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Passenger's Journal
Passenger's Journal
October 1, 2021

China to reduce abortions for 'non-medical purposes'

China to reduce abortions for 'non-medical purposes' (Reuters via CNN)

China will reduce the number of abortions performed for "non-medical purposes," the country's cabinet announced in new guidelines issued Monday that it said were aimed at improving women's reproductive health.

China has already enacted strict measures aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions, and health authorities also warned in 2018 that the use of abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women's bodies and risks causing infertility.
The State Council said the new guidelines would also aim to improve women's overall access to pre-pregnancy health care services.

National Health Commission data showed that between 2014 and 2018, there had been an average of 9.7 million abortions per year, rising about 51% from the 2009-2013 average despite a relaxation of family planning policies in 2015. The data didn't specify how many abortions were for medical reasons.


Looks like the Chinese authorities want more babies, or else.
September 27, 2021

Russia bans film about lesbian nun

Russia bans film about lesbian nun

Warning: From a Russian source that approves of this.

The Russian Ministry of Culture has refused to allow a new French-Dutch drama about a 17th-century lesbian nun to be shown in Russia.

Benedetta, co-written and directed by Paul Verhoeven, is loosely based on the 1986 book Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, about Benedetta Carlini (1591-1661), a Catholic abbess and mystic who was found guilty of having relations with one of her nuns and stripped of her rank and imprisoned.

The film is entitled Temptation in Russian.

“There is a scene of provocative content in the film, which is regarded as a violation of the legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and religious associations,” Assistant to the Minister of Culture Anna Usacheva explained to gazeta.ru.

The Ministry did not specify to which scene it was referring, but critics of the film note that there are several with nudity and eroticism.

September 24, 2021

German millionaires rush assets to Switzerland ahead of election (Reuters)

German millionaires rush assets to Switzerland ahead of election (Reuters)

ZURICH (Reuters) - A potential lurch to the left in Germany's election on Sunday is scaring millionaires into moving assets into Switzerland, bankers and tax lawyers say.

If the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), hard-left Linke and environmentalist Greens come to power, the reintroduction of a wealth tax and a tightening of inheritance tax could be on the political agenda.

"For the super-rich, this is red hot," said a German-based tax lawyer with extensive Swiss operations. "Entrepreneurial families are highly alarmed."

The move shows how many rich people still see Switzerland as an attractive place to park wealth, despite its efforts to abolish its image as a billionaires' safe haven.

No country has more offshore assets than Switzerland and inflows accelerated in 2020, to the benefit of big banks such as UBS, Credit Suisse and Julius Baer. Geopolitical tensions and fears of the COVID-19 pandemic's economic fallout made Switzerland's political stability attractive.


You will notice for all the Republican rhetoric about "Commies", nothing like that is happening here.
September 24, 2021

Kenya bans film for 'advocating same-sex marriage' ()

Kenya bans film for 'advocating same-sex marriage' (AFP via Deutsche Welle)

Authorities in Kenya have pulled the plug on a film depicting romantic love between men. "I Am Samuel" is being called an affront to the country's constitution.

Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB) has banned a documentary about two gay lovers.

The film, I Am Samuel, is a movie about the romantic relationship between two men who live in Nairobi.

What did the film regulator say?

In a statement on Twitter, the board's head, Christopher Wambua said the documentary "propagates values that are in dissonance with our constitution, culture, values and norms."

In his review of the film Wambua said: "By deliberately advocating same-sex marriage in Kenya, the film blatantly violates Article 165 of the Penal Code that outlaws homosexuality."

Wambua also said the film was an affront to the country's religious values.

"Worse still, the production is demeaning of Christianity as two gay men in the film purport to conduct a religious marriage invoking the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," he said.

... Homosexual relations are against the law in the conservative, largely Christian state. ...


Especially notice two things about this story:

1) It is a Kenyan film production, not an import.
2) Heavy on the religion.
September 9, 2021

China orders gaming giants to cut 'effeminate' gender imagery

China orders gaming giants to cut 'effeminate' gender imagery (France 24)

Chinese authorities have ordered gaming giants Tencent and NetEase to end their focus on profits and cut content perceived to be breeding "effeminacy", as Beijing tries to direct youth culture, gender ideals and the reach of big tech.

The move is the latest by authorities to tighten their grip on the embattled technology sector and sent shares in some of the industry's biggest names plunging.

Officials on Wednesday summoned gaming enterprises including Tencent and NetEase, the two market leaders in China's multi-billion-dollar gaming scene, to discuss further curbs on the industry, which has already been ordered to limit gaming time to three hours a week.

Among the new targets are media representations of men, which experts say are a cause for anxiety among the conservative, older generation of Communist Party leaders.

In recent days, regulators have ordered broadcasters to resist "abnormal aesthetics" such as "sissy" men, calling for more masculine representations in programming.


September 8, 2021

Amazon to open 2 cashier-less Whole Foods stores next year (AP)

Amazon to open 2 cashier-less Whole Foods stores next year (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers.

Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them.

But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment.

Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

One of the new stores will be in Washington, D.C.; the other in Sherman Oaks, California. They will be stocked with the typical Whole Foods fare, including seafood, fresh-squeezed orange juice and organic vegetables.

Even with the technology, Amazon said it will still hire about the same number of workers for the stores that it normally would, except they will have different roles, helping shoppers in the aisles or at counters instead of standing behind a register. The company declined to say how many people it will hire.

The company also declined to say if it plans to bring the technology to more Whole Foods locations.

Not laying anybody off just yet, and no talk of wages being too high (as Walmart did when they introduced self-checkout).

Amazon are simply betting people will prefer not having to deal with cashiers.
September 7, 2021

Howard University cancels classes after ransomware attack (NBC)

Howard University cancels classes after ransomware attack (NBC)

Howard University, one of the largest historically Black schools in the United States, canceled classes Tuesday after a ransomware attack.

The attack shut down the campus Wi-Fi, and nonessential employees were instructed to not report to work, the university announced Monday. In-person classes will resume Wednesday, but online classes remain canceled until at least Thursday.

Ransomware attacks have become a scourge in recent years, and universities are common targets. Hackers have managed to infect at least 19 colleges and universities in 2021 alone, according to Allan Liska, an analyst at the cybersecurity company Recorded Future. In at least three other instances in the U.S. this year, schools had to cancel classes for at least one day.

Criminal hackers use ransomware to break into a victim's computer networks to lock up files on as many computers as possible and then ask for money for a code to restore them.

September 7, 2021

Mexico's Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion

Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion (NY Daily News)

Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that abortion is not a crime, declaring it unconstitutional to levy penalties around the medical procedure.

“This is a historic step for the rights of women,” Supreme Court Justice Luis Maria Aguilar told Reuters.

The ruling was in sharp contrast to neighboring Texas, whose law banning most abortions in the state went into effect last Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block it.

Texas law effectively outlaws abortions, sparking outrage from women and Democrats

Until now, in most of largely Catholic Mexico the only legal grounds for abortion was for pregnancy resulting from sexual violence, according to the Mexico City–based pro-choice advocacy group GIRE.


Progress continues in the rest of the world.
September 5, 2021

Lithuanian president promises not to allow LGBT history to be taught in schools

Lithuanian president promises not to allow LGBT history to be taught in schools (Interfax)

Vilnius, September 2, Interfax/BNS - Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that he is against the demands of the organizers of the march of sexual minorities to allow homosexuals to adopt, as well as to teach the history of the LGBT community in schools.

"I'm against such requirements and I believe that they won't be implemented in Lithuania. As president, I will do everything in my power to ensure that such requirements are not implemented now," the head of state told reporters on Thursday.

He noted that for such changes it would be necessary to amend the Constitution.

Representatives of the LGBT community on Thursday handed to the chairman of the Seimas Victoria Chmilita-Nielsen a list of their demands of 14 points, including the requirement to ensure the right to marriage, partnership and adoption, regardless of gender; to give social guarantees and services to everyone, without discrimination based on family status; to legalize a "decent sex change"; to amend the Law on the Protection of Minors from the Negative Impact of the Media, on the basis of which information about sex minorities is censored.

The LGBT community demands to simplify the issuance of personal documents after a sex change, so that you do not need to go to court for this. The list also includes a requirement to ban conversion therapy, a practice aimed at changing sexual orientation.

More former Soviet homophobia.

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