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More than 100 killed in Syria air raids in past 10 days, UN says

UN human rights chief condemns ‘apparent international indifference’, says 26 children are among 103 civilians killed. Air raids by the Syrian government and its allies in the country’s last rebel-held enclave have killed more than 100 civilians in the past 10 days, according to the United Nations, which said the three-month campaign has displaced more than 400,000 people. The 103 ... Read More »

‘Puppy dog eyes’ developed to manipulate humans

A new study published on Monday has discovered why humans cannot resist “puppy dog eyes.” According to the report printed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, domestic dogs have evolved to use their eyebrow muscles more flexibly than their wild counterparts. This makes their eyes appear bigger and more closely resemble human infants, triggering a nurturing response ... Read More »

Civilians in Syria’s Idlib caught between front lines

Idlib is the last refuge for many Syrians. Around 3 million people live here. Hundreds of thousands more Syrians are trapped on the country’s border with Turkey in the nearby town of Atmeh. Since the end of April, the Syrian military has led an offensive to expel the rebels from Idlib. Russia, a close ally of President Bashar Assad’s regime, ... Read More »

Pakistani doctor wins Rolex Award for her Tele-Medicine delivery project

CEO and Co-Founder of a Tele-Medicine delivery system, Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram has been awarded Rolex Awards for Enterprise as Associate LAUREATE for her project called “Sehat Kahani”. The Rolex Award for Enterprise was announced in an official ceremony on Friday in Washington DC, which was attended by Dr. Sara Saeed. With this achievement, Dr. Saeed has now become the ... Read More »

Hong Kong protests: Activists praised for clearing away rubbish and parting crowds for ambulances.

Hong Kong protesters have been praised for working through the night to clear away rubbish left by millions of people and leaving streets spotless. After the protest – estimated to be attended by 2 million people, making it the largest in the territory’s history – protesters returned in the middle of the night to clean up the streets. “Occupiers are ... Read More »

Morocco group empowers women to fight partner abuse, rape

Victims of domestic violence are often unaware of resources available to them and are too afraid to ask. In Morocco, a new initiative aims to change that by helping women take legal action against their violent husbands. Now 23, a mother of two and an education worker, Salma remembers her marriage as seven years of being bloodied and bruised. Her husband raped her repeatedly, she said. He beat her and threatened her with murder. Her face was constantly swollen from being struck, and she developed an addiction to the drugs that he forced her to take to keep her under control. In that state, she did not have the strength to divorce him. "Domestic violence destroys the dignity of women," Salma said. Salma broke her silence, sharing her experiences on a radio station that works with Fais entendre ta voix(Make Your Voice Heard), one of several initiatives to empower women in Morocco. Though there are laws in place to provide recourse to women who are raped by their husbands, the topic remains largely taboo in Morocco. However, the radio station brought Salma's story to the public, and the initiative supported her psychologically and legally. This provided Salma with the strength she needed to divorce her husband and to report him for battery and rape. Efforts at outreach Financed in part by by the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders, the initiative encourages womenwho have experienced domestic violence to speak publicly about their suffering. The initiative serves to empower women by offering them legal options for defending themselves and escaping their abusers. It also encourages women to report violence and harassment in public spaces. "Over 120 women have taken part in our seminars," said Khadija Khafid, a founder of the initiative. In addition to working with the radio station, the organization also operates a multimedia website that presents scenarios of domestic violence, accompanied by advice on how women can take action. The families of women who have escaped abusers have expressed their support for the initiative and the assistance it has offered to their loved ones.

Victims of domestic violence are often unaware of resources available to them and are too afraid to ask. In Morocco, a new initiative aims to change that by helping women take legal action against their violent husbands. Now 23, a mother of two and an education worker, Salma remembers her marriage as seven years of being bloodied and bruised. Her ... Read More »

Khashoggi killing: Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty for five suspects

Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor has recommended the death penalty for five of the suspects charged in the murder case of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi. However, he denied Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's involvement. Saud al-Mojeb, the kingdom's top prosecutor, announced on Thursday that he was recommending the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects who have been charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He did not name the suspects. In total, 21 people have been arrested in connection with the case. Crown Prince bin Salman exonerated Khashoggi, a regular contributor to US newspaper The Washington Post, was a staunch critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His murder caused international outrage, and many believe it could not have been carried out without bin Salman's knowledge. The prosecutor, however, claimed the crown prince was not involved in the killing. He said the highest-ranking member of the Saudi leadership implicated in the operation was former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri, who has since been fired for ordering Khashoggi's forced return. A spokesman for the prosecution told reporters that plans to assassinate Khashoggi were set in motion on September 29. "The crime included a fight and injecting the citizen Khashoggi with a drug overdose that led to his death," the official said. The body was dismembered and handed over to a local collaborator, he added. He did not give any details on the location of the body. Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get paperwork for his upcoming wedding. His fiancée raised the alarm when he did not return. After weeks of denials and under growing international pressure, Riyadh finally admittedthat Khashoggi was killed in the consulate in a "rogue" operation. US issues sanctions On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the US was placing harsh economic sanctions on 17 Saudis for their alleged involvement in the Khashoggi murder. In a statement, Mnuchin said: "The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions." Three of the individuals targeted in Thursday's sanctions were Saud Al-Qahtani and Maher Mutreb, both of whom are top aides to Salman, and Mohammed Alotaibi, consul general at the Istanbul consulate at the time Khashoggi was murdered. The US treasury secretary said Qahtani "was part of the planning and execution of the operation" to kill Khashoggi. The secretary stopped short of accusing the crown prince of involvement. The sanctions fall under the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and were issued as part of the US Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Such sanctions freeze targets' assets if they fall under US jurisdiction. The sanctions also forbid Americans and US companies from conducting business with them. Mnuchin's statement also said: "The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists." Trouble with the Turks The case has caused a row between the kingdom and Turkey, whose government insists the suspects should be tried in Turkey. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the Saudi prosecutor's statement "positive but insufficient," insisting that Khashoggi's murder was "premeditated." Cavusoglu said the Thursday announcement by Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor fell short of his own country's expectations: "I want to say that we did not find some of his explanations to be satisfactory" and that "those who gave the order, the real perpetrators, need to be revealed. This process cannot be closed down in this way." Cavusoglu also questioned why Saudi Arabia had only indicted 11 of the 18 suspects detained. He pointed out that the Saudi prosecutor made no mention of where Khashoggi's remains were taken: "There is a question that has not been answered yet. Where is Khashoggi's body? Where was he disposed of, where was he buried, where was he burned? There is still not an answer on this issue."

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor has recommended the death penalty for five of the suspects charged in the murder case of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi. However, he denied Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement. Saud al-Mojeb, the kingdom’s top prosecutor, announced on Thursday that he was recommending the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects who have been charged with ... Read More »

UN to investigate Saudi Arabia’s human rights record

Saudi Arabia faces international condemnation for its apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its ongoing war in Yemen. The UK and the US are reportedly working on a joint resolution to end hostilities. The United Nations Human Rights Council is to debate on Monday the dismal human rights record of Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The so-called Universal Periodic Review, a compulsory review carried out every four years, will also focus on Riyadh's role in Yemen's civil war. Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he will lobby the UN Security Council to try and find a political solution to four years of hostilities in Yemen. At least 10,000 have been killed in the conflict between a Saudi-backed coalition and Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and half the nation faces imminent starvation. Hunt's announcement came after Washington, which has long backed the Saudis, called for Riyadh to end its airstrikes in the country. UN diplomats, speaking anonymously, told Reuters news agency that Britain and the US were working on a joint resolution to stop the fighting in Yemen. Public grilling The half-day public debate will see a Saudi delegation, headed by the country's Human Rights Commission chief, Bandar Al Aiban, grilled by other nations over its human rights record. Activists have urged countries to hold Saudi Arabia to account. "UN member states must end their deafening silence on Saudi Arabia and do their duty of scrutinizing the cruelty in the kingdom in order to prevent further outrageous human rights violations in the country and in Yemen," Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East director of campaigns, said in a statement. "The Saudi government's long-standing repression of critics, exemplified by the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, has until recently been willfully ignored by UN member states," she added. According to publicly submitted questions, Britain, Austria and Switzerland will directly ask about the Khashoggi case. Sweden will ask how it plans to improve respect for the freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. The US will ask whether Riyadh plans to modify its counterterrorism law to ensure the definition of "terrorism" does "not include acts of expression, association, or peaceful assembly." Ahead of the review, the UN rights office published a list of concerns about human rights in Saudi Arabia, including discrimination against women, continued use of the death penalty, and "extremely broad" definitions of terrorism that enable "the criminalization of some acts of peaceful expression."

Saudi Arabia faces international condemnation for its apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its ongoing war in Yemen. The UK and the US are reportedly working on a joint resolution to end hostilities. The United Nations Human Rights Council is to debate on Monday the dismal human rights record of Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The ... Read More »

Google employees stage global walkout for women’s rights

More than 1,000 workers around the world walked away from their desks to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct and equality issues. They also called for equal pay and an end to forced arbitration. At least 1,000 Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday in protest of how the company handles sexual harassment. Employees in the Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, London, Dublin and New York offices have already taken part, with California expected to follow suit. Google is facing an internal backlash after the New York Times (NYT) reported last week that Android software creator Andy Rubin was paid a $90 million (€79 million) severance package in 2014 after being accused of sexual misconduct. Both Google and Rubin have refuted this claim. The tech giant told the NYT that it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment since 2016, and none of them had been given an exit package. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai issued an apology on Tuesday, e-mailing employees that he was "deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees." The next day, Google's parent company Alphabet confirmed that Richard DeVaul, an executive accused of sexual harassment, had been fired without severance. Employees demand equal pay, end to arbitration But employees were not placated, and issued a list of demands during the Thursday walkout. They are asking Google for a concrete commitment to ending pay inequality, a clearer process for reporting sexual misconduct, and an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment or discrimination, a standard practice across many industries designed to force such disputes to be settled privately through a binding arbitration process, rather than in courts. Hundreds of Google employees in New York staged a rally in a park near the company's offices: Some employees have also accused Google of claiming to be a champion of diversity and equality, while failing to take any concrete steps towards comprehensive inclusion.

More than 1,000 workers around the world walked away from their desks to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct and equality issues. They also called for equal pay and an end to forced arbitration. At least 1,000 Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday in protest of how the company handles sexual harassment. Employees in ... Read More »

Unemployed in Germany have greatest risk of poverty in the EU

Despite being one of Europe's wealthiest and economically-stable countries, Germany has the highest risk of poverty for the unemployed. According to the latest EU figures, the risk is as high as 70 percent. Those who are unemployed in Germany face a much bigger risk of falling into poverty than in any other European Union country, according to figures released by European statistics office Eurostat on Monday. After analyzing data from 2016, Eurostat found that the risk of poverty for those on unemployment benefit in Germany is at 70.8 percent - significantly higher than the average of 48.7 percent across Europe. Read more: Poverty, homelessness on the rise despite German affluence Lithuania was a distant second at 60.5 percent, followed by Latvia with a poverty risk of 55.8 percent. The countries with the lowest risk poverty for the unemployed — all under 40 percent — were France, Cyprus and Finland. Eurostat defines people as being at risk of poverty if their income is less than 60 percent of the national median. That means, in effect, that incomes of poorer people in Germany are growing at a slower rate than those above the median. Read more: The ticking timebomb of German poverty Forcing people into poorly-paid work Germans who have lost their jobs can at first claim 60 percent of their salaries as unemployment benefit (or 67 percent if they have children) - provided they have been paying social insurance contributions for at least 12 months. After a certain period, which depends on how long they were in work, unemployed people must claim a standard benefit known colloquially as "Hartz IV," - currently set at €416 ($512) a month. Housing benefits have to be claimed separately. "The new numbers don't surprise me," said Ulrich Schneider, head of the Paritätische Gesamtverband, an umbrella organization for a number of charities and social equality organizations. "This is the fruit of German social security policies. In 2005 we abolished a benefit for the unemployed that ensured that many unemployed people got something beyond Hartz IV - the result is that there is a bigger gap between the employed and the unemployed than elsewhere." Schneider also said he was baffled that Germany's welfare system has a reputation for generosity abroad. "These were conscious political decisions, because it was hoped that this would force more people into low income jobs," he told DW. "Germany's social state has been deliberately pared down since 2002. Look at health insurance: nowadays you can't get eyeglass prescriptions anymore, and waiting times for doctors have grown." The fallout, Schneider argued, is growing social fragmentation - even if Germany's poor are still better off than their counterparts in Bulgaria, say, they end up more cut off from their own society. "If I can't keep up with the average income, I get marginalized. That means many things that are natural for others are impossible for me - being a member of a sports club, for example, or allowing my child to learn a musical instrument." Opposition outrage Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU) have been presiding over Germany's welfare state in coalition with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) since 2013. The opposition did not waste the opportunity to attack the government. Left party leader Katja Kipping called the Eurostat figures a "resounding smack in the face for the CDU, CSU and SPD." Kipping said the coalition government "has to answer for the catastrophic situation," but has "apparently no desire to change anything." The Green party's labor market spokesmen Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn and Sven Lehmann were equally outraged, describing the figures as "sorry proof of the inadequacies of our social welfare system." "We have to improve the access to unemployment insurance for everyone, including short-term contractors, the self-employed, and others without security," they said in a joint statement. But Christoph Schröder, senior researcher at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), pointed out that the total unemployment rate had dropped significantly in the past decade. Calculated as the percentage of unemployed people of all those available to the job market, the rate is currently at 5.8 percent, down from 11.7 percent in 2005. That equates to a total of 2.57 million people, down from 4.86 million in 2005. "I think that shows that the people that are still unemployed now are likely to be long-term unemployed," Schröder told DW. "But we have also criticized that less money is being spent on helping the long-term unemployed than previously." "We did have increasing inequality, and increasing poverty risk rates, since the end of the 1990s until around 2005, though since then there hasn't been a particular increase," he added. "There has been an increase because of the relatively high immigration rate - but if you take that out you have only a slight increase in inequality." Read more: Rich vs. poor: How fair and equal is Germany?

Despite being one of Europe’s wealthiest and economically-stable countries, Germany has the highest risk of poverty for the unemployed. According to the latest EU figures, the risk is as high as 70 percent. Those who are unemployed in Germany face a much bigger risk of falling into poverty than in any other European Union country, according to figures released by ... Read More »

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