Friday, May 31, 2019
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019
Saudi Arabia has announced it is studying new draft legislation to criminalize racial discrimination and religious hatred, according to a speech delivered at the UN.
The Kingdom said that intolerance based on ideology and race has emerged as a major threat to global peace and security. Dr. Abdullah bin Fakhri al-Ansari, an adviser to the Saudi Interior Ministry, noted this during a speech on Tuesday at the 28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held at the UN Center in Vienna.
He said that relevant Saudi authorities were currently considering a new draft law criminalizing racism and hatred, as well as prohibiting the formation of organizations that racially discriminate. The draft law would also prohibit attacks on places of worship, insulting religions, and abuse of religious sanctities.
Al-Ansari also called on the UN and all regional and international organizations to strengthen international efforts to combat crimes against religions and condemn and prevent intolerance and discrimination. He said that Saudi Arabia also urged others to continue issuing laws to restrict sermons preaching hatred against other religions.
Government forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed a top militant commander linked to al-Qaida in the disputed region, officials said Friday.
Zakir Musa was killed Thursday evening in a gunfight after police and soldiers launched a counterinsurgency operation in the southern Tral area, said Col. Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman.
Musa refused to surrender and fired grenades at the troops after they zeroed in on his hideout in a civilian home, police said.
His killing triggered violent anti-India protests in many places. No one was immediately reported injured.
Authorities cut off internet on mobile phones in a common tactic to make organizing anti-India protests difficult and discourage dissemination of protest videos. They also imposed a curfew across much of the Kashmir Valley, including in the main city of Srinagar, in anticipation of more protests and clashes, and ordered schools and colleges to remain closed.
In mid-2017, an al-Qaida linked propaganda network said Musa joined an affiliate militant group, Ansar Ghawzat-ul-Hind, as its head. He had left Kashmir’s largest indigenous rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, and was believed to be joined by less than a dozen others.
He instantly became a media sensation, particularly with New Delhi-based television news channels using him to showcase that Kashmiri struggle for self-rule was part of a global militant agenda. Previously, no global jihadi groups have openly operated in Kashmir, a territory divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both entirely.
All Kashmir rebel groups rejected Musa and his al-Qaida affiliate, some even calling him inimical to their cause.
Separatist leaders, who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, have repeatedly rejected the presence of outside groups, including al-Qaida, and have accused India of portraying the Kashmiri struggle as extremist.
Musa was a close aide of Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri rebel leader whose killing in 2016 triggered open defiance against Indian rule.
Wani’s death and the resulting public fury brought the armed rebellion into the mainstream in Kashmir and revived a militant movement that had withered in recent years to about 100 fighters in scattered rebel outfits.
Officials say since Wani’s killing, hundreds of young men have joined rebel ranks, some of them after stealing weapons from soldiers and police. Wani’s death also cemented a shift in public behavior, with people displaying anger at Indian rule openly and violently when troops raid villages to hunt rebels.
Rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the armed uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, with most people supporting the rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.
Same-sex couples tied the knot in emotional scenes in Taiwan on Friday, the first legal marriages in Asia hailed by activists as a social revolution for the region.
Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage.
More than 160 same-sex couples married Friday, according to government data, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.
Twenty couples queued to tie the knot at a marriage registration office in downtown Taipei, where rainbow flags were on display alongside stacks of government-issued, rainbow-themed registration forms.
“I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud to everyone: I am gay and I am getting married,” said Shane Lin, a 31-year-old baker who with his partner were the first couple to register in the Taipei office.
“I am extremely proud of my country Taiwan,” said a tearful Lin.
The euphoria and emotion among the island’s gay community was on display as newly-wed couples walked down a rainbow-colored carpet in a nearby park, watched by families and friends as well as diplomats and reporters.
Chi Chia-wei, an activist who brought a case to Taiwan’s constitutional court that led to a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in 2017, congratulated the couples.
“This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago,” he said, draped in a giant rainbow flag that symbolizes the colors of the international gay movement.
“As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan’s democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia,” he added.
Supporters also celebrated on social media, sharing posts with the rainbow colors of the gay rights movement.
Friday’s celebration followed a years-long tussle over marriage equality that culminated in the 2017 declaration by the constitutional court giving same-sex couples the right to marry, and setting a deadline of May 24 for legislation.
Marriage equality was backed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but the measure could complicate President Tsai Ing-wen’s bid for a second term in elections next year.
Conservative groups that oppose same-sex marriage said the legislation disrespected the people’s will.
Same-sex marriage is not recognized by Hong Kong and neighboring China, which regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be returned to the fold by force, if necessary.
It marks another milestone in Taiwan’s development as one of the region’s more liberal societies, in contrast with China’s strongly autocratic government.
Across the strait, many Chinese congratulated Taiwan’s newlywed same-sex couples on platforms such as Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
“For once I thought the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan would impact on the Chinese government, making them heed our appeals,” one Weibo user said. “But then I found the shock actually makes the government more scared, stepping up their crackdown on us.”
KATHMANDU, NEPAL —
Three more climbers have died on Mount Everest, expedition organizers and officials said Friday, taking the toll from a deadly week on the overcrowded world's highest peak to seven.
"Two more Indian climbers have died on Everest yesterday," Mira Acharya, spokeswoman for Nepal's Tourism Department, told AFP, while expedition organizers confirmed the third fatality.
Kalpana Das, 52, reached the summit but died Thursday afternoon while descending, as a huge number of climbers queued near the top of Mount Everest.
Another Indian climber, 27-year-old Nihal Bagwan, also died on his way back from the summit.
"He was stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted. Sherpa guides carried him down to Camp 4 but he breathed his last there," said Keshav Paudel of Peak Promotion.
An Austrian climber died on the northern Tibet side of the mountain, his expedition organizer said.
The 65-year-old died close to the summit on his descent.
Wednesday saw an Indian and American climber die on the mountain. Last week, an Indian climber died and an Irish mountaineer is presumed dead after he slipped and fell close to the summit.
Climbing is big business
Mountaineering in Nepal has become a lucrative business since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent of Everest in 1953.
The Himalayan nation has issued a record 381 permits costing $11,000 each for this year's spring climbing season, triggering bottlenecks en route to the summit after poor weather cut down the number of climbing days.
Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, meaning more than 750 climbers were expected to tread the same path to the top in the current season.
At least 140 others have been granted permits to scale Everest from the northern flank in Tibet, according to expedition operators. This could take the total past last year's record of 807 people reaching the summit.
Many Himalayan mountains, including Everest, are at peak climbing season, with the window of good weather between late April and the end of May.
At seven other climbers have died on other 8,000-meter Himalayan peaks this season, while two are missing.
My aunt's husband who came unannounced yesterday just left, yayyyyyyy, I feel like popping champagne. Thank God! I'm breathing a s...
Four men have been arrested after two lesbians were beaten up in what London police have called a disgusting homophobic assault. On...
Mahmoud Abdulsalam Yidi is the youngest best graduating student in the department of Electrical Engineering at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa ...
Cockroaches, the six-legged creatures may be a bugbear for most, but Li Bingcai and other breeders in China are turning them into a niche b...