12-12-18 The India girl who took her dad to the police over a toilet
A seven-year-old Indian girl went to the police after her father broke his promise to build her a toilet. Hanifa Zaara told the police in a letter that her father had "cheated" her and should therefore be arrested. She said that she was "ashamed" to defecate outside. Many Indians do no have access to toilets and nearly 500 million defecate in the open, according to Unicef. (Webmaster's comment: Yet their government can afford to build rockets, satellites, and nuclear bombs.) Even where toilets have been built, many do not use them. (Webmaster's comment: Because they are raped when they go outside!) Hanifa who lives with her parents in Ambur, a town in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, has never had a toilet in her house. She told BBC Tamil's Krithiika Kannan that a few people in her neighbourhood did have the facility. So she asked her father to build a toilet in their house too. She was in nursery at the time. "I was ashamed to go outside and I felt bad when people looked at me," Hanifa said. And she was especially motivated after learning in school about the health problems caused by open defecation. In her letter to the police, she wrote that her father told her he would build the toilet if she topped her class. "I have been topping my class since nursery," she wrote. "I am in the second grade now. And he is still only saying he will do it. This is a form of cheating, so please arrest him." If not arrest, she added, she wanted the police to at least force him to provide her with a signed letter saying by when he would get her the toilet. Her father, Ehsanullah, told BBC Tamil he had actually begun building the toilet, but did not have enough money to complete it. He is currently unemployed. "I asked Hanifa to give me more time but she stopped talking to me because I couldn't keep my promise," he added.
12-12-18 Pope demotes two cardinals over sexual abuse scandals
Two cardinals facing allegations linked to sexual abuse have been removed from Pope Francis's inner circle, the Vatican said. Australia's George Pell and Chile's Francisco Javier Errazuriz will no longer sit on the Council of Cardinals, set up by the pope as an international advice body. The pair were absent from the last meeting of the group in September. A spokesperson said the Pope wrote to them both in October to thank them. Cardinal Pell, who remains the Vatican treasurer, faces trial on sexual abuse charges in Australia - accusations the cardinal strenuously denies. His Chilean colleague, Francisco Javier Errazuriz, faces accusations that he covered up alleged child abuse while serving as Archbishop of Santiago, claims he also denies. Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya has also left the group, spokesman Greg Burke said. The 79-year-old recently retired from his role as archbishop of Kinshasa, and has not been implicated in any scandals. The group, known as C9, has no plan to immediately fill its three empty seats, Mr Burke reportedly said.
12-6-18 Ohio dad makes girl walk miles to school for bullying on bus
An Ohio father who made his daughter walk five miles (8km) to school as punishment for bullying has provoked a debate on parenting. After 10-year-old Kirsten was suspended for three days from the school bus for a second-time bullying offence, Matt Cox decided to teach her a life lesson. He made her trudge to school on a cold day while he followed behind in a car. The video of the father's punishment has garnered over 15m views on Facebook and thousands of comments. In the viral clip, Mr Cox's daughter is seen walking alongside a road, carrying a backpack and school supplies, in 2C (36F) temperatures. Mr Cox follows behind her in his car in the town of Swanton, offering commentary on entitlement and bullying. "Bullying is unacceptable," he said. "This is my small way of trying to stop it in my household." Mr Cox added that many children feel entitled to privileges like being taken to school in the morning by car or bus. "I know a lot of you parents are not going to agree with this and that's alright," he says. "I am doing what I feel is right to teach my daughter a lesson and to stop her from bullying." (Webmaster's comment: Bullies understand one thing, pain and punishment. That usually stops bullying in its tracks.)
11-30-18 France MPs vote to ban child smacking
French MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that would ban parents from smacking their children. The bill on "corporal punishment or humiliation" seeks to ensure that parental authority is exercised without violence. It will now go the Senate. Campaigners say about 85% of French parents resort to corporal punishment. Previous attempts to outlaw smacking at home have failed, although the practice has long been banned in French schools. French lawmakers backed the bill in a 51-1 vote early on Friday, following a late-night debate. MP Maud Petit, who sponsored the measure, said the bill's main goal was educational, to encourage society to change its views on the issue, the AFP news agency reports. Like other European states, France criminalises violence against children, but it also currently allows parents the right to discipline their children at a low level. What constitutes low-level discipline and what constitutes criminal violence is left to the courts to decide - and often sparks controversy, correspondents say. Last week, four members of the same family were arrested after a nine-year-old boy was beaten to death in the eastern city of Mulhouse. Police sources told local media that the boy had refused to do his homework and was hit with a broom handle. If the bill is adopted by the Senate, France will become the 55th country to outlaw corporal punishment of children, AFP says.
11-23-18 Shock after ban on genital mutilation ruled unconstitutional
Women’s rights advocates said they were shocked when a federal judge in Michigan ruled this week that a law protecting girls from genital mutilation was unconstitutional. They called his decision a serious blow to girls’ rights. Legal experts said the judge made clear that U.S. states have authority to ban the practice, though only about half do. Here is a look at the ruling, which dismissed several charges against a doctor accused of cutting nine girls in three states as part of a religious custom, and what could happen next. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was among eight people charged in federal court in Michigan in connection with the genital mutilation of nine girls from Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois between 2015 and 2017. Authorities alleged that mothers brought their girls to Nagarwala when they were roughly 7 years old for the procedure. Nagarwala has denied any crime was committed and said she performed a religious custom on girls from her Muslim sect, the India-based Dawoodi Bohra. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman threw out mutilation and conspiracy charges against all the defendants. He ruled that a 1996 federal law that bans female genital mutilation was unconstitutional because Congress didn’t have the power to regulate the behavior in the first place. Heidi Kitrosser, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, explained that Congress doesn’t have unlimited authority to legislate and can only make laws that fall within powers explicitly outlined in the Constitution. In this case, Friedman found that Congress lacked authority to regulate the practice under the Commerce Clause because the procedure is not a commercial activity. He also said Congress’ treaty powers don’t give it authority, because there was no rational relationship between treaty obligations that call for equal rights and a law banning genital mutilation. But the judge clearly stated that the power to regulate female genital mutilation lies with state governments, which have primary authority in defining and enforcing criminal law. “The court really could not have been clearer in suggesting this is something that states can do,” Kitrosser said. (Webmaster's comment: As punishment for performing FGM all females and MALES involved in this evil practice should have their sexual organs completely removed.)
11-23-18 The village that's eradicated FGM
It started when one family decided not to circumcise its women 30 years ago. That idea spread and now an entire village in Sudan has eradicated female genital mutilation (FGM); they don't even talk about it anymore. Elsewhere in the country, the majority of girls and women are cut. Now, Sudan's government, with help from international aid, is hoping to put an end to FGM nationwide, by 2030. It comes as the British Government announces £50m to tackle the issue across the continent. The BBC's Senior Africa Correspondent Anne Soy went to meet some of the people turning their back on the practice and witnessed the change they are bringing to their communities.
11-22-18 French boy 'killed for not doing homework' in Mulhouse
Four members of the same family have been arrested after a nine-year-old boy was beaten to death at his home in the eastern French city of Mulhouse. Police sources told local media that the boy had refused to do his homework and was hit with a broom handle. The boy's elder brother, sister and stepsister were all present at the time of the incident. Although his mother was not there, she too has been arrested and was aware of what was going on, reports say. The boy's death in the early hours of Sunday prompted a vigil in the centre of Mulhouse among residents who rallied round his parents. But the family's initial accounts of what had happened and the ensuing post-mortem examination prompted police to continue their investigation. Bruises were discovered on the boy's body, particularly on his feet, according to Alsace website DNA. Although he had suffered a cardiac arrest, pathologists said the cause of death had been the blows he had suffered, DNA reported. A police source was quoted as saying he had been struck by blunt objects. The boy's mother had been away from home on a business trip but had actively encouraged his punishment because he did not want to do his homework, French media said.
11-22-18 Young South African boy stabbed to death in school toilet
A South African teenager is in police custody accused of stabbing to death a young boy in a school toilet, where he had hidden in wait for him overnight. The grade one pupil, thought to be seven-years-old, was stabbed multiple times, the authorities said. The alleged perpetrator was thought to have been in a relationship with the victim's older sister, they added. The police are carrying out further investigations at the primary school in Makapanstad in North West province. The suspect is a student in grade 11, which is usually for 16 and 17-year-olds, who attends a nearby secondary school. The victim was in grade one, usually for six and seven-year-olds. The suspect "apparently slept in the toilet overnight without anyone knowing he was there", the local education authority said in a statement. He then stabbed the victim, who was taken to a local clinic but medics were unable to save his life. The young boy may have been targeted after the suspect fell out with his older sister, the local authority said.
11-21-18 Child bride sold on Facebook
Child rights organization Plan International has called on South Sudan’s government to investigate the Facebook auction of a 16-year-old girl. Seeking a higher bride price, the girl’s father advertised her for marriage, and five men bid on her, including several high-ranking government officials. Facebook took down the post, but only after the girl was married earlier this month. Her father got 500 cows, three cars, and $10,000 from the groom. “This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets,” said Plan’s George Otim. More than half of South Sudanese girls are married off before age 18.
11-21-18 Norway child abuse: Man held over assaults on 300 boys
A 26-year-old man has been charged in a case described by police as Norway's biggest ever sexual abuse case. The man, reportedly a football referee, has been under investigation for several years and now faces charges involving more than 300 teenage boys. The victims were mainly targeted over the internet in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, according to prosecutors. But several of the boys are thought to have met the man in person. According to Norwegian reports, the man pretended to be a girl named Sandra or Henriette on chat forums in order to win the boys' trust, persuading them to send him naked pictures and videos of themselves. A local newspaper said he would tempt them with offers of money, naked pictures purportedly of Sandra or tobacco snuff, and once they had sent material he would allegedly threaten them with blackmail if they failed to send more. Norwegian public broadcaster NRK said he had received more than 16,000 videos. The rape charges are believed to be related to an alleged threat to post photos and videos online, although several charges involve physical abuse of victims the man met in person. State prosecutor Guro Hansson Bull said it was "the biggest case of sexual abuse in Norway so far". The alleged victims varied in age from 9 to 21 and all but one had felt unable to reveal what had happened to their parents, police told Norwegian media. A lawyer acting for the alleged victims said virtually all of them were struggling to deal with the case because they had a strong sense of guilt. A team of 15 investigators worked on the case, sifting through photos, video and chat files. The suspect was initially arrested in 2016 but then released, before being detained a second time. He is now reportedly being held in Ila jail near Oslo.
11-21-18 Cyclone Gaja: India girl segregated during period dies
Villagers in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu are grieving the death of a 14-year-old girl who died in a cyclone after being forced to sleep separately because she was menstruating. Her family told BBC Tamil that she was trapped in the hut on 16 November when the cyclone made landfall. Some villagers said this was a "wake up call" as it was common practice to segregate menstruating girls. Cyclone Gaja is known to have killed at least 46 people in the coastal state. Menstruation is taboo in large parts of rural India. Women are traditionally believed to be impure during their periods. The family of the girl, S Vijayalakshmi, lives in a house next to the hut but they survived the storm. Her grandmother, S Visalakshi, said they couldn't rescue her as a coconut tree had fallen on the hut, which made it impossible to reach her. She said Vijayalakshmi's parents had known that the storm was approaching but they couldn't keep her anywhere else since they lived in a coconut grove, far from the rest of the village, known as Anaikudi. "I told them to take her to a different place. But within hours, the cyclone had struck and we couldn't move anywhere," she said. "We are shattered," she told BBC Tamil's Pramila Krishnan. "When we saw the tree, we lost hope. We waited for villagers to help us remove the tree and pull her out of the hut." She added that they had rushed her to the hospital but doctors said that she had died hours ago and declared her dead on arrival. Veerasena, a local social activist, said both rich and poor families followed the tradition of forcing girls to sleep separately while they were menstruating.
11-20-18 Ban on female genital mutilation ruled unconstitutional
A federal judge in Chicago has ruled that the US law against female genital mutilation is unconstitutional, dismissing charges against eight people, including two doctors. District Judge Bernard Friedman said “Congress overstepped its bounds” by outlawing the practice known as female circumcision, or cutting. Friedman said it was up to states rather than Congress to regulate the practice. The ruling dismissed mutilation and conspiracy charges against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who performed the surgery, and Dr. Fakhruddin Attar. The doctors were charged in the genital mutilation of nine girls at a suburban Detroit clinic. In addition, the same charges were dismissed against Attar’s wife, Farida, and Tahera Shafiq, who assisted in the procedure, as well as four women who took their daughters to the clinic. Michigan was the 26th state to officially ban the practice. The state law was passed a few months after Nagarwala’s April 2017 arrest. Female genital mutilation has been condemned by the United Nations, but is common for girls in some parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
11-20-18 A disgusting crime — and justice denied
Some events resist journalistic attempts at paraphrase and contextualization. The appalling case of Senon Louis Ramirez, a man whose conviction for child sexual assault was recently overturned by an appeals court in Colorado, is one such. Rather than attempt to explain the circumstances of the case myself, I will quote the minimum amount necessary from court documents to convey the unspeakable viciousness: According to the victim's testimony, Ramirez told her than his seminal fluid was "milk." Thanks to the Supreme Court's ruling in Kennedy v. Louisiana, one of the worst judicial decisions in American history, it is no longer considered "constitutional" for the state to administer the death penalty to convicted child rapists, even in the case of repeat offenders. I mention this by way of explaining how a man who has forfeited his right to live in any decent human society is still alive in 2018. But why does he remain at large? How did Ramirez manage to escape even the rather lenient sentence of 20 years to life to prison? I pose this question because Ramirez does not dispute that the above-mentioned events took place. Indeed, he has pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent exposure stemming from the same incident. What he and his counsel have argued successfully before a panel of feckless egg-headed lawyers is that his actions do not meet Colorado's statutory definition of child sexual assault because the prosecution "did not prove that the defendant touched an intimate part of the victim or that the victim touched the defendant's intimate part." In the meantime, this animal goes free in a world where there are more children. (Webmaster's comment: So he walks. Free to abuse again. Males will make any excuse they can to let them get away with sexually abusing children.)
11-19-18 St Michaels: Alleged gang sex assault shocks Canada
Six teenage boys from an elite school have been charged with gang sexual assault after videos of alleged hazing incidents surfaced online. St Michael's College School, a private Catholic all-boys school in Toronto, expelled eight students last week in connection with the incidents. Police say they are investigating at least four separate assaults, two of which were sexual in nature. The school has been accused of turning a blind eye to hazing and bullying. The school received a bomb threat on Monday morning, just as police were giving a press conference on their investigation. Six teenage boys have been charged with assault, gang sex assault and sex assault with a weapon. Their identities have been withheld because they are minors. Canadian media first reported on the expulsions last week. CityNews says it saw two videos of alleged hazing incidents. In one of the videos, a male student is naked from the waist down in a locker room, and appears to be sexually assaulted with a broom handle. In another video, a male student sits in a bathroom sink in his underwear, while other students slap him and splash him with water, CityNews reported. Police say the videos meet the definition of child pornography. Dominic Sinopoli, who heads Toronto police's sex crimes unit, told media on Monday anyone in possession of the video should "delete it". Mr Sinopoli says he believes there are more videos and more victims, and is urging people to come forward if they have additional information. Meanwhile, St Michael's is initiating an independent investigation into the incidents. "We want to come out of this as leaders in understanding how to frame a culture so this doesn't occur," principal Greg Reeves told CBC News. (Webmaster's comment: Catholic schools train their male students early in the art of sexual assault!)
10-26-18 Children denied lunch
Italians have stepped up to pay for school lunches after the far-right mayor of Lodi stripped subsidies from some 200 children with immigrant parents. Mayor Sara Casanova of the far-right League party announced that parents of non–European Union children would have to provide proof that they held no assets in their home countries to get subsidized school lunches. Because most refugees can’t gather such proof, their kids—many of them born and raised in Italy—have been barred from school cafeterias. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is head of the anti-immigration League, initially supported the mayor, tweeting “SHE’S RIGHT!!” He backed down after outraged Italians raised nearly $92,000 to pay for the children’s meals.
10-26-18 Poisoned baby food
A German man who poisoned jars of baby food with enough antifreeze to kill a child and placed them on store shelves has been sentenced to 12½ years in prison for attempted murder and extortion. The 54-year-old, whose name has been withheld under German privacy laws, was trying to force the baby food companies to pay him $13.5 million to identify the tainted jars. He threatened to poison other foods as well. That nobody was harmed, said prosecutor Peter Vobiller, was the result of solid detective work and “a goodly portion of luck.” The case evoked the Tylenol crisis in the U.S. in 1982, when someone laced Tylenol capsules with cyanide, killing seven people and leading manufacturers to introduce tamper-proof packaging.
10-23-18 #PasDeVague: French teachers break silence on 'abuse' by students
French teachers have revealed stories of bullying by students after a video showed a teen pointing a fake gun at his teacher in a Paris suburb. French teachers have revealed stories of bullying by students after a video showed a teen pointing a fake gun at his teacher in a Paris suburb. Hundreds on Twitter ironically used #PasDeVague ("Don't Make Waves") to highlight their alleged abuse. Most said they had received no support after reporting threats, insults, harassment and violence. The 15-year-old said to be involved in the fake gun incident has been charged with aggravated violence. The move came after his teacher complained about the incident at the high school in Créteil. The boy said it was "a joke" and that he did not know he was being filmed by one of his classmates, who shared the video on Snapchat. Described in French media as the #MeToo movement of the nation's public education sector, teachers have unleashed a wave of thousands of tweets. "I was spat on and threatened to be 'beaten up' after school," tweeted a Latin teacher of 10 years. When she pushed for sanctions, the principal agreed to suspend the student for three days but allegedly accused the teacher of being repressive. Another teacher spoke of a colleague who received death threats signed by an entire class of students. "The support? Nought." "I would have liked to been supported when a student hit me in a hallway of my school some years ago," tweeted another (in French). The girl was not expelled, and "I was told I shouldn't feel so strongly about it. This is the reality on the ground." One teacher recalled having lots of enthusiasm and ideas for her first teaching job as a 23 year old. "During the first recess, you're crying in the toilets because you're not ready for... the blows and insults that rain between them and towards me."
10-15-18 National bans on smacking children linked to less teenage violence
A survey has found that teenagers get into more fights in countries where it is legal to spank children, but there could be several explanations for the link. Does smacking your children make them more likely to hit others? A global survey has found that teenagers get into more fights in countries where it is legal to spank children. Anti-smacking campaigners say this adds to the evidence that supports banning physical punishment. However sceptics say the findings show that smacking and fighting are linked in some way, but not that one leads to the other. Corporal punishment used to be commonplace, but a growing list of countries have banned it, including Sweden, Germany, and New Zealand. In the UK, smacking will soon become illegal in Scotland and there are calls for the same to happen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As well as concerns that smacking promotes violence, campaigners say it makes parental child abuse more likely. However, supporters argue that smacking can be necessary for discipline. Frank Elgar of McGill University in Montreal wondered if there was a link between corporal punishment and teenage behaviour. His team looked at two regularly repeated surveys of children in 88 countries, which include questions about how often they have been in a fight. Nations were classed in one of three ways: no smacking bans, full smacking bans, or partial smacking bans, where smacking isn’t allowed in schools but is legal for parents, as is currently the case in the UK.
10-13-18 Pope defrocks two Chilean bishops over child abuse claims.
Pope Francis has stripped two Chilean bishops of their duties as priests amid claims that they are linked to the sexual abuse of minors. They are Francisco José Cox Huneeus, archbishop emeritus of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, archbishop emeritus of Iquique. The Vatican issued a statement on their defrocking after a meeting between the pontiff and the president of Chile. The decision could not be appealed against, it said on Saturday. It was announced as Pope Francis met Chile's President Sebastian Piñera in the Vatican, where the two spoke particularly about "the painful scourge of abuse of minors". More than 100 Catholic clergy are being investigated in Chile over alleged sex crimes and attempts to cover them up. All 34 of Chile's bishops offered their resignations to the Pope in May over the scandal. The pontiff accepted three resignations in June. Police have raided offices and seized Church documents in the capital Santiago and the city of Rancagua as part of their investigation. In September Pope Francis defrocked former priest Fernando Karadima, 88, for having sexually abused minors.
10-12-18 Only in America
A Florida woman says her daughter was suspended from high school because her ripped jeans, showing her right knee, might inflame the “hormones” of male students. Melissa McKinlay says an administrator told her daughter she should “consider the guys in her class and their hormones when choosing her outfit.” McKinlay noted that many male students wearing shorts “have two knees showing.”
10-12-18 Missing kids found safe
A newly formed Child Recovery Unit identified and safely recovered 123 missing children during a daylong sweep, the U.S. Marshals Service announced last week. Multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the search throughout Wayne County, which includes Detroit, visiting the missing children’s last known addresses, friends’ homes, and schools. Authorities had hoped to find as many as 301 victims of sex trafficking. All the recovered children were interviewed about possibly being sexually victimized, and three were identified as possible sex-trafficking cases, officials said. One homeless teen was brought to the police command post after it was discovered that he hadn’t eaten in three days. “The message to the missing children and their families that we wish to convey is that we will never stop looking for you,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement.
10-12-18 How to stop the maiming of girls
It’s time to hold fathers responsible for the mutilation of their daughters, said Clément Zongo. Burkina Faso banned female genital mutilation in 1996—one of the first African countries to do so. Still, three-quarters of our women have been cut, and the practice continues to this day. Acting on a tip, police last month rescued and hospitalized 50 girls and women who had just been subjected to illegal clitorectomies, the surgical removal of the clitoris. The mass cutting didn’t take place in some remote backwater, but in our capital, Ouagadougou. The victims ranged in age from infancy to their early 20s, and police arrested at least 22 people at the scene, including the cutters and some of the female relatives who had accompanied the girls. Penalizing mothers and aunts, though, will not bring about change in Burkinabe culture. “Why is the man entitled to pleasure and not the woman?” This misogynistic tradition is rooted in the patriarchy, and it is “the uncompromising phallocrat who dictates the rules.” If we were to amend our laws to sentence a father to prison when his daughter was cut, “we would see this evil retreat at a gallop.” Men who care about women should not rest until this wrong is eradicated. “Vive le clitoris!”