A planned anti-gay rally that would have made Ethiopia the latest African country to demonize gays has been cancelled, officials said Wednesday.
In addition, plans by the legislature to add gay sex to a list of crimes not eligible for presidential pardons has been dropped, said Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman.
Hostility toward gays across Africa is high. Uganda and Nigeria increased penalties against gay acts this year. Homosexuals in other countries face severe discrimination and harmful physical attacks.
Gay Ethiopians still face severe penalties for living in the open. Same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.
“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited.”
— Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Comissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). He continued, “Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law.” The statement was made in response to Brunei’s new penal code, which permits the punishment of death by stoning for a range of offences, including same-sex sexual relationships, adultery, rape, extramarital affairs and publicly declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.
He was convicted of tax fraud last year in connection with TV rights purchased by his firm Mediaset in the 1990s.
The alternative to community service had been house arrest. It is not yet clear what form his community service will take.
The 77-year-old billionaire has been embroiled in a string of court cases.
He was spared prison in the Mediaset case because the Italian legal system is lenient to the over-70s.
India’s top court on Tuesday issued a landmark verdict recognizing transgender rights as human rights, saying people can identify themselves as a third gender on official documents.
The Supreme Court directed the federal and state governments to include transgender people in all welfare programs for the poor, including education, health care and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges. Previously, transgender Indians could only identify themselves as male or female in all official documents.
The decision was praised as giving relief to the estimated three million Indians who are transgender.
A robotic submarine hunting for the missing Malaysian jet aborted its first mission after only six hours, surfacing with no new clues when it exceeded its maximum depth along the floor of the Indian Ocean, officials said Tuesday.
Search crews sent the U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 into the depths Monday to begin scouring the seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 after failing for six days to detect any new signals believed to be coming from its black boxes.
But the 16-hour mission was cut short when the unmanned sub, which is programmed to hover 30 metres above the seabed, entered a patch that was deeper than its maximum depth of 4,500 metres (15,000 feet), the search co-ordinationcentre and the U.S. Navy said.
BEIRUT — They fled Kasab at daybreak, amid the clamor of artillery and word that Islamist rebels were advancing toward them from Turkey.
About 2,500 residents, most of them ethnic Armenians, gathered documents and what few possessions they could carry. They piled into cars and minibuses that carried them 40 miles down mountain roads to the government-held city of Latakia. Only some elderly remained behind, residents said.
“We escaped with the clothes on our back,” said one of those who eventually made it to Lebanon.
Many had heard reports of atrocities committed in August by other rebels elsewhere in Latakia province. Armenian Christians have lived in Kasab since the days of the Ottoman Empire, but they feared for their lives if they remained.
Squatters occupying a complex of abandoned buildings in Rio de Janeiro clashed with police Friday after a court ruling that allowed the premises to be cleared.
Hundreds of police moved into the area early in the morning, and Brazilian media reported that most of the 5,000 squatters left peacefully. But fighting soon broke out when some of the residents began throwing rocks at the police, who responded by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and percussion grenades.
One of the buildings, a truck, buses and police vehicles were set on fire, and local media reported that three bank branches were vandalized as the violence spread. Seven civilians and nine police officers were injured, a police spokesman said.
Rio’s attempts at cleaning the waters where Olympic sailing events will be held in 2016 are so far behind schedule clean-up efforts are now stop gap rather than lasting, local officials admitted on Thursday.
“Cleaning rubbish from the Guanabara Bay will be a stop gap effort,” said Carlos Portinho, the state’s sub-secretary for the environment. “But it’s what we have to do.”
Portinho, who took office this week and is charged with cleaning the bay’s notoriously fetid waters, criticized the urban districts that surround the bay for contributing to the pollution.
Communist candidate Anatoly Lokot won 43.75% of the vote to secure victory as mayor of Novosibirsk, according to preliminary results after all ballots were counted. He defeated acting mayor, Vladimir Znatkov, a member of United Russia, in the election.
No other candidate achieved more than 4% of the vote and 2.01% of ballots were found invalid.
It is the first time a Communist has won election to the top municipal post in Novosibirsk since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and represents a stunning victory for the official successor to the party that ruled the country for more than seven decades. The vote against United Russia came despite a near record high national approval rating for Vladimir Putin in the aftermath of the return of Crimea from Ukraine.
The result will be seen as a significant blow for the party which holds power nationally and in many key regions and cities. Early elections in Novosibirsk were called after long time mayor Vladimir Gorodetsky, who held the post since 2000, resigned 9 January to became vice-governor of the region.
Raising hopes that California’s severe drought could end with a series of soaking storms next winter, federal scientists on Thursday announced there is now a 2-in-3 chance of an El Niño climate pattern developing in the Pacific Ocean by the end of this year.
“We’re seeing a pretty strong tilt toward El Niño,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md.
But what could end one extreme could begin another: Researchers are particularly intrigued by an enormous mass of warm water flowing through the Pacific that has been linked to heavy winter downpours and flooding in the past.
The Golden Wheel mobile home park on Oakland Road in San Jose in February 1998, an El Nino year. (Mercury News)
On Thursday, NOAA meteorologists increased the likelihood of El Niño conditions to 66 percent by November — up from 52 percent last month, based on computer models and measurements from buoys, satellites and other equipment.