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World news: Irish PM, NIgeria arrests, S. Korea military, Jerusalem Pride
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-08-08

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Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar attended a gay-rights event on Aug. 5 during his first official visit to Northern Ireland, upsetting some social conservatives in the only region of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is still illegal, Reuters reported. Varadkar—who became Ireland's first openly gay leader when he took office in June—joined activists preparing for Northern Ireland's largest gay pride parade for a "Pride Breakfast" in a Belfast pub. He said he was unable to attend the actual parade due to a prior commitment in Dublin.

In Nigeria, police in Lagos arrested 42 men for alleged acts of homosexuality, NewNowNext.com noted. Authorities raided Victoria Hotel in Owode Onirin, cordoning off the hotel while their investigation continued. Nigeria is one of 72 countries worldwide where homosexual acts are illegal: In the predominantly Christian south, offenders can face up to 14 years in prison. The maximum punishment in the 12 northern states that have adopted sharia law is death by stoning.

South Korea is planning to reconsider its stance on gay soldiers, PinkNews reported. The country has been arresting gay soldiers on mass in recent months, as military officials have been using dating apps to track down and expose the men, then arresting and charging them. Although same-sex sexual activity is not illegal in the country, the army retains a code of conduct that bans homosexuality, and military service is mandatory.

Twelve people have been arrested during Jerusalem Pride amid threats of attacks, PinkNews noted. The group was detained on suspicion that they had the intent to disrupt the Pride festivities. Despite the threat of attack, thousands of people lined the streets of Israel's capital to celebrate Pride. Tel Aviv, another major city in the country, recently held its Pride celebrations and an estimated 200,000 people attended.

The Haitian Senate has passed a law that makes it a crime to "publicly demonstrate support" for gay rights—such as taking part in or witnessing a same-sex union, PinkNews reported. People who take part in same-sex weddings can also face criminal charges, with a maximum of three years in prison for "the parties, co-parties and accomplices" to a same-sex marriage. The law was sold to lawmakers as a way to ban same-sex marriage, even though marriage is already defined under Hatian law as a union between a man and a woman.

The latest release of 2016 census data reveals LGBT life and the progress that has been made over a decade in Toronto and other Canadian cities since same-sex marriage was legalized July 20, 2005, CBC.ca noted. Statistics Canada says 72,880 people identify themselves as being part of a same-sex couple in Canada; representing nearly 1 percent of all couples and a 60-percent jump compared to the 2006 census. Major Canadian cities have become welcoming homes for same-sex couples, with half of the census respondents living in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Ottawa.

Three openly gay athletes have excelled this summer, with two setting world records and another winning a gold medal, Outsports noted. In June, New Zealand rower Robbie Manson set a record in single sculls in winning the gold medal at the World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland; Manson then won another gold medal a few weeks later at a world cup race in Switzerland. In July, British Olympian Tom Bosworth set a world record in the one-mile race walk. And another Brit, diver Tom Daley, won the gold medal in the men's 10-meter platform last month at the world championships in Hungary.

A gay journalist who helped to uncover the horrific treatment of gay men in Chechnya is facing deportation, PinkNews reported. Ali Feruz, 30, is a journalist for Novaya Gazeta and originates from Uzbekistan. After being persecuted for his sexual orientation, he fled to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and, six years ago, he migrated to Russia. Now, Russian authorities have ordered Feruz to be deported, as a number of Novaya Gazeta journalists are being targeted.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, will host its fourth edition of BA Diversa on Aug. 14-19, a press release noted. Buenos Aires has been holding Diversa since 2014, a multi-day city-wide event that promotes LGBTIQ inclusion. This year's event has a variety of components, from rainbow displays in the heart of the city at the Obelisco, to sports events, photography exhibits and many other activities. During Diversa, the city also hosts the annual Gnetwork360 International Conference on LGBTIQ Business and Tourism.

Following a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages in Bermuda, three Carnival Corp. cruise lines—Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line—are now taking bookings for same-sex marriages at sea, according to a Tornos News item that cites CruiseCritic.com . The ruling permits any Bermuda-registered cruise ship offering weddings at sea packages the opportunity to offer same-sex ceremonies. Ceremonies will be performed by the ship's captain or deputy captain, with marriage licenses issued by Bermuda.

One of Japan's biggest beverage companies will start recognizing the rights of its LGBTI employees—and, unlike Japan, the business will recognize same-sex relationships, Gay Star News reported. Kirin Holdings ( the second-biggest beer producer in the country ) announced it would "revise guidelines to right unjust discrimination and protect the personal dignity' of its staff." LGBTI employees in relationships will receive the same benefits as their heterosexual colleagues, including bereavement leave, parental leave and other allowances.

Soccer teams across the Scottish Premier Football League have signed up to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter, Gay Star News noted. The charter states: "Scotland will be a country where everyone can take part, enjoy, and succeed in sport at all levels. Whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity." It also includes a set of five principles which aim to remove the barriers to sport for LGBT people.

Australian researchers have apparently uncovered large groups of bottlenose dolphins engaging in what appeared to be same-sex behavior, Newsweek noted. A team from the Mandurah Dolphin Research Project in Western Australia noticed the males started spending quality time together after their mating season ended. "Apart from homosexual behavior, males, unlike females, in Shark Bay have also been recorded to perform synchronous displays," researcher Krista Nicholson said. "In Shark Bay, where male dolphins form lifelong alliances, socio-sexual interactions between males are more common than between females or between the sexes."


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