Posted on September 14th, 2018

BY EDOUARD MORTON Courtesy The South China Morning Post

Singapore’s anti-gay laws face challenge as India celebrates ruling

A Singapore DJ has filed a court challenge against a colonial-era law that bans gay sex in the conservative city state following India’s scrapping of similar legislation. Johnson Ong Ming, 43, also known as DJ Big Kid, filed his challenge with the High Court on Monday, his lawyers said, just four days after India’s landmark ruling. Under Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, a man found to have committed an act of gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years, although prosecutions are rare. The law does not apply to homosexual acts between women. Singapore’s leaders have said they will not enforce the law, but have been reluctant to remove it for fear of angering conservatives.

What next? Previous legal challenges to overturn the ban have failed, but a top Singapore diplomat called on the gay community to renew legal action against the law a day after India’s top court decriminalised gay sex. A public opinion survey released this week showed a slim majority of Singaporeans still support the law with 55 per cent of 750 Singaporeans polled in favour of it.

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena lashed out at a national airline after he found their cashews to be poor quality. Photo: AFP

Nut rage hits SriLankan Airlines as president slams cashews

Sri Lanka’s national airline says it has stopped serving cashews after the country’s president flew into a rage over nuts served to him on a flight to Colombo. Returning from Kathmandu, I was served some cashews on board a SriLankan flight, but it was so bad even a dog wouldn’t eat it,” Maithripala Sirisena said. I want to know who authorised the purchase of these nuts,” the president told a meeting of farmers. A spokesman for the airline said it had responded by clearing its stock of cashews – only served in business class – and would change its Dubai-based supplier.

What next? Last month Colombo renewed its search for an equity investor in the loss-making and heavily indebted SriLankan Airlines after the International Monetary Fund warned it was dragging the country’s economy down. This is not the first time that airline nuts have prompted outrage. In 2014 a South Korean heiress famously ordered a Korean Air plane back to its gate to eject a cabin crew member after she was served nuts still in their packet. Cho Hyun-ah was jailed one year for disrupting air traffic, but was released after 10 months.

A woman consoles a nun during a protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, India. Photo: Reuters

Indian nuns stage six-day protest over alleged sexual assault by bishop

A group of Indian Catholic nuns staged a rare street protest in the southern state of Kerala demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop. Police have called Bishop Franco Mullackal for a second round of questioning next week. Mullackal has denied wrongdoing. In a letter, the nun said she wanted the Vatican to intervene, and that she was forced to make matters public after several attempts to seek justice from within the church failed. The nun first accused Mullackal in late June of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. Mullackal has called the whole scandal a conspiracy by those against the Church. The nuns’ protest, which ran for six days, attracted support from locals, writers, politicians and activists.

What next? The case comes at a time when the Christian community, which accounts for 19 per cent of Kerala’s population, is reeling after multiple abuse cases involving the clergy. Five priests were arrested last month in two different cases, while last year, a Catholic priest was arrested after a minor he is accused of having sex with gave birth.

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