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DER SPIEGEL, FT DEUTSCHLAND (Germany)

COLOGNE - A court in Germany's western city of Cologne has banned the circumcision of young people for religious reasons. The court has deemed that the religious practice, part of both Jewish and Muslim traditions, amounted to bodily harm. Judges did allow that boys who declared they wanted to be circumcised could still have the operation.

The ban, which does not apply to circumcisions performed for health reasons, has caused much uproar in Germany. On Wednesday, Jewish and Muslim groups banded together to condemn the ruling, according to the Financial Times Deutschland, with Germany's Central Council of Muslims calling the sentence a "blatant and inadmissible interference" in the rights of parents.

Dieter Grauman, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany has called the ruling an'outrageous and insensitive" act, Spiegel reports.

The ruling, which will only apply to the Cologne region of Germany, comes from the case of a doctor prosecuted for circumcising a four-year-old Muslim boy in November 2010. The operation led to the boy seriously bleeding two days after being circumcised. The doctor was ultimately acquitted on the grounds that he had not broken any law.

In Germany, fewer than 20 percent of boys are circumcised, compared to 56% in the United States in 2005, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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