A Malaysian man has won a landmark challenge against Islamic laws banning gay sex

A Malaysian man Thursday won the country’s first legal challenge against Islamic laws banning gay sex, a victory hailed as “monumental progress” in combating persecution of the LGBTQI+ community.

He was charged in an Islamic court in 2019 with attempting to have “intercourse against the order of nature”, and several others in the same case have already pleaded guilty and were caned as a punishment. 

Critics say the climate is worsening for the gay community in Muslim-majority Malaysia, with government officials often speaking out against LGBTQI+ people.

In Thursday’s landmark case, the legislation banning gay sex was enacted in Selangor state, outside Kuala Lumpur. 

Multi-ethnic Malaysia has a dual-track legal system, with Islamic courts handling some matters for Muslim citizens, and sharia laws set by individual states.

But local laws cannot conflict with legislation at the federal level, and sodomy is already a crime under the national penal code – although the statute is rarely enforced. 

In its ruling, Malaysia’s top court sided with the man who brought the case, who was not identified, saying Selangor state was not empowered to make such a law.

The ruling means that the law is overturned and the man’s case should be dropped, according to his lawyer Surendra Ananth.

Gay rights activist Numan Afifi welcomed the “historic development”. 

“It marks monumental progress for LGBT rights in Malaysia,” he said. “We have worked hard for so many years to live in dignity without fear of prosecution.”

Despite the victory, Islamic laws banning gay sex still exist in some other states.

The man was among 11 arrested for allegedly having sex at an apartment in 2018. Some have admitted to the offence before an Islamic court and received six strokes of the cane, a fine and jail terms of up to seven months.

In another high-profile case, two women were caned in a sharia court in 2018 after being found guilty of having sex in Terengganu state.

About 60 per cent of Malaysia’s population is Muslim.

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Cornes welcomes “landmark” letter from Collingwood players

Kane Cornes said the open letter Collingwood players released on Thursday night as a response to the racism report was a “landmark” day for the club.

After the historic report into allegations of systemic racism at the Pies was leaked on Monday, 150 players across Collingwood’s AFL, AFLW and Netball teams released a joint letter to say sorry about what might have occurred at the club in previous decades.

Cornes welcomed the letter, saying the playing group had done the right thing by releasing a combined statement after the report was made public earlier in the week.

“The letter was well written and it was the right thing to do,” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“It’s been signed by 120 players and staff from Melbourne, sorry is the first word and that’s a big tick – it’s the first word that should have come out of Eddie McGuire’s mouth when he faced the media and called it a proud day for the football club. He has since apologised for the use of the word ‘proud’.

“They’ve done the right thing there, I think it’s a landmark moment for the football club. I know Darcy Moore has been strong and Brodie Grundy has gone further and released a four-part tweet to reaffirm his apology.

“I feels to me, even though it’s taken probably 50 years too long to get here, that everyone is sort of moving on and what’s expected about how we live our lives and at sporting clubs.”

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Argentine Senate passes landmark abortion bill

Argentina became one of only a handful of South American nations to legalise abortion on Wednesday, after hours of debate in the Senate.

Thousands of pro-choice activists cheered in the streets of the capital after the bill was approved 38 to 29, with one abstention.

It legalises voluntary abortions at any stage up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Ahead of the vote, pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators had gathered outside parliament despite coronavirus fears.

The vote overturns a similar one in 2018 which, although also passed the lower house, ultimately foundered in the Senate by 38 votes to 31.

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Beer off at Ettamogah Pub with mortgagee moving in on landmark hotel | The Border Mail

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Trading at the Ettamogah Pub has ceased with the hotel’s locks changed while the owner was having a swim. The dramatic action occurred on Wednesday with notices put on the front windows stating “this property is now in the possession of the mortgagee…’Trustworthy Nominees Pty Ltd'”. A security guard patrolled the site on Thursday, telling surprised tourists that the cartoon-inspired pub was shut. Estate agent Tony Falvo travelled from Melbourne to change the locks and take possession on behalf of the mortgagee. “As far as I know it was open for business until we physically closed it down,” Mr Falvo said. He said money was owed by the landlord and the action was in response to defaulting on payments. However, owner Leigh O’Brien contested that, saying he owed $80,000 to the Melbourne-based mortgagee and planned to meet that through subdivision of land around the pub. Normally residing in Melbourne, Mr O’Brien said he had been on-site at the hotel over the past 12 months and was off having a swim in Albury when a staff member called him to say the locks were being changed. “It’s really disappointing what’s happened, to do this at this time is really vindicative,” Mr O’Brien said. IN OTHER NEWS He disputed any suggestion the hotel could be reopened by the mortgagee due to his intellectual property and liquor licence rights. “If they want to operate the pub, they’ve got to pull the thing down, which would be terrible, or change the look of it,” Mr O’Brien said. Mr O’Brien said before COVID there had been 25 to 30 caravans stopping nightly. On Thursday Yarrawonga couple Stewart and Sarah Louchrey and their sons Michael, 7, and William, 4, stopped at the pub for a lunch break en route to Port Stephens for a family holiday. But they were let down as was Mrs Louchrey’s mother. “I don’t think I’ve been here for 40 odd years and I was looking forward to seeing it to see how it had changed,” Joan Moore said. Mr Falvo defended the hiring of a security guard. “The mortgagee has a responsibility to protect the land and buildings, you can’t walk away or leave it unprotected,” he said. Mr O’Brien had plans to have brown tourist signs reinstalled on the Hume Highway after they were removed because authorities told him it was inappropriate to being promoting a pub. He said NSW Roads told him they may be approved with the inclusion of the word ‘museum’ after ‘Ettamogah Pub’ to highlight the historical aspect. The hotel was put up for sale by Mr O’Brien last year before being withdrawn from the market.


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Man facing deportation despite believing he was Australian freed after landmark court ruling

A father-of-seven who has lived in Australia for more than 40 years believing he was an Australian citizen has had his deportation order overturned in a landmark Federal Court ruling. 

Edward McHugh, 52, was born in the Cook Islands and adopted by a Queensland family in the 1970s when he was six years old. He went on to father seven Aboriginal children and was granted an Australian passport, leading him to believe he was a citizen. 

But after being convicted in 2018 of aggravated assault and making a threat to kill, he was shocked to discover he was facing deportation to New Zealand after serving a nine-month prison sentence under section 501 of the Immigration Act, as revealed by SBS News in 2018.

Mr McHugh’s Australian passport was cancelled in 2018.


He spent more than two and a half years in immigration detention centres in Perth and Melbourne until a landmark appeal ruling by the full bench of the Federal Court last Friday granted him his freedom.

“I was jumping out of my boots,” Mr McHugh told SBS News from Melbourne of the moment he heard he would be released.

“I’m feeling free and I feel like justice has been served … I always knew who I am.”

The ruling relied on the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus which is used to rule on whether the detention of a person by the state is unlawful.

It is only the second time in Australia’s recent history that habeas corpus has been used to free someone from immigration detention.

In handing down the ruling, Chief Justice James Allsop reversed a previous decision on whether the Federal Court had the jurisdiction to make orders to release people from detention, and therefore found that Mr McHugh’s detention was unlawful, ordering his immediate release. 

A key ruling as to the lawfulness of the detention was that the onus was on the government to provide sufficient evidence that Mr McHugh – who spent long periods living within Aboriginal communities, where he held a ceremonial role – was not an Indigenous Australian, and therefore able to be deemed an unlawful alien

“[Mr McHugh] is recognised by the Aboriginal community in which he has lived for many years as Aboriginal and part of that community, but who is (at least presently) unable to bring positive proof of his biological Aboriginal descent,” Chief Justice Allsop wrote in his judgement.

“The task of the Commonwealth … is straightforward, at least in expression, and a simple reflex of Mr McHugh’s elementary and fundamentally important right to his liberty free from unlawful Executive detention: prove the lawfulness of his detention.”

Edward McHugh with his family in 2000.

Edward McHugh with his family in 2000.


The judgement followed a protracted legal battle to have Mr McHugh’s right to remain in the country reassessed.

In June, the Federal Court ordered acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge to reconsider the cancellation of Mr McHugh’s visa after earlier refusals.

The government had argued Mr McHugh had never received Australian citizenship as his adoption to Australian parents did not mean he was a citizen as it took place before the laws were changed to allow automatic citizenship in 1984. He had also never applied for citizenship by descent, they said.

His Australian passport was revoked following the conviction but no explanation has been provided as to why his Queensland birth certificate and adoption papers allowed him to be granted one in the first place. 

According to the Department of Home Affairs, Mr McHugh was in Australia on an Absorbed Person Visa, a visa category that does not require the holder to be aware of their visa status.

This was revoked following his prison sentence in February 2018.  

The court did not dispute the department’s position that Mr McHugh did not hold citizenship or a valid visa. All residents of the Cook Islands are automatically granted New Zealand citizenship. 

Marleen Charan, founder of advocacy group Rights and Reform Inc., supported Mr McHugh through his legal challenge and told SBS News the ruling was “high time coming”. 

“It took a long time for them to assess this application,” Ms Charan said.

“Although it took a long time, it is a result that we’ve been waiting for – and I guess, a lot of detainees were waiting for.”

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said they were aware of the Federal Court’s ruling and were considering the reasons for the court’s decision and the implications of the judgement.  

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Argentina lower house approves landmark bill to legalize abortion

FILE PHOTO: People attend a demonstration in favour of legalising abortion, outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 4, 2020 REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

December 11, 2020

By Nicolás Misculin and Lucila Sigal

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -Argentina’s lower house of Congress approved a bill to legalize abortion in the early hours of Friday morning, a big step forward for the legislation that could set the tone for a wider shift in conservative Latin America.

The draft law, which would allow the legal termination of pregnancies up to the 14th week, was passed with 131 votes in favor, 117 against and six abstentions. It will now move up to the Senate, where an even tighter vote is expected.

Supporters of the legislation, dressed in distinctive green scarves, cheered and hugged each other in the streets of Buenos Aires after the vote for the bill, which was backed by the government.

Some of the opponents – who had also marched outside Congress through a mammoth debate on Thursday and stayed out all night for the decision – were in tears.

The votes in Argentina, the birthplace of Pope Francis, come amid calls for greater reproductive rights for women across the predominantly Roman Catholic region.

“This is a fundamental step and recognition of a long struggle that women’s movements have been carrying out in our country for years,” Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, the government’s Women, Gender and Diversity minister, said after the vote.

“We are going to continue working so that the voluntary termination of pregnancy becomes law.”

A similar vote to legalize abortion was narrowly defeated in a Senate vote in 2018 after passing the lower house.

Groups opposing the legislation wore light blue scarves as they marched.

“They don’t want to show what an abortion is,” said Mariana Ledger who was holding a cross and a dummy of a headless and bloodied fetus. “This is it, and they don’t want to show it. They are hiding the truth, we are not foolish people.”

Amnesty International welcomed the lower house vote and called on the Senate not to “turn its back” on women.

The initiative includes a parallel bill – which will face a separate vote – to assist women who want to continue with their pregnancy and face severe economic or social difficulties.

Argentine law currently only allows abortions when there is a serious risk to the mother or in the event of rape. Activists say, even in those cases, many women often do not receive adequate care.

Carlina Ciak, a 46-year-old pediatrician who stayed in the square outside Congress until after midnight, said the bill would help women from the most vulnerable groups who were often forced to seek dangerous illegal abortions.

“Abortion as a medical practice exists, even when illegal it never stopped being performed,” the mother-of-two said.

The most affected women were from groups already suffering from “misery, poverty, criminalization and all kinds of violence.”

“For them, and for our daughters, we will fight until it becomes law,” she said.

(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Additional reporting by Reuters TV and Lucila Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan, Tom Brown and Andrew Heavens)

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The 2011 IRB concussion rule at the centre of landmark lawsuit

World Rugby will argue that the previous prospect of 21 days out simply drove concussion reporting underground and it had moved to a science-based protocol, which only allowed players to return if they were asymptomatic and suffered no relapses. It meant six days was an absolute minimum but, with matches often spaced seven days apart, it is a time frame that has prompted suspicion. World Rugby also stressed decisions were not only shaped by CISG, whose guidance has become a hugely influential global reference point at all levels of sport.

Which brings us to another key strand of the legal action. Among 15 recommendations for change, the former players have called on rugby to remove its “reliance on various arch-conservative organisations” such as CISG.

Former Rebels Super Rugby import Michael Lipman is also part of the suit.

Former Rebels Super Rugby import Michael Lipman is also part of the suit.Credit:Getty

Research by CBS News this year reported that, of the 36 expert panellists on CISG’s latest “Consensus Statement”, 32 have or have had connections to organisations and sports where concussions are a major issue. “We demand World Rugby and its governing bodies … take guidance from academics and experts who are truly independent,” said the rugby players’ statement.

Chris Nowinski, the co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, is particularly unhappy with the CISG’s stance on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurological disease associated with head trauma and which has been found in numerous American footballers, as well as increasing numbers from other contact sports. The CISG’s latest statement contends that “the notion that repeated concussion or subconcussive impacts cause CTE remains unknown”.

The two co-chairs of CISG, Dr Jiri Dvorak and Dr Paul McCrory, for comment. Dr Michael Turner, who is on the expert panel, said “the fact that experts involved in concussion research are also members of the concussion panels assembled by sports to advise them on their approach to this complex issue has never seemed strange to me”. He also said that he was “baffled” by the concept that research could not be independent if there had been any association with a contact sport.


World Rugby said its approach was informed by collaborations with numerous experts, including CISG. It believes that it transformed decision-making accuracy with its head injury replacement which, since 2014, has been at least 10 minutes. It says fewer than eight per cent of players are now wrongly left on. There have also been changes to tackle laws and the introduction of independent matchday doctors with a final say on concussion decisions.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to evidence-based injury prevention strategies and act based on the latest available research, evidence and knowledge,” said a World Rugby spokesperson.

Telegraph, London

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Facebook sued in United States in landmark antitrust lawsuit

US federal regulators and over 45 state prosecutors have sued Facebook, accusing the social network of abusing its market power.

The lawsuit, which could see the tech giant divested of Instagram and the WhatsApp messaging service, is one of the most significant legal actions the company has faced.

The antitrust complaints were announced on Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“It’s really critically important that we block this predatory acquisition of companies and that we restore confidence to the market,” James said during a press conference on Wednesday.

The FTC has said that Facebook has engaged in a “systematic strategy” to eliminate competition by purchasing smaller rivals.

Facebook said the lawsuit was “revisionist history”.

The tech giant purchased the photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012 and the messaging platform WhatsApp in 2014.

“This course of conduct harms competition, leaves consumers with few choices for personal social networking, and deprives advertisers of the benefits of competition,” the FTC said in a statement.

The authority confirmed that would ask for the company to divest its assets and be prohibited from imposing anticompetitive conditions on software developers

Future mergers and acquisitions ‘must be approved’

The FTC is also requesting that Facebook must seek prior notice and approval for future mergers and acquisitions.

“Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,” said Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.

“Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”

Letitia James added that Facebook had “used its monopoly power to crush smaller rivals and snuff out competition, all at the expense of everyday users”.

In a blog post, Facebook said they were reviewing the complaints and release a further statement soon.

“Years after the FTC cleared our acquisitions, the government now wants a do-over with no regard for the impact that precedent would have on the broader business community or the people who choose our products every day,” the company stated.

‘Revisionist history’

The tech giant came under intense scrutiny from the FTC when the deals for Instagram and WhatsApp were done and were initially cleared. But a new investigation into the potential antitrust violations was launched in 2019.

Facebook vice president Jennifer Newstead said the Wednesday’s lawsuit risked warning American businesses that “no sale is ever final”.

“Antitrust laws exist to protect consumers and promote innovation, not to punish successful businesses,” she said.

“Instagram and WhatsApp became the incredible products they are today because Facebook invested billions of dollars, and years of innovation and expertise, to develop new features and better experiences for the millions who enjoy those products.”

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg defended the acquisitions this summer, saying that the tech giant had helped them expand from smaller companies into industry giants. Zuckerberg has also argued that Facebook has a range of significant other competitors.

Facebook is the world’s biggest social network with 2.7 billion users and an estimated market value of nearly $800 billion (over €662 billion).

The legal challenges come as a growing number of US lawmakers are arguing that companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple have become too powerful.

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President Trump: We need to pass landmark election reform

 A jet takes off from Valdosta Regional Airport before the start of a rally featuring President Donald Trump for U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020 in Valdosta, Ga. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:59 AM PT – Monday, December 7, 2020

President Trump has called for an overhaul of U.S. election systems. During his Valdosta, Georgia rally on Saturday, the President said he has plans to push forward “critical election reform” to ensure the safety of future elections.

The November presidential election has notably been contested for widespread reports of voter fraud involving issues with state election security.

President Trump expressed concern for voting systems in the U.S. and voiced a desire to push forward legislation requiring voter identification as well as other security reforms.

“And after we win, we need to pass landmark election reform, including voter I.D.,” he stated. “Is that so bad? Residency verification…like we live in the country, we live in this state.”

The President told everyone in the audience they have been a victim of mass voter fraud while reiterating a stolen election will not hurt him, but rather the hard working American people.

To ensure mass fraud will never take place in a U.S. election again, the Trump administration promised to implement citizen confirmation, so illegal aliens will not interfere in future elections. On numerous occasions, the President warned Americans of the high risk of corruption if citizen confirmation or voter ID is not implemented.

President Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he walks onto the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Moreover, Democrats have opposed such legislation for decades. Republican’s have argued the high opposition comes from the left benefiting from a lack of voter identification in elections.

Meanwhile, voter ballot rejection rates have been historically low even though there has been a near record breaking number of mail-in ballots.

The President’s administration is tirelessly working to expose the truth and lies surrounding the U.S. election system, while also pledging to rectify the entire voting process and continue to make America great.

RELATED: Key battleground states show massive election fraud, voting irregularities totally erase Biden’s lead

The post President Trump: We need to pass landmark election reform first appeared on One America News Network.

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Toorak landmark sold for more than $20m in unexpected auction

57 Clendon Road, Toorak, has sold for more than $22m.

A six-bedroom Toorak mansion has sold for an eye-watering undisclosed sum beyond $22m.

The sprawling Mediterranean-inspired home at 57 Clendon Road had been listed with an $18.5m-$20.35m asking price.

Marshall White’s Richard Mackinnon and Fraser Cahill received multiple offers for the home and ended up have to conduct a private auction on Thursday last week.

RELATED: Toorak mansion by architect Rodney Alsop a rare offering

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It’s the first time the property has changed hands in 25 years, with the sellers having renovated the almost century-old house not long after buying it.

The sale is the latest in a string of top-end deals in Melbourne’s most expensive suburb, including $50m worth of real estate changing hands in the past three months in one tiny court.

A top buyer’s advocate says Dan Andrews is driving the busiest Toorak market he’s seen in years, with listings priced up to $39m.

The Herald Sun understands four parties showed interest in the local landmark on Clendon Road, but Mr Cahill said he was unable to confirm the numbers or how many bid.

The home’s Mediterranean-inspired architecture is by renowned architect Rodney Alsop.

“The vendors are extremely happy, as are the new purchasers,” he said.

“It’s a generational home and very rarely do mansions of that kind come to market.”

The buyers are a Melbourne family who will most likely give the home an update, but maintain the character of the address designed by renowned architect Rodney Alsop in 1926.

“They live in an apartment but wanted some land, and there’s no better land than what they have bought,” Mr Mackinnon said.

The interiors are lavish, but not decadent.

The property is set on 2360sq m over two titles at the corner of Stradbroke Avenue.

Behind a hedged fence the property features an extensive garden with climbing roses, water features and manicured greenery, including a grass tennis court.

Mr Mackinnon said in a suburb known for its amazing homes the house was a beauty that was “much admired”.

Architectural flourishes include arched windows.

A wide, arched veranda opens to an expansive interior with timber highlights, stone-edged fireplaces, arched windows and two floors of living spaces and bedrooms.

Mr Cahill said COVID-19 had reinforced the value of Toorak’s larger family homes.

“Considering everyone has been stuck at home, it feels like these larger homes are being well received,” he said.

The home is perfect as an indoor-outdoor entertainer.

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