Amnesty Int'l "Shame," American Sniper Gets Life, Rent A Hungarian Village

In its annual report published Wednesday, Amnesty International describes 2014 as “catastrophic” and the world leaders’ response to ISIS as “shameful and ineffective.” The 415-page report criticizes governments for failing to protect civilians from terrorist groups and details abuses in up to 160 countries. “This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones,” Salil Shetty, the Secretary General at Amnesty International writes.

  • Amnesty urges the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to give up their right to veto action “in situations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” insisting such a move could “save many lives.”
  • Governments must act, not only speak out, the report states. “Approximately 2% of refugees from Syria had been resettled by the end of 2014 — a figure which must at least triple in 2015.”
  • The rights group calls for restrictions on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas to protect civilians: “This would have saved many lives in Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists ... and pro-Kiev forces both targeted civilian neighborhoods.”
  • Meanwhile, ISIS militants have abducted at least 150 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, the Syrian National Council of Syria, a Christian group representing several NGOs said Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had earlier reported that 90 Syrian Christians had been abducted.
  • The outlook for 2015 is bleak, Amnesty adds.

Russia would face additional European Union sanctions if pro-Russia separatists attacked Ukraine’s government-held port of Mariupol, in the southeast of the country, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced Wednesday. Speaking on France Info radio station, Fabius said “the problem today is particularly around Mariupol. We've told the Russians clearly that if there was a separatist attack in the direction of Mariupol things would be drastically altered, including in terms of sanctions.” The French, German, Ukrainian and Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs called for the Minsk ceasefire brokered on Feb. 11 to be followed by all sides in Ukraine, as they met in Paris Tuesday. Reuters reported Wednesday that the truce was appearing to hold in eastern Ukraine as pro-Russian separatists were pulling artillery back from the front.


Time for your 57-second shot of history, today featuring an American tycoon, a French painter and a Russian leader.

After interviewing around 800 suspected Taliban-linked detainees in Afghanistan, UN human rights investigators said Wednesday in a report that more than a third of them have been tortured or mistreated by Afghan authorities. This represents a drop in such figures, but the problem is still persistent, according to the report. “I welcome the new administration's immediate attention to end these practices,” Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) said in a press release.

$532.9 MILLION
Apple has been ordered to pay $532.9 million to the patent licensing firm Smartflash after a Texas federal jury found that the iTunes software infringed three patents owned by the company, according to Reuters.

Eddie Ray Routh, the man who killed “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range in Feb. 2013, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by a Texas jury, The Washington Post reports.

It's not important whether Islam is "a part of Germany," as the country is debating. Fascism once was utterly German. For Die Welt’s Jacques Schuster, the real question is: Will Muslim leaders accept reason and freedom as the central values of society? “Communism and fascism are part of Germany. Following this train of thought, even Islam has roots in Germany. ... As different as communism, fascism and Islamism may be, they all have in common the law of eliminating something harmful. If you transformed this into a positive law, its decree would read, ‘Thou shall kill!’ Is this a German decree? This thought alone demonstrates that this is a futile debate if it is limited to what Germany once was, what it now is and what claims to be or not be a part of it.”
Read the full article, No Better Place Than Germany To Ask Muslims The Hardest Question Of All.

More drones have flown over landmarks in Paris for the second night running, between Tuesday and Wednesday, Le Monde reports. The precise number of devices has not been established. They were seen above the Place de la Concorde, the Invalides military museum, near the Eiffel Tower and around two of the old city gates. The previous night, five drones were also seen flying over sensitive sites, such as the American embassy.


A Hungarian Mayor has put his entire village, Megyer, on the eastern edge of Budapest, for rent in order to raise funds. For around 700 euros a day, the renter can hire all four streets, the bus stop and even “peasant-style” houses, The Guardian reports.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!