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Romania gender studies ban: Students slam new law as going ‘back to the Middle Ages’

Romanian academics, students and human rights groups have condemned a new law banning gender identit..

Romanian academics, students and human rights groups have condemned a new law banning gender identity studies in schools and universities and accused lawmakers of wanting to send the country’s education “back to the Middle Ages”.

The law approved on Tuesday by Romanian lawmakers would ban all educational institutions from “propagating theories and opinion on gender identity according to which gender is a separate concept from biological sex”.


Several higher education institutions have harshly condemned the legislation, including the University of Bucharest, which said in a statement that “it contradicts fundamental rights guaranteed by the Romania Constitution and international conventions of which Romania is a party to”.

“The text of the law has no scientific basis and is a blatant example of interference in education and free expression,” it added.

The Babes-Bolyai University described itself as “astounded” that “an academic theory could be banned by law” and urged lawmakers from creating “an unwanted precedent for academic and scientific activity”.

Vlad Alexandrescu, a centre-right senator and university professor, wrote in a Facebook post that with the law “Romania is aligning itself with positions promoted by Hungary and Poland and becoming a regime introducing thought policing”.

A number of professors have already indicated that they would not adhere to the legislation, including Gelu Duminica, who teaches Sociology at the University of Bucharest.

He said in a Facebook post that he doesn’t intend to stop incorporating gender elements into his teachings “for the simple reason that if I did, I wouldn’t be doing my duty anymore”.

“My role is to guide my students to understand man’s behaviour in society. And people are diverse,” he added.

The legislation now needs to be approved by President Klaus Iohannis.

The National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania and the National Council of Students have launched a petition to urge Iohannis to reject the law, arguing it would “send education in Romania back to the Middle Ages”.

“Moreover, we consider this law a direct attack against the transgender community, with which we stand in solidarity,” the added.




IGLA Europe — a LGBTI rights NGO — ranked Romania 38th out of 49 European countries last year for its LGBT equality laws and policies.

The country decriminalised homosexuality in 2001 but same-sex marriage and partnership is not recognised, with the exception of foreign same-sex marriages. Although it is legal to change one’s legal gender, the process has become increasingly complicated in recent years.

Romania’s latest law would follow in Hungary’s footsteps. The fellow eastern European country banned gender studies in 2018.

Last month, Hungary also ended legal recognition for transgender and intersex people, which human rights groups have decried as “a major backwards step” and “yet another violation of Hungary’s international rights obligations”.

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Migrants leave Ocean Viking rescue ship in Sicily after tense wait

Issued on: 07/07/2020 – 01:46

Almost 200 migrants rescued by a humanitarian aid boat in the Medite..

Issued on:

Almost 200 migrants rescued by a humanitarian aid boat in the Mediterranean Sea began to leave the vessel in Sicily late on Monday after nine days stuck on the ship.

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An AFP journalist aboard the Ocean Viking watched as the migrants, in single file and carrying backpacks, regained dry land at Porto Empedocle on the Italian island's western coast.

Police escorted them a short distance to another vessel, where they will be quarantined to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus.

The arrival of the boat chartered by charity group SOS Mediterranee capped a tense few days onboard marked by migrants jumping overboard, a suicide attempt and bouts of violence.

After being rescued in four separate operations on June 25 and 30, the migrants waiting on the ship became increasingly agitated, according to SOS Mediterranee, as the charity awaited the go-ahead from either Italy or Malta to dock at a safe port.

However, approval did not arrive until Sunday, after the group declared a state of emergency on board, adding it could no longer guarantee the safety of the migrants or the crew.

Soon after 8:00 pm (18:00 GMT), the Ocean Viking docked at the port directly in front of Italian ferry Moby Zaza, where the migrants will wait out a two-week quarantine period.

Tensions mount

Earlier on Monday, a separate group of 169 migrants disembarked from the Moby Zaza after a two-week quarantine.

Thirty of the group — all of whom were rescued last month by Sea-Watch, another humanitarian group — tested positive for coronavirus and will remain on the ferry in an isolated "red zone" area.

SOS Mediterranee spent most of Monday waiting roughly four kilometres (2.5 miles) from the coast before being allowed to dock, as it warned that tensions were rising and the long wait was "amplifying risks on board".

From the deck of the Ocean Viking, migrants who have waited for more than a week to disembark could make out both the Sicilian coast and the immense ferry, the Moby Zaza, according to an AFP reporter on board.

The mayor of Porto Empedocle, Ida Carmina, told reporters that the migrants' arrival was too much for the economically suffering community to support.

"Now that we&#Read More – Source

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Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:46

It's an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in ..

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:46

It's an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in France that the legendary Victor Hugo once provocatively wrote: “God made only water – but man made wine”. Aside from being a staple at many family dinner tables, wine is also a massive European industry – and one thats going through its own coronavirus-induced crisis. This in a sector that was already battling against 25% tariffs imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 that have seen exports slump.

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Up to one third of French vineyards are believed to be in potential danger – in a sector that employs around 700,000 people in France alone.

FRANCE 24 has been investigating how winemakers have been coping – as some say they might end up forced to give up altogether.

Vincent Bouzereau, winemaker: "I think were going to have to pick up the pieces. We are all going to pay. I always say to my children, 'we can always tear up a vine, and put sheep out to graze, and then we can eat the sheep'.”

"We are farmers – thats where we began, as farmers."

Aubert Lefas, winemaker and secretary-general of the Bourgogne winemakers confederation warns that small family vineyards will go under as they do not have the resources to pay for wages and outgoings.

"If their land is valuable, theyll be sold to big international groRead More – Source

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Child sex abuse warning as coronavirus school closures continue

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:33

Child sex abuse offenders are “taking advantage” of the coronavirus ..

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Child sex abuse offenders are "taking advantage" of the coronavirus pandemic to make and share more abusive material online. That warning from Catherine De Bolle, head of European law enforcement agency Europol. In an interview with FRANCE 24, she explains that with millions of children at home, many are going unsupervised, using outdated and poorly secured software which leaves them at greater risk from exploitation.

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"You have to be aware, when your child goes on the internet, the child has access to the world – but also the world has access to your child. You have to be aware of this, and you have to protect your child in this situation."

Catherine De Bolle says that organised criminals have exploited the pandemic in other areas too, with a "huge impact" on cyber crime; with counterfeit and sub-standard goods, and property crime also singled out.

The Europol Executive Director also cautions for the coming months of economic crisis in Europe, saying that the end of the pandemic will not be the end of pandemic-related crime.

"We are convinced that criminal organisations will try to make profit out of the pandemic, long after the pandemic. They will make use of the economic downturn, they will make use of economic sectors in difficulty, like tourism,Read More – Source

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