ATLANTA — The Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will not host its annual Confederate Memorial Day service at Stone Mountain Park this year. The gathering was proposed to take place Saturday. But the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the state authority that oversees management of the popular and divisive park, declined to grant the necessary permit. In a letter dated March 31, memorial association CEO Bill Stephens listed three reasons for the denial. Foremost among them, Stephens cited an ordinance declaring large events should be denied if they create “a clear and prese...
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday attacked a US proposal to hold a "Summit for Democracy," saying such a gathering would only deepen fissures on the international stage.
Speaking in a UN ministerial session organized by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the veteran Russian diplomat said that developing multilateralism should "be done on a collegial basis."
But he said that "in recent times, we have witnessed attempts to establish an international order... to impose upon everyone new rules that have been drawn up in non-inclusive bodies and circles."
"It is in this context that the US administration wishes to organize a 'Summit for Democracy,'" he said, referring to a proposal made by US President Joe Biden, which Washington says would aim to rally international support to fight corruption, combat authoritarianism and promote human rights.
"But that risks making international relations even more strained and create fault lines in the world, when what we need is a common and united purpose," said Lavrov.
Washington has not yet revealed details or even a possible date for such a gathering of democratic states.
"Of course, it will be Washington that puts together the list of states to be invited to this summit," said Lavrov, speaking after his US counterpart Antony Blinken, who had not mentioned the potential summit.
"The creation of an alliance for multilateralism that was put together by Germany or France might seem natural," he added.
"But Berlin and Paris have other ideas, and want to publish documents so that the European Union is the cornerstone of the multilateral system."
Lavrov said the proposal amounted to "imposing exclusivity in defiance of equality" between countries.
"We do not see the multilateral world as a way of working together to take collective decisions, we see it rather as a way to impose rules on others", he added, in a speech praised by the Chinese foreign minister.
Wang said that Beijing believes "dividing the world into ideological camps goes against multilateralism," and called on UN members to "seek equality and justice, not hegemony".
© 2021 AFP
A Minnesota teenager was bombarded with racist abuse from her classmates over social media -- and her mom is furious.
The teens sent racist threats and other abusive comments by Snapchat, starting months ago, and the girl's mother recorded a Facebook video at 2 .m. Saturday because she couldn't sleep from stress, and her plea was viewed more than 6,000 times, reported KMSP-TV.
"I just want things to change," Andrea Robinson says in the video. "I don't want my kids to go through this, I don't want any kids to go through this. Honestly, I just feel helpless."
The bullying messages -- "I will beat the Black right out of you," read one message, while another said, "Get the ropes ready" --became more frequent around December, and Robinson said she reached out to the parents to talk, but only some of them responded.
"She wanted to kill herself, it was to the point of her wanting to take her life," Robinson said. "I mean it was the point of taking her life."
Police investigated the messages but told KMSP that no criminal violations were found, and Robinson said the school district hasn't responded to her complaints.
"I want the school to acknowledge it's an issue," she said. "It's been a long-standing issue."
Administrators from ROCORI High School, where Olivia Williams is a 15-year-old freshman, sent a letter out to families acknowledging that not all students feel comfortable at the school, and promised to address the issue, but the teen said the damage has been done.
"I mean it did break me a lot," said Williams. "Just knowing there's people that could do that. Like I said, they didn't know me, so that hurt a lot at the time."
She's not sure what to do about the abuse, because she relies on social media to stay in touch with friends.
"Me and my friend were talking about that the other day, like we might delete Snapchat," Williams said. "I don't know. I just don't have any other apps that I have everybody else on. I don't have everyone's number. I don't know."
Mom calls for change after daughter bombarded with racist Snapchats
Mom calls for change after daughter bombarded with racist Snapchats www.fox9.com
It's the kind of language that startles and stuns most people. Racist to say the least with the n-word and phrases like "I will beat the Black right out of you" and "Get the ropes ready."
A Yemeni model arrested two months ago for "challenging social norms" is at risk of undergoing a forced "virginity test", Amnesty International said on Friday.
Entisar al-Hammadi was arrested in February in Sanaa, where the Iran-backed Huthi rebels who control the Yemeni capital are enforcing a morality campaign.
According to Amnesty, the 19-year-old woman born to an Ethiopian mother and a Yemeni father has been "interrogated while blindfolded, physically and verbally abused (and) subjected to racist insults".
She was also "forced to 'confess' to several offences, including drug possession and prostitution", the London-based rights group said.
It said her lawyer was informed on Tuesday by a member of the prosecuting team of plans by the Huthis "to subject her to a 'virginity test' within days", calling on the rebels to drop those plans.
"She is being punished for challenging the social norms of Yemen's deeply patriarchal society, which entrench discrimination against women," said Amnesty's Lynn Maalouf.
"Forced 'virginity tests' are a form of sexual violence and amount to torture under international law," said Amnesty.
Hammadi had several thousand followers on Instagram and Facebook, where she posted sessions with local stylists and designers.
The young woman often appeared online in traditional dress as well as leather and denim jackets, and sometimes without a Muslim headscarf.
The Huthis, who seized Sanaa from Yemen's internationally recognised government in 2014 and control much of the north, have not commented on her fate.
"On April 21, she was brought before public prosecution for questioning in the presence of her lawyer on charges including 'drug use, drug promotion, and prostitution' -- all of which she strongly denies," Amnesty said.
"At the end of the interrogation, her lawyer witnessed her being slapped by the prison manager," it added.
The public prosecutor prevented Hammadi's lawyer from accessing her file, and a gunman then threatened him on April 27 telling him to drop the case, said Amnesty.
It called for Hammadi's immediate release from prison.
The Huthis, Amnesty said, "have a deplorable track record of arbitrarily detaining people on baseless charges -- to silence or punish critics, activists, journalists and members of religious minorities".
© 2021 AFP
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