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Daynet

Chile Investigating 158 in Catholic Church Over Sex Abuse

Last month, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of five Chilean bishops amid accusations of abuse and related cover-ups.

Chile is now investigating 158 members of the country's embattled Catholic Church — both clergymen and lay people — for perpetrating or concealing the sexual abuse of children and adults, prosecutors said on Monday.

The cases relate to incidents dating back as far as 1960 and involving 266 victims, including 178 children and adolescents, according to public prosecutor Luis Torres.

The prosecutor's statement offered the first general view of the extent and scope of the abuse scandal faced by Chile's Catholic Church — and how many people are implicated.

"The vast majority of reported incidents relate to sexual crimes committed by priests or people linked to educational establishments," Torres told reporters.

The entire strata of the Catholic Church — from bishops to monks — were involved in the crimes, as well as "lay people exercising some function in the ecclesiastical sphere," he noted.

There are 36 ongoing investigations, while 23 previous ones resulted in convictions and one other in an acquittal.

"There's no doubt that what the public prosecutor is doing is very positive and is starting to open the door to situations that previously were treated as an open secret," Juan Carlos Claret, a member of a campaign group that opposed the presence of tainted bishop Juan Barros in his area, told AFP.

Barros is accused of covering for a pedophile priest and Francis was forced to apologize earlier this year for having hugged and defended the bishop on a visit to Chile in January.

Francis had named Barros to head the Osorno diocese, where Claret lives, in 2015 despite accusations by sex abuse victims that the prelate covered up the actions of disgraced pedophile priest Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and 1990s.

According to Claret, the Chilean Episcopal Conference already knew in 2007 about 120 priests involved in sexual abuse. He says that means there must be more people involved than the number revealed by prosecutors on Monday.

"Some information is still being held back," added Claret, a leading voice in denouncing the clerical abuse of children in the country that led Francis to overhaul Chile's Catholic Church.

Karadima has been suspended for life by the Vatican but never faced prosecution in Chile because the statute of limitations had elapsed by the time a case was opened in 2010.

Earlier that year, he had been found guilty of sexually abusing children by the Vatican, which sentenced him to a life of prayer and ordered him to pay compensation.

In May, the entire Chilean hierarchy of bishops tendered their resignations over the abuse scandal rocking the Church.

Since 2000, about 80 Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse.

Ten days ago, prominent priest Oscar Munoz was arrested over allegations of sexual abuse and rape of at least seven children.

Francis has repeatedly apologized to parishioners over the scandal, admitting the Church failed "to listen and react" to allegations spanning decades, but vowed to "restore justice."

  • Published in World

250 Bartenders Will Attend 22th Pan-Am Cocktail Tournament in Cuba

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Cuban Bartenders (ACC), Lizbeth Elias Muñoz, stated today that about 250 professionals have confirmed their attendance at the 22nd Pan-American Cocktail Competition IBA 2018 in Havana.

An official statement from the ACC said today that the event will be held on August 25-31 at the Tryp Habana Libre Hotel, to which representatives from Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Cuba, among other nations, will participate.

The executive said that the president of the International Bartenders Association (IBA), Pepi Dioni, and the vice president of this entity for South America, Adrian Juarez, will also attend.

IBA Vice President for America, Derrick Lee, and Treasurer Jose Ancona, are also on the list.

The competition will be sponsored by Havana Club International S.A., Cuba Ron, MG Company, Finest Call (Puerto Rico), Campari, and Angostura, among others.

Delegates of these companies will give master classes to the participants, Muñoz said.

Vladimir Marquez and Adrian Ravelo (Havana), and Yunier Fernandez (Varadero) in classic style, and Robert Acuña (Camagüey) and Oliek Cintado in Cienaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp) in Matanzas in flair style, will participate on the Cuban side.

 

  • Published in Culture

Swedish Law Redefines Rape as 'Sex Without Consent'

A new law redefining sexual relations without consent as rape comes into effect in Sweden on Sunday, after the country was rocked by the #MeToo movement denouncing sexual harassment and assault.

Backed by the ruling Social Democrat-Green coalition, the law stipulates that a person has committed rape if they have been part of a sexual act in which the other person has not participated "freely." It is further detailed that consent has to be expressed with "clear words or actions."

Rape had previously been defined as a sexual act carried out with the use of violence or threat.

Now for someone to face rape charges, "it is no longer necessary that violence or threats were applied or that the aggressor took advantage of the victim's particularly vulnerable situation," according to the government.

Courts will need to pay special attention to whether consent was expressed with words, gestures or in any other manner, and judges will have to rule on the issue, according to the law passed in May.

Judge Anna Hannell, who helped create the law, said there was "absolutely no requirement to formally say 'Yes', to hit a button in an app or anything else of the same type. Simply participating physically is a sign of consent," she told Swedish news agency TT.

"#MeToo showed, with force, that a lot still needs to be done to fight sexual harassment and sexual violence at work and in the rest of society," Gender Equality Minister Lena Hallengren said in a statement Sunday. She added that the government will allocate US$13.5 million to combat sexual abuse.

The #MeToo campaign, which began with the series of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, has shaken up nearly every sector in Sweden.

More than 10,000 women in Sweden — including actresses, journalists, lawyers, musicians, doctors and construction workers — have spoken up and campaigned against harassment.

"#MeToo is changing behaviors and people now understand the extent to which sexual violence is widespread," Ida Ostensson of the Make Equal foundation, a key campaigner for the new law, said. "We finally have legislation that protects physical and sexual integrity."

Before the #MeToo campaign, women's rights groups in Sweden had already been fighting for an update to the definition of rape that would, not just be based on violence, but also the lack of consent, so victims could file their complaints more easily.

In May, the Swedish Academy announced there would be no Nobel Literature Prize, this year, following a major sexual assault scandal.

The announcement came after Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, in November, published the testimonies of some 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, an influential cultural figure with long-standing ties to the Academy, who has since been charged with two counts of rape.

The scandal caused deep discord among the institution's 18 members, prompting six to resign.

"It's important that society clearly states what is OK and what isn't," Erik Moberg, a Swede in his thirties, told AFP. "It makes you think about your own behavior and that of others."

  • Published in World

More Than 40,000 Women Candidates in Mexican Elections

More than 40,000 women appear today as candidates for the July 1 elections in Mexico, and they did not escape from the violence which accompanied the electoral process.

A political-electoral reform in 2015 led to gender parity in the nominations of political parties, but it is in these elections that it is applied more rigorously.

Therefore, for the first time, 40,162 women will be candidates for different federal and state positions, which announces that women could have a greater political and state presence.

Only one woman currently holds the position of governor, out of 32; in the Chamber of Representatives that was dismissed, they reached 42 percent and 25 percent in the Senate.

In the country's 2,68 municipalities, there are barely 339 women mayors, and in the state of Campeche all the municipalities are taken over by men.

Mexican women politicians are also the target of organized crime groups, who are credited with the majority of the 133 murders that marked the election campaign.

17 women candidates have been executed since September, and the Simone de Beauvior Leadership Institute (ILSB) has recorded 49 cases of gender-based political violence.

However, the Special Prosecutor's Office for Electoral Offences (FEPADE) has dealt with barely less than a dozen investigation files in this regard.

From 2012 to August 2017, Fepade recorded 187 cases of political aggression against women.

  • Published in World
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