Vladimir Putin tells gay people to “leave children alone”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that gay people will not be harassed or discriminated against during the upcoming Winter Olympics, provided that they “leave children alone”. In comments reported by Russian media agencies, Putin said: “We do not have a ban on non-traditional sexual relationships. We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia. I want to underline this. Propaganda among children. These are absolutely different things – a ban on something or a ban on the propaganda of the thing.”
Putin then went on to say: “You can feel relaxed and calm [in Russia], but leave children alone, please.”
Russia’s anti-gay laws, which criminalise displays of same-sex affection in public places – especially those frequented by children, have been the subject of hot debate in the lead up to 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, in the country’s south.
Indonesia bolsters maritime defences in response to Abbott’s turnbacks policy
Indonesia has announced that it will sent a frigate to reinforce its souther defences following a series of Australian territorial breaches as the result of the Abbott Government’s asylum seeker turnbacks policy. Indonesia has also demanded an immediate halt to the police. According to Fairfax Media, Australia has breached Indonesia’s territorial boundaries on five occasions since early December.
One dead as bushfires continue to burn in Victoria’s west
Townships in Victoria’s west remain under threat as the 51,000 hectare Grampians fire continues to burn. Police believe that the death of a woman in Roses Gap was caused by the blaze yesterday. According to The Age, over 7,500 livestock have perished in the fire, although the full damage will not be known until later this afternoon.
Third Sydneysider killed fighting in Syria
A third Sydney man has died after being allegedly sent by a fellow Sydneysider to fight for rebel forces in Syria. It is alleged that 39-year-old pensioner, Hamdi Alqudsi organised for 22-year-old Caner Ternel, along with five other young, men to travel to Syria and fight against the Free Syrian Army.
Alquidsi was charged in December with organising and funding the men to fight with al-Qaeda affiliate forces. He was released on bail following community fundraising efforts.
Obama announces plan to end government storage of phone call data
US President Barack Obama has announced reforms to the country’s National Security Agency. In a speech on Friday, Obama said that the current system, whereby the US Government holds databases of every call ever made within the country, has a “potential for abuse”.
Despite the concession, the Obama Administration is still firmly in support of the bulk collection of phone data. The President failed to provide details of who would take over the role of storing this information, giving the intelligence 60 days to come up with potential options.
Four-year-old girl shoots her cousin dead
A four-year-old girl has shot her cousin, also four years old, dead as the pair played with a gun in Detroit. The incident occurred after the pair were playing a rifle that they found under a bed. Their grandfather was elsewhere in the house at the time.
Baby born with same birthday as all THREE of his siblings
An English couple had better start a birthday party roster, after all four of their children were born on January 12th. According to The Daily Mail, Emily Scrugham and Peter Dunn were astounded when their fourth child was also born on the same day, beating the odds of 133,255 to one.