The report is as sad as it is horrifying.
A child bride forced into marriage in Nigeria has been accused of killing her much older groom and three of his friends by poisoning their meals with rat poison.
The 14-year-old girl, Wasila Umaru, was married to the 35-year-old man last week.
Although she told authorities she was forced into the betrothal, Wasila will likely be charged with culpable homicide for the incident that took place last weekend.
“The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love,” Assistant Superintendent Musa Magaji Majia said.
While shocking, Wasila’s story is far from uncommon.
According to the International Center for Research on Women, one-third of the world’s girls are married before they turn 18. One in nine will be married off before she turns 15.
Child marriage is most common in Nigeria and other African nations, particularly in drought years when a child bride can bring much needed money and decrease the number of mouths for a poor family to feed.
The situation in eastern Ukraine is grave and deteriorating, causing concern in NATO capitals in Europe and North America. Not since the end of the Cold War has there been a comparable crisis in Europe.
In reaction to Russian aggression there, NATO has requested Canadian military assets be deployed in Europe, and today Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada is sending six CF-18s and military personnel in response.
Keep an eye on these guys…
Against a backdrop of growing privacy concerns, with every week bringing revelations of data breaches at government or corporate websites, online search behemoth Google quietly updated its terms of service Monday, spelling out just how much personal data it mines as part of its normal business model.
The new language states: “Our automated systems analyze your content (including e-mails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.”
While corporate fine-tuning to an online policy that few users read closely - indeed, most don’t read at all - would not normally be news, Google is singular, say security and legal experts. Not only is the company in the midst of contentious lawsuits over both the spirit and letter of these privacy issues, but, more important, it dominates the online search space to such an extent that what happens at Google impacts the entire cyber-landscape.
“Whatever Google does matters since it is the 800-pound gorilla online,” says attorney Jeremy Mishkin, co-chair of the litigation department at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads in Philadelphia.
Snowden, 30, wearing a jacket and open-collar shirt and speaking before a dark background, asked Putin: “Does Russia intercept, store or analyse, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?”
“And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?” he asked.
He was speaking in English, and Putin had to ask the anchor for help with a translation of the question.
Putin, a spy during a 16-year career with the Soviet KGB, raised a laugh among the studio audience when he said: “You are an ex-agent. I used to have ties to intelligence. So we will speak to each other in the language of professionals.”
Turning to Snowden’s question, Putin said Russia regulates communications as part of criminal investigations, but “on a massive scale, on an uncontrolled scale we certainly do not allow this and I hope we will never allow it.”
Can Snowden really be dumb enough to assume he can take Putin’s answer at face value? Did he really fall for that ham handed, buddy-buddy, ‘We are both ex-agents’ shtick? Or does he just relish trying to make the US look bad that much?
Read more here — not that there’s really anything else important but I wanted to give the link. (Oh wait, there’s a video!)
Russian President Vladimir Putin quashed the possibility that Russia would annex Alaska while on a question-and-answer call-in show Thursday, adding that the former Russian colony is cold, too.
Amid rising Russian nationalism after the president’s annexation of Crimea, Putin responded to an audience member’s suggestion of annexing Alaska during the televised national phone-in, asking, “Faina Ivanovna, my dear, why do you want Alaska?”
Russia is a “northern country” and 70 percent of its territory lies in “Northern and extreme Northern regions,” Putin said, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “Is Alaska really in the Southern Hemisphere? It’s cold there, too. Let’s not get hot-headed,” he added. Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867 for $7.2 million.
“Who needs Alaska?” Putin added
Increasingly, anti-choicers are dropping the pretense that they’re motivated by “life” and admitting that their efforts are about controlling women’s sexuality. (Abstinence via Shutterstock)
Is the anti-choice movement giving up the pretense that it has no interest in policing women’s sexuality and only opposes abortion rights because of fetal life? While the rote use of the word “life” as a code word to describe a series of anti-woman and anti-sex beliefs is probably going nowhere, there does seem to be a bit more willingness among anti-choicers lately to admit that what really offends them is that women are having sex without their permission.
A report examining the demographics of women who have abortions, using self-reported numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics, was recently presented at a Family Research Council conference. Their conclusion? “OMG sluts!”
The researchers—a term that needs to be used somewhat loosely, due to the extensive statistical distortion employed in this paper—were incredibly intent on portraying abortion as a product of sexually loose women on the prowl. They mostly succeed in portraying themselves as remarkably prudish and out of step with mainstream realities. “Almost 90 percent of reported abortions are procured by women who have had three or more (male) sexual partners,” the researchers write, clearly expecting the audience to reel in terror at the idea that a woman might not marry the first boy she kisses. Which means that most women having abortions are … average. Women generally report having had about four male sexual partners, but social scientists are inclined to think the number is probably higher than that, because men report having a much higher average number of partners, and that discrepancy is mathematically impossible. Indeed, one study showed that by telling women that they’re hooked up to a lie detector, the number of sex partners they will cop to goes up. Slut-shaming, such as the kind produced by this report, causes women to round down.
Even by the standards of the growing Republican assault on the lives and rights of women, a new bill passed by bipartisan majorities in both houses of Tennessee’s Legislature recently stands out for being meanspirited and counterproductive.
If signed by the state’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, the legislation would give Tennessee the dubious distinction of being the first state to specifically authorize the filing of assault charges, carrying up to 15 years in prison, when a fetus or newborn is deemed to be harmed by illegal narcotics. Once the bill reaches his desk, Mr. Haslam will have 10 days to veto or sign it before it automatically becomes law. He can show he truly cares about protecting pregnant women, children and families by vetoing the bill, as specialists in obstetric medicine and drug addiction, as well as women’s rights groups have urged.
Erik Eckholm reported in The Times this week that medical authorities say any risks of narcotics to newborns have been exaggerated and withdrawal symptoms can be effectively treated with no long-term effects. The measure’s main impact, critics of the measure warn, would be to harm babies by making pregnant women fear seeking medical care. It could also lead some women to have abortions to avoid criminal penalties with long-range consequences, including their ability to earn a living.
The bill is the latest turn in Tennessee’s policy in this sphere. Several years ago, prosecutors in the state began using a law — originally intended to protect pregnant women from violent crimes and bolster penalties on attackers — to charge women who gave birth to babies who tested positive for illegal drugs. An enlightened 2012 law barred such cases. In 2013, the state’s child welfare law was amended to encourage women to enter drug treatment and to make it harder to remove infants born with traces of illegal drugs from their mothers.
The change in legal terms, which occurred shortly after a judge refused to dismiss a case brought against the company by consumers in California, made General Mills one of the first, if not the first, major food companies to seek to impose what legal experts call “forced arbitration” on consumers.
“Although this is the first case I’ve seen of a food company moving in this direction, others will follow — why wouldn’t you?” said Julia Duncan, director of federal programs and an arbitration expert at the American Association for Justice, a trade group representing plaintiff trial lawyers. “It’s essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product.”