society

Italian lawmakers, rights activists clash over gay sex club scandal

Gay rights activists and conservative politicians clashed Tuesday after the chief of Italy's anti-discrimination office quit over allegations that money had been authorized for gay sex clubs.

Mainly immigrant suburb of Stockholm hit by riots

Dozens of youth clashed with police in a mainly immigrant suburb of the Swedish capital Stockholm on Monday night after an arrest in an underground train station.

Mass drug overdose at Melbourne dance festival

More than 20 people were hospitalized, many in a critical condition, after overdosing on drugs at a Melbourne dance music festival on Saturday night, Australian media has reported.

Ikea erases women from family life in catalogue for Orthodox Jews

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has released a new catalogue in Israel with one crucial aspect missing - there are no women in the pictures.

Alexei Navalny, Kremlin opponent who waged corruption fight and lost

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday was convicted of corruption - the very issue that he has long crusaded against.

Norway approves new liturgy for same-sex church marriages

The Church of Norway on Monday approved a new liturgy for all church marriages including same-sex weddings, following last year's decision by the country's largest religious denomination to approve same-sex weddings in church.

Indians form 'longest human chain' to protest alcohol use in Bihar

Millions of people in India's eastern state of Bihar joined hands on Saturday to demonstrate against alcohol consumption, in an act officials called "the world's longest human chain."

Finland launches basic income experiment to overhaul welfare system

From the start of 2017, 2,000 people in Finland begin receiving a monthly government payment of around 600 dollars - whether employed or not. Finland hopes this social welfare experiment will modernize its labour market and boost employment.

Italy top court: Calling someone "homosexual" is no longer offensive

Calling someone "a homosexual" can no longer be considered offensive, Italy's top appeals court ruled on Tuesday, quashing a libel conviction against a man who had used the term in an argument.

Ferrero cuts ties with Romanian supplier after child labour report

Italian confectioner Ferrero Rocher has cut ties to a Romanian supplier following accusations of child labour, slave wages and unhygienic conditions in the manufacture of its Kinder chocolate eggs, Ferrero's German subsidiary said in Frankfurt.

Trump slams "Hamilton" again, Pence says not offended by comments

US vice president-elect Mike Pence told a US broadcaster Sunday that the boos and cheers he received from the audience during a Broadway performance were "what freedom sounds like."

Spanish pensioner's death sparks protests

Thousands of people took to the streets of some 20 cities in Spain on Saturday to protest against energy poverty.

Trump calls for apology after Broadway actors' protest to US VP-elect

US president-elect Donald Trump called for an apology from the cast of the hit Broadway show Hamilton on Saturday after the actors expressed their anxiety to his deputy Mike Pence, who was attending a performance.

Turkish government defends bill that critics say "legitimizes rape"

Top government officials in Turkey doubled down on Saturday to defend a piece of legislation that would allow men to evade punishment for sexual assault by marrying the underage girls they abused.

Human Rights Watch warns on "alarming" closures of Turkish societies

Turkey has shuttered several key children's charities, human rights groups and women's associations, in what a Human Rights Watch researcher called on Monday an "alarming" development that could signal a new wave of crackdowns.

German police shut down right-wing concert at city hall

The police in central Germany prevented a concert from taking place in a town hall, where around 300 right-wing extremists had gathered.

Singapore Speakers' Corner rules seen as threat to popular LGBT rally

Foreign entities including companies and non-governmental organizations will have to apply for a permit to fund or support activities at Singapore's Speakers' Corner, a move seen as an attempt to cull support for annual gay rally Pink Dot.

Protest in Paris against same-sex marriage draws thousands

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Paris on Sunday against same-sex marriange.

EU court condemns Italy over lack of compensation for rape victims

Italy's failure to offer compensation to victims of rape and other violent crimes is a breach of European Union laws, the court's top court ruled on Tuesday, adding pressure on Rome to change its statutes.

Polish parliament rejects proposal on abortion ban

Polish lawmakers voted down a complete ban on abortions on Thursday, handing a victory to tens of thousands of men and women who had protested the proposal in recent days.

Survey shows cannabis use on rise in Croatia

An analysis of differences in the prevalence of illegal drug use in the period from 2011 to 2015 does not indicate any major differences in the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and sedatives (tranquillisers), however, data for 2015 point to a rise in the number of cannabis users, a news conference heard this past week.

Running naked, showing bare buttocks is crime in an Australian state

Exposing bare buttocks in public and running naked in a public place to shock or amuse have been officially made a crime in the Australian state of Victoria, it was revealed on Monday.

Top search engines to block sex-determination ads in India

Top search engines Google, Microsoft and Yahoo will block advertisements related to prenatal sex determination services following an order by India's Supreme Court, a news report said Monday.

Euthanasia performed on a minor for first time in Belgium

Euthanasia has been carried out on an underage person for the first time in Belgium, under a law introduced in early 2014, the head of the country's euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday.

Nepal failing to stop child marriage, says Human Rights Watch

Nepal’s poverty, traditional practices, patriarchy and gender discrimination have led to the country having one of the highest rates of child marriages in Asia, a leading rights group said Thursday.

Germany to make mothers disclose sex partners in child support cases

The German government said Monday that it wants to legally require women to disclose their sexual partners in order to identify their offspring's biological father in child support cases.

Conservative German interior ministers call for partial burqa ban

Interior ministers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative political bloc called Friday for a ban on burqas in parts of public life.

Fiji will not change its national flag: PM

Fiji will not go ahead with a proposal to change its flag, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Thursday, meaning Britain's Union Jack will stay.

Businesses destroyed, National Guard activated after violence in US

The governor of the north-central US state of Wisconsin activated the state's National Guard on Sunday after protests of a police shooting turned violent and businesses and cars were torched overnight in the city of Milwaukee.

Crowd in US state of Wisconsin turns violent after fatal shooting

A crowd gathered at a crime scene in the US state of Wisconsin turned violent late Saturday night after a man was fatally shot by a police officer, the local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Syrian refugee crowned wine queen for Germany's Moselle region

Ninorta Bahno from Syria became the first refugee Wednesday to be crowned wine queen to represent German wine producers in the region around the Moselle, Saar, and Ruwer rivers in the western part of the country.

Croatia ranks high according to Social Progress Index

Croatia is ranked 33rd of the 133 countries according to the Social Progress Index (SPI), published by the U.S. non-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative in cooperation with the international audit, consulting and advisory company Deloitte.

Teenage bride burnt to death in Afghanistan

A 14-year-old girl from central Afghanistan has died due to severe burns, a local official said Monday, as questions were raised about whether she had set herself on fire to escape an arranged marriage.

Croats happy with personal life, unhappy with state of affairs in society

A majority of Croatians consider the overall situation in the country worrying, however, they are satisfied with their personal lives, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar.

US military to allow transgender troops to serve openly

Transgender citizens will now be able to serve openly in the US military without fear of discrimination, defence officials announced Thursday.

At London Pride parade, mayor tells Europeans: "You are welcome here"

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the thousands of European residents in the city, "You are welcome here," as he addressed a Gay Pride parade on Saturday, a day after Britons voted to leave the European Union.

EU cuts red tape on birth, marriage certificates within bloc

EU citizens moving to another member state will no longer have to go through the cumbersome and costly process of having public documents translated and certified, once new rules passed by the European Parliament on Thursday come into effect.

Catholics should be able to boycott gay marriages, pope says

Public officials who are Catholic should not be obliged to celebrate gay marriages or civil unions, Pope Francis said Tuesday, his first public remarks on the issue since same-sex partnerships were legalized in Italy last week.

Italy's parliament approves gay unions bill in historic vote

Italy's lower assembly granted Wednesday final parliamentary approval to a landmark bill that is due to end the country's status as the last Western European nation not allowing gay unions.

Italy's parliament poised to approve gay unions after long battle

Italy's lower assembly was poised Wednesday to grant final parliamentary approval to a landmark bill set to end the country's status as the last Western European nation not allowing gay unions.

Italy set for "historic step," leader of gay rights group says

The gay unions bill on the brink of parliamentary approval in Rome stops short of legalizing same-sex marriage, but is still a major breakthrough for homosexuals, says Arcigay, Italy's main lobby for gay rights.

Italian parliament expected to approve landmark gay unions bill

The Italian parliament was expected Wednesday to give its final seal of approval on a landmark bill which is set to end Italy's status as the last Western European nation not allowing gay unions.

Italy's gay unions bill returns to parliament floor for final vote

Italy's lower house of parliament was set to start a final debate Monday on a bill which, if approved, should end Italy's status as the last Western European nation not allowing gay unions.

Berlin bans Airbnb-style holiday rentals to tackle housing shortage

As new regulations on the short-term subletting of flats come into effect in Berlin, authorities expect a boost to the German capital's strained rental market

Polish prime minister endorses national ban on abortion

Poland's national-conservative Prime Minister Beata Szydlo announced her support for a ban on abortions on Thursday, backing the grassroots movement Stop Abortion on Polish radio.

Arrests after Dalit man hacked to death in India "honour killing"

Police in southern India have arrested five men in connection with the murder of a low-caste man in what appears to be a case of an "honour killing," officials said Tuesday.

China targets cloud storage services in campaign against pornography

China will crack down on the emerging practice of sharing and hosting pornography via cloud storage services, a report said Sunday. 

Merkel: Sport could help refugees integrate into German society

Refugees could better integrate into German society by playing team sports like football and handball, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in her weekly podcast.

Italy gay unions bill clears Senate hurdle in watered down form

A controversial law enshrining the rights of gay couples was approved Thursday by the Italian Senate, in a breakthrough towards its final approval that came after the bill was watered down to ease its passage.

Top court: Intra-EU migrants can be denied welfare for three months

EU countries can deny welfare benefits for three months to people stemming from another member state in the bloc, the European Court of Justice said Thursday.

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" Asylum seekers boost sales of language books

Not everyone in Germany has welcomed the recent influx of migrants to the country with open arms

Nepal powers up first electric crematorium

Nepal's first electric crematorium came into operation in Kathmandu on Sunday, promising a positive environmental impact and lower costs for the majority of the Hindu and Buddhist populations who cremate their dead.

Muslims, Christians unite behind mosque repair in Ugandan village

An initiative by Ugandan Christians to fund the repair of a village mosque raises eyebrows among some locals but has been welcomed by Muslims.

Protestant Church in Germany to vote on allowing same-sex weddings

The second largest Protestant church in Germany is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to permit same-sex wedding ceremonies in its churches.

Outrage over Charlie Hebdo cartoon of drowned Syrian toddler

A cartoon published in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that depicts an imagined future of a drowned Syrian toddler as a groper of women in Germany has sparked a storm of criticism online.

Germany extends artificial insemination grants to unmarried couples

Unmarried couples who cannot have children are now eligible for financial support for artificial insemination in Germany, after changes to an existing law came into effect on Thursday.