Sick ISIS militants decapitate Donald Trump dummy and chant 'we will behead you'
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A group of United Nations experts on torture and capital punishment urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution, saying that al-Nimr was a child at the time of his offense and that the proceedings against him were flawed.
"Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia's international obligations," they said in a statement, citing Saudi Arabia's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Human-rights charities Reprieve and Amnesty International claim that Ali was tortured and forced to sign a confession after being arrested.
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve's death penalty team, called Ali's fate "an outrage" and said it was "deeply troubling" that the United States and other allies of Saudi Arabia were "staying silent" over the case.
"The international community must stand firm against this utterly unjustified sentence," she said in a statement.
Repeated approaches by NBC News to the Saudi authorities for comment have not received a response.
Ali was convicted in 2014 on range of charges including being part of a terrorist organization, carrying weapons and targeting security patrols with Molotov cocktails, the charity said. Additional charges included encouraging others to protest using his BlackBerry and explaining to others how to give first aid, they added.
Reprieve said Ali raised the torture claims at trial but that no investigation took place and the court used the confession to sentence him. Ali's final appeal was held in secret, according to Reprieve.
Ali's lawyer, Dr. Saqeb Mohamed tweeted on Tuesday that the defense team had not been able to visit his client or object to the sentence, adding that he was "surprised" the court had ratified the conviction.
He also called for Saudi authorities to investigate the case.
In the wake of the March 2011 Arab Spring, thousands took to the streets to protest decades of discrimination and religious and political repression by the country's Sunni dynasty, House of Saud, which has controlled the Arabian Peninsula since the 1930s. The uprising was met with a violent crackdown from the government.
The source close to the family admitted that al-Nimr had attended demonstrations and anti-government protests in his hometown of Qatif — but that the young man was not political.
The source suggested that political "revenge" was behind the charges laid against the young man — who is the nephew of Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, also separately facing execution.
Al-Nimr's cleric uncle was sentenced to death in a separate trial on terrorism charges and for "waging war on God" because of his speech during anti-government protests in Qatif, according to Amnesty International.
Amnesty called Sheikh al-Nimr's trial "deeply flawed" and said it was "part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom's Shia Muslim community."
There have been 134 executions in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 90 last year, they said.
The younger al-Nimr had no ambitions to follow his uncle's footsteps, the source close to the family said — describing a normal teen, who liked motorcycles, movies and photography.
Now the family hopes his life will be spared so they could spend more time with him.
"We are praying to God," they said. "It is all we can do. We are hopeful."
Climate Change in Egypt: Death on the Nile
Climate change is creating preconditions in Egypt that precipitated the Syrian Civil War.
The Nile Delta, home to 40 million people and source of two-thirds of Egypt’s food production, is disappearing. This is a direct result of climate change and rising sea levels. The Delta, about the size of Delaware, is almost completely flat and at most only one or two meters above sea level. The land itself is sinking and so the relative sea level is rising even more quickly at about seven millimeters a year.
Before the Aswan High Dam was completed in 1970, the Nile used to deposit about 100 million tons of new sediment in the Delta each year, which compensated for the sinking land. The dam has also prevented the replenishment of the fast-eroding protective sand belts off the coast.
The Nile’s problems do not stop there. The Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, a massive hydroelectric dam due for completion in 2017, will further reduce the flow of the Nile by a quarter for between up to 15 years while the reservoir fills. Egyptian farmers who no longer have enough fresh water for irrigation directly from the Nile are already supplementing with well water from the underground Delta aquifer. The result is that the sea and salt water are intruding further and further inland. In some areas as much as 30 kilometers inland, the water from the aquifer is already too saline to drink. In as little as 10 years the coastal regions will no longer be able to sustain either agriculture or human habitation.
Egypt currently imports half of all the wheat it needs for its booming population, which is around 90 million today and is projected to be 140-160 million by 2050. When Egypt loses the first 10% of the Delta as a source of food and human habitation, this alone will be a disaster of gigantic proportions. Millions of people will be forced out of their homes and off their farms to look for new places to live and for new jobs.
This is not something that could or might happen in the distant future: This catastrophe has already begun to unfold. Moreover, some of Egypt’s biggest cities in the Delta – for example Alexandria, with a population of 5 million – are also losing the battle of keep the sea out. When the sea level rises just one meter, which is at the low end of the range predicted by the year 2100, most of the city will be uninhabitable.
Climate change was one of the contributing causes of the Syrian Civil War. The prolonged drought caused three quarters of Syria’s farms to fail between 2006 and 2011. This forced over 1.5 million Syrians to migrate to the towns. Their plight and protests combined with President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian response was a major factor if not the primary cause of the uprising and the subsequent civil war.
The same set of preconditions in Egypt exist on a far larger scale. As in Syria, the disconnect between the heavily armed government elite and the poverty stricken masses is stark. When millions of displaced Egyptians find a leader and a purpose it will be too late. The authoritarian and unsympathetic regime of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is unlikely to defuse this explosive situation. The result will almost certainly be bloody and destructive.
The Syrian experience tells us that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of displaced Egyptians will attempt to cross the Mediterranean and come to Europe. Many will die in the attempt. Europe is barely coping with the Syrian situation and is completely unprepared for this coming onslaught of refugees.
Donald Trump’s denial of climate change and withdrawal from the Paris Agreement are not only willfully ignorant but are an abdication of leadership in the face of these challenges. Moreover, in view of the likely civil unrest caused by the looming crisis, Trump’s encouragement of President Sisi to use whatever force is necessary to curtail popular dissent is myopic, if not criminal.
95 percent of the victims of violence are men. Because women are natural cowards who send men to handle things when they are dangerous.
Milo Yiannopoulos and the Myth of the Gay Pedophile
The journalist’s comments suggest gay men enjoy sex with children—an idea that has been widely debunked.
In the comment that cost him his book deal and speaker slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Breitbart journalist and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos defended “relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are.”
In the video, a clip of an old podcast episode that was tweeted this weekend by the group Reagan Battalion, Yiannopoulos says he isn’t defending pedophilia, before adding that “in the gay world, some of the most enriching ... relationships between younger boys and older men can be hugely positive experiences.” (Yiannopoulos later blamed “sloppy phrasing," saying when he was 17 he was in a relationship with a 29-year-old man. The age of consent in the U.K. is 16.)
Among the many reasons Yiannopoulos’s comments are being criticized, as Vox’s German Lopez points out, is that he lends support to a claim, made by some anti-gay activists, that many gay men harbor a secret desire to molest children. For example, a 2002 document that’s still live on the website of the Family Research Council reads that “Male homosexuals commit a disproportionate number of child sex abuse cases.” It calls those who don’t acknowledge this fact “homosexual apologists.”
The suspected (and widely debunked) link to child molestation has been used to suggest that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to work with children. In 2005, just 49 percent of poll respondents told Gallup they think gay people should be allowed to be clergy members, and just 54 percent said they should be elementary-school teachers.
Prior to the 1970s, gays in the U.S. were primarily painted by their opponents as “sexual perverts,” deviants who were mentally or morally flawed in some way. The think-of-the-children angle, meanwhile, was spearheaded by Anita Bryant, a Christian singer who successfully lobbied for the repeal of a 1977 Miami ordinance barring anti-gay discrimination. Bryant claimed that if gays were granted equal status in society, they would molest children in schools or recruit them to their lifestyle, according to news reports at the time. “The ordinance condones immorality and discriminates against my children’s rights to grow up in a healthy, decent community,” Bryant told reporters that year.
The name of Bryant’s advocacy organization underscored her point: Save Our Children.
The incident is now considered, by some, to be the beginning of organized, conservative-Christian opposition to gay rights. “Back in 1977, there was no organized religious right, per se. Anita Bryant was a pioneer,” Fred Fejes, a Florida Atlantic University professor, told the Miami Herald in 2007.
Today, most mainstream researchers say there’s little basis for Bryant’s argument. Psychologically, pedophilia is considered distinct from sexual orientation. Both gay and straight people are attracted to other adults, while pedophiles target children. Pedophiles can be fixated, meaning they are only attracted to other children, or regressed, meaning they prefer adults but will pursue children under stress or when adults aren’t available. Even if in some contexts, such as the Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal, the victims and perpetrators were disproportionately likely to be of the same gender, most researchers say the motivating factor wasn’t sexual orientation. Instead, it was the perpetrators’ pathological attraction to children and their access to children of a certain gender—altar boys, in the priests’ case. “The important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman,” writes Gregory Herek, an emeritus professor of social psychology at the University of California at Davis, on his blog.
Herek described a number of studies in which scientists tried to find a link between homosexuality and pedophilia—and came up short:
In conclusion, Herek writes, “The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children.” Writing on the Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Nicole Travers similarly concludes that “pedophilia has nothing to do with sexual orientation.”
Nevertheless, the child-molestation question still makes its way into important policy discussions about gay rights. As late as 2010, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins was quoted citing the link between homosexuality and pedophilia as a reason not to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In Russia, “protecting children” was the stated purpose of a 2013 law banning “gay propaganda.”
Perhaps it’s just another sign of the upside-down nature of the current political moment that what got Yiannopoulos booted from a conservative gathering, in the end, was exploiting a myth that a religious conservative invented decades ago.
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