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Ebola crisis: Families bribe retrieval teams to keep corpses

Ebola crisis: Families bribe retrieval teams to keep corpses

Local Source:
The families of many Ebola victims in Liberia are paying off special body retrieval teams to let them keep infected corpses and give them traditional burials. Traditional funeral rites in West Africa call for corpses to be washed and prepared for a lengthy vigil before burial, during which friends and relatives paying their last respects are customarily allowed to touch and kiss the body of the deceased. This is widely believed to have greatly exacerbated the rapid spread of the Ebola epidemic in the region, since the deadly virus is highly contagious through exposure to bodily fluids wh
Performance artist cuts off earlobe in protest

Performance artist cuts off earlobe in protest

Local Source:
A Russian performance artist and political activist cut off his earlobe in protest of what he believes is a return to the forced psychiatry of the Soviet-era. Petr Pavlensky has been involved in a number of self-mutilating protests considered scandalous by the public, including nailing his testicles to the Red Square in protest of government actions. His latest, titled "A Separation," was carried out on the roof of the prominent Serbsky Psychiatric Center, which is known for manufacturing diagnoses of dissidents during Soviet repressions. Government critics allege a return to these pr
Is there a 'right to get high'?

Is there a ‘right to get high’?

Local Source:
A paradigm shift seems to be underway in German law enforcement circles. André Schulz, head of the Association of German Criminal Investigation Officers (BDK), has advocated the decriminalization of drug consumption. The role of the police is in need of a “new angle,” he says. While the BDK does not call for an outright legalization of drugs like cannabis, investigators say that there should be a commission analyzing the issue. The question is, according to Schulz, “whether the liberalization of drugs under state control makes sense and is morally acceptable.” One of the reasons

Veiled woman forced to leave the opera in Paris

Veiled woman forced to leave the opera in Paris

Local Source:
A Muslim woman was enjoying “La Traviata” at Opéra Garnier in Paris until she was suddenly asked by the management to make a difficult decision—to take off her veil or leave in the middle of the show. The woman, whose nose and mouth were entirely covered, was sitting right in front of the choristers, who spotted her and threatened to stop singing if the situation was not fixed. In France, according to a law passed in 2010, it is forbidden to wear any clothing which hides the face in public space. Anyone who doesn’t comply must pay a fine and/or take citizenship training. Du
Police: Five Britons join Islamic State each week

Police: Five Britons join Islamic State each week

Local Source:
More than five British people are flying out to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State every week, the U.K.'s most senior police officer said. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe announced the figures and warned that the militants' activities are “not just the horrors of distant lands” and that returning fighters could cause a real threat on British home soil. Around 500 Britons are believed to have joined the Islamic State so far, he said. “Five a week doesn’t sound much, but when you realize there are 50 weeks in a year, 250 more would be 50 percent more
Radio, TV to be fined for not playing Ecuadorian music

Radio, TV to be fined for not playing Ecuadorian music

Local Source:
Ecuador's music industry had been celebrating since last June because they thought they had a new audience: Ecuadorians. The 2013 Communications Law required 50 percent of radio programs’ content to be Ecuadorian music. However, it seems that nothing has changed. Of the 15,000 Ecuadorian songs produced in the past four years, a record low for the nation, only one song is played for every four internationally recorded hits. The Communications Law requires broadcasters to meet a 20 percent minimum for Ecuadorian music within the first year, followed by 35 percent and 50 percent in the s
Popular messaging app says 'No' to surveillance from gov't

Popular messaging app says ‘No’ to gov’t surveillance

Local Source:
Lee Suk-woo, the CEO of Kakao Talk, apologized to users for its latest privacy controversy. Lee announced that Kakao Talk wouldn’t comply with the request of prosecutors to make the app available to broad surveillance of users’ conversations. “We sincerely apologize for creating chaos and confusion,” he said. “We will do our best to secure users’ privacy and restore their confidence in the service of Kakao Talk.” Political analysts say that it looks as if Kakao Talk has declared war against the Prosecutors Office. The CEO’s announcement wasn’t clear whether the company
Athletics body under fire for failing to control doping

Athletic body under fire for failing to control doping

Local Source:
Kenya is famous for regularly producing world class long distance and marathon runners, much like its northern neighbor Ethiopia. But it has not been immune to the worldwide problem of doping in the sport. A report on the problem, prepared by a government anti-doping task force, was presented last week by Sports Minister Hassan Wario. The country’s athletics federation was blamed for failing to control the doping situation among local athletes. But the federation chairman Isaiah Kiplagat insisted that although the doping problem indeed existed in the country, the athletes were being un
Female judges, lawyers fight over defending sex after 50

Female judges, lawyers defend right to sex after 50

Local Source:
The Portuguese Association of Jurist Women accuses the Supreme Administrative Court, one of the highest courts in the Portuguese judicial system, of being biased and having taken an unconstitutional decision to devalue the sexuality of women older than 50. The controversy began when the Supreme Administrative Court lowered the compensation a woman, who couldn’t have sex because of a surgery error 19 years ago, was supposed to receive. The first decree said that the woman would receive $224,000 from the hospital, but recently the Supreme Court lowered the value to $142,000, claiming t
UN demands Venezuela frees political prisoners

UN demands Venezuela free political prisoners

Local Source:
Venezuela was recently, and controversially, chosen to be a temporary member of the UN's Security Council. And now that the UN and Venezuela have a closer relationship, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein called for the immediate release of Leopoldo López and dozens of other Venezuelan political prisoners. Zeid met with Lopez's wife, Lilan Tintori, in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the situation of 69 people who are still detained after the social unrest that shook Venezuela earlier this year. Zeid said in an interview that the prolonged and arbitrary detention
Plans underway to make Ethiopia's capital greener, cleaner

Ethiopia takes action to make capital greener, cleaner

Local Source:
Ethiopian authorities have embarked on a series of comprehensive programs designed to make the capital Addis Ababa a greener, cleaner and more pleasant place to live and work. The country is increasingly seen to be setting a global example on how to combat the negative impacts of climate change, including worsening pollution and traffic gridlock, while also achieving economic growth and prosperity. The programs currently being pushed forwarded include a strategy aimed at helping the country achieve middle-income status by 2025 while developing a green economy, and another one that seeks
Building technology-based 'city of the future'

Building Kenya’s tech-based ‘city of the future’

Local Source:
Kenya is developing its own “city of the future” – a visionary techno-metropolis aimed at solving the problems caused by rapid urbanization through various initiatives based on advanced technologies. The envisaged Konza City is a cornerstone of Kenya's Vision 2030, the government’s development blueprint. The initial plan was to make it a national information and communications technology hub, providing much-needed job opportunities for the country’s youth. Many Kenyans therefore refer to it as a “Silicon Savannah." But the concept behind Konza City has been further developed
Catholic Church wants people to stop saying 'acts of God'

Catholic Church wants people to stop saying ‘acts of God’

Local Source:
The archbishop of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called for people to drop the phrase "act of God," which is commonly written in legal documents and even inordinately used in courts. Archbishop Socrates Villegas noted in a statement that other terms such as "fortuitous events," "natural calamities," and "force majeure" can be used instead. He says that the formulaic phrase, commonly used in insurance contracts and in law and jurisprudence, "conveys the thought that God is the cause of human misery and tragedy.” Thus, his logic is, the phrase contradicts the
Strict gov't control, censorship over Turkish theaters

Strict gov’t control, censorship over Turkish theaters

Local Source:
The general manager of the state theaters in Turkey abruptly resigned from his job after the ministry of culture ordered two plays to be removed from the annual program. This incident shed light on how the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism exerts strict control and censorship over what shows public theaters can host. All plays must be recorded on a CD during rehearsals and submitted to the Ministry along with answers to questions like what happens during the rehearsals, what are the cues, etc. The Ministry then asks all regional general directorates of the theaters to submit
What lessons Nigeria taught about Ebola?

What lessons has Nigeria taught about Ebola?

Local Source:
Nigeria has been declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organization. The all-clear has also been sounded in Senegal, another affected West African country in the worst-ever epidemic of the deadly disease that continues to rampage through the region. But in the midst of the collective relief in Nigeria, the big question remains: How did Africa’s most populous nation manage to rid itself of the highly contagious killer virus before it spiraled out of control? Early preparations, including proper training of local health workers, plus a rapid and well-coordinated national response pl
Who framed legendary cyclists Marco Pantani?

Who framed legendary cyclist Marco Pantani?

Local Source:
Marco Pantani, the cycling champion who died in 2004, is again making major headlines in Italy because he is the center of a police investigation. Authorities are questioning his exclusion from the 1999 Italian Tour. Pantani was disqualified for doping on the penultimate section of the race, after dominating the whole event. This story is mixed with another famous person: Renato Vallanzasca. He is one of the most ferocious bandits in Italian history, and he wrote in his biography that he knew the truth about what happened to Pantani. A few days before the tour, an inmate allegedly
Acid attacks on Iranian women who don’t wear veil, drive

Acid attacks on Iranian women who drive, don’t wear veil

Local Source:
Acid attacks against women in Isfahan, Iran are triggering widespread panic, with rumors that the victims did not respect the country's requirement to wear a veil. Assistant Police Chief General Hussein Ashtary announced that four acid attacks have just recently been reported and that several suspects have been arrested. An investigation is ongoing. He added that the victims do not belong to a particular group or class. Many messages on social media mention about 6 to 13 separate acid attacks targeting "women who drive vehicles and did not wear their veil as they should." Female drivers
The first mobile court in the world

The first mobile court in the world

Local Source:
The law is on wheels, literally. The first mobile court was presented during the annual GITEX Technology Week in the United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi judicial department presented its unique idea, which became the hit of the show. The mobile court is the first of its kind in the world. It is actually a huge double-decker bus which features a court hall. It will provide all the services a regular court does. It is supposed to make it easier for people, including those with special needs, who cannot make it to the city’s main courtroom to attend trials. The court will travel across
Seoul mayor takes heat for supporting gay marriage

Seoul’s mayor takes heat for supporting same-sex marriage

Local Source:
Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul, found himself in a scandalous situation after he publicly supported same-sex marriage during his trip in the U.S. In an interview with a newspaper in California, Park said that he “personally agrees with the rights of homosexuals.” He also said he was hoping that Korea would become the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage. But the municipality’s website was immediately flooded with criticism as people denounced Park’s remarks. Religious groups, especially, asked for his resignation. Political analysts say that this may be a calculate
Children give up fireworks to prevent pollution

Children give up fireworks to prevent pollution

Local Source:
Fireworks, an essential part of the Indian festival of Diwali, seem to be on their way out. Students have taken a pledge to celebrate the festival without fireworks in order to prevent pollution to the environment. Firecrackers release pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which affect people's health. The loud sounds that they produce are also harmful to children and pregnant women. A large number of burn injuries from firecrackers are also reported during the festival every year. The environmental department has been trying to educate the masses about

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