Philippine’s New Libel Law — Filipino journalists are demanding the repeal of the country’s new libel law, saying it might have detrimental effects on press freedom, The Associated Press reports. Under the new Cybercrime Prevention Act, libel joins the ranks of hacking, spamming and online child pornography. For years media groups there have unsuccessfully lobbied to change the punishment of libel from a criminal to civil offense. The new law will give the government the power to seize and destroy computer data that it finds libelous.
Nigerian College Massacre — At least 22 people, mostly college students, were either shot or stabbed to death in a northeastern Nigerian town called Mubi, according to BBC. The assailants reportedly questioned the students one by one before killing them Monday midnight in the residential area of the Federal Polytechnic College. The motives behind the slaughter are unclear. The college is now shut down and many students have fled the town. The authorities have asked the townspeople to stay indoors by imposing a temporary curfew.
New Zealand Bans Mike Tyson — Boxer Mike Tyson cannot visit the island country because of his 1992 rape conviction, AFP reports. Tyson was originally granted a visa to participate in a November charity event, despite opposition from New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key. Later the event sponsor withdrew its support of Tyson, whose visa was then cancelled. Under the country’s law, no visa can be given to convicted rapists sentenced to more than five years in prison. In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman; the world heavyweight champion was sentenced to six years in prison.
E.U. Nuclear Safety – A stress test report on Europe’s nuclear reactors will be finalized this Thursday by the European Commission, writes Aljazeera. The voluntary tests were put together in response to the Japanese Fukushima disaster which followed the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The report hopes to improve the safety of those living close to the E.U.’s 134 nuclear reactors. Imad Khadduri, a nuclear analyst, explained that “European power reactors should take much more strident efforts in fixing and implementing the safety issues.” NGOs have criticized the tests saying that the Commission is not going far enough in its research. “The stress tests only give a limited view,” argued Roger Spautz, an energy campaigner at Greenpeace. The necessary improvements proposed by the Commission could cost up to $32bn.
Vulnerability of Indian Schoolchildren – Road and traffic deaths have noticeably increased in India, with children at huge risk when traveling to school. Nearly 134,000 Indians were killed in road accidents in 2010, reports The New York Times, making it the world leader in traffic fatalities. With 34 million children enrolled in schools and 74 million vehicles on the roads, the danger of child road fatalities is on the increase. Even though laws were introduced fifteen years ago regulating school bus safety, Ameeta Mulla Wattal, vice chairwoman of the National Progressive School Conference, explained that stricter rules are needed to regulate overcrowding and speed limits. At least 14 students were killed and 21 injured in March when a bus crashed in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Philippine Family Planning – Philippine President Benigno Aquino is turning away from the power of the Catholic Church in favor of implementing free access to contraceptives and family planning information reports Reuters. With one of Asia’s fastest growing populations and widespread poverty, President Aguino has decided to support a health bill that, if passed, will mean access to free birth control and increased sex education. “If you increase access to contraceptives for women … you will have births averted,” said Josefina Natividad, director of the University of the Philippines’ Population Institute. The population of the Philippines is growing by 1.9% a year in comparison to Thailand’s 0.9%. Given that 80% of the country is Catholic, dissenting voices are inevitable. “It’s our firm belief that contraceptives will never be the answer,” said Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.