U.S. names 1st envoy for LGBT rights

Written by The AP Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:37

The United States named its first international envoy for gay rights this week, tasking a veteran diplomat with leading U.S. efforts to fight violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals overseas.

Randy Berry, currently the consul general in the Netherlands, will promote human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, Secretary of State John Kerry said. A longtime foreign service officer, Berry has served at U.S. posts in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, and speaks Spanish and Arabic.

Argentina: Court grants orangutan basic rights

AP writer
Friday, 26 December 2014 09:37

An orangutan that has lived 20 years at the Buenos Aires zoo is entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by humans, an Argentine court has ruled, a decision the ape's attorney called unprecedented and a ticket to greater freedom.

The ruling comes a month after a local animal rights group filed a habeas corpus writ in favor of Sandra, who was born in Germany but has lived in captivity in Buenos Aires most of her life.

Record number of UN countries call for moratorium on executions

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 19 December 2014 07:28

A record number of countries this week backed a key United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty globally.

Amnesty International said 117 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favor of the resolution at the UNGA plenary session in New York, while 38 voted against and 34 abstained. This was the fifth time a resolution on the issue was voted on by the UNGA. At the last vote in December 2012, 111 states voted in favor, 41 against and 34 abstained. 

Pope denounces euthanasia as ‘sin against God’

Written by The AP Monday, 17 November 2014 09:26

Pope Francis denounced the right to die movement on Nov. 16, saying it’s a “false sense of compassion” to consider euthanasia as an act of dignity when in fact it’s a sin against God and creation.

Francis made the comments to the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors.

Image of gay Russian couple wins prestigious World Press Photo of the Year award

Written by Mike Corder,
AP writer
Friday, 13 February 2015 16:15


An atmospheric image of a gay couple in Russia by Danish photographer Mads Nissen was crowned the World Press Photo of the Year 2014.

Human rights in spotlight after US-Cuba deal

Written by PETER ORSI
Associated Press
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 11:16

To many exiles and their allies, President Raul Castro is a brutal dictator who locks up dissenters in gulag-like jails, snuffs out political discourse and condemns his people to socialist poverty.

Cuba’s supporters see the government as heroic, its sins justified by the behavior of its giant enemy to the north, and offset by the fact it provides health care and education that most developing countries could only dream of.

Survey: 35.8 million enslaved around the world

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 18 December 2014 05:04

An Indian child rescued by the Save Childhood Movement. — PHOTO: AP/Bernat Armangue

An estimated 35.8 million people are trapped in modern slavery through human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation.

Court: Namibia forcibly sterilized women with HIV

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 04 November 2014 17:25

Namibia’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that health workers sterilized HIV-positive women without their consent, a human rights group said this week.

The 2012 judgment that was upheld had found that health workers had coerced three HIV-positive mothers to sign sterilization consent forms they did not fully understand, and while in labor, the Southern Africa Litigation Center said. 

Israeli barber creates ‘magic’ skull cap to protect Jews from attacks

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 23 January 2015 05:56

An Israeli barber has fashioned what he calls "magic" yarmulkes out of hair, designed to allow religious Jews to cover their heads without attracting unwanted attention from anti-Semites.

U.S. Consul General in Istanbul Charles F. Hunter, left, and his fiancée Ramadan Çaysever plan to marry in Appleton.

Charles F. Hunter, the U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, will marry his Turkish boyfriend during a trip home to Wisconsin over the holidays, according to Daily Sabah, an English-language publication in Turkey.

Highly skilled LGBT Russians are fleeing despite good career prospects there

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 30 November 2014 13:15

Had he stayed in Russia, Andrew Mironov would be settling in to a stable job with an oil company, likely with a newly awarded doctoral degree in electrical engineering.

Nazi war criminals collect millions in U.S. social security payments

Written by David Rising, Randy Herschaft
and Richard Lardner,
AP writers
Monday, 20 October 2014 09:14

The Sachsenhausen death camp in Germany. Martin Hartmann, a former SS guard at the camp, receives U.S. social security payments.

Dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation has found.