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Mon, 18 Oct 2021
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California, US Circumcision Ban: Proposal Gains Support

circumcision ban
© Unknown

San Francisco voters won't be able to vote on a proposed ban on circumcision until November. But anticircumcision activists hail the fact that the bill even exists on the ballot as a sign the so-called "intactivist" movement is picking up steam.

The MGM Bill, which stands for "male genital mutilation," calls for the circumcision of boys under the age of 18 to be deemed a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. It was drafted by the MGM Bill group, an advocacy organization that has written similar legislation for 46 states.

In order to get the bill on the ballot in San Francisco, supporters had to gather more than 7,000 signatures -- and The New York Times reported a similar effort underway in Santa Monica.

"We believe that it is an utterly justifiable position to ask for a legal ban on the genital cutting of boys," said Georgeanne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, one of the largest intactivist groups in the U.S. The non-profit did not have a hand in pushing for the legislation, but Chapin said she applauds the measure, calling circumcision both medically unnecessary and cruel, regardless of religious customs.


US: 3 New Jersey Women Arrested For Stealing 380 Grave Markers, Flower Urns From Local Cemetery

Three New Jersey women are behind bars for a crime, that is becoming more and more common according to police. Authorities say they stole brass markers from the graves of veterans at local cemeteries, and sold the stolen markers to a scrap yard. Authorities tell Eyewitness News the suspects needed drug money.

"You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?" said Sgt. Bill Covert with the Cinnaminson Police Department. Covert, who's a veteran himself, said the we was floored to learn that someone would sink that low.

Inside an old shed at Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in Cinnaminson is where officials are keeping the stolen markers. Authorities say the women they arrested are responsible for stealing 380 grave markers and flower urns from local cemeteries including St. Mary's in Bellmawr and Lakeview.

Heart - Black

US: Voodoo Mom Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Burning Daughter

© Ellis Kaplan
Marie Lauradin
A monster mom tried to soften her tale of setting a six-year-old daughter on fire in a voodoo ritual even as she pleaded guilty to the "barbaric" crime today - but a Queens judge would have none of it as he coaxed the truth from her and then sentenced the woman to 17 years behind bars.

Marie Lauradin, 29, pleaded guilty to assault last month for setting little Frantzcia Saintil on fire in a ritual called "Loa." But in a pre-sentencing report she changed her story, saying she was merely "rubbing [Frantzcia] down with alcohol because she was sick with fever when a nearby candle fell and set her on fire."

"I'm giving you another opportunity to tell the truth," Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter quickly scolded as Lauradin began to tell another lie.

"Did you douse your child with accelerant and light her on fire?" the judge said as he began to quiz Lauradin about what happened to the little girl.

"Yes," she said through an interpreter.


"Foreskin Man" Takes On Genital Mutilation

© MGMBill
'Foreskin man' in action
Even though they'd be a great medium for it, comic books aren't known for tackling sensitive social, religious or cultural topics in an overt way. People who read comic books are looking for fantasy and escapism rather than intellectual stimulation - just like people who read men's magazines. Maybe that's why a new comic produced by Matthew Hess, the president of MGMBill, an organisation that has authored a bill that has been submitted to the US congress to ban Male Genital Mutilation (hence MGMBill), has made the headlines recently.

Unashamedly titled Foreskin man, the comic book series features a blonde superhero doing battle with the evil 'Mohel' (Mohel being the Hebrew word for a Jewish person trained in the practice of Brit milah or Bris (circumcision).

I have to admit that my first reaction on hearing about the comic was 'what a good idea!', but when I saw the comic and the reaction it had received from certain quarters, my reaction was more along the lines of 'this the best idea since anti-Vegetarian man!'

It seems a little weird to me that I would actually have to write this but, I'm not exactly a fan of genital mutilation, regardless of the justification, hence my appreciation of Foreskin Man.

So circumcision, what's it all about?

Alarm Clock

Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Great Depression
© Bettmann/Corbis
Dust-bowl refugees walk towards Los Angeles during the Great Depression. House prices have now fallen further than in the 1930s.
The economic powerhouse of the 20th century emerged stronger from the Depression. But faced with cultural decay, structural weaknesses and reliance on finance, can the US do it again?

America clocked up a record last week. The latest drop in house prices meant that the cost of real estate has fallen by 33% since the peak - even bigger than the 31% slide seen when John Steinbeck was writing The Grapes of Wrath.


Indonesia: One Hundred Mysterious Coffins Sent to Media Offices

One hundred mysterious coffins, each one-meter long, have been sent to media offices and companies.

Most of the coffins were sent to media and communication companies as well as bloggers, including radio and TV presenter Farhan, blogger and author Raditya Dika, the CEO of Fastcomm Ipang Wahid, the CEO of Bubu Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, Indopacific Edelmen senior consultant Vida Parady, and PT Saling Silang managing director Enda Nasution.


Japan: Fishermen tells us - I'm finished

© Jim Seida/msnbc.com
Tadashi Onodera in Kesennuma on Monday, June 6, 2011.
I saw Tadashi Onodera from a distance. He was sitting in a field of debris as far as the eye could see in Kesennuma. Hulks of homes, cars, remnants of everyday life jammed the landscape.

Onodera, a 63-year-old fisherman, returned from one year's work at sea on May 26 to a new 'normal.' He comes down here often now, saying he wants to see what's happening. His house is fine, but he pointed to the skeleton of his in-laws blue-colored home in the distance.

"It's extremely frightening," he said of the landscape.

"It's impossible to know what's going to happen with this whole area," he added, noting it was a question of whether the government would buy it from people or if they would be able to build on it.

Onodera, who stood alongside a rice paddy that couldn't be used since it had been swamped by the tsunami and the debris it carried, said he thought the rebuilding would take at least ten years. He said the government had to revive the fishing industry there.

"That's what this whole town lives on ... without that, if they can't bring that back, then there's nothing," he said.

But Onodera said he would not be joining his fellow fishermen.

"I'm finished. I'm 63. ... I've had enough," he said. "If I had the chance, if it was still here, I'd be out there. I'd love to work."

Bizarro Earth

Syrian Internet Restored, Dramatic Footage Emerges

Internet intelligence firm Renesys reports that Syrian Internet services are now operational again. But these dramatic clips of Syrians rising up against their government, shot on June 2, were allegedly sent out of the country via satellite phone.


US: 12-year-old who 'punched baby brother to death' could become America's youngest to spend life in prison

© Police Handout
Charged: If convicted, Cristian Fernandez, 12, could become the youngest American to face life in prison

Prosecutors want to lock a 12-year-old boy up for the rest of his life - to stop him from killing again.

Cristian Fernandez could become America's youngest ever 'lifer' after being charged as an adult over the murder of his two-year-old brother.

Prosecutor Angela Corey said: 'We have to protect the public from this young man'. She recommended that he face trial as an adult.

Ms Corey said the public had a 'right to be protected' from him.

If Fernandez were charged as a juvenile and convicted he would be free by the time he is 21.

Fernandez is alleged to have beaten his younger brother David Galarriago to death at their home in Jacksonville, Florida, in March.


Greece Austerity Protests Grow

Demonstrators gather Greece
© AP/Dimitri Messinis
Demonstrators gather during a peaceful rally outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, on Sunday, June 5, 2011. Thousands of protesters have gathered for a 12th consecutive day to protest at fiscal austerity measures and demand that Greece stop paying its debtors. They have also denounced politicians of all stripes as incompetent and corrupt.
Tens of thousands Greeks rallied in central Athens on Sunday to denounce politicians, bankers and tax dodgers, as the government prepared to inflict another bout of austerity demanded by its international lenders.

"Thieves - hustlers - bankers," read one banner as more than 50,000 people packed the main Syntagma square outside parliament to vent their frustration over rising joblessness as austerity bites, blaming the crisis on political corruption.

Turnout was the biggest so far in a series of 12 nightly rallies on the square inspired by Spain's protest movement.

Amidst a sea of splayed hands waved at the parliament building -- an offensive gesture for Greeks -- one demonstrator raised a placard reading "Bravo Yemen", whose president underwent surgery in Saudi Arabia for injuries suffered in a rocket attack on his palace.