New campaign pushes for increased visibility and support for the HIV+ community in Moldova
  • As HIV+ individuals suffer high levels of discrimination and alienation in the Eastern European country, the Initiativa Pozitiva is showcasing afflicted individuals to banish invisibility and build empathy
  • Participants hope the campaign will increase community and prevention awareness, helping to stem the tide of the disease.
  • One couple share their stories and work with the communities vulnerable to the disease.

“We are trying to show that we are normal people.  We don’t grow horns, we don’t have fangs: we are ordinary, normal people.  Sometime in 2003 we decided we would not give any more interviews with the camera showing the backs of our heads or with pixelated faces because there is already too much stigma and discrimination, and this stigma and discrimination creates the perfect environment for the further spread of the epidemic.”

Watch the full story at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Thousands rally in Charleston in show of solidarity following last week’s mass murder at the Emanuel AME Church
  • While organizers expected 3,000 to participate in the Bridge to Peace unity chain, police estimate around 10,000 attended the demonstration.
  • Local public servants helped organize the event, which took place across the iconic Ravenel Bridge connecting Charleston and Mount Pleasant.
  • The event followed the reopening of the church for Sunday services.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.

(Image Credit: Mladen Antonov/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed)

Google VP has high praise for Russian engineers, while domestic Russian firms lament lack of resources
  • Mohammad Gawdat, Google’s VP of Business Innovation at Google X, calls Russians Google’s best engineers at economic forum in St. Petersburg.
  • According to Gawdat, Russians account for 25% of Google’s engineers.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, however, says that domestic companies are suffering as tech profits and talent head overseas.

Read the full story at Meduza.

Muslim Azerbaijani athletes receive waiver for Ramadan as they compete in the European Games
  • Azerbaijan, a predominantly Shia Muslim country, has 285 athletes competing in the Games, which the country is hosting.
  • Local clerics issued a fatwa excusing athletes from the period of abstention from food, drink, and sex during daylight hours.
  • The Games have brought unwanted negative attention to Azerbaijan, where political dissidents have faced aggressive crackdowns and rights violations.

“To make sure that the valiant Islamic sportsman is stronger than his competitor in the month of Ramadan, he cannot observe oruj [fast]. … To defeat a competitor on a sports field, to defend the honor of your country and raise the flag of your homeland is important and pleases God.”

Read the full story at EurasiaNet.

Brazil’s legislators eye controversial measure to lower the age of criminal majority from 18 to 16
  • The National Congress will vote this month on the legal status change as the country faces sky-high homicide rates, particularly in the state of Ceara, which sees 76.8 per 100,000 people murdered.
  • In Ceara (whose capital, Fortaleza, has been named the eighth most violent city in the world), adolescents commit 31% of violent crimes.
  • Under current law, Brazilian minors face a maximum three-year detention at “educational centers” for rehabilitation, which President Dilma Rousseff’s government would like to increase to 10 years rather than lower the age of majority.

“The solution is not to send them to adult prison. … This will give them a certificate in crime.”

More on this Washington Post story at the Guardian.

(Image Credit: Aurora Photos/Alamy, via the Guardian)

Mexico drops burdensome requirements for children coming from abroad attempting to enroll in schools
  • The Education Department announced that migrant students will no longer have to provide government-certified, translated transcripts from their original schools in order to enroll officially.
  • Previously, families faced costs that climbed into the hundreds of dollars in order to obtain apostilles and government-approved translations.
  • According to one NGO, there are an estimated 307,000 foreign-born students studying in Mexican schools, with the population of Mexico-born returning migrant children potentially as large or larger.

“Our task is to guarantee equal access to educational services … for migrants, who are an extremely vulnerable sector of the population. … Our goal is to make sure that access, retention and promotion in the educational system is based only on children’s academic performance.”

Read the full story at Fox News Latino.

(Image Credit: Getty Images, via Fox News)

Venezuelan students join jailed opposition leader in partial hunger strike
  • Leopoldo Lopez’s protest against the detention of opposition activists and for the announcement of a date for parliamentary elections began four weeks ago.
  • Students and other activists have begun their hunger strikes in public places to call attention to the increasing dismantlement of civil liberties and the worsening economic situation under President Nicolas Maduro.
  • The protests follow last year’s much larger demonstrations involving thousands of youth in public sit-ins.

“We want Venezuelans to understand there are young people ready to give their lives for liberty, democracy and sovereignty.”

Read the full story at Reuters.

(Image Credit: Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters)

Conflict has displaced 6 million Colombians, second-highest number in the world
  • Colombia’s half-decade of conflict has created ongoing waves of displacement, including 137,000 in 2014, according to the U.N.
  • Beyond the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), new guerilla groups and gangs have sprung up, deterring peace and security.
  • The top recipients of refugees in the Americas are the U.S., Venezuela, and Ecuador.

“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement, as well as the response required, is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before. … It is terrifying that on the one hand there is more and more impunity for those starting conflicts, and on the other there is seeming utter inability of the international community to work together to stop wars and build and preserve peace.”

Read the full story at the Miami Herald.
(Image Credit: AP, via the Miami Herald)
Mexico surpasses U.S. in number of Central Americans deported
  • Mexico detained 92,889 Central Americans versus the U.S.’s 70,226 “other than Mexican” migrants between October 2014 and April 2015, a dramatic change from the previous year.
  • Mexico’s new Southern Border Program has boosted federal police presence at its southern border and expedited the deportation process, leaving migrants in detention only long enough to have their nationality verified.
  • Human rights monitors are concerned by detention and processing methods, effect on smuggling, and lack of transparency about the U.S.’s involvement.

“What we have heard continuously in the past year is that migrants are being so rapidly deported that even some that might have wanted to request some type of protection, or who would have been eligible for some type of humanitarian visa because they had been victims of crime in Mexico, haven’t had that opportunity.”

Read the full Associated Press story at U.S. News & World Report.

(Image Credit: via U.S. News & World Report)

Inaugural International Yoga Day draws millions around the world to celebrate the ancient spiritual practice
  • In India, PM Narendra Modi joined 37,000 in Rajpath in New Delhi for 1.5 hours of asanas.
  • An estimated 200 million from 192 countries took part in events around the world that followed the rising of the sun, including politicians, military units, and other public workers.
  • Despite some pushback from Muslim leaders in the country and the ongoing holy month of Ramadan, India’s events saw many Muslims joining in the festivities.

“It marks a new era of training of human mind for peace and harmony.”

Read the full story at the Times of India.