www.theguardian.com

Unnamed Queensland Police Service officers in Brisbane #wingnut #racist #psycho theguardian.com

Audio recordings taken at the Brisbane city police watch house reveal officers joking about beating and burying black people, referring to Nigerians as “jigaboos”, and raising fears that Australia “will be fucking taken over”

A series of tapes, leaked to Guardian Australia by a whistleblower, record several Queensland police service officers using racist slurs and offensive language while working in the holding cells

The audio – which we have published below – features comments by several watch house officers (a non-policing role) and sworn police. It includes jokes about one officer’s desire to “skull drag” protesters, discussions of fears of “outbreeding” by Muslim immigrants, and, when speaking about African population growth, the comment “let’s just hope Ebola works”

The recordings were submitted to the state’s commission of inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence by watch house officer Steven Marshall[…]
He says some conversations were about people of colour held at the watch house, including one black detainee being referred to as “a gorilla in the mist” and jokes made about a fellow officer that a female Indigenous detainee “won’t give you a fucking blowjob here”[…]
He says that he only complained internally about one of these recordings because he had previously complained about unrelated matters and had “exhausted all options over many years” to hold colleagues to account in relation to these, including lodging internal whistleblower complaints

Haibatullah Akhundzada #fundie #psycho #sexist theguardian.com

Afghan supreme leader orders full implementation of sharia law

Public executions and amputations some of the punishments for crimes including adultery and theft

Afghanistan’s supreme leader has ordered judges to fully enforce aspects of Islamic law that include public executions, stonings, floggings and the amputation of limbs for thieves, the Taliban’s chief spokesperson said.

Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday that the “obligatory” command by Haibatullah Akhundzada came after the secretive leader met with a group of judges.

Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement’s birthplace and spiritual heartland.

“Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists,” Mujahid quoted Akhundzada as saying. Those files in which all the sharia [Islamic law] conditions of hudud and qisas have been fulfilled, you are obliged to implement. This is the ruling of sharia, and my command, which is obligatory.”

Mujahid was not available on Monday to expand on his tweet.

Hudud refers to offences for which, under Islamic law, certain types of punishment are mandated, while qisas translates as “retaliation in kind” – effectively an eye for an eye.

Hudud crimes include adultery – and falsely accusing someone of it – drinking alcohol, theft, kidnapping and highway robbery, apostasy and rebellion.

Qisas covers murder and deliberate injury, among other things, but also allows for the families of victims to accept compensation in lieu of punishment.

Islamic scholars say crimes leading to hudud punishment require a very high degree of proof, including – in the case of adultery – confession, or being witnessed by four adult male Muslims.

Since last year’s takeover, videos and pictures of Taliban fighters meting out summary floggings to people accused of various offences have appeared frequently on social media.

The hard-won rights of women in particular have evaporated in the past 15 months, and they are increasingly being squeezed out of public life.

In the past week, the Taliban also banned women from entering parks, funfairs, gyms and public baths.

Iran’s ministry of intelligence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps #conspiracy theguardian.com

Two female journalists who were instrumental in reporting the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman whose death in the custody of Iran’s morality police has sparked nationwide protests, have been labelled as CIA foreign agents by the Iranian regime

Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who were arrested shortly after news broke of Amini’s death and who are reportedly being held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, were accused of being foreign agents in a joint statement released by Iran’s ministry of intelligence and the intelligence organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards last night

The statement, which refers to the two women as NH and EM, also described the protests as a pre-planned operation launched by the CIA, Mossad and other western intelligence agencies

The statement, which accused both women of being “primary sources of news for foreign media”, accused Hamedi of posing as a journalist and of compelling the family of Mahsa Amini to release information about their daughter’s death[…]
Mohammadi has been accused by the IRGC and the intelligence ministry of receiving training as a foreign agent abroad for her reporting from Amini’s funeral in her home town of Saqqez

Mohammadi was arrested on 22 September and her lawyer said security forces broke down her door and took away personal items such as her phone and laptop

The statement, which was sent to Iranian news agencies on Friday evening, has been received with shock and fear by other Iranian journalists. The crime of spying for foreign governments carries the death penalty in Iran

Herschel Walker #sexist #wingnut theguardian.com

Herschel Walker: anti-abortion Senate nominee denies media report he paid for abortion in 2009

A Republican nominee for the US Senate, who strongly opposes abortion rights, has denied a Daily Beast report that he paid for an abortion for a former girlfriend in 2009. Herschel Walker, a former American football player who is running for the US Senate in Georgia, called the accusation a “flat-out lie” and says he will sue the news outlet for defamation.

The Daily Beast published claims from a woman who says Walker paid for her abortion when they were dating. The woman, who was not named, claimed the allegation was supported by a receipt showing a $575 payment for the procedure, along with a get-well card, purportedly from Walker.

According to The Daily Beast, her bank deposit records show the image of a $700 personal check, purportedly from Walker, dated five days after the abortion receipt.

The woman claimed in The Daily Beast report that Walker encouraged her to end the pregnancy, saying that the time wasn’t right for a baby.

In a statement, Walker said he would file a lawsuit against the news outlet.

“This is a flat-out lie and I deny this in the strongest terms possible,” he wrote.

Matt Fuller, the politics editor for The Daily Beast, tweeted in response: “I can tell you we stand behind every word and feel very solid about the story.”

The allegation against Walker is the latest in a series of stories about the former football star’s past that have rocked the first-time candidate’s campaign in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. Earlier this year, Walker acknowledged reports that he had three children that he had not previously talked about publicly.

As a Senate hopeful, Walker has supported a national ban on abortions with no exceptions for cases involving rape, incest or a woman’s health being at risk.

“I’m for life,” Walker has said repeatedly as he campaigns. When asked about whether he’d allow for any exceptions, he has said there are “no excuses” for the procedure.

Iranian pro-regime demonstrators, military and judiciary #wingnut #fundie #conspiracy theguardian.com

Pro-government rallies have taken place in several cities across Iran in an attempt to counter a week of mounting unrest triggered by the death of a woman in police custody

Marchers called for anti-government protesters to be executed, while the army signalled that it was prepared to crush dissent by telling Iranians that it would confront “the enemies” behind the unrest

Demonstrators condemned the anti-government protesters as “Israel’s soldiers”, live state television coverage showed. They also shouted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”, common slogans the country’s clerical rulers use to try and stir up support for authorities, who claimed the demonstrations of support were spontaneous. “Offenders of the Qur’an must be executed,” the crowds chanted[…]
The Iranian judiciary has ordered the courts to take a tough line with protesters, claiming the demonstrators were being led by foreign agents and stirred by anti-Iranian social media – a familiar accusation levelled by the regime when dissent breaks out

Andrew Tate #sexist theguardian.com

The controversial online influencer and self-described misogynist Andrew Tate has been banned from Meta platforms Instagram and Facebook

Tate, a former kickboxer and reality TV star, was removed for violating Meta policies “on dangerous organizations and individuals”, the company confirmed by email

Tate first rose to prominence after appearing on the TV show Big Brother in 2016, when he was removed from the series after a video of him beating a woman outside the show surfaced

Since then, he has garnered backlash for his posts across social media, which domestic abuse charities have called “extreme misogyny”. He stated on Twitter in 2017 that women belong in the home and that rape victims “bear responsibility” for their attack, after which Twitter permanently banned him from the platform
Tate has grown a following for his advice videos to men, many of them veering into sexist territory. On one YouTube video, Tate described himself as “absolutely a misogynist”. He said: “I’m a realist and when you’re a realist you’re sexist. There’s no way you can be rooted in reality and not be sexist”

In a statement to the Guardian, Tate characterized many of his videos as parody, stating he was “playing a comedic character”[…]
Tate was a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump and has appeared on a number of rightwing podcasts, including shows like Infowars, hosted by the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Hekmatullah #fundie #psycho #wingnut theguardian.com

‘I will continue killing foreigners’: soldier who shot dead unarmed Australians treated as ‘returning hero’ by Taliban

Hekmatullah, the rogue Afghan soldier who killed three unarmed Australian diggers in Afghanistan a decade ago, is living in a luxury home in the capital Kabul, treated as a “returning hero” by the Taliban who released him from prison.

He has said he does not regret killing Australian soldiers, and has vowed he would again kill Australians, or anyone who opposes the Taliban.

“If I am released I will continue killing foreigners,” Hekmatullah told an official of the former Afghan government when his release was being negotiated.

“I will continue killing Australians and I will kill you as well because you are a puppet of foreigners,” he said.

“I am among my brothers, we will be free, Afghanistan will be free. We will kill you.”

Since returning to Afghanistan, Hekmatullah has reportedly been housed in the former diplomatic quarter of Wazir Akbar Khan. He lives in a heavily secured property in a district adjacent to the clandestine former home of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former al-Qaida leader assassinated eight days ago by a US drone strike as he stood on the balcony of his villa.

A former senior official in the democratically elected government of Afghanistan – overthrown in August 2021 – has confirmed to the Guardian Hekmatullah’s return to Afghanistan.

“He was welcomed back to Kabul as a hero … with a house, car, guards, an amnesty for his crimes, his expenses are being paid for. He is being treated as a hero.”

“The person I met is a dangerous terrorist, a dangerous man,” the source said. “He is not repentant, not regretful. He is a threat, he can cause harm to the world. He should not have been released.”

The source said Hekmatullah appeared to be “very well protected”, with close links to senior Taliban officials now in government.

“But the Taliban who hold the strongest grudges, who want to take revenge, are those who were in prison, including him, Hekmatullah. He has hatred still.”

“The Taliban is seeking revenge: they have no mercy. We will be identified soon. Our lives, and the lives of our families, are in danger.”

Taliban officials of the Afghan Ministry of Finance #fundie #sexist theguardian.com

The Taliban have asked women working at Afghanistan’s finance ministry to send a male relative to do their job a year after female public-sector workers were barred from government work and told to stay at home

Women who worked in government positions were sent home from their jobs shortly after the Taliban took power in August 2021, and have been paid heavily reduced salaries to do nothing

But several women told the Guardian they had received similar calls from Taliban officials requesting they recommend male relatives in their place, because the “workload in the office has increased and they need to hire a man instead of us”, according to one woman who did not wish her identity to be revealed

Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, said in May: “Current restrictions on women’s employment have been estimated to result in an immediate economic loss of up to $1bn – or up to 5% of Afghanistan’s GDP[…]
Maryam*, 37, received a call from the HR department of the Afghan ministry of finance, where she had worked for more than 15 years. She said: “I was asked to introduce a male family member to replace me at the ministry, so I could be dismissed from the job”[…]
“Since they came [to power], the Taliban have demoted me, and reduced my salary from 60,000 Afghanis [£575] to AFN12,000. I cannot even afford my son’s school fees. When I questioned this, an official rudely told me to get out of his office and said that my demotion was not negotiable”[…]
Maryam and her colleagues are mobilising to protest against Taliban policy. “We do not accept their order and we will try to get them to change it,” she said

Kerrie and Jason Struhs, and The Saints #fundie #psycho theguardian.com

Twelve members of a religious group in Toowoomba have been arrested after the death of an eight-year-old girl, who Queensland police say was allegedly denied life-saving medication in the belief she would be healed by God.

Elizabeth Rose Struhs had type 1 diabetes and died in her family’s Rangeville home, west of Brisbane, on 7 January. Police allege her parents, who have previously been charged with murder, began withholding insulin six days earlier.

Police allege paramedics were not called to the scene until 5.30pm the next day, with the Courier Mail reporting members of the church group believed she would be resurrected.

The girl’s parents, Kerrie Elizabeth Struhs and Jason Richard Struhs, were charged with murder and torture offences earlier this year. They have not yet entered pleas, and will remain in custody until their next hearing at the Toowoomba magistrates court, due later this month. They are also charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.
Police allege others bear culpability in Elizabeth’s death.

Tuesday’s arrests were of other members of their small and tightly-knit religious group who were allegedly present when the eight-year-old died, reportedly singing and praying to God to heal her.

Detective Acting Supt Garry Watts alleged all 12 were aware of Elizabeth’s condition, were present during the course of those fateful six days and did not take any steps to provide medical assistance. He said the religious group comprised three families and that those arrested included seven women and five men.

Two were in their 60s, a man and a woman, one was a 19-year-old man and the rest were in their 20s and 30s. All were arrested in a Harristown home.

​​Elizabeth’s sister Jayde Struhs, the eldest of eight siblings, told Nine’s A Current Affair earlier this year that the group referred to themselves as The Saints.

Struhs, 23, said the group formed as a breakaway from a more mainstream church which they believed to be corrupt and had become stricter over the years.

They did not celebrate Christmas, rejected medical intervention and believed their one purpose was to serve God.

“They’re extreme. They’re small. Controlled,” she said.

Karianne Lisonbee #sexist #wingnut theguardian.com

Utah Republican apologises for saying women can control ‘intake of semen’

In the aftermath of the US supreme court decision that ended the right to abortion, amid nationwide protests over the removal of women’s control over their own bodies, one Utah Republican said women could “control [their] intake of semen”.

The comment by Karianne Lisonbee, a state representative, came in response to an assertion that men should be held accountable for unwanted pregnancies, not just pregnant women, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I got a text message today saying I should seek to control men’s ejaculations and not women’s pregnancies,” Lisonbee said.

She added: “I do trust women enough to control when they allow a man to ejaculate inside of them and to control that intake of semen.”

KCNA News Agency #conspiracy #dunning-kruger theguardian.com

North Korea blames Covid-laden balloons sent from South for virus outbreak

Experts sceptical of claim, as state media urge citizens to watch out for ‘alien things coming by wind’

North Korea has blamed its Covid-19 outbreak on balloons sent over its border with the South by groups of defectors, in an apparent attempt to shift the blame onto its neighbour.

The official KCNA news agency said on Friday an 18-year-old soldier and a five-year-old child who had touched “unidentified materials” in the eastern county of Kumgang in early April showed symptoms and later tested positive for Covid-19.

“A sharp increase of fever cases was witnessed among their contacts and that a group of fevered persons emerged in the area … for the first time,” it said.

However, the first time that groups of North Korean defectors are thought to have sent balloons across the border this year was in late April from the western Gimpo region.

KCNA warned citizens to “vigilantly deal with alien things coming by wind and other climate phenomena and balloons in the areas along the demarcation line and borders”.

While the report did not name South Korea, defector-activists there use balloons to send anti-regime leaflets and humanitarian aid across the countries’ heavily armed border.

In response, the South’s unification ministry said on Friday there was “no possibility” that the coronavirus had entered the North via balloons.

Experts were sceptical about Pyongyang’s assertion. “It is hard to believe North Korea’s claim, scientifically speaking, given that the possibility of the virus spreading through objects is quite low,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of people getting infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects is generally considered low, though it is not impossible.

Saudi Arabia #homophobia #fundie theguardian.com

Toy Story spin-off Lightyear will not be released in Saudi Arabia due to the inclusion of a same-sex kiss, the latest in a string of Hollywood films that have been banned in the Middle East over LGBTQ+ content

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the scene in question involved a space ranger called Alisha (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her partner who greet each other with a kiss on the lips. Variety reports that Lightyear was not submitted to censors in Saudi Arabia, as it was anticipated it would not pass due to the country’s total prohibition of same-sex relationships. However, the Pixar film was submitted to censors in the comparatively more liberal United Arab Emirates, but the film’s licence was revoked after complaints on social media[…]
Lightyear’s problems in the Middle East are the latest in a string of difficulties faced by films containing LGBTQ+ content in the region

Liz Mitten Ryan #crackpot #mammon #quack theguardian.com

The Equinisity ranch in British Columbia promises a “full immersion” experience with horses that will “change your life forever” because “clearing old energies, opening hearts, and connecting us to one consciousness and higher guidance is what the horses do best”. It’s a new-age utopia of equine “spirit lodges” and “liberty play”. The trouble is, there’s no place for Covid protocols or consumer law. The owner, Liz Mitten Ryan, reckons the vaccine is a “bioweapon designed to reduce the population of the unaware and compliant”. She is, she says, awaiting the “great awakening” when “good will overtake evil”. In the meantime, she is unrepentant about pocketing the cash of the customers she’s banned. “My business has been illegally shut down for two years by government mandates,” she told me. “We definitely don’t accept people who have succumbed to the bioweapon depopulation tool and can shed on our sacred land and animals.”

Shir Mohammad and unnamed Taliban leaders #fundie #sexist theguardian.com

The Taliban have ordered all women to cover their faces in public in Afghanistan, the latest sweeping restriction by a government that has taken away women’s right to travel long distances alone, work outside healthcare or education, and receive a secondary education

In a cruel twist, the decree makes women’s relatives and employers the enforcers. If their faces are seen in public, their male “guardian” will be fined, then jailed. If the woman who goes out uncovered or her relative work for the government, they must be fired

It suggested women should not leave their homes at all if possible, saying that was “the best option to observe the sharia hijab”, essentially imposing the extreme traditions of conservative parts of rural areas on all women

“For all dignified Afghan women wearing hijab is necessary and the best hijab is chadori [the burqa], which is part of our tradition and is respectful,” Shir Mohammad, an official from the vice and virtue ministry, told a conference in Kabul, AP reported. “Those women who are not too old or young must cover their face, except the eyes”[…]
The group had promised it had changed over the two decades since it ran Afghanistan as a brutal, impoverished theocracy in the late 1990s, where women were barred from almost all work and education

But since sweeping to power last August, increasingly harsh restrictions on women’s rights suggest that pledge was rhetoric designed to secure the departure of US forces, as many activists warned at the time

Unnamed Censors #homophobia theguardian.com

Gay references removed from Fantastic Beasts 3 for Chinese release

Big-budget fantasy sequel has had six seconds cut, as Warner Bros releases statement to say ‘the spirit of the film remains intact’

The fantasy sequel, which has an estimated budget of $200m, contains allusions to a romantic history between the characters of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, played by Jude Law and Mads Mikkelsen respectively. Six seconds of dialogue, including the lines “Because I was in love with you” and “The summer Gellert and I fell in love”, were taken out for the Chinese release on 8 April.

"Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets,” studio Warner Bros said in a statement.

The studio insists that despite the cuts, “the spirit of the film remains intact”. While dialogue has been removed, there are still references to the pair sharing a close bond. Only 37 foreign films are released in China every year.

The news follows a string of similar cuts both for the big and small screen in China. In February, there was backlash when the re-release of sitcom Friends was stripped of its lesbian storyline, while the Sex and the City spinoff And Just Like That also aired with all gay references taken out.

In 2019, Bohemian Rhapsody was released with any mention of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality removed and in star Rami Malek’s Oscar acceptance speech, the subtitles on Chinese television changed “gay man” to “special group”.

While homosexuality was decriminalised in China in 1997 and removed from an official list of mental disorders in 2001, life under the rule of Xi Jinping has been more conservative and restrictive for many LGBTQ people. In January, gay dating app Grindr was taken off the Apple store and last year the country’s dominant social media service, WeChat, deleted many LGBTQ accounts.

Lauren Handy #fundie #psycho theguardian.com

Five sets of human fetal remains were recovered from the Washington DC home of an anti-abortion activist after a raid, the capital’s Metropolitan police department confirmed to the Guardian on Thursday.

The activist, a woman named Lauren Handy, 28, is a leader of the group Progressive Anti-Abortion uprising (PAAU) and has described herself as a “Catholic anarchist” in the past.

Local television station WUSA9 reported remains were carried out in red biohazard bags on Wednesday. Handy’s only comment at the time was: “People will freak out when they hear.”

Authorities have not disclosed the source of the fetal remains. Handy also claimed on Twitter to be inspired to “liberate” fetal remains “from med [sic] waste companies and give them a proper burial”.

Although Handy recently claimed to have “gained access” to a fetal tissue and organ bank at the University of Washington in Seattle, the university said its cold storage area was locked and nothing was taken. Handy was separately indicted on Wednesday for forcing entry into a Washington DC abortion clinic in 2020 October.

“On March 9th myself & [sic] fellow activists gained access to University of Washington’s fetal organ labs & freezers,” Handy claimed on Twitter on 23 March. She also retweeted pictures posted by PAAU that show the contents of a cold room at the University of Washington.

The university cold room contained brown bags, in which donated fetal remains dating back to the 1960s were stored inside new containers. The university said the remains were there as they were in the process of completing regulatory steps, “so that the respectful cremation can occur”.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors indicted Handy on charges of blockading a Washington DC abortion clinic, where she allegedly claimed to be a patient to gain entry. She and eight co-defendants could face up to 11 years in prison and $350,000 in fines if found guilty.

Afghanistan Taliban #fundie #sexist theguardian.com

The Taliban are facing international condemnation after they announced on Wednesday that girls would not be allowed to attend secondary school, despite their previous assurances[…]
The surprise announcement came late on Tuesday night. Many teachers and pupils found out only on Wednesday morning, the first day of the school year in Afghanistan, as girls prepared to return to class after a six-month break caused by the turmoil in the country

“Lots of excited girls were already waiting outside the school. They were here hours before their classes started. They were very happy and excited. Then we told them about the new order,” a schoolteacher in Kabul said. “Many of them started arguing. I had nothing to tell them. I left an hour ago. I cried.” By the end of the school day, the teacher said, some of the girls were still standing outside the building, unable to “to move their legs to go back home”

Girls have been banned from education beyond middle school in most of the country since the Taliban returned to power in mid-August 2021. Most universities opened up earlier this year but Taliban edicts on education have been erratic and, while a handful of provinces continued to provide education to all, most closed institutions for girls and women[…]
The U-turn is seen as a concession to the rural and deeply tribal backbone of the hardline Taliban that, in many parts of the countryside, are reluctant to send their daughters to school

“The leadership hasn’t decided when or how they will allow girls to return to school,” said Waheedullah Hashmi, external relations and donor representative with the Taliban-led administration. While he accepted that urban centres are mostly supportive of girls’ education, he said much of rural Afghanistan was opposed to it, particularly tribal Pashtun regions

Metropolitan Police Service #sexist #racist theguardian.com

Racism cited as factor in police strip search of girl, 15, at London school
Black child’s ordeal, which involved exposure of intimate body parts, took place without parental consent, review finds

A black child was subjected by police to a strip search at her London school that involved exposure of intimate body parts, according to an official investigation which found racism was likely to have been an “influencing factor” in the officers’ actions.

No appropriate adult was present during the 15-year-old girl’s ordeal, described by a senior local authority figure as “humiliating, traumatising and utterly shocking” and which took place without parental consent and in the knowledge that she was menstruating.

Details of her treatment in her secondary school’s medical room have emerged in a child safeguarding review initiated by Hackney council after the incident in December 2020.

The child was made to bend over, spread her legs and use her hands to spread her buttocks while coughing, and she is now in therapy and self-harming, according to family members’ statements to the inquiry.

The damning report said: “Having considered the context of the incident, the views of those engaged in the review and the impact felt by Child Q and her family, racism (whether deliberate or not) was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search.”

The report emphasised the importance of the question of whether the child was treated differently because she was black, adding this line of inquiry had been starkly reflected in several events that took place around the same time.

“Significantly, some six months prior, George Floyd was tragically killed in the USA and there were repercussions around the globe, including in the UK,” it said.

Police were called by teachers who told the review that they believed she was smelling strongly of cannabis and suspected she was carrying drugs, but none were found during the subsequent search.

The school was visited by four officers including two women who carried out the search of the girl – referred to in the report as ‘Child Q’ – while teachers remained outside the room and her mother was not contacted.

Unnamed Male Vigilantes #magick #psycho #sexist theguardian.com

(NOTE: This is from April of 2021)

Two women tortured in latest sorcery-related attack in Papua New Guinea

Two women have been brutally attacked in Port Moresby by up to 20 men after being accused of witchcraft, in the latest instance of sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea.

The women were tortured and burnt with hot irons for hours on Sunday in a settlement at 5 Mile in the capital.

One woman managed to escape and ran down a hill before she was rescued by police. She said she was being interrogated by the male perpetrators and pressured to admit to the killing of another woman who died earlier in the week.

Police found the second woman badly wounded and bound with ropes, lying in a garden. Both had very severe injuries.

National Capital District (NCD) Metropolitan Supt Gideon Ikumu said up to 20 men fled before police arrived at the scene, but that the identities of the men were known to them.

“I strongly condemn these crimes and request the families and relatives of the two victims to come forward and provide their statements,” he said.

Sorcery violence – known as Sorcery Accusation Related Violence, or SARV – is persistent in PNG. This latest attack prompted outrage among senior police officers and politicians.

“People must change their mindset as we are living in a modern growing city. Police will ensure those responsible are brought to justice,” said Anthony Wagambie Jr, divisional commander NCD and central assistant commissioner.

NCD governor, Powes Parkop said: “I am totally disgusted and disappointed by the actions of the men who tortured the two women in the nation’s capital. I am appalled that men continue to believe and practice such barbaric practices in this day and age. The fact that it could still happen in the capital city shows we are a long way away from ending gender-based violence, and sorcery accusatory violence in particular.”

Vasily Nebenzya, Igor Kirillov & Sergei Lavrov #conspiracy theguardian.com

Russia makes claims of US-backed biological weapon plot at UN

Russia has accused Ukraine and the US at the UN security council of a plot to use migratory birds and bats to spread pathogens, raising alarm among other council members that the accusations could be intended to provide cover for future Russian use of biological weapons.

The Russian permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, delivered a lengthy account of the alleged biological weapons plot, and said the birds, bats and insects supposedly intended to spread disease would cross Ukraine’s western border.

“We call upon you to think about a very real biological danger to the people in European countries, which can result from an uncontrolled spread of bio agents from Ukraine,” Nebenzya said. “And if there is a such a scenario then all Europe will be covered.

“The risk of this is very real given the interests of the radical nationalist groups in Ukraine are showing towards the work with dangerous pathogens conducted together with the ministry of defence of the United States.”

The head of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological protection troops, Igor Kirillov, said on Thursday that US-backed labs in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa were working on pathogens custom-designed to target Russians and other Slavs. According to Russian-state media, Kirillov alleged the US planned to exploit Ukraine’s “unique geographical position” by sending migratory birds carrying deadly diseases into Russia.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, made a similar claim on Thursday, alleging that US-backed labs in Ukraine were working to “develop ethnically targeted biological weapons”.

The director of the CIA, William Burns, told the US Senate intelligence committee that Russia could be laying the groundwork for a chemical or biological attack, which it would then blame on the US or Ukraine in a “false flag operation”.

Pope Francis #fundie theguardian.com

Choosing pets over babies is ‘selfish and diminishes us’, says pope

[...]

In a move likely to raise the hackles of millions of cats, dogs and their human cohabitees, Pope Francis has suggested that couples who prefer pets to children are selfish.

Wading into a debate noted for its toxic tone on social media, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics said substituting pets for children “takes away our humanity”.

During a general audience at the Vatican, he said: “Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality.”

Pet keeping was “a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”, he said. The consequence was that “civilisation grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers”.

While saying couples unable to have children for biological reasons could consider adoption, he urged potential parents “not to be afraid” of embarking on parenthood. “Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child,” he said.

[...]

Francis, who has previously denounced the “demographic winter”, or falling birthrates in the developed world, is not known to have a pet at his Vatican residence. But he has been photographed stroking dogs. He allowed a baby lamb to be draped over his shoulders during Epiphany in 2014 and has petted a tiger and panther cub.

In 2014 Francis told Il Messaggero newspaper that having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation”, and that emotional relationships with pets was easier than the “complex” relationship between parents and children.

Éric Zemmour #wingnut #crackpot #conspiracy theguardian.com

More than a century after he was exonerated, Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish army officer whose false conviction for treason sparked bitter controversy, has erupted into France’s presidential race amid far-right attempts to question his innocence
[…]
In the presence of the artillery captain’s descendents, the French president said nothing could repair the humiliations and injustices Dreyfus had suffered, but added pointedly: “Let us not aggravate it by forgetting, deepening or repeating them”
[…]
The comments were widely interpreted as targeting Éric Zemmour, the far-right, anti-immigrant TV pundit and polemicist who, despite not having declared his candidacy, is predicted by some polls to reach the second round of April’s presidential election. Zemmour has claimed France’s collaborationist wartime leader, Philippe Pétain, saved the lives of French Jews, rather than assisting their deportation to Nazi death camps, and has repeatedly said the truth about Dreyfus was unclear

“Lots of people were ready to clear Dreyfus, but this affair is murky,” Zemmour, 63, told one TV show late last year. “We will never know” whether the allegations against him were lies, he said on another, adding that his innocence was “not obvious”

Jonathan Gullis #wingnut theguardian.com

Tory MP says using term ‘white privilege’ should be reported as extremism

Jonathan Gullis also urges ‘sacking’ of teachers who criticise Conservative party in classroom

A Conservative MP has said anyone using the term “white privilege” should be reported to the government’s counter-terror programme, and that teachers who criticise the Conservative party should be sacked.

Jonathan Gullis told a fringe meeting during the party’s conference in Manchester last week that anyone using the phrase should be referred to the government’s Prevent programme, which is used to track potential terrorists.

He told activists: “The term white privilege is an extremist term, it should be reported to Prevent, because it is an extremist ideology. It’s racist to actually suggest everyone who’s white somehow is riddled with privilege.”

Gullis, who is a former member of the parliamentary education select committee, added: “I hope [using the term] will be reported, I hope that will be looked into, and any teacher who’s perpetuated it in the classroom ultimately should face a disciplinary hearing at the very least.”

The Prevent programme was set up in 2006 to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, and to clamp down on radicalisation.

During the same event, the 31-year-old MP said that teachers should be “sacked” if they criticise the Conservatives.

“The other way we can stop the cancel culture is by actually saying to the woke left lecturers and the woke left teachers – who seem to be becoming more and more apparent – is that ultimately, what’s going to happen if you are going to push your ideology in the classroom there are going to be consequences for you,” he said.

“For some reason, if a Labour party member wants to stand up in front of the classroom and say how bad and evil the Tories are, then the headteacher has to take some kind of sympathetic view to that.

“It’s absolutely disgusting, we need to start sacking people who are pushing their political ideology.”

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi #fundie theguardian.com

The Taliban will resume executions and the amputation of hands for criminals they convict, in a return to their harsh version of Islamic justice
[…]
In an interview with Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi – who was justice minister and head of the so-called ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice during the Taliban’s previous rule – dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, and warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers

Under the new Taliban government, Turabi is in charge of prisons
[…]
“Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi said in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Qur’an”

“Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Turabi added, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the cabinet was studying whether to carry out punishments in public and would “develop a policy”
[…]
During the previous Taliban rule, Turabi was one of the group’s most ferocious and uncompromising enforcers. When the Taliban took power in 1996, one of his first acts was to scream at a female journalist, demanding she leave a room of men, and to then deal a powerful slap in the face of a man who objected

Ahmadullah Wasiq #fundie #sexist theguardian.com

Afghan women, including the country’s women’s cricket team, will be banned from playing sport under the new Taliban government, according to an official in the hardline Islamist group

In an interview with the Australian broadcaster SBS, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said women’s sport was considered neither appropriate nor necessary

“I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket,” Wasiq said. “In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this

“It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed”

Unnamed Pakistani prosecutor and rioters #fundie #psycho theguardian.com

An eight-year-old Hindu boy is being held in protective police custody in east Pakistan after becoming the youngest person ever to be charged with blasphemy in the country

The boy’s family is in hiding and many of the Hindu community in the conservative district of Rahim Yar Khan, in Punjab, have fled their homes after a Muslim crowd attacked a Hindu temple after the boy’s release on bail last week. Troops were deployed to the area to quell any further unrest
[…]
The boy is accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the library of a madrassa, where religious books were kept, last month. Blasphemy charges can carry the death penalty
[…]
Blasphemy charges filed against a child have shocked legal experts, who say the move is unprecedented. No one this young has ever been charged with blasphemy before in Pakistan

Blasphemy laws have been disproportionately used in the past against religious minorities in Pakistan. Although no blasphemy executions have been carried out in the country since the death penalty was introduced for the crime in 1986, suspects are often attacked and sometimes killed by mobs

Matthias Cicotte #fundie #racist #transphobia #wingnut #psycho theguardian.com

The Guardian has identified an Alaska assistant attorney general as a supporter of the Mormon-derived extremist group the Deseret nationalists who has posted a series of racist, antisemitic and homophobic messages on social media
[…]
Matthias Cicotte, whose job means he works as the chief corrections counsel for Alaska’s attorney general, has acted for the department of law in a number of civil rights cases
[…]
In 2016, the account sent a tweet evoking a past time when “real history was taught in school, angry yentas didn’t rule, white men didn’t play the fool”
[…]
In a March tweet, JReubenCIark claimed that accusations of racism were “purely a tool to control people on the right”
[…]
On 15 June last year, he riffed on a catchphrase of the so-called Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, tweeting: “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its Consequences Have Been a Disaster for the Human Race”
[…]
He tweeted: “Is it ‘white supremacy’ to note that some racial groups have higher IQs than others based on IQ tests? I believe that and I am only a Deseret supremacist”
[…]
On 25 June last year he wrote: “I can’t believe there’s a faithful Latter-day Saint out there who can look at the collapse of birthrates among the Latter-day Saints and say, ‘Well, hey, at least lots of Catholic Mexicans are coming to the US’”
[…]
Discussing an incident in Provo, Utah, in which a man appeared to drive his car into a crowd of BLM protesters, he remarked: “No one had a right to block his car. You all belong in jail”
[…]
Responding to news of a Drag Time Story Hour event in Long Beach, California, Cicotte wrote: “This demon should be burned to death and everyone responsible for that library event should be in prison”
[…]
JReubenCIark concluded a thread on how best to respond to the left’s characterizations of conservatives with the remark: “If brute violence is the only way to be free of them, what do they expect us to do?”

Sam Nartey George and other Ghanaian MPs #homophobia #transphobia #wingnut theguardian.com

Ghana: anti-gay bill proposing 10-year prison sentences sparks outrage

Draft anti-gay legislation submitted to Ghana’s parliament could propose up to 10 years in jail for LGBTQ+ people as well as groups and individuals who advocate for their rights, express sympathy or offer social or medical support, in one of the most draconian and sweeping anti-gay laws proposed around the world.

Support for intersex people would also be criminalised and the government could direct intersex people to receive “gender realignment” surgery, said the draft legislation.

The prospect of harsh new laws has been hailed by numerous MPs and supported by figures in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government.

It follows a wave of repression against LGBTQ+ people in the west African country since January this year. In February, a community space offering support for sexual minorities was forced to close amid a backlash from politicians, civil and religious groups and the media, and also led to a rise in arrests and abuse against people perceived to be gay or queer.

On Friday, Sam Nartey George, an MP who has described gay rights as a “perversion” and led a group of lawmakers who drafted the bill, dismissed online condemnation of the bill as “uninformed”.

“Homosexuality is not a human right. It is a sexual preference,” he said in a post on Twitter. “We shall pass this bill through.”

Ghanaian officials have privately sought to allay fears that that the bill will pass.

Among other aspects of the bill that has sparked condemnation, groups or individuals found to be funding groups deemed as advocating for LGBTQ+ rights or offering support could be prosecuted. Marriage would be clearly defined in Ghanaian law as being between a male and female.

Media companies, online platforms and accounts which publish information which could be deemed to encourage children to explore any gender or sex outside of the binary categories of male and female could face 10 years in prison.

Miguel Díaz-Canel & Rogelio Polanco Fuentes #conspiracy #moonbat theguardian.com

Cuban president claims protests part of US plot to ‘fracture’ Communist party

Cuban officials blame the US for Sunday’s demonstrations as Biden calls on island’s leaders to hear citizens’ ‘clarion call for freedom’

The Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has attacked the “shameful delinquents” he claimed were trying to “fracture” his country’s communist revolution after the Caribbean island witnessed its largest anti-government protests in nearly three decades.

“The approach wasn’t peaceful yesterday,” the 61-year-old politician claimed, criticising the “completely vulgar” behaviour of some demonstrators who he accused of throwing rocks at police and destroying cars. Díaz-Canel conceded other protesters had legitimate concerns over food shortages and blackouts, although he blamed those problems on US sanctions. “It’s legitimate to feel dissatisfaction,” the party’s powerful first secretary said in the broadcast.

Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, a top party official who runs its ideology department, denounced the protests as part of a well-funded US-sponsored effort to create “instability and chaos” in Cuba, which is currently experiencing its worst economic slump in decades as well as a worsening Covid crisis.

Polanco Fuentes compared Sunday’s protests to the failed US-backed uprising against Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro, in 2019. “We are living through new chapters of the non-conventional war … in other places they have called these Colour Revolutions … or soft coups,” Polanco said.

Cuban dissidents rejected those claims about the protests which rippled across Cuba on Sunday, with thousands taking to the streets to denounce the lack of medicine and food and the lack of political freedoms.

Donald Trump #wingnut #dunning-kruger theguardian.com

On a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things”

The remark from the former US president on the 2018 trip, which reportedly “stunned” Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps general, is reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal
[…]
Bender reports that Trump made the remark during an impromptu history lesson in which Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.
[…]
In a statement a Trump spokesperson, Liz Harrington, said: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired”

But Bender says unnamed sources reported that Kelly “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, emphasizing German economic recovery under Hitler during the 1930s

“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide”

Bender adds that Kelly told Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 were true, “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t”

Keiko Fujimori & Other Wingnuts #conspiracy #psycho #racist #wingnut theguardian.com

Peru: Fujimori cries electoral fraud – and unleashes torrent of racism

Claims of rightwing candidate, trailing Pedro Castillo in the polls, emboldens far right, who have vowed not to accept result

The prospect of the son of illiterate Andean peasants becoming president as his rival cries fraud has shaken Peru’s entrenched class system and its fragile democracy, letting loose a torrent of racism in the bicentennial year of the country’s independence.

“The tension has reached a breaking point,” said José Ragas “The Lima elite is not just trying to keep power, they are trying to cancel the rural vote.”

In one ugly but not unusual case, the news site Sudaca published text messages between middle-class white men in Lima who discussed how people from the highlands should “die of hunger” and called for the return of Alberto Fujimori’s alleged forced sterilisations which mostly targeted indigenous women.

Other memes characterised Castillo as a donkey or said Andeans were too ignorant to be allowed to vote.

As officials at Peru’s electoral board work overtime to reinspect the disputed ballots, social media and partisan news broadcasters have helped spread fake news stirring up the spectre of totalitarian rule, violence and even mass expropriations if Castillo is declared the winner amid rumblings of coup plots among the far-right.

Apparently inspired by Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat at the US elections, Fujimori has led a string of marches against “fraud” telling supporters at one rally: “The election will be flipped, dear friends.”

Peru’s interim president Francisco Sagasti slammed as “unacceptable” a letter signed by nearly a hundred retired military officers urging the armed forces not to recognise Castillo.

Alberto Fernández #racist theguardian.com

Uproar after Argentina president says ‘Brazilians came from the jungle’

Misjudged comments to prime minister of Spain sought to play up the South American country’s ties with Europe

Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, has triggered a Twitter storm and a regional race debate with misjudged comments to visiting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain that sought to play up the South American country’s ties with Europe.

“The Mexicans came from the Indians, the Brazilians came from the jungle, but we Argentines came from the ships. And they were ships that came from Europe,” Fernández said, referring to the many European migrants who arrived in the country. He later apologized for the comments and said his country’s diversity was something to be proud of.

Fernández seems to have taken the phrase from a song by local musician Lito Nebbia, of whom the president has declared himself an admirer on more than one occasion.

The comments sparked a viral response on social media, with many criticizing the center-left leader for racial insensitivity.

“I did not mean to offend anyone, in any case, whoever has felt offended or invisible, I give my apologies,” he said on Twitter.

Brazilian media ran Fernandez’s statements on Wednesday and many on social media joked that rightwing President Jair Bolsonaro would enjoy getting back at the leftwing Argentine leader, with whom he has not always seen eye to eye.

Eduardo Bolsonaro, a congressman and the Brazilian president’s son, slammed the comments as “racist” and shot a retort back at Argentina over its troubled economy, in recession since 2018.

“I say the ship that is sinking is that of Argentina,” he posted on Twitter.

hatWRKS #wingnut #racist theguardian.com

Stetson has said it will stop selling its products through a hat store in Nashville, Tennessee which advertised anti-vaccination patches in the style of a Star of David, the badge which Jewish people were made to wear by the Nazis…

A hatWRKS Instagram post that was deleted showed a smiling woman touching the front of her shirt, where a “Not Vaccinated” patch was affixed. The caption read: “Patches are here!! They turned out great.”

It said the patches cost $5 and had a “strong adhesive back”, and that the shop would be “offering trucker caps soon”.

A message posted to the store Instagram account, which has also promoted vaccine conspiracy theories and touted the chance to shop without wearing a mask, said “people are so outraged by my post” but asked: “Are you outraged with the tyranny the world is experiencing?”

Another post on the hatWRKS Instagram account said: “In NO WAY did I intend to trivialise the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people. That is not who I am and what I stand for.

“My intent was not to exploit or to make a profit. My hope was to share my genuine concern and fear, and to do all that I can to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. I sincerely apologise for any insensitivity.”

Ho City Police #homophobia #psycho #wingnut theguardian.com

Outcry after 21 people arrested in Ghana for ‘advocating LGBTQ activities’

Rights groups have condemned the arrest of 21 people by Ghanaian police for “unlawful assembly” and promoting an LGBTQ+ agenda, in the latest move against sexual minorities in the country.

Police have held 21 people since Friday for “advocating LGBTQ activities” at an event the previous day in Ho city, in the eastern Volta region.

Several rights groups called the arrests illegal, saying those detained did not have access to legal representation before they were remanded to court on Friday, and that some suffered medical illnesses and needed treatment for trauma.

The arrests came after a group of journalists reportedly descended on an event by Rightify Ghana, which was held to provide training for activists and paralegals when supporting LGBTQ+ people.

“The press teamed up with the police to storm the meeting location, started taking images, took their belongings and arrested them,” Rightify Ghana said.

The targeting and abuse of LGBTQ+ people in Ghana has sharply risen this year, said Alex Kofi Donkor, the founder and director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, an advocacy and aid organisation based in Accra.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Ghana, yet while prosecutions are rare, rights groups say it has led to widespread targeting and extortion of vulnerable people and anyone suspected to be gay or queer.

A statement by the police on Friday calling members of the public to come forward with information about LGBTQ+ activities amounted to “a witch-hunt”, Donkor said.

“It is very, very disturbing – also for the fact that the police are now inciting the public against Ghanaians. It’s already a vulnerable situation for LGBTQ+ people in Ghana,” he said.

Governor Greg Abbott #fundie #psycho #sexist #wingnut theguardian.com

The Texas Republican governor Greg Abbott has signed into law one of the most extreme six-week abortion bans in the US.

“This bill ensures that every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” said Abbott.

Senate Bill 8 bars abortion at six weeks of pregnancy with no exception for rape or incest, a near-total ban as most women are not aware they are pregnant at this stage.

Any individual can sue anyone who “aids or abets” abortion care. “This law is so broadly written it could target not just abortion clinics and staff but anyone that volunteers or donates to an abortion fund or activist organization like ours,” says Aimee Arrambide “Domestic violence and rape crisis counselors who offer guidance, family members who lend money to abortion patients, a friend who gives a ride to an appointment, or even someone that provides an address to a clinic could also face lawsuits.”

In response to concerns over the potential for a rapist to sue his victim’s abortion provider, the legislature passed an amendment that exempts rapists and those who commit incest from taking legal action. However, it only applies to those convicted of rape. Since 91% of women in Texas do not report rape to the police and the small number of those who do rarely see their abuser convicted, the amendment largely failed to allay fears.

Furthermore, the law does nothing to prevent someone associated with a rapist, like a friend or family member, from suing his victim.

“This bill empowers rapists and abusers,” said Representative Donna Howard “And this forced pregnancy act will drive women back into the [pre-Roe] shadows out of fear of harassment through lawsuits that anyone in this country can file.”

Metalman71 #moonbat #pratt theguardian.com

At least we now know that an astonishing almost 10% of the uk's population are economic migrants from the rest of the EU. No wonder there's been a chronic housing shortage in recent years and public services so stretched.

Meanwhile in Eastern Europe working age populations are falling rapidly leaving a chronic shortage of doctors and other medically trained professionals to treat the aging population who can't migrate elsewhere.

I've asked this question of dozens of remainers and they all dodge it.

Why are British patients more important than the patients in the countries where these EU citizens have come from, and who are now suffering from the lack of medically trained staff in their own countries?

As an example, Romania has lost 5,000 doctors, or 10% of their total, in the last 20 years.

Why are British patients more important than Romanian ones?

Hopefully, that will start to change and more and more NHS workers of EU origin will leave the UK.

As the populations of Eastern European countries continues to fall, and as more and more of their skilled population migrates, their GDPs will suffer accordingly and it will become ever more difficult to make life more attractive for those they want to encourage to stay.

Freedom of movement has been a complete disaster for many European nations which really only benefits a handful of countries like Germany and France.

Chris1889 #pratt #wingnut theguardian.com

There is an obvious contradiction between holding a progressive immigration policy and championing workers rights, better pay and better public services. If socially democratic politicians truly want to improve the lives of working class people then they should want to restrict corporate demand for more cheap labour.

The left appear confused on this and have done for 20 years and this explains much of there decline in popularity especially amongst the working classes in recent years.

NEpalese Ministry Of Immigration #sexist theguardian.com

Nepalis protest 'ridiculous' proposed ban on women travelling abroad

Activists warn new anti-trafficking law requiring permission from families to travel is evidence of ‘deep-rooted patriarchal mindset’

A proposed law in Nepal that would ban women from travelling abroad without permission from their families and local government officials has been called unconstitutional and “ridiculous”. The proposals, introduced by the Department of Immigration last week in an attempt to prevent women being trafficked, would require all women under 40 to seek permission before they visit Africa or the Middle East for the first time.

Following criticism, the department said the law applied only to “vulnerable” women and stressed it had yet to be finalised.

Ila Sharma, a former election commissioner of Nepal, said: “It’s preposterous the way educated bureaucracy seems to be objectifying women. Clearly, they do not see women as fully fledged adults. “Instead of empowering and building the capacity of women, as well as the rest of the emigrant labour workforce, they are being regressive, unconstitutional, not to say ridiculous.”

Nepal’s Human Rights Commission estimated that about 35,000 people, including 15,000 women and 5,000 girls, were victims of trafficking in 2018. Activists pointed out that it is not just women who are trafficked, so immigration lawmakers should consider women and men in any proposed legal changes. There have been several attempts over the past decades to combat exploitation through travel restrictions. The latest was in 2017 when the government banned Nepali citizens from working in the Gulf as domestic workers, a move that targeted women. Activists have long complained that banning women from travelling doesn’t work and infringes their rights.

Unnamed Counter-Protesters & Delhi Police #wingnut theguardian.com

Counter-protesters in Delhi have burned effigies of the Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg after she tweeted support for India’s protesting farmers in posts that have prompted an investigation by Indian police.

Crowds gathered in Delhi to protest against several international celebrities including Thunberg and the pop singer Rihanna, who inflamed sentiments in India and angered the government after tweeting about the continuing farmer protests this week. Photos of Thunberg and Rihanna were set alight and banners were held aloft warning that “international interference” in Indian affairs would not be tolerated.

Since November, hundreds of thousands of farmers have been camped out around Delhi demanding several new agriculture laws are repealed. After a march last week turned violent, with hundreds storming the capital’s historic Red Fort, Delhi police had been cracking down on the farmers by sending in riot officers and paramilitary troops, cutting off entry and exit to the protest sites and blocking mobile internet access.

In response to reports that a case had been filed against Thunberg, Praveer Ranjan, the special commissioner of police for Delhi, said: “‘We haven’t named anybody in the FIR [first information report], it’s only against the creators of the toolkit which is a matter of investigation and Delhi police will be investigating that case.”

The Indian government released a statement in response sharply warning against celebrities tweeting “sensationalist social media hashtags and comments”.

Orthodox Church in Romania and Archbishop Teodosie #fundie #psycho theguardian.com

The Orthodox Church in Romania is facing growing pressure to change baptism rituals after a baby died following a ceremony which involves immersing infants three times in holy water.

The six-week-old suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to hospital on Monday but he died a few hours later, the autopsy revealing liquid in his lungs. Prosecutors have opened a manslaughter investigation against the priest in the north-eastern city of Suceava.
[...]
Local media recounted several similar incidents in recent years. Church spokesman Vasile Banescu said priests could pour a little water on the baby’s forehead instead of full immersion. But Archbishop Teodosie, leader of the Church’s traditionalist wing, said the ritual would not change.

Mr Bond #psycho #racist theguardian.com

Austrian rapper arrested over neo-Nazi songs

Austrian authorities have arrested a rapper accused of broadcasting neo-Nazi songs, one of which was used by a man who livestreamed a deadly antisemitic attack in Germany.

Austrian intelligence officers had been trying for months to unmask the rapper, who went by the pseudonym Mr Bond and had been posting to neo-Nazi forums since 2016.

The suspect, who comes from the southern region of Carinthia, has been detained for allegedly producing and broadcasting Nazi ideas and incitement to hatred.

“The words of his songs glorify National Socialism (Nazism) and are antisemitic, racist and xenophobic,” said the interior ministry statement.

One of his tracks was used as the soundtrack during the October 2019 attack outside a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

In posts to online forums based in the US, the rapper compared the man behind the 2019 Christchurch shootings that killed 51 people at a New Zealand mosque to a saint, and translated his racist manifesto into German.

Last September, an investigation by Austrian daily Der Standard and Germany’s public broadcaster ARD said that the musician had been calling on members of neo-Nazi online forums and chat groups to carry out terrorist attacks for several years.

They also reported that his music was used as the soundtrack to the livestreamed attack in Halle, when a man shot dead two people after a failed attempt to storm the synagogue.

During his trial last year for the attack, 28-year-old Stephan Balliet said he had picked the music as a “commentary on the act”. In December, a German court jailed him for life.

Oregon Republican Party #wingnut #conspiracy theguardian.com

The Oregon Republican party has falsely claimed in a resolution that there is “growing evidence” that the 6 January attack on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob was “a ‘false flag’ operation”.
[…]
To back up these false claims, the resolution cited links to rightwing websites, including the Epoch Times, a pro-Trump outlet that has frequently published rightwing misinformation, as well as the Wikipedia entry for “Reichstag Fire.”

In a Facebook video released on 19 January, the Oregon Republican party chairman, Bill Currier, said that Oregon Republicans were working with Republicans in other states to release similar resolutions. “We are encouraging and working with the others through a patriot network of RNC members, the national level elected officials from each state, to coordinate our activities and to coordinate our messaging,” Currier said as part of the video conversation with other members of the Oregon Republican party.

“We’re partway in the door of socialism and Marxism right now … and we have to fight,” Currier said. “It’s a time for choosing. People can decide what they want to believe and what they want to do, but there are people standing up and there are people sitting down.”
[…]
In addition to labeling the Capitol attack a potential false flag operation, the Oregon GOP’s resolution also condemned several House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the 6 January assault. The statement called the legislators “traitors” who had “conspired” with the enemy, and described members of the Democratic party as “Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship void of all cherished freedoms and liberties.”

Shaun Bailey #wingnut #elitist theguardian.com

Tory London mayoral candidate: homeless can save for house deposit

The Conservative candidate for London mayor has sparked controversy after suggesting that homeless people in the capital would be able to save up for a £5,000 deposit to buy a share in a newly-built affordable home.

Shaun Bailey has promised to deliver 100,000 affordable homes with his £4bn housing budget if he wins the election in April, many of them shared ownership, of which buyers would be able to purchase a share for as little as £100,000.

Asked how these families would produce a £5,000 deposit and secure a mortgage, he said: “I don’t think the £5,000 will [be a problem]. The mortgage application thing might be a bit tougher … they could save for it, yeah.”

Pressed by the interviewer on whether he was suggesting a homeless family in bed and breakfast accommodation could afford a deposit, Bailey replied: “Not all of them, but some people could. A full proportion of people could.”

Bailey’s comments attracted widespread bewilderment on Twitter. The Liberal Democrat councillor and candidate for London mayor, Luisa Porritt said: “Oh dear, the Tory candidate is at it again. This time he’s suggesting homeless families ‘save up’ for a deposit. Just how out of touch can he get?”

Lambeth Labour councillor Ed Davie tweeted: “Famously, people living in poverty usually have at least £5,000 lying around – it’s amazing that it hasn’t occurred to them to simply buy a London property, which are well known for being really cheap. Thank God senior Tories are here to give out this good advice.”

Mogoeng Mogoeng #fundie #conspiracy theguardian.com

South Africa’s chief justice has dismissed concerns that he may be endangering people’s health by linking coronavirus vaccines to a “satanic agenda”.

The comment by Mogoeng Mogoeng marked the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic that a senior judge had aired such preoccupations. [...] Worries quickly surfaced, in a country where new medical interventions are often controversial, that people might avoid vaccination as a result of the comments.

After South Africa began hosting the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial, anti-vaccine activists protested against Africans being used as test subjects.

Two decades ago, the then-president Thabo Mbeki questioned whether HIV caused Aids, which has ravaged the country.

Mogoeng, who frequently displays his Christian faith while performing his duties, prayed at a public event on Thursday that people should be spared any vaccine that sought to “advance a satanic agenda of the mark of the beast”.

Addressing questions about this at a news conference on Friday to release a judiciary report, he said: “If there is any vaccine that is deliberately intended to do harm to people, that vaccine must never see the light of day. I cry unto God to stop it.”

Keira Bell, Paul Conrathe & High Court Judges #quack #transphobia theguardian.com

Puberty blockers: under-16s 'unlikely to be able to give informed consent'

Children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment are unlikely to be mature enough to give informed consent to be prescribed puberty-blocking drugs, the high court has ruled. Even in cases involving teenagers under 18 doctors may need to consult the courts for authorisation for medical intervention, three senior judges have ruled in an action brought against the Tavistock and Portman NHS trust, which runs the UK’s main gender identity development service for children. The claim was brought by Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers when she was 16 before detransitioning, and the unnamed mother of a 15-year-old autistic girl who is on the waiting list for treatment.

“It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under, or 14 or 15, would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers,” the judges added. For those over 16 it is normally presumed that they have the ability to give consent. But where puberty blockers may lead to subsequent surgical operations, the judges said: “Given the long-term consequences of the clinical interventions at issue in this case, and given that the treatment is as yet innovative and experimental, we recognise that clinicians may well regard these as cases where the authorisation of the court should be sought prior to commencing the clinical treatment.”

At a hearing in October, lawyers for the claimants argued that children going through puberty were “not capable of properly understanding the nature and effects of hormone blockers”.

Lui Asquith, from the trans children’s charity Mermaids, said: “It’s frankly a potential catastrophe for trans young people across the country and it cannot be exaggerated the impact that this might have, not only on the population of trans young people that require hormone blockers, but it may potentially open the floodgates towards other questions around bodily autonomy and who has the right to govern their own body.”

Nigel Farage & Richard Tice #quack #wingnut theguardian.com

Reform UK: Brexit party to rebrand as anti-lockdown voice

Party chairman Richard Tice says country must ‘learn to live with’ Covid not ‘hide in fear’

The Brexit party has applied to the Electoral Commission to change its name to Reform UK in a bid to rebrand the party, which has no elected representatives, as a voice in the anti-lockdown movement. The party’s leader, Nigel Farage, and chairman, Richard Tice, first announced the plan in a joint article in the Telegraph where they wrote it was “time to redirect our energies”. The name change is subject to approval of the commission. Prior to the December election, Farage had announced the party would change its name following the UK’s exit from the European Union and focus on campaigning for changes in the electoral system.

In a statement on Sunday announcing the plans to rebrand the party, Farage said: “As promised, we continue to keep a very close eye on the government’s trade negotiations with the EU, to ensure a proper Brexit. Further reform in many other areas is also vital for our nations’ future.” Tice added: “The need for major reform in the UK is clearer now than ever. A new approach is essential, so that government works for the people, not for itself.” He said that a new strategy was needed for tackling the coronavirus so that “we learn to live with it, not hide in fear of it”. The idea of ending the Covid pandemic through herd immunity was recently denounced as “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence”, by 80 researchers who wrote a warning letter in a leading medical journal.

Valeurs actuelles #racist theguardian.com

A French magazine has apologised after portraying a black lawmaker as a slave, as France’s government and officials across the political spectrum decried the publication.

The legislator, Danièle Obono, from the far-left party La France Insoumise (Defiant France), said the publication flies in the face of those who complain that free speech is threatened by the fight against racism and sexism.

“The extreme right – odious, stupid and cruel,” she tweeted.

The magazine, Valeurs actuelles, which caters to readers on the right and far-right, apologised. The deputy editor, Tagdual Denis, told BFM television on Saturday that the image was not designed to wound Obono, and denied that it was an attention-getting ploy. But he added: “What I regret is that we are always accused of racism ... we are politically incorrect, it’s in our DNA.”

[...]

Elisabeth Moreno, the junior minister for equality and the only black member of the French government, tweeted: “I don’t share Danièle Obono’s ideas, but today I offer her all my support.” A similar refrain came from politicians from multiple parties, including the treasurer of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party.

Unnamed CPC Cadres #psycho #racist #sexist theguardian.com

China sterilising ethnic minority women in Xinjiang, report says

Uighurs are among those facing involuntary contraception or threats over birth quotas

Chinese authorities are carrying out forced sterilisations of women in an apparent campaign to curb the growth of ethnic minority populations in the western Xinjiang region, according to research published on Monday.

The report, based on a combination of official regional data, policy documents and interviews with ethnic minority women, has prompted an international group of lawmakers to call for a United Nations investigation into China’s policies in the region.

The move is likely to enrage Beijing, which has denied trampling on the rights of ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and which on Monday called the allegations “baseless”.

The country is accused of locking more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in re-education camps. Beijing describes the facilities as job training centres aimed at steering people away from terrorism following a spate of violence blamed on separatists.

A report by Adrian Zenz, a German researcher who has exposed China’s policies in Xinjiang, says Uighur women and other ethnic minorities are being threatened with internment in the camps for refusing to abort pregnancies that exceed birth quotas.

Zenz’s data-driven work on the camps – which uses public documents found by scouring China’s internet – has previously been cited by experts on a UN panel investigating the facilities.

Women who had fewer than the legally permitted limit of two children were involuntarily fitted with intrauterine contraceptives, says the report.

It also reports that some of the women said they were being coerced into receiving sterilisation surgeries.

Former camp detainees said they were given injections that stopped their periods or caused unusual bleeding consistent with the effects of birth-control drugs.

Government documents studied by Zenz also showed that women in some rural minority communities in the region received frequent mandatory gynaecological exams and bi-monthly pregnancy tests from local health officials.

Zenz found that population growth in Xinjiang counties predominantly home to ethnic minorities fell below the average growth in primarily Han majority counties between 2017 and 2018, a year after the officially recorded rate of sterilisations in the region sharply overtook the national rate in 2016.

Uighur activists say China is using the internment camps to conduct a massive brainwashing campaign aimed at eradicating their distinct culture and Islamic identity.

“These findings raise serious concerns as to whether Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang represent, in fundamental respects, what might be characterised as a demographic campaign of genocide” under UN definitions, Zenz said in the report.

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a group of North American, European and Australian members of parliament from a range of political parties, said in a statement on Monday that it would push for a legal investigation on “whether or not crimes against humanity or genocide have taken place” in Xinjiang.

IPAC was formed in June with a stated mission of standing up against “challenges posed by the present conduct and future ambitions of the People’s Republic of China”.

China’s foreign ministry said the allegations were “baseless” and showed “ulterior motives”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attacked media outlets for “cooking up false information on Xinjiang-related issues,” saying at a regular press briefing that Xinjiang is “harmonious and stable”.

The rights group World Uyghur Congress said the report showed a “genocidal element of the CCP’s [Chinese Communist party] policies” and called in a statement for international action to confront China.

Raye Johnson #psycho theguardian.com

Experience: I paid to have my daughter kidnapped

That first day I grieved. I knew deep down I was right, but I didn’t know if my daughter would forgive me.
It was 3am. I went into my daughter’s room, woke her, told her I loved her and that she was going on a trip. She was drowsy from the sleeping pills I’d slipped in her drink a few hours earlier. Then the two strangers I’d hired to take her away went into her room. She tried to get her bag and makeup. “Where you’re going, you don’t need anything,” they told her. I stood outside the door, shaking. Had I just created a situation in which I would lose my 17-year-old for ever?

I’d quit a successful financial career and moved across the country to bring up my daughter and son in Florida, so we’d have time as a family after their father and I divorced. I loved them fiercely and we were close. They knew I had high hopes for them. But at 17, my daughter started hanging around with different people; her straight-A grades dropped and her attitude changed. We started to fight about her going to school. “Even if you drive me there, you can’t make me go inside,” she would say. Then she told me she had decided to quit school to become a high-end hairdresser and wanted me to pay for her to go to beauty school. I was distraught. There is nothing wrong with hairdressing, but I wanted her to get a proper education first, so she would have choices.

Around the same time, police twice caught her 14-year-old brother with drugs. I wasn’t having it a third time, so I sent him away to a strict boarding school in another state. On a weekend visit, it struck me how much he’d changed and how my daughter would benefit from the same intensive treatment.

But I had to act fast. Her beauty school fees were due the coming Saturday. And, legally, I had control over her only while she was still under 18. I found a boot camp for troubled children in Utah and hired a private service to escort her there, whether she wanted to go or not. That Friday night we went to dinner on the pretence that it was to celebrate her new school. It was actually to stop her seeing friends and ensure she’d be home for the escorts.

After their appearance in the middle of the night, the security service flew with her to the Utah desert. That first day I grieved. I knew deep down I was right, but I didn’t know if my daughter would forgive me: I had to be prepared to lose her in order to help her. Her friends called and I said she’d gone on a trip. “Where did she go? When will she be back?” they asked. I told them I didn’t know.

I had paid $16,000 (£11,380) for seven weeks of gruelling physical and mental challenges. The other kids were in desperate situations: young offenders, drug addicts, some were suicidal. I was aware my daughter didn’t share their circumstances. They lived like cavemen: they didn’t see a roof the whole time, took care of their sanitary waste, learned survival skills and did physical labour; some cut off their hair because they couldn’t bathe.

They had daily therapy and wrote letters to their parents. My daughter’s were full of apology: how she had made mistakes, wanted to be forgiven, how she loved me. Sure, she was angry at first when she didn’t know what was going on, but she soon understood why I’d sent her there and was embarrassed.
Experience: my plane was hijacked
Read more

At the end, parents were taken into the desert to be reunited with their kids. We could see them walking towards us from a mile away. I was scared. I didn’t know how my daughter would react. Then I spotted her; she was muscular and dirty. We hugged and cried. She was back to the daughter I knew, the one without the attitude.

She finished high school with straight As, went to college, then did a master’s. She works in the legal system now. Both my kids joke that I’m a psycho mom, but they forgave me and we remain close. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Could they have got where they are today without such drastic action? Perhaps, but it wasn’t a chance I was willing to take. I believe the more we suffer in life, the more we grow. I have two strong, amazing kids, and I’d do it again.

• As told to Candice Pires. Raye Johnson is a pseudonym.

William Lane Craig #fundie #psycho theguardian.com

In commanding complete destruction of the Canaanites, the Lord says, 'You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods' (Deut 7.3-4). […] God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. […] Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalising effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

Next page