Monthly Archives:April 2019

India will use all its “might” to ban cow slaughter across the country, interior minister Rajnath Singh said in a speech to spiritual leaders, as the Hindu nationalist government moves to fulfil a poll promise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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A renewed thrust by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protect cows, worshipped by majority Hindus, has led to a clamp down on beef trade run mostly by Muslims.

India is the world’s second largest beef exporter and fifth biggest consumer.

Maharashtra, India’s second most populous state, extended a ban on the slaughter of cows to bulls and bullocks this month.

Other BJP-led states such as Jharkhand and Haryana have also tightened curbs.

“How can we accept the fact that cow slaughter is allowed in this country?” Singh said on Sunday. “We will use all our might to ban it. We will try to build a consensus.”

Critics say tougher anti-beef laws discriminate against Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus who rely on the cheap meat for protein, and fear they could pave the way to a nationwide ban that would threaten thousands of jobs.

India has some 300 million cattle, and animals foraging for food are a familiar sight on the rubbish-strewn streets of towns and villages. Their numbers could swell by 200,000 in Maharashtra alone as farmers abandon animals they can’t sell, according to the beef trade.

Modi, who in his election campaign last year criticised the previous government for promoting beef exports, in 2011 spearheaded a ban on beef trade in his home state of Gujarat that he led for more than a decade.

There is no federal law on cattle slaughter though various states have brought in their own legislation. 

Maharashtra’s latest ban has been widely ridiculed on social media and traders in Mumbai have shut abattoirs for days in protest.

Mohammad Ali Qureshi, president of the Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers Association, said a nationwide ban on beef will fail as people in several regions enjoy the meat that is a cheap source of protein.

“A nationwide ban on cow slaughter is impossible,” Qureshi said. “If the government takes any such decision we won’t sit quiet and their will be nationwide protest. They will have to regret their decision.”

       

(Additional reporting by Meenakshi Sharma in Mumbai; Editing by Michael Perry)

 

A second woman has approached Queensland’s Labor government to make domestic violence allegations against dumped MP Billy Gordon.

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The premier’s office says it was contacted by a woman on Monday, and the woman’s concerns were immediately referred to police.

“Information came to us by another person and we’ve referred that to the appropriate authorities,” a spokesman for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told AAP on Tuesday.

AAP is seeking comment from Mr Gordon.

On Sunday he issued a statement asking to be afforded natural justice pending a police investigation into the first woman’s claims he’d assaulted her when they were a couple.

Mr Gordon was forced to quit the Labor party on Monday after he failed to tell the premier and the party about his criminal history as well as allegations he’d assaulted his former partner and not paid child support.

Ms Palaszczuk also wants him to quit parliament to allow a by election in his far north Queensland electorate of Cook.

The controversy over Mr Gordon has put the future of the Palaszczuk government in doubt.

Without Mr Gordon, Labor only holds power with the support of independent Speaker Peter Wellington.

AAP has sought comment from police about whether it has received a referral from the premier’s office.

Ms Palaszczuk is in the far north Queensland region on Tuesday and is expected to be quizzed later in the day about the second woman’s allegations.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg is also headed to the region, saying voters will want to tell him what they think of the political paralysis gripping the state just two months after the general election.

“Many people will want to talk to me about how they feel very let down, I would imagine, about Labor and their selection process and the fact we now have a government which is in turmoil because of their inability to sort out their own affairs,” he told the ABC.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott says Mr Gordon has lost the trust of the voters who elected him, and must resign from the parliament.

“Unfortunately, because these things have come to light, I think people have lost trust in Billy. That is, to me, the primary reason why he has to consider resigning now.”

Ahmed and Voges earned selection following strong domestic seasons, with the 33-year-old leg-spinner the leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield with 48 wickets and 35-year-old Voges the leading run-scorer with 1,358 runs at an outstanding average of 104.

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46.

“Adam Voges and Fawad Ahmed had sensational seasons at domestic level and their performances just couldn’t be ignored,” selector Rod Marsh said in a statement on the release of the squad on Tuesday.

“They thoroughly deserve their call-up and the opportunity to be a part of this squad. We believe that both can play important roles in the side if required.”

New South Wales wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Nevill has also been selected in the test squad for the first time as Australia seeks to groom a successor for the eventual retirement of 37-year-old Brad Haddin.

The 29-year-old Nevill scored 764 runs at 76.40 throughout the Shield season including a top score of 235 not out against Tasmania in February.

“Peter Nevill has been on our radar for some time and deserves his opportunity through weight of runs and performances behind the stumps,” Marsh added.

“He has also demonstrated impressive leadership qualities which have caught our eye.”

Local media had speculated explosive batsman Maxwell might be given a place after enjoying a fine World Cup campaign that culminated in a fifth triumph on Sunday.

Maxwell struggled in two tests in 2013 against India and was brought back for one match against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last year but dropped from the squad for Australia’s 2-0 series win over India in the home summer.

Pace bowler Ryan Harris was listed in the 17-man squad but will sit out the tour of the Caribbean to be home for the birth of his first child.

Fast bowler James Pattinson was ruled out of the West Indies tour with an injured left hamstring sustained during the recent Shield final, which Victoria won.

He would require “intensive rehabilitation” over coming weeks, the statement said, but would be reassessed for his availability against England.

Australia play two tests against West Indies in June before the five-test Ashes series starts in England in July.

Squad – Chris Rogers, David Warner, Steven Smith, Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris*, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Fawad Ahmed

* only for England series

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

A Facebook page showing videos of South Australian school students beating each other up has been pulled down.

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The “Adelaide Box Ons” page featured violent fights, with at least one student left unconscious.

The Education Department and police are trying to track down the boys and girls in the videos.

Susan Cameron, the department’s director of review, improvement and accountability, said it was uncertain how many schools had been involved in the fight clubs, which also involved girls.

“We are very confident that the schools have the policies in place to actually deal with the matters as they emerge,” the former high school principal told Radio 5AA on Tuesday.

She said she was surprised the reported initial reaction from Facebook was that the videos did not breach community standards.

The department contacted the site to ask for the page’s removal because they wanted to discourage fights becoming a spectacle or entertainment.

Ms Cameron said she was shocked to see vision of two young girls involved in a fight at a shopping centre.

She believed the principals of the schools would take firm action.

“Some of them already have. Kids will be suspended, some kids will be excluded.

“If parents are worried that their young person has been a victim of one of these attacks I would really strongly urge that they go to the police as well.”

She referred to the increase of bullying and other inappropriate acts by young people being played out in the digital world because they haven’t quite learnt yet how to make sensible choices.

“The danger is those acts will be public and online for a very long time.”

Gender identity in Australia

Sydney resident Norrie today won a case in the High Court of Australia recognising a third category of gender.

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In 2003, Australian Alex MacFarlane was granted the right to replace the gender on his passport with “X”.

The “X” identified Mr MacFarlane as intersex and is the third and only other gender category recognised under International Civil Aviation Organisation guidelines.

In Victoria, people are allowed to identify their gender as “indeterminate” or leave the field blank on their birth certificates if they are intersex.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a similar policy, allowing Australians to identify as “X” on their passport with a letter from a physician or psychologist. In 2013, it revised the policy to broaden gender definitions.

According to the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, published in 2013, government departments that collect personal records must allow for a person to change their gender to “X” if they provide certain documentation such as a medical statement and a travel document with the preferred gender.

In 2013, the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 was passed in Australia

Under the amended legislation, intersex people were recognised as a falling under a separate gender category to male and female.

Global recognition of alternative genders

As of November 2013, Germany was the first European country to allow babies who have both male and female characteristics to be registered as neither sex.

Parents are able to leave the gender blank in an effort to alleviate pressure on the parents when it comes to making decisions about sex reassignment surgery for their child.

Several south-east Asian countries also recognise alternative genders.

In India and Bangladesh, transgender communities, called Hijras, are given a third gender option on passports.

In 2007, a Supreme Court of Nepal decision established a third-gender category for the country’s citizens.

The 2011 census in that country was the first in the world to allow people to identify as a gender other than male or female.

Pakistani transgendered people can choose from a number of genders to be included on their identity card and Nepal also allows for an alternative gender on identity cards.

New Zealand allows applicants to use “X” to represent an indeterminate gender on a passport.

In Samoa, Fa’afafine – men raised as girls – are recognised as third-gendered people and make up an important part of the island nation’s society and culture.

Gender online

This year, Facebook began to allow its American users to select their gender from 56 different options and the preferred pronoun (i.e. he, she, they).