communities

Russia to build replica Reichstag for schoolchildren to storm

A military-themed park in a suburb of Moscow will soon install a replica of Berlin's Reichstag for Russian schoolchildren to storm, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

Turkey removes restrictions on Islamic headscarves in the military

Female members of the Turkish military, including officers, will be allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf as long as it is color-compliant with their uniform, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Pakistani TV channel in hot water for airing film about lesbians

Pakistan's state media watchdog has warned a private TV channel for airing a film on the relationship between two lesbians, saying it was against the "social, ethical and societal norms of the country."

Trump condemns "horrible, painful" anti-Jewish incidents

US President Donald Trump condemned a recent spate of threats against Jewish community targets across the United States, during a visit Tuesday to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

Indonesian mayor raids shops selling condoms ahead of Valentine's Day

The mayor of a city on Indonesia's Sulawesi island raided convenience stores selling condoms on the eve of Valentine's Day, local media reported Tuesday.

Poor education holds blacks back in post-apartheid South Africa

More than two decades after Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa, his dream of equal opportunities for blacks and whites is being undermined by the failures of the country's education system.

Anti-Semitic incidents jump 36 per cent in Britain, group says

Recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Britain rose 36 per cent last year, fuelled by factors including the Brexit referendum, a Jewish support group said on Thursday.

'Fake news' named Germany's English language import of the year

"Fake news" was named Anglicism of the Year by a German university on Tuesday in an annual effort to highlight English-language terms that have come to fill a gap in German vocabulary.

German population at record high after refugee influx

Germany had a population of nearly 83 million at the end of 2016 - the highest in the country's history - due to an influx of refugees, the Federal Statistics Office Destatis said on Friday.

Australia Day celebrated amid jubilance and protest

Barbecue sausages, cockroach races, concerts and protests: that was how Australia Day was celebrated across the country on Thursday.

Illegal dress codes force British women to wear heels, committee says

British companies forcing women to wear high heels and make-up are breaking the law, a parliamentary committee said Wednesday.

Report: In-laws seizing property from thousands of Zimbabwean widows

Thousands of Zimbabwean widows are being left destitute every year when their in-laws evict them from their homes and steal their property, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

Some 180,000 Australian workers may call in sick on Friday

Some 180,000 Australian workers may call in sick on Friday to get a four-day weekend, costing the economy millions of dollars, a local business group has warned.

Swedish population tops 10 million

The population of Sweden officially hit the 10-million mark on Friday, Statistics Sweden said, citing a rise in births and immigration.

Afghan government slams celebrated female pilot after US asylum claim

Nilofar Rahmani, a celebrated Afghan female pilot who was awarded the annual "Women of Courage" prize by the US State Department, has applied for asylum in the US, to the scorn of the government in Kabul. 

Deliberations on same-sex marriage law spark rallies in Taiwan

Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage demonstrated in separate rallies outside Taiwan's parliament in Taipei Monday, where lawmakers reviewed different versions of an amendment to the Civil Code.

Security heightened at Cologne Cathedral for midnight mass

Bag searches were conducted for the first time ever at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany ahead of traditional Christmas Eve midnight mass.

Number of newborns in Japan dips below 1 million for first time

The number of babies born in Japan is estimated to have fallen below 1 million in 2016, for the first time since the government started to compile comparative figures in 1899, the government announced Thursday.

Nearly 4 million people without water in Malaysian capital

Nearly 4 million people in Malaysia's capital were without water on Wednesday, as scheduled cuts drew loud complaints for occurring the week before Christmas.

Every third baby in Germany born to unmarried parents

Every third baby in Germany is born to unmarried parents, according to an annual study released on Monday.

Germany approves 1-billion-euro investment in childcare by 2020

The cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday approved a new programme that includes an investment of roughly 1 billion euros (1.1 billion dollars) in pre-school childcare by 2020.

Survey: France leads in huge overestimation of Muslim populations

France leads the way as people in most Western nations overestimate the size and growth of their countries' Muslim populations by "staggering" margins, a report said on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands gather in Taiwan for pro-same-sex-marriage concert

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Taiwan's capital Taipei Saturday for a pop music concert held in support of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Nobel Peace laureate Santos: Colombia peace deal is "ray of hope"

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos receives the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to a standing ovation in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

Malta becomes first country to ban gay conversion therapy

Malta's human rights commission on Tuesday hailed parliament's decision to ban gay conversion therapy, the first country in the world to do so.

Disparity in Indian sex ratio is increasing, latest report shows

The number of Indian girls born compared to that for boys continues to decline, census data shows, despite nationwide campaigns to boost female birth levels.

Fewer and fewer Italian babies: births fell to record low in 2015

The number of births in Italy fell last year to a new historic low, official data showed Monday, months after a failed government campaign to revive the birthrate.

Norwegian Supreme Court rejects Snowden petition for safe passage

The Norwegian Supreme Court Friday rejected an appeal by US whistleblower Edward Snowden to secure assurances he would not be extradited to the United States should he visit Norway.

Germans up in arms purchases - 63 per cent boost over 2015

Germans are buying personal protection at brisk pace this year - in the form of gas pistols, pepper spray and tear gas - the Interior Ministry said in Berlin on Friday in answer to a dpa question.

US whistleblower Snowden urges global effort for privacy protection

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden called Monday for a global fight to protect personal privacy as a basic human right against mass surveillance systems.

Deep concerns voiced following report on Australian indigenous lives

Politicians and activists voiced serious concerns on Thursday regarding the lives of indigenous Australians who, according to a new damning report, are experiencing increasing levels of imprisonment, substance misuse and psychological distress.

Italy divorces up 57 per cent after approval of 'quick divorce' law

The divorce rate in Italy has boomed following the approval of a law simplifying procedures to end marriages, official data showed on Monday.

Study: Working poor on the rise despite economic recovery in Europe

Poverty among Europe's working population is on the rise despite the fact that economic recovery has been gaining traction in the 28-member bloc, a study released Monday by Germany's Bertelsmann Institute shows.

World's highest cathedral at risk amid stream of public urination

A stream of men relieving themselves on the world's highest cathedral - the Ulm Minster in the southern German city of Ulm - continues unabated despite the imposition of fines, endangering the building's integrity, city officials warn.

Catalonia to uphold bullfighting ban despite veto by top court

The Spanish region of Catalonia wants to uphold its ban on bullfighting despite the ban being overturned by the country's top court.

Reports of racism jumped 41 per cent in month after Brexit vote

Police reports of racist offences soared by 41 per cent year-on-year in July, the first full month after Britain's vote to leave the European Union, the government said on Thursday.

Contract experts Hart and Holmstrom win Nobel Prize in Economics

Work on contract theory - with implications for firms, constitutional law and politics - earned US-based economists Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Monday.

10,000 protest Sydney's early lockout rules

Around 10,000 people gathered in central Sydney on Sunday to protest against state government's lockout laws that prohibit customers from entering a pub or a bar after 1:30 am in the morning.

Colombian president urges final push after Nobel Peace Prize win

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday called his winning the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize "great recognition" for his country and "the people who have suffered" in its long-running conflict.

Desmond Tutu speaks out in favour of assisted suicide

South Africa's Nobel laureate and emeritus archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke out in favour of assisted suicide on Friday, saying society should grant the terminally-ill the right to "die with dignity."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wins 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who Friday won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, said it was a great recognition for his country and "the people who have suffered" in its long-running conflict.

Norway moves to ban veils in schools

Norway is to prepare guidelines banning female students from wearing full-face veils, the country's education minister said Thursday.

Muslim refugees "a challenge" for German society, minister says

The rising number of Muslims living in Germany as a result of the latest wave of refugees is "a challenge for the majority of society," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wrote in an opinion piece for the Sunday edition of Die Welt newspaper.

Iraqi activist wins Norway's Rafto human rights prize

Activist Yanar Mohammed was Thursday awarded Norway's 2016 Rafto Prize for her "work on behalf of women and minorities in war-torn Iraq."

Polish parliament debates strictest abortion law in the EU

Polish women face years in prison if a law tightening abortion legislation is passed. Activists opposed to the measure are demonstrating dressed in black outside parliament in Warsaw. Poland already has some of the strictest abortion legislation in the EU.

Syrian aid group White Helmets hails "alternative Nobel" prize win

A group of Syrian volunteers who work to assist civilians amid their country's civil war, often at great personal risk to themselves, were honoured Thursday with a prize that has commonly come to be known as 'the alternative Nobel prize.'

Every fifth child born in Germany had mother with a foreign passport

Every fifth child born in Germany last year had a mother holding citizenship from another country, a situation brought about by the mass influx of refugees into the nation, according to data released on Wednesday.

Survey: Almost half of Australians support ban on Muslim immigration

Almost half of Australians support a ban on immigration for Muslims, a poll released Wednesday showed, revealing frustrations with their country's migration policy in the wake of a conservative lawmaker's call to bar entry to followers of Islam.

Indonesia seeks to block gay dating apps

Indonesia is seeking to block gay-friendly mobile applications, an official said Friday, adding to a series of measures targeting sexual and gender minorities in the country.

Tens of thousands protest against gay marriage in Mexico

Ten of thousands of people across Mexico have Saturday taken part in protests against a government plan to legalize same-sex marriage.

Egypt toughens punishment against female genital mutilation

Egyptian parliament on Wednesday approved a bill toughening penalties against those involved in female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice believed to be rife in the country although illegalized in 2008.

South African school accused of discrimination against afro hairstyle

Protests have erupted at a South African girls' school after teachers were accused of making racist remarks about black pupils' hairstyles, the local news agency ANA reported Monday.

India minister asks foreign tourists not to wear skirts

India's tourism and culture minister, Mahesh Sharma, on Monday drew widespread criticism after he advised foreign tourists not to wear skirts in the country.

Turkey allows women police officers to wear headscarves

Turkey will allow women police officers to wear Islamic headscarves while on duty, provided that they match the uniform, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported Saturday.

Declining German population boosted by refugee arrivals in 2015

Last year's refugee influx helped the German population grow by 1.2 per cent to reach 82.2 million in 2015, despite the country's record-low birth rate, according to statistics released Friday.

Burkini allows women to have freedom and fun, says Australian creator

Invented in 2004 by an Australian woman, the burkini has come under attack in Germany and France. Banning the full-body swimwear would rob many women of the freedom to have fun in public, says its creator.

Legislator blasts US over comments on Indonesia's treatment of gays

An Indonesian lawmaker has warned the United States against meddling in his country's affairs after Washington criticized Jakarta's treatment of sexual and gender minorities, a report said Saturday.

Human Rights Watch: Gay rights under attack in Indonesia

Sexual minorities are under attack in Indonesia, and President Joko Widodo's silence has raised questions about his stated commitment to diversity, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Italy celebrates first gay unions as landmark reform comes into force

Civil unions between two homosexual couples were celebrated in Milan on Friday, in one of the first applications of a landmark reform on gay rights approved by the Italian parliament almost three months ago.

Swedish premier marches in Stockholm gay pride parade

Thousands of people, including Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, marched in Stockholm's annual gay pride parade on Saturday, refusing to let a sudden downpour dampen their spirits.

Honour killing suspected in British woman mystery death in Pakistan

Police in central Pakistan are investigating whether a British woman who recently died under mysterious circumstances at her parents’ home was killed by relatives for marrying the man of her choice, officials said on Thursday.

Berlin launches Christopher Street Day parade with large police squad

A large police squad joined marchers demonstrating for LGBT rights in Berlin's Christopher Street Day parade on Saturday following a deadly shooting in Munich.

Thousands march in Jerusalem pride parade under peak security

Thousands marched Thursday in Jerusalem's annual gay parade amid unprecedented security following the fatal stabbing of an Israeli teen at last year's event.

Survey: Many Europeans fear more terrorism after wave of refugees

Many Europeans fear the refugee crisis will increase the likelihood of terrorism in their country, according to a recent survey.

Cities seek solutions to tackle food waste

As urban populations grow, so does the problem of food waste. In tackling the effects of massive food waste, governments, organizations and individuals are meeting to seek solutions.

Myanmar faces entrenched drug problem

Myanmar's narcotic trade is blighting the country's development, in particular due to longstanding links between opium production and the armed forces of both rebel militias and the government.

Japan's older people make up record 26.7 per cent of population

People aged 65 or older accounted for a record 26.7 per cent of Japan’s total population in 2015, up from 23 per cent five years earlier, the government said Wednesday.

German legislator detained at banned gay pride event in Turkey

German Green Party legislator Volker Beck was temporarily detained in Turkey on Sunday after attempting to stop the arrest of a gay rights supporter who wanted to read a statement at the banned closing rally of Pride Week in the centre of Istanbul.

Massive Turkish police deployment ahead of banned gay pride march

Dozens of Turkish police officers were deployed around Istanbul's Taksim Square on Sunday ahead of public displays planned by supporters of the banned gay pride parade.

Organizers cancel Istanbul Gay Pride following government ban

Istanbul's annual Gay Pride march has been called off, organizers told dpa Saturday, a day before the march was set to take place, citing security concerns and a government ban.

Car sharing programme up and running in tsunami-hit rural Japan

Takehiko Yoshizawa introduces a car-sharing programme in a drab north-eastern Japanese city, where tens of thousands of vehicles were swept away by a tsunami in 2011. Many volunteers and non-governmental organizations are long gone from the disaster-stricken region, but he is determined to expand the programme.

Radiohead condemns violence at party in Istanbul, as police crush protest

Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons on hundreds of protestors who rallied in Istanbul Saturday against the previous night's attack on a small record shop holding a listening party for the new Radiohead album.

Turkish police use tear gas on dozens protesting record store attacks

Turkish police are using tear gas on dozens of protesters rallying against Friday night's Islamist attacks on a record store that was hosting a Radiohead listening party.

Istanbul bans annual gay pride march planned for city centre

Istanbul's gay pride march planned for later this month was banned Friday by the provincial governor, who cited security concerns, drawing quick condemnation from activists in Turkey.

Merkel: Rising homophobia in Germany is "warning" after Orlando

Homophobia is on the rise in Germany, which should serve as a "warning signal" in light of the shooting attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, at the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

Selective female abortion banned by Indian Islamic seminary

An influential Islamic seminary in India has passed a fatwa banning the selective abortion of female foetuses, citing a drop in the ratio of girls to boys among the country's Muslim community.

"More love, less hate:" 200,000 show up to Tel Aviv's gay pride party

Feather boas, lacquer and leather, and short shorts as far as the eye could see: About 200,000 people celebrated Tel Aviv's gay pride parade, according to city estimates released Friday.

Turkey's Erdogan says Muslim families should not use birth control

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan railed against contraception, saying Muslims should not use birth control, during a nationally televised speech on Monday.

Hiroshima 70 years on

Hiroshima, although synonymous with the dropping of the atom bomb in 1945, is a vibrant city of 1.2 million residents, attracting more than 11 million visitors annually from home and abroad.

Ireland's gay marriage vote spurs surge in openness, survey finds

Ireland's approval of same-sex marriage has spurred hundreds of young people to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) over the last year, according to survey results released on Sunday, one year after the referendum took place.

Ireland celebrates first anniversary of same-sex marriage vote

More than 400 couples have wed since a referendum succeeded in making Ireland the first nation to approve same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

US government says schools must accommodate transgender students

Schools and universities must let transgender students use toilets and locker rooms "consistent with their gender identity" or risk losing federal money, the US government said Friday.

In US election year, Trump pinatas take a beating

In an already rough-and-tumble election season, some people in the United States are welcoming the chance to take a swing at Donald Trump - in the form of Trump pinatas that are becoming an election-year party trend.

Transgender debate: Toilets become a battleground in North Carolina

A law passed in North Carolina lays down which toilets transgender people may use, triggering a wave of protests and lawsuits. Will a US court be the final arbiter?

Northern European nations top list of happiest countries - again

Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway have held their positions as the world's happiest countries, according to the latest World Happiness Report released Wednesday.

Italy court grants gay adoption rights denied by draft legislation

An Italian court has granted a lesbian couple in Rome adoption rights, which were last week controversially excluded in a draft law on same-sex partnerships, gay rights associations said Tuesday.

Record field of 376 candidates for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

An all-time record of 376 individuals and organizations have been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Tuesday.

"Honour killings" in Pakistan: Bloody tale of horror continues

Every year hundreds of women are murdered in Pakistan in so-called "honour killings" for bringing shame to their families. The problem is the subject of a film by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy that was awarded Best Documentary in the Academy Awards on Sunday.

Cambodian children removed from orphanages amid abuse allegations

Almost 200 Cambodian children were removed from orphanages in 2015 that either failed to live up to institutional standards or were found to employ staff who sexually abused children in their care, the Phnom Penh Post reported Friday.

Report: Japan considers letting women remarry sooner after divorce

Japan is considering changing a century-old law that prohibits women from remarrying for six months after a divorce, local media reported Friday.

Indonesia wants gay emojis dropped from messaging, social media apps

Indonesia has asked all social media and messaging platforms to drop emoticons featuring same-sex couples, a government official said Thursday, after popular application Line removed some of its emojis for the local market.

Moscow city authorities destroy almost 100 buildings overnight

Moscow city authorities unleashed 700 bulldozers overnight to tear down 97 buildings recently deemed illegal by the mayor's administration, state media reported Tuesday.

Taliban execute woman for adultery in western Afghanistan

A woman was shot dead by the Taliban for committing adultery, a government official in the western Afghan province of Ghor said Monday.

German police investigate anti-immigrant float in carnival parade

German police are investigating the appearance of a mock Nazi tank in a carnival parade marked with the words "Asylum Defence Force," for inciting hatred against migrants.

2,500 officers deployed to police Cologne street carnival

Thousands of people took to the streets of Cologne on Thursday for the beginning of Germany's traditional carnival celebrations that are taking place under unprecedented security measures following a wave of crimes against women on New Year's Eve.

Vietnam bans annual pig slaughter during Lunar New Year

Local villagers in northern Vietnam said they would comply with orders to scale back a popular but bloody animal sacrifice over the Lunar New Year, officials said Monday.

Opponents of Italy gay unions bill come out in force to block reform

Organizers of a rally against controversial proposals to legalize gay unions in Italy claimed success Saturday, saying that 2 million people from around the country had gathered in Rome to back the protest.

Portugal's outgoing president vetoes gay adoption rights

Outgoing Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva on Monday in Parliament vetoed the introduction of adoption rights for homosexual parents, saying children's welfare had to take absolute priority.

Zimbabwe outlaws marriages of under-age girls

Zimbabwe's highest court on Wednesday outlawed marriages of girls under 18, striking off legislation which had allowed girls as young as 16 to marry with parental consent.

Japan's suicides down for sixth year in row

The annual total dropped below 25,000 for the first time in 18 years, the agency said, while 65 people on average killed themselves each day last year.