Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global. Show all posts

September 16, 2014

America’s Gay Human Rights Battle goes Global


Starting in 2012, the leader of the most prominent American anti-gay marriage organization unexpectedly began adding a ton of stamps to his passport.

As federal judges struck down gay marriage bans left and right at home, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown appeared at meetings and marches for various anti-gay rights causes in France, Trinidad and Tobago, Russia and Australia — a surprising uptick in travel for the stateside activist. The result: In June, Brown’s group began discussing rebranding itself as the International Organization for Marriage, according to materials from a “March for Marriage” meeting in Washington, D.C.
Brown is just one of many in the American “traditional marriage” movement who are aggressively pushing their message abroad now that they face an increasingly tough sell at home. In so doing, he is making common cause with foreign activists whose anti-gay rights crusades are more robust — and more resoundingly successful — than America’s homegrown one. Among them are Americans who actively worked behind the scenes to support the passage of Russia’s law preventing gay people from adopting, as well as Uganda’s law that punishes homosexuality with up to a lifetime in prison.
The U.S. involvement in anti-gay rights international activity has become so intense that one of the premier gay rights groups in the country, the Human Rights Campaign, started a special “global engagement program” last year to track their activities and help gay rights activistsabroad. The program has a $1 million budget for its first year and five full-time staffers. On Monday the group released its most comprehensive report on the internationalization of the American anti-gay rights movement.
The report, “The Export of Hate,” names the most prominent individuals and groups — Brown among them  —working to pass anti-gay rights legislation abroad.
“With anti-LGBT losses mounting in the United States, and with strong indications of increased activity abroad, more must be done to expose this work and the people doing it,” the report says.
The report calls out Scott Lively, an American missionary who traveled to Uganda to warn about what he described as the evils of gay people in the runup to the passage of the country’s law that punished homosexuality with death. (The law was later toned down so that the maximum punishment is life in prison, before the nation's highest court invalidated it.) Benjamin Bull, the chief counsel of the conservative legal group the Alliance Defending Freedom, is also cited for the alliance’s 2011 announcement that it would take its legal arguments against gay marriage overseas; it now supports groups that are working to uphold bans on same-sex marriage all over the world.
“Our primary focus is naming and shaming,” Jason Rahlan, communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, said of the report. “My sense is a lot of Americans and even a lot of folks in the LGBT community have absolutely no idea this is going on.”
Some of the organizations profiled in the report have acknowledged in their own way that the line has moved irrevocably in the U.S. debate over gay rights. It’s been more than a decade since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws allowing states to punish same-sex sex acts with prison, and the U.S. debate now revolves around whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have a right to marriage everywhere in the country, along with anti-discrimination protections at work.
Groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom have given up on arguing that same-sex activities ought to remain criminal in America, and are instead focusing on preserving same-sex marriage bans. But in many other countries, including the 80 that outlaw being openly gay, the landscape is completely different — and much more welcoming to their arguments.
“Oftentimes they work under the radar and they mask their intentions,” Rahlan said of the American activists.
That’s why it took some piecing together for the group to notice that the National Organization for Marriage, which was pivotal in passing the same-sex marriage ban in 2008 in California, had gone international.
“They are a lot more active in the international space but are being very quiet about it,” said Becky Parks, the Human Rights Campaign’s associate director of global engagement.
“I have been so excited to be part of this new international solidarity movement in defense of marriage, children and family,” Brown wrote on NOM’s blog last year. He did not respond to an interview request about NOM’s international expansion.
Many of these overseas groups and individuals are expected to send representatives in October 2015 to Salt Lake City, Utah, for a World Congress of Families summit. The Human Rights Campaign will be watching the event closely, Rahlan said.
Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News 

March 25, 2014

Russia Kicked Out of G8


The Hague, Netherlands U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have decided to end Russia's role in the group of leading industrialized nations, the White House said Monday.
The move to suspend Russia's membership in the G8 is the latest direct response from major countries allied against Russia's annexation of Crimea.
"International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state's territory through coercion or force," the statement said. "To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine's constitution.
"We also strongly condemn Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations."
Earlier in the day, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said being kicked out of G8 would be no big deal.
 Russian standoff in 'eleventh hour' WH: Isolate Russia and support Ukraine What is Russia's next move?
"G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone," he said during a news conference. " All the economic and financial questions are decided in G20, and G8 has the purpose of existence as the forum of dialogue between the leading Western countries and Russia.
"If our Western partners believe that this organizational format has outlived, so be it. At least, we are not attached to this format and we don't see a great misfortune if it will not gather. Maybe, for a year or two, it will be an experiment for us to see how we live without it."
Ukraine orders Crimea troop withdrawal
In a nod to political and economic reforms, the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy added Russia to their group in 1998 -- transforming it from the G7 to the G8.
A spokesperson for British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed to CNN that a group summit initially planned for June in Sochi, Russia, where the Winter Olympics were just held, is now off.
The United States and its allies in Europe are "united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," Obama said earlier in the Netherlands.
An Obama administration official said earlier in the day there's no point in including Russia in the G8.
"Our view is simply that if Russia is flagrantly violating international law and the order that the G7 has hoped to build since the end of the Cold War, there's no need to engage with Russia," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told reporters in The Netherlands where the President attended a nuclear security summit.
Can Obama's European trip re-assert U.S. global leadership?
Western powers have imposed sanctions and other penalties against specific people in Russia close to President Vladimir Putin, and Obama has warned the United States would target key sectors of the economy if Moscow escalates the Ukrainian crisis.
But Obama has said a military incursion in Ukraine is off the table, and his advisers are hesitant to even frame the crisis in Ukraine as a bad '80s flashback -- Obama in one corner, Putin in the other. It's not "Rocky IV," as Secretary of State John Kerry said.
White House officials don't care to publicly muse about Putin's intentions.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the Russian President's actions speak for themselves.
"I'm not going to get into speculating about President Putin's motives," Rice told reporters Friday.
The White House emphasis throughout the Russian occupation of Crimea has been "de-escalation."
Asked whether the United States will provide military aid to Ukraine's woefully underfunded armed forces, administration officials cautioned that such assistance could inflame tensions.
"Our focus has been and remains on the economic and diplomatic instruments at this point," Rice said. "Our interest is not in seeing the situation escalate and devolve into hot conflict."
Lavrov met with Kerry on Monday and said Russia's action in Crimea was necessary.
"It was the necessity to protect Russians who live there and who lived there for centuries," he said in the news conference. "And when our partners compare Crimea to Kosovo, because in Kosovo a lot of blood was shed then its independence was proclaimed. So we have a question then: Is it necessary for the blood to be shed in Crimea to agree on the right of the people in Crimea for self-determination?"
While Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the United States are stepping up their calls to provide Ukraine with light arms and other military aid, administration officials have argued that the sanctions put in place by the United States and the European Union must be given time to take hold.
With an estimated 20,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's border, the question is whether Obama's use of soft power will deter Putin.
With little resistance, the Russian President could easily move into eastern Ukraine even as Obama seeks to isolate Moscow in meetings with European allies. It's a possibility not lost on senior administration officials.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, argued the Russian leader is likely eyeing more opportunities in the coming days.
"(Putin) has put all the military units he would need to move into Ukraine on its eastern border and is doing exercises. We see him moving forces in the south in a position where they could take the southern region over to Moldova," Rogers said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
There are other approaches. Obama's former ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, urged the administration to intensify its policy of isolating Putin.
"Mr. Putin's Russia has no real allies. We must keep it that way," McFaul wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times.
But the White House is determined to ensure that the President's trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia will be more than just another showdown with Putin.
Hours after Obama landed in The Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit, the White House announced a deal to dispose of huge quantifies of nuclear material from Japan.
It's the kind of achievement Obama hoped to spotlight, had this trip not become so complicated.
What does Putin want next?

CNN's Victoria Eastwood contributed to this report.

December 4, 2011

Ten out Millions of The Most Touching Pictures of 2011

Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza in 9/11, pauses at his son’s name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial.

A whirpool forms off the Japanese coast after the tsunami on March 11.

A monstrous dust storm (Haboob) roared through Phoenix, Arizona in July.

A University of California Davis police officer pepper-sprays students during their sit-in at an "Occupy UCD" demonstration in Davis, California. (Jasna Hodzic / UC Davis)
Firefighters of Ladder Company 4 — which lost seven men on 9/11 — perched together on their aerial ladder, watching a news bulletin in Times Square declaring that Osama bin Laden was dead on May 2.

Slain Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson's dog "Hawkeye" lays next to his casket during funeral services in Rockford, Iowa. Tumilson was one of 30 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan on August 6 when their helicopter was shot down during a mission to help fellow troops who had come under fire.

Billy Stinson comforts his daughter Erin Stinson as they sit on the steps where their cottage once stood on August 28 in Nags Head, N.C. The cottage, built in 1903 and destroyed by Hurricane Irene, was one of the first vacation cottages built on Albemarle Sound in Nags Head.

(Getty Images / Scott Olson)
A demonstrator shows his bottom to riot police during a protest by European workers and trade union representatives to demand better job protection in the European Union countries in Brussels on March 24.
(Reuters / Thierry Roge)

A distressed bride attempts suicide in China after her fiance abruptly called off their marriage. Still in her wedding gown, she tried to kill herself by jumping out of a window of a seventh floor building. Right as she jumped, a man managed to catch and save her.
(Reuters / CHINA DAILY)

A U.S. Army soldier takes five with an Afghan boy during a patrol in Pul-e Alam, a town in Logar province, eastern Afghanistan.

(Getty Images / Justin Lane)
Descriptions by 

November 25, 2011

UN World Fund: No New MOney$ Including AIDS

UN Aids fund frozen
Visitors look at a sand sculpture created by sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik on the eve of World AIDS Day at Puri, Orissa, India Photo: EPA
The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria said that it could no longer afford to pay for new programmes to meet an international drive to prevent new infections.
The UN-backed fund has been beset by allegations of mismanagement and accusations that it has failed to detect corruption among local officials. An internal investigation found grave misuse of its resources had resulted in $73 million worth of fraud.
That prompted several donor states, including Germany, Sweden and Denmark, as well as the European Union, to suspend their contributions and demand reform of its practices. Meanwhile, other states such as Italy have failed to make payments they had pledged because of their own financial problems.
Now the fund has been forced to announce a freeze in its spending until 2014, meaning no new projects to tackle diseases in the most vulnerable parts of the world will receive funding before then.
Publicly, the fund blamed the economic downturn, rather than corruption, for the freeze. It said it faced a double blow of slower donations and lower interest rates reducing its income from its investments.

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