IMF Walkout, No MERS Ban, Buried With Fido

German Chancellor Angela Merkela
German Chancellor Angela Merkela


Israel Defense Forces have closed an internal investigation into its controversial bombing in last year’s Gaza war, in which an Israeli missile killed four children aged 9 to 11 on a Gaza beach, clearing itself of any culpability, Haaretz reports. The Israeli advocate general’s office described the attack as a “tragic accident,” saying that soldiers couldn’t have known the figures running near a Hamas target were children. But journalists who were at the scene also said the bombed “compound” looked more like a small fisherman’s hut, The Washington Post reported. A detailed account of the investigation was posted by IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.


The International Monetary Fund delegation walked out on Greek debt talks in Brussels yesterday, leaving negotiations stalled for the moment, because of major differences with the government in Athens, Reuters reports. The surprise IMF move came as the European Union told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to stop gambling with his cash-strapped country’s future and make the crucial decisions necessary to avert a devastating default.


The United States is spending more than $9 million every day to lead an international coalition against ISIS, The Hill reports. The Pentagon released new figures yesterday offering a cost breakdown of Department of Defense spending on the operation. It shows that about two-thirds of the total expenses have gone to the Air Force and that the bombing campaign against the terrorist organization has cost more $2.7 billion since it began in June 2014.


German authorities have decided to drop an investigation into the NSA’s alleged tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. The office of federal prosecutor Harald Range said the NSA had failed to provide enough evidence to justify legal action.


Mississippi civil right activist and World War II veteran Medgar Evers was murdered 52 years ago today by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens’ Council. Time for your 57-second shot of history.


The World Health Organization said today it isn’t recommending travel bans or sweeping airport screenings to prevent the spread of the MERS virus in South Korea. “Unless you have close contact, it is unlikely that you will catch MERS,” a WHO spokesperson in Manila told Al Jazeera. “That’s why it passes in healthcare facilities, because it tends to be in close contact.” An 11th person, a 72-year-old woman in Seoul, died from the virus today, and four new cases were reported.


Pakistan authorities closed down the Islamabad offices of the aid group Save the Children yesterday, accusing it of “anti-Pakistan” activities, The New York Times reports. Its foreign staff members were given 15 days to leave the country. “We strongly object to this action and are raising our serious concerns at the highest levels,” the organization wrote in a statement.


Cuban gays and lesbians once hid from police. But today, with help from the president’s daughter Mariela Castro, LGBTs in Cuba are fighting for their rights, Clarin’s Marta Maria Ramirez reports. “The first four decades after Cuba's 1959 revolution were marked by persecution of homosexuals, forcing some people into work camps,” the journalist writes. “Starting in the late 1990s, however, the state began softening its stance. In 1997 Cuba modified its criminal code, removing public indecency provisions that had empowered police to arrest people for being gay. A decade later it even began paying, in a handful of cases, for gender reassignment surgeries. And in June 2014, the National Assembly approved a new Labor Code that includes measures against discrimination for sexual orientation. The tweaking of Cuban norms and laws in recent years favoring non-discrimination, may even reach the constitution, Mariela Castro says.”

Read the full article, Cuba's LGBT Revolution, With A Castro Leading The Charge.


In Germany, you can now be buried alongside your pet dog or cat. Read more in our Zoo’d blog.

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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."

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