ALBANY, N.Y. — An upstate appellate judge said New York’s newly drawn congressional and legislative districts will remain in place for the time being. State Appellate Division Justice Stephen Lindley of Rochester extended an already issued temporary stay that keeps the new district maps in play for petitioning purposes, pending appeal. Lindley’s extension will run through April 20, when oral arguments will be heard. The decision comes a week after a lower court judge in Steuben County found the recently redrawn maps unconstitutional and gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. Supreme Court Judge P...
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Right-wing activist boasted of 'praying' with SCOTUS justices after they cited her organization's brief to overturn Roe
A right-wing activist whose organization wrote a brief that was cited by the United States Supreme Court in its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade also posted a video in which she boasted of praying with the justices.
Rolling Stone is reporting that Peggy Nienaber, who serves as the executive director of a ministry that falls under Liberty Counsel's umbrella organization, boasted that she and her associates are "the only people" who get an opportunity to pray with sitting Supreme Court justices.
A video obtained by the publication shows that Nienaber made the admission to a live streamer who was filming outside the court during a celebration of its decision to overturn 50 years of precedent on abortion rights.
"You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?” the live streamer asked her at one point.
“I do,” Nienaber replied. “They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them.”
Rolling Stone notes that this could be a conflict of interest for the justices who chose to pray with Nienaber.
"Such an arrangement presents a problem for the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel, which not only weighed in on the Dobbs case as a friend of the court, but also litigated and won a 9-0 Supreme Court victory this May in a case centered on the public display of a religious flag," the publication writes.
The Supreme Court did not reply to Rolling Stone's request for comment.
Russian lawmakers approved legislation on Wednesday to create a patriotic youth movement in a move reminiscent of Soviet-era youth organisations.
President Vladimir Putin will be asked to head the supervisory board of the movement which will seek to streamline and champion government efforts to enhance patriotic and Russian values among children and the youth.
In the USSR, children were taught Soviet values through three main youth organisations -- the Little Octobrists, Young Pioneers, and the Komsomol.
Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February and has threatened the West with nuclear arms.
Authors of the legislation, which was approved on its third and final reading on Wednesday, appear to have been inspired by the youth organisations of the Soviet era.
The bill was passed on the 133rd day of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.
"An all-Russian movement of children and adolescents is being created," parliament's lower house, the State Duma, said in a statement, adding that its members will themselves pick a name for it.
The organisation will be open to all children from the age of six and will be financed by the state. Regional governors are expected to be closely involved in its work.
Participation in the movement will be on a voluntary basis.
The government will hand over to the organisation youth camps and various education facilities to "facilitate the development of the child", said 28-year-old Aryom Metelev, who chairs the committee on youth policies at the State Duma.
"The state must create conditions that contribute to the comprehensive spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical development of children, to the learning of patriotism, civil responsibility and respect for adults," the authors said.
Two Indigenous Australian activists are fighting to save 40,000-year-old sacred rock art in Western Australia from pollution and plans for a major gas project.
Destruction in 2020 of Aboriginal rock shelters at Juukan Gorge by mining company Rio Tinto shocked the world, sparking condemnation, resignations, inquiries and promised reforms.
Now, First Nations women Raelene Cooper and Josie Alec warn the same could happen "in slow motion" at Murujuga, which lies about 1,300 kilometers north of Perth.
Alec and Cooper hope to garner global support by traveling this week from Australia's remote Pilbara region to Geneva to address the United Nations about their concerns -- particularly if gas giant Woodside's Scarborough project goes ahead.
Cooper told AFP that decay was already visible in the Murujuga rock art, which is sacred to the Indigenous custodians of the land and contains their traditional lore.
Alec said that due to industrial pollution "the rock art will disappear. We will have no rock art to show the world."
Woodside's Aus$16 billion (US$11 billion) Scarborough gas project would see 13 wells drilled off the coast of Western Australia to tap into a huge underwater reserve.
The company predicts that at full capacity, Scarborough will produce eight million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually -- prompting a backlash from green groups over its carbon emissions potential.
Last month the Australian Conservation Fund launched a legal challenge against the Scarborough project, claiming it would create emissions extensive enough to harm the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
Cooper and Alec point out that Murujuga has also been nominated for a World Heritage listing, in part because of the cultural value of its estimated one million petroglyphs, or rock carvings.
Destruction of the rock art, Alec said, "will kill our stories. And it kills a very part of who we are."
"We already visibly see the decay... the patina on the rock art itself flaking away, and the images are starting to wear," Cooper said.
Save Our Songlines, a campaign launched by both women, links the degradation of the art to pollution from industrial production on the resource-rich Burrup Peninsula.
'Run out of time'
Chemicals such as nitrous oxide settle on the art, the campaign says, rendering it vulnerable to degradation when rain falls.
Woodside said in a statement that "peer-reviewed research has not demonstrated any impacts on Burrup rock art from emissions associated with Woodside's operations".
But Save Our Songlines points to a 2021 study from the University of Western Australia, which concluded that "with the currently recorded acidity levels, the rock patina and associated art will degrade and disappear over time".
Woodside dismissed that study as not including "any original research and consequently (it) does not enhance or expand the existing science".
But Alec and Cooper say they can see Murujuga, the land they have sworn to protect and care for, changing before their eyes -- from the rock art to the disappearance of plants and animals.
"There's something critically wrong," Alec said.
"And there's only one explanation for that, and that is the chemicals, the mining, the gas, the oil... they are creating destruction."
The pair hope that speaking to the UN's Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which provides expertise to the Human Rights Council, will see industry and government in Australia held to account.
They want First Nations custodians to be better consulted about new industry on their land -- noting that women have been sidelined in the approvals process.
They have also called for Murujuga to receive World Heritage listing next year, an acknowledgement that would grant more leverage to argue for the region's protection.
"The time is now, we've already run out of time," Alec said.
© 2022 AFP