Author: gbaddy

Pope calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples

The Pope made the historic remarks in “Francesco,” a new documentary film directed by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, that premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,” the Pope said in the film, the Catholic News Agency reported.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the Pope said.

The film also explores the Pope’s work and views in other issues, including climate change, migration and economic equality, according to the film’s website. It is set to premiere in North America on Sunday during the SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

Francis has suggested in past interviews that he is not against civil unions, but this is the first time as Pope that he has directly come out in favor of them.

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis advocated for same-sex civil unions as an alternative when Argentina was discussing whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

Francis’ comments differ from his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who made the news when he labeled homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil.”

Jesuit Father James Martin, who has advocated for the church to welcome LGBTQ people, said bishops from many countries, including some in the United States and Poland, who are “violently against” civil unions will have to rethink their positions.

“He’s creating a new space for LGBT people … He’s saying it on the record and he’s being very clear. It’s not simply that he’s tolerating it — he’s supporting it,” Martin told CNN’s Christine Amanpour on Wednesday.

In the US, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, asked for more clarification, saying the Francis’ comments contradict the church’s teachings on same-sex unions.

“The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships,” Thomas said in a statement. “Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.”
Ed Mechmann, director of public policy for the Archidiocese of New York, described the Pope’s comments as a serious mistake that can lead to a lot of confusion.

“In this case, I think we have to recognize that the Holy Father has plainly erred,” Mechmann wrote in a blog post. “Catholics cannot promote the legalization of same-sex unions. But we also have to be clear that he isn’t changing the teaching of the Church on homosexuality or same-sex unions in any way.”

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Japan has so few women politicians that when even one is gaffe-prone, it’s damaging

This wasn’t the first time the lawmaker and member of the ruling LDP party’s Women Activity Promotion Taskforce has alienated parts of the electorate with her conservative views.

She has also victim-blamed Shiori Ito, a journalist and icon of Japan’s #MeToo movement, by stating her alleged rape was due to “clear errors on her part as a woman,” according to local media reports.

Experts say Sugita’s recent apology missed the mark, and her comments are damaging — especially in a country with so few female politicians.

Toeing the boy’s club line

Globally, politics remains one of the most male-dominated spheres in society. Only 25% of all national parliamentarians were women as of October 2020, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a global organization of national parliaments.
In Japan, only 46 of 465 lower house lawmakers are women — that’s fewer than 10%, compared to a 25% global average and 20% average in Asia, as of October.

Tomomi Inada, a former defense minister who served in former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government before she resigned in 2017, said being part of a minority comes with its stereotypes.

“We are often judged to be emotional and are treated with skepticism when we voice our opinion strongly. That’s because we are such extreme minority in Japanese politics,” says Inada.

To survive, some women in Japanese politics feel the pressure to comply with their male counterparts’ views to fit in, according to Chizuko Ueno, a sociologist and the chief director of the Women’s Action Network. “They can become more hawkish than their male colleagues,” she adds.

Inada acknowledges feeling pressure to conform to the male majority’s viewpoint while in government, but says it is important for women not to give in to this.

Japan's member of the House of Representatives Mio Sugita attends at the opening of the extraordinary Diet session in Tokyo, Japan on October 24, 2018.

However, Sugita’s latest actions encourage the normalization of casually misogynistic views, says Kukhee Choo, a Japan-based media scholar.

“Countless feminists paved the way for Sugita, but she is using her position of power to dismantle the privilege they built for her. It’s like she turned against that very fight,” says Choo.

That view was echoed by the Flower Demo, a human rights group organizing a movement against sex crimes. It issued a statement in response to Sugita’s remarks, saying “parliamentarians who ought to address gender inequality must not be allowed to set the wrong example by issuing sexually discriminatory remarks and revealing their ignorance of the very real problem of sexual violence.”

Shifting attitudes

In the past, women in Japan who defied expectations and pushed the needle on gender equality have faced backlash.

For instance, in 2017, Yuka Ogata, a local Japanese politician, was confronted by lawmakers for trying to bring her baby to a council session. One councilman shouted at her while others told her that she couldn’t stay and had to leave the room immediately. Ogata had wanted to show how difficult it is for women to find a work-life balance.
I don't wear high heels for anyone but me. Got that, boss?
However, in recent years, campaigns such as #MeToo and #KuToo — which saw women petition against wearing high heels to work — have put Japan’s gender inequality and human rights issues in the spotlight.

“All generations in Japan have access to the internet, and younger people, in particular, have mobilized on social media to express their opinions and force politicians to change their stance on topics,” says Choo.

Increasingly, people in Japan are no longer willing to turn a blind eye to discriminatory remarks made by politicians, adds Ueno, the sociologist.

“Society is changing and the media’s high attention on Sugita’s remark is proof of such change. Not long ago, remarks like hers were so commonplace they were overlooked but now it’s getting a headline,” says Ueno.

Toothless reforms

Inada says people in Japan think a strong woman will climb the political ladder alone, but that’s a myth. “We will never be able to change the system if we stick to the idea,” she says.

Today, for instance, 127 countries use electoral gender quotas to increase women’s representation in politics, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

Inada has backed implementing enforced electoral quotas, arguing that increasing female participation raises responsiveness to policies concerning women, and is also beneficial to men.

“(Japan is) probably 20 to 30 years behind many other countries, but now is the time for female politicians to take action,” says Inada.

Some steps have been made towards change. In 2018, a law was passed to encourage political parties to set targets for gender parity.

However, as with an 1985 equal employment law which aimed to promote gender equality in private companies, there are no legal requirements or penalties for parties that fail to comply, according to Hiroko Goto, a gender equality expert at Chiba University.

As a result, Japan’s ruling LDP has a poor record of appointing women. In 2018, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed just one woman, Satsuki Katayama, to his new cabinet — claiming she could do the work of “two or three” women.

The situation didn’t get much better in 2020.

When Yoshihide Suga took over office in September, he appointed only two women to his 21-strong team, to the chagrin of many, including the former defense minister Inada. She declared shortly afterward that Japan was a “democracy without women.”

Inada sought to join Japan’s LDP leadership race after Abe resigned in August due to poor health. However, neither she nor Seiko Noda, a former internal affairs minister, secured the 20 nominations needed from other LDP lawmakers to run as a candidate.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was the LDP’s first and only female candidate — and that was in the 2008 presidential election.

Strength in numbers

Despite the barriers, more women are applying for political office than ever before.

Last year, of 370 candidates seeking one of the 124 seats being contested in the Upper House of Councilors, 104 — or almost 30% — were women, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Of those, 28 women were elected — matching a previous high from 2016, according to NHK.

Ueno, the sociologist, says while these women can serve as role models in Japan, many of them are members of smaller, left-wing parties such as the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP), which have a less influential presence in the Japanese parliament. Also, Japan’s upper house is the less powerful of the parliament’s two houses — for instance, laws are generally passed by the lower house before being sent to the upper house for approval. The lower house can overrule the decisions of the upper house with a majority vote on significant national issues, such as the selection of the prime minister and budgets.

For members of the Flower Demo, who say Sugita’s remarks amounted to a “second rape” for sexual assault survivors, the fight continues. On October 13, the group brought a petition with over 136,000 signatures, demanding Sugita’s resignation, to the LDP’s headquarters in Tokyo. The LDP refused to accept it, according to Minori Kitahara, a Flower Demo member who launched the petition.

The LDP Secretary General’s office said they did not accept the petition of the Flower Demo as it is not usual practice for them to do so.

“(Sugita) has always made remarks like that and the ruling LDP party has forgiven her. But as the Japanese #MeToo is gaining momentum, the LDP can’t ignore this,” says Kitahara.

“Japan is such a male dominated society, we really want the few female politicians to be feminists. We also need (male politicians) to be better allies to women, and understand that the gender issue is important.”

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Nayani Narsimha Reddy Death: Former Telangana home minister Nayani Narsimha Reddy passes away | Hyderabad News

HYDERABAD: Former Telangana home minister and senior TRS leader Nayini Narsimha Reddy passed away at a private corporate hospital in the wee hours of Thursday. He was 76. Nayani Narasimha Reddy, who had tested positive for Covid 19 last month, admitted to a private hospital for health complications post recovery from the infection, died while undergoing treatment.
Narasimha Reddy began his career as a trade union leader and was active in HMT, RTC and several other trade unions. He served as MLA from Musheerabad assembly constituency thrice (once as Janata party MLA) and was Member of Legislative Council (MLC) under governor’s quota till recently.
He participated in Telangana statehood movement and fought along with TRS president KCR.
He served as minister both in YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s cabinet (2004-2006) in the united AP and home minister from 2014 to 2018 in Telangana state. He was the first home minister of Telangana. He took charge of portfolios including prisons, fire services, sainik welfare, labour and employment.
Chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has expressed shock over his demise. The CM recalled his association with Narasimha Reddy during the Telangana separate statehood movement and in the state government. The CM has conveyed his condolences to members of the bereaved family. He also instructed the chief secretary Somesh Kumar to arrange for the last rites to the departed leader with official honours.

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Hrithik Roshan’s mother shares cryptic post on Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, says ‘Everyone wants truth, no one wants to be honest’

Actor Hrithik Roshan’s mother, Pinkie Roshan has shared a post about Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, which has been mired in controversy. Sushant died on June 14, in what has been ruled a suicide by the Mumbai Police.

Pinkie took to Instagram on Thursday and shared a picture of the late actor, with the hashtags ‘prayer is powerful’ and ‘universe is powerful’. Along with the picture of Sushant, she also shared a message that read: “Everyone wants the truth but no one wants to be honest.”


On June 14, Hrithik had condoled Sushant’s death, and had written on Twitter: “Deeply saddened and shocked to hear about Sushant. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. He had so much life in him . Extremely disheartening news.”

The father of the late actor, known for films like Kai Po Che!, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, and Chhichhore, in an FIR accused his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty of abetting his death, laundering his money and isolating him from his family.

Also read: Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister advises fans on the ‘most pious way to show support’ for SSR, initiates feeding drive

The case, which was initially investigated by the Mumbai Police, was later handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while the Enforcement Directorate and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) also got involved.

Rhea, who was arrested by the NCB in connection with the drug trail in Rajput’s death, was released on October 7 after 28 days in jail.

Meanwhile, Sushant’s sister Shweta Singh Kirti has been fighting for ‘justice’ with regular social media posts and initiatives. Earlier this week, she urged the late actor’s fans to honour his memory by feeding the less fortunate and hungry animals.

(With PTI inputs)

Follow @htshowbiz for more

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Supreme Court Puts Curbside Voting On Hold In Alabama

The Supreme Court is seen as morning fog lingers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court is seen as morning fog lingers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday put on hold a lower court order that would have permitted curbside voting in Alabama in November.

WASHINGTON: The Supreme Court on Wednesday put on hold a lower court order that would have permitted curbside voting in Alabama in November.

The justices’ vote was 5-3, with the court’s three liberals dissenting. As is typical when the Supreme Court acts on an emergency basis, the justices in the majority did not explain their decision. It was not clear how many counties might have offered curbside voting, allowing people to vote from their car by handing their ballot to a poll worker.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissent joined by Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan, described the lower court’s order allowing curbside voting in November as modest, and she said she would not have put it on hold.

It does not require all counties to adopt curbside voting; it simply gives prepared counties the option to do so. This remedy respects both the right of voters with disabilities to vote safely and the States interest in orderly elections, she said, noting that 28 states permit curbside voting.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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50 more arrested in Palghar lynching case | India News

MUMBAI: The state crime investigation department, investigating the lynching of two seers and their driver in Kasa taluka of Palghar district in April, on Wednesday named 208 new accused and arrested 50 people, reports Sandhya Nair.
The total number of accused in the case now stands at 373, including 11 juveniles. Those arrested are likely to be produced before the Dahanu court on Thursday. Currently, 144 tribals arrested in the case are in prisons across the state. Two juveniles are lodged in a remand home.
In April and May, 154 tribal men and 11 juveniles were held in connection with the lynching of seers Kalpavruksha Giri, Sushilgiri Maharaj and their driver Nilesh Telgade and the assault on police in Gadchinchale village of Kasa on April 16.

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Hathras case: AMU med officer, medics want doctors reinstated | India News

AGRA: A day after two doctors at AMU’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College who had questioned the forensic report on the alleged Hathras gang-rape case were asked to leave, chief medical officer Dr SAH Zaidi and the hospital’s resident doctors’ association wrote to the vice-chancellor requesting him to reconsider the decision.
The two temporary casualty medical officers, Dr Mohammad Azimuddin Malik and Dr Obaid Imtiazul Haque, had received letters on Tuesday informing them that their appointment “is rejected with immediate effect” and were “requested not to perform any further duties.”
Malik had been appointed at the hospital’s trauma centre on August 9 and Haque on August 4. After a month, their service was extended. The second extension ended on October 4 for Haque and October 9 for Mailk. But they continued to work because the hospital needed them to.

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Plan for 4 Metros to converge at 2-deck Kanjurmarg depot | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: From an unviable proposition until recently, the Kanjurmarg site for the Metro depot is set to become perhaps the city’s biggest Metro hub. After the recent announcement that the car shed will be common to both Metro Line 3 (Colaba-Seepz) and Line 6 (Samarth Nagar-Vikrohli), MMRDA is now considering shifting the car shed for Line 4 (Wadala-Kasarvadavali) also to Kanjurmarg. Besides this, the terminal station for Line 14 (Badlapur-Kanjurmarg) will be located at the site.
On Wednesday, MMRDA held a meeting to discuss the transit-oriented development model for Kanjurmarg. “We have 102 acres and it is absolutely feasible to have multiple car depots on this land. The proposal is to have a double-decker car shed so that we can have more stabling lines for the various Metro routes,” said a senior MMRDA official.

Sources said MMRDA is facing issues in acquiring the land at Kasarvadavli, Thane, for the Line 4 car depot. “The cost of land alone is Rs 2,000 crore. If we were to develop it at Kanjurmarg, it would cost us Rs 500 crore. Besides, there are no issues of land acquisition,” said sources.
“In 5-6 years, Kanjurmarg will become the interchange zone for Metro lines and if you look at the routes, then commuters from the distant suburbs of MMR like Badlapur and Ambernath can come here and board another Metro, either to south Mumbai or to the western suburbs and this holds true for residents of south Mumbai and the western suburbs as well. Through one site, we shall be able to provide easy connectivity to different parts of the city,” said an official.
Sources said that apart from connectivity, the site will also be commercially developed, providing for offices and shopping malls. “The consultants for the Garibaldi Metro station in Milan are also consultants to the MMRDA for the Metro projects. MMRDA has sought their help on creating a metro hub at Kanjurmarg,” said an official.
Supporting the plan, activist and architect Nitin Killawala said MMRDA could achieve full connectivity for the entire city if Line 7 (Dahisar-Andheri) is extended and the airport’s international terminal is connected to Line 3 at Seepz. “People can then travel to Dahisar from anywhere by Metro.”

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Indian economy at doorstep of recovery, says RBI governor

MUMBAI: The Indian economy is at the “doorstep of revival” and both the government and the Reserve Bank of India are maintaining an accommodative stance, according to the central bank’s governor Shaktikanta Das. An accommodative stance means being prepared to provide all the funds required to support growth. His statement comes a fortnight after he forecast that the economy would break out of contraction in the fourth quarter.
“Today, we in India are at the doorstep of the revival process after the impact of the pandemic. Many financial entities have already raised capital and others are planning and would do so in the coming months,” said Das. He said that the RBI has asked lenders to raise capital not just to strengthen their resilience to overcome stress but also to have enough to support growth and ensure that credit flow is maintained when the economy enters the revival phase.
He was speaking at the launch of veteran bureaucrat N K Singh’s autobiography ‘Portraits of Power’. Das recalled his interactions with Singh when the latter headed a panel to review the law on fiscal responsibility and budget management.
Responding to a question from HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, Das said that at the moment, both fiscal and monetary policies are working in close symmetry despite the government already exceeding the combined deficit target. “The government has taken prudent and calibrated measures. These are aimed at providing support to the vulnerable sections of society and then provide certain kinds of relief to the other segments of industry and business — the micro, small and medium enterprises. The RBI is already in a monetary expansion mode. We have used instruments and tools which were never in the tool kit of the RBI and we are constantly trying to innovate,” he said.
In response to another question on financial sector reforms from Kotak Mahindra Bank MD & CEO Uday Kotak, Das said that today these have become ownership-agnostic. The RBI governor pointed out that the focus is on governance reforms — the functioning of the bank, its board, board committees and CEO.
“When we talk about reforms in banking, it is generally linked to ownership of banks or non-banks. In today’s context, after the global financial crisis, the issue of governance has become important.”

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Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse to join NCP tomorrow | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: In a jolt to the BJP in Maharashtra, senior leader Eknath Khadse has quit the party and is set to join the Sharad Pawar -led NCP on Friday, reports Prafulla Marpakwar. “Khadse has resigned from the BJP. He, along with a few prominent BJP leaders from north Maharashtra, will join the NCP in the presence of Pawar,” state NCP president Jayant Patil said.
Khadse (68) had resigned from the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet in June 2016 after charges of corruption were made against him. It was alleged that he had misused his office for allotment of MIDC land to his wife and son-in-law.
Suffered humiliation of worst kind, says Khadse
Khadse blamed former CM Fadnavis and BJP leader from north Maharashtra Girish Mahajan on Wednesday for his decision to leave the party. “Fadnavis and Mahajan were drafting a strategy to politically destroy me. I was made to sit at the Pune and Nashik Anti-Corruption Bureau’s office for several hours though no criminal case was made out against me,” Khadse alleged. “I wanted to quit the BJP long ago, but was not able to take a decision for emotional reasons as I have been associated with the party in north Maharashtra since its inception. In fact, I built up the party from zero, but now I am hurt. It was humiliation of the worst kind,” he added.
Fadnavis described Khadse’s move to quit as “unfortunate” and said, “His charge that I destroyed his political career is a half-truth. At an appropriate time, I will explain my stand.”
Khadse said all cases of corruption against him and charges of a nexus with gangster Dawood Ibrahim were fabricated for political reasons. These cases failed before court, he said, with the court observing no case was made out against him.
After his exit from the BJPled cabinet, he was denied nomination for the 2019 assembly elections. He had then expected he would be nominated to the Rajya Sabha or legislative council or appointed as governor. “When I was not considered for any of these appointments, it was a clear signal I was not required in the party,” he said.
Khadse’s daughter-in-law Raksha was nominated by the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and she won. For the assembly elections later, his daughter Rohini was nominated, but she was defeated by a Shiv Sena candidate.
An RSS activist from childhood, Khadse has been a prominent OBC leader of the Leva Patil community. Ex-sarpanch of Kothali village in Jalgaon district, he was elected to the assembly first in 1989 and has not lost a single election since.
Fadnavis had appointed a one-member judicial committee to probe charges against Khadse. The committee has submitted its report to the government. Khadse said he had got a clean chit from ACB and the charge that he was in contact with Dawood was never proved and it was found it was the handiwork of a hacker.

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