First News
Volume:7, Number:46
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Fewer Countries Ban Same-sex Relations, But Homophobic Violence Common

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Fewer countries ban same-sex relations than a decade ago and more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have legal protection from discrimination, but homophobic violence and abuse is rife, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said on May 15. Same-sex sexual activity was a crime in 72 countries, a drop from 92 in 2006, when the global rights group began documenting laws regarding LGBT people. Gay marriage is now legal in 23 countries, and 43 states have banned hate crimes, including on the basis of race and sexual orientation, according to the ILGA report. Across eight countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan, having gay sex could result in the death penalty.

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Unprecedented Cyber Attacks Wreak Global Havoc

Cyber security experts rushed to restore systems on May 13 after an unprecedented global wave of cyberattacks that struck targets ranging from Russia's banks to British hospitals and a French carmaker's factories. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cyber security company F-Secure, said that the attack was "the biggest ransomware outbreak in history", saying that 130,000 systems in more than 100 countries had been affected. He said that Russia and India were hit particularly hard, in large part because the older Windows XP operating software is still widely used in these countries. State agencies and major companies around the world were left reeling by the attacks, which blocked access to files and demanded ransom money, forcing them to shut down their computer systems.

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Maids in Hong Kong Forced to Sleep in Toilets

Domestic workers in Hong Kong are being forced to sleep in toilets, tiny cubbyholes, and on balconies, activists found in an investigation that uncovered the “appalling” living conditions of maids in the wealthy financial hub. In the city that employs 350,000 maids, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, three out of five domestic workers are made to live in unsuitable accommodation that sometimes threatens their health and safety, said rights group Mission for Migrant Wokers (MFMW). In a survey of 3,000 maids, MFMW found 43 percent of the respondents said they do not have their own room and were asked to sleep in places including storage rooms, kitchens, toilets, basements, closets, and on balconies.

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Denmark to Ban Cash in Largest Prisons to Fight Crime

says it will ban cash in the country’s largest prisons and require inmates to pay electronically, to make it “easier to follow the money flow in and out”. Justice minister Soeren Pape Poulsen says there is “a risk that people in criminal circles exploit their friends’ incarceration to hide money”. Pape Poulsen says the change would be implemented before summer. It is unclear how many of Denmark’s prisons would be affected. Inmates in closed prisons already pay electronically for food and other items they buy behind bars. According to the national prison administration data provided in September 2016, Denmark has a total prison population (including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners) of 3,408.

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Britons Throw Away 1.4 Million Edible Bananas Each Day

Britons routinely bin 1.4 million edible bananas every day at a cost of over USD103 million a year. A third of consumers admit to discarding a banana if it has even a minor bruise or black mark on the skin. More than one in 10 also throw the fruit away if it shows any green on the skin. The figures, from the government’s waste advisory body Wrap, were being published on May 15 by supermarket Sainsbury’s to highlight the scale of avoidable food waste generated in the UK. Sainsbury’s is launching hundreds of pop-up “banana rescue” stations in its stores to encourage consumers to use fruit that is overripe or past its best in baking, such as in banana bread and muffins.

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