Daily Archives: February 1, 2012

Second Journalist Targeted for Death in Somalia

Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed sits in t...

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After gunmen killed Somali journalist Hassan Osman Abdi, colleagues and friends were too scared to attend his funeral, since militants in Somalia have targeted such gatherings in the past. Mr. Abdi, a twenty-nine-year-old director of a radio station, was a father of three.

Mr. Abdi’s death was the second killing of a Somali journalist in less than two months. The attacks have sent waves of trepidation through Mogadishu’s media community.

The militant group al-Shabab appeared to claim responsibility for Mr. Abdi’s death, saying that the killing would serve as a “lesson” to other journalists.

Reporters said Mr. Abdi’s phone had voice messages on it from callers claiming to be al-Shabab militants, who threatened to kill him if he didn’t leave his job.

Somalia was most dangerous for journalists in 2009, when nine journalists were killed, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

There have been two killings in just over a month. A man wearing a Somali government uniform shot Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, a journalist with Horn Cable TV, in December. Now journalists are starting to feel targeted again.

Somalia President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed called Saturday’s killing a senseless murder and a terrible tragedy. He asked the public to aid authorities investigating the case.

Mogadishu’s journalists union called for the government bring suspects to justice.

Somali and African Union troops over the last year have largely pushed al-Shabab militants out of the city, which is far safer today than a year ago overall.

Via The Washington Post.

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Gay “Cure” Video Sparks Ire in UAE

English: Administrative map of the United Arab...

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A video showing a gay man being “cured” has sparked outrage in the LGBT community of the United Arab Emirates.

The six-minute “tutorial” titled “Be Yourself” depicts five young men as they try to “convert” a Western-dressed, long-haired man. They show him how to mimic masculine gestures, scrub his hair and cut his nails and hair. After the make-over, the man is slapped for saying “bye bye” in a high-pitched voice and told: “Thicken your voice.”

The group Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Rights UAE sent an open letter to the government to complain about persecution facing the LGBT community. They claim UAE officials have used hormonal treatments to “cure” homosexuals.

The UAE government has prohibited homosexual acts.

Via International Business Times.

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On This Day…

In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they’d been refused service.

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Canada Won’t Let Transgender People Board Planes

English: Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister

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There is a disturbing section in the Canadian Identity Screening Regulations used in airports. Simply put, transgender people are banned from boarding airplanes in Canada.

The offending section of the regulations reads:

5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;

These regulations are not actually a piece of legislation, which would have had to pass through votes in the House and Senate (which is probably why it went unnoticed until now). Rather, the Identity Screening Regulations are a set of rules implemented by the Ministry of Transportation, as part of Canada’s “Passenger Protect,” the Canadian Federal Government’s equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list.

Minister of Transportation Denis Lebel is a federal Conservative MP appointed to the cabinet position by Stephen Harper.

So what does this mean? To change the ‘sex’ designation on a Canadian Passport, the federal government requires proof that surgery has taken place or will take place within one year. For non-operative transgender persons, for gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and for the majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is impossible to get travel documentation marked with the sex designation which “matches” the gender identity in which they live.

In the eyes of the honourable Minister of Transportation, that makes transpeople unfit to fly in Canada.

This regulatory adjustment occurred immediately after the federal election in 2011. In the previous parliament, Bill C-389, a bill to amend the Human Rights Code to enshrine protections against discrimination for transgender people, had passed in the House of Commons, only to die on the Senate floor when Mr. Harper declared a Federal Election (thereby dissolving parliament).

What You Can Do:

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Komen Bows to Right Wing, Drops Planned Parenthood, Which Provides Millions of Breast Exams

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the f...

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The nation’s leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates.

The change means a cutoff of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for breast exams.

The move results from Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists. Komen says the reason is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress, a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion groups.

Planned Parenthood said the Komen grants totaled roughly $680,000 last year, going to at least nineteen its affiliates for breast-cancer screening.

Reaction to the news was swift and passionate. On Twitter, it was one of the most discussed topics Tuesday evening, with many vowing never to give to Komen again.

Two Democrats in Congress, Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Representative Michael Honda of California, issued statements denouncing Komen’s action.

“I am stunned and saddened,” said Honda, whose longtime chief of staff, Jennifer VanderHeide, had breast cancer last year. “I call on Komen to reconsider this decision, stand strong in the face of political pressure and do the right thing for the health of millions of women everywhere.”

Anti-abortion groups welcomed the news.

A statement issued Tuesday evening by Komen made no reference to the reactions, instead citing its new grant-making criteria.

Planned Parenthood’s 800 health centers nationwide offer an array of other services, including birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and cancer screening.

Planned Parenthood centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 as a result of Komen grants.

Komen has invested more than $1.9 billion in breast-cancer research, health services, and advocacy. Its Race for the Cure fundraising events are a global phenomenon. For all its popularity, however, Komen has been a target of anti-abortion groups since it began its partnerships with Planned Parenthood in 2005.

A Komen spokeswoman said pressure tactics were not the reason for the funding cutoff.

Planned Parenthood is intent on raising funds to replace the lost grants so women in need do not go without breast-screening services.

Click here to help make up the difference and fund breast-cancer screenings for women in need!

Via Huffington Post.

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