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Ukraine Torture, Calls For Gaza Ceasefire, Hip Hop PhD

Buddhist monks chant prayers Thursday in Phnom Penh for the enshrinement of late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Buddhist monks chant prayers Thursday in Phnom Penh for the enshrinement of late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk.

Friday, July 11, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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Iran's War On Abortion Rights, A Toxic Mix Of Theocracy And Demographic Panic

Ending a pregnancy has become a major complication, and a crime, for Iranian women who cannot or will not have children in a country wracked by socio-economic woes and a leadership.

photo of a young child surrounded by women in chadors

Iran's government wants to boost the birth rate at all costs

Office of Supreme Leader/ZUMA
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Keen to boost the population, Iran's Islamic regime has reversed its half-hearted family planning policies of earlier years and is curbing birth control with measures that include banning abortion.

Its (2021) Law to Support the Family and Rejuvenate the Population (Qanun-e hemayat az khanevadeh va javani-e jam'iyat) threatens to fine the women who want to abort, and fine, imprison, and dismiss the performing physician, if the pregnancy is not deemed to be life-threatening. The law also bans contraceptives.

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The measures are in line with the dictates of Iran's Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. He was already denouncing birth control policies by 2018-19, though conservative elements among Iran's rulers have always dismissed birth control as a piece of Western corruption.

Today, measures to boost families include land and credit incentives for young couples, but it is difficult to say how far they will counter a marked reluctance among Iranians to marry and procreate. Kayhan-London had an online conversation with individuals affected by the new rules in Iran.

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