Spanish chain pulls kids' shirt after outcry
27 August 2014
MADRID (AP) -- Spanish fashion retailer Inditex said Wednesday it has withdrawn a children's shirt that triggered an outcry from people who said it was reminiscent of the clothes Jews were made to wear at Nazi concentration camps.
The long-sleeved shirt with horizontal dark stripes and a six-pointed yellow star on the left side of the chest prompted a storm on social media, with many people finding the shirt distasteful because it conjured up memories of the Holocaust. "It was only on sale for a few hours, only online, it didn't hit the stores" said a spokeswoman with Inditex, which owns the chain Zara where the shirt was sold. "It was withdrawn this morning."
Inditex said the shirt was designed to be part of a Wild West clothing theme and the star was intended as a sheriff's badge and had "nothing to do with the second world war." "But obviously we're aware of the sensitiveness of the issue and that's why we have withdrawn it," said the spokeswoman. She spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with company policy. The company said it removed the item from sale after several hours due to the protests and apologized to customers.
Kazakhstani politician: You can identify gays with an easy blood test
13th September 2014
by Nick Duffy
A Kazakhstani politician has come up with an “easy” method to identify gays – you just have to test the blood of people wearing coloured trousers for ‘degeneratism’.
Dauren Babamuratov, who leads the Bolashak national movement, made the claim in a press conference this week calling for a ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality. A rise in anti-gay sentiment in the country was sparked last month by a poster for a gay club featuring two national heroes kissing.
According to Tengrin News, Mr Babamuratov said: “I think it is very easy to identify a gay person by his or her DNA. A blood test can show the presence of degeneratism in a person. One can see a lot of people in the city’s malls and other public places — these are young people in coloured pants. Unfortunately, suppressing activities of the LGBT community in Kazakhstan is extremely difficult, because there is no law in our country prohibiting this type of activity, that is, the promotion of homosexuality.
Journalist Zhanar Sekerbayeva countered: “There is no gay ‘propaganda’ in Kazakhstan, but there is homophobia. The LGBT community is not an invention of the West, [gays] are much more traditional than ‘traditional’ heterosexuals. LGBT people have always been there since the ancient times – Ancient Rome, Greece, it is only that the attitude towards them was different.”
The mayor of capital city Astana claimed the media are “brainwashing” children.
Richard Branson failed to deliver on $3bn climate change pledge
by Suzanne Goldenberg
Saturday, 13 September 2014
Richard Branson, left, with former US vice-president Al Gore, in London, UK. Photograph: Kieran Doherty/Reuters
Richard Branson has failed to deliver on his much-vaunted pledge to spend $3bn (£1.8bn) over a decade to develop a low carbon fuel.
Seven years into the pledge, Branson has paid out only a small fraction of the promised money – “well under $300m” – according to a new book by the writer and activist, Naomi Klein.
The British entrepreneur famously promised to divert a share of the profits from his Virgin airlines empire to find a cleaner fuel, after a 2006 private meeting with Al Gore. Branson went on to found a $25m Earth prize for a technology that could safely suck 1bn tons of carbon a year from the atmosphere. In 2009, he set up the Carbon War Room, an NGO which works on business solutions for climate change.
But by Klein’s estimate, Branson’s “firm commitment” of $3bn failed to materialise. “So the sceptics might be right: Branson’s various climate adventures may indeed prove to have all been a spectacle, a Virgin production, with everyone’s favourite bearded billionaire playing the part of planetary saviour to build his brand, land on late night TV, fend off regulators, and feel good about doing bad,” Klein writes in This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs The Climate. Klein uses Branson and other so-called green billionaires – such as the former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg – as case studies for her argument that it is unrealistic to rely on business to find solutions to climate change.
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