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THE WASHINGTON POST
Founded in 1877, The Washington Post is a leading U.S. daily, with extensive coverage of national politics, including the historic series of stories following the Watergate break-in that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. After decades of ownership by the Graham family, the Post was purchased in 2013 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
Ukrainian voting booth
Russia
Anna Akage

Political Apathy, The Real Weapon In Vladimir Putin’s “Surprise” Invasion Of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent revelation that he knew about the likelihood of a Russian invasion has sparked major debate in Ukraine. But what it truly reveals about the source of war can also help ensure victory for Putin and other autocrats.

There has been both outrage and headscratching among Ukrainians since Volodymyr Zelensky’s Aug. 16 interview with The Washington Post, in which he admitted knowing a Russian invasion was likely, but chose to not warn the public to avoid causing panic.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Yet despite all the noise that followed the statements, the Ukrainian president revealed nothing we did not know before. Perhaps it was the bluntness with which he recounted the reality that took people by surprise. So U.S. intelligence warned him in private of the imminence of war? Wait a minute: The media was flooded with articles about this for months before it started.

So if everyone knew about the likelihood of war — Zelensky included — but it still could still not be prevented, we must ask ourselves, Why?

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Photo of a Pride flag
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Spain’s Transgender Bill, Istanbul Pride Arrests — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

  • Spain moving on transgender rights
  • The ripples of Roe v. Wade's end on LGBTQ+ youth
  • Hundreds of weddings ahead of Mexico's Pride
  • … and more

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox: Subscribe here.

🇪🇸 Spain Approves New Bill On Transgender Rights

Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a bill on June 27, which — if passed through parliament — will allow anyone over 16 to legally change their name and gender on their identity documents through a system of self-determination. If approved, the draft law would allow the changes without judicial, medical, or psychological limitations, including the use of hormonal treatment. The same bill would require those between 14 and 16 to have parental or guardian consent to change gender, while children between 12 and 14 would require authorization from a judge.

According to La Razón, the legislation emphasizes issues of awareness and training, and would include sexual and gender diversity topics in the educational curriculum, as well as teacher training in this area. The new law will also allow for self-determination by trans migrants on their documents issued in Spain, if they can prove that they would not be able to transition in their country of origin.

🇺🇸 What The End Of Roe v. Wade Means For LGBTQ+ Youth

NYC Pride

Demonstrators at New York City Pride addressed the Roe v. Wade reversal.

Milo Hess/ZUMA


The historic June 24 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade ended the right to abortion that has existed since 1973 — and yes, it is major issue for the LGBTQ+ community, writes Pride media, of the many who are "furious about this decision and afraid of what it means.” It impacts those in the LGBTQ+ community who can get pregnant and their partners (certain cisgender women, transgender men, and non-binary individuals, among others).

Activists have called to donate, protest and vote, as tools to express their discontent and Pride events in the U. S. placed abortion rights front and center. New York City Pride expressed on its website: “This dangerous decision puts millions in harm's way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy.”

LGBT+ media took the decision as a “reminder that in state and local penal codes are the never-repealed laws banning same-sex marriage & sodomy which are now a ticking time bomb”. As reported by LGBTQ Nation, dozens of states still have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and 15 still have sodomy laws waiting to be revived.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the high court could review other precedents that may be deemed “demonstrably erroneous,” in which case he would defend the defunct sodomy law, struck down by Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, said The Washington Post .

🇳🇴 Norway Gay Club Shooting Aftermath

Pride protesters in Oslo, Norway held a rally Monday and, in doing so, defied police recommendations that Pride celebrations be cancelled after a shooting took place outside a gay club in Oslo on Saturday. According to the BBC, law enforcement had requested the events be postponed because Pride remained a target for violence. Some activists have criticized the police’s response to cancel the event, arguing they shouldn’t cave to the wishes of extremists.

The shooting on Saturday left two people dead and at least 19 more injured. It happened around London Pub, a popular LGBTQ+ venue. According to local news outlet NRK, London Pub has called itself the “gay headquarters since 1979.” Norway is well known for its support of LGBTQ+ rights.

A suspect has been taken into custody, and the attack is being described as “an act of Islamist terrorism” by Norway’s domestic intelligence service. A memorial service was held at Oslo Cathedral on Sunday to honor the victims, with Norway’s prime minister and members of the royal family in attendance.

🇧🇦 Sarajevo Pride Peacefully Celebrates Family

Sarajevo Pride

Sarajevo's third Pride March celebrated "family gatherings".

Tom Barlow-Brown/SOPA Images/ZUMA


Bosnian capital Sarajevo hosted its third Pride March on June 25. This year, the organizers have chosen a special theme: “Family gathering” aimed at bringing families and the LGBTQ+ members together. “Family gatherings are something that belong to all of us, but some of us don’t have a chance to be who we truly are,” declared a member of the Sarajevo Pride organization committee.

Security has been increased in this third edition as the previous LGBTQ+ events held in the country have ended in unrest, due to opposition groups disrupting them.

As Bosnian-language news outlet Detektor notes, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “LGBT people are not yet legally equal, and a law on same-sex partnerships needs to be enacted, and the issue of transition for trans people needs to be regulated.”

🇷🇺 U.S. Basketball Star Brittney Griner’s Trial To Begin In Russia

The criminal trial for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is set to begin on today in Russia. The Olympic Gold medalist was arrested at the airport on Feb. 17 for carrying vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. She now faces charges for “large-scale transportation of drugs” and risks up to 10 years in prison. Griner’s pretrial detention has been extended three times and she is not set for release until a further 6 months.

Griner came out as lesbian early in her career and is widely recognized as an LGBTQ+ icon. Her wife Cherelle Griner has expressed concern about Griner being held as a “political pawn.”

The U.S. Department of State has established that the basketball player was indeed “wrongfully detained” and has mobilized the help of Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens. California Congressman John Garamendi said her chances for release could be strained by the nonexistent diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, as well as Russia’s harsh “LGBT rules and laws”.

🇬🇭 Ghana Politician Says “Leave Gays Alone”

“Leave gays alone,” says Freddie Blay, chairman of Ghana’s current ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). With the remarks, Blay has defended the country’s LGBTQ+ citizens in the face of a bill labeled as “the worst anti-LGBTQ bill ever,” writes the news site Erasing 76 Crimes, an online resource for anti-LGBTQ+ laws around the world.

Blay’s comments supporting and encouraging LGBTQ+ rights in Ghana come while human rights activists have sued the Ghanaian police and attorney general over the arrests of human rights activists on homosexuality charges last year. Billboards promoting tolerance in the country have also been torn down. Another public figure, popular Ghanaian singer Reggie Rockstone, has spoken out to his fans to treat the LGBTQ+ community with respect.

🇿🇦 Documentary Focuses On South Africa’s “Radical” First Gay Imam

YouTube


Filmmaker Richard Finn Gregory spent four years filming Imam Muhsim Hendricks, a former clothing designer from Cape Town, South Africa, who became the world’s first openly gay imam when he came out in 1996. The resulting documentary, The Radical, is premiering at The Encounters International Documentary Film Festival, held in Cape Town and Johannesburg between June 23 and July 3.

The film explores the difficulties faced by queer South African Muslims as they are exposed to a conservative culture and history. Imam Muhsim is also seen meeting with queer Muslim activists in East African countries, where belonging to the LGBTQ+ community is outlawed. Mushim preaches tolerance and uses a “care-frontational” approach towards those who do not accept him. It is certain that The Radical will encourage dialogue: The film has caused both praise and outrage after its first screenings.

🇩🇪 Germany’s Quest For Nazi-Looted “Legendary” LGBTQ+ Library

A one-of-a-kind LGBTQ+ archive Berlin is still missing the majority of its “legendary collection”. The collection was part of the Institute for Sexual Science, set up by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (the “Einstein of sex”, as German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung calls him) and Li Shiu Tong in 1919. They performed early gender confirmation surgeries, collected data on sexualities, and advocated for equal rights.

In the 1940s, it was looted by the Nazis. The library held thousands of books on same-sex relationships, erotica, and gender. Volunteers have been searching for the archive across the globe. So far, they’ve found 35 items out of the original 10,000 volumes.

Today, the small library attracts researchers, students, and anyone else who is interested in LGBTQ+ history. A few volunteers ensure that it keeps running. The society hopes to merge with Berlin’s lesbian and feminist library and archives to form “an umbrella queer archive with broad research access and communal spaces.” But to do that, they’ll need 10 million euros to reconstruct the building and hire a professional staff.

🇹🇷 Hundreds Arrested At Istanbul’s Pride March

Police force during Pride in Istanbul.

Police forces block people from going to Istiklal Street during Istanbul's Pride March.

Tolga Ildun/ZUMA


On June 26, Istanbul police cracked down on Pride celebrations, with at least 360 people arrested, including an AFP photographer. This was justified by a ban on organizing LGBTQ+ events for “health reasons” "for security reasons' ' and "to prevent crime."

The fact is that Istanbul Pride has been banned since 2014. Regardless of the bans in place, Turkish LGBTQ + activists took the streets in a peaceful march to chant “Discrimination is a crime, the rainbow is not" and “The future is queer. We are here. We are queer. We are not going anywhere”, as reported by Pink News.

According to the organizers of the event, Turkish police released all of the protesters and journalists detained during the march by Monday. Even though homosexuality is legal in the country, according to Pink News, public opinion regarding the LGBTQ + community has become increasingly conservative.

🇳🇱 Fears Of Monkeypox Spread Ahead Of Amsterdam Pride

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has expressed fear that the upcoming Pride events in Amsterdam and other cities may lead to a “more intensive spread” of the monkeypox virus, according to Dutch daily Het Parool. The Netherlands’ most famous Pride event, Amsterdam Pride, will take place from July 30 to August 7.

A spokesperson for Amsterdam Pride sees no reason to take extra measures at this time. He also warns about stigmatization: “The RIVM is talking about men who have sex with men, but the Pride community is much broader than that.” He added that “"You don't go to Pride to exchange contacts with as many people as possible, but to speak out for equal rights and to be who you want."

🇳🇬 Nigerians Defy Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

People are gathering to celebrate Pride in Nigeria in an act of defiance against laws which have criminalized being gay in the country. A 2014 law introduced punishments of up to 14 years in prison for public displays of same-sex affection, or membership in LGBTQ+ groups.

In recent years, LGBTQ+ community members and activists have been kidnapped, incarcerated, and killed, while their aggressors act with impunity. Despite the dangers of publicly being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, organizing and support groups are surviving by moving online to organize private pride celebrations, including art events and a drag competition in Lagos this year.

🇲🇽 Hundreds Of LGBTQ+ Tie The Knot Before Mexico Pride

Mexico City Pride

Weddings took place ahead of Mexico City Pride.

Carlos A. Moreno/ZUMA


Hundreds of couples part of the LGBTQ+ community married in Mexico City before Pride, Mexico-based, Spanish-language outlet NMás reports. The ceremony, funded by the local government and aimed at providing an affordable marriage had been canceled for two years due to the pandemic. Mexico City legalized LGBTQIA+ marriages in 2010, and 27 out of 32 states have also decriminalized it.

🇱🇰 Lesbian Couple Arrested In Sri Lanka For “Abnormal Relationship”

Two women were arrested by the police in Sri Lanka's city of Akkaraipattu for “abnormal relationship.” The lesbian couple — a 24-year old from India and a 33-year-old woman from Sri Lanka — had revealed their desire to get married to their families, and the father of the Sri Lankan woman lodged a complaint to the Akkaraipattu police.

Their case has then been transferred to a Court, where the women said they would commit suicide if not allowed to leave the country and to go to India. Sri Lanka’s law is restrictive vis-à-vis LGBTQ+ rights and does not recognize same-sex marriages or same-sex civil unions.

🇬🇧 Boris Johnson Doubles Down On Sports Bans With Transphobic Comment

When asked about the world’s governing body on swimming’s recent decision to ban trans women from competing in swimming competitions, Johnson said that he sees “no reason to dissent.” Johnson was also asked on Sunday if somebody can be a woman if she was born with a penis, to which he replied: “Not without being a man.”

Johnson had set “a very clear line” on the issue of trans women in sports, saying that women’s sports leagues should be reserved for people born of the female sex. In addition to sports inclusion, the prime minister also lists the appropriate age of transition and safe spaces for women (implicitly those born of the female sex) as main concerns of his regarding trans rights.

OTHERWISE

• From Lima to Mexico City, hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ Latin Americans took to the streets, united in their struggle against LGBTQ+ related restrictions across Latin America.

• Meet Dr. K. David Harrison, a gay anthropologist and linguist who hopes to use his work to increase “visibility for LGBTQ+ explorers, like 19th-century geographer Alexander von Humboldt and the late astronaut Sally Ride.”

• As Pride month comes to a close, check out these books of poetry by LGBTQ+ authors.

• Discover the works of Leilah Barbirye, the U.S.-based Ugandan queer artist “taking over the art world” with her sculptures.

• Police raided a gay sauna in El Alto, Bolivia. The police's actions — and the following media storm – were violent in more ways than one. Read the full piece in Bolivian-based magazine Muy Waso, translated from Spanish by Worldcrunch.

Thousands of people demonstrate against abortion in Spain
Society
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Shaun Lavelle

End Of Roe v. Wade: Will It Spark Anti-Abortion Momentum Around The World?

Anti-abortion activists celebrated the end of the U.S. right to abortion, hoping it will trigger a new debate on a topic that in some places had largely been settled: in favor a woman’s right to choose. But it could also boomerang.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion put the United States at the forefront of abortion rights in the world.

Other countries would follow suit in the succeeding years, with France legalizing abortion in 1975, Italy in 1978, and Ireland finally joining most of the rest of Europe with a landslide 2018 referendum victory for women’s right to choose. Elsewhere, parts of Asia and Africa have made incremental steps toward legalizing abortion, while a growing number of Latin American countries have joined what has now been a decades-long worldwide shift toward more access to abortion rights.

But now, 49 years later, with last Friday’s landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade, will the U.S. once again prove to be ahead of the curve? Will American cultural and political influence carry across borders on the abortion issue, reversing the momentum of recent years?

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Key EU Summit Amid Doubts About Western Unity
In The News
Anna Akage, Meike Eisberg, Shaun Lavelle, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Key EU Summit Amid Doubts About Western Unity

European leaders meeting Monday and Tuesday are seeking a new package of sanctions against Russia, which could may (or may not) include an oil embargo. It comes as German Economy Minister Robert Habek said EU unity "is beginning to crumble."

A crucial two-day summit of European Union leaders is underway to forge a new response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as doubts spread that Western unity is about to come undone.

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EU leaders meet Monday and Tuesday to discuss a new package of sanctions against Russia, which could also include an oil embargo and a program aimed at speeding up the cessation of dependence on fossil fuels, including Russian gas.

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Uvalde And The World: A Look As School Shootings Spread Beyond The U.S.
Society
Bertrand Hauger

Uvalde And The World: A Look As School Shootings Spread Beyond The U.S.

After a shooting left 21 dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, we take a look around the world at other countries that have faced similar shooting sprees on school grounds outside of the United States.

The killing Tuesday of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, adds to the United States’ long, sad list of mass shootings. It is the deadliest school attack in the country since the Dec. 2012, Sandy Hook shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead — and comes just 10 days after a gunman killed 10 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

According to the independent organization Gun Violence Archive, 200 mass shootings have occurred so far this year in the U.S., with 27 school shootings resulting in deaths or injuries.

This, together with other statistics, paint a picture of school shootings as a uniquely American malady: a 2018 CNN report estimated that the U.S. had 57 times as many school shootings as the other G7 nations combined, with an average of one attack a week. And though the past two years have seen a drop in massacres on school grounds, as the pandemic forced the education world to move online, a recent Washington Post article notes that as classrooms reopen, gun violence is again soaring at the nation's primary and secondary schools.

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Russia’s "Smaller" Operations And Shrinking Ambitions
In The News
Meike Eijsberg, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Russia’s "Smaller" Operations And Shrinking Ambitions

U.S. Department of Defense officials report that instead of the typical battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, which number several hundred soldiers, the Russians have now shifted to attacks by smaller units.

A new Pentagon report has found that Russia is continuing to reduce the scale of its military actions toward more "small" operations, which is another sign that it has lowered the ambitions of its invasion of Ukraine.

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The Washington Post, citing a U.S. Department of Defense official, reports that instead of the typical battalion tactical groups, which number several hundred soldiers, the Russians have now shifted to attacks by smaller units, each ranging from a few dozen to a hundred soldiers. These smaller units have also scaled down their objectives and are targeting towns, villages and crossroads.

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Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages
Geopolitics

Russia-Ukraine War Begins: 24 Newspaper Front Pages

Tensions culminated this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, a move widely opposed by world leaders that made virtually every front page around the world.

"THIS IS WAR," reads the front page ofGazeta Wyborcza. Alongside the terse, all-caps headline, the Polish daily features a photo of Olena Kurilo, a teacher from Chuguev whose blood-covered face has become one of the striking images of the beginning of the Ukraine invasion.

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A day after simultaneous attacks were launched from the south, east and north of the country, by land and by air, some press outlets chose to feature images of tanks, explosions, death and destruction that hit multiple cities across Ukraine, while others focused on the man behind the so-called "special military operation": Putin.

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Demonstrating face recognition payment service in Japan
CLARIN
Emma Flacard

Good And Evil Uses Of Facial Recognition Around The Globe

Much has been said about China's use of biometric technology for mass civilian surveillance. But facial recognition is being used elsewhere too, and not always as a tool for crime prevention.

Leo Colombo Viña had just hopped onto a Buenos Aires subway when he was approached by a police officer and taken in for questioning over a robbery he'd supposedly committed 17 years prior.

The computer science professor and software company founder had done no such thing. It was a case of mistaken identity, one that was triggered, ironically, by the latest in digital technology: a facial recognition system. But as civil rights activist Eduardo Ferreyra explains in a recent op-ed piece in the Argentine daily Clarín, it didn't stop the Colombo Viña from having to spend six days in jail.

"They surrounded him, told him he had to accompany them to a police station, handcuffed him in front of his family," Ferreyra writes of the incident, which took place in 2019.

For some time now, debates over facial recognition tend to focus on places like China, where the technology is being used for social control, or perhaps India, notorious for its use of facial recognition to identify anti-government protesters.

But as Colombo Viña's case shows, the technology is gaining a foothold far and wide, including in Argentina, where starting two years ago — much to the chagrin of groups like Human Rights Watch — it's even being used to target juvenile suspects.

Biometric technology raises obvious concerns about mass surveillance.

Here is an overview of several of the controversies (and sometimes, pleasant surprises!) surrounding the use of facial recognition tech around the world:

Missing the mark

Biometric technology raises obvious concerns about mass surveillance and the extensive gathering of private information. It's also proven to be racially biased: The programs have more difficulties distinguishing among dark-skinned people, inevitably leading to false arrests.

In the United States, a 2019 case saw an innocent Black man arrested after a false facial recognition match was used as evidence to detain him, CNN reports. The 31-year-old New Jersey resident spent 11 days behind bars before he was finally released, and even then, it took a year for the charges, including unlawful possession of weapons, to be dropped.

A face recognition system at the Narita International airport in Narita, suburban Tokyo — Photo: Yoshio Tsunoda/AFLO via ZUMA Press

In China, where facial recognition technology has been used for many years now, and especially in provinces that are said to house separatists, the BBC has just revealed that artificial intelligence and facial recognition intended to reveal states of emotion has been tested on Uyghurs in Xinjiang. According to an anonymous software engineer, Uyghurs have been used as test subjects for emotion detection cameras.

Tracking political opponents

Thousands of kilometers away, in the middle of the African continent, the Chinese influence on biometric technology is still prevalent. In 2019, the Chinese company Huawei sold an invasive surveillance system to the Uganda government to track down, arrest and torture political opponents, Quartz Africa reports.

During anti-government protests in November 2020 that led to the death of 50 people, the Uganda police reportedly used Huawei's facial recognition tech to track down and arrest suspects.

Others see facial recognition as Big Brother.

The technology is being put to use in Europe too. In southeastern France, the seaside city of Nice has also become a testing ground for high-tech surveillance tools. Starting a dozen years ago, the then mayor, right-winger Christian Lestrosi, implemented a vast surveillance system that has gotten increasingly high-tech as times goes on. More recently, starting in 2018, Nice began experimenting with facial recognition and has even tested biometric technology in high schools.

Just say cheese

Elsewhere, though, the technology is being used not to fight crime, but to keep people healthy. In East Africa's Tanzania, developers are employing it to fight against rabies, with an application that can determine immediately — with just a cellphone camera image — whether a dog has been vaccinated against the illness.

Facial recognition technology also has the advantage of being hands-free, and can thus be a tool in the fight against COVID-19. In the main airport of the Bahamas, biometric technology allows passengers to travel without having to physically present their (potentially germy) documents, The Bahamas Tribune reports.

Across the planet, in Australia, lawmakers are considering an entirely different use of facial scanning: as a requirement for internet users to access online pornography.

For proponents of such programs, facial recognition tech can help keep us safer. Others see it as Big Brother, and warn that by allowing its increasing use, we're progressively transforming public spaces into spheres of oppression. As Eduardo Ferreyra urges in his Clarín piece: "It is the responsibility of all of us to commit ourselves and work to prevent this from happening."