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Breitbart: “Itella, the National Postage Service of Finland, has launched a range of erotic gay stamps featuring a man in police uniform sitting on the shoulders of a naked man, and another with a man looking in between some naked legs. The stamps are to commemorate the life and work of the artist Touko Laaksonen, more commonly known as Tom of Finland.”
Associated Press: “A new burial area for lesbians only is being inaugurated this weekend in a two-century-old cemetery in the German capital. A 400-square-meter (4,300-square-foot) area of the Lutheran Georgen Parochial cemetery, established in 1814 in central Berlin, will be reserved as a graveyard for up to 80 lesbians, said Usah Zachau, a spokeswoman for the Safia association, a national group primarily for elderly lesbians.”
The Christian Institute: “At least 200,000 under 16-year-olds saw internet porn in a single month last year, the online video watchdog has said. The Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD), found that one in twenty UK visitors to adult websites during December 2013 was under 18.”
The Sydney Morning Herald: “The big-budget film, which opens in Australia on Thursday, has been blocked by censors in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates because it could offend Muslim viewers by depicting a prophet. Indonesia followed on Monday with a unanimous decision by the Indonesian Censorship Board.”
CNN Political Ticker: “Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law that makes it illegal to tell children about gay rights is linked to the nation’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday night. Speaking at a gala in Los Angeles for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, Biden suggested countries that don’t respect the rights of gays, lesbians and transgender people also disregard borders.”
Reuters: “An Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death for murder and other offences on Monday, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement that is likely to fuel instability.”
The Christian Institute: “Publishing adult material online which is ‘readily available to children’ could be against the law, the report warned. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report, entitled ‘Online safety,’ said there is ‘scope for greater enforcement in this area.’”
Vatican Radio: “Representatives of the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim worlds gathered for the first time ever in the Vatican press office on Monday for the launch of a Global Freedom Network aimed at eradicating human trafficking by the end of the decade.”
L. Gordon Crovitz at The Wall Street Journal: “According to the administration’s announcement, the Commerce Department will not renew its agreement with Icann, which dates to 1998. This means, effective next year, the U.S. will no longer oversee the “root zone file,” which contains all names and addresses for websites world-wide. If authoritarian regimes in Russia, China and elsewhere get their way, domains could be banned and new ones not approved for meddlesome groups such as Ukrainian-independence organizations or Tibetan human-rights activists.”
PewResearch: “Many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, according to surveys in 40 countries by the Pew Research Center. However, this view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.”
Associated Press: “Arab foreign ministers on Sunday rejected Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, saying such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees.”
Foreign Policy: “Yet it’s also true that in the process of fighting the bill, foreign governments and activists arguably made a number of tactical errors. These errors contributed to the anti-Western populism that the bill soon began to thrive upon, while also placing domestic LGBT rights advocates in an uncomfortable position.”
Christian Today: “A High Court judge declared yesterday that she was ‘not satisfied that the full story is being told’ regarding Boris Johnson’s 2012 intervention to stop ex-gay adverts running on London buses.”
RealClearReligion: “One of the more interesting aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is its rate of growth, especially outside the United States. However, the LDS church remains stuck in its American heritage which can now be seen as an obstacle to the mission of the church. A process of de-centralization should take place to create a truly global Church. Part of this plan could include moving its headquarters away from Salt Lake City.”
CBC: “Groups must submit an application and, if approved, the flag will fly for four days on a new flag pole to be erected in the park across from City Hall. . . . The policy follows a motion that was made Feb. 17 to fly the gay pride flag outside City Hall during the Sochi Olympics in protest of the anti-gay laws in Russia.”
Roger Scruton at The Spectator: “Until recently the conservative emphasis on civil society has led to an equal emphasis on the family as its heart. This emphasis has been thrown into disarray by the sexual revolution, by widespread divorce and out-of-wedlock birth, and by recent moves to accommodate the homosexual lifestyle. And those changes have to be absorbed and normalised. Ours is a tolerant society in which liberty is extended to a variety of religions, world views, and forms of domestic life. But liberty is threatened by licence: liberty is founded on personal responsibility and a respect for others, whereas licence is a way of exploiting others for purely personal gain. Liberty therefore depends on the values that protect individuals from chaotic personal lives and which cherish the integrity of the home in the face of the many threats to it.”
Associated Press: “With the Winter Games underway in Sochi, Google Inc. quietly but vibrantly added its voice Thursday to the chorus of U.S. companies speaking out against Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activities by updating its iconic search page logo to depict illustrations of athletes skiing, sledding, curling and skating against a rainbow-colored backdrop.”
AP: “‘We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people,’ he said. ‘We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face.’”
Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder: “Prime Minister David Cameron announced in 2013 that the United Kingdom will issue a £200 million ($327 million) Islamic bond, or sukuk, making it the first non-Muslim country to tap into Islamic financing. Companies in the United States are also considering Islamic finance to fund business ventures and infrastructure projects. Demand for new Islamic investments is expected to outstrip supply by as much as $100 billion by 2015, an imbalance that could translate to much-needed liquidity in some tight markets. But the industry remains small and will need to expand considerably to have a significant impact on global financial markets.”
AP: “An EU report says corruption affects all 28 member countries of the European Union and costs their economies around 120 billion euros ($162.19 billion) a year.”
CNN: “Tunisia’s national assembly approved the country’s landmark new constitution — its first since the ouster of longtime president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali three years ago.” | More from Religion Clause.
Reuters: “The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Mexican national Edgar Tamayo on Wednesday, allowing Texas to put to death the convicted killer who is also at the center of a diplomatic dispute.”
Filip Mazurczak at First Things: “In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring. While few in the American media have noticed, this trend should challenge those who simply lament Europe’s moral malaise. Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized west, religion’s public role has been growing in the east since the collapse of communism.”
LA Times: “The International Olympic Committee official who supervised the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, criticized the United States on Wednesday for including openly gay athletes in its official delegation to Sochi, Russia, next month.”
Washington Times: “American journalist David Satter has been kicked out of Russia, raising questions about whether the former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times was expelled in retribution for his criticism of President Vladimir Putin in the run-up to the Olympic Games, CNN reported.”
Fox News: “Egyptians began voting Tuesday on a draft for their country’s next constitution, a vision for the nation’s future and a milestone in a military-backed roadmap put in place after Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a coup last July.”
AP: Tunisia’s Islamist prime minister announced his resignation Thursday in favor of a caretaker government that will supervise new elections later this year and complete the North African country’s long delayed transition to democracy.
Telegraph: Kim Jong-un’s aunt, a former North Korean regime stalwart and the wife of executed general Jang Song-taek, is reported to have either died of a heart attack or committed suicide
AP: Egypt’s Interior Ministry says security forces have arrested journalists working for the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera network over alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood, the leading Islamist group that was last week branded as a “terrorist” organization.
The Guardian: Exam to be based on 700-page manual that prohibits published reports from featuring comments that go against party line.
Pat Buchanan at CNSNews: Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative? In the culture war for mankind’s future, is he one of us? While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president’s state of the nation address. With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, “In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered.”
Reuters: North Korea has executed the powerful uncle of young leader Kim Jong Un, state media said on Friday, the biggest upheaval in years as the ruling dynasty sought to distance itself from responsibility for the isolated states’s dire living standards.
AP: Chinese authorities have been withholding residence visas for reporters working for The New York Times and Bloomberg in apparent retaliation for the agencies’ investigative stories on wealth accumulated by leaders’ families.
CNSNews: Amid tensions over China’s bid to exert sovereignty over a Japanese-controlled but contested area of the East China Sea, Beijing has dispatched its only aircraft carrier for the first time to the South China Sea, where it is embroiled in further disputes with neighboring countries.
The Hill: A pair of American B-52 bombers flew unannounced into a recently established Chinese no-fly zone in the East China Sea, in a direct rebuke of Beijing’s asserted authority over the area.
AP: France’s government is pushing one of Europe’s toughest laws against prostitution and sex trafficking, and other countries are watching closely.
Washington Free Beacon: The United States released $8 billion in frozen assets to Iran on Sunday in a move meant to ensure Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear pact signed over the weekend, according to top Iranian officials.
DEVEX: These flagships will focus on cross-cutting challenges in international development – the creation of green jobs, migrant workers’ rights or the intersection of animal and human health, for instance. The goal is to avoid a silo mentality and instead pursue holistic solutions through cross-sector partnerships especially with large multilateral partners.
The Hill: President Obama pleaded with senators to give more time for diplomacy with Iran during a two-hour White House meeting on Tuesday. The president asked the senators to ignore the aggressive lobbying campaign by Israel and hold off on new sanctions against Iran that are popular with members of both parties.
PC World: Google will display warnings above the search results for 13,000 terms it believes are associated with more explicit child sexual abuse terms, it announced Monday. Microsoft said it will take similar action on its Bing search engine, and on Yahoo searches powered by Bing.
Indian Express: Abdulla Yameen, the man who projected himself as the defender of Islam in the Maldives, swept to unexpected victory in the presidential run-off election on Saturday, defeating Mohamed Nasheed, the former president who was forced out of power last year.
AP: A sweeping child pornography investigation has led to the rescue of 386 children around the world and the arrest of 348 people, Canadian police said Thursday.
Findlaw: The organization’s total worth is difficult to pinpoint because of the secrecy of its accounts. But Setad’s holdings of real estate, corporate stakes and other assets total about $95 billion, Reuters has calculated. That estimate is based on an analysis of statements by Setad officials, data from the Tehran Stock Exchange and company websites, and information from the U.S. Treasury Department.
FT.com: Emboldened by a nod and a wink from Saudi officials, including press reports that the feared religious police, or mutawa, were warned against arresting women who drive, over 16,000 men and women signed the online petition to oppose the ban, which is not enshrined in law.
The Guardian: Latin America has blazed the way in the adoption of laws that promote and protect the right to food, a UN expert has said. In his final report to the general assembly, Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, singled out the continent for remarkable progress over the past decade.
Washington Free Beacon: Iran plans to build many new nuclear plants with atomic reactors along its coastlines with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, Iran’s top nuclear official announced on Thursday.
AP: Mexico has issued a decree banning slot machines, and limiting the ability of casino permit holders to rent out or cede their permits to other operators.
Independent: Saudi Arabia’s government has warned it will use force if campaigners take to the streets protest against the country’s ban on women driving.
Reuters: Western countries accused China on Tuesday of arresting activists, curbing Internet use and suppressing ethnic minorities, as the United Nations formally reviewed its rights record for the first time since Xi Jinping became president.
AP: Saudi Arabia on Friday rejected its freshly-acquired seat on the U.N. Security Council, saying the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.
Chriss W. Street at Breitbart: Having benefited for twenty years from their under-valued currency, importing manufacturing jobs, and exporting lower priced products, China’s comparative advantage is being destroyed by America’s oil and natural gas fracking boom. The Chinese communist authorities are terrified their loss of competitiveness will cause unemployment and the social consequences that flow from it. But with the terms of trade now substantially against China, convincing the world to dump the U.S. dollar as reserve currency and switch to the Chinese “renminbi” is their best hope to try to save tens of millions of manufacturing jobs.
AP: Egypt’s foreign minister said Wednesday that relations between his country and the United States are in “turmoil” following Washington’s decision to suspend delivery of tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to Egypt.
AP: The Church of Sweden says it has elected the country’s first female archbishop, who will join a growing number of female church leaders around the world.
News.com.pk: The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia told over a million pilgrims that Islam teaches peace and does not allow terrorism. He called upon leaders of Muslim countries to work for the well being of people. “Your nation is a trust with you. You must safeguard its security, stability and resources.”
AP: The Cairo-based Arab League has condemned remarks by the Czech president about moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling them a violation of Palestinian rights and international resolutions.
AP: In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday
NCPA Policy Digest: The United States is overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, a startling shift that is reshaping markets and eroding the clout of traditional energy-rich nations, says the Wall Street Journal.
Con Coughlin at the Telegraph: In short, the longer the Obama presidency continues, the more America’s status as a superpower ebbs away.
Haaretz: Jamil told the Guardian what Assad’s regime plans propose at the upcoming meet: “An end to external intervention, a ceasefire and the launching of a peaceful political process in a way that the Syrian people can enjoy self-determination without outside intervention and in a democratic way.”
History News Network: But the American Academy worries rightly about the humanities’ prospects in the United States itself, more than in societies where they’ve never taken root. Buffeted by market, political and social pressures, liberal educators whose own public funding is dwindling and whose students’ resources and aspirations are narrowing have set sail for lavish subsidies and burgeoning new student markets. But they’ve forgotten that whoever pays the piper ultimately calls the tune.
WorldNetDaily: However, in a classified document just obtained by WND, the U.S. military confirms that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel Islamists fighting in Syria.
The Hill: President Obama will back a United Nations effort to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, the White House said Tuesday.
AP: Momentum to avoid Western missile strikes on Syria intensified Tuesday, as President Bashar Assad’s government accepted a plan to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile and France pitched a U.N. Security Council resolution to verify the disarmament.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): After all, Mr. Abbott is skeptical about alarmist claims of man-made global warming. He is a former Catholic seminarian who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. His gaffes—he recently said a female parliamentary candidate had “sex appeal”—have provided fodder for left-leaning satirists. He is an Anglophile, a former Oxford boxing blue, and an unashamed constitutional monarchist who sides with America in the world.
Politico: White House and State Department officials said Monday they’re open to proposals by Russia to put Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons under international control, but that such talk is no reason for the U.S. to back away from President Barack Obama’s threat of a military strike.
Breitbart: In a surprise move, Russia promised Monday to push its ally Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes.
Baptist Press: Every day the numbers rise as Syria’s crisis rages out of control and spills across borders into neighboring countries. There are now more than 2 million refugees, 5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 100,000 dead.
NY Times: President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said on Thursday, even with a rejection of such action by Britain’s Parliament, an increasingly restive Congress, and lacking an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council.
Fox News: British lawmakers on Thursday rejected a measure that would have given preliminary approval to military intervention in Syria, in a major setback for both British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Obama administration.
AP: Pope Francis and Jordan’s king stressed Thursday that dialogue and negotiations are the only way for ending Syria’s civil war, the Vatican said.
AP: The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no “slam dunk,” with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria’s chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.
The Hill: A total of 116 lawmakers had signed the letter as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, highlighting bipartisan interest and growing momentum in ensuring a role for Congress in any decision to use force in Syria.