Friday, July 11, 2014
NEW EVIDENCE OF EASTERN UKRAINE TORTURE
NGO Amnesty International says it has gathered evidence of “stomach-turning beatings and torture” committed by pro-Russian and pro-Kiev groups against “activists, protesters and journalists” in Eastern Ukraine. In its report, the organization notes however that pro-Kiev forces have committed “a smaller number of abuses,” and denounces “the escalating number of abductions” by separatists. Meanwhile, the separatists in Donetsk revealed their plans to evacuate “tens of thousands” of residents to Russia ahead of the feared showdown with the Ukrainian army.
GAZA DEATH TOLL REACHES 100, CALLS FOR CEASEFIRE
The Israeli army continued to strike Gaza for a fourth day, as Palestinian medical sources said that the number of Palestinians killed reached 100, with 750 others wounded, The Palestine Telegraph reports. A rocket fired from Gaza hit a gas station in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod leaving at least one civilian critically injured, according to The Jerusalem Post. The latest events come after U.S President Barack Obama offered to broker a ceasefire, urging “both sides not to escalate the crisis,” a White House statement said.
Buddhist monks chant prayers Thursday in Phnom Penh for the enshrinement of late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk.
KERRY IN AFGHANISTAN AMID ELECTION DISPUTE
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kabul for a hastily arranged visit aimed at mediating Afghanistan’s electoral crisis, after the two presidential candidates claimed victory amid allegations of fraud. According to Reuters, Kerry will meet with both candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghan, a former World Bank official who lead the preliminary results. At a meeting with a UN envoy, Kerry said, "The election legitimacy hangs in the balance, the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance, so we have a lot to do.” One way to do it: threat of a U.S. aid cutoff.
According to a recent poll, a majority of Russians believe a nuclear war is possible today.
CHILD LABOR IN SAMSUNG CHINESE FACTORIES
An article published in The New York Times shows how 14-year-old and 15-year-old children in China use fake documents to bypass electronic giant Samsung’s ban on child labor to work at a factory during the summer. In a statement, the group said it “will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers.”
As part of Hit It!, our brand-spankin’-new-everything-under-the-sun-global-music blog, we report on a British University that is offering a new course on French protest music. “Ever dreamed of quoting a French protest song in the middle of a heated, high-brow debate? The University of Manchester — in a city that has always been forward-thinking, especially when on the music front — now offers a course called "Protest Music in France". Every week, students will focus on three French artists: songwriter George Brassens, Parisian dandy Serge Gainsbourg and hip hop group NTM.”
Read the full story, Students In Manchester Can Now Study French Hip Hop.
BRITISH SUSPECT IN WORLD CUP TICKET SCAM A “FUGITIVE”
Brazilian police now consider Ray Whelan, the British director of FIFA partner company Match Hospitality, a fugitive after he fled his hotel in Rio de Janeiro before they arrived to arrest him as part of an investigation into a $100 million ticket scam, the BBC reports. A security camera video published by O Globo shows him leaving the Copacabana Palace hotel with his lawyer through a back door.
Indian actress, Zohra Sehgal, known as the “Grand Old Lady of Bollywood” has died at age 102.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.
Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.
Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.
The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.
The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes
New academic discipline
Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.
Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."
Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.
Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.
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