Dubai bans nudity, dancing and holding hands

From The Age:

Playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing and even holding hands in public is considered inapproppriate behaviour under new guidelines laid down by the authorities of Dubai, reports say.

Arabic-language daily Al Emarat Al-Youm said the Dubai Executive Council had urged residents of Dubai, where foreigners make up more than 80 per cent of the population, to respect the customs of the Muslim majority country and avoid inappropriate behaviour.

The rules, which apply to all public places, include a ban on all forms of nudity, playing music loudly and dancing, exchange of kisses between men and women — and even on unmarried couples holding hands.

Any breach of the guidelines, by nationals or expatriates, carries a possible prison penalty, the paper said.

The guidelines also stipulate that anyone caught under the influence of alcohol — even small amounts — outside designated drinking areas is liable to being fined or imprisoned, the paper added.

Scenes from Pakistan

From The Big Picture:

The government of Pakistan announced on Monday that it would accept Islamic Sharia Law to be implemented in its Swat Valley region, as part of a truce with local Taliban leaders. Militants had been demanding Sharia law, attacking opponents, burning scores of girls’ schools and banning many forms of entertainment. Gun battles between Pakistani security forces and militants have killed hundreds, while up to a third of the valley’s 1.5 million people have fled. A nuclear power with a growing economy, Pakistan’s government is still struggling for control of the country, coping with internal clashes and terrorism, that can bleed over and involve neighbors and allies, including militant attacks in India, and excursions into Afghanistan – inviting U.S. military operations that follow the attackers back into Pakistan.

Saudi Rape Victim Gets 1 Year in Jail and 100 Lashes

From the Saudi Gazette:

JEDDAH – A 23-year-old unmarried woman was awarded one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus.
The District Court in Jeddah pronounced the verdict on Saturday after the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride. The man, the girl confessed, took her to a rest house, east of Jeddah, where he and four of friends assaulted her all night long.

The “rape victim” is a term I added. If you notice in the link, they don’t ever call it rape but instead say it was adultery, forced sexual intercourse, and assault.

Robert Mugabe’s Birthday Menu

From the Times Online:

It is the 85th birthday of President Mugabe this month and the zealots of his Zanu (PF) party are determined that it should be an occasion that their great leader will never forget.

In recent days they have been out soliciting “donations” from corporate Zimbabwe and have drawn up a wish list that is scarcely credible in a land where seven million citizens survive on international food aid, 94 per cent are jobless and cholera rampages through a population debilitated by hunger.

The list includes 2,000 bottles of champagne (Moët & Chandon or ’61 Bollinger preferred); 8,000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4,000 portions of caviar; 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3,000 ducks; and much else besides. A postscript adds: “No mealie meal” — the ground corn staple on which the vast majority of Zimbabweans survived until the country’s collapse rendered even that a luxury.

Those who prefer to give in cash, not kind, are invited to send “donations” of between $45,000 and $55,000 to a US dollar bank account in the name of the 21st February Movement, a youth organisation controlled by Zanu (PF) and named after the date of the President’s birthday.

Both parties cheerlead still more loudly for Israel’s war

From Glenn Greenwald:

The Israelis have deliberately made it impossible to know the full extent of the carnage and humanitarian disasters because they continue to prevent journalists from entering Gaza even in the face of a now week-old Israeli Supreme Court order compelling them to do so. According to Palestinian sources, there are now 700 dead Palestinians — at least 200 of them children — and well over 1,000 wounded. Those numbers are not seriously doubted by anyone. By comparison, a total of 10 Israelis have died — 10 — almost all of them by “friendly fire.” The unusually worded Red Cross condemnation of Israel was prompted by its discovery, after finally being allowed into Gaza, of starving Palestinian children laying next to corpses, with ambulances blocked for days by the IDF. Even with the relative “restraint” Israel is excercising (the damage it could cause is obviously much greater), this is not so much of a war as it is a completely one-sided massacre.

As a result, much of the world is urging an end to the war and acting to forge a cease-fire — except the United States. Here, blind and unequivocal support for the Israeli attack is actually increasing almost as fast as the Palestinian body count piles up. Apparently, it isn’t enough that we supply the very bombs being dropped on the Palestinians and use our U.N. veto power to prevent any U.N. action to stop the war or even to urge its cessation. The U.S. Congress wants to involve the U.S. further still in Israel’s war.

This afternoon, the Democratic-led U.S. Senate did just that by enacting — via a cowardly voice vote — a completely one-sided, non-binding resolution that expresses unequivocal support for the Israeli war, and heaps all the blame for the conflict on Hamas and none of it on Israel. Harry Reid — who jointly sponsored the Resolution with GOP Leader Mitch McConnell — proudly proclaimed: “When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel.” On its website, AIPAC is already patting the U.S. Senate on its head for “for conveying America’s unequivocal and steadfast support for Israel’s right to self-defense.”

Secret Film Reveals How Mugabe Stole an Election

From The Guardian:

A film that graphically shows how Robert Mugabe’s supporters rigged Zimbabwe’s election has been smuggled out of the country by a prison officer. It is believed to be the first footage of actual ballot-rigging and comes as Zimbabwe’s president faces growing international pressure.

Shepherd Yuda, 36, fled the country this week with his wife and children. He said that he hoped the film, which was made for the Guardian, would help draw further attention to the violence and corruption in Zimbabwe.