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Search for Missing AirAsia Jet Suspended as Night Falls: VIDEO

Airasia

The search for an AirAsia flight that disappeared midway through its flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore on Saturday has been suspended for the night, BBC reports:

FlightAirAsia's Chief Executive Tony Fernandes, who has flown to Surabaya, said: "We don't want to speculate but right now of course the plane has been missing for 12 hours and there's a deep sense of depression here."

The flight left Surabaya in eastern Java at 05:35 local time (22:35 GMT) and was due to arrive in Singapore at 08:30 (00:30 GMT).

The missing jet had requested a "deviation" from the flight path to avoid thick storm clouds, AirAsia said.

ABC News adds:

The flight manifest for the jet showed there were 155 passengers on board plus seven crew members, although the Indonesian transport ministry only reported six crew members.

Of the passengers, 149 were Indonesians, three were South Korean, and there was one traveler each from Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom, according to AirAsia.

AirAsia said the crew members consisted of six Indonesians and one person from France.

Watch an ABC News report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Search for Missing AirAsia Jet Suspended as Night Falls: VIDEO" »


Singapore Court Of Appeal Upholds Anti-Gay Sodomy Law - VIDEO

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Singapore’s highest court ruled yesterday that the country’s sodomy law is constitutional, reports The Straits Times.

The law, known as Section 377a, has been in place since Singapore was a British colony. It carries up to a two-year jail term for men who commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men, whether in public or in private.

SingaporeYesterday’s ruling came in response to lawsuits by couple of 16 years Gary Lim [above right] and Kenneth Chee [above left], and by Tan Eng Hong, who was charged under the anti-sodomy law after being arrested while having sex in a public restroom in 2010.

Both lawsuits argued that Section 377a infringes their constitutional right to equal protection under Article 12 of the Constitution, and violates their right to life and liberty, as guaranteed by Article 9.

The Court of Appeal found that Section 377a did not violate Article 9 as the phrase "life and liberty" referred only to the personal liberty of a person from unlawful incarceration, not to the right of privacy and personal autonomy. The court also found that Section 377a fell outside the scope of Article 12, which forbids discrimination of citizens on grounds including religion, race and place of birth but does not contain the words "gender", "sex" and "sexual orientation.”

Mr Tan’s lawyer M. Ravi said that the decision a "huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore".

Earlier this year, Singapore libraries withdrew two books with gay characters, citing "pro-family" standards. 

Watch Gareth Lim and Kenneth Chee discuss their relationship and the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Singapore Court Of Appeal Upholds Anti-Gay Sodomy Law - VIDEO" »


Why Did Singapore's Anti-Gay Censors Ban Archie's Gay Wedding And Not Northstar's

Comic

Earlier this month, state media censors in Singapore banned a 2012 Life With Archie comic book for “promoting alternative lifestyles or deviant sexual practices” through the same-sex marriage of its gay character Kevin Keller.

But surprisingly, the same censors have not banned an Astonishing X-Men issue which features the same-sex marriage of the gay superhero Northstar.

Why not? Channel News Asia quotes a spokesperson from the Singapore Media Development Board:

“The MDA takes a holistic view in assessing content and considers all factors, including the context, presentation and language. While themes may seem similar on the surface, depictions and context often vary across different works…

“The issue featured characters who objected to the wedding and this offered a balanced treatment on the issue of gay marriage.”

The Board goes onto say that the censorship even though they did not outright ban the X-Men comic, they have advised that it be "shrink-wrapped and labelled with the consumer advice 'Unsuitable for the Young.'"


Singapore Bans Archie Comic Book for Depicting Gay Wedding

ArchieState media censors in Singapore have banned the sale of an 2012 Archie comic book that features the marriage of gay character Kevin Keller – part of the country’s recent crackdown on any publications discussing homosexuality.

TIME reports:

Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) censored the comic book, first published in January 2012, earlier this year, but the ban is only just now coming to light — a week after another state agency removed three children’s books promoting tolerance of same-sex relationships from the national library’s shelves. […]

In its guidelines for imported publications, the MDA prohibits comics and other illustrated material that depict or discuss “alternative lifestyles or deviant sexual practices,” listing homosexuality as an example of such (alongside “group sex and sadomasochism”).

In other “Archie” comic news, this week’s conclusion of the “Life with Archie” series found Archie Andrews shot and killed during an assassination attempt on his gay friend Kevin Keller.  


Singapore Court Of Appeals Reconsiders Ban On Gay Sex - VIDEO

Pink dot com singapore

The Singapore Court of Appeals yesterday heard arguments challenging the country’s 76-year-old ban on gay sex, reports Bloomberg.

In June, police asked attendees at Singapore's Pride rally Pink Dot to avoid comments on race and religion after Muslim and Christian groups called on followers to oppose the event.

In 2007, although provisions that made heterosexual oral and anal sex a crime were repealed, lawmakers agreed to uphold the ban on gay sex.  While the government says that the law has not been enforced since the 1990s, figures from the Home Affairs Ministry show that there were a total of 185 people convicted under section 377A from 1997 to 2006.

Lawyer Deborah Barker said that the 1938 law should either be declared void or modified to exclude sex between consenting adults in private.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that the majority of people support the legal framework as it stands. A survey commissioned by the government showed that about 47% of those polled rejected “gay lifestyles,” 26% percent were receptive and 27 percent neutral.

Last month, Proposition 8 spokespeople Jennifer Roback Mors and Pastor Jim Garlow spoke at a Singapore conference whose head is fighting to retain anti-gay laws. 

Watch Pink Dot's stirring report on this year's Pride rally in Singapore, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Singapore Court Of Appeals Reconsiders Ban On Gay Sex - VIDEO" »


Singapore Will Not Reverse Decision To Ban Children's Books With Gay Characters

Jaxe pan facebook

Singapore’s National Library Board (NLB) has responded to the outcry following its decision last week to ban two books with gay characters.

The two banned books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about three straight couples and one lesbian couple who travel to China to adopt baby girls.

A Facebook protest by Jaxe Pan and her daughter, which reads "Dear Minister, single families are REAL, so are adopted families, blended families, gay men and lesbian women. It’s okay that you are not like us, but please do not remove our stories, and pretend we do not exist," has been shared more than 7,000 times.

The Straits Times reports that chief executive Elaine Ng said in an interview with The Sunday Times that she was saddened that several local writers have decided to withdraw from library-related events in protest.

Ng continued:

"I understand that this is an issue that people feel strongly about but please, please also look to all the good things NLB has done over the years.  NLB has done a lot over many years to build trust in the community and we want to continue working hard to build that trust and see what we can do to reclaim the trust of those who feel disappointed in us."

However, the NLB will not reverse its decision on the ban.  Nor will the books be resold or donated because of concerns that they might be unsuitable for children.


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