Thursday, August 2, 2012

U.N. Commission Calls for Legalizing Prostitution Worldwide

U.N. Commission Calls for Legalizing Prostitution Worldwide

Global Commission on HIV and the Law
( - A report issued by the United Nations-backed Global Commission on HIV and the Law; recommends that nations around the world get rid of “punitive” laws against prostitution – or what it calls “consensual sex work” -- and decriminalize the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs in order to combat the HIV epidemic. The commission, which is made up of 15 former heads of state, legal scholars and HIV/AIDS activists, was convened in 2010 by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and is jointly backed by the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS – the Joint U.N. Programme on AIDS/HIV.
The commission recommends repealing all laws that prohibit “adult consensual sex work,” as well as clearly distinguishing in law and practice between sexual trafficking and prostitution.
The report--“HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health”--cites a recommendation by the International Labour Organization, which recommends that “sex work” should be recognized as an occupation in order to be regulated “in a way that protects workers and customers.”
Specifically, the commission wants to:
-- “Decriminalise private and consensual adult sexual behaviours, including same-sex sexual acts and voluntary sex work.”
-- “Reform approaches towards drug use. Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to elective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programmes and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence.”
-- “Work with the guardians of customary and religious law to promote traditions and religious practice that promote rights and acceptance of diversity and that protect privacy.”
The commission calls laws against prostitution “bad laws,” and said criminalizing injecting drug use and prostitution stands in the way of “effective HIV responses.”
“Laws that criminalize and dehumanize populations at the highest risk of HIV--including men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and injecting drug users--drive people underground, away from essential health services and heighten their risk of HIV,” the commission said in a July 9 press release announcing the report.
The commission says 116 countries and territories have punitive laws against sex work and 80 countries or territories have some legal protections for sex workers.
According to the report: “Some governments deploy anti-human trafficking laws so broadly that they conflate voluntary and consensual exchanges of sex for money with the exploitative, coerced, often violent trafficking of people (primarily women and girls) for the purposes of sex.”
The report quotes Secretary-General Ban, who stated his support in 2009 for removing all laws which criminalize “sex workers” – or prostitutes.
“I urge all countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices that hamper the AIDS response,” Ban said. “Successful AIDS responses do not punish people: they protect them. We must ensure that AIDS responses are based on evidence, not ideology, and reach those most in need and most affected.”


DARPA, NIH to fund 'human body-on-a-chip' research

Researchers in the Department of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology will receive up to $32 million over the next five years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a technology platform that will mimic human physiological systems in the laboratory, using an array of integrated, interchangeable engineered human tissue constructs.
A cooperative agreement between MIT and DARPA worth up to $26.3 million will be used to establish a new program titled "Barrier-Immune-Organ: MIcrophysiology, Microenvironment Engineered TIssue Construct Systems" (BIO-MIMETICS) at MIT, in collaboration with researchers at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, MatTek Corp., and Zyoxel Ltd. The BIO-MIMETICS proposal was one of two award winners selected as part of the Microphysiological Systems (MPS) program at DARPA, and will be led by MIT professor Linda Griffith in collaboration with MIT professors Steven Tannenbaum, Darrell Irvine, Paula Hammond, Eric Alm, and Douglas Lauffenburger. Jeffrey Borenstein and Shankar Sundaram will lead the work at Draper Laboratory, Patrick Hayden will lead the work at MatTek,, and David Hughes will lead the work at Zyoxel.


20 Advanced Military Projects That Will Integrate Humans With Synthetic Life, Nanobots And Tracking Chips To Change Mankind Forever

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) gets a ton of funding to develop the science and technological future of the military.
This is the agency responsible for GPS, the internet and stealth planes. They're the real deal.
We looked at their active projects to find the ones that might have massive civilian implications if they eventually produce real-world tech.
Last round, we focused on the Defense Science Office and their Information Innovation Office. This time, we're looking at DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office, which is researching the next age of computing technology.

Laser guns, nanobots, & more!

Jewish Home MK calls for a Third Temple in Jerusalem

MK Zevulun Orlev of the Jewish Home party has called for massive reforms, including new Basic Laws, in order to establish a Third Temple in Jerusalem.
In an article (PDF) published in advance of the fast of Tisha B’Av in the weekly Hebrew journal Olam Katan, entitled “Internal and Legislative Reform,” Orlev wrote that the Temple must be rebuilt in Jerusalem and that “fundamental changes” to Israeli society and government were necessary in order to realize the success of the project.
Besides spiritual reform and the creation of a cadre of religious experts capable of running the Temple, Orlev argued that the government — “assuming the government will choose to be democratic” — must turn back dissent surrounding the project.

Missionary Baptist Ministers Demand Apology From DC Mayor for Chick-fil-A Insult

The Missionary Baptist Ministers' Conference of Washington, D.C. and Vicinity wants Mayor Vincent Gray to apologize for insulting Chick-fil-A and those who support traditional marriage.

"Mayor Gray has not only insulted the CEO of Chick-fil-A, but he has embarrassed many residents of the District of Columbia by issuing such a ridiculous and juvenile tweet, '#hatechicken,'" said the Rev. Patrick J. Walker, president of the ministers group, in a statement Wednesday. "It is simply inappropriate for an elected official who represents all citizens of the District of Columbia."
Gray expressed his opposition to the fast-food chain last month via Twitter, stating, "Given my longstanding strong support for LGBT rights & marriage equality, I would not support #hatechicken."
The tweet came after elected officials in other cities such as Boston and Chicago threatened to block the restaurant from opening in their cities because it "discriminates" against the LGBT community.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy sparked national debate last month when he said he believes in the biblical family unit and that same-sex marriage was bringing God's judgment on the nation.
Gray acknowledged in another tweet that he cannot legally bar the restaurant from Washington, D.C., but he said, "I oppose their support of antigay groups."

Thousands of Evangelicals to Gather for 'Charlotte714' Before Democratic Convention

A major evangelical Christian gathering is set to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina on the day before the Democratic National Convention.

Titled "Charlotte714," the gathering has the backing of more than 40 different churches and will take place at the 20,000-seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
David Benham, the chief organizer of "Charlotte714," told The Christian Post that the purpose of the gathering was to ask God for forgiveness for national sins.
"What we are doing here in Charlotte is we are calling together the Body of Christ to come together as a church in our city…to repent," said Benham.
"A lot of things going on in the nation right now and it's the role of the church to remember who we are and the bedrock of the church is Jesus Christ."
For those taking part, "Charlotte714" will be preceded by a forty day fast. According to Benham, the fast involves participants giving up something for the time until the day of the event.

Why Young Women are Now Being Drawn to Pornography

(Thanks to Jessica Harris for this interview. See more clips from the new documentary-in-progress, Shamed.)
Dr. William Struthers explains that the female brain, unlike the male brain, is wired to understand sexual arousal first as “contextual” and then as “sensory.” What this means is when a young woman looks at porn, their brain learns what it means to be wanted by a man. When women see porn, any attraction to it initially is to think, “This is what guys want, so this is what I should become.” For women, their initial curiosity about porn is usually to imagine themselves as the wanted party. Only after this do women become visually aroused by pornography images themselves.
Why is this? Dr. Struthers explains that when men or women watch porn, the portion of the brain called the amygdala is activated. The amygdala is the negative emotional center of the brain, the part of the brain that is activated when a person becomes aroused and excited, stressed out, or anxious. When men or women view porn, they experience a combination of stress and anxiety. For men, the natural way to interpret this anxiety is sexual tension that needs to be released. But for women, this is not their natural reaction to porn.
However, a shift is taking place today as more and more women are exposed to pornography at younger ages. Dr. Struthers says research indicates women over the age of 35 are much less likely to develop habitual, compulsive, impulsive, or addictive pornography viewing habits when compared to women under the age of 35. The reason is because the younger a woman is, her brain is more able to be trained and taught to interpret the anxiety she feels as sexual tension, and so women “are becoming increasingly more likely to view pornography and to develop maladaptive or compulsive patterns of viewing and sexually acting out as well,” Struthers says.
In a recent survey of the online community of Dirty Girls Ministries (an online support system for women who struggle with lustful behaviors), 95% of the girls surveyed said they started habitually and compulsively watching pornography or engaging in cybersex before the age of 30.
You started habitually and compulsively
watching pornography or engaging in cybersex when you were…

Mike Huckabee Responds to Gay Rights Supporters' Chick-fil-A 'Kiss-in'

National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A wasn't planned as a rebuttal to former Gov. Mike Huckabee's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, but many will see it that way.
People across the country lined up at their local Chick-fil-A restaurants Wednesday to show their support of the Atlanta-based restaurant.
Huckabee declared Aug. 1 as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” after the company's Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy came under fire for comments he made in which he affirmed his view that the biblical definition of marriage should be upheld.
But Wednesday is just the first of two key dates for the chicken chain. The second, organized by gay rights supporters in response to Cathy's comments, will happen on Friday.
Organizers of National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A say on their Facebook page that the event was set up before Huckabee announced his plans for Wednesday, and was not created as a response to his appreciation day.
Huckabee said Thursday morning he does not have a problem with the protest.
“That's America,” he said on Fox News. “As long as they're orderly. As long as they don't disrupt the flow of customers and traffic.”


‘This is World War III’: Saudi Cleric Says Equality for Women ‘Sends Shivers Down Your Spine’

‘Very Spiritual’: 90,000+ Jews Take Part in Reading of the Talmud at MetLife Stadium in NJ

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (TheBlaze/AP) — In a sports stadium transformed into what was called the world’s largest synagogue, tens of thousands of people celebrated the completion of the reading of the Talmud, the book of Jewish laws and traditions.
The program at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday night combined a festive atmosphere of singing and dancing with the more serious pursuits of prayer and reflection; it was dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.
“Tonight is a night of inspiration and opportunity,” Rabbi Elly Kleimnan told the gathering.
Rabbis from around the world addressed the audience during the five-hour program, and speeches and prayers in Hebrew and English were streamed by audio and video throughout the stadium’s concourses.
The celebration, called Siyum HaShas, marks the completion of the Daf Yomi, or daily reading and study of one page of the 2,711-page book. The cycle takes about seven and a half years to finish.
Organizers marked the start of the 13th cycle of study and reading. The event was organized by Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization. It started celebrating the cycle of study in Europe in 1923.


Here Are 5 Christian Companies That Join Chick-fil-A in Publicly-Proclaiming Their Bible-Based Views

Chick-fil-A isn’t the only company willing to share its Christian faith with the world. While attaching a specific religious view to a product or service holds the potential to turn a portion of consumers off, some business leaders and companies stick to their values and intentionally include them in their packaging and messaging. Some of these brands include: Forever 21, Interstate Battery, Tyson Foods, In-N-Out Burger and Hobby Lobby.


Chick-fil-A 'Set a World Record'

Pastor Rick Warren reported last night on Twitter that fast food chain Chick-fil-A "set a world record" yesterday. His claim is based off a phone call he had with Dan Cathy, the COO of Chick-fil-A who ignited a culture war when he expressed his preference for traditional marriage.


LOOK OUT "LEFT Liberals" ACLU Defends Chick-fil-A

Following his comments, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said they plan to protest by banning Chick-fil-A restaurants in their cities.
Menino has since backed off the idea, but the ACLU warned other government leaders not to join in the type of threats the mayors made.
"The government can regulate discrimination in employment or against customers, but what the government cannot do is to punish someone for their words," said Adam Schwartz, senior attorney for the ACLU of Illinois.
He added that the ACLU "strongly supports" same-sex marriage, but explained that "if a government can exclude a business for being against same-sex marriage, it can also exclude a business for being in support of same-sex marriage."