Britain is seeking to weaken its anti-torture laws (via Appletree). EU law forbids countries from extraditing anyone to countries that engage in cruel practices, including not just torture but also capital punishment. It’s illegal for Britain to even extradite a murderer to the US. Blair is trying to weaken that protection for countries that practice torture, so that it’s okay to extradite if the target country says it won’t use torture; note that the country’s mere word is enough, and no later check is needed.
Afghanistan is now a heaven for women’s rights, just like it was in 1998 (hat-tip to Echidne). With 60-80% of marriages being forced, most women still being forced to wear burqas, wives being sold to settle off debt, widespread honor killings, and prosecution of rape victims for adultery, it’s clearly an ideal feminist country.
The state-owned Russian natural gas company doubled the price of gas exported to Georgia, immediately after Georgian Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili went to Moscow for talks. Last year, Russia did the same to Ukraine. Autarky is never good, but neither is depending on a state-supported monopoly or cartel.
The Chinese government is doing everything in its power short of engineering a virus to make sure that there’s a bird flu epidemic this winter. In response to a study documenting the presence of mutations in the H5N1 strain, the agriculture ministry gave the standard “No, it can’t be true!” response, while holding back vital information from the WHO.
The US federal government is spreading propaganda about sex again. Says ABC, “The guidelines let states use federal grants to ‘identify groups’ of people between the ages of 12 to 29 who ‘are most likely to bear children out of wedlock.’ After identifying the groups, targeted programs can then ‘support decisions to delay sexual activity until marriage'” (this link via Aetiology, but see also Feministing, Pandagon, and Echidne).