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Parents padlock Costa Rica schools to protest sex education

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Parents padlocked shut gates of some schools in Costa Rica on Thursday to protest sex education classes for teens that some believe promotes homosexuality, the education ministry said.

The actions took place in at least four schools in the north of the small Central American country, on the first day of the new school year, the ministry said.

Other parents elsewhere in the country loudly protested the sex education guide to local media and in social media posts.

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The protests were happening against the backdrop of heightened religious and social conservatism in the country energized by presidential elections which have propelled into first place an evangelical preacher who vehemently opposes gay marriage.

The preacher, Fabricio Alvarado, is the candidate of the National Restoration Party, a right-wing Christian party.

He emerged as the frontrunner after the first round of elections last weekend. On April 1 he faces a runoff against the ruling party candidate, Carlos Alvarado (no relation).

– ‘False information’ –

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A video circulating online featured an unidentified man explaining his opposition to the sex education program at the Puerto Escondido school in Pital, in the northern district of San Carlos, where he said his child was enrolled.

“We are not going to allow this sexual guide to be implanted in our children,” he said. “We are putting on chains and padlocks to say no to this program.”

Some parents interviewed by Costa Rican media said they believed the sex-education guide promotes homosexuality, something the government denied.

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Education Minister Sonia Marta Mora asked parents who had doubts about the program — which has been in place since 2012 for students in their penultimate year of high school, usually aged around 16 — to contact the schools to get information about its content.

Last year Mora sent a memorandum to high schools telling them sex education was not compulsory, and that parents could exempt their children from the class.

“It’s very serious that they are claiming that the program promotes homosexuality. It is unacceptable that such false information is circulating,” Mora said.

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Her predecessor, Leonardo Garnier, also criticized the bigotry that he said has surrounded the sex education initiative.

“We have now entered a new phase of intolerance. Now schools are being closed to oppose education about sex and intimacy. This is an attack on the right of all to education,” he wrote on his social media accounts.

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House Intel member reveals witnesses say the same thing: The Ukraine call is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’

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Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said on Monday that witnesses have been telling House investigators that President Donald Trump's call to the Ukraine's president is just "the tip of the iceberg."

Raskin made the remarks as he was on his way to a closed-door hearing with Fiona Hill, the president's former top Russia adviser.

“Essentially everybody is telling us the same thing, which is that the phone call was just the tip of the iceberg on July 25th," Raskin said.

I asked @RepRaskin, before he walked in to Fiona Hill deposition, about the accounts they’ve been hearing from aides behind closed doors on Ukraine: “Essentially everybody is telling us the same thing, which is that the phone call was just the tip of the iceberg on July 25th.”

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Green Beret turned GOP congressman unloads on Trump for unleashing ‘ISIS 2.0’

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Speaking on Fox News this morning, Florida GOP congressman and U.S. Army Officer Michael Waltz spoke about his conversations with US Green Berets in the wake of Turkey's invasion of northeast Syria, saying they are "completely demoralized" after being forced to "abandon their partners" after President Trump's decision to drawback US troops from the region.

"So my question is, if Assad and the Syrian army, if the Russians and if the Kurds are all now fighting this Turkish invasion, who's fighting ISIS?" Waltz said, adding that Trump's decision is "setting the conditions for ISIS 2.0."

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Syria regime steps in after Trump’s sanction threats fail to halt Turkish assault on Kurds

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The Syrian regime sent troops towards the Turkish border Monday to contain Ankara's deadly offensive against the Kurds, stepping in for US forces due to begin a controversial withdrawal.

The Syrian army has maintained a presence in the Kurdish-controlled cities of Qamishli and Hasakeh in Syria's northeast since the start of the war, and deployed a limited number of troops around the key city of Manbij in 2018 at the request of Kurdish forces to shield the area from a feared Turkish assault.

But their latest deployment is the first major dispatch of troops to Kurdish-controlled territory since Damascus started withdrawing from the northeast in 2012.

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