Once again, I’ve fallen way behind my world-news-bringing duties. I feel terrible, especially because a lot of stuff has happened. You can blame it on my day-job; I do. Anyways, some of the news items are not so fresh off the presses, but I tried to make up for it in quantity. Enjoy!
BRAZIL (from Donnie)
A German conman was arrested by the Interpol in Florianopolis, Brazil, where he had been hiding from German police and trying to con local companies since early this year. His multi-million dollar con consisted on selling quite a large range of pseudoscientific products based on his “Global Scaling Theory”. From the Global Scaling website:
With the aid of the so called Mueller fractal it is possible to find comprehensive views and conclusions about
• Mass distribution of the universe
• cause of forces like gravitation, electromagnetism, etc.
• the essence of time,
• preferred and avoided dimension ranges of nature for example for lengths, frequencies, temperatures, etc.,
• distribution of prime numbers
• interaction with DNA
Using this totally made-up theory and his just as-made-up academic credentials, he sold (please insert a “sic” after each of the following items): devices to protect from electronic smoke, vitality-generators to improve the life force, dynamic cell stimulation treatments that can heal burns and wounds, software to improve internet banking security, methods of predicting lottery numbers, and (you guys are going love this) explain the healing powers of Braco’s magical stare, during which “various time lines can be experienced”.
I don’t know if I should call this good news. A bill to make abortion legal was approved in Uruguay. When the bill is signed, abortions until the twelfth week will be permitted under the supervision of a government panel, and will have no limitations in case of danger to the mother’s health. Under the proposed system, women will have to explain the reasons for wanting an abortion to a tribunal consisting of an ob-gyn, a mental-health expert, and a social worker. Then, there will be a 5 day reflecting period before going back to the tribunal to confirm her decision. It’s not hard to imagine that women’s rights groups are not happy with the way the bill turned out, specially since there was a much better one that got passed in 2008 but was vetoed by the then President. At the moment, abortion is illegal in Uruguay and punished with up to two years in jail. A judge may reduce the sentence in cases of danger to the mother’s health, economic hardships, or if it’s done to defend honor after being raped. It is estimated that there are, at least, 30,000 abortions per year in the country with a population of 3.3 million.
GHANA (from cerberus40)
800 accused witches, almost all of them women, live in witch camps in northern Ghana. When accused, a chicken is slaughtered, and the way it falls down determines the guilt of the accused. No matter the outcome of the chicken test, she has to stay in the camp because the villagers wouldn’t believe her innocence if she returns. Along with these women, there are around 500 unfortunate young relatives who are sent by the family of the accused to care for her until she dies. The government has ordered these camps, which are essentially prisons, to be shut down, but it’s not easy. Some of the women won’t be safe if they return to their places of origin, while others have no place to return to after decades of living in the camp.
Do you feel like a pimple-faced teenager whenever your parents attempt to tell you what to do with your life? Well, it could be worse… much worse. Case in point: Gigi Chao, the daughter of a Hong Kong billionaire who has offered a $50 million dollar bounty for any man who can successfully woo and marry his 33-year old lesbian daughter. Why the sudden rush? Well, there are reports that earlier this year she married her long-time female partner in a ceremony in France. I’m sure the bounty and promises of wealth will bring about a cornucopia of grade-A quality suitors. Meanwhile, his daughter seems to be taking it with surprising equanimity, claiming to be entertained by her father’s plan. This story is so outlandish, that Sacha Baron Cohen will use it as inspiration for his next feature film, The Lesbian.
CANADA (from Madfishmonger)
An Afghan-Canadian woman who stabbed her nineteen-year-old daughter with a kitchen knife because she was rebelling against her strict religious upbringing is now on trial. The mother told the police after the incident that it had been the right thing to do, and hoped her daughter learned from the experience. The daughter, now recovered and married, doesn’t blame herself but defends her mother.
Anne Germain is a British psychic who first became famous in Portugal, and then moved to Spain. She has a TV show in one of the major Spanish Networks, and tours the country filling theaters with people eager to hear news from their dearly departed (and earning her over a million dollars a year). Last week, one of Spain’s leading newspapers published an article where a disgruntled employee outs her as a fraud. Apparently, she gets a detailed report on every celebrity guest before they appear on the show, while non celebrities get just plain cold readings. One would hope this makes her go away, but my guess is that, worst case scenario for her, she has to move to Italy or Greece next, neither of which sounds like a bad plan. The good news is, if she’s not a fraud, everyone in the spirit world speaks English!
In the first Global Quickies I talked about how Argentina had finally extended the right to have an abortion after being raped to all women (not just “idiot or demented” women, like before). Well, the first case came up: a woman that had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution, that managed to escaped her captors but was pregnant. She was already in the operating room when a court order stopped the procedure. An ultra-catholic group had filed an injunction after staging protests in several places, including her parent’s home, and entering her hospital room to harass her. Her lawyer sued the mayor of the city, who apparently is the one who made the woman’s personal information public, and the court later authorized the procedure once again.
300 harassment cases were documented and almost 100 young men were arrested this weekend in Cairo during the first days of Eid celebrations. As we talked about before, about 83% of Egyptian women are sexually harassed at least once during their lifetime, and the problem is much worse during Eid, when the crowds protect the harassers. Women who confront their harassers are sometimes beaten or killed, and discouraged by police to press charges. To try to cut down on harassment during this year’s celebrations, female activists held a protest earlier this month demanding the president to toughen penalties against harassment. Other groups have created a free hotline and offered legal assistance to girls to encourage them to report harassment. The authorities deployed extra personnel in movie theaters and installed security cameras in public squares and streets to “shame harassers on TV”.
Remember a couple of posts ago I told you about a weird Mexican cult that destroyed the local school and refused to let teachers and kids, even those not belonging to the cult, go to class? Well, it turned uglier. Classes have officially started in a nearby school, and the construction of a new school has been agreed upon, but new and disturbing information about the cult leaders has been uncovered. Aside from the prohibiting of education, watching TV, playing sports, and riding bikes, forcing women to wear nun-like outfits, claiming to be able to communicate telepathically with the Virgin of the Rosary, and committing voter fraud in league with the local authorities, some cult leaders where ordering murders and sexually abusing children and women.
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