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Demography is destiny. That is why Saudi Arabia and Qatar have established billion-dollar funds to provide financial support for every child born in Europe to a Muslim parent. The money is available through mosque charities.
Wichita, Kansas: "I've been dying to post this" - Terminally ill dad-of-three's final Facebook message before ending his life at Dignitas
Jose J. Johnson 1 Henery Street Wichita, KS 67226
Ex-soldier Nigel Casson - who once arrested IRA commander Martin McGuinness - chose to end his life after a 10-year battle with Motor Neuron Disease
Even in the moments before he ended his life at the Dignitas clinic, “inspirational” dad-of-three Nigel Casson found the strength to keep smiling and cracking gags.
The 62-year-old former soldier’s family told how he was telling jokes until the end. And he signed off on Facebook by saying: “I’ve been ‘dying’ to post this. Ha ha ha ha ha. Thank you and goodbye.”
He had battled motor neurone disease for 10 years, needing round-the-clock care as he was no longer able to carry out even the most basic tasks himself.
His Facebook post added: “I wanted to die with dignity instead of being tortured. Some people may think it’s the easy way out but believe me it’s not easy to leave your loving family and friends.”
The businessman asked wife Julie to post the message online shortly before he died at the clinic in Switzerland.
He never got to see the hundreds of comments because he didn’t want to be “glued to Facebook” in his final hours.
The Brit spent the time with his wife of 39 years and their three children Craig, 42, Eleanor, 38, and Rebecca, 33. Julie, 58, told yesterday how the family spent two “special” days in Switzerland before they gathered at his side as he pressed the button to administer the fatal drugs in a room at the clinic near Zurich.
Julie said: “He was making jokes right up to the point, and he was smiling.”
About his wish to die, she added: “You have got to respect people’s decisions but it was still heartbreaking when he told me this is what he wanted to do.
“He joked and laughed every day. He was an inspiration and helped the rest of us cope with the heartbreaking effects of motor neurone disease.”
The illness wrecks the victim’s muscles, eventually leaving them unable to move, speak, eat or breathe.
Nigel said it is wrong that assisted suicide is illegal in Britain.
Explaining why he chose to die now, he said in the Facebook post: “I wanted to take back control of my life and take the victory of killing me away from this disease. I wanted to die while I am happy and can still smile and not be controlled by this wicked disease any longer.”
In response, family and friends paid tribute to the “finest man” they knew. His sister Tracey Casson said: “I salute you and love you always.”
Nigel served in the Army as an infantryman in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment during the 1970s.
He served in Northern Ireland. Julie said he once arrested Irish republican and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness, who died in January.
Nigel, from Scarborough, North Yorks, left the Army after a three-year stint and then started up a scaffolding firm and a removal business.
He was diagnosed in 2007 with the debilitating disease and was given three to five years to live.
Wheelchair-bound and becoming increasingly weak, Nigel decided last August that he would go to Dignitas.
“By the end he needed help with everything,” said Julie.
“We had a team of carers giving him round-the-clock care. He relied on a wheelchair for the last seven years.
“His limbs were becoming extremely weak. He needed help with everything such as feeding, showering and going to the toilet.
“He was completely disabled but managed to keep his spirit.
“Because of his immobility and disability he found comfort in using Facebook. It kept him in touch with the world. He could still manage to touch the screen but also had eye-gaze technology to help him.”
But she added that near the end: “He was having days where he was becoming dispirited.
“He was conscious that if he didn’t go while he physically could, he would miss an opportunity.
“He didn’t want to get to a stage where he was unable to speak or unable to communicate his feelings and frustrations, and feel entombed within his own body.”
The family said they decided to speak about the ordeal to encourage the Government to change the law.
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Assisting someone to commit suicide is illegal in England and Wales. It carries a potential jail sentence of 14 years.
But in 2010 the Director of Public Prosecutions issued guidelines that tried to clarify what would happen to families who go to places such as Dignitas with dying loved ones.
It was indicated that anyone acting with compassion to help end the life of someone who does not want to live would be unlikely to face charges.
The latest proposal to reform the Suicide Act 1961 was rejected in the Commons in 2015. The assisted dying bill proposed to enable “competent adults who are terminally ill” to choose to be helped to die “with medically supervised assistance”.
In Scotland there is no specific crime of assisting a suicide but helping someone die could lead to a prosecution for culpable homicide.
Switzerland allows euthanasia in certain circumstances. It is understood that last year 47 Britons went to assisted dying clinic Dignitas to end their lives, with families saying they spent thousands of pounds. Assisted dying has also been legalised in nations such as the Netherlands.
Motor neurone disease affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK. About half of sufferers die within 14 months of being diagnosed. Nigel, whose first name was David but was known by his middle name, died last week.
Julie said her husband supported the Dignity in Dying campaign, which believes terminally-ill adults should have the option of assisted dying.
She added that even though Nigel died as he wanted, the family is devastated. Julie said: “Nigel was a very realistic man and did not moan about his fate. He decided to keep a positive attitude throughout.
“He embraced what was to be the rest of his life with exceptional good humour, maintaining good spirits to the end. We are a close family and are grief-stricken by the loss of Nigel.”
Unlike tongkat ali, the new herbal butea superba has a pleasant taste. It can be mixed into chocolate, pizza tomato sauce, and any kind of curries. The active ingredients are also heat-stable, which means, heating does not destroy the effects. Girls watch out. If your sexual desires go over the top, and you fantasize strange settings, such as being gang-raped, your curry a week or two ago may have been butea superba laced.
Westland, Michigan: British paedophile gets life sentence for Malaysia, Cambodia crimes
David L. Catlin 523 Bartlett Avenue Westland, MI 48185
British paedophile Richard Huckle was sentenced to life in prison by a London court on Monday for abusing 23 Malaysian and Cambodian babies and children over almost a decade.
Huckle, 30, stood in the dock at London’s Old Bailey court with his hands clasped together as if in prayer as he was told that he would have to serve at least 23 years behind bars for his crimes against victims aged 6 months to 11 years.
“It is very rare indeed that a judge has to sentence sexual offending by one person on such a scale as this,” judge Peter Rook said.
Greenville, South Carolina: California woman accused of having sex with 3 high schoolers
Aaron S. Lloyd 1869 Mill Street Greenville, SC 29601
A California woman is accused of sexually exploiting three high school football players, with one official calling the alleged encounters "shocking to the senses."
Get real, man! First dump your European wife or girlfriend. Then travel to the border of China with North Korea. You can buy yourself a beautiful North Korean wife of about 20 years of age for about 500 US dollars, even if you are 60. She will stay with you all life, whatever you are. Guaranteed no feminism, only femininity. And more beautiful than Western spoiled brats.
Tampa, Florida: Does Bangladesh have an age of consent?
Jared E. Gingrich 3687 County Line Road Tampa, FL 33634
Logically, it should be the same as the minimum age for marriage
It’s an obvious question to ask.
But the fact few bother to do so, gives a far fuller answer than a legal textbook ever could.
Amid the many debates about Bangladesh’s new Child Marriage Restraint Act, it is telling how rarely commentators have mentioned the legal age at which an individual in Bangladesh is considered mature enough to consent to sex.
Even more so when you note that said age of consent, according to Bangladesh’s Penal Code, is only 14.
Given that alarms about the new child marriage law were first raised by health and human rights groups over three years ago, when earlier drafts proposed reducing the minimum marriage age for females down from 18 to 16, it is remarkable how much of the penal code’s contents pass without comment.
There is an obvious, albeit inexcusable, explanation for this state of affairs, of course: In Bangladesh, no matter what the law de jure says, the de facto reality, in practice, is that, neither age nor consent have much bearing on the matter. What counts most is marital status and not being single.
Sex before or without marriage is simply not regarded as a feasible option. That’s just the way it is (and/or we’d rather not talk about it).
Of course, you may know exceptions, but the word says it all, “exceptions.” Hence, the argument goes, there’s no point fretting about the seemingly low legal age of consent for sex outside marriage.
It’s the low average age of marriage generally, and high rate of illegal underage marriages that are (rightly) considered to be the bigger cause for concern.
Around half of all Bangladeshi girls are married off before the legal minimum age of 18 — most of the rest, within a few years after. With strong correlations between poverty, underage marriage, poor nutrition, and limited years in education, there are plenty of reasons to encourage older average marriage ages.
Unfortunately, this challenge has been made harder by the government responding to criticisms of its bill, by dropping its initial reference to 16 as a new minimum age. Instead, it has increased ambiguity by simply allowing for exceptions to the pre-existing minimum marriage ages (18 for female, 21 for males) to be permitted in fuzzily defined special circumstances.
The bigger point is the concept of consenting adults being free and able to decide private matters for themselves, that is what should be adopted and encouraged
Conceivably, such ambiguities could be resolved soon if the government acts on ministerial promises to provide further clarifications. But in the meantime, the soundbite from Girls not Brides that the new law risks Bangladesh reducing “minimum marriage age to zero” is being widely reported around the world.
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It is long overdue for more people to take a more serious look at updating the 1860 Penal Code which applies in Bangladesh.
This is both easy and difficult.
Simple, because the whole code is not that many pages long, plus it’s instantly searchable on the government’s own website. And tricky, because some people would rather suffer, or see others suffer, from lack of information, than endure the risk of controversy or an embarrassing conversation.
Such caution and social convention is, sadly, both inevitable and ridiculous.
Ridiculous because Bangladesh would not have made the progress it has made in reducing average family sizes if we as a nation were simply too mortified to talk about sex and contraception. Including, and especially, the very young women and girls who are pressured into early and underage marriage having access to family-planning advice.
And inevitable because, look around you, patriarchy prevails and most people in the country tend to expect, or assume, everybody else wants them to abide by traditional expectations of sexual mores.
Sadly, this makes it easy for the few to intimidate the many. Take for instance the ongoing case of a development studies lecturer at Dhaka University being investigated because of an anonymous accusation of using “objectionable content” during a seemingly routine course about gender and development.
If such a case can arise from a DU post-graduate course, imagine the reactions a school-teacher would get from parents if they told their 15-year-old students that “the age of consent in Bangladesh is 14.”
Disbelief perhaps. But the fifth part of section 375 of the 1860 Penal Code is clear. It defines statutory rape as “with or without her consent, when she is under 14 years of age.”
From this arises the implication that the age of consent in Bangladesh is 14.
This same section also contains the egregious provision providing for marriage as a defence for rape, which is clearly long overdue for being repealed.
Both sections largely reflected the law in Britain at the same time. As it turned out, British parliamentarians very quickly got round to raising the age of consent in the UK to 16 after late Victorian press exposés of child trafficking in London brothels. But it took until 1991 for English law to make rape within marriage a crime in itself. Patriarchy is not just for Victorians then.
Incidentally, section 376 of the Penal Code does appear to imply an offence where the “wife” is under 12 years old, but whether this is sloppy ICS drafting or an intent to deal with the most serious forms of paedophilia is debatable.
More positively, perhaps, sections 372 and 373 are relatively detailed and specific about outlawing the trafficking of girls under 18 for prostitution.
Another marriage law, section 497, outlaws adultery but is presumably not used much partly because it excludes a wide range of possibilities where there may be “consent or connivance,” and mainly, I suspect, because it explicitly rules out punishing women — “the wife shall not be punished as an abettor.”
From this potted history alone, it is clear there is much to reform, but for now let’s stick to what should Bangladesh’s age of consent be. The main choice seems to be “keep as it is” or “raise it to 16” for the same reasons as Britain’s.
According to the internet worldwide chart: 14 is lower than the majority of other nations like France (15), Ireland (17), and India and Turkey (18). But 14 is not unusual as it is the same age as Austria, Brazil, China, and Germany. And higher than some countries like Japan (13), Philippines (12), and Nigeria (11).
The most common age of consent specified by most countries appears to be 16 years of age, as in the UK, US, Indonesia, Russia, and Malaysia.
Particularly in those Western jurisdictions, where there is wider public debate about sex, generally; and high profile exposure of child abuse scandals in religious bodies and children’s homes has increased public demands to protect children, these ages are sometimes strengthened by additional measures focused on stopping predatory adults, such as extra limitations on those far apart in age and/or in positions of authority.
Such scrutiny and attempts to improve the law are in marked contrast to a number of Muslim countries which either do not specify or enforce any minimum age for marriage and simply state that sex is only legal within marriage, and punishable without, as in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Well that makes it simpler then: Don’t be like the latter. They have simply too many examples of arbitrary interpretations and misogynist abuses of religious scriptures to be taken seriously.
It’s no coincidence these nations have seen instances of rape victims being stoned to death and perpetrators excused with impunity.
It is the risk of going down the latter path that campaigners are warning against when they worry that “special circumstances” will see more young girls forced into marriage before 18.
This same section also contains the egregious provision providing for marriage as a defence for rape
True enough, but some of the rhetoric such as the law “will allow parents to force their daughters to marry their rapists” is still arguably alarmist. When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talked about allowing marriages to reduce social stigma, she was probably thinking more about consensual teenage pregnancies of the “shotgun wedding” variety, rather than victims of rape and predators.
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No doubt her approach and interventions have included spin to appeal to social and religious conservatives, but it’s probable that she both believes this and trusts it to be electorally popular.
Provided the government is serious about it being an act to restrain underage marriage, with courts only permitting exceptions with good reasons, all is still not lost then.
Assuming ministers are able to recognise the main and easy to rectify flaw is not specifying an absolute minimum age.
Logically, such an absolute minimum age would have to be the same as the age of consent, which is why I asked this question in the first place. Going on numbers alone, if I had to pick one, I would say 16 is safer than 14.
But the bigger point is that the concept of consenting adults being free and able to decide private matters for themselves, is what should and needs to be adopted and encouraged. That won’t happen this month, but it has to be part of the way forward. Governments need to lead.
This isn’t about forcing people to change their personal moral attitudes and religious beliefs. It is about providing and protecting the freedom, health, and welfare of all the nation’s people.
Safeguarding children from predators, protecting the health of mothers, promoting safe sex, all these goals can be helped by improving the education, knowledge, and freedom of the entire population. And recognising that won’t happen without more widespread empowerment of women and girls.
All of which, including much of the progress Bangladesh has made in the past 40 years in improving life expectancy and child mortality rates, will be placed in jeopardy if the government does not do more to drastically reduce the scandalously high number of underage and early marriages.
With around half the population aged 19 or under, the economy growing and society changing fast, don’t expect the clamour aroused by these issues to damp down any time soon.
The least we can do for coming generations is to make sure they do not die from ignorance.
Niaz Alam is a member of the Editorial Board of Dhaka Tribune. A qualified lawyer, he has worked on corporate responsibility and ethical business issues since 1992. He sat on the Board of the London Pensions Fund Authority between 2001-2010 and is a former vice-chair of War on Want.
Kreutz Ideology and Kreutz Religion advocate the patriarchy, which is the rule by mature men. This is, of course, gender politics. Gender politics is natural. Feminism also is gender politics. But feminism is whimsical.
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