Uganda: Kill the gays and all their friends, too


Death penalty for straights and for non-sex offences too

London - 18 February 2010

Peter Tatchell writes:

I am very grateful to Rob Tisinai for making a masterclass YouTube video that explains the full horrors of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It shows that this Bill is far more lethal and wide-reaching than most people realise.

Ugandans don't have to be gay or to have gay sex to be sentenced to death.

Read this summary of these little known aspects of the Bill, then watch the video (the link is below).

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the crime of "serial offender" is punishable by execution.

A serial offender is a person who has "previous convictions" for "homosexuality OR RELATED OFFENCES."

In other words, if a Ugandan person has previous convictions for offences in the Bill and then has a subsequent conviction he or she will be classified as a serial offender and face execution.

"Related offences" in the Bill, which can result in a death sentence for serial offenders, include non-sexual acts such as:

· aiding and abetting homosexuality
· advocating same-sex relationships or LGBT rights
· having a same-sex marriage
· publicising or funding pro-LGBT organisations
· using the internet or a mobile phone for the purpose of homosexuality or its promotion
· being a person in authority who fails to report an offender to the police within 24 hours

These related offences are crimes that could be also committed by a heterosexual person. It is not just LGBT Ugandans who are threatened by this legislation.

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, all convicted serial offenders are liable to execution, regardless of their sexuality.

Rob's brilliant short video explains the FULL and DEADLY clauses of the Bill. Please take a look and send it to your friends. We need to get the word out far and wide.

Watch Rob's video here:

See the full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:

Huge thanks to Rob Tisinai for taking the time to make this superb video. It is the clearest, most detailed exposition of the true severity of the proposed new law.

A love inspects the distorted promise.


Bolivian President Apologizes to Spanish Gay and Lesbian Organizations

Bolivian president Evo Morales sent a letter to gay and lesbian organizations in Spain expressing respect for sexual diversity, according to the Executive’s press office and spokesperson Iván Canelas.

“Under no way did it ever cross the mind of President Morales to attack the rights of homosexuals” when he linked hormones and genetically modified crops and its alleged consequences with a diet based on chicken, said Iván Canelas to the La Paz press corps.

“The chicken we eat is full of feminine hormones and that is why when men eat these chickens they undergo deviations from their masculine being”, said Morales last week during the inauguration of an international grass roots alternative climate change forum held in Cochabamba.

Canelas said that President Morales had written a letter to an organization in Spain that brings together lesbians and gays. “We respect their sexual freedom and ratify our respect for what is established in the Bolivian Constitution.”

The Spanish Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB) had expressed its deepest disappointment with President Morales statements in a protest letter addressed to the Bolivian embassy in Madrid. In the letter, FELGTB also emphasized their surprise particularly coming from a leader “who considers himself progressive left and defender of the weaker, excluded groups of society”.

Canelas deplored what the described as “an enormous speculation over the whole issue”, and invited journalists to listen again to the taped speech of President Morales underlining there was “an inadequate misinterpretation of what was said”.

“You well know that sometimes things said in a speech are exaggerated or interpreted as wanted”, argued Canales. Evo Morales also said that European men are mostly bald because of the diet “rich in feminine hormones” and forecasted that in fifty years time all Europeans would be bald.



The virginity industry

By Najlaa Abou Mehri and Linda Sills
BBC Radio 4, Crossing Continents
Young Arab women wait in an upmarket medical clinic for an operation that will not only change their lives, but quite possibly save it. Yet the operation is a matter of choice and not necessity. It costs about 2,000 euros (£1,700) and carries very little risk.

The clinic is not in Dubai or Cairo, but in Paris. And the surgery they are waiting for is to restore their virginity. 

Whether in Asia or the Arab world, an unknown number of women face an agonising problem having broken a deep taboo. They've had sex outside marriage and if found out, risk being ostracised by their communities, or even murdered. 

Now more and more of them are undergoing surgery to re-connect their hymens and hide any sign of past sexual activity. They want to ensure that blood is spilled on their wedding night sheets. 

The social pressure is so great that some women have even taken their own lives. 

Sonia wants to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. She is a slender young brunette studying at art college in Paris. 

Although born in France, Arab culture and traditions are central to Sonia's life. Life was strict growing up under the watchful eyes of a large traditional Arab family. 

Virginity certificates
"I thought of suicide after my first sexual relationship," she says, "because I couldn't see any other solution." But Sonia did find a solution. 

She eventually went to the Paris clinic of Dr Marc Abecassis to have surgery to restore her hymen. She says she will never reveal her secret to anyone, especially her husband to be. 

"I consider this is my sex life and I don't have to tell anyone about it," she says. It's men that are obliging her to lie about it, she says. 

Dr Abecassis performs a "hymenoplasty" as it's called, at least two to three times a week. Re-connecting the tissue of the hymen takes about 30 minutes under local anaesthetic. 

He says the average age of the patient is about 25, and they come from all social backgrounds. Although the surgery is performed in clinics around the world, Dr Abecassis is one of the few Arab surgeons who talks openly about it. Some of the women come to him because they need virginity certificates in order to marry. 

"She can be in danger because sometimes it's a matter of traditions and family," says Dr Abecassis. "I believe we as doctors have no right to decide for her or judge her." 

With Chinese manufacturers leading the way, there are now non-surgical options on the market as well. One website sells artificial hymens for just £20 (23 euros). The Chinese hymen is made of elastic and filled with fake blood. Once inserted in the vagina, the woman can simulate virginity, the company claims. 

'Caught out'
But this was not an option for Nada. As a young girl growing up in the Lebanese countryside she fell in love and lost her virginity. "I was scared my family would find out especially since they didn't approve of my relationship," she says. "I was terrified they might kill me." 

After seven years in the relationship, her lover's family wanted him to marry someone else. Nada attempted suicide. "I got a bottle of Panadol and a bottle of household chemicals," she says. "I drank them and said, 'That's it'." 

Nada is now 40, and found out about surgical hymen restoration just six years ago. She married and had two children. Her wedding night was a stressful ordeal. "I didn't sleep that night. I was crying," she says. "I was very scared but he didn't suspect anything." 

It's a secret that Nada - which is not her real name - will carry to her grave. "I am ready to hide it until death," she says. "Only God will know about it." 

But it's not only the older generation that subscribes to traditional views about sex before marriage, when it comes to choosing a wife. 

Noor is a trendy professional who works in Damascus. He's fairly representative of young Syrian men in a secular society. But although Noor says he believes in equality for women, underneath the liberal facade lies a deep-rooted conservatism. 

"I know girls who went through this restoration and they were caught out on their wedding night by their husbands," he says. "They realised they weren't virgins. Even if society accepts such a thing, I would still refuse to marry her." 

Muslim clerics are quick to point out that the virginity issue is not about religion. "We should remember that when people wait for the virgin's blood to be spilled on the sheet, these are all cultural traditions," says Syrian cleric, Sheikh Mohamad Habash. "This is not related to Shariah law." 

Christian communities in the Middle East are often just as firm in their belief that women should be virgins when they marry. 

Arab writer and social commentator, Sana Al Khayat believes the whole issue has much to with the notion of "control". 

"If she's a virgin, she doesn't have any way of comparing [her husband to other men]. If she's been with other men, then she has experience. Having experience makes women stronger." 

It may be the 21st Century but the issue of virginity in Arab culture can still be a matter of life and death, especially for women like Sonia and Nada. 

And while hymen repair may be a quick fix, it can't reconcile centuries of ingrained tradition with the attitudes of modern society. 

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2010/04/24 23:25:14 GMT


Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's threat to behead homosexuals.

He told a political rally that gay people had 24 hours to leave the country.He promised "stricter laws than Iran" on homosexuality and said he would "cut off the head" of any gay person found in The Gambia. 

Carey Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council said the comments were "disgraceful". 

"What president Jammeh fails to realise is that there are a significant population of Gambians who are gay, and he has no right to ask them to leave," Mr Johnson said.
                                                                                                                          “ The Gambia is a country of believers... sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country
The speech was "doubly disgraceful" because The Gambia is the host country for the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, he said.

Mr Johnson said the speech, part of President Jammeh's 13-day tour of the country, was an attempt to scapegoat gay people and blame them for the country's ills.

"He's fighting to maintain his control over the country, he finds the weakest group and lays all the problems at their door," Mr Johnson said.

'History of homophobia'
"The Gambia is a country of believers... sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country," the president told a crowd at a political rally on May 15.

"Jammeh has a long history of homophobia," said British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.

"If he tries to carry out these threats, international aid donors are likely to withdraw their support, and foreign tourists will stay away in droves, thereby damaging the Gambian economy," he added.

Correspondents say a number of homosexual men have fled to The Gambia from neighbouring Senegal after a crackdown there following arrests at a "gay wedding" in February.

Both countries are predominantly Muslim and President Jammeh cultivates an image of being a devout Muslim.

In February last year, he was condemned by campaigners when he claimed to have cured people of HIV and Aids.

His "cure" was a mixture of herbs that patients ate and spread on their bodies.
Story from BBC NEWS:



Uncircumsized Dicks- DO NOT AID SPREAD OF STDs and AIDS.

Observational studies of the association of circumcision and HIV infection among men who have sex with men "have yielded mixed results," say the authors of a new study. Their report examines the relationship between circumcision and HIV, herpes simplex virus type-2, syphilis, urethral gonorrhea, and urethral chlamydia among MSM, stratified by anal sex role.

The study period was October 2001 through May 2006, during which time 4,749 MSM who reported anal intercourse in the previous 12 months underwent a total of 8,337 evaluations at the Public Health-Seattle and King County STD clinic. Circumcision status was determined by clinician exam; anal sex role in the previous year was determined by interview. Blood samples were tested for HIV, syphilis, and HSV-2. Urethral gonorrhea and chlamydia were tested by culture or nucleic acid amplification. Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate the association between circumcision and specific diagnoses, adjusted for race/ethnicity and age.

Circumcision status was assessed for 3,828 men: 3,241 (85%) were circumcised, and 587 (15%) were uncircumcised. "The proportion of men newly testing HIV-positive or with previously diagnosed HIV did not differ by circumcision status when stratified by men's anal sexual role in the preceding year, even when limited to men who reported only insertive anal intercourse in the preceding 12 months." Likewise, the researchers found no significant association between circumcision status and other STDs.

"Our findings suggest that male circumcision would not be likely to have a significant impact on HIV or sexually transmitted infections acquisition among MSM in Seattle," the authors concluded.


Ateneo de Manila University issues official statement of another fabricated document regarding Noynoy Aquino's mental health

On 9 April 2010, the Ateneo Psychology Department issued a statement regarding the psychiatric evaluation which was allegedly signed by Fr. Carmelo (Tito) Caluag who was claimed to be a faculty of our Department in 1996.

In our response, we said that the document is false; that Fr. Caluag is not a psychologist or a psychiatrist and has never been affiliated with the Ateneo Psychology Department.

Today, 27 April 2010, another fabricated psychiatric evaluation has circulated in the news, allegedly written and signed in 1979 by our founder and current professor, Fr. Jaime C. Bulatao, SJ. Fr. Bulatao has earlier released his response, categorically denying that he has written and signed that report. The Ateneo Psychology Department once again categorically states that this “psychiatric evaluation” is a fabricated document.

We strongly condemn these repeated attempts to use the Ateneo Psychology Department for black propaganda. When the first fabrication did not work because of the mistake of choosing a signatory ( i.e., Fr. Tito Caluag) who has never been affiliated with our Psychology Department, the same scheme was thought of, this time using our most esteemed Fr. Jaime C. Bulatao, SJ. These acts of malicious falsifications should be stopped once and for all!

We hope that this is the last time that the name of the Ateneo Psychology Department will be dragged into the malicious misinformation campaign about the alleged mental condition of Senator Benigno C. Aquino III.

Department of Psychology
School of Social Sciences
Ateneo de Manila University
27 April 2010







Dear Ryan,
Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured. 

When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know. 

When the media heralded you as an "innocent victim" because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.
When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life.
Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it. 

Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society. 

Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives. 

It breaks my heart that you are not one of them. You were 18 when you died, and you would be 38 this year, if only the current treatments existed when you were sick. I think about this every day, because America needs your message of compassion as never before. 

Ryan, when you were alive, your story sparked a national conversation about AIDS. But despite all the progress in the past 20 years, the dialogue has waned. I know you would be trying to revive it if you were here today, when the epidemic continues to strike nearly every demographic group, with more than 50,000 new infections in the United States each year. I know you would be loudly calling for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy that was promised by President Obama but has not yet been delivered. I know you would reach out to young people. I know you would work tirelessly to help everyone suffering from HIV, including those who live on the margins of society. 

It would sadden you that today, in certain parts of the United States, some poor people with AIDS are still placed on waiting lists to receive treatment. It would anger you that your government is still not doing enough to help vulnerable people with HIV and populations that are at high risk of contracting the virus, including sexually active teenagers. It would upset you that AIDS is a leading cause of death among African Americans. 

It would frustrate you that even though hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive Americans are receiving treatment in your name, more than 200,000 don't know their HIV-positive status, largely because a lingering stigma surrounding the disease prevents them from being tested. It would disappoint you that many teenagers do not have access to science-based HIV-prevention programs in school, at a time when half of new infections are believed to be among people under 25. 

I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You've been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I'm still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought. 

Your friend,

Sir Elton John, a Grammy- and Academy Award-winning artist, is the founder and chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation


France is banning headscarves, DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ISLAM

President Nicolas Sarkozy said last year that full-face veils oppressed women and were not welcome in France. Plans to ban them by law have provoked intense debate about religious freedom in a secular society, as well as the position of Muslims in France.France has Europe's largest Muslim minority population, estimated at about five million. The French interior ministry estimates that only about 1,900 women wear full veils in the country.

ILLUSTRATION: After stopping the 31-year-old woman - who has not been named - police asked her to raise her veil to confirm her identity, which she did.(

They then fined her 22 euros ($29; £19), saying her clothing posed a "safety risk". 

There are several types of headscarves and veils for Muslim women - those that cover the face being the niqab and the burka. In France, the niqab is the version most commonly worn.

Headscarves: (for us to better appreciate and distinguish what is fashion and what is religion)

The word hijab comes from the Arabic for veil and is used to describe the headscarves worn by Muslim women. These scarves come in a myriad of styles and colours.

The type most commonly worn in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck but leaves the face clear.

The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. However, it may be worn with a separate eye veil. It is worn with an accompanying headscarf. The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It covers the entire face and body, leaving just a mesh screen to see through.

The al-amira is a two-piece veil. It consists of a close fitting cap, usually made from cotton or polyester, and an accompanying tube-like scarf. The shayla is a long, rectangular scarf popular in the Gulf region. It is wrapped around the head and tucked or pinned in place at the shoulders. 

The khimar is a long, cape-like veil that hangs down to just above the waist. It covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear. The chador, worn by many Iranian women when outside the house, is a full-body cloak. It is often accompanied by a smaller headscarf underneath. 
We all know that the scarves are part of the religious traditions of Islam and we ought to respect them. It has there since time immemorial even before the French president was born. 
Should this be made into law in France, it will surely cause a serious threat to the Islamic world and would be treated as an insult to their right of religion, a right so supreme that should be respected.     
This act is just like the French president telling the Muslims to stop believing and professing their faith which is a brutal, inhuman and barriotic thing to do. THE FRENCH PRESIDENT SHOULD STOP THIS NONSENSE AND IF HE CANNOT GIVE RESPECT WHERE IT IS DUE, HE SHOULD RESIGN AND SAVE THE FRENCH NATION THE REPERCUSSIONS OF HIS ACTIONS.    RESPONSE OF THE MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN:  
Sarkozy Defies Universal Values as he tells Women What Not to Wear: French leader's Burqa remarks are designed to whip-up further xenophobia against Muslims             The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) criticised French President Nicholas Sarkozy's intention to ban the wearing of Burqa - a garment worn by a minority of Muslim women in accordance with their religious belief. Reiterating its long established position that individuals must have the freedom to choose their attire on the basis of deeply-held religious beliefs, the MCB called upon the French President to desist from engaging in and promoting divisive politics towards its Muslim inhabitants. In this respect, the MCB echoes the US President Barack Obama's caution that 'it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practising religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.' Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, Dr. Reefat Drabu said: "It is patronising and offensive to suggest that those Muslim women who wear the burqa do so because of pressure or oppression by their male partners or guardians". She added: "Such suggestions can legitimately be perceived as antagonistic towards Islam. Instead of taking a lead in promoting harmony and social cohesion amongst its people, the French President appears to be initiating a policy which is set to create fear and misunderstanding and may lead to Islamophobic reaction not just in France but in the rest of Europe too".   The Muslim Council of Britain is an umbrella group of over 500 Muslim organisations - mosques, charities, community groups.       For further information please contact the MCB:        The Muslim Council of Britain,       PO Box 57330,       London,       E1 2WJ       Tel: 0845 26 26 786 0845 26 26 786            Fax: 0207 247 7079



Gay couple were buried alive in horrific French crime


French police say they still don't know for sure the motive 
behind the horrific death of gay couple Guy Bordenave, 39, and Luc Amblard, 56, who suffocated 
after being bound and gagged and buried alive.

A gay couple that went missing on March 7, 2009 in the French village of Cher has been found dead nearly three months later, AFP reported. The couple had been buried alive, officials said.

The bodies of Luc Amblard, 56, and Guy Bordenave, 39, who were entertainers living in the small village of Couy, were found on June 4, bound, gagged and buried in a hole about five feet deep, prosecutors say.

The cause of death by suffocation from being buried alive was confirmed by autopsy, said Prosecutor Eric Mathais at a news conference. "We did not find any trace of gunshot, or traces of violence, alcohol or drugs. The victims were dying," said the magistrate. 

Two men, between 53 and 37 years, have been detained by police for questioning. One of them knew one of the victims, and the pair was arrested on April 1 last year in the village of Cher. One of two suspects led police to the location of the bodies.

Both defendants were known to police, and have been indicted and jailed for "kidnapping, false imprisonment, followed by death.

Police have not determined whether hatred against one of the two victims was the motive for the horrible crime. The two men face up to life imprisonment. 


Facebook Page Calls for the Assassination of President Obama. It has 1,000,000 Fans. Expose the Hate!


Where as a Facebook Fan Page called: "I bet we can find 1,000,000 people who support the health care law." was recently forced to become a Facebook Group:

Facebook Fan Pages get action in the News Feed and thus can go viral. Groups do not. Which explains why the group petitioning for Facebook to delete the Fan Page calling for the Assassination of President Obama is growing much smaller:

I implore you to please write about this story. To investigate why Facebook allows just a page to continue to go viral. To research if the Secret Service is watching the Page and its creator as a possible domestic terrorist, and to investigate the media's role in inflaming such hate. Freedom of the Press. Please use that freedom for peace and justice.






CNN asks if Manila is prepared for an earthquake

Some scientists say Manila is in line for a major earthquake, but how prepared is it? CNN's Anna Coren reports.


President blames modern diet for gays and baldness


BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT Evo Morales has blamed “deviations” such as homosexuality and widespread baldness in Europe on modern diet.

“The chicken that we eat is full of female hormones. Because of this the men who eat this chicken have deviations in their being as men,” he said at the opening of a conference on climate change in Bolivia on Tuesday.

He also blamed widespread baldness in Europe, which he labelled a “sickness”, on the diet of Europeans. “They are almost all bald and this is because of the things they eat, while among the indigenous peoples there are no bald people because we eat other things,” said the president, a lustrously haired Aymara Indian.

Mr Morales said industrialised western powers were responsible for bringing “more and more poison” into the world, warning that “within 50 years everyone will be bald”.

He was speaking at the opening of the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in the town of Tiquipaya, central Bolivia. It is being attended by five left-wing Latin American leaders and 15,000 activists. Organisers say it is a left-wing alternative to the failed climate talks in Copenhagen last year.

Warning his audience that “either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies”, Mr Morales called for the creation of an international organisation of social movements to push governments into signing a comprehensive deal to combat climate change at a conference to be held in Mexico in November.

In his wide-ranging address, Mr Morales also claimed that drinking Coca-Cola damaged your health.

Earlier this month a government-backed alternative to the US soft drink went on sale in Bolivia. Called Coca-Colla, after Bolivia’s indigenous peoples, it is made from coca leaf, which has been used in the Andes for centuries as a stimulant in medicine and rituals. Coca is also the base ingredient for cocaine.

Bolivia is the world’s third biggest producer of cocaine.


Catholic bishops express sorrow over abuse scandals

The Pope after his weekly audience, 21/04/10
The Pope has been under pressure to refer directly to the crisis
Catholic bishops in England and Wales have offered a full apology and said there were "no excuses" for child abuse scandals that have hit the Church.

A statement by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales offered a "heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse".

It described the crimes by some priests and religious figures which recently came to light as a "profound scandal".

This comes as a third Irish-based bishop quit over how abuse was handled.

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
Bishop James Moriarty admitted in December that he had not challenged the Dublin archdiocese over concealing child abuse complaints from police.

He served as an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin archdiocese between 1991 and 2002.

The joint statement issued by bishops will go out to all parishes in England and Wales - it said those who had carried out the abuse brought "deep shame to the whole Church".

"Catholics are members of a single universal body. These terrible crimes, and the inadequate response by some church leaders, grieve us all," it said.

The statement went on: "We express our heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed.

"We ask their pardon, and the pardon of God for these terrible deeds done in our midst. There can be no excuses."

Worldwide allegations

And it said the Church would work with safeguarding commissions within its dioceses to ensure relevant steps were taken to protect against any further abuse and atone for those who were already victims.

The statement was presented by Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, who said the words were "very heartfelt" and "unambiguous".

Archbishop Nichols told BBC News: "We say there are no excuses.

"We simply apologise profoundly for the hurt and the lasting damage that is done through childhood abuse, and for the inadequate ways in which in the past these things have been handled."

In recent months there has been a wave of child abuse reports across the globe against the Catholic Church.

In recent months victims have come forward in the Irish Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the US.

And critics have accused the Church of failing to deal adequately with the problem. 

Pope Benedict XVI has promised that the Roman Catholic Church will take "action" over child abuse by priests.

The comments are the most explicit he has made in public about a series of recent allegations against the Church. 

Speaking in Rome at his weekly general audience, he referred to his weekend meeting with abuse victims in Malta. 

"I shared with them their suffering and, with emotion, I prayed with them, promising them action on the part of the Church," he said. 
Direct reference
The Pope met eight men, during his visit to Malta on Sunday, who have complained of abuse during their childhood at an orphanage. 

"I wanted to meet some people who were victims of abuse by members of the clergy," he said. 

One of the men, Lawrence Grech, said the meeting was "very emotional" and that "everybody cried", and that it had given him huge spiritual courage. 

The Vatican said afterwards that the Pope had had tears in his eyes. 

It said he had "prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future". 

However, Wednesday was the first time in recent weeks that the Pope has made his own public comments referring directly to the issue. 

Previously he has called on Roman Catholics to "do penance" for their sins, and made other allusions to the crisis, but he has been criticised for making no direct verbal reference to the storm engulfing the Church. 

Resignations accepted
There has been a wave of allegations that Church authorities in Europe and North and South America failed to deal properly with priests accused of paedophilia, sometimes just moving them to new parishes where more children were put at risk. 

The Pope himself has been accused of not taking strong enough steps against paedophiles when he had that responsibility as a cardinal in Rome.

However, his supporters say he has been the most pro-active pope yet in confronting abuse.
On Tuesday he accepted the resignation of the bishop of Miami, US, who has been accused of covering up abuse cases, and it is thought he will do the same with an Irish bishop on Thursday. 

Last week the Vatican made it clear that the policy of zero tolerance of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, adopted by Catholic bishops conferences in the US and in England and Wales, is now applicable worldwide. (



NUJP Statement on the Dropping of Charges vs Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan


National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
April 18, 2010

Forget justice. Forget law. Forget democracy.
Acting justice secretary Alberto Agra’s order to drop multiple murder charges against Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan is proof that these principles do not, nay, have never existed under the Arroyo government, that this is governance not through the rule of law but through political expediency.

It is proof of what we have suspected almost as soon as it became apparent that a clan known to be one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s closest allies might be linked to the worst election-related violence in our country’s recent history AND the worst single attack on the media ever – that this administration would do everything within its power to assure they would not be held accountable.

It is not for us to proclaim the innocence or guilt of either Ampatuan for the November 23 massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them media workers.

But neither is it for Agra to do so.

Not after the charges have been formally filed in court. Not after the judge has issued a commitment order against them, for which the two, along with other members of their clan and several of the 197 accused have been transferred to the Camp Bagong Diwa detention center.

It should now be for the court to judge the innocence or guilt of the 197 persons accused of planning or carrying out the massacre.

By issuing the order, which incidentally Agra had already announced earlier he was inclined to do, the man supposedly sworn to uphold justice in this country has preempted that prerogative of the court. Agra has hijacked the judicial process and subverted the very justice he should be upholding.

It does not take legal expertise to know the alibi is the flimsiest defense in a criminal case. And yet Agra has practically pounced on this straw and used it to buttress his assertion that neither Zaldy nor Akmad Ampatuan should be charged because they were not there when the massacre took place.

But surely, this travesty is not Agra’s doing alone, for he could not have done this without the full knowledge and approval of his principal, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

We hold Agra and Arroyo, personally, and this administration accountable for this massacre of the principles that define us as a country and as a people – justice, the rule of law, our basic rights, democracy.

We call on the Filipino people to protest this outrage. More important, we call on the people to demand an accounting. We cannot let this pass. Or we might as well totally forget that we are one country, one people.

This is one instance when silence really means collusion in evil.


Families of seafarers exposed to high risks of HIV

Being married to a Filipino seafarer for 12 years, Edna (not her real name) has grown accustomed to numerous difficulties when her husband sailed out to the sea.
She managed to endure long months of separation and to singlehandedly raise two toddlers, but she felt helpless after her husband contracted the HIV and passed the virus on to her.

The 38-year-old wife said her husband might have been infected in a casual and unprotected sex with women in Latin America. In 2004, he was declared unfit to work and she became the sole bread earner in the family. Three years later, she was also tested positive for the HIV.

Edna is one of the estimated 1.7 million women in Asia who are living with HIV/AIDS. A study released by UNAIDS estimates that 90 percent of these women were infected by their long-time boyfriends or husbands.

"The confluence of 'mobile men' with money away from family and social connections and with interaction with local communities and other mobile populations make for a heightened HIV- vulnerable setting," Asian Development Bank Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss told a recent AIDS congress held in Indonesia. 

Even though the bank puts more emphasis on construction workers and long-distance truck drivers, seafarers are nevertheless classified as part of the "mobile men with money." Government data show that about 350,000 Filipino seafarers are deployed overseas, accounting for 20 to 40 percent of all seafarers in the world.

Returning overseas contract workers have become a major source of HIV infection in the Philippines. The country's National AIDS Council reported that around 35 percent of the new HIV infection cases last year were overseas Filipino workers, mostly seafarers.

About 90 percent of the HIV infected Filipinos got the virus through sexual contact. In fact, sex workers tag foreign seamen as ideal customers, health experts said. Having multiple partners and not applying proper protection, these seafarers make themselves and their home-staying spouses vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS.

The United Nations estimates that about 5.4 million people live with HIV/ AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region, with 640,000 dying from AIDS-related diseases.

International agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Philippines have launched programs targeting Filipino seafarers throughout their mobility, pre-departure, on ship activities and upon return. Programs that deal with spousal infections are also under evaluation.

Lectures on HIV/AIDS were given; condoms were handed out; HIV voluntary counseling and testing services were provided upon recruitment.

But Edna's problem has yet been dealt with. "When will my husband be allowed to go back to work?" she asked.

Most shipping companies, as in other businesses, ban the employment of people who live with HIV/AIDS.

After repeatedly being turned down, Edna's family was forced to live on selling groceries and helping people re-load their mobile- phones.

"But the income is only a fraction of what he used to make as a seafarer," Edna said. "I just hope that a policy will also be written about allowing infected seafarers to go back to work."

Philstar, August 28, 2009


Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells all of their worldly possessions

Filed by: Kate Kendell

April 17, 2010 4:00 PM

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place--wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

elderly_man.jpgOne evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold's care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.

Ignoring Clay's significant role in Harold's life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold's "roommate." The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold's bank accounts to pay for his care. 

What happened next is even more chilling.

Without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold's possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county's actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the au
ction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma. (


Iranian cleric blames quakes on promiscuous women

Promiscuous women are responsible for earthquakes, a senior Iranian cleric has said.
Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told worshippers in Tehran last Friday that they had to stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves. 

"Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes," he said. 

Tens of thousands of people have died in Iran earthquakes in the last decade. 

Mr Sedighi was delivering a sermon on the need for a "general repentance" by Iranians. 

"What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes," he said. 

'Disappoint God'
Young Iranians sometimes push the boundaries of how they can dress, showing hair under their headscarves or wearing tight fitting clothes. 

Mr Sedighi also referred to violence following last year's elections, which occurred when thousands of - mostly young - Iranians protested against the result, as a "political earthquake". 

"Now if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God's power, only God's power. So lets not disappoint God." 

More than 25,000 people died when a powerful earthquake hit the ancient town of Bam in 2003. 

Seismologists have warned that the Iranian capital Tehran is situated on a large number of tectonic fault lines and could be hit by a devastating quake soon. 

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said many of Tehran's 12 million inhabitants should relocate.
There are plans to build a purpose built new capital near Qom.



Vatican confirms report of sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests in 23 countries

By Frances Kennedy

The pope sleeping on his job

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.

Confidential Vatican reports obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the US, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favours from nuns, particularly those from the Third World who are more likely to be culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.

The reports, some of which are recent and some of which have been in circulation for at least seven years, said that such priests had demanded sex in exchange for favours, such as certification to work in a given diocese.

In extreme instances, the priests had made nuns pregnant and then encouraged them to have abortions.

The US article was based on five documents, which senior women from religious orders and priests have presented to the Vatican over the past decade. They describe a particularly bad situation in Africa. In a continent devastated by Aids, nuns, along with early adolescent girls, are perceived by some as safe sexual targets. The reports said that the church authorities had done little to tackle the problem.

The Vatican reports cited countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests. Some were obliged to take the pill, others became pregnant and were encouraged to have abortions. In one case in which an African sister was forced to have an abortion, she died during the operation and her aggressor led the funeral mass. Another case involved 29 sisters from the same congregation who all became pregnant to priests in the diocese.

The reports said that the cultures in some African countries made it almost impossible for a young woman to disobey an older man, especially one seen as spiritually superior. There were cases of novices who applied to their local priest or bishop for certificates of good Catholic practice that were required for them to pursue their vocation. In return they were made to have sex. Some incidents of sexual abuse allegedly took place almost within the Vatican walls.

Certain unscrupulous clerics took advantage of young nuns who were having trouble finding accommodation, writing their essays and funding their theological studies.

Forced to acknowledge the problem, the Vatican has tried to play down its gravity. In a statement issued yesterday the Pope's official spokesman, Joaquin Navarro Valls, said: "The problem is known and involves a restricted geographical area. Certain negative situations must not overshadow the often heroic faith of the overwhelming majority of religious, nuns and priests".

One of the most comprehensive documents was compiled by Sister Maura O'Donohue, an Aids co-ordinator for Cafod, the London-based Catholic Fund for Overseas Development.

She noted that religious sisters had been identified as "safe" targets for sexual activity. She quotes a case in 1991 of a community superior being approached by priests requesting that the nuns be made available to them for sexual favours.

"When the superior refused the priests explained they would otherwise be obliged to go to the village to find women and might thus get Aids."Sister O'Donohue said her initial reaction to what she was told by her fellow religious "was one of shock and disbelief at the magnitude of the problem".

While most of the abuse happened in African countries, Sister O'Donohue reported incidents in 23 countries including India, Ireland, Italy, the Philippines and the United States.

She heard cases of priests encouraging the nuns to take the pill telling them it would prevent HIV. Others "actually encouraged abortion for the sisters" and Catholic hospitals and medical staff reported pressure from priests to carry out terminations for nuns and other young women.

O'Donohue wrote in her report how a vicar in one African diocese had talked "quite openly" about sex, saying that "celibacy in the African context means a priest does not get married, but does not mean he does not have children."

The head of the Vatican congregation for Religious Life, Cardinal Martinez Somalo, has set up a committee to look into the problem. But it seems to have done little beyond "awareness raising" among bishops.

More recently, in 1998, Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, put together a paper entitled The Problem of the Sexual Buse of African Religious in Africa and Rome.

She tabled the document to the Council of 16, made up of delegates of the international association of women's and men's religious communities and the Vatican office responsible for religious life. She noted that a contributing cause was the "conspiracy of silence".

When she addressed bishops on the problem, many of them felt it was disloyal of the sisters to send reports.

"However, the sisters claim they have done so time and time again. Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done" One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.

One of the few religious in Rome willing to talk about the report was Father Giulio Albanese, of MISNA, the missionary news agency. "Missionaries are human beings, who are often living under immense psychological pressure in situations of war and ongoing violence. On one hand it's important to condemn this horror and it's important tell the truth, but we must not emphasise this at the expense of the work done by the majority, many of whom have laid down lives for witness" said Fr Albanese "The press only talks about missionaries when they are killed, kidnapped or are involved in something scandalous" he added.

As the Vatican digests the unpalatable evidence of how their own priests are ruining the lives of their sisters, many Catholics hope a strong message may come from on high. With the American bishops, the Pope spoke in clear terms about paedophile priests, telling them this was a scourge that had to be faced. Some now hope that he may be equally courageous in denouncing an evil which has been covered by silence and shame for too long.