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India

As India Turns 75, A Look Back At Gandhi's Thoughts On Freedom

It was typical of Gandhi to bring opposites together, by noting that the very experience of hatred had made love possible by allowing Indians to take responsibility for their own actions and so the future.

As the day of India’s independence approached, Gandhi was frequently asked how it should be marked. His response was invariably to criticize the new government’s costly plans of celebrating it with spectacle and entertainment to recommend fasting, spinning and prayer instead.

This was not simply because of the violence then sweeping much of the country, or even to give the poverty of India’s millions its due, but so as to reflect upon the grave responsibilities that were the true gift of freedom. He spent Independence Day in riot-stricken Calcutta, trying to identify India’s freedom in the very midst of partition’s violence.

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In Africa, Witchcraft Delusions Spark Deadly Mob Violence

In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where many people believe in witchcraft, allegations occasionally flare into violence and death.

OYAM, UGANDA — On the morning of March 4, at the invitation of her grandchildren, Albina Okoi attended services at a makeshift church different from the one she usually attends. When the prayers continued for longer than she expected, Okoi, 71, excused herself and went home to have tea.

By the time it was ready, there was a mob at her doorstep, led by the pastor and two of her own grandchildren.

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Probe Finds Brazil's Religious Homeschooling Groups Encourage Corporal Punishment

As Brazil prepares to legalize homeschooling — a campaign promise that President Bolsonaro hopes to fulfill before October's elections — a disturbing investigation by openDemocracy and Agência Pública finds that Brazil's religious homeschooling groups, supported by ultraconservative U.S. associations, are giving parents instructions on how to spank their children while dodging the law.

Training dished out by Brazil’s homeschooling industry is encouraging parents to spank their children “calmly and patiently” as a teaching tool, a disturbing investigation by openDemocracy and Agência Pública has found.

Books, websites and videos seen by our journalists give parents tips on how to spank children and dodge the law — by avoiding major injuries, visible marks and public humiliation. They also say parents who do not punish their children with “the rod” do not love God or their children.

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Yes, Her Too: A Feminist Reading Of The Depp Vs. Heard Case

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation suit has become a Hollywood media (sh*t) storm, but there are troubling real consequences in the way domestic violence is being portrayed, when the victim is less-than-perfect.

First the background: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2012. They started a relationship when Depp was still with Vanessa Paradis, and eventually married in 2015. Fifteen months later, Heard filed for divorce, accusing Depp of domestic violence and asking for a restraining order.

In the lawsuit, Heard said, ”I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.” They then made a million-dollar settlement, and soon after, Heard asked for the restraining order to be dropped.

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Society
Anne Myriam Bolivar and Megan Spada

The Haitian Entrepreneurs Happy To Stay Home

Given the opportunity to flee an economic and political crisis in Haiti, some business owners opt to stay.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Mathilde Ménélas recalls the moment her parents sold a piece of their land and handed her the cash, telling her to leave the only country she’d ever known. The 26-year-old refused. Instead, she set up a beauty salon in Haiti’s busy capital of Port-au-Prince.

The trained esthetician understood her parents’ fear for her to remain in a country marred by the threat of kidnap, natural disasters, an unstable economy and rising unemployment. Ménélas says leaving her country was all she could think about.

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Society
Juri Durkot

Lviv Diary: Fragments Of The New Ordinary, Ukraine Swallowed By War

Ukranian literary translator Juri Durkot shares his notes about new everyday tasks as the country is at war.

As the Russian attack continues throughout Ukraine, with Russian forces bombarding Kyiv and Kharkiv, hundreds of thousands of refugees are escaping the country, many converging in the western city of Lviv, which has so far been spared by bombardments.

This city is where literary translator Juri Durkot, who translates from Ukranian to German, is based. For Die Welt, he shared some quick impressions of a morning spent organizing a possible escape for himself and for friends, while coordinating donations for refugees and trying to get a grip of the fast-changing nature of everyday life during war.

LVIV — Early morning. Yes? Ok. I'm in contact with the driver. What time for the pick-up? Tonight? We might not make it by curfew. Is tomorrow better? That's fine. Great. Thank you, sir. Yeah, wire transfer. Do a test transfer, see if it works.

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

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No, you need a license to buy body armor, it won't happen. Through the government, yes. Sip of water. Yes, a bus. A German bus. It's going back to Germany.

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LGBTQ Plus
Ernesto J. Gómez Figueredo

Meet Félix, Havana's Gender-Fluid Diva Opening Cuban Eyes And Minds

There is little understanding of gender fluidity worldwide, and in Cuba there is no legal recognition of their identity. Journalist Ernesto J. Gómez Figueredo meets Félix and tries to explain the world from the point of view of gender fluidity.

HAVANA — She is the diva of Havana nights. Félix, owner of Pazillo bar. Félix, the homegirl. Félix, a young fighter.

"My family is small. My mom, my grandmother and me. There is also an occasional stepfather.”

Félix was born in a poor neighborhood called Santa Amalia, in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality of Havana. He comes from a black family with which he has had some disagreements.

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Society
N.C. Asthana

Witness From The Inside: Finding The Source Of India's Police Violence

The Indian police force is built on a macho culture that promotes those who commit violence. Only the victims know the truth, and no one ever dares challenge the system.

Most Indians are familiar with heavy-handed police behavior in the form of the cops slapping people or, if they are pretending to manage law and order, beating them mercilessly with their sticks (lathis). However, the real face of police brutality often remains hidden, their notions about police torture derived largely from what they have seen in films. Only the victims know the truth.

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Society
Alidad Vassigh

Mexican Foreign Minister: U.S. Gun Makers "Financing Violent Video Games"

Mexico has filed a lawsuit against several U.S. video game firms. The legal action is an escalation of cross-border tension between the countries, as Mexico blames U.S. gun laws for fueling crime in the country.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon has accused U.S. arms manufacturers of backing violent video games, which he said encourage crime and violence in the United States and Mexico.
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Society
Paweł Kośmiński

“Five Years Of Hate” – Being LGBTQ In Poland Has Gotten Worse

With Poland's ruling Law and Justice party and the Catholic Church using gay rights to stir up a culture war, the country's LGBTQ community is feeling the effects. Depression and suicide are rising dramatically, and many now feel they have no choice but to leave.

WARSAW — Suicidal thoughts, violence and lack of support from state institutions. This is the grim reality faced by Polish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and asexual people outlined in the report "The Social Situation of LGBTQ Persons in Poland."

Gay rights have become a divisive issue in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has used the issue to galvanize supporters, declaring it "a great danger" and an "attack" on the family and children.

“The situation of LGBTQ people has not really improved, but rather gotten worse," says Mirosława Makuchowska, deputy director of the Campaign Against Homophobia. The organization – together with the association Lambda and the University of Warsaw's Centre for Research on Prejudice – published a report last week that describes the situation of non-heteronormative people in Poland in 2019-20.

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Ideas
Shyam Bhatia*

A Journey Into The Dark Heart Of British Racism, Past And Present

For an Indian growing up in the UK in the 1960s, racism was an everyday experience ranging from schoolyard taunts to threats of violence and persecution. And with the recent revelations of abuse suffered by Pakistan-born cricket star Azeem Rafiq, overt racism is still very much alive. in British society.

-Essay-

LONDON — Azeem Rafiq’s recent disclosures about the racist taunts endured during his years as a first class English cricketer are as revealing about how some deeply ingrained prejudices still prevail as they are instructive about changing national attitudes of recent times.

Off spinner Rafiq is 30 year old, so may not appreciate the deeper and wider context of racism that has flourished for the past half century and more. Apologists would certainly argue that racism has abated in recent years and that many in the white majority are less willing to tolerate the questionable standards of earlier times. Certainly, Blacks and Asians today are present and more welcome than ever before in advertising, entertainment, the media and even front rank politics where an ethnic Indian, Rishi Sunak, is routinely touted as a possible future prime minister.

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WHAT THE WORLD

Police Bust Mexican Drug Gang For Recruiting Boys Via Video Games

The three victims, 14 and younger, were contacted while playing the online game Free Fire, and promised paid work.

OAXACA — Police in Mexico have intervened to rescue three minors, aged 11 to 14, from recruitment into a drug gang that had enticed them through online gaming.

A top Mexican police agency official Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, said the gang had contacted the youths in the south-central city of Oaxaca, chatting through a free-to-download game called Free Fire, which involves shooting at rivals with virtual firearms.

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