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World news: Canadian stamp, Pride festivals, Bermuda OKs marriage
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-05-16

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The latest Canada Post stamp commemorating Canada's 150th birthday pays tribute to the fact that same-sex couples have the right to get married in this country, CTV News reported. The agency unveiled the stamp in Toronto at a local center that serves as a hub for the city's LGBTQ community. The maple-leaf-shaped stamp shows an image of a rainbow flag and the words "marriage equality" in both French and English. Canada Post is issuing 10 special stamps to honor key moments in the country's 150-year history. The stamp ( the fourth in the series ) will be available June 1.

On Aug. 10-20, Montreal Pride will host the first-ever Canada Pride, a press release noted. The outdoor shows will feature a roster of artists from Quebec, Canada and the rest of the world, including Nelly Furtado, Ria Mae, Martha Wainwright, Elvira Kurt, Gregory Charles, RuPaul's Drag Race contestants, Edith Butler, David Usher and Jonas. The festival's special Canada Pride Montreal 2017 edition will be part of the official programming of Montreal's 375th celebrations and Canada 150 festivities; it will offer more than 150 activities and events.

In Israel, the City of Tel Aviv-Yafo announced that the theme of the 2017 LGBT Pride Parade is "Bisexuality Visibility"—making the event the first large-scale pride parade in the world to ever celebrate with a bisexual theme, according to a press release. Starting June 3, hundreds of thousands of people from Israel and around the world are expected to descend on Tel Aviv for a nonstop week of parties, events and shows—culminating in a parade through the city streets on June 9 that is expected to draw 200,000 attendees. Past themes include last year's "Women for a Change" and "Transgender Visibility."

The Supreme Court of Bermuda ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, bringing to a close a years-long drama over marital rights in the British island territory, Daily Xtra reported. The case was brought by a Toronto-based Bermudian and Canadian gay couple, Winston Godwin and Greg DaRoche, who filed their challenge last July. Although they could marry in Canada, they preferred to marry in Godwin's home country of Bermuda. The court found that Bermuda's Human Rights Act took precedence over the Matrimonial Causes Act, which bans same-sex marriage. However, Preserve Marriage has called on the Bermuda Government to appeal against the landmark court decision, Royal Gazette noted.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has addressed the persecution of gay men in the Russian territory of Chechnya, PinkNews reported. Human-rights groups have raised concerns about the treatment of LGBT people in Chechnya, an autonomous region of Russia. In a letter, May branded the atrocities "abhorrent. ... This is a deeply troubling issue and I appreciate you sharing your concerns with me. ... Urgent action is also being taken to explore how best to provide support to the LGBT+ community in the region."

Authorities in Bangladesh have said that they have arrested an IT boss at a banned militant Islamist group that had targeted and killed gay-rights activists, PinkNews reported. Police had arrested the suspect, Ashfaaur Rahman, who worked as the IT boss of the militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team. According to the police chief, Rahman was close to former army major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Hague, who had gone into hiding when he was accused of being involved in a plot to topple the government in 2011.

The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, has appointed a man, Edouard Philippe, who refused to vote for same-sex marriage as prime minister, PinkNews noted. The 46-year-old is a Republicans party MP and mayor of the northern port of Le Havre. As a member of parliament for Normandy he refused to vote in favour of same-sex marriage, instead opting to abstain. Macron ran on a platform as a staunch supporter of LGBT rights, having dedicated an entire section of his manifesto to addressing LGBT issues.

An annual LGBT rally in Singapore has said it has been reminded by authorities that it must not allow foreigners to attend, according to PinkNews. Those who are not registered as residents of Singapore will not be allowed in to the July 1 event called The Pink Dot rally that attracts crowds of tens of thousands. Ironically, the event takes place at the free-speech site Speakers' Corner.

The family of an army officer who vanished 18 years ago have received phantom phone calls from overseas, sparking fresh speculation he could still be alive, The Daily Mail reported. Sean Sargent, then 24, went missing in Brisbane, Australia, in March 1999 amid suggestions he was living a double life and hiding his sexuality from the army. Brisbane Coroners Court recently heard that several people told police they saw Sargent in the weeks after his disappearance, including at a gay bar in Brisbane's Spring Hill.

An inquest into a murder-suicide involving Australian chef Marcus Volke discovered that he bought a cleaver knife, bleach, gloves, garbage bags, a scrubbing brush and a laundry tub before dismembering the body of transgender wife Mayang Prasetyo after a night of arguing, The New Zealand Herald revealed. Apparently, the union was a "business transaction" and took place at a time when Volke was heavily in debt. However, the court heard their relationship was volatile and there was evidence Prasetyo had threatened to expose Volke to his family should he decide to leave her.

Passport magazine did a roundup of five of the world's best gay beaches. They are Wreck Beach ( Vancouver ), Playa Los Muertos ( Puerto Vallarta ), Beach 19 ( Lisbon, Portugal ), Condado Beach ( San Juan ) and Clifton Beach ( Cape Town ). Of Beach 19, the magazine stated, "Officially a clothing-optional beach, Beach 19 is perfect for sunbathing and swimming, buying local Portuguese pastries from beach vendors, and knocking back refreshing cocktails at the bar on Beach 17."

Reinaldo Herrera—the 34-year-old nephew of famed fashion designer Carolina Herrera, 78—was abducted and murdered in Venezuela, according to an Extra TV item that cites The New York Daily News. Reinaldo was dining with a friend, 31-year-old Fabrizio Mendoza, at a restaurant in Caracas when a group of armed men took them hostage, later seeking to be paid ransom. The ransom was paid, but the men killed Herrera and Mendoza, abandoning their bodies in a truck on the highway outside Caracas. On May 15, Carolina was honored as the 2017 Designer of Excellence by the Chicago History Museum's Costume Council.


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