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 on: Jul 22, 2016, 05:00 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Rad
Hi Skywalker,

Yes, but other cultures/ societies as well.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Jul 22, 2016, 02:10 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Rad,

When you stated this about the Pluto in Libra generation, does it correlate to the same sort of patriarchal dynamics stemming from the Roman empire and that time frame?

 "The generation that you are referring too come from other times as well in which this took place in one way or the other. Thus, a whole generation that brings forth this collecitive and individual memory. The intent of course is for this generation to do something about it."

Thank you

All the best

 on: Jul 22, 2016, 02:05 AM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by Skywalker
Hi LittleAprilShower,

Also referring the Nodes of the Moon, independent of the speed of the transiting body, to my knowledge.

All the best

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 05:28 PM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by LittleAprilShower
Hi all,

I would just like to clarify: are you ONLY referring to planetary nodes and not the nodes of the moon?  

I have been referencing the table below, and work under the impression that the moon's nodes would be used as the stationary point only when determining aspects with any other planetary body that moves around the zodiac at a faster speed (except of course the Sun).

Table of Planetary/Asteroid Speeds

(from fastest to slowest)

Dark Moon Lilith
Asteroid Lilith
Amazone, Persephone
Black Moon Lilith
Moon's Nodes

Thank you.

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 03:36 PM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by Sabrina
Thank you!

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 09:39 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Oklahoma police show up at 5-year-old’s birthday party — and shoot his dog in the head

David Ferguson
Raw Story
20 Jul 2016 at 13:31 ET                   

A family in Wynnewood, Oklahoma says that police mistakenly killed their dog during their 5-year-old son’s birthday party.

According to Oklahoma City’s Fox 25 News, an officer whose identity the Wynnewood Police Department has declined to reveal fired a high-powered rifle through a fence and killed the Malone family’s 3-year-old American bulldog and pit bull mix, Opie.

Vickie Malone said that she had sent her son Eli and his friends outside so she could prepare ice cream and birthday cake for Eli’s birthday party when she heard a bang. Eli called out to her, “There’s something wrong with Opie.”

The adults at the party heard two more shots and ran outside. They found the dog lying on his side inside the fence, “kicking and gasping for air,” said Vickie Malone.

The officer who shot the dog told the family that the dog had lunged at him through the fence. Wynnewood Police Chief Ken Moore stood behind the officer’s actions, saying the dog was vicious and had come around the corner of the house outside the fence and charged at the officer.

However, Fox 25 said that the video from the scene of the incident they reviewed contradicts the officer’s story. Opie’s body is lying inside the fence with a gunshot wound to the head.

The officer who shot the dog had come to the Malone home to serve a warrant to a person who lived there 10 years ago. The warrant, he said, gave him the right to enter private property and take whatever action he deemed appropriate under the circumstances. The Malone family says they never saw any warrant.

Chief Moore said that the police department was aware that the Malone family had been in the house for a year and that the officer had been advised that the address was a rental property through which people had “moved in and out” over the years.

“I respect what the police do, but this was senseless, but he didn’t show any remorse and didn’t even act like he was sorry or anything,” Vickie Malone said to Fox 25.

Eli Malone told reporters that he misses his dog. The 5-year-old said that he wishes someone from the Wynnewood Police would at least apologize for killing his friend.

The family have marked Opie’s grave with a small wooden cross.

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 06:29 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
World's rarest ape is teetering on the edge of extinction

A new count suggests there are only 26 Hainan gibbons left in China’s rainforests – is it too late to save them?

By Melissa Hogenboom

It's not a great title to carry. Being the rarest of anything indicates that you may well soon disappear altogether.

On first sight, prospects do look grim for the Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus). These apes are not only the rarest primate in the world, they are the rarest mammal alive today.

    Half a century ago we didn't know much about the Hainan gibbon

There are thought to be as few as 26 individuals remaining, and they all live in a small part of the rainforest in China's Hainan province, an island off the coast of southern China.

Although protected, their habitat shows sign of gradual decline as locals scour the forest for edible or medicinal plants, occasionally hunting the other animals that share the gibbons’ environment.

Half a century ago we didn't know much about the Hainan gibbon. There were about 2,000 individuals at that point, but it wasn’t clear whether they actually constituted a unique species. By the time we learned that they do, over-hunting and logging in their forests had reduced their numbers dramatically. But new insights into their lives may yet help save this rare, beautiful ape. 

There are 17 species of gibbon, but the Hainan gibbon is rather special, for more reasons than its rarity.

Within the past 20 years primatologists have realised that these gibbons are not only a distinct species but also the most genetically distinct gibbon alive. We now also know that they behave quite unlike the others.

     All the gibbons are isolated in a single forest patch within that wider landscape

Most gibbons have a social structure that consists of an adult male and female, with several juveniles. The Hainan gibbon bucks this trend: one adult male lives with several females.

What wasn’t clear was whether this is the way Hainan gibbons have always lived or whether their unusual social structure is a result of their devastatingly low population. Samuel Turvey of the Zoological Society of London, has been observing this group for many years. He concludes that their unusual social structure is normal for them. And that knowledge is vital if any future conservation programme is to be successful.

For example, one idea is to save the Hainan gibbons by helping them move to other parts of the forest. If they were transported into other habitats in the wrong groupings, it might be devastating for their future prospects.

Though they live in a reasonably large protected area, the forest that they spend most of their time in is quite fragmented. "All the gibbons are isolated in a single forest patch within that wider landscape," says Turvey. "There are areas of forest even there which gibbons aren’t occupying."

     If they are not in a social group, they rarely sing

Before any effort to move them into other parts of the reserve, conservationists would like to see their numbers increase. But it seems their population level has hit a mysterious plateau. Though they are reproducing at a normal level for these apes, their numbers have failed to rise.

Turvey has some ideas why this may be the case. As individuals become sexually mature, they typically branch away from their family unit. They should then form a new group and create a family of their own. But some individuals don't: they roam the forests alone. This makes them extremely hard to monitor, says Turvey. "If they are not in a social group, they rarely sing - our understanding of what happens to the lone individuals is anecdotal."

We don’t know why some of the gibbons are living alone. It might be because the limited size of their habitat can’t support any more groups, or it could be due to human disturbances. Though humans do not hunt them, they do hunt other animals in their forest.

The loners might also fail to form new groups because their family ties have become too close. Their genetic similarity to the other gibbons they encounter might discourage individuals from breeding.

    A male popped up in an area where we knew there weren't supposed to be any gibbons

Whatever the reason, it creates a problem: if more and more gibbons become isolated, the population won't grow. To save them, we will need to work out why they are so reluctant to form new groups.

It's not a simple – or a cheap – puzzle to solve: finding an answer requires more manpower, better monitoring, and an increase in the use of acoustic technologies to listen in on the gibbons' calls.

This summer, Turvey and colleagues did just that – with interesting results. For instance, it was previously thought the gibbons fell into three main social groups, with a few solitary individuals. Acoustic monitoring has now made it clear that there is a fourth group. In addition to monitoring their forest calls, the team trialled a method where a gibbons' own recorded call was played back. 

It had the desired effect. "A male popped up in an area where we knew there weren't supposed to be any gibbons." That this fourth social group exists was a welcome discovery. It might even indicate some lone individuals had formed a group after all.

The discovery of this new group raised the number of gibbons from 25 to 26 individuals, says Turvey. The parents may even be previously unaccounted for individuals, which could raise their number to 28.

Another positive sign is the very fact that such a small population has managed to live in the same small patch of forest for 30 years. "It's kind of a fluke that they haven't gone extinct already," says Turvey.

With so few individuals, a random event could easily have wiped them out: one disease or a freak typhoon would be enough. But, of course, such an event could still occur: to save the species, time is of the essence.

    Primates do have the ability to bounce back from small numbers

Fortunately, it's not all doom and gloom for the gibbons. The Primate Specialist Group at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, (IUCN) has recently published its latest edition of the world's 25 most endangered primates – a report that's updated every two years.

It is hoped it will help spread awareness of some of the lesser known primate species around the world – including Hainan gibbons – that are critically endangered. Others at risk include Northern sportive lemurs, (Lepilemur septentrionalis), of which only 50 remain. There are also new additions to the list, including the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) and the Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus lavasoensis).

Christoph Schwitzer, director of conservation at Bristol Zoological Society, was one of the primatologists involved in the report. He remains hopeful that many of these primates can be saved from oblivion.

With so few remaining, the gibbons are clearly at a higher risk than some of the other critically endangered species – apes need large habitats and are slower to reproduce. So by their very nature it makes them more vulnerable.

But one staggering fact remains. No primate species, that Schwitzer knows of at least, has gone extinct this century or last. "Primates do have the ability to bounce back from small numbers."

Schwitzer is more optimistic for the Hainan gibbons' plight than for some of Madagascar's threatened lemurs. That's because the latter live in a country with an unstable government where forests are frequently targeted by loggers. "The Chinese government on the other hand, are really trying to make an effort," he says.

"I am more hopeful for primates than for some of the other creatures that share their habitats. If we all pool together we can save them. If it was too late there wouldn’t be any good in writing these reports."

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 06:22 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S. Elections

Trump says US may not automatically defend Nato allies under attack

Republican candidate says as president he would not pressure the likes of Turkey to moderate purges and it was ‘time to take care of America first’

Justin McCurry
Thursday 21 July 2016 09.33 BST
Donald Trump has suggested that under his leadership America would not necessarily come to the aid of a Nato ally under attack, saying he would first consider how much they have contributed to the alliance.

Speaking to the New York Times in Cleveland on the night before he was due to accept the Republican nomination for president, Trump also warned that, if elected, he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies to end crackdowns on political opponents or the suppression of civil liberties.

Trump repeated his insistence that other countries should start sharing more of the defence costs long borne by Washington.

Claiming that US allies would understand his new approach to collective self-defence, Trump said it could involve cancelling treaties he believes place too great a burden on the US.

Trump told the paper he would “prefer to be able to continue” with existing agreements, but only if unnamed individual countries ended their dependence on American largesse.

That approach – a tenet of the nationalistic “America First” theme he has developed during his campaign for the nomination – could even extend to the 28 members of Nato.

Trump offered an equivocal reply when asked if the US military would automatically protect Baltic states against Russian aggression, saying that he would gauge their contribution to the alliance.
Who supports Donald Trump? The new Republican center of gravity
Read more

“If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes,” he said.

On the recent thwarted coup in Turkey, Trump said the US should try to “fix our own mess” before interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries.

“I don’t think we have a right to lecture,” he said. “Look at what is happening in our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?”

Trump gave notice that he was prepared to ditch the postwar internationalist tradition inside the Republican party in favour of an approach to foreign affairs that hinged solely on American economic interests.

The country’s role as peacekeeper and protector of human rights – and its responsibilities as a provider of nuclear deterrence - he suggested, would only continue if they came with some form of economic benefit to the US.

He repeated his threat to withdraw US forces around the world, a policy that has sparked alarm in countries such as Japan and South Korea, which host tens of thousands of American troops.

“We are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800bn [in trade losses],” Trump said. “That doesn’t sound very smart to me.”


What we learned from day three of the Republican convention

Ted Cruz did not endorse Trump in his speech, earning boos from the crowd, while vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence’s address drew enthusiasm
Tom McCarthy
Thursday 21 July 2016 05.23 BST

The third day of the Republican national convention is over and done. Here’s a summary of what happened:

    Ted Cruz did not endorse Donald Trump in a speech to the convention, and he was lustily booed by a crowd that had cheered much of his speech to that point.
    “Please, don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said. “Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the constitution.” Then he stood and waved to thousands booing.
    Newt Gingrich came out after Cruz and said the crowd has misunderstood, that what Cruz said was in effect an endorsement of Trump because Trump was the only candidate faithful to the constitution, see?
    A sense of deteriorating order in the arena was expanded by the flickering malfunctions of the Jumbotrons as Eric Trump attempted to follow Cruz.
    Vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence won an enthusiastic, if not quite rapturous, reception for a smooth speech that framed the election efficiently thus: “It’s change versus status quo.”
    After Pence’s speech, the last of the evening and on the late side of things, Donald Trump came onstage to very strong cheering. And mis-kissed his running mate:

    The big finale begins tomorrow just after 7pm ET, with Donald Trump, preceded by daughter Ivanka.
    Early in the night, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham threatened to steal the show with attacks on Hillary Clinton and the media and a call on Cruz (not by name) to endorse Trump.
    Marco Rubio addressed the crowd by video before the Jumbotrons went out and said it was time to unify the party and get behind the nominee. His pixels were cheered.
    A Trump staffer released a statement inviting blame for the inclusion in Melania Trump’s speech Monday of Michelle Obama’s words. Trump said “we all make mistakes” and declined to accept her resignation.
    The secret service was investigating a Trump aide who said Hillary Clinton should be shot for treason. The Trump campaign said the aide did not speak for Trump.
    Cleveland officials said a flag burning that turned into a melee resulted in the arrest of 18 people, bringing total RNC-related arrests to 23.
    A woman at the centre of sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump has spoken for the first time in detail about her personal experience with the billionaire tycoon who this week became the Republican nominee for president.


Old Angry White People Defeated The GOP Establishment At Its Own Game

By Rmuse on Wed, Jul 20th, 2016 at 11:39 am

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

Within a month or so of Donald Trump’s entrance into the Republican primary, this column, like many ‘official’ pundits, had little reservation claiming that the Republican establishment would never allow “the Donald” to be the Party’s nominee, much less defeat their champions. However, now that Trump is the nominee and easily dispatched every candidate the Koch brothers and Republican establishment could throw at him, it is evident that the Party establishment never had a say in who would be the Republican standard bearer; that decision was made emphatically by the Republican base. A base consisting primarily of, as Esquire writer Charles Pierce noted, is “old white people… [who control] the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”

There is a lot wrong about America, and it’s not something an American ever wants to admit, but it is glaringly evident now that a bigoted fascist, and reality show star like Donald Trump, is the official face and standard bearer of the Republican Party. In choosing a man that represents everything bad and wrong about America to officially represent the Republican Party and according to his policy proposals the entire conservative movement, it is safe to say the entire world and maybe a few Americans now comprehend just how much is wrong about America. And it is important to note that everything wrong in this country is due to establishment Republican propaganda that convinced the conservative base, primarily old and angry white people, that Trump is the only man in America to see the conservative vision to fruition.

Of course all the news is that many in the GOP establishment are, if not eschewing, at least tepid in their support of the Party’s new hero, but only because he says in public what they’ve perpetuated in private and with dog whistles for the past eight years. The establishment wanted a hero that held Trump’s entire nasty social, domestic, and foreign policy positions, but one who would tone down the hateful rhetoric and demagoguery that earned the love and admiration of the angry white base. One can’t help imagine that many of the other Republicans vying for the nomination aren’t kicking themselves for not embracing Trump’s style and rejection of the GOP’s typical dog whistle bigotry and fear-mongering.

Despite the faux pushback by the Party establishment, and the hilarious “Never Trump” movement, Republicans as a party and voting bloc are not nearly as dispirited about Trump as they feign. It is important to remember that Donald J. Trump won the Republican nomination fair and square by garnering more primary votes and support than his rivals. Rivals, by the way, who either have in the past, or currently, embraced everything Trump stands for, but were too timid to say it in a public forum. If one is honest, Donald Trump is no different than 2012’s Republican nominee Willard Mitt Romney.  Whether it’s their predilection to rampant mendacity, stance on immigrants and immigration, foreign policy and more wars, government privatization, tax policy, or appeal to evangelical extremists, Donald Trump is Willard Romney without a filter or magic underwear.

It is important to remember that many Republican voters were not enthused over Willard Romney’s candidacy in 2012, especially the all-important religious right voters. But they turned out en masse to vote for him; Romney knew that was how it would be and so did the establishment. Because they knew the old, angry white base would support any Republican who alluded to fulfilling all of their hopes, dreams and wishes.

In Trump, the base has a champion that pulls no punches and promises to create a warmongering nation of white religious people to conquer the world and “make America great and Aryan again.” It is worth noting again that if any of Trump’s Republican opponents had expressed the conservative agenda in stark, hate-inspired terms like the Donald, they would be the nominee, but they aren’t because they hewed too closely to establishment dog whistle tactics that failed to sate the bigotry and hatred of everything non-white and non-Christian the angry white base demanded.

Republican voters have complained for the past six years that establishment Republicans failed to deliver on their promises and neuter President Obama out-of-office and put an end to cultural diversity, women and LGBT rights, and everything common decency entails. Those voters, the ones who elevated Trump to be the party standard bearer, see Trump as the one and only man in America who speaks their language and will forcefully follow through with everything he promises to accomplish even if he has to suspend the Constitution. They don’t care if he lies, is a fascist, a warmonger, a bigot or will privatize government into a corporation, as long as he creates the “great white America” old angry white people yearn for he will earn their and establishment Republican support. Republicans may be in chaos, but the establishment can’t complain about Trump because they created the conditions for the angry white base to prevail over the establishment and choose the best representation of what the Republicans have been selling as the perfect presidential candidate.


Trump Says ‘No Big Deal!’ But Cruz Just Kicked the Rotting Corpse of the Republican Party

By Hrafnkell Haraldsson on Thu, Jul 21st, 2016 at 8:02 am

If hearing Ted Cruz (R-TX) of all people, say that we should cast aside leaders who hate and endorse love, wasn’t surreal enough for you, I don’t know what is.

Unless it’s maybe Donald Trump blaming Melania’s plagiarism on somebody who doesn’t exist. After all, stabbing Trump in the back wasn’t all that big a surprise, was it?

As Elaine Kamarck writes over at Brookings, Cruz isn’t the only guy at the convention auditioning for Election Day 2020.

There are all kinds of ways to describe what Cruz did, but most of them can be repeated here. Donald Trump played it cool, tweeting,

“Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!”

Which is funny. Because Trump wasn’t going to honor the pledge either.

Some of the mainstream media responses are equally entertaining, as journalists try to figure out how to report something as bizarre as this year’s Republican convention. Bloomberg played the straight man, saying “Ted Cruz stole the show at the #GOPConvention last night.”

Heck, as their tweet shows, Ted even gave Trump’s signature Hitler salute:

    Ted Cruz stole the show at the #GOPConvention last night #RNCinCLE

    — Bloomberg (@business) July 21, 2016

ABC’s Tom Llamas told audiences that “Ted Cruz walked in here and he body slammed Donald Trump’s convention.” That’s a WWE reference, for those of you who don’t watch sports entertainment. Llamas had “The Texas Rattlesnake,” Stone Cold Steve Austin, in mind when he said that.

This is Cruz giving his Stone Cold impersonation last night:

Austin’s finisher was the Stone Cold Stunner, not exactly a body slam, to which he attached the catchphrase, “Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!” And you can be sure that’s how Cruz felt last night.

Yeah. That might be an apt comparison. But another way to say it is that Ted Cruz kicked the rotting corpse of the Republican Party. And I don’t mean Mitch McConnell.

Maybe just to see if it was still alive. He’s been one of those, after all, who has tried hard to kill it. He found out it was; at least enough to boo him offstage.

Chris Matthews probably had the best analysis of Cruz’s appearance: “This is going into someone’s party and dumping on it. This is very bad behavior.”

And it is. But this is Ted Cruz we’re talking about, the guy absolutely nobody likes – or a Matthews put it, has “a reputation for being unpleasant” – and this is the Republican Party, a party built on hate and bad behavior.

To turn one of the GOP’s favorite misogynist tropes around on them, what did Trump think was going to happen?


Mike Pence Handed Hillary Clinton The White House With His Fox News Driven VP Speech

By Jason Easley on Wed, Jul 20th, 2016 at 11:13 pm

Gov. Mike Pence accepted the Republican Party’s vice presidential nomination, and may have handed the White House to Hillary Clinton.

Pence did the usual thanking of his family. He paid tribute to Trump and resolved that Hillary Clinton will never become president. It became clear that Pence’s job was to tie Hillary Clinton to Obama while touting the conservative principles that caused the Great Recession.

Gov. Pence rattled off the now standard Trump talking point praise that Donald Trump is a doer and a uniquely American creation. Pence said that Democrats and the media haven’t figured out Trump. Pence got completely delusional by proclaiming that Trump is stronger than ever. (Apparently, Mike Pence isn’t aware that Trump is losing in virtually every national poll.) We got the usual Trump will stand with the military and cops.

Pence claimed that Trump’s employees love him. He said that Trump lacks pretense, and respects his employees. Pence pointed to Trump’s kids as proof of Donald’s moral character. What was missing in all of this Trumpaganda was any description of what Trump would do as president.

Pence painted Hillary Clinton as the dishonest insider and Trump as the outsider truth teller. The Republican message is that we are change, which is certain to backfire because President Obama is riding a wave of popularity. Mike Pence claimed that Clinton should be disqualified from being president, and read off a Fox News greatest hits collection of lies about Obama’s foreign policy.

Gov. Pence said that the election is about change versus status quo, but the numbers say that the majority of Americans like President Obama and the job that he is doing. What the polls are also telling us is that the American people don’t trust Trump’s judgment and lack of experience.

The Pence speech was empty and fluffy. It was more of the standard delusion that Republicans have been telling their voters for eight years. Republicans keep telling themselves that America is terrible, but yet, Democrats keep winning presidential elections.

Mike Pence lacks the strength and fire to deliver the message that needs to be delivered. Mike Pence made Republicans happy with his speech, but for the bulk of the country that doesn’t watch Fox News, Pence sounded like a man from another planet.

Pence claimed that Hispanic would vote for Trump because Trump will build the wall and deport Mexicans.

The Trump/Pence ticket was born out of a Republican electorate that is being driven by Fox News and conservative media. Pence was out of touch with the reality of the real America. The America that is changing and growing more diverse. Gov. Pence’s speech was a gasp of the dying angry white right.

Mike Pence couldn’t do the impossible. He couldn’t make Republicans sound rational, and he couldn’t sell Donald Trump to an electorate that doesn’t trust him.

Gov. Pence didn’t reach out to voters that Republicans need. He railed for the Republican base, but that base is not big enough to win in November.

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 06:10 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
'Monumental irritation': Russians decry tribute to Ivan the Terrible

Plan to erect a statue of the bloodthirsty tsar has drawn outrage from locals in Oryol, RFE/RL reports
The Bolshoi ballet depicts tsar Ivan IV, also known as ‘Ivan the terrible’.

Tom Balmforth for RFE/RL, part of the New East network
Wednesday 20 July 2016 08.00 BST   

Residents in the city of Oryol are campaigning against what has been billed as Russia’s first-ever statue commemorating Ivan the Terrible, the 16th-century tsar.

Despite being known for the brutal massacre of Novogrod in 1570 – and for allegedly killing his own son – officials plan to erect the statue near a children’s theatre in time for the 450th anniversary of the southwestern city, which was founded as a fortress by Ivan IV – known as “grozny” (terrible) in Russian.

Locals have responded to the proposal with outrage. Natalya Golenkova, head of a group protesting against the plan, wrote on the Russian social network VKontakte: “In almost 500 years no one has erected a statue to Ivan the Terrible: no tsar, no emperor, no general secretary, no president.

“There’s no Ivan the Terrible even on the Millennium of Russia Memorial,” she wrote, referring to a prominent bronze monument in the city of Novgorod that features leading figures from Russia’s past.

An online petition against the statue has garnered hundreds of signatures, while various politicians – from liberal opposition member Dmitry Gudkov to pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov – have denounced the idea.

Even state television is questioning the plans. Last week a news reader on Rossiya-1 listed several unpopular statues in the country before saying the decision to put up the statue of Ivan IV in Oryol was made “without taking into account the opinion of residents.”

“It’s unclear if we can find someone who can stop this ‘monumental’ irritation – to stop this fruitless, pointless discussion. As if we don’t have more important problems,” he said.

Ivan the Terrible oversaw the Novogrod massacre in 1570 with the oprichnina, which he founded, the original Russian secret police force and a precursor of the Cheka, the NKVD, the KGB and the FSB.

Responding to public concerns about the statue, regional governor Vadim Potomsky said the proposed statue “won’t bother anyone” and that the “location was chosen well”, the Tass state news agency reported.

Potomsky says he does not believe the tsar killed his son. “Not one source has seen a single official document confirming that Ivan the Terrible killed his son,” he told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

The fight in Oryol follows a series of controversies in Russia over monuments, including an ongoing debate over plans for an 80-metre statue of Jesus Christ in St Petersburg, proposals to return a statue of Soviet secret police founder Feliks Dzerzhinsky to the spot where it was toppled in 1991, and efforts to erect a towering monument to Grand Prince Vladimir – or Volodymyr – in Moscow.

Oryol itself is also no stranger to controversy over planned monuments. Last year, residents battled efforts of the powerful local Communist Party to erect a statue to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. A petition against the project garnered nearly 7,000 signatures.

A version of this article first appeared on RFE/RL

 on: Jul 21, 2016, 06:07 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Philippines' HIV dilemma: too young for a test but old enough for sex

A ban on minors being tested for HIV is preventing the Philippines from tackling a surge in infections, particularly among young men

Ana P Santos in Manila
Thursday 21 July 2016 05.00 BST   

When Rey* first got an HIV test, his mother went with him. He was 17 and her consent was required by law.

“My mum and I are pretty close. She has no issues about me being gay and is really supportive. But I know a lot of my friends wouldn’t dare bring their mums with them to get an HIV test,” says Rey, from Palawan.

His test came back positive and although it frightened him, Rey couldn’t say he was surprised.

Sexual initiation came early but condom use did not. He was 14 when he had his first sexual encounter; 16 when he tried to buy condoms at the local pharmacy. Condoms were placed behind the counter. Rey had to endure the awkwardness of telling the cashier he wanted to buy condoms and the knowing looks he got.

“It was bad enough that people in line heard me and knew what I wanted to buy. But the cashier kept looking at me and I could feel her sizing me up. It made me feel so small,” he says. Rey did not try buying condoms again.

“When I started having sex, I didn’t know anything about condoms. When I tried to buy them, I couldn’t. It was just too embarrassing. In a way, getting HIV was inevitable,” he says.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 100 million people in south-east Asia, is experiencing a surge in infections. Of the more than 40,000 people living with HIV, the majority were diagnosed in the past five years and many are young men (pdf).

Activists blame the increase on outdated laws and the grip of the Catholic church, which has sought to restrict safe sex programmes, sex education and efforts to distribute condoms to at-risk groups.

Homosexuality is legal, but the law prohibits people under 18 from getting an HIV test or taking free condoms from public health clinics without parental consent.

Attempts by politicians to lower the age of testing without consent to 15 failed to gain sufficient support, leaving many young people without the means to protect themselves.

“Comprehensive sex education was never really taught in school. There is a gap in the knowledge of communicating HIV and STI [sexually transmitted infections] prevention on the side of teachers and even healthcare providers,” says Mario Balibago, HIV programme officer for the UN children’s agency, Unicef.

    If we don’t identify them and get them on ARV now, these adolescents are going to die within the next 10 years
    Health ministry Aids specialist

Lack of awareness has resulted in risky sexual behaviour among teenagers.

A study by the Department of Health on sexual behaviour among young gay men (pdf) said adolescents were using social networking accounts and cruising sites to meet partners. From 2011 to 2015, newly diagnosed HIV cases among the most affected populations – predominantly young men and transgender people who have sex with men – increased by 230% (pdf).

Cris Pablo, executive creative director of the LoveLife Project, an organisation that raises awareness about HIV, says young people have had sex in exchange for playing online games.

“Playing is an all-night activity, there is betting involved and, inevitably, they run out of money. Selling quick sex is an easy solution. The exchange is done in a dark corner outside the internet shops, behind parked vans or secret places identified by the boys as their ‘hang out’ place,” says Pablo.

The health ministry estimates (pdf) that nearly 10,000 adolescents have HIV, but only 10% have been diagnosed. Fewer than 400 are enrolled on anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy.

“We cannot treat them if we cannot diagnose them,” says Dr Genesis Samonte, head of the health ministry’s HIV and Aids unit. “If we don’t identify them and get them on ARV now, these adolescents are going to die within the next 10 years.”

Authorising doctors to give proxy consent for minors who want to get tested is reportedly being discussed.

Quezon City, the largest city in metropolitan Manila, has one of the fastest growing HIV infection rates in the country. In response, the local health department launched a free testing campaign at cruising sites and set up clinics open until 11pm to offer people privacy and the convenience of getting tested after office hours.

At a recreational centre where students hang out after class, counsellors hold sessions on HIV and hand out condoms and lubricants. “The law says we cannot give out contraceptives to minors. But we are giving out condoms as a prevention tool, not as a family planning tool,” says Dr Rolly Cruz, epidemiologist at the city’s health department.

The government is also trying to reach teens at school. A sexuality education module for grade eight (students aged 13 to 14) is being tested on 3,000 students in Quezon City. The module will be revised based on the test run and is set for full implementation next school year.

“There has been no opposition from the school district. We see from what is happening around us that there is a need for HIV prevention education. We hope that there will be no opposition from the church,” says Cruz.

*Name has been changed

    This story was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

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