Global Quickies: Banned Books, Evil Spirits, and Indecent Handshakes

“The University of Toronto has increased campus security after allegedly receiving reports of a series of anonymous web comments urging readers to kill ‘feminists’.”

“An award-winning young adult novel has become the first book in more than 20 years to be banned in New Zealand after an outcry from a Christian group.”

South Africa: A Dangerous Place to Be Poor, Black and a Woman. “On paper, women in South Africa ought to enjoy the highest status globally. But this has not translated into fundamental freedoms of dignity, safety and security in practice.”

Epidemic of whooping cough sweeps across Sydney. “More than 90 cases have been reported in just a week, the highest number in years. (video)

A 14 year-old girl decided to leave her post as an amateur soccer referee after the father of one of the players shouted at her that she should go into prostitution instead. (Link to terrible Google translate)

“An Iraqi woman has reportedly killed an Isis commander after he forced her to become a sex slave for his fighters.”

South Africa’s annual Zulu Reed Dance ceremony was disrupted by hallucinating girls who swarmed the president and Zulu king. Evil spirits were blamed, priests were summoned.

A tattoo artist seeks to transform scars that have resulted from domestic violence or from mastectomies into beautiful, empowering and transformative tattoos.

How to Keep a Girl From Skipping School, Marrying? Give Her a Toilet. “Only about three in five Zambians have access to toilets including pit latrines or public toilets, according to the United Nations. Only 45 percent of schools have toilets.” “For schoolgirls, a lack of toilets often means missing lessons or pulling out of school altogether. Menstruating girls around the world miss up to 20 percent of their classes if their schools have no toilets, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says.”

“An Iranian artist currently serving more than 12 years in prison for criticising the government now faces further charges of “indecency” for allegedly shaking her male lawyer’s hand.”

Having religious symbols and playing music specific to various religions at yoga centers has been banned according to a directive released by the Sports for Everyone Federation of Turkey, with officials arguing they aimed to take measures against missionary activities with the directive. Consequently, having Buddha sculptures and mantra symbols as well as the playing of religious music and burning of incense can be considered violations which lead to the closure of these centers.”

Pregnant at 10 and abortion’s not an option. “According to Paraguay’s Ministry of Health, 704 girls aged 14 and younger gave birth last year – about two each day. But the real figure could be higher – data collection is unreliable, especially in far-flung communities, some of them many hours by road from Asuncion, the capital.”

“A Kenyan man accused of posing as a gynaecologist and allegedly raping women in his clinic after sedating them has appeared in court in Nairobi.”

Featured image: Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong, photo by me.


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. Note that the New Zealand book ban is interim: it is temporarily banned while they consider its classification. Quite possibly the result of this consideration will be “no restrictions are required” and the book will return to general sale.

    You can find out much more here:

    1. Such a ban should never, ever have happened without proper review. But skimming the comments in the Guardian piece there is hope of a Streisand effect of epic proportions.

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