‘Homosexual propaganda’ law signals latest Russian crackdown
By Albina Kovalyova, Producer, NBC News
A new law banning “homosexual propaganda” in Russia is raising concerns about the state of human rights in a country already notorious for silencing dissent.
The legislation is vague but its intent is clear: It is now “illegal to spread information about non-traditional sexual behavior” to minors (under 18), and there are hefty fines for those who disobey. Foreigners are also subject to fines and can be deported.
Anti-homosexual crackdowns are nothing new in Russia: In 1933 the Soviet regime imposed a law banning sexual relations between men – punishable by a five-year prison term. Although it was lifted after the fall of the Soviet Union, homophobia still runs deep.
220 million children who don’t exist: A birth certificate is a passport to a better life – so why can’t we all have one?
SARAH MORRISON Author Biography SUNDAY 28 JULY 2013
With all eyes on the royal baby, there is no chance George Alexander Louis Windsor will ever be rendered invisible. The same cannot be said for the 51 million babies – almost one in three of all babies born across the world annually – whose births are not registered each year. These children do not have a birth certificate and, legally speaking, do not exist.
Globally, there are an estimated 220 million children under five across the world whose birth is not recorded. That excludes China, where figures are unknown. There is growing evidence that, without a birth certificate, such youngsters are more likely to be poorer than even the most disadvantaged of their peers, struggling to access healthcare, attend school, sit exams, or even get the vaccinations they need to survive.
Netanyahu agrees to free 104 Palestinians
July 28, 2013 – 10:05AM
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announced on Saturday that he had agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, most of whom have served 20 years or more for attacks on Israelis, to pave the way for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington in the coming days.
Mr Netanyahu took the unusual measure of issuing what he called “an open letter to the citizens of Israel” to explain the contentious move, which many Israelis oppose, ahead of a Cabinet vote on Sunday.
Reports of a prisoner release had been circulating for weeks, but this was the first confirmation by the prime minister of the number expected to be freed. Mr Netanyahu’s letter did not give any details regarding the identities of those to be released or the timing, but said the release would be carried out in stages after the start of negotiations and in accordance with their progress.
Tsvangirai says Mugabe must be given ‘dignified exit’
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday warned President Robert Mugabe not to “steal” a crunch vote next week.
28 JUL 2013 08:41 AFP
“Mugabe stole an election in 2002, he stole the election in 2008. This time we want to tell him that he will not steal again,” Tsvangirai said to thousands of supporters.
“As a party we don’t have intentions of retribution. What we only want and what we are saying is: ‘Mr Mugabe run this election freely and fairly so that we can give you a dignified exit.'”
After two previous polls condemned by observers as unfair, Tsvangirai is vying to end Mugabe’s 33-year rule and a four-year shaky coalition forced after chaotic elections in 2008.
Save Caribbean snorkeling and ‘eat a lion,’ conservationists say.
Red lionfish have invaded the Caribbean and threaten to devastate the marine ecosystem in a region renowned for diving and snorkeling.
By Ezra Fieser, Correspondent
Here’s the last thing you’d expect to hear from a conservationist: Eat a lion.
But that’s exactly what marine biologists are telling people across the Caribbean, where red lionfish – an invader from the Pacific – threaten to devastate the marine ecosystems that make the region a renowned destination for SCUBA divers and snorkelers.
Lionfish share little with their big cat namesake other than a fan of fins that resembles a flowing mane and, more importantly, a veracious appetite. The fish gobble up the small native fish that are an integral piece of the food chain and an important link in maintaining dazzling underwater seascapes. With no natural predators or diseases to keep the population in check, lionfish are now found on nearly every coral reef from New York to Venezuela and they are multiplying fast. Lacking other options, conservationists are pushing a simple message: capture them and cook them. Fishing communities are learning how to catch and process lionfish, which carry a painful dose of venom in their fins. And restaurants and markets are trying to sell the white flakey filets, which taste like snapper or grouper.
Kim Philby, the Observer connection and the establishment world of spies
Fifty years after Kim Philby fled to Moscow while working for the Observer, new light is being shed on the links that united a clubland elite with a taste for secret service adventures
The Observer, Sunday 28 July 2013
One of the darkest and most enthralling British espionage stories of the 20th century turns 50 this month, still resonant with sinister meaning. It was on 1 July 1963 that the British government finally admitted what it had known for some time: that Harold Adrian Russell Philby – “Kim” to friends and family – was not merely living in the Soviet Union as a defector and a Russian spy, but was actually the fabled “third man”. Later this archetype of treachery would become known, in the words of his biographer, as “the spy who betrayed a generation”.
Philby was perhaps the most lethal double agent in the annals of British espionage. As a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring and a secret servant of the Soviet intelligence services, Philby was responsible for the betrayal of countless national secrets as well as the brutal elimination of many British agents.