Today 12 December
A decision by the Indian Supreme Court to reinstate a ban on gay sex represents a "significant step backwards for India" and violates international law, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Thursday, suggesting the case be reheard. In a major blow to gay rights in the world's largest democracy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a 2009 ruling by a lower court that had decriminalized gay sex. "Criminalizing private, consensual same-sex sexual conduct violates the rights to privacy and to non-discrimination enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India has ratified," Pillay said in a statement issued in Geneva. "Yesterday's Supreme Court decision in this case represents a significant step backwards for India and a blow for human rights." The top court stated that only India's government could change the law, deeming the Delhi High Court had overstepped its powers with the decision four years ago.
By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African sign language interpreter accused of gesticulating gibberish as world leaders paid tribute to Nelson Mandela defended himself as a "champion" signer on Thursday, but said he suffered a schizophrenic episode during the event. The interpreter, identified as 34-year-old Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburg's Star newspaper he started hearing voices and hallucinating while on stage, resulting in gestures that made no sense to outraged deaf people around the world. Millions of TV viewers saw Jantjie interpreting for leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, at Tuesday's Mandela memorial. Afterwards South Africa's leading deaf association denounced Jantjie as a fake, saying he was inventing signs.
They tuned in to watch performances by some of the biggest rock and pop stars of the day -- Dire Straits, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Simple Minds and Sting. But for many of the half a billion television viewers who watched the 1988 Wembley Stadium concert, it was an eye-opening event that helped turn Nelson Mandela into a global icon. For the first time people began to realise who Mandela was," said Bob Hughes, the former chairman of Britain's Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM). The Wembley crowd of 70,000 was dwarfed by the 250,000 who demonstrated in Hyde Park for Mandela's 70th birthday a few weeks later, and the 200,000 who attended a free anti-apartheid gig in London two years earlier, in 1986.
The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's funeral has said a schizophrenic episode was to blame for accusations that he was an imposter who gesticulated nonsense during the entire service. Thamasanqa Jantjie was branded as a scurrilous fake after members of South Africa's deaf community said his signing at Tuesday's memorial ceremony had amounted to nothing more than "flapping his arms around." Jantjie's efforts at the memorial service, during which he translated eulogies by US President Barack Obama among others, triggered outrage in the deaf community and prompted a government investigation. Attended by nearly 100 sitting and former heads of state or government, the speeches at Mandela's memorial were supposed to be interpreted into sign language for deaf viewers.
When Ethiopia started repatriating its citizens living illegally in Saudi Arabia last month, 30,000 people were expected to return. It's a very big challenge returning over 120,000 people in less than a month... It's an emergency," said Sharon Dimanche of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is assisting the government-led repatriation programme. Ethiopia expects 150,000 to return, but has been repeatedly forced to scale up its predictions as the returnees continue to flood back. Ethiopia started repatriating its citizens in November after a seven-month amnesty period for undocumented immigrants expired.