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Iran Arrests Hollywood Actress Over Hanging Protest

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Iran Arrests Hollywood Actress Over Hanging Protest

According to state media, authorities in Iran arrested Hollywood actress Taraneh Alidoosti on Saturday for allegedly spreading false information on Instagram about the country’s widespread protests.

According to IRNA, Taraneh Alidoosti, the Oscar-winning movie actress from “The Salesman,” was detained a week after making an Instagram post expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the protests.

The announcement is the latest in a string of celebrity arrests, including footballers, actors, and social media influencers, in response to their open support for anti-government protests, which are now in their third month.

Alidoosti was arrested, according to a report published on the state media’s official Telegram channel, because she did not provide “any documents in line with her claims.” According to the report, several other Iranian celebrities had also ′′been summoned by the judiciary body over publishing provocative content,′′ with some being arrested. It didn’t go into any further detail.

′′His name was Mohsen Shekari,′′ the 38-year-old actress wrote in her post. Every international organization that stands by and does nothing is a disgrace to humanity.”

Shekari was executed on December 9 after an Iranian court charged him with blocking a street in Tehran and assaulting a member of the country’s security forces with a machete.

taraneh alidoosti leading iranian actress reported taraneh alidoosti leading iranian actress reported 1604231726137372672

Instagram account suspended

In November, authorities arrested two other famous Iranian actresses, Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. Voria Ghafouri, an Iranian soccer player, was also arrested last month for “insulting the national soccer team and spreading anti-government propaganda.” All three have been made public.

Alidoosti has expressed solidarity with protesters in at least three Instagram posts since September. Her account, which had approximately 8 million followers, was suspended. In connection with the protests, Iran executed a second prisoner, Majidreza Rahnavard, last week.

Rahnavard’s body was hung from a construction crane as a chilling warning to others. According to Iranian authorities, Rahnavard stabbed two members of its paramilitary force.

Shekari and Rahnavard were executed less than a month after being charged, demonstrating the speed with which Iran is now carrying out death sentences imposed for alleged crimes related to the protests.

According to activists, at least a dozen people have been sentenced to death in closed-door proceedings. Iran is one of the world’s most ruthless executioners.

Protests have erupted in Iran since the death on September 16 of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by the morality police. Since then, the protests have evolved into one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s theocracy, established by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Before this year’s protests, Alidoosti had previously criticized the Iranian government and its police force.

She was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended in June 2020 after criticizing police on Twitter in 2018 for assaulting a woman who had removed her headscarf.

According to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the protests since they began, at least 495 people have been killed in the demonstrations amid a harsh security crackdown. Authorities have detained over 18,200 people.

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The central bank of Iran Blames Protests for Currency Drop.

Iran’s central bank governor blamed recent anti-government protests for the Iranian currency’s drop to record lows on Saturday.

Central Bank Governor Ali Salehabadi acknowledged that “the events of the past two months,” along with US sanctions, had contributed to the Iranian currency’s record fall but suggested that dollars could be injected into the market to shore up the troubled rial.

“To make adjustments in the (foreign exchange) market, the Central Bank will act as both a market maker and a hard currency policymaker,” Salehabadi said on state television. “We will offer whichever hard currency is in higher demand in the market.”

On Saturday, Iran’s troubled currency fell to a new low against the US dollar as Iranians desperate for safe havens for their savings tried to buy dollars, other hard currencies, or gold.

According to the foreign exchange site Bonbast.com, the dollar sold for as much as 395,600 rials on the unofficial market, up from 386,800 on Friday.

The dollar rate was 382,300 on the website of the economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad, up 1.2% from Friday.

Since the nationwide protests began three months ago, the rial has lost nearly 20% of its value. The currency was trading at around 65,000 per US dollar in May 2018, just before the US withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.

Source: AP, VOR News

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THAILAND: Rescue Dig Saves Toddler Trapped In Well For One Night

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BANGKOK, Thailand — A 19-month-old girl fell into a dry artesian well shaft at a cassava farm in northern Thailand 18 hours before she was saved. It took rescuers all night to get her out.

Rescuers clapped and cheered as the toddler, the daughter of Myanmar migrant workers, was pulled from the 15-meter (49-foot)-deep well shaft and placed on a stretcher that carried her to an ambulance waiting nearby.

“You guys did an excellent job. “We did it!” exclaimed one rescuer as his colleagues wept and hugged each other in Tak province’s Phop Phra district.

While her parents were working at the plantation, the child fell into the hole late Monday afternoon.

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Rescuers In Thailand Were On The Scene Quickly

The deep pit, dug by the landowner to be an artesian well, was left uncovered after it failed to reach groundwater, according to Phop Phra district chief Sanya Phetset on Tuesday.

According to local media, the first rescuers on the scene shouted down the hole and heard the child cry back. After lowering a camera into the hole to assess the situation, a tube was snaked to provide oxygen.

Using backhoes and other excavation tools, rescuers dug a 30-centimeter-wide trench alongside the pit overnight.

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The Child Is Now Safe And Sound

“At first, it appeared to be a simple operation because it appeared to be loose dirt, but once we started digging, we discovered rock, which made it difficult because excavators cannot dig through it,” Sanya explained.

He explained that the operation was risky because the digging could collapse the well’s sides onto the child.

After being carried to safety, the toddler was immediately taken to Phop Phra Hospital in Thailand.

“She is now safe. “She’s a little tired, but nothing serious,” Sanya explained.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

Pope Francis has clarified his recent remarks about homosexuality and sin, stating that he was referring to official Catholic moral teaching, which states that any sexual act other than marriage is a sin.

In a Friday note, Francis emphasized that even black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that may eliminate the sin.

Francis made the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press on January 24, stating that laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who brought up the issue of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful or “intrinsically disordered.”

“All right, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the fictitious conversation. “It is also a sin not to be charitable to one another.”

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Pope asked for Clarification.

LGBTQ advocates hailed his comments calling for decriminalizing homosexuality as a watershed moment that would help end harassment and violence against LGBTQ people. However, his use of the word “sin” raised questions about whether he believed that simply being gay was a sin in and of itself.

The Reverand James Martin, an American priest who runs the Outreach ministry for LGBTQ Catholics in the United States, asked Francis for clarification and published the pope’s handwritten response late Friday on the Outreach website.

In his note, Francis reiterated that homosexuality “is not a crime” and that he was trying “to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just.”

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which states that every sexual act other than marriage is a sin,” Francis wrote in Spanish, emphasizing the final phrase.

However, in a nod to his case-by-case approach to pastoral ministry, Francis noted that even teaching is subject to the circumstances, “which may decrease or eliminate the fault.”

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Sex is a Sin, as is Any Sexual Act

He admitted he could have been more specific in his comments to the AP. However, he stated that he was using “natural and conversational language” in the interview, which did not necessitate precise definitions.

“As you can see, I was generally repeating something. ‘Sex is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of the bonds of holy marriage,’ I should have said. This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sexual sin, but we all know that Catholic morality considers not only the matter but also freedom and intention, and this for all types of sin,” he said.

According to Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws, 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty. According to experts, even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ people.

According to Catholic teaching, marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman. It restricts intercourse with married couples and prohibits artificial contraception.

During his decade-long pontificate, Francis has upheld that teaching while prioritizing outreach to LGBTQ people.

Pope Francis has emphasized a more merciful approach to applying church doctrine, preferring to accompany rather than judge people.

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

In an internal memo, a four-star general in the United States Air Force stated that the US and China risk going to war in two years and advised officers under his command to prepare, including with target practice.

According to NBC, General Mike Minihan, head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, believes the fight will take place in 2025 but hopes he is wrong. He claimed that presidential elections in the United States and Taiwan in 2024 would allow China to take action against Taiwan.

According to NBC, a Defense Department official stated that the remarks do not represent the Pentagon’s position on China. According to an Air Mobility Command spokesperson, the memo is part of the command’s effort to prepare for conflict if deterrence fails.

The administration of President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s military buildup and what the US perceives to be a more aggressive Chinese stance toward Taiwan.

According to the administration’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor “with the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do so.”

China has slammed the latest US defense spending bill, which allows up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, for exaggerating the China threat and meddling in its internal affairs.

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Blinken Conerned Over Taiwan and China

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about Beijing’s intentions regarding Taiwan as he prepares for a rare visit to Beijing, China.

When asked if the temperature had cooled with China during a visit to the University of Chicago, Blinken replied, “I think so because when you’re talking and engaging, it tends to have that effect.”

“The rest of the world anticipates that we will manage this relationship responsibly. “They understand that how we manage it will also impact them,” he said.

According to Taipei Times, Blinken will visit Beijing from February 5 to 6, marking the first US secretary of state visit to the rising Asian power since October 2018.

The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping () met in November in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss wide-ranging disagreements between the world’s two largest economies.

Blinken, on the other hand, expressed concern about Taiwan, citing Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the country and major military exercises conducted near it in August.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I believe, China deciding that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades and had been successful in terms of our countries’ relationship and managing what a difficult situation is,” he said.

“What we say to China is that — they say this is a sovereign issue for us; we respond that this is an interest to the United States and countries all over the world,” Blinken said, referring to Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors, which is critical to the global economy.

Any disruption of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait would be disastrous for the global economy, he said, adding that 50 percent of container ships operating around the world pass through the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan manufactures 70 percent of higher-end computer chips.

Blinken was in Chicago for a trip that included a stop at the city’s historic Ukrainian community to discuss the response to Russia’s invasion.

By: Geoff Thomas

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

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