Nepal News | LGBTQ

Nepal’s LGBT community faces unique challenges atop already precarious social conditions after earthquakes
  • The Blue Diamond Society has been a leading organization for the support of Nepal’s sexual and gender minority community, and their tents have provided a place of refuge for individuals alienated from families and communities in the aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquakes.
  • Some in the community face challenging situations during the rebuilding period, such as lack of health services and facilities for third-gender-identifying individuals.
  • The Red Cross has designated staff devoted to providing support to society’s most vulnerable, and it has worked closely with the Blue Diamond Society to provide services and raise awareness about the community among volunteers.

“What Nepal is going through is beyond imagination. But we, the LGBTIQ people of Nepal, pledge with all Nepalese, that we will rebuild our lives, our families, our societies and our nation.”

Read the full story at Gay News Network.

(Image Credit: Paula Bronstein/Gay News Network)

U.S. News | Transgender

U.S. government orders companies insuring federal employees to include transition-related coverage for transgender individuals
  • The Office of Personnel Management issued the carrier letter ahead of the fall decision timeline it had initially outlined.
  • The office lifted the ban on transition-services coverage a year ago, but mandatory coverage was not yet required.
  • The expanded coverage will go in effect at the beginning of 2016.

“With today’s announcement, transgender federal employees can now access health care that is so fundamental to their well-being and, in the long-term, will make transgender employees happier and more productive workers.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.

Egypt News | Jewish Egyptian

The Jewish Quarter brings an uncharacteristically sympathetic portrayal of Jews to Egypt’s blockbuster Ramadan TV season
  • Directed by Mohamed el-Adl, the 30-episode series features an Egyptian Jewish protagonist who falls in love with a Muslim soldier in pre-Nasser midcentury Cairo.
  • The series has stirred controversy online, with some viewing the series as a capitulation to Israeli interests and others praising the respectful–if somewhat inaccurate–historical depiction of everyday life for Egyptian Jews.
  • Cairo’s Jewish population has dwindled drastically from the time in which the series is set to fewer than a dozen today.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: El-Adl Group, via the New York Times)

Canada News | Muslim Women

Quebec premier defends proposed legislation banning face-covering attire for certain civic employees and toughening consequences for hate speech
  • Premier Philippe Couillard indicated that the legislation under consideration by Quebec lawmakers would ban face coverings on public servants in roles requiring face-to-face engagement with the public.
  • The draft legislation is a narrower version of the previous government’s proposal to ban the wearing of religious symbols by all public servants.
  • The current draft of the hate speech law creates a Human Rights Tribunal, which would oversee investigations and punitive actions for individuals inciting violence against vulnerable groups.

“The role of the government is to draw a line in the sand. … This issue of face covering for me has very little to do with religion, and a lot to do about the image of women, the status of women in our society. Showing your face is the essence of communication.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press, via the New York Times)

China News | Uyghur Muslims

Attack on traffic stop amidst Ramadan tensions leaves at least 18 dead in southwest Xinjiang in China
  • In the Tahtakoruk district of Kashgar (Kashi), suspects attacked unarmed traffic police with a vehicle, knives, and explosives, leading to three officers’ deaths and injuring at least four others.
  • Armed backup arrived and reportedly killed 15 suspects, though the exact number of dead was unclear in the confusion of the aftermath.
  • The violent incident occurs as tensions have increased in Xinjiang between the government and the autonomous region’s Muslim Uyghur population over Ramadan, with government restrictions on participation in activities for the holy month having angered citizens.

Read the full story at Radio Free Asia.

Australia News | Nationals

Children of convicted terrorists in Australia could see their citizenship stripped under proposed law
  • Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has introduced a bill in parliament that would automatically remove Australian citizenship for those whose conduct is identified with terrorist activity, who travel abroad to fight with Australian enemies or terrorist organizations, or those convicted of terrorism by Australian courts.
  • Children could have their nationality removed as well if they are dual nationals unless there is a remaining Australian national parent who can care for them.
  • The immigration minister would retain the ability to reinstate citizenship without judicial oversight as a stopgap measure.

“The fact is, if you are a terrorist and you have left our country to fight with a terrorist movement that regards our way of life as in some way satanic, it is saying to us, submit or die, which hates our freedom, which hates our tolerance, which hates the welcome that we give to minorities, which hates everything about the way we live – frankly why should we consider you to be one of us?”

Read the full story at the Guardian.

(Image Credit: Mick Tsikas/AAP, via the Guardian)

Cambodia News | Advocates

Demonstrators protest proposed NGO law outside Cambodian parliament
  • Around 100 protesters rallied in solidarity against a draft law requiring NGOs to report their activities and finances to the government.
  • NGOs could face disbandment in the country if the government deems their activities “jeopardize peace, stability and public order or harm the national security, national unity, culture, and traditions of Cambodian society.”
  • Around 5,000 NGOs have registered in Cambodia since 1993, and human rights monitors worry the new legislation–currently awaiting parliamentary approval–would dissolve the strategic barrier between government and civil society and curtail the ability of organizations to defend rights and provide services.
“The draft… appears designed to restrict the legitimate activities of civil society and human rights defenders in violation of the right to freedom of association.”
Read the full AFP story at the Jakarta Post.