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    Russia Considers Certification for Witch Doctors

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    Risking a hex, an opposition lawmaker in Russia has drafted a bill to regulate the country's lucrative occult medicine industry.

    MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - Risking a hex, an opposition lawmaker in Russia has drafted a bill to regulate the country's lucrative occult medicine industry.

    The bill, posted on the State Duma's website, defines "occult medical services" as healing provided by people without medical skills and reliant on the "supernatural abilities of the body."

    Occult healers should be permitted to operate as long as they are certified by the state, according to the draft, penned by Ilya Ponomaryov of A Just Russia.

    The bill, dated Tuesday, did not elaborate on the certification criteria, but it did propose limits on the advertisement of occult medical services.

    It also said occult healers should only be allowed to operate under the supervision of a trained medical professional and should be banned from trying to cure serious diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

    The document, which is pending a review date, proposes modest fines of between 2,000 and 10,000 rubles ($62 to $312) for law-breaking magicians and faith healers.

    But that may not be enough to rein in the occult services and alternative medicine industry, which had a $2 billion turnover and 800,000 employees as of 2010, according to data from the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

    About 20 percent of Russians have sought help at least once in their lives from those claiming to possess supernatural powers, according to a nationwide poll by the independent Levada Center in 2010.

    Tags:
    superstition, healing, occult medicine, State Duma, Ilya Ponomaryov
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