poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Amazon destruction accelerating
By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Brazil

The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at near record levels, according to new figures released by the Brazilian government.

The environment ministry said 26,000 sq km of forest were chopped down in the 12 months prior to August 2004.

The figure is the second highest on record, 6% higher than the previous 12 months.

Deforestation was worst in the state of Mato Grosso where vast swathes of land have been cleared to grow crops.

The loss of 26,000 sq km means almost a fifth of the entire Amazon has now been chopped down.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tuesday 17th May: International Day Against Homophobia.

The International Day Against Homophobia "will articulate action and reflection in order to struggle against all physical, moral, or symbolic violence related to sexual orientation or to gender identity. It intends to inspire, support, and coordinate all initiatives contributing to the equality among citizens in right, as well as in fact, and to achieve this in all countries where action is possible.


Feds revise Web site
By Kevin Freking The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The federal government has changed its Web site advising parents how to talk to their children about sex after several groups said it presented biased and inaccurate information.

The site received about 5 million hits in its first month of operation. In recent days, the section on sexual orientation was changed to address some of the concerns voiced by the gay rights community.

For example, the term “alternative lifestyle” was replaced with “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyle,” which addressed the concern that the Bush administration was labeling sexual orientation as choice.


Jury selection enters second phase
Ten more excused from serving on panel to decide transgender slaying case

HAYWARD — Ten prospective jurors were excused for cause Monday as jury selection continued in the retrial of three men charged with murder in the 2002 slaying of a Newark transgender teen.

Bush's House Homophobe
By David S. Bernstein, Boston Phoenix. Posted May 16, 2005.

The Office of Special Counsel exists to protect federal workers from job discrimination and whistle-blowing retaliation. Here's how Scott Bloch turned it into a haven for gay-bashing and partisan politics.

Three million employees of the federal government rely on one fairly obscure office for protection against job discrimination, retaliation for whistle-blowing, political hackery, secrecy, and partisanship. Tragically, the man who runs that agency, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), is a gay-hating, secretive, partisan, political hack.

US 'backed illegal Iraqi oil deals'
Report claims blind eye was turned to sanctions busting by American firms
Julian Borger and Jamie Wilson in Washington
Tuesday May 17, 2005
The Guardian

The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

The Scourge of Nationalism
by Howard Zinn

I cannot get out of my mind the recent news photos of ordinary Americans sitting on chairs, guns on laps, standing unofficial guard on the Arizona border, to make sure no Mexicans cross over into the United States. There was something horrifying in the realization that, in this twenty-first century of what we call "civilization," we have carved up what we claim is one world into 200 artificially created entities we call "nations" and armed to apprehend or kill anyone who crosses a boundary.

Is not nationalism--that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder--one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking--cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on--have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

British memo reopens war claim
Leaked briefing says U.S. intelligence facts `fixed' around policy
By Stephen J. Hedges and Mark Silva
Washington Bureau
Published May 17, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A British official's report that the Bush administration appeared intent on invading Iraq long before it acknowledged as much or sought Congress' approval--and that it "fixed" intelligence to fit its intention--has caused a stir in Britain.

But the potentially explosive revelation has proven to be something of a dud in the United States. The White House has denied the premise of the memo, the American media have reacted slowly to it and the public generally seems indifferent to the issue or unwilling to rehash the bitter prewar debate over the reasons for the war.

Pass the crow and take your best shot
Published May 17, 2005

The situation in Iraq is ugly enough. Now violent anti-American protests are spreading throughout Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden's hideout before a U.S. invasion scattered or captured his terrorist gang. The protests were ignited by a brief report in Newsweek that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay prison flushed copies of the Koran down the toilet as part of their effort to break down Muslim inmates. This is just what we need after the photos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq showing U.S. soldiers sexually humiliating and abusing Muslim prisoners.

That is how I began my Sunday column, which was written Friday. By Monday, the big news was the editor of Newsweek retracting and apologizing for the story. It turns out the magazine based its report on an anonymous source - "a senior U.S. government official" - who now says he can't be sure if the story about pages of the Koran being put down the toilet was true.

World celebrates International Day Against Homophobia
Ben Townley, UK

Protests, rallies and celebrations are being held across the globe today, as lesbian and gay communities recognise the first ever International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).
Already some demonstrations have taken place, with Hong Kong hosting its first ever gay rally yesterday.  

However, the bulk of events are expected to take place today, to mark the 15th anniversary of homosexuality being removed from the World Health Organisation's list of mental disorders.

Hong Kong stages pro-gay protest Network

Gay activists in Hong Kong staged a march against homophobia yesterday, in an effort to raise awareness and promote gay rights.

The event, which took place on a busy street, was a celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, taking place today.

From the Los Angeles Times
More Backlash Than Bliss 1 Year After Marriage Law
Massachusetts gays can celebrate, but their gain has energized foes of same-sex unions.
By Elizabeth Mehren
Times Staff Writer

BOSTON — In the year since Massachusetts became the only state to permit gays and lesbians to wed, more than 6,000 same-sex couples have traded marriage vows.

To commemorate today's anniversary, many of those couples plan to waltz at a gala party at Boston's swank Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel and pose for a group photograph outside the statehouse. Among other festivities around the state, the Boston suburb of Belmont plans an ice cream social.

Kuwait approves women's right to vote, run for office   

[JURIST] In a historic move Monday, the Kuwait National Assembly [official website] passed a law granting women the right to both run and vote in parliamentary elections. The legislation passed in the all-male parliament by a vote of 35 to 23 on an issue that had spurred strong reactions by conservative Islamists on one side and women and human rights activists on the other. The addition of women to the voting population is likely to double the number of registered voters in Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is now the only Middle Eastern country where regular elections are held in which women cannot vote

New International Law for Ancient Forest Protection

NEW YORK -- May 16 - -Forest ministers from around the world will gather today to discuss the future of the forests at the start of the Fifth Conference of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) at the UN’s headquarters in New York. Greenpeace is calling on governments to bring an end to the UNFF talk-shop which to date has done nothing to protect the forests nor the communities or the biodiversity that they house and create a legally binding agreement that will ensure the protection of the world’s last remaining ancient forests.

“Kaaya - Beyond Gender”

An exhibition of photographs by the transgender community of Delhi

A close look at the lives of transgender community
Mandira Nayar

NEW DELHI: Dressed in a bright salwar-kameez and wearing layers of make-up, Bobby just wants the impossible: to be a woman. Trapped between genders, she is one of many people who have never had the chance of being "normal". Focusing on a world that is caught in between, this is her story.
"We live separately. People don't like us living next to them. We have nothing, no mother, no father, and feel very alone. No one really cares about us. People don't see us as human beings. We have dreams too and we get hurt too," says Bobby, a member of a transgender community at the opening of "Kaaya: Beyond Gender -- A Window into the Lives of a Transgender Community", a photo-exhibition in the Capital on Thursday.

US chastity ring funding attacked

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the US government over its funding of a nationwide sexual abstinence programme.

The ACLU says the Silver Ring Thing programme violates the principle that the state budget cannot be used to promote religion.

The programme, which targets teenagers, is an offshoot of a Christian ministry. Since 2003, it has received more than $1m from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Sodomy slur on Geelani sleuths

New Delhi, May 16: An alleged ISI agent and a Kashmiri political activist arrested earlier this year in connection with the attempt to murder S.A.R. Geelani, who was acquitted in the Parliament attack case, have accused police of torture and attempts to wrongly implicate them.

Fear and loathing in gay India

Throughout South Asia, homosexuality has been a taboo subject. There are signs in some areas that gay people are now becoming more open in their behaviour. In the first of a series of articles from the region, the BBC's Soutik Biswas looks at gay life in India.

She is a qualified computer professional and works in a government job, but has been forced to live a double life for many years now.
At work, she uses her true name. Outside, she uses a nom de guerre, heading a support group for lesbians, bisexuals and transgender communities.

She lives with her partner - who lives a similar double life - in an apartment in the eastern city of Calcutta they bought together with a bank loan after fighting for one for six years.