News Round-Up: October 30, 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse (image via Twitter)

Some news items you might have missed:

Journal-Sentinel: An Illinois judge on Friday denied Kyle Rittenhouse’s (above) request for release and ordered him extradited to Wisconsin, where he faces serious charges in Kenosha County for killing two people and wounding a third during unrest in Kenosha in August.

Reuters: The U.S. State Department has (finally) backed down from legal battles over the citizenship of gay couples’ children who were born to surrogates overseas. The cases involved a family whose daughter had been born to a surrogate in Canada and a family whose daughter was born to a surrogate in England. The gay couples had sued the State Department, claiming that their sexuality had led to the rejection of their children’s applications for passports.

Out Music: Ben Hazlewood’s “The Way You Do” is a loping, easy listen that reflects the deep emotional ties we share with those we love. Hazlewood wrote the song for his nan and expresses that “love isn’t limited to romance,” but also for those you care about deeply including family and friends.

Raised on artists like Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Stevie Nicks, and Janis Joplin, Hazlewood delivers powerful, plaintive vocals amid an emotional guitar-driven soundscape. I like. Follow Hazlewood on Instagram here.

Bloomberg News: Through Thursday, over 9 million Texans had cast ballots in early voting – that’s more than the 8.97 million votes cast in total in 2016, a record high at the time. Neither party knows who will benefit most from the surge, but it has put the reliably Republican state in play as a full-out battleground in the campaign’s final days.

Yahoo News: Joe Biden would hammer Donald Trump in the US presidential election if it were Europeans heading to the ballot box. Among 5 countries surveyed  — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain — the Germans were the most enthusiastic Biden supporters, with 66% saying they would back the Democrat if allowed to vote. Only 8% of Germans said they would vote for Trump. Trump’s best score was in Italy, where 15% would make their mark for the GOP candidate.

Twitter: On the campaign trail in Wisconsin tonight, Donald Trump perpetuated the myth that we somehow lost the ability to say ‘Merry Christmas’ at some point – and HE brought it back!?! Trump also told his sheep followers that there will be ‘no electricity’ if Joe Biden wins the presidency…?

European Leaders Consider New Lockdowns As Cases Of COVID-19 Surge

New York state is about to drop its face mask mandate as COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the Empire State.

Leaders in Europe are facing the possibility of new lockdowns as cases of COVID-19 have begun to surge again.

The New York Times reports:

In France, President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that the authorities were doing “everything to avoid a new lockdown.” A day later, the country reported over 7,300 new virus cases, its highest daily tally since March 31 and a number that sent its seven-day average to a new record of 4,668.

As Germany faces its own more modest resurgence, Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week that managing the pandemic would become more challenging in the fall and winter, as the colder weather drives people back indoors. “We will have to live with this virus for a long time to come,” she said.

The sobering comments from Ms. Merkel and Mr. Macron come as European countries brace for — or even appear to be entering — a second wave of infections. Nowhere on the continent is the threat more alarming than in Spain, where the Times database shows that the seven-day average has passed 7,600.

European Commission Bans ‘Non-Essential’ Travel To EU

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

From CNN:

The European Commission will introduce temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU, as part of its efforts to tackle and contain the ongoing spread of coronavirus across Europe, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen just announced.

“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus, therefore, as I have just informed our G7 partners, I propose to the heads of state and government, a restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union,” von der Leyen said in a video statement shared on her Twitter account.

“These restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, which can be prolonged as necessary,” she added.

However, she clarified that there will be some exemptions to the restrictions, including family members of European nationals, essential staff, such as doctors and nurses, and people transporting goods to the European Union.

Additionally, the EU is instituting green lanes/fast lanes to give priority to essential transport to keep the mobility sector going & ensure economic continuity.

European Parliament Says Same-Sex Marriage Is A Human Right

The European Parliament on Thursday called on EU member states to recognise civil unions and same-sex marriage as a civil and human right and urged governments and EU institutions to contribute to further discussion in this area.

The call was contained in the 2013 global human rights and democracy report, approved by the assembly with 390 ayes, 151 nays and 97 abstentions.

In it, the European Parliament acknowledged “the legalisation of marriage and civil unions between same-sex couples in a growing number of countries around the world, currently 17” and encouraged “the EU institutions and member states to further contribute towards reflection on the recognition of marriage or civil unions between people of the same sex as a political and social issue and a matter of civil and human rights”.

(from GazettedelSud)

American Pastor Explores Faith & Spirituality In Scandinavia – “The Norden”

US Pastor Marty McLain (R) in an awkward moment with Scandinavian humanist

American pastor Marty McLain visits the secular Nordic countries. What role does religion have in the Nordic society? How do the Nordic people relate to God, faith and spirituality? How does it differ from the US?

The answers surprise the Georgia pastor.

From Addicting Info:

McLain, who’s favorite expression is “wow,” is wowed a lot. Almost no one he talks to on the street seems interested in God. One guy puts it bluntly: “If there is no god, why should I believe in him?” Ouch.

A few highlights:

• While interviewing several members of a church in Copenhagen, McLain makes the mistake of assuming that, given their faith, they must be homophobes like he is. After he laments the fact that the oppressive government made Denmark’s churches perform same-sex marriages, the Reverend had to awkwardly tell him that neither he nor anyone else at the church had a problem with gay people. McLain’s pained expression is priceless.

• He runs into a man on the street who (finally!) says he believes in God. Excited, McLain asks if he is a Christian. The man tells him, no, a Muslim. McLain: “A Muslim!”

• An excruciating discussion with a humanist over coffee ends with the humanist telling McLain, “In short, I have no need of a god. To put it bluntly.” McLain stares off into space, his mind melting.

Luxembourg to approve marriage equality by summer

From GayStarNews:

Justice Minister Félix Braz announced the news this week, saying he hoped it would be finally made law after years of delays.

Drawn up by the former government in 2010, the same-sex marriage draft law was due to be voted on late last year. But following a change of government in October, the vote was postponed.

Same-sex couples have only been able to mark their union under a PACS – based on French civil unions – meaning they have less rights and are unable to jointly adopt children.

While a small European nation, it is the first to have an openly gay Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister serving at the same time.

If approved, Luxembourg will be the 11th European country to recognize same-sex marriage, joining Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Map: Human rights for LGBT people in Europe

Click the pic to enlarge

ILGA Europe has released an updated map showing the state of human rights for LGBT people in Europe in May 2013.

The scale goes from dark green (full equality, respect of human rights) to dark red (gross violations of human rights, discrimination).

The United Kingdom received the highest rating of the 49 nations in the
report, earning a 77% score, followed by Spain, France, Norway, Sweden and Portugal. Russia got the lowest score at 7%.

Ratings and graphs for individual nations can be downloaded here.

(via Towleroad)