www.bbc.com

Calogero Pisano #wingnut bbc.com

The far-right Italian party Brothers of Italy, tipped to win Sunday's election, has suspended one of its candidates for praising Adolf Hitler on social media

In a 2014 Facebook post, Calogero Pisano, a party co-ordinator in Agrigento in Sicily, compared party leader Giorgia Meloni to "a great statesman of 70 years ago"

He added that he was referring to a "German" and not Benito Mussolini[…]
Ms Meloni has been trying to distance the Brothers of Italy from its neo-fascist roots[…]
Mr Pisano also expressed support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Italian news agency Ansa

Ruth Dureghello, the president of Rome's Jewish Community, criticised the comments, saying "the idea that someone who hails Hitler could sit in the next parliament is unacceptable", Ansa reported

Founded in 2012, Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d'Italia) has its political roots in the Italian Social Movement (MSI), which emerged from the wartime dictator Benito Mussolini's fascism. The party maintains the logo of post-war far-right parties: the tricolour flame, often perceived as the fire burning on Mussolini's tomb

Court in eastern Guangsou, children’s parents #fundie #wingnut bbc.com

The makers of a Chinese cartoon series have been held partly responsible for injuries incurred by two children who were imitating a scene from the show.

The brothers were badly burned in April when another boy tied them to a tree and set them on fire, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

The 10-year-old said he was copying a scene from Xi Yangyang and Hui Tailang (Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf).

A court said the show's producers and the boy's guardians were both to blame.

It ordered the guardians to pay 60% of the injured brothers' medical bills and Creative Power Entertaining, a Chinese animation company based in Guangzhou, to pay 15%.

The court in the eastern Jiangsu province said there was "a cause-and-effect relationship between the case and the violent scenarios in the cartoon" and that the show should carry warnings in future, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The show, popular with both children and adults, features a wolf whose relentless pursuit of a group of goats sees both parties suffer degrees of physical punishment.

Whole Bible Believers Church, Rev. Josiah Peter Asumosa and Rev. David Anifowoshe #fundie bbc.com

Police in Nigeria have rescued 77 people, including children, from a church where they were confined in the south-western state of Ondo

Some of them are believed to have been there for months

A police spokesperson said many of them had been told to expect the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in April and had abandoned school to witness the event

The raid came after a mother complained her children were missing and she thought they were in the church

Police say they are investigating suspected mass abduction after the raid on the Whole Bible Believers Church in the Valentino area of Ondo Town

The pastor of the Pentecostal church, David Anifowoshe, and his deputy have been arrested, while the victims have been taken into the care of the authorities

"Preliminary investigation revealed that one Pastor Josiah Peter Asumosa, an assistant pastor in the church, was the one who told the members that Rapture will take place in April, but later said it has been changed to September 2022 and told the young members to obey only their parents in the Lord," said police press officer Funmilayo Odunlami

In all, police rescued 26 children, eight teenagers and 43 adults, she added

commerce ministry of saudi arabia #homophobia #fundie bbc.com

Saudi authorities seize rainbow toys for promoting homosexuality

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have been seizing rainbow-coloured toys and children's clothing, which they claim encourage homosexuality, state TV says.

An Al-Ekhbariya report showed commerce ministry officials removing a range of items from shops in the capital Riyadh.

They included hair clips, pop-its, t-shirts, hats and pencil cases.

One official said the items "contradict the Islamic faith and public morals, and promote homosexual colours targeting the younger generation".

The commerce ministry tweeted separately that its teams were confiscating "products that contain symbols and signs calling for deviation and contradicting common sense".

Shops found to be selling them would face legal penalties, it added.

In December, authorities in neighbouring Qatar announced that they had confiscated rainbow-coloured pop-its and other toys from shops for "bearing slogans that go against Islamic values".

Although Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia has no laws regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, sexual relations outside marriage, including homosexual sex, are strictly prohibited.

Under the country's interpretation of Islamic law, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging, depending on the perceived seriousness of the case.

It is also illegal for men to "behave like women" or to wear women's clothes, and vice versa, and for anyone to carry out online activity impinging on "public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy".

In April, cinemas in the kingdom did not screen the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after Disney refused a request from Saudi authorities to cut what they called "LGBTQ references".

A source close to Disney told AFP news agency on Tuesday that its new animated film Lightyear, which features a same-sex kiss, had also been banned in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials have not yet confirmed such a move, but the kingdom's two main cinema chains are not advertising screenings.

[...]

Vladimir Putin #wingnut #god-complex bbc.com

Vladimir Putin's admiration for Peter the Great is well known but he now seems to have ideas of "Great"-ness himself

He has openly compared himself to the Russian tsar, equating Russia's invasion of Ukraine today with Peter's expansionist wars some three centuries ago, and making his strongest acknowledgment yet that his own war is a land grab[…]
Russia's president was meeting young scientists and entrepreneurs when he made the remarks. Before talking IT and tech development he talked politics and power: the new battle he sees for geopolitical dominance. In that, he told his select audience that Peter the Great was a role model

"You might think he was fighting with Sweden, seizing their lands," Mr Putin said, referring to the Northern Wars which Peter launched at the turn of the 18th Century as he forged a new Russian Empire

"But he seized nothing; he reclaimed it!" he said, arguing that Slavs had lived in the area for centuries

"It seems it has fallen to us, too, to reclaim and strengthen," Mr Putin concluded, with a near-smirk that left no doubt he was referring to Ukraine and his aims there

Peter's rule, he suggested, was proof that expanding Russia had strengthened it

unnamed patient #quack #pratt bbc.com

A young adult in New York has become the first US resident in nearly a decade to contract polio, state health officials say.

The unnamed patient in Rockland County is said no longer to be contagious, but has developed paralysis from the virus.

Officials say the person was unvaccinated, and was probably exposed to an individual who received a vaccine that contains the weakened live virus.

The last known US case of the highly contagious virus was recorded in 2013.

Once feared across the nation, the disease was largely eradicated by a national vaccination campaign that began in 1955.

Annual cases quickly fell from fewer than 100 in the 1960s to fewer than 10 in the 1970s - and the US was declared polio-free by 1979.

Dr Olaleye Kayode, Jude Akanbi & unnamed cultits #dunning-kruger #magick bbc.com

The hunt for Nigerians who can change into cats

Gbenga Adewoyin could have passed for a medieval witch hunter as he walked around a market in the south-western Nigerian city of Ibadan.

"Anyone that can provide any evidence for the existence of the supernatural, be it juju or voodoo magic, will be offered 2.5m naira ($6,000, £4,650)," he announced repeatedly. "The knife is for anyone that claims their juju makes them blade-proof."

The 24-year-old atheist has recently emerged as a rebel publicly contesting the powers of the supernatural in this deeply religious country.

Many Nigerians believe that magic charms can allow humans to morph into cats, protect bare skins from sharp blades and make money appear in a clay pot.

Dr Olaleye Kayode, a senior lecturer in African Indigenous Religions at the University of Ibadan, told the BBC that money-making juju rituals - where human body parts mixed with charms makes money spew out of a pot - really work. The naira notes that supposedly appear "are gotten by spirits from existing banks."

Jude Akanbi, a lecturer at the Crowther Graduate Theological Seminary, is also unequivocal about juju.

"This ability to be able to transform yourself to [a] cat, to disappear and reappear, these things are possible within the dynamics of traditional African religion. It sounds illogical, however from what we have seen and heard, these things are possible," he said.

Such beliefs, especially that human body parts and charms can produce money from a clay pot, have led to a recent wave of gruesome murders in the country, with single women often the victims. Hardly a day passes without reports of a missing person and pictures of mutilated corpses linked to juju.

There was widespread outrage last month after three men killed a 17-year-old girl in Ogun state to use her body parts in a ritual they believed would make them rich.

Italian Anti-vaxxer #quack bbc.com

An Italian man who wanted a Covid vaccination certificate without getting the jab turned up for his vaccine with a fake arm, officials say.
The man, in his 50s, arrived for his shot with a silicone mould covering his real arm, hoping it would go unnoticed.
The nurse told local media that when she had rolled up his sleeve, she found the skin "rubbery and cold" and the pigment "too light".
After being discovered, the man tried to persuade the nurse to turn a blind eye, la Repubblica reported. But instead she reported him to the police for fraud.
La Repubblica suggests the incident may not have been a one-off, pointing to a message on social media that may have been written by the man.
The Twitter post quoted by the paper featured a silicone male chest half-body suit, complete with fake arms and neck, that was on sale on Amazon for €488 (£416).
"If I go with this, will they notice? Maybe beneath the silicone I'll even put on some extra clothes to avoid the needle reaching my real arm," the Twitter user reportedly wrote.

Oklahoma Republicans #sexist bbc.com

Oklahoma passes bill banning most abortions after conception

Oklahoma legislators have passed a law banning abortion after conception, which critics say is the most restrictive such measure in the US.

The Republican-led bill would prohibit all abortions, except to save the life of the woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

It comes after a leak suggested the US Supreme Court may quash the 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.

Republican-led US states are ramping up bills to limit abortion access.

On the other side, US Senate Democrats last week tried to pass a bill that critics said would allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. It was stopped by Republicans.

Opinion polls find most Americans are in favour of abortion access, though surveys also show public support for allowing the procedure drops sharply after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Abortion is generally legal in US states that do not restrict it up to about 24 weeks of pregnancy, which is near the end of the second trimester.

Oklahoma has recently passed several laws aimed at setting it apart as the most "pro-life" state in the US.

The bill, which passed overwhelmingly on Thursday, is modelled on a Texas anti-abortion law that allows anyone to sue abortion providers.

But the Oklahoma bill bans abortion even earlier than Texas, where it is not legal after six weeks. This is around the time cardiac activity can be detected in the embryo, and before many women realise they are pregnant.

The Oklahoma measure defines fertilisation as the "fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum". Banning abortion after conception has been a long-held goal of national anti-abortion groups.

The bill still needs to be signed into law by the state's Republican governor, who has vowed to approve any anti-abortion legislation that comes to his desk.

The Oklahoma measure allows exemptions in cases of rape and incest, but only if reported to the police. It does not ban contraception or morning-after pills.

In the past three months, Oklahoma has passed two other anti-abortion bills, which have already caused most abortion providers in the state to close.

[…]

Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, Prabodhanand Giri, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati and unnamed Hindu clerics and BJP leaders #fundie #psycho bbc.com

Videos from a meeting of Hindu religious leaders showing provocative speeches went viral earlier this week, sparking outrage

The event took place in the holy town of Haridwar between 17 and 19 December

Police said they had not opened a case until Thursday because there had been no official complaints before that

There have been no arrests and the police case names only one man - Waseem Rizvi, a Muslim who says he has converted to Hinduism and is now known as Jitendra Narayan Tyagi

Police said a case had been registered against Mr Tyagi and unnamed "others" under charges of "promoting hatred between religious groups". Social media users, however, have identified many of the speakers in the videos who are important religious leaders often seen in the company of ministers and members from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
[…]
One organiser of the Haridwar event, Prabodhanand Giri, has often been photographed with party leaders, reported NDTV. In one photo, Uttarakhand's Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami, a BJP politician, is seen touching his feet

At the event, Mr Giri was seen asking India's army, politicians and Hindus to do what was done in Myanmar - referring to the deadly violence against Rohingya Muslims that led to their exodus

He told NDTV he wasn't afraid of the police and stood by his statement

Another speaker, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, has made several anti-Muslim statements in the past

At Haridwar, he, like many others, asked Hindus to pick up weapons to "protect" their religion from Muslims

Kamau Bobb #pratt #racist bbc.com

Google has removed its head of diversity over a 2007 blog post that said Jewish people had "an insatiable appetite for war and killing".

In a post about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that resurfaced this week, Kamau Bobb also claimed Jewish people had an "insensitivity" to suffering.

The post has now been deleted.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Google told the BBC that Mr Bobb would "no longer be part of our diversity team going forward".

"We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offence and pain to members of our Jewish community," they said.

"These writings are unquestionably hurtful. The author acknowledges this and has apologised. He will no longer be part of our diversity team... and will focus on his Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] work.

"This has come at at a time where we've seen an alarming increase in anti-Semitic attacks," the spokesperson added. "Anti-Semitism... has no place in society and we stand with our Jewish community in condemning it."

Mr Bobb - who joined Google in 2018 - has apologised to staff for the blog post.

The Government Of Turkey #homophobia #sexist #wingnut bbc.com

Domestic violence: US condemns Turkey for quitting treaty

US President Joe Biden has condemned Turkey for withdrawing from an international accord designed to protect women from violence.

He said the move was "disappointing" and a "disheartening step backward" for efforts to end attacks on women.

But Turkey said the Istanbul Convention - which seeks to prevent, prosecute and eliminate domestic violence - was incompatible with its family values.

It had been "hijacked" by people trying to "normalise homosexuality", it said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government unilaterally quit the convention on Saturday, nearly 10 years after it became the first signatory to the landmark agreement.

The move sparked large protests led by women in the country.

Women's rights activists say the Istanbul Convention was crucial to combating domestic violence in Turkey.

In a statement, the president's office explained its decision.

"The Istanbul Convention, originally intended to promote women's rights, was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality - which is incompatible with Turkey's social and family values. Hence the decision to withdraw," the statement said, without giving further details.

It said Turkey was not the only country that had "serious concerns" about the Istanbul Convention.

Despite quitting the convention, the Turkish government "will not give up on its fight against domestic violence", the statement added.

Unnamed Sanaa Houthi rebels #fundie #sexist #racist bbc.com

A Yemeni actress and model has been jailed for five years by rebel authorities after being convicted of "indecency"

Intisar al-Hammadi, 20, alleged that she was physically and verbally abused after being detained by Houthi forces in Sanaa in February, and that she had to sign documents while blindfolded

Three other women arrested alongside her were also handed prison terms

Human Rights Watch said the case was "marred with irregularities and abuse"
[…]
Houthi-run news agency Saba reported that a court in Sanaa found Ms Hammadi guilty of charges including committing an indecent act and possessing drugs

She and one of the other three women were given five-year prison terms, it said. The others were jailed for three years and one year respectively
[…]
Ms Hammadi, who has a Yemeni father and an Ethiopian mother, has worked as a model for several years and acted in two Yemeni TV series. She sometimes appeared in photographs posted online without a headscarf, defying strict societal norms in the conservative Muslim country
[…]
In March, Ms Hammadi was transferred to the Central Prison in Sanaa, where guards called her a "whore" and "slave", because of her dark skin and Ethiopian descent, her lawyer said

Jozsef Szajer #homophobia bbc.com

Jozsef Szajer: Hungary MEP quits after allegedly fleeing gay orgy

An MEP from Hungary's ruling party, which is hostile to LGBT rights, has quit after he was caught attending what Belgian media describe as a gay sex party in Brussels on Friday. Jozsef Szajer, a top member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, was stopped by police after reports of a house party violating lockdown rules. Prosecutors say he was found with drugs as he tried to flee the gathering, reportedly shinning down a drainpipe. He apologised for "a personal failing".

Jozsef Szajer's resignation, followed by his confession that he took part in what media have described as a "gay orgy", is a serious blow for Fidesz, which has governed Hungary for the past decade. Mr Szajer was one of the founders of Fidesz in March 1988, and remains a close confidant of Prime Minister Orban. He has been an MEP for 16 years, for the past 11 as chief whip and vice-president of the European People's Party. He has played a key role in keeping Fidesz inside the conservative political grouping, despite fierce criticism. He is married to Tunde Hando, former president of the National Judiciary Office, now a Constitutional Court judge. The sex scandal is particularly embarrassing for a party which campaigns for traditional family values and recently proposed a law to ban gay adoption.

Unnamed Belgian Police Officers #psycho #racist bbc.com

Belgium custody death: 'Shocked' police chief steps aside

Belgium's director-general of police has said he is deeply moved by a video showing a Slovak man being pinned down in a cell hours before he died. In the graphic video, Chovanec is seen banging his head against the wall of his cell and eventually bleeding. Officers then forcibly restrain him. A female officer appears to make a Hitler salute while laughing and a male officer is seen sitting on the man's chest for 16 minutes. Chovanec, 38, died of a cardiac arrest in hospital the following day.

The video was released by his widow, Henrieta Chovancova, after she became frustrated with a two-year inquiry that police said had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. "Why did they treat him like this? Worse than even an animal, like he wasn't even a human being," she told Belgium's VRT News. She told Het Laatste Nieuws; "After the videos of the arrest of the American George Floyd, I immediately thought, 'my husband died the same way', except that police also laughed out loud at my husband and a policewoman next to him did a Hitler salute."

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A lawyer for the policewoman told Het Laatste Nieuws that she was interviewed by the police inquiry in May 2018 and was asked about the video. "She was embarrassed but it was a kind of knee-jerk reaction," François Feron told the paper. "Because she heard Jozef Chovanec making accusations - she assumes in German or a Slavic language - at the time and in that context she thought a Hitler salute was funny. Wrongly, of course, but she realises that too."

Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute #sexist #fundie bbc.com

College students living in a hostel in the western Indian state of Gujarat have complained that they were made to strip and show their underwear to female teachers to prove that they were not menstruating.

The 68 young women were pulled out of classrooms and taken to the toilet, where they were asked to individually remove their knickers for inspection.

The incident took place in the city of Bhuj on Tuesday. The young women are undergraduate students at Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute (SSGI), which is run by Swaminarayan sect, a wealthy and conservative Hindu religious group.

They said a hostel official had complained to the college principal on Monday that some of the students were breaking rules menstruating women are supposed to follow.

According to these rules, women are barred from entering the temple and the kitchen and are not allowed to touch other students during their periods.

At meal times, they have to sit away from others, they have to clean their own dishes, and in the classroom, they are expected to sit on the last bench.

One of the students told BBC Gujarati's Prashant Gupta that the hostel maintains a register where they are expected to enter their names when they get their periods, which helps the authorities to identify them.

But for the past two months, not one student had entered her name in the register - perhaps not surprising considering the restrictions they have to put up with if they do.

So on Monday, the hostel official complained to the principal that menstruating students were entering the kitchen, going near the temple, and mingling with other hostellers.

The students allege that, the next day, they were abused by the hostel official and the principal before they were forced to strip.

Edwin Tamasese #quack #conspiracy bbc.com

Edwin Tamasese was charged with incitement against a government order after he was detained on Thursday.

The outbreak - which has killed at least 63 people, mostly young children, since October - is in part blamed on people spreading false information, claiming vaccinations are dangerous.

Samoa declared a state of emergency, and made vaccinations compulsory.

[...]

Mr Tamasese had spoken out against vaccines on Facebook, instead promoting using ineffective remedies such as papaya leaf extract to treat the deadly illness.

Before his arrest, he had described the government's mass vaccination programme as "the greatest crime against our people", and falsely claimed vitamin C could cure the infected children.

Samoa's low vaccination rates are in part due to the deaths in 2018 of two children wrongly being attributed to vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.

However, their deaths were due to nurses mixing the vaccine with a muscle relaxant instead of water, and not the vaccine itself.

The cases had nonetheless raised local fears, and were exploited by people seeking false proof that vaccines are harmful.

The current crisis in Samoa has also triggered many foreign anti-vaccination campaigners to weigh in and criticising the country's drive to immunise its children, which is trying to lift the level of measles vaccination coverage to more than 90%.

Tommy Frenck/Deutsches Reichsbräu #wingnut bbc.com

German police probe Nazi-style beer brand

image

Photos of the "German Reich Brewery" beer were posted on Facebook by Götz Ulrich, a district chief in eastern Germany, who expressed outrage.

[...]

Their use is illegal if there is a clear link to Nazi or other far-right ideology. In some cultural contexts, however, their use is tolerated.

Commemorations are being held at the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland, where Nazi Germany murdered about 1.1 million people - nearly a million of them Jews.

Mr Ulrich said the Deutsches Reichsbräu beer was being sold on Friday in Bad Bibra, his home town, and "the worst thing is that the beer has been flying off the shelves and is sold out!"

image
The label is brown - reminiscent of the Nazis' brown uniforms - and the Nazi eagle symbol is reproduced, except that the Iron Cross is shown inside a wreath, instead of a swastika.

The Gothic script lettering - harking back to German tradition - is also standard for neo-Nazi propaganda.

The shop selling the beer was part of the retail chain Getränke-Quelle, but the chain has now distanced itself from the sale, saying it was an independent franchisee's decision. Getränke-Quelle told the local manager to withdraw the beer and said it would remove its branding from the shop.

German media report that the beer first went on sale earlier this month via the internet, advertised by Tommy Frenck, a known neo-Nazi activist. He runs a pub near Themar, a small town south-west of Jena, and Themar is the venue for an annual neo-Nazi festival.

German media note that neo-Nazi "code" numbers were used for the price of a crate of Deutsches Reichsbräu: €18.88.

Neo-Nazis find the number 18 significant: they treat the first and eighth letters of the alphabet, AH, as code for Adolf Hitler. And 88, for them, stands for "Heil Hitler".

German law does not ban use of the Reich eagle or Iron Cross if they are not combined with a swastika and if there is no obvious neo-Nazi connection.

Roberto Alvim #wingnut bbc.com

Brazil's culture minister has been sacked after using parts of a speech by Nazi Germany's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in a video, sparking outrage.

In the clip posted on the ministry's Twitter page, Roberto Alvim detailed an award for "heroic" and "national" art.

Lohengrin by Wagner, Hitler's favourite composer, played in the background. Earlier, Mr Alvim said the now-deleted video was a "rhetorical coincidence".

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said the speech had been "unfortunate".

"I reiterate our rejection of totalitarian and genocidal ideologies, such as Nazism and communism, as well as any inference to them. We also express our full and unrestricted support for the Jewish community, of which we're friends and share many common values," the president said on Twitter.

In the six-minute video detailing the National Arts Awards, Mr Alvim said: "The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and will be national, will be endowed with great capacity for emotional involvement... deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or else it will be nothing."

Parts of it were identical to a speech quoted in the book Joseph Goebbels: A Biography, by German historian Peter Longerich, who has written several works on the Holocaust.

"The German art of the next decade will be heroic, it will be steely-romantic, it will be factual and completely free of sentimentality, it will be national with great pathos and binding, or it will be nothing."

[...]

In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Alvim, a theatre director who was appointed to the ministerial post last year, said "the left was doing a fallacious remote association" between the two speeches, and that "there was nothing wrong with his sentence".

"The whole speech was based on a nationalistic ideal for the Brazilian art and there was a coincidence with ONE sentence of a speech by Goebbels. I didn't quote him and I'd NEVER do it... But the sentence itself is perfect."

Later, in a second post, he said "the speech had been written from various ideas linked to nationalist art that had been brought by his advisers". He did not comment on the music that played in the video in any of his posts.

Among those who called for him to be fired was the Speaker of the lower house of Brazil's Congress, Rodrigo Maia, who said Mr Alvim had "gone beyond all limits" with an "inacceptable" video.

The Brazilian Israelite Confederation said: "To emulate [Goebbels'] view... is a frightening sign of his vision of culture, which must be combated and contained."

Nick Conrad #racist #psycho bbc.com

A French rapper who was on trial over an online music video entitled Hang White People has been found guilty of incitement to violence and given a suspended €5,000 (£4,280) fine.

Nick Conrad, who is self-produced, was virtually unknown to the French public before he released the video last year calling for white babies to be killed.

The video showing the rapper acting out the kidnap, torture and hanging of a white man sparked outrage.

Conrad has said he will appeal.

The rapper, who denies any racism towards white people, had argued the song was a comment on racism, and that the video was a fictional depiction of racism, designed to shock by inverting roles, and therefore not to be taken at face value.

"The court had a reading of freedom of expression that does not satisfy us," his lawyer said after the hearing.

The court said in its judgement that if "the permissible limits of freedom of expression are assessed with greater flexibility" when it comes to rap, "the freedom of artistic creation is, however, not absolute", the AFP news agency reports.

The nine-minute video, first published on YouTube in September, was quickly suspended for violating the company's terms of service.

It depicts a white man being shot and tortured by the rapper and an accomplice. He is forced to bite the pavement and is kicked in the head before being hanged.

One section of the lyrics reads: "I go to the nurseries, I kill the white babies. Catch them quick and hang their parents!"

Anti-racism groups had called the clip an incitement to violence and racial hatred.

The charge against Conrad could have resulted in up to five years in prison and €45,000 in fines, but prosecutors requested a suspended fine of €5,000, saying he had "already to a certain extent paid the consequences" after he lost his job as a hotel receptionist.

He was ordered to pay €1,000 in damages to each of the two anti-racism associations which brought the case.

Unnamed Pakistan International Airlines employees and MisBis #fundie bbc.com

Pakistan's national airline has been mocked after a goat was sacrificed to ward off bad luck following one of the country's worst air disasters.

Pictures went viral showing PIA ground staff slaughtering a black goat next to an ATR-42 aircraft which was about to leave for a domestic flight.

It was the first such flight since PIA grounded its ATR fleet for tests after a 7 December crash killed 47 people.

In Pakistan killing a black goat is supposed by many to ward off evil.

But the move by ground staff in Islamabad prompted hoots of incredulity once it was established the images were genuine and had not been photo-shopped.

A Pakistan International Airlines spokesman was swift to point out the goat had been slaughtered by employees on their own initiative and the airline management had no hand in it.

The Dawn newspaper covered the event in a front page story headlined "PIA: on a wing and a prayer". The headline of the Express Tribune newspaper read: "PIA lampooned for bizarre goat slaughter".

The Express Tribune commented that the "ritual sacrifice shows fear besetting the PIA employees associated with flight operations, especially those assigned to ATRs".

Comments on social media were mixed - while many mocked PIA for indulging in superstition, others defended the slaughter as a practice endorsed by Islam.

[…]

Meanwhile, one Twitter user by the name of MisBis spoke for many when she wrote: "There's nothing wrong in giving Sadqa [sacrificial offering]… Sadqa bari balao se bachata hai [it hedges against many troubles]… stop making it a joke".

Gazeta Polska and Tomasz Sakiewicz #homophobia bbc.com

The Polish conservative newspaper, Gazeta Polska, has said it will distribute "LGBT-free zone" stickers with its next issue.

The stickers show a black cross superimposed on a rainbow flag.

The weekly publication - which has a circulation of around 110,000 - openly supports the conservative governing Law and Justice party (PiS).

The move was criticised by the US ambassador to Poland, who said the stickers promoted hatred.

The newspaper's editor said his own views and those of the ambassador should both be respected.

A preview of the sticker was posted on Gazeta Polska's Twitter feed on Wednesday and it is due to be included in next week's edition.

US ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher expressed concern.

"I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance. We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance," Ms Mosbacher tweeted.

In response, the newspaper's editor, Tomasz Sakiewicz, tweeted that "being an activist in the gay movement does not make anyone more tolerant".

"Poles love freedom and have known the word tolerance for centuries. That's why they supported the rise of the USA," he added.

Paweł Rabiej, the deputy mayor of Warsaw, said he would file a complaint about the stickers to the prosecutor's office.

"German fascists created Jew-free zones," he tweeted.

Below is the sticker:

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Unidentified vegan activist #fundie bbc.com

A vegan activist in France who posted a Facebook message saying the killing of a butcher by an Islamist militant was "justice" has received a suspended prison sentence, court sources say.

She reportedly wrote that she had "zero compassion" for the victim of the supermarket attack in Trèbes last week.

Her seven-month sentence was issued as punishment for condoning terrorism.

The victim, butcher Christian Medvès, was one of four people killed by gunman Radouane Lakdim on 23 March.

The animal rights activist was prosecuted under France's tough anti-terror laws by a judge at a court in Saint-Gaudens, not far from Toulouse, in the south-west of the country.

Condoning terrorism carries a maximum seven-year jail sentence and a fine of up to €100,000 (£88,000).

Police said they were alerted to her Facebook post on Monday evening.

"So does it shock you that a murderer gets killed by a terrorist? Not me, I have zero compassion for him, there is justice in it," she is said to have posted, according to a judicial source quoted by the French news agency AFP.

France's butchers federation said it had filed a legal complaint over the post, which has since been removed.

The woman's appearance in court came two days after a left-wing activist received a one-year suspended sentence for celebrating the death of another victim of the same attack, gendarme Arnaud Beltrame.

Lt-Col Beltrame, 44, was killed after offering himself in exchange for a hostage being held by Lakdim after he attacked the Super U grocery in Trèbes on Friday.

Col Beltrame was honoured as a national hero at a ceremony in Paris on Wednesday.

Sixteen people were injured, two seriously, in what was the worst jihadist attack under Mr Macron's presidency. The gunman was shot dead by police.

Stéphane Poussier #moonbat bbc.com

A former French left-wing parliamentary candidate has been arrested over his tweets about a policeman killed during a jihadist siege in southern France last week.

Stéphane Poussier appeared to celebrate the death of Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, saying it was great.

He added that the death in the town of Trèbes meant one less voter for President Emmanuel Macron.

Kathy Dettwyler #fundie bbc.com

A Delaware college has severed ties with a professor who said a student who was held by North Korea and later died "got exactly what he deserved".

Kathy Dettwyler sparked a backlash on Facebook when she wrote Otto Warmbier was "typical of a mindset of a lot of young, white, rich, clueless males".

Mr Warmbier, 22, died a week after he was freed by North Korea, where he was serving 15 years hard labour.

He was medically evacuated earlier this month and died in a coma.

Ms Dettwyler, an anthropology professor at the University of Delaware, criticised Mr Warmbier in a post on her Facebook page, blaming his parents for what happened to him.

"These are the same kids who cry about their grades because they didn't think they'd really have to read and study the material to get a good grade," she wrote.

"His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted."

"Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women," she continued.

"Not so much in North Korea. And of course, it's Otto's parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives."

Michael Gibbens #sexist bbc.com

A US judge has found that two girls, aged 13 and 14, were partly to blame in a sex abuse case involving a 67-year-old man - and reduced his sentence.

County District Judge Michael Gibbens said "the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct".

He reduced the sentence of Raymond Soden, who was convicted last year.

Prosecutors are considering an appeal. A child rights group said the girls were the victims, not the aggressors.

Soden was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison, less than the minimum of 13 years called for by Kansas sentencing guidelines.

The judge said the girls went to Soden's house voluntarily and had taken money for sexual favours.

"They were certainly selling things monetarily that it's against the law for even an adult to sell."

Nabih al-Wahsh #racist #sexist #psycho bbc.com

An Egyptian lawyer has been sentenced to three years in prison for saying that women who wear ripped jeans should be raped in punishment.

Nabih al-Wahsh, a prominent conservative, was also fined 20,000 Egyptian pounds (£839; $1,130).

The lawyer made the remarks on a TV panel show in October, during a debate on a draft law on prostitution.

"Are you happy when you see a girl walking down the street with half of her behind showing?" he said.

He added: "I say that when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her."

Mr Wahsh said that women who wore revealing clothing were "inviting men to harass them", and said "protecting morals is more important than protecting borders".

The prosecutor brought charges against Mr Wahsh after a public outcry.

The National Council for Women's Rights condemned the remarks, saying they were a "flagrant call" for rape, in violation of "everything in the Egyptian constitution".

The council has now filed a complaint about the statement to the Supreme Council for Media Regulation about the broadcast which aired on 19 October.

Mr Wahsh has previously called the Holocaust "imaginary" and declared himself a proud anti-Semite.

"If I see any Israeli, I will kill him," he said during a separate TV panel show.

In October last year, Mr Wahsh was involved in a TV studio brawl with a cleric, after the cleric suggested women should not necessarily have to wear a headscarf.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger #fundie bbc.com

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a letter which blames clerical sex abuse on the "all-out sexual freedom" of the 1960s.

He said that cultural and historical change had led to a "dissolution" of morality in Catholicism.

The sexual revolution in the 1960s had led to homosexuality and paedophilia in Catholic establishments, he claimed.

The letter sparked fierce criticism from theologians who claim it is "deeply flawed".

Vatican expert Joshua McElwee said in the National Catholic Reporter: "It does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict's own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican's powerful doctrinal office."

Some allegations of child sex abuse by priests that have emerged date back to decades before the 1960s, the decade that Pope Benedict claims sparked the abuse crisis.

Julie Rubio, a Catholic theologian, said in a tweet that the letter was "profoundly troubling".

[..]

Published in the German Catholic magazine Klerusblatt, the 5,500-word letter is divided into three parts.

The first part presents the "wider social context of the question", lamenting the 1960s as a time when "previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely".

He blames sexual films, images of nudity and "the clothing of that time" leading to "mental collapse" and "violence".

At the time of the sexual revolution, "Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenceless against these changes in society", he said.

The sexual revolution led to paedophilia being "diagnosed as allowed and appropriate".

Next, the letter examines how this period affected the "dissolution of the Christian concept of morality", particularly in Catholic educational institutions.

In some cases, bishops "sought to bring about a kind of new, modern" Catholicism and the sexual revolution led to "homosexual cliques" in seminaries.

[..]

"Why did paedophilia reach such proportions?" he questions. "Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God."

He says "the death of God in a society" means "the end of freedom" and the solution is to "live by God and unto Him".

Andrew Dymock, Oskar Koczorowski and other Sonnenkrieg Division members #racist bbc.com

A university student from Bath and a London teenager are among those involved with a UK version of a violent American neo-Nazi group linked to five murders, a BBC investigation has found.

A propaganda image placed online by the British group suggests Prince Harry is a "race traitor" and should be shot.

Private messages between members show the leader stating that police officers should be raped and killed.

Evidence suggests the leader is Andrew Dymock, 21. He denies wrongdoing.

The BBC has seen evidence he set up the new British group known as the Sonnenkrieg Division.

Mr Dymock, who is originally from Bath and whose father is a dentistry professor, has been studying at university in Wales.

A key propagandist - responsible for designing extremist material - is said to be Oskar Koczorowski from west London, who is only 17 years old.

He did not respond to a request for comment.

[...]

The chat logs include senior members of the Atomwaffen Division, a nihilistic American organisation that encourages terrorism and says civilisation needs to be smashed in order to build a national socialist state.

The group promotes a dystopian ideology it calls "universal order" which lionises Adolf Hitler, the murderous cult leader Charles Manson, and the veteran neo-Nazi ideologue James Mason, who provides regular diatribes for a website run by Atomwaffen members.

[...]

Messages from the gaming server include correspondence about the creation of the Sonnenkrieg Division.

"Blitzy" described Sonnenkrieg as "full on Universal Order" and "atomwaffen with less guns".

He also discussed his plans to travel to the US to meet Atomwaffen members in person.

In one exchange, he stated "kill all police officers" and said they should be "raped to death".

The BBC has obtained evidence that "Blitzy" is Mr Dymock, and that he and Mr Koczorowski, who uses a separate pseudonym, both placed Sonnenkrieg propaganda into the chats.

Violent images posted by the group on social media state "fill your heart with hate" and glorify the Norwegian terrorist and mass murderer Anders Breivik.

One image suggests that Prince Harry should be shot for marrying someone of mixed race and exclaims "see ya later race traitor".

A further image, showing a female hanging from a noose, states that white women who date non-white men should be killed.

Mr Koczorowski posted images of himself wearing an Atomwaffen top near Parliament and a video of a British flag being burnt.

It is thought Sonnenkrieg has no more than 10-15 members in the UK and some European countries.

[...]

Other private messages show some neo-Nazis claiming they have encouraged young women to engage in acts of self-harm along with pictures of the mutilation and criticism of the women concerned.

It is understood that Mr Dymock has been questioned by police over alleged sexual offences against a teenage girl.

Images, allegedly shared by Mr Dymock with his associates and later placed online, show a swastika and runic symbols cut into a girl's naked body and - in another image - Mr Dymock appears to brandish a book by James Mason in the air as she lies on the floor.

The bed seen in the images is consistent with the background in a picture posted by "Blitzy" and another of Mr Dymock himself.

It is understood that both Mr Dymock and Mr Koczorowski were previously involved with the neo-Nazi group System Resistance Network, which can be linked to acts of racist vandalism in as many as 10 UK cities.

The BBC has been told that Mr Koczorowski was a pre-ban member of National Action, which became the first extreme-right organisation to be outlawed in the UK since the war when it was proscribed under terrorism legislation in December 2016.

Josef Stalin #fundie bbc.com

[NSFW: Gross subject matter]

Stalin 'used secret laboratory to analyse Mao's excrement'
by Steven Rosenburg

[...]

It is former Soviet agent Igor Atamanenko who claims to have uncovered this unusual project, while doing research in the archives of the Russian secret services.

"In those days the Soviets didn't have the kind of listening devices which secret services do today," he told the paper.

"That's why our specialists came up with the most extravagant ways of extracting information about a person."

Mr Atamanenko says it was Stalin's henchman Lavrenti Beria who was put in charge of the secret laboratory.

When I contacted Mr Atamanenko, he told me what the Soviet scientists had been looking for in fæces.

"For example, if they detected high levels of amino acid Tryptophan," he explained, "they concluded that person was calm and approachable. But a lack of potassium in poo was seen as a sign of a nervous disposition and someone with insomnia."

Mr Atamanenko claims that in December 1949, Soviet spies used this system to evaluate the Chinese leader Mao Zedong who was on a visit to Moscow. They had allegedly installed special toilets for Mao, which were connected not to sewers, but to secret boxes.

For 10 days Mao was plied with food and drink and his waste products whisked off for analysis. Once Mao's stools had been scrutinised and studied, Stalin reportedly poo poo-ed the idea of signing an agreement with him.

[...]

Extract from The Coldest Winter by journalist and historian David Halberstam:

When Mao first arrived in Moscow, he announced that China looked forward to a partnership with Russia, but he emphasised as well that he wanted to be treated as an equal.

Instead he was being taught a lesson each day. He had become, in Ulam's words, ''as much captive as guest".

As such, he shouted at the walls, convinced that Stalin had bugged the house: "I am here to do more than eat and shit."

Transroots Toronto, Pride Toronto #fundie bbc.com

A Canadian transgender job fair organised by a former Kenyan refugee has been criticised for inviting military recruiters.

Biko Beauttah said she asked the army to the event to honour her grandfather, who was a Kenyan major general.

But other transgender-rights activists say having the military there is an "affront" to their community.

Despite the criticism, Ms Beauttah said the fair will go ahead in Toronto on Trans Remembrance Day on Monday.

Ms Beauttah moved to Canada in 2006 from Kenya, where she said transgender people face discrimination and violence.

She said she spent her first three days in Canada in immigration detention, followed by six months in a refugee shelter.

But finding work in Canada has proved difficult because of transphobia, she says.

Currently, she is an activist and board member at Pride Toronto.

"I decided to throw myself a job fair and my community will benefit well," she told the BBC.

"All you need is an idea and you can literally change the world."

The fair will feature 15 employers, including bookstore chain Indigo and Toronto-Dominion Bank.

The Canadian Armed Forces is sending two personnel to find possible transgender recruits.

The presence of the military has irked some members of the transgender community.

Transroots Toronto, a group for transgender people of colour, says the job fair is a "racist act".

"Given the ongoing history of military and police violence against trans people, and of police indifference to anti-trans violence generally, having military or police present at an event specifically for TPOC (Trans People of Color) is an inherently violent act," Transroots Toronto wrote on Facebook.

The group also criticised Ms Beauttah for hosting the event on Trans Remembrance Day, which it said was a "day of mourning".

It is organising a protest outside the job fair.

But Ms Beauttah remains undeterred.

"All those systemic things they complain about, they affect me too," she said.

Toronto is no stranger to debates over police and military involvement at LGBT events.

Earlier this year, Pride Toronto voted in favour of banning uniformed police officers from the annual parade after Black Lives Matter activists said the police presence made LGBT people of colour feel unsafe.

Myanmar government #fundie bbc.com

The government's purpose in bringing us was to balance the overwhelmingly negative narrative coming from the Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh, who have almost all spoken of a deliberate campaign of destruction by the Myanmar military and Rakhine mobs, and appalling human rights abuses.

But right away these efforts faltered.

We were first taken to a small school in Maungdaw, now crowded with displaced Hindu families. They all had the same story to tell of Muslims attacking, of fleeing in fear. Oddly, Hindus who have fled to Bangladesh all say they were attacked by local Rakhine Buddhists, because they resemble Rohingyas.

In the school we were accompanied by armed police and officials. Could they speak freely? One man started to tell me how soldiers had been firing at his village, and he was quickly corrected by a neighbour.

A woman in an orange, lacy blouse and distinctive grey and mauve longyi was especially animated about the abuses by Muslims.

We were then taken to a Buddhist temple, where a monk described Muslims burning down their own homes, nearby. We were given photographs catching them in the act. They looked strange.

Men in white haji caps posed as they set light to the palm-thatch roof. Women wearing what appeared to be lacy tablecloths on their heads melodramatically waved swords and machetes. Later I found that one of the women was in fact the animated Hindu woman from the school, and I saw that one of the men had also been present in among the displaced Hindu.

They had faked the photos to make it look as though Muslims were doing the burning.

[...]

We spotted black smoke billowing out of some trees, over the rice fields. It was another village going up, right by the road. And the fires had only just started. We all shouted at our police escort to stop the van. When they did, we just ran, leaving our bewildered government minder behind. The police came with us, but then declared it was unsafe to enter the village. So we went ahead of them.

The sound of burning and crackling was everywhere. Women's clothing, clearly Muslim, was strewn on the muddy path. And there were muscular young men, holding swords and machetes, standing on the path, baffled by the sight of 18 sweaty journalists rushing towards them. They tried to avoid being filmed, and two of them dashed further into the village, bringing out the last of their group and making a hasty exit.

They said they were Rakhine Buddhists. One of my colleagues managed a quick conversation with one of them, who admitted they had set the houses on fire, with the help of the police.

As we walked in, we could see the roof of the madrassa has just been set alight. School texts with Arabic script had been thrown outside. An empty plastic jug, reeking of petrol, had been left on the path.

The village was called Gawdu Thar Ya. It was a Muslim village. There was no sign of the inhabitants. The Rakhine men who had torched the village walked out, past our police escort, some carrying household items they had looted.

The burning took place close to a number of large police barracks. No-one did anything to stop it.

David King #fundie bbc.com

Scientists have, for the first time, successfully freed embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart disease to run in families.

It potentially opens the door to preventing 10,000 disorders that are passed down the generations.

The US and South Korean team allowed the embryos to develop for five days before stopping the experiment.

The study hints at the future of medicine, but also provokes deep questions about what is morally right.

Science is going through a golden age in editing DNA thanks to a new technology called Crispr, named breakthrough of the year in just 2015.

Its applications in medicine are vast and include the idea of wiping out genetic faults that cause diseases from cystic fibrosis to breast cancer.

[...]

Darren Griffin, a professor of genetics at the University of Kent, said: "Perhaps the biggest question, and probably the one that will be debated the most, is whether we should be physically altering the genes of an IVF embryo at all.

"This is not a straightforward question... equally, the debate on how morally acceptable it is not to act when we have the technology to prevent these life-threatening diseases must also come into play."

The study has already been condemned by Dr David King, from the campaign group Human Genetics Alert, which described the research as "irresponsible" and a "race for first genetically modified baby".

Supreme Court of India #fundie bbc.com

A 10-year-old girl who is pregnant and has been refused an abortion is at the centre of a media storm in India. The BBC's Geeta Pandey travelled to the northern city of Chandigarh to piece together her story.

[...]

But on 28 July, India's Supreme Court rejected a petition - filed on her behalf - to allow her to abort, on the grounds that at 32 weeks, she is too far into her pregnancy. A doctors' panel had advised the court that a termination at this stage would be "too risky" for the girl, and that the foetus was "doing well".

The court order was a huge disappointment for the girl's family.

[...]

Medical tests so far show that her health is "good" though she suffers from "mild anaemia".

But there are other concerns. The girl was born with a hole in her heart, which was plugged in 2013. Although doctors say it's unlikely to interfere with her pregnancy, the fact remains that she is way too young to give birth.

Every year, 45,000 adult women die during childbirth in India. The risk of pregnant girls under the age of 15 years dying is two-and-a-half times higher than that for women above 20. Doctors say the risk is even higher for someone who is only 10.

It's a concern the Supreme Court took on board, but the judges still ruled that the pregnancy could continue.

various saudis #fundie bbc.com

Saudi Arabia investigates video of woman in miniskirt

17 July 2017

The authorities in Saudi Arabia are investigating a young woman who posted a video of herself wearing a miniskirt and crop-top in public.

The woman, a model called "Khulood", shared the clip of her walking around a historic fort in Ushayqir.

The footage sparked a heated debate on social media, with some calling for her arrest for breaking the conservative Muslim country's strict dress code.

Other Saudis came to the woman's defence, praising her "bravery".

Women in Saudi Arabia must wear loose-fitting, full-length robes known as "abayas" in public, as well as a headscarf if they are Muslim. They are also banned from driving and are separated from unrelated men.

In the video initially shared on Snapchat over the weekend, Khulood is seen walking along an empty street in a fort at Ushayqir Heritage Village, about 155km (96 miles) north of the capital Riyadh, in Najd province.

Najd is one of the most conservative regions in Saudi Arabia. It was where the founder of Wahhabism - the austere form of Sunni Islam that is practised by the Saudi royal family and religious establishment - was born in the late 18th Century.

The video was quickly picked up by Saudis on Twitter, where opinion was divided between those who believe Khulood should be punished and others who insisted she should be allowed to wear what she wanted.

Journalist Khaled Zidan wrote: "The return of the Haia [religious police] here is a must."

Another user argued: "We should respect the laws of the country. In France, the niqab [face-covering veil] is banned and women are fined if they wear it. In Saudi Arabia, wearing abayas and modest clothing is part of the kingdom's laws."

The writer and philosopher, Wael al-Gassim, said he was "shocked to see those angry, scary tweets".

"I thought she had bombed or killed somebody. The story turned out to be about her skirt, which they did not like. I am wondering how Vision 2030 can succeed if she is arrested," he added, referring to the reform programme unveiled last year by Saudi Arabia's newly-appointed 31-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Media captionIn April, Saudi women's rights campaigners filmed themselves walking silently in protest against driving restrictions

Some defended Khulood by noting that US President Donald Trump's wife, Melania, and daughter, Ivanka, had chosen not to wear abayas or headscarves during a visit to Saudi Arabia in May.

Fatima al-Issa wrote: "If she was a foreigner, they would sing about the beauty of her waist and the enchantment of her eyes... But because she is Saudi they are calling for her arrest."

On Monday, the Okaz newspaper reported that officials in Ushayqir had called on the provincial governor and police to take action against the woman.

The religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, meanwhile wrote on Twitter that it had been made aware of the video and was in contact with the relevant authorities.

Catholic Church #fundie bbc.com

Bread used to celebrate the Eucharist during Roman Catholic Mass must not be gluten-free - although it may be made from genetically modified organisms, the Vatican has ruled.

In a letter to bishops, Cardinal Robert Sarah said the bread can be low-gluten.

But he said there must be enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives.

The new rules are needed because the bread is now sold in supermarkets and on the internet, the cardinal said.

Roman Catholics believe bread and wine served at the Eucharist are converted into the body and blood of Christ through a process known as transubstantiation.

The wine used must also be "natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances", said Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The ruling was issued at the request of Pope Francis, the letter said.

There are about 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world.

Adel Salman, Islamic Council of Victoria #fundie bbc.com

A proposal by an Australian Islamic group to allow "safe spaces" for young Muslims to discuss "inflammatory" issues has sparked a row.

The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) said such forums enabled young people's opinions to be "respectfully and intelligently debated and challenged".

But State Premier Daniel Andrews said he was "very troubled" by the idea of a space where people "could be radical".

Victoria was rocked by a suspected terror attack earlier this week.

[...]

The ICV, which says it represents some 200,000 Muslims in Victoria, says the community is suffering mental health and other problems because of the widespread suspicion it faces.

It recommends, to a parliamentary inquiry into freedom of religion, funding a number of community-led initiatives - saying financial resources at the moment are concentrated mainly on national efforts to counter violent extremism.

ICV spokesman Adel Salman said they did not consider the "safe space" proposal controversial, because it is a practice that is already used to help young people in countries around the world.

"This is about good practice because the youth require an avenue to express their views in a safe environment... where they feel their views are valued, where they can be respectfully challenged and counter views presented," he said.

He said such spaces would be "conducted with experts who are familiar with the methodology, and understand the way the conversation can be guided".

And he criticised headlines which called the proposal "rage space" and "hate space", saying the media had misconstrued what they were asking for.

But Premier Andrews ruled out any possibility of funding such an initiative.

"I am very troubled by the suggestion that we might have a space where people could be radical as part of a de-radicalisation programme. That makes no sense to me whatsoever".

The Malaysian Government #fundie bbc.com

A competition launched on the health ministry's website offers up to $1,000 (£780) for the best videos tackling "gender confusion".

Responding to an outcry from LGBT activists, the health ministry said that its aim was to promote creativity, not to discriminate.

The contest is for 13- to 24-year-olds.

Their entries should explore prevention and control; issues and consequences; and how to get help, said the ministry's website.

In a statement, Deputy Director-General of Health Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said: "This creative video competition is purely to tap knowledge and creativity of adolescents on sexual and reproductive health related matters and does not intend to create discrimination to any particular group."

The competition, which closes at the end of August, has three main categories: gender confusion, sex, and sex and the internet.

The guidelines cited gay and lesbian people, transgender people and tomboys as examples of people who suffered from "gender confusion".

"The very fact that they lump LGBT people under a category called 'gender confusion' shows that the authorities are very much confused themselves," activist Pang Khee Teik told AFP news agency.

"It is mind-blowing that a government agency wants the whole country to be sucked into its confluence of confusion," he said.

"I was shocked. This is encouraging discrimination, hatred and even violence towards the minorities," transgender activist Nisha Ayub told Reuters.

Homosexual activity is illegal in Malaysia under both secular and religious laws.

It is punishable by a prison sentence or corporal punishment.

In March, the release of Disney's Beauty and the Beast was postponed in the country, because it contained a "gay moment".

Despite demands from the Malaysian censorship board, Disney refused to remove the scene, featuring LeFou, their first openly gay character.

The Malaysian board eventually conceded and it was shown uncut.

A prominent Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, was jailed for sodomy in 2014, after a court overturned his earlier acquittal. In elections in 2013, he led a three-party alliance which posed the strongest-ever challenge to the coalition which has governed Malaysia for more than half a century.

Rizieq Shihab, Islamic Defenders Front, Indonesia #fundie bbc.com

Indonesian police have named a controversial hardline Muslim preacher as a suspect in a pornography case.

Rizieq Shihab is accused of exchanging graphic messages and nude pictures in text conversations with a woman.

The cleric, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, has denied the accusations.

Mr Rizieq heads the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which led mass protests against Jakarta's former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama who was jailed for blasphemy last month.

Known for his fiery rhetoric, Mr Rizieq has been jailed twice for violence and disrupting public order.

In this latest case, Mr Rizieq is accused of violating Indonesia's strict anti-pornography laws by transmitting pornography to activist Firza Husein, who has also been named as a suspect.

Screenshots of what appeared to be text and picture messages between the two of them began circulating online earlier this year.

[...]

Mr Rizieq's lawyer has also said the allegations were fabricated by supporters of Mr Purnama, also known as Ahok.

Mr Rizieq is known to be a vocal opponent of Mr Purnama.

He and the FPI campaigned for months last year against Mr Purnama, a Christian and ethnic Chinese, claiming that he could not lead Muslims.

When Mr Purnama addressed these claims in a speech while campaigning for Jakarta's mayoral election, he was accused of insulting Islam, prompting even larger protests.

He was subsequently tried and found guilty of blasphemy.