• Testicle tattoo lands soldier in prison for 19 months

    A soldier in Austria will spend 19 months in prison for the glorification of Nazism (and illegal firearms possession) after downing two bottles of whiskey and having his brother tattoo a swastika on his scrotum. He apparently posted the tattoo online, and showed it off to colleagues and friends while drunk on a separate occasion. This brand of "glorification" has been illegal since the National Socialism Prohibition Act of 1947.

    The soldier, whose identity remains a mystery at this time thanks to Austrian privacy laws, has also been accused of posting Nazi photos at a Cold War Bunker Museum, posting Nazi propaganda online, and drinking "Hitler-branded wine."

    He showed remorse during his trail, saying he was "sorry" and "embarrassed" for his actions.

    He told the court: 'I just got in with bad company. For us, anything that wasn't allowed was something we gravitated towards, but we all underestimated enormously how much a mistake this was.'

    He added: 'Other than that, I can't give any reasonable explanation for why I did it.'

    via Daily Mail

    The soldiers claims that the investigation of his testicle tattoo was what really tipped him off to how stupid Nazi glorification is, calling it "nonsense".

    His lawyer has said they will appeal the sentence

  • Dear Leader Kim Jong Un declares K-Pop a "vicious cancer"

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called K-Pop a "vicious cancer", and declared it to be a threat to his country. According to the New York Times, Kim made the comments alongside a campaign against the South Korean music genre, along with other foreign cultural influences.

    He said it harmed the "attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviors" of North Koreans. The Times reported that state media said it could make North Korea "crumble like a damp wall."

    via Business Insider

    The Times also reported that North Korea passed a new law last December that would sentence people to 15 years in a labor camp for simply consuming South Korean media.

  • Far-right chats lead to disbanding of German police unit

    Police in Frankfurt, Germany have made the decision to disband the city's Special Task Force (SEK) after discovering far-right extremist messages among the Force's group chats.

    The Interior Minister for Hesse state, Peter Beuth, called for new leadership culture among the lower and middle levels of the police force. Beuth said the messages were an example of, "unacceptable misconduct", and that the disbandment of the SEK was "unavoidable."

    "We are launching a fundamental reboot of the SEK today," he said.

    "Of course our special forces will also be vital in the future, but the parameters will be different," the interior minister said.

    via DW

    Much like the United States, German police and military forces have struggled with far-right scandals over the past several years. Just last year, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was forced to dissolve the 2nd company of the Bundeswehr's Special Forces Command (KSK) after the same brand of far-right extremism infiltrated the unit.

    Hesse state, Frankfurt's financial hub, seems to be quite the hotspot for right-wing activity, especially for German authorities. Threatening emails sent to several people, including a lawyer with a migrant background, were traced back to a Frankfurt police computer. The emails were signed with "NSU 2.0", referring to the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi group that committed 10 murders between the year 2000 and 2007. Even left-wing politicians received these emails, including Janine Wissler, whose personal details were accessed from a police computers.

  • India court moves to ban "cures" for sexual orientation

    According to India's Bar and Bench, the Madras High Court has suggested a slew of comprehensive measures to remove prejudices against the LGBTQ+ community. Among these measures are suggestions for changes in school and university curriculum to include information on the LGBTQ+ community; outreach programs and seminars on the legal rights of LGBTQ+ people for police and prison authorities; and on top of all this, the Court has ordered that strict action be taken against those who would indulge in "curing" or otherwise "changing" someone's sexual orientation.

    "I strongly feel that the change must take place at a societal level and when it is complemented by a law there will be a remarkable change in the outlook of the society by recognising same-sex relationships", [Justice Anand] Venkatesh said in his judgement, according to Live Law. He observed that legislative changes were needed to eradicate social discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community to ensure their life and dignity.

    via Scroll

    Reforms for the eduction system include measures such as sensitizing parents on LGBTQ+ issues and amending school polices and resources to be more inclusive for gender-nonconforming students.

    Those in law enforcement and the judicial system will also work to sensitize their own workplaces, familiarize themselves with the legal rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and conduct outreach programs alongside NGOs to support and amend the problems facing the LGBTQ+ community at the hands of the police.

    Physical and mental health professionals bear a similar load. The idea of conversion therapy must be tossed out the window, and attempts to medically "cure" the sexual orientation or gender presentation of their patients will be prohibited.

  • 44 people arrested for attending same-sex marriage

    Police in Nansana, Uganda have arrested 44 people who organized and attended a same-sex marriage on Monday. According to Luke Owoyesigyire, a spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan Police, a tip was sent to local authorities about a group of men suspected of being homosexual and conducting a wedding in 780 zone, Ochen ward.

    "Immediately a team of police officers proceeded to the scene and a group of 38 adult males and 6 females were found conducting a ceremony at around 1pm that looked to be a wedding. All the men had make up and some were dressed as female in dresses and wigs," Owoyesigyire said.

    "At the same functions gifts were recovered, these included suitcases, a tv, assorted gifts like sugar, salt, pineapples and many other gifts normally given at traditional functions."

    via Nile Post

    Owoyesigyire also claimed that used and unused condoms were found at the scene, and that the suspects were not observing Covid SOPs.

    Criminal Investigations Divisions spokesperson Charles Twine said that the group would be charged for potentially spreading an infectious disease.

  • Bigoted teacher uses God as excuse for disrespecting his trans students

    Byron "Tanner" Cross, a PE teacher in Virginia, is refusing to comply with a school policy to refer to students by their preferred pronouns, referring to the policy as "abuse to a child."

    We condemn school policies like 8040 and 8035, because it will damage damage children, defile the holy image of God. I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I'm a teacher, but I serve God first, and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa, because it's against my religion, it's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God.

    via NBC News

    Tanner has been placed on leave.

  • Woman convenes her own grand jury to settle her own rape case

    Madison Smith claims that consensual sex with a friend turned into a horrific assault in his dorm room. When prosecutors declined to bring rape charges, Smith took matters into her own hands, calling on a 134-year-old state law and collecting hundreds of signatures to form her own grand jury.

    Her attacker, Jared Stolzenburg, initially plead guilty to aggravated battery, and received only two years' probation. That wasn't enough for Smith.

    "This happens nationwide, worldwide that victims and survivors are minimized by the prosecutors who don't believe them," she said, "And that is not OK because rape culture is so prevalent, and we need to get rid of it, and one of the ways to do that is to get our stories out there."

    Kansas is one of six states that allows private citizens to petition for their own grand juries. The 1887 law is mostly used by anti-abortion activists to investigate abortion clinics, but has also been used to go after adult bookstores. Smith's case, however, will most likely be the first time the law is used in a case of sexual assault. According to Kathy Ray of the Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, "This case has a lot of issues within the criminal justice system, and sometimes victims feel they have no other choice but to go public."

    While the process of gathering signatures wasn't easy for Smith, who spent hours upon hours explaining her story to strangers, clipboard in hand, the reactions from some of her signers was profound.

    Some of the strangers she approached snatched the pen from her hands just a few minutes after she began speaking, hugging her and whispering into her ear so others nearby couldn't hear that they had been sexually assaulted in the past themselves.

    "They were very thankful that I was fighting, just fighting the justice system and trying to make a change in the world because they were too scared to fight back," she recalled.

    Justice was hard won. In the initial case, McPherson County Attorney Gregory Benefiel told Smith's own mother that the case was "challenging" because Smith didn't verbally withdraw her consent. She couldn't do so because Stolzenburg was strangling her.

    "I really thought that he was going to kill me, and the only way I was going to leave that room was in a body bag," said Smith, who is working at a nursing home before she begins to study nursing in the fall.

    "He would strangle me for 20 or 30 seconds at a time, and I would begin to lose consciousness," she said.

    Julie Germann, the former Minnesota prosecutor who reviewed the 134-year-old law for Smith's case, had a few sharp words to add.

    "This idea that because she consented then anything that follows is acceptable, that is a very dangerous precedent to set," said Germann, who consults and teaches about sexual assault.

    Jared Stolzenburg, Madison Smith's attacker, was heard by a court service worker saying he "does feel sorry for the victim," but that he should have communicated better.

  • Sore loser locks Samoa's first female PM out of parliament

    Fiame Naomi Mata'afa arrived at parliament on Monday to be sworn into office as Samoa's first female PM. She wasn't allowed inside. Why? The former prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and his supporters had locked down the building before Mata'afa's arrival. Malielegaoi has so far ignored a court order to step down from his position.

    In the meantime, Mata'afa has been sworn into office in the parliament's gardens under a marquee, along with other members of her Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (Fast) party.

    Malielegaoi and his party, the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), have been in power for over 20 years, and were recently ousted by the Fast party after a single independent MP broke a 25/25 tie between the two parties during the last election.

    In a statement, the Fast party said: "Democracy must prevail, always. There can be no exceptions from this fundamental principle. Those who claim otherwise and act accordingly play with fire."

    via BBC

    Malielegaoi called the outdoor ceremony "illegal and unlawful", but the former PM's feelings cannot contend with the votes of the people and the ruling of the supreme court.

  • The Satanic Temple in Texas is suing the state due to new abortion restrictions

    Texas's Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a new abortion ban into law on Wednesday. While some Texans are calling the law a milestone in pro-life legislation, others say that it's too extreme. The law, initially proposed by State Sen. Bryan Hughes, bans abortions six weeks into pregnancy, making it one of many "heartbeat laws" introduced over the past several years, and it's sent to go into effect on September 1.

    Those who oppose the law's passage have already started taking steps in suing the state and fighting the bill in court. This includes the state's own Satanic Temple. The Temple has filed suit against the state claiming that the new abortion restrictions violate the religious beliefs of its members.

    On behalf of TST member "Ann Doe," TST is suing the state of Texas for imposing medically unnecessary abortion regulations including a sonogram, a forced decision to reject the 'opportunity' of seeing the sonogram results, the forced listening to a narrative of the sonogram results, and a mandatory waiting period between the sonogram and the abortion.

    via The Satanic Temple

    Ann Doe performed the Temple's abortion ritual, which is a ceremonial affirmation of bodily-autonomy and self-worth that integrates the abortion process. Before filing suit, the Temple's attorney sent a letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, demanding an exemption on behalf of Ann Doe:

    "The abortion ritual (1) requires an abortion; and (2) affirms her religious subscription to TST's Third and Fifth Tenets. But before Ms. Doe can get her abortion–and therefore participate in the abortion ritual–the government has required that she get a sonogram… [ These ] requirements substantially interfere with Ms. Doe's religious beliefs and practices for two reasons. First, the requirements are a precondition to Ms. Doe's ability to participate in a religious ceremony. It is a substantial interference per se for the state to place a regulatory hurdle–one that costs money–in front of a religious exercise. The state might as well tax and regulate Mass."

    via The Satanic Temple

    The Temple's website outlines their case in brief, and even asks for a donation (if you're so inclined). If not, nothing is stopping you from calling, texting, emailing, or just sending good old snail mail to Mr. Abbott.

  • Welsh town elects world's first non-binary mayor

    Bangor in Wales is the first town in history to elect a non-binary mayor. Owen Hurcum, 23, genderqueer and agender, came out two years ago. While they were unanimously elected into office by the Bangor Council last year, they weren't able to take office until Monday due to the pandemic.

    Hurcum also stated that "[Representation] is more than just putting on the chain, but I'm glad to have received thousands of positive messages from Non-Binary people the world over saying what it means to see me in this role."

    After Hurcum moved to Bangor five years ago, they fell in love "within a week… and tied to throw myself into the city's culture."

    Before being elected mayor, Hurcum served as deputy mayor for a year, and was a city councilor for four years before that. Their interest in politics began while attending university, and they even ran for Senedd, the Welsh Parliment, in the spring, but dropped out in March due to the Welsh Plaid Cymru providing a platform to people who would promote transphobia. In particular, Hurcum singled out Senedd member Helen Mary Jones, who describes herself a "gender-critical feminist." According to Hurcum, Jones retweeted media from transphobic accounts that had previously sent them "verbally abusive" messages.

    "She has made no effort to learn about our community and why her retweets are so damaging," Hurcum wrote on Twitter in March. 

    via NBC

    Jones later issued an apology and closed her Twitter account, according to the BBC.

  • Dozens of German priests plan to give the Vatican the virtual middle finger

    In defiance of a Vatican decree stating that the Catholic church cannot bless same-sex marriages, dozens of Catholic priests in Germany will be live-streaming the blessings of several such marriages. When the decree was first announced back in March, over 230 professors of Catholic theology in Germany and other German-speaking countries signed a statement protesting the decision. A group of said priests have also compiled a list of church services that will take place around May 10.

    "In view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship," the group said in a statement.

    via CBS

    St. Marien-Kirche (or, St. Mary's Church) in Berlin said they would be hanging a banner over the church's main entrance: "You love each other? We bless you!"

    "This is how it should be: We would like to celebrate and bless the gift of love with everyone 'who love each other,' all couples, friendships, love relationships. All who reflect the colorfulness of God's love in their lives!" the church said in the description for their event, which will be held on May 9.

    via CBS

    While the Vatican claims gay people must be treated with respect and dignity, gay sex is considered "intrinsically disordered", and says that same-sex marriage is a sin, because God "does not and cannot bless sin."

    "Stop signs from Rome don't help," said [Central Committee of German Catholics member Birgit] Mock. "On the contrary: We need an honest theological discussion; we have to — finally — recognize as a church that sexuality is part of life. And not only in the marriage as man and woman, but in all loyal, dignified and respectful love relationships. Everything else is no longer up to date. And also does not correspond to our image of God."

    "We can trust that God loves us as we are created. And that he has long been 'there' in love relationships," Mock said.

    via CBS
  • Watch: A heroic laundry brawl

    With an almost impressively small team of editors, animators, and sound designers, "The Shiny" is suspenseful, inventive, and a little sexy (if you're into invisible men).

    A damsel in distress gets undressed when a man from the mid west puts to rest a world that's obsessed with the priceless, also know as, "The Shiny."

    via Daniel Cloud Campos