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North Korea: "One of the world's most repressive regimes"
10 | Washington
Taking a Stand for Religion
In a report released April 29, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom identified 28 countries that abuse or limit religious freedom. But the cited countries, many of which are widely known for being oppressive in numerous ways, weren't the only ones blasted. President Obama was also criticized for his rhetoric encouraging nations to respect "freedom of worship" rather than "religious freedom." Such an appeal might encourage regimes to persecute certain faiths while technically allowing their adherents to worship freely. Egypt, for example, has barred some who practice minority faiths from having bank accounts, driver's licenses and even birth certificates.
* | What They're Banning in Michigan: Michigan is the 38th state to go smoke-free. The ban, which went into effect on May 1, prohibits patrons from smoking in bars, restaurants, hotels and other public establishments, though cigar bars and casinos have been granted an exemption. The law, which was enacted to reduce the health risks of secondhand-smoke exposure--currently the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the state--is also expected to have a positive economic impact on bars and restaurants. Eateries in other states that have adopted the ban have generally seen an increase in revenue and traffic.