Global Quickies: Ban on “Wine”, Witch Camps Closing, and Blasphemy

“A teenage boy cut off his own hand after being told he was a blasphemer by an imam. The police arrested the cleric, accusing him of using hate speech to incite violence.

“Campaign group Stonewall today names MI5 as Britain’s most advanced and inclusive employer when it comes to ensuring the nurturing and development of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, according to a workplace equality index.”

How is closing down ‘witch camps’ in the interest of accused women? Leo Igwe explains why the campaign to disband the witch camps is a step in the wrong direction.

“A suicide attack on a polio vaccination center in southwestern Pakistan on Wednesday [Jan 13th] killed 15 people, mainly policemen gathered to escort health workers, officials said. It was the latest attack on the vaccination campaign and health workers have been repeatedly targeted in recent years by Islamic militants.”

A private members’ club turned away workers of an NGO attending a celebratory lunch because a staff member told them that “maids and drivers were not allowed”.

Iran has banned the use of the word “wine” as well as the names of “foreign animals” and “certain foreign presidents”. The Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is imposing the ban to counter a “Western cultural onslaught”.”

“The head of the Church of Ireland has defended an Anglican decision to ‘punish’ the US Episcopal Church for backing same-sex marriage.”

“A Malaysian student who is both gay and atheist has sought refugee status in Canada after a local news site published a poll saying that he “can run, but he can’t hide”.”

“Tanzania has rubbished as unfounded recent reports that President John Magufuli had banned women in the east African country from wearing miniskirts.”

“The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has partially blamed an increased acceptance of homosexuality for the rise of Isis.”

A pregnant TV presenter in New Zealand has been told she should be taken off air by a male viewer, saying it is is embarrassing and an eyesore.

A man in Russia won the right to wear a colander in his head for his driver’s license photo. The only catch is that now the police say that next time he’s stopped by traffic police, he’ll lose his license if he’s not wearing it.

Featured image: Angelo Amboldi/Flickr/Creative Commons License



Born and raised in Mexico City, Daniela has finally decided to abdicate her post as an armchair skeptic and start doing some skeptical activism. She is currently living in Spain after having lived in the US, Brazil and Italy. You can also find her blogging in Spanish at esceptica.org.

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  1. January 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm —

    Latin American countries are urging women to delay having children due to the Zika virus, which causes birth defects. Most extreme is El Salvador which is recommending women not become pregnant until 2018. Very difficult in a country where birth control is condemned, abortion illegal, and women have been jailed for miscarrying.

    • January 24, 2016 at 4:18 am —

      Just read about this too, apparently they think it is a mosquito spread. Thats going to be difficult to control.

    • January 24, 2016 at 7:51 am —

      I hadn’t though about it from that angle, but you’re absolutely right.

  2. January 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm —

    Couldn’t follow the link to the article about the suicide attack, so I was wondering if this was a Western supported polio vaccination center. I know that was one of our big concerns with US intelligence agencies using such things as covers for agents to get into Pakistan, that it would encourage action against those efforts, and cause more health problems.

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