper.

So far the Indianizing of the quintessential American fast food has gone down well with Delhi residents, judging from the heavy crowds.