Lebanon music festival cancels show after Christian pressure

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila in concert at the Mawazine Rhythms of the World Festival in June. (Photo from Mashrou’ Leila’s Twitter)

BEIRUT (AP) | An international music festival in Lebanon said July 30 that it has cancelled a planned concert by a popular Mideast rock band whose lead singer is openly gay, apparently caving to pressure after weeklong calls by some Christian groups to pull the plug on the show, as well as online threats to stop it by force.

Festival organizers released a statement saying the “unprecedented step” of cancelling the performance by Mashrou’ Leila was done “to prevent bloodshed and maintain peace and stability.”

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Brunei to begin punishing gay sex with death by stoning

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ABOVE: Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Amnesty International slammed Brunei on March 27 due to the nation’s plans to implement what the rights group called “vicious” Islamic criminal laws such as stoning to death for gay sex and amputation for theft.

Amnesty said in a statement that the new penalties, which also apply to children, are provided for in new sections under Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code and will come into effect April 3. The legal changes were announced in a discreet notice on the attorney general’s website, it said.

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Sister of slain Brazilian councilwoman calls for justice

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) | The sister of slain Brazilian councilwoman Marielle Franco on Jan. 14 expressed concern about the conservative new governor’s commitment to solving the case.

Ten months to the day since the slaying of Franco and her driver, sister Anielle Franco said Gov. Wilson Witzel’s recent actions as a candidate were “worrisome.” During last year’s campaign, Witzel participated in a rally where two other candidates showed off a street sign honoring Franco that they had broken.

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Amnesty slams Guatemala bill to punish abortion, gay couples

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MEXICO CITY (AP) | Amnesty International says a proposed Guatemalan law on abortion providers and gay couples is  “absurd.”

The Guatemalan congress is debating proposals that would ban recognition for same-sex couples and forbid teaching that homosexuality is acceptable.

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Amnesty urges Malaysia to quash caning sentence of lesbians

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Amnesty International urged Malaysia Aug. 29 to quash a caning sentence for a lesbian couple, calling the punishment cruel and unjust.

Two unidentified ethnic Malay women, aged 22 and 32, had pleaded guilty for attempting to have sexual intercourse and were sentenced to six strokes of a cane and fined by a Shariah court earlier this month.

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Openly gay journalist for Russian paper faces deportation to Uzbekistan

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MOSCOW (AP) – A Russian court has ordered a Novaya Gazeta reporter to be deported to his native Uzbekistan where he might face torture, the prominent Russian newspaper said Aug. 2.

It said Khudoberdy Nurmatov, who was born in Russia but grew up in Uzbekistan, is now in jail pending an appeal.

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New report says Ethiopia blocked social media, gay rights sites

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopia’s government illegally blocked social media and news websites during the months of turmoil that led to the country’s ongoing state of emergency, a new report says.

The report by Amnesty International and the Open Observatory of Network Interference also found “systematic interference” with access to political opposition sites and ones supporting freedom of expression and gay rights.

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