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Sat, 25 May 2019
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Austrian rightwing government approves headscarf ban in primary schools

© Alamy
The ban was proposed by the ruling rightwing government.
Austrian MPs have approved a law aimed at banning the headscarf in primary schools, a measure proposed by the ruling rightwing government.

The text refers to any "ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head".

Representatives of both parts of the governing coalition, the centre-right People's party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom party (FPÖ), have made it clear that despite its wide description, the law is targeted at the Islamic headscarf.

The FPÖ education spokesman, Wendelin Mölzer, said the law was "a signal against political Islam" while the ÖVP MP Rudolf Taschner said the measure was necessary to free girls from subjugation.

The government said the patka head covering worn by Sikh boys and the Jewish kippa would not be affected. Medical bandages and protection from rain or snow are also not covered by the law approved on Wednesday.

Arrow Down

Judge condems the 'wickedness' of woman who falsely accused a man of rape

justice scales
Margaret Weldon, 43, met a man at a bar in Sheffield city in South Yorkshire on April 1, 2017. The two returned to his home and had consensual sex. She left the next morning. She returned to his home that evening and the two had consensual sex again.

When the man said he no longer wanted to see her, she overdosed on an unspecified substance and claimed to have been raped as her husband and paramedics rushed her to the hospital, according to local newspaper The Star. She would later change her story before surveillance video and witnesses proved she lied.

Sheffield Crown Court Prosecutor Ian Goldsack said during a hearing Thursday that Weldon had offered to drive the man home the night they met.

"She said she had a car and would drive them there. They spent the night together. The complainant went on to tell the police they had intercourse on two or three occasions," he said, The Star reported.


Moscow crash-landing: New video shows plane undergo RIDICULOUS bounces on runway

moscow plane crash Sheremetyevo
New video has emerged of a plane making a very bumpy emergency landing before it burst into flames in Moscow, killing 41 people on board.

The CCTV footage from Sheremetyevo airport shows the Aeroflot jet bouncing several times on and off the runway as it tries to land.

Comment: So the approach was normal. But then, right as the landing gear makes contact with the runway, the plane speeds up, lifts, then dives... again, and again. No wonder the rear of the jet burst into flames on the third bounce.


Bill passed in Missouri Senate to ban abortions at 8 weeks

Mike Parson
© AP/Charlie Riedel
Missouri Governor Mike Parson
Missouri's Republican-led Senate has now passed a bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

Senators approved the legislation 24-10 early Thursday with just hours left before a Friday deadline to pass bills. It needs at least one more vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who voiced support for it on Wednesday.

Parson called on state senators to take action, joining a movement of GOP-dominated state legislatures emboldened by the possibility that a more conservative Supreme Court could overturn its landmark ruling legalizing the procedure. Their vote came only hours after Alabama's governor signed the most stringent abortion ban in the nation on Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

The Missouri proposal includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions at eight weeks or later into a pregnancy wouldn't be prosecuted.

Comment: See also:

Eye 2

Ex-NXIVM cult member testifies Seagram's heiress Clare Bronfman funneled illegal donations to win Clinton's favor

Clare Bronfman
© AP
Clare Bronfman
Seagram's heiress and accused Nxivm benefactor Clare Bronfman tried to buy influence for the alleged sex cult by illegally raising money for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, a former group member testified in court Monday.

Bronfman funneled thousands of dollars into Clinton's campaign coffers - far in excess of legal limits to contributions - to "curry favor" with the powerhouse political family, according to Mark Vicente, a documentary filmmaker and former member of the Nxivm group that is accused of keeping women as sex slaves.

"Clare Bronfman approached other people and said she would like to make a campaign contribution but she couldn't make it above a certain amount," Vicente testified in Brooklyn federal court Monday.

"I wrote a check. She paid me back."

Red Flag

Chris Hedges on America's cultural schizophrenia: 'Media shift to feelings over facts is tearing US apart'

magazine stand
© Reuters / Carlo Allegri
Over the past several decades, US news media have shifted towards advocacy and emotional appeals, according to a RAND Corporation study. This is sowing discord in American society, award-winning journalist Chris Hedges tells RT.

The study, released by RAND earlier this week, cautiously argues that between 1987 and 2017, news content has shifted from event- and context-based reporting to coverage that is "more subjective, relies more heavily on argumentation and advocacy, and includes more emotional appeals."

While prime-time cable news shows and online journalism lead the way in this shift, it has been noticed in print journalism as well, the government-funded think tank concluded. This is contributing to what RAND termed "Truth Decay," described as a shift away from facts and analysis in public discourse.

"Cable news networks - CNN, MSNBC, Fox - have given up on journalism," Hedges told RT, commenting on the RAND report. "They replaced it with reality-show news programs centered around [US President] Donald Trump and his tweets and the Russiagate. There has been a complete walking away from journalism."


Clean & honest broker lacking colonial baggage: Russia investing in Africa's huge energy potential

playing soccer
© Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko
Africa's economic potential is enormous: the continent contains significant mineral and energy deposits, a young and growing population, and an underdeveloped energy sector desperately in need of investment.

Approximately 640 million people, or two-thirds of the entire populace, don't have access to electricity. According to the African Development Bank, energy poverty reduces GDP growth by four percent every year. Russia's energy industry, in comparison, is booming. Its state-run nuclear energy company Rosatom has an order book of 34 reactors in 12 countries worth $300 billion. Recently, Moscow has set its eyes on Africa where most states have either already struck a deal with the Kremlin or are considering one.


Countdown to zero: Russia continues dumping US debt

uncle sam
© Reuters / Brendan McDermid
Foreign investors have accelerated the reduction of US debt securities, selling $21.7 billion of their holdings in March, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Treasury Department.

Russia, which is no longer a leading creditor of the US, after an unprecedented dumping of the US Treasury bonds in April and May, has slashed its stockpile by almost $800 million in March to $13.716 billion.

Russia has cut nearly 85 percent of its US Treasury holdings from $96.9 billion in January 2018. The drop is even more significant from 2012, when Russia held over $170 billion in US debt bonds.

The largest US creditor China sold $20.45 billion in Treasuries in March, the most since October 2016, following $1.08 billion in purchases the month before.


Found: 977,000 shoes, 373,000 toothbrushes on Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Plastic waste on Cocos Island
© Jennifer Lavers
On the beaches of the tiny Cocos (Keeling) Islands, population 600, marine scientists found 977,000 shoes and 373,000 toothbrushes.

A comprehensive survey of debris on the islands - among the most remote places on Earth, in the Indian Ocean - has found a staggering amount of rubbish washed ashore. This included 414m pieces of plastic, weighing 238 tonnes.

The study, published in the journal Nature, concluded the volume of debris points to the exponential increase of global plastic polluting the world's oceans and "highlights a worrying trend in the production and discharge of single-use products".

The lead author, Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania's Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, said remote islands without large populations were the most effective indicator of the amount of plastic debris floating in the oceans.

"Islands such as these are like canaries in a coal mine and it's increasingly urgent that we act on the warnings they are giving us. Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic debris now circling the globe," Lavers said.

Stock Down

The burden of Trump's trade war will fall on US businesses & consumers according to analyst

chess pawns us china trade war tariffs
© Getty Images
As the US and China continue to exchange blows in an ongoing trade battle, Professor Richard Wolff talks to RT's Boom Bust about the possible outcomes of the skirmish.

"It is already costing jobs, it is already costing money, it is now costing huge losses in stock markets and the irony of it all is that it's mostly political theater," the analyst said, discussing the impasse caused by the trade war sparked by US President Donald Trump.

"Mr Trump has initiated a massive tax on Americans. Tariff is just a word for a particular kind of tax," Wolff said, stressing that the president is taxing goods and services that come into the US.