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Girl held under Islam blasphemy law

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Girl held under Islam blasphemy law.

ISLAMABAD – A Pakistani Christian girl detained on accusations of defaming Islam was too frightened to speak in a prison where she is being held in solitary confinement for her safety, an activist who said he had visited her said yesterday.

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest last week of Rimsha Masih, accused by Muslim neighbours of burning Islamic religious texts.

There have been conflicting reports on Masih’s age and her mental state. Some media have said she is 11 and has Down syndrome. Her lawyer, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said her family had informed him she was 14 years of age and mentally ill…

Elephant birth control to help reduce population via @independent_ie

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Elephant birth control to help reduce population via @independent_ie.

A South African province that is home to thousands of elephants is planning a birth control campaign to prevent a population explosion that could threaten plants and wildlife.

Unlike other parts of Africa where elephant stocks have dwindled to dangerously low levels due to poaching and a loss of habitat, South Africa has seen its populations steadily grow through conservation.

KwaZulu-Natal province, in the south-east, is planning to inject elephant cows with a vaccine to block sperm reception…

Male genital mutilation a gross breach of baby’s bodily integrity

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Male genital mutilation a gross breach of baby’s bodily integrity.

RITE & REASON: THE MUSLIM-JEWISH alliance of religious ‘leaders’ who condemned the recent German court ruling in Cologne on male circumcision stands as a testament to the need for secularism. The court had decided that the right of individuals to freely express their religious beliefs did not extend to the ‘right’ of parents to mutilate their children’s genitals.

It was an entirely sensible and long-overdue assertion of individual liberty by a European court in favour of society’s most vulnerable and voiceless members: its children…

Outrage over TV footage of sexual assault on woman

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Outrage over TV footage of sexual assault on woman.

 INDIANS HAVE reacted with anger and disgust over video footage of a young woman being sexually assaulted by a laughing mob of more than a dozen men in a busy street outside a bar in northeast India.

Not only did no one intervene for up to 45 minutes during the attack, but an off-duty TV journalist filmed the incident on his phone and called a cameraman to join him. The footage was then broadcast on news channels, prompting a debate on women’s safety in India and whether journalists have a duty to help in such situations…

IPS – After Rio+ 20, the Path Ahead | Inter Press Service

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IPS – After Rio+ 20, the Path Ahead | Inter Press Service.

Jul 6 2012 (IPS) – Two weeks after the United Nations conference on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro has left many lukewarm, activists, government representatives and U.N. officials are looking forward to setting new goals for the future.  “I think the world needs much more than what we achieved,” Heikki Holmas, Norwegian minister of international development, admitted at a press conference at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.  Still, the focus of the discussion was less on casting blame than on how to move on and set new sustainable development goals for the future…

Human trafficking – One of the great crimes of our age | Irish Examiner

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Human trafficking – One of the great crimes of our age | Irish Examiner.

The EC reported that hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked — kidnapped — in the EU every year. Women and men, boys and girls, invariably poor and vulnerable, are traded for sexual or labour exploitation, removal of organs, begging, domestic service, forced marriage, illegal adoption or other abuses.

Banning the veil

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Banning the veil.

THE DANGEROUS folly of attempting to ban the public wearing of the veil has been highlighted by events in recent days in Belgium. The arrest of a young woman last week for breaching the country’s ban on the full face veil predictably provoked a riot, followed on Tuesday by an inflammatory intervention by the Flemish nationalist far right, certain to spark further violence. Vlaams Belang, a party with neo-Nazi roots, has offered a €250 reward to anyone who reports a veiled woman to the police.

Britain moves on forced marriages

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Britain moves on forced marriages.

Forced marriage is “little more than slavery”, British prime minister David Cameron said as his government announced plans to make it a criminal offence.

Parents who force their children into a marriage will face jail in what Mr Cameron said was a “clear and strong message” that the practice would not be tolerated.

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