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After a nation-wide campaign that brought thousands of protesters on both sides of the issue out into the streets of Paris earlier this year, the French legislature approved a marriage equality bill by an overwhelming vote that wa...
After a nation-wide campaign that brought thousands of protesters on both sides of the issue out into the streets of Paris earlier this year, the French legislature approved a marriage equality bill by an overwhelming vote that was signed into law by President François Hollande the following month, making France the 14th state to allow same-sex couples to wed. But some same-sex couples are discovering that they may be barred from marrying because of a quirk in French marital law, as RFI English reports: Frenchwoman Lise and her Polish girlfriend Agnieszka have been together for three years. They were looking forward to getting married after France this year became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage, following months of bitter debate. "We were also really happy because it meant that we were accepted by the society," Agnieszka said. "Then our relationship can be recognised, and we are not freaks or…" "Different," Lise added. But under a bilateral agreement signed between Poland and France in 1967, Agnieszka falls under Polish marriage law even while in France. Since Poland doesn’t recognise gay marriage, a French magistrate would have to overrule Polish law to approve the wedding. Ten other countries fall into the same category as Poland for the purposes of French marriage law for same-sex couples: Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Kosovo, Laos, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, Slovenia and Tunisia. In a memo issued last week to French civil servants, the justice ministry wrote, "When a marriage is planned between two people of the same sex, and one of the future spouses is a national of one of these countries, the civil registrar cannot perform the marriage." Requests from such couples must be denied and sent to a magistrate, who will determine if the couple can wed on a case-by-case basis. Christiane Taubira, France's justice minister and a strong proponent of marriage equality, said she would consider reconsidering the rules regarding binational same-sex marriages so that officials aren't specifically instructed to refuse couples' requests. Last month, a French-Moroccan same-sex couple's marriage request in the town of Chambéry was refused on the couple's wedding day--after friends and family had travelled from Morocco and Belgium to celebrate the occasion. The couple plans to challenge the decision in court, since France does not enforce another aspect of Morocco's marriage laws that prohibit Muslims from wedding non-Muslims who have not converted. (photo courtesy of Kalvin Ng and RFI English)
about 3 hours ago
A main complaint against renewable energy is its small scale. Critics claim that it makes up too small a piece of the U.S. energy pie to matter. And therefore, in a chicken-and-egg argument, renewable energy is undeserving of subsidies a...
A main complaint against renewable energy is its small scale. Critics claim that it makes up too small a piece of the U.S. energy pie to matter. And therefore, in a chicken-and-egg argument, renewable energy is undeserving of subsidies and tax credits to help the new industry get up and running. A recent Wall Street Journal article looks deeper into the numbers, and comes to a surprising conclusion: renewable energy provides more power to the American grid than you might think. When added up, all renewable sources—solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric power—combined for 12 percent of all U.S. electricity production last year. That figure has risen to 14 percent so far this year. It’s important to measure that 14 percent against the scale of our system, the second-largest electricity system in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the entire world’s electrical generation capacity. So comparatively, U.S. wind power’s five percent share of electrical generation is a big slice. The 60 gigawatts of wind power currently installed in the U.S. is more electricity generation capacity than the whole of Australia or Mexico, and half as much power as is generated overall in France or Brazil. The misleadingly total low share of power produced by renewable energy also doesn’t account for the fact that some states have a lot of green power and some, almost none. Texas has the biggest electricity system in the country and gets 11 percent from renewables, nearly all from wind. New York and Georgia have large power sectors, but get relatively small amounts from renewables. Looking more deeply into the details of a complex energy picture reveals a more progressive outlook than the conventional wisdom. Article by John Howell, appearing courtesy 3BL Media. Related posts:Denmark Boasts a 100% Renewable Energy CommunityPower to the People: Can Egypt Create Sustainable Wealth?Japan, Tunisia Forge Sustainable Business Partnership in the SaharaColleges Going Green Despite Falling Endowments, Study SaysSolar Powers Biodiversity Study in MadagascarCopyright © 2008-2010 CleanTechies, Inc. and Partners This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Written by 3BL Media. To the comments (Digital Fingerprint: b008bf120fbd682ffd7ee5812c495c9a)Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
about 12 hours ago
Rocket Internet has consolidated several of its real estate services under one brand called Lamudi, a real estate classifieds platform that officially began operating today in twelve countries within Asia, Africa and Latin America. In a ...
Rocket Internet has consolidated several of its real estate services under one brand called Lamudi, a real estate classifieds platform that officially began operating today in twelve countries within Asia, Africa and Latin America. In a statement, Rocket Internet said it plans to expand Lamudi into new countries over “the upcoming weeks and months.” The companies now under Lamudi’s umbrella were consolidated over the past five months and include Nigeria-based Vamido, Mexican real estate marketplace Ubilista and Zamudi and House, both located in Asia. Lamudi’s real estate listings cover Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Uganda. The real estate market has been very volatile over the last seven years, making Rocket Internet’s decision to focus on Lamudi especially interesting. In a statement, Lamudi Asia CEO Erwin Sikma said, “We are very bullish on the real estate classifieds market and aim to establish ourselves as the new number one in emerging markets. In particular with the support and knowledge from Rocket Internet, we will grow Lamudi very fast.” Other key players in the same space include US companies Zillow and Trulia, as well as London-based Rightmove. Of the three, both Trulia and Rightmove have expanded into global markets. The list of countries Rightmove operates in overlaps with Lamudi’s, while Trulia Vice President of Communications Ken Shuman told VentureBeat in March that the company is eyeing small companies that can support international expansion as potential acquisition targets, while . Zillow, on the other hand, is currently bearish about tackling global markets and instead focusing on opportunities in the U.S. Lamudi appears to build on Rocket Internet’s usual model of launching startups in markets that existing online players haven’t entered yet, with an eye on either expanding rapidly or building up the business to make it an attractive acquisition target. The German incubator, however, has been somewhat fickle with new ventures. If a startup doesn’t pick up traction or a market ends up being too competitive (as was the case with Airizu, Rocket Internet’s Airbnb clone in China, Rocket Internet often just shuts it down. Potentially lucrative revenue streams for Lamudi include combining it with other services it already offers for residences, such as Indian home furnishings retailer FabFurnish. This gives Lamudi an existing starting point for connecting with potential customers in different cities. Can follow through. This area, called “aftermarket services,” has proven successful for e-commerce sites like New York-based Urban Compass, which recently raised a $20 million Series A round. Urban Compass acts as a one-stop shop for people looking for apartments in New York by offering real estate listings, a monthly rent payment platform and services that provide new residents with broadband, furniture and suggestions for local restaurants and places to meet people.
about 17 hours ago
The Italian new wave bombshell on how to live 138 lives in oneTaken from the October issue of Dazed & Confused: “They don’t make bodies like yours any more,” laments Jean Rochefort to Claudia Cardinale in their new film, Fernando Trueba...
The Italian new wave bombshell on how to live 138 lives in oneTaken from the October issue of Dazed & Confused: “They don’t make bodies like yours any more,” laments Jean Rochefort to Claudia Cardinale in their new film, Fernando Trueba’s The Artist and the Model. In the 60s, Cardinale was the paradigm of a Mediterranean bombshell, all heavy black eyeliner, big hair and rollercoaster curves. She arrived in Venice from Tunisia in 1957, just in time to become the luminous face of the Italian new wave. Launched as Italy’s answer... read more »
about 18 hours ago
If you’re looking to rent or buy your next house, Germany’s notorious startup incubator Rocket Internet is hoping it can help, after its new Lamudi real estate platform went live in 12 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America — w...
If you’re looking to rent or buy your next house, Germany’s notorious startup incubator Rocket Internet is hoping it can help, after its new Lamudi real estate platform went live in 12 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America — with more to come soon. The launch of Lamudi sees Rocket Internet consolidate five different services – Vamido (Africa), Ubilista (Latin America), Zamudi and House (both Asia) – under one roof. Like a number of the group’s e-commerce ventures, Lamudi is a marketplace, which means that sellers and landlords can upload their listings, with images, for renters and buyers to discover. Initially targeted at developing markets, the service is available in Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Uganda. A spokesperson tells us that “further country launches will take place in the upcoming weeks and months.” ? Lamudi Image via Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock
about 19 hours ago
Network WorldAlthough U.S. Internet freedom has decreased over the past year due to surveillance, the United States still ranks fourth in a recent Freedom House study of 60 countries. The study measured obstacles to accessing informatio...
Network WorldAlthough U.S. Internet freedom has decreased over the past year due to surveillance, the United States still ranks fourth in a recent Freedom House study of 60 countries. The study measured obstacles to accessing information online, content limitations, and violations of user rights. In addition, the study cites issues such as government blocking of specific Internet content, surveillance measures, and actions taken against online dissidents to governing or religious bodies. Iceland claimed the top spot on the list as the most free nation on the Internet, followed by Estonia, Germany, and the United States. The remaining top 10 included Australia, France, Japan, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Surveillance has grown more advanced and pervasive in 35 out of the 60 countries examined, according to the study. The most restrictive countries were Iran, China, and Cuba. However, the study notes 16 countries, including Morocco, Burma, and Tunisia, that have increased Internet freedom. Meanwhile, Freedom House says India showed the biggest drop in Internet freedom over the past year. Freedom House said the drop was due to "deliberate interruptions of mobile and Internet service to limit unrest, excessive blocks on content during rioting in northeastern states, and an uptick in the filing of criminal charges against ordinary users for posts on social-media sites."From "U.S. Ranks Fourth in Internet Freedom as Surveillance Grows Worldwide" Network World (10/04/13) Colin Neagle View Full Article
1 day ago
Death toll in migrant boat sinking reaches 143 as divers go back into sea after two-day weather delayItalian divers have recovered 32 more bodies of migrants who died when a fishing boat with an estimated 500 people onboard sank within s...
Death toll in migrant boat sinking reaches 143 as divers go back into sea after two-day weather delayItalian divers have recovered 32 more bodies of migrants who died when a fishing boat with an estimated 500 people onboard sank within sight of the tiny island of Lampedusa.Italy's integration minister, Congolese-born Cecile Kyenge, watched as soldiers transferred body bags from boats and on to trucks to be brought to the makeshift morgue. There the survivors were bidding farewell to the other 111 deceased fellow travellers who were recovered from the sea on Thursday.Their coffins stood in three lines at the island's airport, each with a single red rose save for four children's caskets topped with teddy bears.The divers went back into the sea on Sunday to look for some of the 200 people still missing, after a two-day suspension caused by bad weather. The latest death toll has been put at 143. A police spokesman, Leonardo Ricci, said the search would continue "as long as the sea is calm and there is light".The migrants, mostly from Eritrea, were aboard a 20-metre (65ft) fishing boat that sank on Thursday after passengers panicked by flames set to draw the attention bolted to one side of the boat, capsizing it. Hundreds were flung into the sea – many could not swim – while others were trapped in the hull.Survivors told rescuers they were in the sea for three hours; many clinging to empty water bottles to stay afloat, some were too weak to grab lifesavers thrown to them."We cannot deal with this tragedy alone, but together with Europe. We must give answers to those who flee, need protection, and come here for help," Kyenge told reporters.Earlier, Kyenge visited the survivors at a refugee centre in Lampedusa. Most of the 155 survivors remain at an overcrowded centre on the island, many sleeping in the open. Two have been transferred to hospitals in Sicily.Lampedusa, Italy's southernmost point 70 miles from Tunisia, is a frequent destination for migrants trying to reach safe haven from Africa and the Middle East. Tens of thousands arrive there each year seeking refugee status in Europe.Survivors have told authorities that a boat with lights had circled them but did not communicate or offer assistance.A Dutch politician has called for an investigation into reports that a boat did not help the stranded migrants. There is no evidence that the fishing vessel was in distress. ItalyEuropetheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
2 days ago
Tunisia's ruling Islamist-led government has launched talks with the opposition aimed at implementing a roadmap to end a two-month political crisis.
Tunisia's ruling Islamist-led government has launched talks with the opposition aimed at implementing a roadmap to end a two-month political crisis.
3 days ago
In a tragic development, the unidentified man who set himself on fire on the National Mall at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday in between the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery, and who sustained burns to 80% of his body, has died. A...
In a tragic development, the unidentified man who set himself on fire on the National Mall at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday in between the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery, and who sustained burns to 80% of his body, has died. AP reports: "A District of Columbia police spokesman says a man who set himself on fire on the National Mall has died his injuries. Officer Araz Alali says the man died Friday night at a hospital where he had been airlifted. He says the man was so badly burned that he will need to be through DNA and dental records. The man poured a can of gasoline on himself in the center portion of the mall Friday afternoon. He then set himself on fire, with passing joggers taking off their shirts to help douse the flames." Oddly enough, the deceased self-immolator was conscious and coherent enough in the aftermath of the incident to thank passers by for putting out the flames before being taken to hospital: The man reportedly thanked the joggers before he was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center by a U.S. Park Police helicopter that landed on the Mall. Fire department spokesman Tim Wilson said the man suffered life-threatening injuries, but was conscious and breathing at the scene. Authorities are now investigating the man's motives. As AP adds, Police are investigating the man's possible motives for doing so. They will hardly find any, as the last thing the Obama administration needs right now is to start explaining why D.C. has become ground zero for America's own Arab Spring. Especially, if in a country in which fomenting class and social hatred once again boils down to racial characteristics. Some more recollections by observers: "I saw like a spark," she said. "Then he just went completely up in flames." "Some heads up joggers put out the flames," she said. "A guy took his shirt off, ran over, you know, start trying to beat the flames out. A couple other joggers also stopped to help." "It's very shocking," she said. "It's horrifying. Literally watching this guy go up in flames. There was not really anything anybody could do." A question has emerged: was it an act meant to be documented, and if so why: Katy Scheflen, a furloughed civil rights attorney in the Justice Department, said she stopped because she saw "a guy with a tripod set up." Scheflen said another man, who she thought the tripod with a camera was filming, then took a red can of gasoline, poured it over his head. "At that point we didn't know what was going, maybe it was some sort of stage protest," Scheflen said. "And then he set himself on fire and went up in flames," she said. "Whoosh." Scheflen said the presence of a mounted camera gave her the impression "he was aware something was about to happen. Otherwise he was filming nothing but a guy standing there." "It was obviously an intentional act," she said. "Somebody has a video of the whole thing." Scheflen said the man may have said something beforehand “but it was nothing intelligible.” And speaking of the seasons, in Tunisia it was Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation on December 17, 2010 (and subsequent death 18 days later) that sparked the Arab Spring reaching as far as Saudi Arabia and China. One wonders: will the death of the so far unidentified man lead to anything more than even more vocal and relentless fingerpointing at assorted highly politicized media echo chambers.
3 days ago
Tunisia's governing Islamist Ennahda party and the opposition agree on the formation of a caretaker government to end months of political crisis.
Tunisia's governing Islamist Ennahda party and the opposition agree on the formation of a caretaker government to end months of political crisis.
3 days ago