Category: International

Turkey Moves Toward Passage Of Controversial “Marry Your Rapist” Law

Flag of Turkey

We have often discussed the struggle of women in Muslim countries in resisting religious-based requirements for coverings and limitations on their movements and interactions. Turkey was once the exception among these countries as a secular, modern nation. That was before the rise of Islamic parties under the authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey under Erdogan has already rolled back on protections for girls and women in abuse cases. Now the country is considering a horrific law aptly called the “marry-your-rapist” bill. Under this legislation, men accused of having sex with underaged girls could avoid punishment if they marry their victims.

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Germany Moves To Expand Anti-Free Speech Laws With The Criminalization Of Flag Burning

Recently we discussed how decades of anti-free speech policies in Germany have reduced the expectations of citizens in that country to the level of an authoritarian regime. A survey, conducted by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach(and published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) found that only 18 percent of Germans feel free to express their views in public. Undeterred, leaders have called for greater limits on free speech during election periods — a concept that would normally be viewed as counterintuitive outside of the new European model. In addition, Germany just announced that it would expand anti-free speech laws even further to criminalize the burning of flags — an expression of free speech protected in this country.

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Iranian Chess Master Refuses To Return After Being Photographed Without Required Hijab

We recently discussed the defection of Iran’s only Olympic female medalist due to the continuing discrimination and repression of women in that country. Now, Iranian chess master and referee, Shohreh Bayat, 32, has refused to return to Iran after pictures emerged of her without a hijab caused a controversy in the Islamic Republic. The decision is another painful example of the struggle of women under Islamic laws that deny them basic human rights.

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Advertising Authority in the United Kingdom Bans Computer Advert For Only Having Male Actors As Gender Stereotyping

I have previously criticized the new law, enforced by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), that bans gender stereotypes in advertising. It is the ultimate expression of the “nanny state” phenomenon in the United Kingdom where speech is increasingly regulated and sanctioned by the state along a best values agenda. In 2019, commercials for Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Volkswagen were banned that left many of us speechless, particularly those who wanted to use humor in commercial speech. The latest example of this censorship is UK retailer PC Specialist, which saw an advert banned simply because it showed three men excited over using a PC for gaming. The problem? Women like gaming too. Just having men therefore further a gender stereotype.

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Iran’s Only Female Olympic Medalist Defects

In what could be an important moment for women’s rights in Iran, the country’s only female Olympic medalist reportedly defected to the Netherlands while denouncing Iran for its “hypocrisy” and making a veiled reference to being required to wear a covering in order to compete. We have long discussed the courageous women in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran who have fought against crushing oppression and discrimination. The defection of Kimia Alizadeh, 21, will highlight that struggle and allow her to speak freely in the West. The defection comes at a time of protests over the false statements made by the Iranian government over the downing of a passenger jet.

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Trump Complains About Being Stiffed By Nobel Committee In Baffling Statement Over Ethiopia

President Donald Trump has previously raised his unrecognized qualifications for the Nobel Peace prize. However, for those of us watching the rally last night in Ohio, one statement sent us furiously typing on our computers and googling the latest news from the Nobel committee. Trump referred to just hearing that the Ethiopian Prime minister would receive the prize and noted the unfairness since he was the one who made the deal. In fact, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the prize last year in October and there is no evidence that Trump played a key role in his peace negotiations to end the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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Antifa Critic Barred From Speaking By University of British Columbia

I have previously written about my criticism to Antifa and its anti-free speech agenda, including academics legitimizing efforts to violently curtail free speech on our campuses. It is tragically ironic therefore that the University of British Columbia has cancelled an event by a critic of Antifa, a decision that carries out precisely the goals of this vehemently anti-free speech organization. Portland journalist Andy Ngo was scheduled to speak on campus when the school, reportedly without notice, canceled the event due to an unspecified “concern about the safety and security of our campus community.”

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British Man Lights His Head On Fire In Attempting To Burn Down Synagogue

There have been a highly disturbing increase in anti-Semitic attacks around the world. Not surprisingly, those carrying out such attacks tend to be disturbing or extremist elements. Tristan Morgan fits that profile and showed that his overwhelming hate is combined with an underwhelming intellect. Morgan succeeded in lighting his own head on fire in trying to burn down a synagogue and then walked away laughing in front of witnesses.

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Trump Administration Should Not Block The Iranian Foreign Minister From Speaking To The United Nations

The Trump administration is reportedly barring Iran’s top diplomat from entering the United States this week to address the United Nations Security Council. If true, that would be an entirely unjustified and unwise move. We host the United Nations and, as long as we intend to do so, we have an obligation to allow travel to the United Nations, particularly by the leading diplomat for a foreign country. We can restrict his movements in the United States, but this should have been approved immediately in line with our agreements.

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Trump Doubles Down In Threatening To Attack Cultural Sites Despite International Criticism

U.S. Department of State image

We recently discussed the shocking tweet from President Donald Trump that the United States might target cultural sites in retaliation of any response from Iran to our killing of an Iranian general. I suggested at the time that Trump may have been referring to legitimate target with dual cultural significance and strongly suggested a clarification. Well, he has now clarified and doubled down that he may target cultural sites — an act that is widely viewed as a war crime.

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Trump Warns That The U.S. May Hit 52 Iranian Sites Including Cultural Sites

President Donald Trump is often incautious in his language when speaking on the international stage. Words matter in diplomacy which often reflect important distinctions of international law. President Trump’s latest tweet is an example of this pattern. In pledging to strike back “very fast and very hard” to any Iranian retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Trump included striking Iranian cultural sites. Under international law, the targeting of cultural targets is viewed as a war crime. The U.S. military has a long history of avoiding such targets.

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New Zealand Horrified By Videos Of Beachgoers Kicking Shark To Death While Laughing and Taking Selfies

We have discussed disgraceful attacks or abuse of wild animals from birds to squirrels to tortoises to rabbits to sharks in the past but few reach the level of reported savagery as this week in New Zealand where a shark allegedly was pulled from the water and kicked to death on a beach. Most of us cannot imagine wanting to participate in such an attack on a wild creature. Indeed, many of us travel hundreds or thousands of miles just to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats. Yet, there remain many people who get a sick joy in harming animals or watching such unspeakable scenes of cruelty. The most distressing element is to see children in some of these pictures. However, the one promising note is that there were people who sought to intervene to help the shark though they said that they roughly treated by the mob.

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Homicidal But Not Homophobic? Mafia Reportedly Embraces Gay Mobsters

I wanted to start the New Year on a positive note and one legal story stood out. The Italian Mafia has reportedly opened its doors to gay men for the first time. However, La Cosa Nostra has adopted a type of organized crime “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy implemented by the Clinton Administration.

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Guatemalan Justice For Schiff? Trump Draws Fire Over Wanting A “Tougher” Judicial System

I have previously criticized President Donald Trump for his attacks on the media and references to “tough” measures in dealing with protesters or immigrants. Yesterday, President Trump made a disturbing comment to the visiting Guatemalan President about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Trump stated that Guatemala would know how to get “tougher” with Schiff over his controversial speech where he pretended to read from an exchange between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart — a mocking speech that made up incriminating lines. The remark suggested that Trump would prefer a system where legislators and critics could be arrested for such political commentary. No president should express a preference for such abusive legal measures. Trump’s own State Department has documented abuses in the Guatemalan legal system, including mistreatment of political opponents.

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Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir Sentenced to Prison. Will Extradition to The ICC Eventually Follow?

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir (ICC Photo)

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A Sudanese court sentenced former Sudan President and accused genocidist Omar al-Bashir to two years imprisonment following his recent conviction for corruption. Additionally, the Court ordered forfeiture of millions in Euros and Sudanese Pounds discovered at his residence after being deposed by a military coup. He faces the likelihood of additional charges levied against him in the near future.

From a foreign perspective, there still remains the unresolved matter of Mr. al-Bashir’s two arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague stemming from accusations of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

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