Canada Strikes Down Prostitution Restrictions
Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down major restrictions on prostitution, ruling that the existing laws are too sweeping and unconstitutionally violate prostitutes’ safety. These restrictions include bans on brothels and street solicitation, as well as living off the profits of prostitution (prostitution itself is legal). The court found these measures made the profession more dangerous.
The decision gives the Canadian government one year to craft new legislation and the current laws will remain in effect until then.
Spanish Government Approves Restrictive Abortion Law
The Spanish government approved a new law that bans abortions except in the case of rape or when there is a serious risk to the health of the mother or the fetus. A woman seeking an abortion would require approval by two doctors not performing the procedure. 16- and 17-year-old would require permission from their parents.
Most opposition parties and women’s groups oppose the measure – a poll last year found that 81% of all Spaniards were against the reforms. According to one organization, of the 118,000 abortions that took place in 2011, nearly 100,000 would be illegal under the new law.
The law must still be approved parliament, but given the ruling party’s large majority, it is almost certain to pass.
More Sectarian Violence Erupts in CAR
After days of relative calm, Christian militia attacked Muslim neighborhoods in the Central African Republic’s capital city of Bangui, tearing down a mosque and leaving at least 30 dead. Chadian troops from the African Union peacekeeping force interrupted clashes between Muslim and Christian militias, which then spiraled into a firefight that left civilians dead. In even more depressing news, recent attacks show that the armed groups are now targeting children.
Over 700,000 people have been displaced and around 75,000 more have fled to neighboring countries.
UK Court Rejects ‘Well-Founded’ Rendition Claim
A UK court has ruled that a prominent Libyan dissident cannot pursue his “well-founded” claim that he was unlawfully abducted, then tortured, by M16 and the CIA because it would damage Britain’s “state interests” (in this case, its relationship with the US). In his ruling, however, the judge did challenge the British government’s argument that the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) was the appropriate body to investigate charges of rendition, detention and torture. The British government recently handed over this task to the ISC rather than hold its promised judge-led inquiry.
Weekend Reads: The Financial Crisis
Why have no high-level executives been prosecuted? Via The New York Review of Books.
The Madness of the Planets
On the evolution of our solar system and the truth about its instability. Via Nautilus.