When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!
InterNations
LOS ANGELES TIMES
The Los Angeles Times, commonly referred to as the Times or LA Times, is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It is currently owned by the Chicago-based Tribune Publishing company.
How Courts Around The World Are Stripping No-Vaxxers Of Parental Rights
Coronavirus
Irene Caselli

How Courts Around The World Are Stripping No-Vaxxers Of Parental Rights

The question of who gets to decide questions around a child's health when vaccines are at play is complicated, and keeps popping up from Italy to Costa Rica to France and the U.S.

It is a parent’s worst nightmare to find out their child needs heart surgery. When it happened to the parents of a two-year-old child in the central Italian city of Modena, there was something extra to worry about: The blood transfusion required for the operation could include traces of the COVID-19 vaccine, which they opposed for religious reasons.

The parents asked the Sant'Orsola clinic in Bologna if they could vet the blood for the transfusion to make sure it hadn’t come from vaccinated donors. When the hospital refused, the parents took it to court, putting their child’s surgery on hold.

The court objected to their decision and temporarily stripped the couple of their parental rights, allowing doctors to go ahead with the transfusion and with the surgery, which took place in early February and was successful.

The court motivated its decision by saying that a parent’s religious belief does not come before a child’s health, reports La Gazzetta di Modena daily. Moreover, there is no scientific proof that the donor’s vaccination status can affect the health of the person receiving the transfusion, added the judge.

Between private rights and public health

The case in Italy is the latest in a series of complicated court decisions regarding parents who are opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations. It is, in some ways, the most complicated anti-vax battle, involving questions over who gets to decide what is in the best interest of a child, who is bound by the law to a parent or legal guardian and cannot decide for themselves.

We’ve seen repeatedly how the pandemic has blurred the sphere between private and public, with courts and medical experts intervening to tell parents the state knows best about a child’s wellbeing. While it is not unprecedented for states and courts to scrutinize what parents do, polarized views about vaccines have been playing out in several court cases involving children.

Several cases have come up of divorced couples who disagreed about the vaccine and ended up in court to decide who should have the final say.

Parents are trying to do what they think is best for their kids

Last year, a judge in Illinois took away a mother’s custody rights because she was unvaccinated, but rescinded the ruling a few weeks later, according to The Chicago Tribune. A New York City judge suspended parental visits for an unvaccinated father unless he got vaccinated or got tested each time he wanted to spend time with his 3-year-old child. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a judge ordered a father to get vaccinated or provide a medical statement explaining why he couldn't.

Visiting rights for the unvaccinated

Attorney Patrick Baghdaserians, who represents the mother in the Los Angeles case, said he was surprised by how far the judge had gone. “I’ve never seen a judge take the next step, which is ... if one of the parents is not vaccinated, that potentially exposes the child to harm,” Baghdaserians told The Los Angeles Times.

In two different cases in Canada, unvaccinated fathers have lost their visitation rights or their custody altogether — in the latter case the child in question is immunocompromised and at risk. A court in British Columbia, Canada, asked an unvaccinated father not to discuss or share anti-vax social media posts with his 11-year-old child.

Family courts in Australia and in Spain are also siding with vaccinated parents in divorce cases — except for a couple of exceptions, including one in Tenerife, Canary Islands, where the judge agreed that the low COVID risk among the youngest family members did not outweigh the unknown long-term effects of the vaccines on children, as reports La Vanguardia.

Studies around the world have concluded that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children, with the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommending them for children ages 5 and older, while trials for children up until the age of five are still ongoing.

Protest against vaccine and mask mandates in Tucson, Arizona

Christopher Brown/ZUMA

A terrible position

"Parents are in this terrible position, trying to do what they think is best for their kids, and then fighting with their estranged spouse to try to do what's best for their kids," Ric Roane, a family law attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan, told CNN.

In several other countries provisions have been put in place to avoid this kind of legal trouble to arise.

For example, in France, the authorization from one parent is enough for children to be vaccinated from the age of five onwards. Initially it was only possible for the age group 12 to 15, but then the parliament approved a law that covers every child, using the health emergency to ground the decision, as the Paris-based daily Libération explains.

Costa Rica became the first country in the world to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all minors

Moreover, France allows young people to go ahead and get the vaccine without parental approval from the age of 16 onwards. This is in stark contrast to countries like Italy, where several underage teenagers are trying to get their families to allow them to get the vaccine, and even contacting lawyers and medical personnel to get their help.

Bioethical questions

Italy’s state-run National Committee for Bioethics also addressed the issue, siding with adolescents. “If the minor's desire to be vaccinated were to conflict with that of the parents, the Committee believes that the adolescent should be heard by medical personnel with pediatric expertise and that his or her wishes should prevail, as they coincide with the best interests of his or her mental and physical health and public health,” it said in a statement.

Last November, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all minors from the age of five onwards, except in the case of medical exemptions. If parents refuse, health authorities have the right to allow the vaccination, reports La Nación newspaper. Earlier, in February, a conversation between a father and a doctor resulted in a heated argument and then a fist fight among several people, with the arrest of seven people, reports CNN.

While more than 90% of people between 12 and 19 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the numbers are much lower for children aged 5-12. Some lawmakers in Costa Rica are calling the mandate a “health dictatorship,” but public health expert Roman Macaya Hayes, who heads the Costa Rican Social Security Institute, declared that "the collective good supersedes the rights of the individual.” For any parent, it’s the hardest pill to swallow.

El Pibe de Oro on the world's front pages
CLARIN
Bertrand Hauger

Adios Maradona: 22 World Front Pages On The Death Of Soccer God

El Pibe de Oro, Barrilete, El Dios, Cósmico, D10S, Dieguito, El 10, El Diez ...

The quantity of nicknames is just one more sign that fútbol legend Diego Armando Maradona was in a category of his own. His death Wednesday from a heart attack at the age of 60 was a bonafide global event.

Here are the front pages of 22 newspapers dedicated to the passing of the soccer legend: from dailies in his native Buenos Aires to the cities of his beloved club teams, Naples, Italy and Barcelona, Spain, but also California, France, India and beyond celebrated arguably the greatest artist that the beautiful game has ever seen.

ARGENTINA

Cronica, a daily newspaper in Maradona

Cronica

Clarin

La Nacion

Pagina/12

Portada de La Prensa (Argentina)

La Prensa

Watch VideoShow less
Trump on his way to the White House on Oct. 1
WORLDCRUNCH

Headlines And #Karma, World Reacts To Trump COVID Diagnosis

The news that Donald Trump has been infected with COVID-19 echoed around the world, making front pages and prompting a gush of wishes from leaders in all continents — and snark from many corners.

In the night between Oct. 1 and 2, U.S. Eastern Time, the U.S. president confirmed on Twitter that he and his wife Melania had tested positive to Covid-19 and were going into quarantine.

The announcement drew responses ranging from incredulity, solidarity and uncertainty — as well as a few more pointed comments. Here is how the world reacted:

Watch VideoShow less
Not a routine flu season...
Geopolitics
Kat Bohmbach

Bracing For A Second Wave Next Winter

PARIS The rate of transmission and death toll of the coronavirus finally seem to be slowing, and various national and local lockdown measures are beginning to loosen. In a best-case scenario, both commerce and public confidence pick back up and social distancing measures help the virus to fade away by the summer. But even if that's the case, health officials are warning that a second wave of infection later in the year, as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, is not only possible but probable.

A seasonal link: Though the behavior of the current coronavirus is still fairly unknown, researchers have reasons to believe that this virus shares many characteristics of other (less-deadly) coronaviruses we have faced before, including the one which causes the common cold, where transmission is much higher in the fall and winter than in the summertime, which may also be linked to the strength of the body's immune system. Most disease specialists have come to believe that the coronavirus will also follow a similar seasonal pattern. Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, told The Los Angeles Times: "I suspect this will come back and if we do get any kind of lull in the summer that this will likely pick up in the fall, just like other coronaviruses do."

Reaction time: Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that a second wave of the coronavirus is "inevitable" in the fall or winter, the only difference is that there is still time for the government to put countermeasures in place that would curb the spread. Last week, researchers at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) released a report with at least three possible outcomes for COVID-19's future spread across the country.

Worst case: CIDRAP's worst-case scenario prediction, and also the most likely according to them, is not only that there will be a second wave of the pandemic in the fall and wintertime, this second wave is also estimated to be even larger than what we have been witnessing. According to the author of the report and director of the CIDRAP, Michael Osterholm, the disease will not stop spreading until it has infected at least 60-70% of people (which has been estimated to take anywhere from 18 to 24 months and assumes that these people survive the disease). He says, "The idea that this is going to be done soon defies microbiology."

Control & prevention staff working in the snow in Suifenhe, China, on April 22 — Photo: Zhang Tao/Xinhua/ZUMA​

View from Iran: In Iran, one of the countries initially hardest hit by the coronavirus, doctors are warning authorities that they may be in for another viral winter. Though Iranian officials have been suggesting that the pandemic is currently peaking nationwide, like the Health Ministry's calculations from May 4, which show a decline in infection rates in some provinces and the possible approach of a peak in others, physicians in Tehran predict that next winter will not be anything like a routine flu season. Mas'ud Mardani, an infectious disease doctor and member of the capital's coronavirus headquarters, told the daily Aftab-e Yazd that if the country imported "two million flu vaccines last year, this year it must import between 10 and 20 million vaccines at least," to cover all "vulnerable" people.

French low immunity: As reported by Le Figaro, with France beginning to lift the strict confinement measures that have been in place since mid-March, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe reminded citizens of the difference between loosening restrictions and being in the clear when it comes to the spread of the virus. "The risk of a second wave, which would hit a weakened hospital system, would impose a return to quarantine," he said. "That would ruin the efforts and the sacrifices made." And this risk is very real, according to research published by France's Institut Pasteur, the confinement measures put in place successfully reduced the transmission of the coronavirus by 84%. However, they predict that by the time measures begin to loosen on May 11, only 5.7% of the population will have been infected, meaning that when control measures are loosened, population immunity will be insufficient to prevent a second wave.

Watch VideoShow less
Disinfecting a bus in St. Petersburg, Russia
LA STAMPA

Coronavirus — Global Brief: Calculating How Long It Will Last

For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on the coronavirus global pandemic. The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a blunt reminder of how small the world has become. Our network of multilingual journalists are busy finding out what's being reported locally — everywhere — to provide as clear a picture as possible of what it means for all of us at home, around the world. To receive the daily brief in your inbox, sign up here.

SPOTLIGHT:

For the first time in most peoples' lives, no matter where we are, we're living our days amid a swirl of statistics and news flashes that leaves us waking up the next morning with the same question. How big will it get?

So how is it that we can't, with the brainpower of all the virologists, biologists and public health officials around the world, figure out what COVID-19 will mean for our future?

Well, part of the problem is just that: the whole world. Experts are dealing with a sample size spanning all of humanity in which much of the information is missing, confusing or unreliable. In Iran, a clerical regime known for its opaqueness is believed to severely understate the already high number of 1,100 deaths — and the same now goes for Russia, with an equally dark record of state censorship, where only one death has been reported so far — a suspicious figure considering the country ranked 116th last year in the Global Health Security Index for "detecting" pandemics. But even in more open societies like the U.S. and Italy, overloaded institutions and slow rollout of diagnostic tests have blurred both the actual figures and geographical scope of the spread.

The hard truth is that even with more accurate numbers, we're missing many pieces of a puzzle that keeps multiplying: How strong is the immune response to a novel infection? How does the virus react to warmer weather? And how fast can it mutate? For now, we are left to stay at home, wonder, and wash our hands for longer than we're used to.​ At least that number we can be sure of: 20 seconds.

Watch VideoShow less
Disinfecting an Armenian church in Istanbul, Turkey
NOVAYA GAZETA

Coronavirus ~ Global Brief: Alone With God, Face Mask Holdup, Born With It

For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on the coronavirus global pandemic. The rapid and insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet teaches us in a whole new way how small the world has become. Our network of multilingual journalists are busy finding out what's being reported locally — everywhere — to provide as clear a picture as possible of what it means for all of us at home, around the world.

PLACE OF WORSHIP, HOTBED OF CONTAGION

The fear rippling through local communities around the world is finding little solace in places of worship. Regular prayer services — not to mention weddings and other special ceremonies — have largely been called off as the virus spreads into new countries and among different faiths. In South Korea, where there are recent, positive signs of containing an initial major outbreak, authorities have been working to keep churches shut and congregants home. Still, 74 new cases have just been reported in a church cluster outbreak near Seoul. Meanwhile, in another hard-hit country, Iran, hard-line Shiia faithfuls pushed their way into the courtyards of two major shrines that had just closed over fears of the new coronavirus.

For those looking to gather together to pray, an increasing number of churches, mosques and synagogues are offering online services. For Catholics, with Easter celebrations approaching, people are preparing to do what they can. In the central Italian town of San Giustino, a local priest did not let the shutting down of all churches keep him from celebrating mass. As reported by the Umbria-based news site Tutto Oggi, Don Fillippo held mass from high in the town's bell tower, broadcasting the service on Facebook Live. Online, up high and praying that the Lord can hear.​

LATEST

• European Union prepares for full border closures as France, Spain, Israel and several U.S. localities impose local shutdowns to limit COVID-19 spread.​

• Even as global markets rebound, the Philippines become the first country to close its stock exchange indefinitely. Meanwhile economies around the world brace for recession.​

• China and U.S. continue war of words over origins of the outbreak, with President Trump calling it "the Chinese virus."​

• Tom Hanks and wife released from the hospital in Australia after contracting the virus. Other new cases include British actor Idris Elba.​

NUMBER DU JOUR

NEWBORN STAT: The UK identified its first baby born with COVID-19, Saturday in a north London hospital, reports The Guardian. The child's mother arrived at the hospital several days before giving birth with a suspected pneumonia. With her results for coronavirus coming through after the birth, the mother also tested positive.​​

FACE MASK SHORTAGE I - SOUTH KOREAN THEFT: Surgical masks were a thing in South Korea long before it became one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus. Face masks were already prevalent during pollution peaks and at the first signs of a cold or seasonal flu. Even K-pop music idols endorse mask brands, while kids' models feature cute anime characters. So it's not surprising that when the country got hit by COVID-19, stocks immediately ran out. A quota was put in place to monitor purchases, limiting residents to only two masks a week and only upon presentation of their ID card. But with these new restrictions came a new crime. According to The Korean Times, police have registered an increasing number of identity theft cases, reported by residents who were unable to buy their masks because their resident identification number had been stolen and used elsewhere as a sesame for face protection.​

FACE MASK SHORTAGE II - CZECH DIY: A shortage of face masks in the Czech Republic —even for medical staff, social workers and food vendors – has prompted a crafty response: the mobilization of thousands of people to sew simple cotton masks at their homes, reports leading Czech news site Novinky. Since its launch on Sunday, more than 21,000 people joined the Facebook group "Česko šije roušky" ("Czech sews face masks') to exchange tips on homemade face protection. Amateur tailors now use the platform to sell or donate their products to those in need. With much of the country on lockdown since Saturday, the Government added sewing supply stores to the short list of commerces that can stay open, as only those wearing a face mask are now allowed to take public transport.​

FACE MASK SHORTAGE III - UKRAINIAN HOLD UP: Even with just a handful of reported cases so far in Ukraine, criminals are preparing for the spread: five people were arrested this week, suspected of trying to rob 100,000 surgical masks at gunpoint in Kiev.

BRING OUT THE BIG GUNS: Americans are preparing to fight the virus by stocking up on food, toilet paper, and ... guns. The Los Angeles Times reports an enormous uptick in ammunition sales around the U.S. as a direct response to the COVID-19 crisis, with an increase in first-time buyers. Reports show that many of the initial customers were Asian-Americans who feared the disease would cause a racist backlash. Gun control organizations are nervous that the combination of people — especially children — quarantined with firearms increases the likelihood of accidents. According to one gunslinger interviewed by the L.A. Times, "There's no sports games on (T.V.)… so I guess people want to shoot."​

PUTIN PLAYING POLITICS? With only 11 known cases in Russia, a columnist at independent daily Novaya Gazeta argued that President Vladimir Putin's ban on gatherings of over 5,000 people is just a ploy to limit anti-government protests. Emergencies can be a gift in disguise for authoritarian regimes, he writes, and the virus has come at an opportune time for the Russian president, who is currently seeking to make constitutional changes that would allow him to remain in power for 16 more years — a controversial move that could provoke unrest. How will citizens content this major power grab if they're afraid to leave their house?

COVIDICTIONARY

A DIGITAL DISEASE: Customers are (rightly) forgoing in-person banking to reduce the possibility of contamination. Some banks, like South Africa"s Nedbank, are using the opportunity to speed up their digital transformation. The Africa Report announced that the bank, who already planned to keep 75% of its sales online, now plans to accelerate the standardization of all digital platforms to help social distancing. It is an impressive objective for a company that suffers from an unreliable supply of electricity, but a bold decision to make progress out of a seemingly regressive situation.​

PHARMA BREAKTHROUGH? The combination of two anti-HIV drugs was proven to be useful in the treatment of three elderly patients suffering from COVID-19 in India, providing insight on possible life-saving measures against the novel disease. According to an article published in the Economic Times, the Additional Chief Secretary of Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh, announced three out of the four patients in the state of Rajasthan have now been declared "coronavirus-free." The doctors decided to try this combination of drugs because "the structure of coronavirus is similar to that of HIV to some extent." The first two patients who tested positive for the virus were an Italian couple, one of whom has been discharged from the hospital and moved into quarantine. The other, along with an 85-year old man from Jaipur, have recovered from the disease but still remain in the ICU.

In London in 1970
Sources

Hugh Hefner And Brigitte Bardot, Where Nostalgia Meets Burkini Bans

-Analysis-

PARIS — It was a final gift from the American patron of beauty and pleasure: The sight of Hugh Hefner's silk-robed portrait, splashed across the top of the internet as Paris woke up this morning, was an odd kind of relief from the neverending stream of terrorism, natural disaster and nuclear threats.

The death at the age of 91 of the Playboy magazine founder will no doubt be hailed as the end of an era, both in the U.S. and abroad. Of course that era was over a long time ago. As a colleague noted this morning, there is no "Controversies' section on Hefner's Wikipedia page. For more than a decade, following the founding of his magazine in 1953, the man was a walking controversy, the male embodiment of the burgeoning sexual revolution. Post revolution, someone so openly dedicated to living his life in a bathrobe is hard to accuse of anything approaching controversy or hypocrisy — even if American feminists still decry his view of women as anything but progress.

Across the Atlantic, the question of nudity (which was central to Hefner's publishing success) has always been seen rather differently. The outrage at Facebook's famous "nipple ban" is just the latest example at how Europe scoffs at a uniquely American brand of prudishness.

A walking controversy, the male embodiment of the burgeoning sexual revolution.

Today, it turns out, is also the 83rd birthday of Brigitte Bardot. The famous French actress, who was on multiple Playboy covers in multiple countries, chartered a very different post-60s path than the immutable, Viagra-fueled party guy in Los Angeles. Once she put her clothes back on, she turned into a virulent animal-rights activist with far-right anti-Muslim views. Regardless of the many controversies on her biography, a statue in Bardot's honor is being unveiled today in the resort town of Saint-Tropez, Paris Match magazine reports.

That brings us back around to some of the pressing questions of the current era. That same French Riviera where Bardot famously disrobed in the 1960s has lately been making headlines over proposed bans on the so-called "burkini," which religious Muslim women wear to cover their bodies at the beach. Yes, a significant portion of liberated French society believes that a certain lack of female nudity is a form of provocation.

It's a reminder of what Hugh Hefner understood a long time ago: A woman's body is a beautiful vessel for talking about everything that divides us.

blog

LA Times: Latest Details On San Bernardino Killers

Police have identified a couple as the two shooters in the latest mass killing in the United States that left at least 14 people dead and 17 injured Wednesday, in the southern Californian city of San Bernardino. Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, who relatives later confirmed were married and were the parents of a six-month-old baby, were killed in a shootout later in the day.

The Los Angeles Timespublished a special late edition in the early hours of Thursday, beginning to piece together the events that led to the shooting during a holiday gathering of colleagues at the San Bernardino County's public health department, where Farook worked as a health inspector.

The motives are not yet clear. Relatives of American-born Farook said he was a devout Muslim, but knew of no connections to any radical Islamist. Coworkers also described him as kind and quiet. Malik's nationality is not yet known.

The couple appeared to be "living the American dream," said fellow health inspector Patrick Baccari, who shared a cubicle with Farook.

Read the latest updates in theLA Times live blog.