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Chilean men convicted of murder; new HIV strain in Russia
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-10-22

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In Chile, four men were convicted of first-degree murder for beating a gay man to death and carving swastikas into his body, according to CBS News. Judge Juan Carlos Urrutia said Patricio Ahumada Garay, Alejandro Angulo Tapia, Raul Lopez Fuentes and Fabian Mora Mora were guilty of a crime of "extreme cruelty" and "total disrespect for human life" in the death of Daniel Zamudio. The sentence will be read Oct. 28; prosecutors are asking for jail terms ranging from eight years to life in prison.

A scientific research center in Siberia said it discovered a new strain of HIV and that it is spreading throughout Russia "at a rapid rate," according to a Forbes item. The subtype was detected in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk in 2006 and now reportedly accounts for more than 50 percent of new HIV infections in the region. The number of HIV-positive people living in the Novosibirsk Region has leaped from about 2,000 in 2007 up to 15,000 in 2012. In a country of 143 million people, roughly 1 million are HIV-positive—meaning Russia has one of the highest percentages of HIV-infected people in the world outside sub-Saharan Africa.

CORE Issues Trust, a London-based Christian charity supporting ex-gay issues, has sued Transport for London, requesting the transportation company remove bus ads by the gay-rights group Stonewall, The Christian Post noted. "Transport for London agreed to host the Stonewall adverts but refused to host ours," Mike Davidson, CORE Issues Trust director, said. The court ruled against the trust, but allowed the group to appeal the decision, which Davidson announced it will do in December.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots has said his crusade to maintain the province's lifetime ban on gay men giving blood is at an end, Pink News reported. The High Court in Belfast ruled Poots did not have the power to maintain the ban and declared that he broke the ministerial code in failing to refer the matter to the Stormont Assembly.

Michael Morrill, a 35-year-old U.S. schoolteacher, was chosen Mr. Gay Hong Kong 2013, Gay Star News noted. A panel of judges as well as voters chose Morrill based on his pledge to found a non-profit organization for Asia's marginalized LGBT community. The event's organizers described Morrill, who has been living in Asia for more than a decade, as being on a "powerful mission to shed light on the realities of people living with HIV."

A young transgender Russian woman has committed suicide after being affected by Putin's anti-gay laws, according to Gay Star News. Dasha Shtern, 22, killed herself after she had lost her job and was made homeless by her own parents. Shtern was working for the Yekaterinburg government in Sverdlovsk; however, her employers feared feared continuing to employ her would break the so-called "gay propaganda laws'" and let her go.

Christine Forster, the sister of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, has announced she has proposed to her partner of six years, Virginia Edwards, Gay Star News noted. Forster expects Abbott to attend the wedding even though he is standing in the way of same-sex marriage being legalized in Australia. The couple has said they planned to hold their wedding in Sydney and that they intended to have drag queens at the wedding instead of bridesmaids.

A British member of parliament plans to introduce a bill to ban "gay cure" therapists, according to Gay Star News. Geraint Davies, a Labour MP for Swansea West, has called for nationwide regulation of mental health therapists—ensuring any gay teen or adult is not faced with bad treatment. The bill has cross-party support, with the early day motion being signed by 53 MPs, including the Green Party's Caroline Lucas, former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy and Conservative MP David Davies.

Vandals in Italy are responding to kisses with hate. According to The New York Daily News, the artist whose photos of gay couples kissing in churches scandalized the Vatican is now saying that his gallery's exhibition was attacked by individuals with spray cans. Gonzalo Orquin claims the attackers were responding to his controversial piece "Si, Quiero." The installation consisted of 16 photos of couples, gay and straight, kissing at the altar of several churches in Rome.


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