Welcome to Monday, where Gaza shelling intensifies, Bill Gates is under fire for a relationship with staffer and the Titanic is spotted in China. We also ask why Italy lags behind others in Europe in protecting LGBTQ from violence.
• Israeli air strikes hit Gaza as calls for ceasefire intensify: Israel conducted dozens of air strikes on Gaza early Monday, as Hamas intensified the rounds of rockets aimed at Israeli cities. International calls for a ceasefire have mounted as clashes enter a second week and the death toll on the Palestinian side multiplies, with 198 people killed, including at least 58 children and 34 women.
• Indian cyclone kills 12 and forces thousands to evacuate: Cyclone Tauktae has killed at least 12 people in Indian coastal states and left 150,000 people to evacuate their homes, in the Indian state of Gujarat.
• China lands spacecraft on Mars: China has successfully landed an uncrewed spacecraft on Mars on Saturday, making China the second nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet.
• 30 sentenced to death over anti-police clashes in DRC: After a one-day trial, 30 people were sentenced to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo for their participation in anti-police violence marking the end of Ramadan that left a policeman dead on Thursday.
• Surprise results in vote to pick Chile's new Constitution council: Chile's center-right ruling coalition did not secure a critical one-third of seats in the body that will draft the country's new constitution. Voters mostly picked independents among the 155 citizens to rewrite the nation's constitution, to replace the document written under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
• Allegations against Bill Gates about past relationship with staffer: Microsoft Corp. board members pushed founder Bill Gates to step down from its board as they were investigating the billionaire's prior sexual relationship with a female staffer that was considered inappropriate, reveals the Wall Street Journal. This report as well as a New York Times article that cited questionable behavior toward female staffers come after the announcement that Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates were seeking a divorce.
• Titanic tourist park to open in China: A 260-meter-long Titanic replica will open as a Chinese theme park at the end of the year, six years after the construction began — longer than the construction of the original Titanic.
Pan-Arab daily newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports on the accelerating Israeli air strikes over the weekend in Gaza. The week of violence has left more than 200 people dead, including at least 58 children.
After a two-year delay due to Sino-Vatican frictions, Pope Francis has appointed Stephen Chow as the Roman Catholic Church's new bishop (主教, "Zhujiao") in Hong Kong to lead the 389,000 faithful in the special administrative region.
Why Italy is so slow in protecting LGBTQ from violence
Proposed Italian legislation to punish public acts of homophobia continues to be blocked by both the Catholic Church and right-wing politicians. But the country's most popular rapper has entered the debate, writes Clémence Guimier for Worldcrunch — as today marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia:
As reported in the Corriere della Seradaily, Christopher Jean Pierre Moreno, a 24-year-old from Nicaragua, was assaulted on a Rome metro platform in February after he'd exchanged a kiss with his boyfriend, Alfredo Zenobio, 28. These and other stories (with video evidence) have been widely shared by LGBTQ activists who continue to call for a better legal protection of gay people. Some 8,000 people turned out last Saturday for a demonstration urging senators to pass long-awaited anti-homophobia legislation, La Repubblica reported.
Italy remains one of the few European countries deprived of a law specifically punishing homophobic discrimination and violence — the Netherlands passed its Equal Treatment Act as early as 1994, while Britain and France respectively passed similar discrimination protections in 2003 and 2004. Over the course of the last 25 years, many attempts have been made by legislators to include LGBTQ rights in Italian law with the most recent being "Ddl Zan", a bill drafted last November by gay politician Alessandro Zan.
With the historical influence of the Catholic Church, too many in Italy still see gay people as a threat to the traditional idea of a family. Despite recognizing same-sex unions five years ago, Italy has the highest rate of social, political and institutional homophobia in Europe, according to the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). Catholic organisations such as Courage continue to categorize homosexuality as a disease, reports Italian news website Linkiesta, proposing to cure it through so-called "conversion therapy," a practice still legal in Italy.
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An extensive study by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization aimed to track for the first time the global health risks of working long hours. Citing the most recent available figures, from 2016, some 398,000 people died from a stroke after working more than 55 hours a week — 35% more deaths compared to those working 35-40 hours a week.
Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day.
— Myanmar's Miss Universe contestant Thuzar Wint Lwin said in a video message for the pageant, urging "everyone to speak about Myanmar" and against the military junta and its security forces which have killed hundreds of opponents since the Feb. 1 coup.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Emma Flacard & Bertrand Hauger