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Current Affairs

  • 12th October 2007

    Lesbian prison officer wins compensation case

    The prison department “permitted a work environment to flourish where the credible evidence showed that she could have been killed because she is a gay female.“

    2:05 PM — An American lesbian prison guard who suffered mental and physical abuse from a fellow male co-worker for over a year has been awarded $850,000 (£425,000) damages.The New York State Division of Human Rights ruled in favour of 55-year-old Alicia S. Humig after it was decided that the city's prison department ignored the abuse she was suffering from Jim Wright, a fellow officer at Wende prison in Alden, New York.It was revealed that Humig twice filed written complaints which were generally ignored by prison bosses.

  • Young Tory resigns over homophobic Facebook group 6

    Bowman had posted comments on the relating homosexuality to the HIV virus and claiming he hates Jews.

    12:02 PM — A young Conservative student leader has been thrown out of the party and suspended from his university after making homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook.Fergus Bowman, 22, a second-year politics and religion student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), had earlier resigned as chairman of the student union's Conservative Future branch.Conservative Future is an under-30s organisation that plays an active role in recruiting young people into the party.

  • 11th October 2007

    LGBT groups unite to defend trans workplace protection 21

    Currently before Congress, ENDA was designed to extend federal employment discrimination protections.

    4:25 PM — Nearly 300 organisations representing the full scope and breadth of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in America have launched a united lobbying and advocacy campaign to win passage of a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.Called United ENDA, the campaign builds off the past week's unprecedented efforts by legal groups, political organisations, grassroots activists and many others to maintain protections on the basis of gender identity in ENDA as the measure was originally introduced.

  • PM accused of pandering to homophobes as election looms 5

    Mr Howard, the leader of the Liberal party, has been Prime Minister since 1996.

    2:35 PM — The leader of the Australian Green Party has launched an attack on the attitude of the Prime Minister, John Howard, to gay rights.Senator Bob Brown has spoken out against what he sees as the incumbent government's use of issues such as same-sex marriage to win votes.Mr Howard, the leader of the Liberal party, has been Prime Minister since 1996. It is thought he will choose not to reconvene Parliament next week and instead call a general election.

  • Massive cocaine binge killed gay Count

    The Count had injected himself with the drug every hour for nearly 24 hours before he died.

    12:23 PM — A German aristocrat famed for his libertine lifestyle died from a massive overdose of cocaine, an inquest has heard.In July Count Gottfried von Bismarck was found dead in his apartment in Chelsea, west London, by an estate agent selling the property. It is thought he had been dead for up to three days.Professor Sebastien Lucas, who performed the autopsy, told Westminster coroner's court yesterday that von Bismarck's corpse had the highest level of cocaine he had ever seen.

  • Rise in number of prosecutions for homophobic crime 1

    The statistics cover all 42 CPS Areas in England and Wales.

    12:03 PM — The Crown Prosecution Service today released figures which show that 822 cases were identified as having a homophobic element in 2006-07.478 resulted in a guilty plea and a further 124 resulted in conviction after trial.The CPS said the conviction rate rose from 71% to 73.5% and that "homophobic crime is being tackled head on, and with success."The statistics cover all 42 CPS Areas in England and Wales.

  • US accused of funding Ugandan homophobes 1

    PEPFAR is a $15 billion (£7.5bn) Bush administration fund to fight AIDS in Africa.

    11:35 AM — A gay rights organisation claims it has uncovered evidence that the U.S. government has funded groups in Uganda that actively promote discrimination against lesbians and gay men.In a letter to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has criticised funding the groups and has asked for assurances that U.S. government funds are not being used to support homophobic organisations anywhere in the world.

  • Michael Cashman wins European Parliament award

    Mr Cashman won in the Justice and Human Rights Category.

    11:10 AM — West Midlands MEP Michael Cashman has won for an award in recognition of his work for human rights.He has been a strong defender of the rights of LGBT across Europe. He is president of the European Parliament Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights.The Parliament Magazine launched the awards in 2005 to recognise the work of MEPs in nine areas. Nominations for each of the categories were collected from non-government organisations.

  • EXCLUSIVE: Police complaints body will tackle homophobia 2

    The IPCC has overall responsibility for the police complaints system.

    10:10 AM — The chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has vowed to extend guidelines to tackle allegations of homophobic behaviour within the police force.The IPCC is holding a public consultation on its draft guidelines on investigating allegations of discriminatory behaviour.The guidelines will replace the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) procedures, Investigating Allegations of Racially Discriminatory Behaviour.

  • 10th October 2007

    Iran admits that it does have gays

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: we do have gays

    10:20 PM — The President of Iran claims he was misrepresented by Western media when he was quoted as saying that there are no gays in Iran. A presidential aide now says that he simply meant not as many as in the United States.Last month, PinkNews.co.uk quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country... In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it."

  • Suspended sentence for man spying on lesbian couple

    In the UK, non-consensual voyeurism became a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act in 2003.

    2:21 PM — A peeping Tom from Stoke has been found guilty of spying on a lesbian couple having sex in their bedroom, and put on the sex offenders register.Dean Burton, 36, was also given a 51-week suspended jail sentence. He had his previous community order for indecent exposure extended for peering through a window and watching the couple naked.Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that Burton had known the couple previously.

  • Charity warns kids could be prosecuted under incitement law 100

    Stonewall's recent report into bulling in schools found that 92% of gay, lesbian and bisexual pupils have experienced verbal abuse.

    1:35 PM — A leading children's charity has said that playground taunts may lead to arrests under a proposed new law.On Monday the Justice Secretary announced that incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation would become an offence in the new Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill before Parliament.Kidscape, who work with bullied and vulnerable children, said that the use of the word "gay" among children is so prevalent that many did not even understand what it means.

  • Canadian soldiers face “gay bashing” charges

    The Ottawa Citizen revealed that the military have not provided the soldiers with their legal defence.

    1:11 PM — Two Canadian soldiers on leave from Afghanistan have been arrested and charged with beating up a gay man in Amsterdam.The men, both 22, were confirmed by Dutch police to have been arrested on May 26th and charged with attempted manslaughter, attempted criminal negligence causing bodily harm and public violence.Dutch media report that prosecutors have pushed for an eight-month jail term for one of the offenders, while the other soldier faces six weeks in prison.

  • Ugandan minister will fight “spread of homosexuality”

    2007 has seen the first gay rights press conference and the first anti-gay rally in Uganda.

    12:27 PM — A senior politician in Uganda has pledged to block gay rights in the country.James Nsaba Buturo, Minister for Ethics and Integrity, told All Africa news agency that the government is committed to stopping LGBT people "trying to impose a strange, ungodly, unhealthy, unnatural, and immoral way of life on the rest of our society."Last week the country's Minister for Youth and Children's Affairs said new legislation would be brought forward on homosexuality.

  • Poland boycotts day against capital punishment 57

    The 47-member Council of Europe predates the EU.

    12:27 PM — A European Union decision to declare today European Day Against the Death Penalty was blocked by Poland.The Polish government insisted that the day also include condemnations of abortion and euthanasia and used its veto to stop the declaration.However, the Council of Europe does not need a unanimous vote on such matters, and it has declared today European Day Against the Death Penalty.

  • Press accused of ignoring death of lesbian soldier

    Senator Kerry implored that the Department of Defence “deploy your staff on this matter immediately, so that the answers and circumstances around Specialist Durkin's death are uncovered.“

    12:14 PM — The questionable and untimely death of Specialist Ciara Durkin, a service member with the Massachusetts Army National Guard who was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head on September 27th, has not gone unnoticed.Late last week Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, along with Congressman William Delahunt and the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network (SLDN), made headlines by calling on Pentagon officials to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the incident that occurred while Durkin was serving in Afghanistan.

  • Moldova criticised over LGBT injustice

    Moldova is not part of the EU, but is influenced by its neighbour Romania, an EU member state since January 2007.

    11:16 AM — Moldovan authorities have "to ensure full respect of the fundamental rights of all minorities, including sexual minorities."That is the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of of the Council of Europe (PACE) entitled About functioning of democratic institutions in Moldova.The resolution is based on the report of the monitoring committee about the honouring of obligations and commitments by Moldova and adopted by PACE earlier this month.

  • Singapore gays call for decriminalisation 2

    In August Singapore banned gay events held in public parks.

    10:21 AM — Hundreds of Singaporeans are calling for the government to decriminalise homosexual sex, ahead of a parliamentary debate on the first overhaul of criminal law in Singapore in a quarter century.Under the proposed changes to be debated later this month, oral and anal sex between consenting heterosexual adults will no longer be considered an offence.However, the same acts between men, will remain illegal with a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

  • 9th October 2007

    Adverts aim to change Californian minds on gay marriage

    Thousands of volunteers are expected to participate in the campaign, entitled “Let California Ring,“ by conducting house parties, knocking on voters' doors, giving speeches or assisting in e-mail or web campaigning.

    6:35 PM — A multi-million-dollar advertising campaign asking people to "open their hearts and minds" to same-sex marriage is due to launch in five Californian cities this week.The 60-second ads will run from Thursday in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs as part of a month long campaign to encourage open discussion about same-sex marriage.

  • Inheritance tax allowance raised for civil partners 1

    Alastair Darling announced that from today the threshold will rise to £600,000. By 2010-11 the threshold will rise to £700,000.

    5:50 PM — The Chancellor of the Exchequer has doubled the inheritance tax threshold for civil partners and married people.Presenting his pre-Budget report to the House of Commons, Alastair Darling announced that from today the threshold will rise to £600,000. By 2010-11 the threshold will rise to £700,000.Until now all estates worth more than £300,000 were taxed at 40%, although assets left to a civil partner or spouse are exempt from taxation.

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