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TOPIC: malta


Where Conversion Therapy Is Banned, And Where Its Practices Are Ever More Extreme

After almost five years of promises, the UK government says it will again introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy — and in a policy shift, the proposed law would include therapies designed for transgender people.

Conversion therapy, which includes a range of practices that aim to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity, has long been controversial. Many in the LGBTQ community consider it outright evil.

As the practice has spread, often pushed on young people by homophobic family members, there has been a worldwide push to make conversion therapy illegal, with the UK as the latest country set to ban such practices as electric shocks, aversion therapy and a variety of other traumatic, dangerous techniques to try to change someone's sexual preferences or gender identity.

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The British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy, the professional body which governs therapists in the UK, calls the practice “unethical (and) potentially harmful.”

In France, journalists have documented many healthcare professionals offering the pseudoscientific practice. In one case, a self-described “LGBT-friendly” therapist offered to “cure” a young lesbian through so-called "rebirth therapy," a dangerous practice that was banned in some U.S. states after unlicensed therapists killed a 10-year-old girl during a session.

For one Canadian man, therapy included prescription medication and weekly ketamine injections to “correct the error” of his homosexuality, all under the guidance of a licensed psychiatrist. Some people are forced into treatment against their will — often minors — but most of the time, those who receive conversion therapy do so willingly.

The UK announcement of plans to ban conversion therapy for England and Wales comes after four separate British prime ministers had promised, for almost five years, to ban the practice.

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Why More Countries Are Banning Foreigners From Buying Real Estate

Canada has become the most recent country to impose restrictions on non-residents buying real estate, arguing that wealthy investors from other countries are pricing out would-be local homeowners. But is singling out foreigners the best way to face a troubled housing market?

PARIS — It’s easy to forget that soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, many real estate experts were forecasting that housing prices could face a once-in-generation drop. The logic was that a shrinking pandemic economy would combine with people moving out of cities to push costs down in a lasting way.

Ultimately, in most places, the opposite has happened. Home prices in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand rose between 25% and 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

This explosion was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, supply chain issues in construction and shortages in available properties caused in part by investors buying up large swathes of housing stock.

Yet some see another culprit deserving of particular attention: foreign buyers.

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Toward A More Humane Response To Migration

The world can do a lot better than incarcerate migrants en masse, or turn away boatloads of desperate passengers, argues former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos.


SANTIAGO — We are gradually becoming more nomadic in our time. Young people are increasingly moving abroad with the idea that, by getting to know other countries and cultures, they will enrich their transition into adulthood. But there are also the others, the ones who place their hopes for a better life on a flimsy raft or a midnight dash across the border.

Humans have always been this way: seeking new horizons. That is why migration can only be understood as an ancestral, acquired right. And from this perspective, we are outraged to see the tragedies related to contemporary migration.

Has Europe forgotten that it grew in the 19th century because of the outward migration of workers it couldn't feed and the exodus of people persecuted for religious and political reasons? Does the United States not recall that it owes a good deal of its growth precisely to immigration? The ability of the United States to assimilate Irish, European and now Latin American and Asiatic cultures has been notable. Let us add all the Africans who arrived as slaves and whose emancipation ennobled the country.

We must widen our outlook and understand the migrant.

For us in Latin America, immigration is intertwined with the very origins of our various republics. In Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, it is at the core of the national identity. European migrants began to arrive here a century and a half ago. Some sought a better life. But in many cases, they were fleeing the old continent's conflicts: Spaniards and Italians from internationalist workers' movements; Spaniards fleeing the Third Carlist War; exiles from German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's 1878 edict banning socialism.

Moving into the 20th century, millions more arrived — from Poland, the Ukraine, Palestine, the dying Ottoman Empire and other places. And now, in the 21st century, the process continues. Argentina has an estimated 2 million immigrants, according to government figures. Chile is absorbing a fair portion of this flux as well. Years of economic growth and political stability have made it an attractive destination, and migrants currently constitute 2.7% of the nation's population. That is more than half a million people, 70% of whom are from South America.

A "chaotic" situation

Why go back and look at these facts and figures? Because they tell us that for over a century, we have been conscious of what migration is and what it means to the future of our societies. That is why we condemn President Trump's initiatives, why we take issue with how states like Malta or Italy are responding to migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Since mid-April, the Trump administration has implemented its zero tolerance policy on the U.S./Mexico border and the Office of the Attorney General has decided to jail, not just hold, anyone entering the country without papers. Violators are charged with a felony (rather than just a misdemeanor), meaning they are sent to a Federal prison.

Former Chilean president and author of this article Ricardo with then U.S. President Bush in 2004 — Photo: White House

That, in turn, means the prisoner cannot be accompanied by his or her small children — bringing brutal consequences. Mexicans and Central Americans have borne the brunt of this harsh policy of imprisonment followed by immediate expulsion.

While Trump has revoked the policy following a barrage of criticisms, the situation remains "chaotic," as many will testify, when it comes to clarifying where the minors are and how they are to be reunited with their families. Simply put, Trump's policy is inhumane, and that — more than the legal issues involved —explains why it has been so universally criticized. There's also the fact that it began just when the U.S. government announced it would abandon the UN's Commission on Human Rights.

Forge welcoming and inclusive societies — societies of, and for, the 21st century.

Something similar is happening in the Mediterranean, where weeks ago, Malta and Italy announced they would turn away the refugee ship Aquarius, with 600 on board. In the case of Italy, the new right-wing ruling coalition's hand was evident. The boat has been received in Spain, but as the French president and Spanish prime minister have pointed out, this is a matter of concern to the entire EU, not just to its southern countries.

Expect more boats crossing the Mediterranean as poverty and hunger assail the Africans.

What does all this tell us? That migration has become a key part of the international agenda and a challenge requiring clear policies in response. We must widen our outlook and understand the migrant not just as social burden or political pawn, but as a source of economic development.

Here in Latin American, we must become a receptive region, open to immigration and adopting policies geared toward human rights and cultural interactions. These should be designed to help integrate people and regulate migratory flows. Let us learn to observe the other and foment education systems that help us to relate better to diversity, seeing it as an opportunity not a threat. That is the only way to forge welcoming and inclusive societies — societies of, and for, the 21st century.

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Brediterranean View

The Mediterranean island of Malta has kept many traces of its British past: Bedford buses (driving on the left side of the road), pubs, and these beautiful bow windows overlooking the beautiful port of Valletta.


Fresh Coat Of Paint

This man was giving his boat a fresh coat of paint on a hilly street in Valletta. Less than a year before, a U.S.-USSR summit in Malta is credited by some as having closed the Cold War. That meeting was aboard a much bigger Soviet boat anchored in the nearby harbor of Marsaxlokk.


Maltese Megaliths

The limestone temples on the island of Malta rank among the world's oldest religious sites. As with Stonehenge or the Ecuadorian Kalasaya, some of the site's prehistoric monoliths were astronomically aligned. I aligned this daytime shot with a perfectly blue sky.


Superstitious Boats

The colorful Maltese fishing boats called luzzus are said to date back to Phoenician times. They're famous for the small pair of eyes drawn on their hulls — an ancient superstition supposed to ward off evil and bring protection to the fishermen.


View From The Back

I bet this city worker wished his "office" faced the other way, so he could gaze upon the citadel of Victoria, on Gozo, Malta"s second-largest island.


School's Out

Once a quiet fishing village in northeast Malta, Sliema became the island's first tourist resort. And with all the kids running around and playing on the promenade that day, it was easy to forget that Sliema means "peace" in Maltese.


Eurovision Contestants 2015: Malta

Malta is one of the few Eurovision participants that have not missed a single contest since 1991. But despite such dedication, the country has always preferred finishing in the top 10 without winning — probably a way to make the most of the glory without the burden of organizing the party the following year. Classic.

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We Call It La Valette

The Mediterranean island of Malta has a past marked by Frenchmen. The capital of Valletta was named after Knight Hospitaller Jean Parisot de Valette, whose order then surrendered to Napoleon Bonaparte. But my visit there didn't make it into history books.

Niccolò Zancan

Mediterranean Graveyard, The Nameless Dead Of Malta

On this southern European island, some of the hundreds of corpses have arrived from the latest migrant tragedy. They will be processed and buried without knowing their identity. It is not the first time.

VALLETTA — They're stacked in silver tubes. One on top of another. They are sealed in black plastic bags with marker-scribbled signs hung at their feet: Unknown Number 7, Unknown Number 10. Here, we can count 24 nameless corpses, all unknown and unidentified.

"They are all adult males, except one teenager," says Dr. David Grima.

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