The new head of the Police Federation John Apter, who represents 120,000 rank and file officers across England and Wales, has said his members were incredibly frustrated because they have been assigned to sorting out social media spats rather
than tackling more serious crimes like burglary.
The new head explained that while resourcing remained the main issue facing policing, there was also a lack of common sense when it came to priorities.
Last week it emerged that Yorkshire Police had asked people to report insults on social media, even if they were not considered to be a hate crime. Other forces have been criticised recently for using computer programmes rather than experienced
officers to decide whether a burglary is worth investigating. Such initiatives have led to criticism of the police and the observation that the service is out of touch with the public.
But Apter said nobody was more frustrated than police officers when they were prevented from attending burglaries and other serious crimes. Burglary is one of the most intrusive, horrible crimes that a householder can go through. It makes you
feel incredibly vulnerable, but people can sometimes wait days for a police response, Apter said.
Zere Asylbek has been the recipient of several death threats over her attire in the music video for her song Kyz (Girl), which was written to generate public debate on gender inequality and women's rights in Kyrgyzstan. In the video
Asylbek is seen wearing a jacket and bra.
Freemuse calls for Kyrgyz authorities to ensure the safety of Asylbek and launch a criminal investigation into the threats. Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said:
It is Zere's right to use art to express herself and the issues she sees as critical for women without fear of being persecuted, threatened or harmed in any way. The government of Kyrgyzstan must protect freedom of artistic expression and ensure
that she is safe and can continue to have this important public conversation in her own country.
In a 19 September interview with Asylbek, the singer told Freemuse that there was a recent, famous case in Kyrgyzstan in which a girl, named Burulai, who was bride kidnapped--an ancient tradition where girls are kidnapped and forced into
marriage--died under police custody. The girl was left alone in a police station with the kidnapper who subsequently killed her. She explained that cases such as this and the general situation for women in the country is what inspired her to
write and perform her song.
Asylbek shared on her Facebook page some of the threats she's received as private messages via social media. One message she received on Instagram reads: If you don't remove the video and don't apologise to the Kyrgyz people, we will kill you
soon. This will be the first and last time. Another private message reads: I will gladly join and cut your head off.
Philosophers out seeking the truth on the Durham campus
A student editor at Durham university has been fired in a transphobia row after he tweeted that women don't have penises.
Angelos Sofocleous, assistant editor at Durham University's philosophy journal Critique , was sacked from his post for writing a tweet deemed claimed to be transphobic by fellow students.
Sofocleous faced disciplinary action last month after he re-tweeted an article by The Spectator on his Twitter titled Is it a crime to say women don't have penises?, with the comment: RT if women don't have penises.
The postgraduate philosophy and psychology student was dismissed from his position at the university after the tweet sparked 'outrage'. He was also fired from his position as editor of Durham University's online magazine The Bubble , and
ironically forced to resign as president of free speech society Humanist Students.
Sofocleous bravely stood by his comments, he wrote:
I may be wrong and women might indeed have penises, although I don't believe that to be the case. But the backlash that took place after my comments, particularly within the organisation, convinced me that, unfortunately and surprisingly, there
are certain issues within the humanist movement which are undebatable.
No effort was made, beyond name-calling, derogatory comments, and ad hominem statements, to convince me of the truth of the other side's position.
Manmarziyaan is a 2018 India romance by Anurag Kashyap.
Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Tapsee Pannu.
The film is a love story set in Punjab where Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky Kaushal will be seen in prominent roles.
The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DGMC) is staging a protest on Sunday against this week's movie release, Manmarziyaan (Husband Material) , demanding a nationwide ban on the film.
The committee claims that the filml has a few anti-Sikh scenes which have the potential to hurt the sentiments of the community.
DSGMC president Manjeet Singh GK said:
I believe that this movie should not be screened till makers remove the objectionable scenes from the movie.
Since ages we have been demanding that the censor board should recruit a representative of the Sikh community in their team but they haven't.
We will not tolerate this at any cost and will strongly protest against this movie.
The Delhi police have stepped up the security outside the movie theatre to prevent violence.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, Manmarziyan, has not been cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors for release in Pakistan. According to CBFC Chairman Danyal Gilani, all board members found the content inappropriate and agreed that the film violated
its censorship code.
However, the film was given an adults only 'A' Certificate by the Censor Boards of Sindh and Punjab.
Manmarziyan released in India, USA and Australia on September 14, after a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8.
Update: The producers decide to cut the film for national reease
Israel's public broadcaster has apologised to listeners after playing part of an opera by German composer Richard Wagner on 31 August 2018.
Classical music radio station Kol HaMusica (the Voice of Music) said its editor erred in choosing to play the final act of Wagner's Goetterdaemmerung (Twilight of the Gods) opera, which goes against the broadcaster's long-standing
directive not to play any music by the controversial 19-century figure, who was Adolf Hitler's favourite composer.
Wagner's music has been unofficially banned in what is now Israel since 1938. In addition to composing music, Wagner also wrote a pamphlet called Judaism in Music, in which he said that the Jew was incapable of artistic expression.
The National Secular Society has criticised a Brent Council in north London for removing an advert featuring a hindu temple. The council took down a poster, which advertised the area as the London Borough of Culture 2020, after complaints from
the Hindu Council UK.
Dipa Das, a councillor in neighbouring Tower Hamlets who is also a representative member of the Hindu Council, complained about the poster on Twitter. Das tweeted to Brent Council's customer services team:
Absolutely disgraceful way of promoting that you are a borough of culture, image of any place of worship on the toilet is totally unacceptable, I urge the council to take immediate action and remove the temple picture from the toilet.
In response the council's team apologised and removed the posters:
We apologise sincerely for this error as we recognise at the locations of some of the JCDecaux advertising sites were not appropriate given the content of this campaign, no offence was intended.
NSS spokesperson Chris Sloggett said the decision was a pathetic surrender to demands for a blasphemy code and a waste of council resources:
Brent Council has given in to an unreasonable religious demand. It has taken the easy way out but in the process it's placed an unreasonable restriction on the freedom to advertise. And it's weakened its own ability, and the ability of other
councils, to stand up for free expression.
Upholding blasphemy codes doesn't create social harmony. It weakens it by encouraging religious groups of all stripes, and others, to insist that their hurt feelings also be recognised. It also wastes public resources.
Councils, the state and wider society need to get much better at telling religious groups to accept the fact that sometimes in a free society they will be offended.
The National Secular Society has called for Spain to abolish its blasphemy laws following the detainment of an actor accused of offending religious sentiment.
Willy Toledo, a cinema and television actor, was detained under a Madrid court order after he ignored summons for questioning, arguing he had not committed any offence and so there is no need to appear before a judge.
Toledo was summoned twice over a Facebook post he wrote in July 2017, in which he defended three women who were
prosecuted under blasphemy laws because they simulated a religious procession with a giant plastic vagina as part of a feminist protest. In his post Toledo said:
I shit on God, and I have enough shit left over to shit on the dogma of the sanctity and virginity of the Virgin Mary. This country is unbearably shameful.
In response, the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers filed a complaint against Toledo for shitting on the dogma, and because his words were an offense against religious sentiment.
Following his release form the court Toledo told reporters:
I am doing what I have to do, which is to draw attention to this, because it is shameful that there are still five articles in the criminal code related to religious sentiments.
Dozens of Spanish citizens applauded and shouted Me cago en Dios (I shit on God) as he left the courthouse. Some Twitter users have started using the hashtag #MeCagoEnDios to express their support. Oscar-winner Javier Bardem has also spoken out
in defence of Toledo.
Stephen Evans, Executive Director at the National Secular Society, joined in the criticism of Spain's blasphemy laws saying:
The existence of a law that outlaws offending or derision of religious feelings, dogmas, beliefs or rituals shames Spain. Blasphemy laws are an affront to free expression and should be consigned to history. Let's hope the arrest of Willy Toledo
precipitates the demise of Spain's arbitrary restrictions on speech.
Note that the expression shit on God (cagarse en Dios) is commonplace in everyday Spanish discourse.
Article 525 of the Spanish Penal Code forbids the defamation of any individual's or group's religious sentiments, beliefs, or practices, setting out monetary fines for those who offend religious people. The law tends to be used to defend Catholic
Perennial hindu whinger Rajan Zed has recommended another beer referencing the religious character of Kali.
A Chilean craft brewery Cerveza Bundor's Kali IPA, has caught the attention of Zed for its reimagined image of Hindu goddess Kali.
Zed said in a statement that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Zed said that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be
worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.
Kali is an American IPA (India Pale Ale) and is described as having a tropical fruit character.