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France is to consider a change to its laws around sexual consent, according to the minister for gender equality. Marlene Schiappa said the government was considering setting a fixed age below which sex was automatically a serious offence. It comes after two cases where men were acquitted of raping two 11 year old girls. In France the age of consent is 15, but prosecutors still have to prove sex was non-consensual to prove rape. In an interview with French television programme BFM Politique,...

Police in Hyderabad have banned begging and started rounding up homeless people before the start of a business summit featuring Ivanka Trump. Nearly 400 people in the southern Indian city were detained by police on Wednesday and lodged in a rehabilitation facility at Chanchalguda jail, according to the Indian Express. About 6,000 people are expected to be taken to such facilities before the arrival later this month of the eldest daughter and adviser of Donald Trump, the US president.

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An Israeli minister on Monday welcomed remarks by a mufti of Saudi Arabia that Palestinian resistance group Hamas is a terror organization. "We congratulate Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, as well as the head of Ulema (Islamic scholars) for his fatwa forbidding the fight against the Jews and forbidding to kill them," Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara wrote on his official Twitter account. The minister also welcomed the mufti's remarks in which he considered...

Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad in Syria have committed crimes against humanity through their “starve or surrender” strategy and sieges that have devastated areas controlled by the opposition, a report by human rights watchdog Amnesty International has concluded. The report, to be released on Monday, examines four “reconciliation” deals between the Assad regime and the opposition in Aleppo, Homs and Darayya as well as an agreement that included four besieged towns, two by the government and...

Qatar’s support for the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel was a major cause of concern amongst senior UAE diplomats in Washington during the months leading up to the imposition of the Saudi-led siege on Doha. The UAE plays a leading role in the siege on its Gulf neighbour.

The UAE’s ambassador to the US, Yousef Al-Otaiba, vented his frustration about the Qataris to a former American diplomat, Dennis Ross, in a series of leaked emails, which have...

United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Wednesday that if a Saudi-led military coalition did not allow humanitarian aid access to Yemen then it would cause "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims." The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Houthi movement in neighboring Yemen said on Monday it had closed all air, land and sea ports to the Arabian Peninsula country to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. The move, which follows...

Facebook is teaming up with four countries to test a preemptive system to detect and defend against “revenge porn.” Users are being asked to upload nude photos of themselves to Messenger.
The Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner announced they were partnering with the social media giant last week on a pilot scheme that will allow anyone to report sensitive images being shared online without their permission.

The eSafety office, which works primarily to prevent the...

Teachers and parents have decried a raid on a school by Israeli forces that resulted in the arrests of the school's deputy principal and three teachers. Israeli police entered the Zahwa al-Quds kindergarten and primary school in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina on Monday and made the arrests because staff refused to follow Israel's education standard, according to school staff. "Israel is attempting to force our school to adopt the Israeli education curriculum," Ziad...

Harvey Weinstein allegedly hired an “army of spies”, including former Mossad agents, in an attempt to stop accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him, according to a report in the New Yorker. Among the private security agencies hired by Weinstein starting around autumn 2016, the magazine claims, was Black Cube, which is largely run by former officers of Israeli intelligence agencies, including Mossad. Another was corporate intelligence giant Kroll. The report,...

Israeli Public Defense Minister Gilad Erdan decided to establish a 200-strong special police force in Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to Israeli media. "The Temple Mount Unit will be equipped with advanced technology and will gather intelligence in order to protect visitors to the holy site," Erdan was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post daily. "The unit will include approximately 200 policemen, in which 100 will be specially recruited to the police in the course...

Theresa May has said she will celebrate the centenary of the Balfour declaration, which paved the way for the creation of Israel, with “pride” next week. After welcoming Benjamin Netanyahu to London, Ms May and the Israeli Prime Minister will dine together at an exclusive event to celebrate the historic promise made in 1917 that the British Government would use its “best endeavours” to facilitate the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, will not be...

Tory aides have compiled a list of three dozen Conservative MPs accused of inappropriate behaviour including being “handsy at parties”, it has been claimed. The list, contained in a spreadsheet, reportedly names 20 ministers among those at whom the claims are levelled. The allegations, published in a redacted form by the Guido Fawkes blog, came as Theresa May vowed to crack down on alleged impropriety in Westminster. The Conservative Party declined to comment.

Ms May has written to...

Actor Kevin Spacey said on Sunday he is “beyond horrified” by allegations that he made sexual advances on a teen boy decades ago. The two-time Oscar winner posted on Twitter that he doesn’t remember the encounter. “But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” he said.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, actor...

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited Afghan immigrant children living in Iran to fight in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Afghan children as young as 14 have fought in the Fatemiyoun division, an exclusively Afghan armed group supported by Iran that fights alongside government forces in the Syrian conflict. Under international law, recruiting children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities is a war crime.

Human Rights Watch...

Villagers in Shan state, Burma (Myanmar) are increasingly concerned over indications that two assistant priests in Burma have been killed. Sources told Morning Star News that the Burma army arrested Dom Dawng Nawng and La Jaw Gam Hseng on Dec. 24 after the two assistant priests helped journalists report on a bombed Catholic church building in Mong Ko. The clergymen were arrested after they went to the Byuha Gon military base to secure the release of a married couple who had complained to the...