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More Australians support same-sex marriages

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Canberra, Aug 2: Australians have considerably increased their support for same-sex marriage in the last decade, a report has found.

The wide-ranging survey found that 67 per cent of women and 59 per cent of men want to see same-sex marriage made legal in Australia, the BBC reported.

In 2005, it was 43 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men, according to the annual survey of the same 17,000 people.

Report author Professor Roger Wilkins said it revealed a “very profound shift” in attitudes in the country.

“It is quite clear that community sentiment has shifted in favour of marriage equality,” Wilkins told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Debate over legalising same-sex marriage has intensified in Australia this week amid speculation that a government MP may soon introduce a bill to Parliament.

However, Australia’s ruling conservative coalition is split on the issue, and any push to legalise same-sex marriage was likely to encounter opposition.

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S.Koreans burn Kim Jong-un’s photo over North’s participation at Olympics

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(PC- Associated Press)

Seoul, Jan 22: Demonstrators on Monday burned a photo of the North Korean leader during a rally in Seoul against North Korea’s participation in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in South Korea.

The rally, at which the North Korean flag was also burned, was led by the far-right Korean Patriots Party in front of Seoul’s central train station, according to Yonhap news agency, reports Efe.

The protesters chose the train station because a North Korean delegation visiting South Korea to coordinate the North’s participation in the Games which begin on February 9 plans to arrive at the station from the eastern city of Gangneung.

Strong security measures have been put in place ahead of the group’s visit.

The activists read a statement in which they denounced that the PyeongChang Winter Olympics were turning into “Kim Jong-un’s Pyongyang Olympics” that they claim legitimise its nuclear weapons programme, before setting North’s national flag and so-called unification flag on fire.

As well as agreeing on North Korea’s participation at the PyeongChang Games, the two countries, which have been technically at war for more than 65 years, also decided to form a joint women’s ice hockey team and agreed on a joint march at the opening ceremony with the unification flag.

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Apple joins Malala Fund to empower girls’ education

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Apple CEO 'Tim Cook' and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 'Malala Yousafzai' (PC- Apple Newsroom)

London, Jan 22: Apple on Monday announced to support The Malala Fund — led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai — which is focused on advocating every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe and quality education.

Apple will become the fund’s first Laureate partner, enabling a significant expansion of Malala’s effort to support girls’ education and advocate for equal opportunity.

“We believe that education is a great equalising force, and we share Malala Fund’s commitment to give every girl an opportunity to go to school,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Cook will also join the Malala Fund leadership council.

“Yousafzai is a courageous advocate for equality. She’s one of the most inspiring figures of our time, and we are honoured to help her extend the important work she is doing to empower girls around the world,” Cook added.

With Apple’s support, Malala Fund expects to double the number of grants awarded by its “Gulmakai Network” and extend funding programmes to India and Latin America — with the initial goal of extending secondary education opportunities to more than 100,000 girls.

The fund’s “Gulmakai Network” currently supports programmes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Nigeria.

Apple will help Malala Fund scale its organisation by assisting with technology, curriculum and research into policy changes needed to help girls everywhere attend school and complete their education.

“My dream is for every girl to choose her own future,” said Yousafzai.

“I am grateful that Apple knows the value of investing in girls and is joining Malala Fund in the fight to ensure all girls can learn and lead without fear,” she noted.

Since 2013, Malala Fund has been working in partnership with other organisations, the private sector and governments around the world to realize every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.

“With an estimated 130 million girls out of school, the importance of their work is increasingly essential,” Apple said.

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Women’s March in US on first anniversary of Trump administration

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PC- AFP

New York, Jan 21: A year after millions of people turned out for the Women’s March and took to the streets en masse to protest President Trump’s inauguration, demonstrators gathered in cities across the US, galvanised by their disdain for Trump and his administration’s policies.

The one in New York was expected to be one of the largest, with some 85,000 demonstrators registering for the event on the Internet, although the organisation noted that the actual figure ends up being higher. According to the mayor’s office, in 2017 it was 400,000, Efe news agency reported on Sunday.

Early in the morning, people were already on the move to join the rally west of Central Park, which was well attended and overflowing with “energy, empowerment and unity”, New Yorkers Lisa and Merely told Efe after the march.

With widespread criticism of the policies of the Trump Administration dominating the marches this Saturday across the country, the participants chanted one of their slogans, dedicated to the president on the anniversary of his arrival at the White House “Welcome to your first year, why the hell are you still here?”.

On his Twitter account, Trump seemed to ignore the general sentiment of the demonstrations and wrote that it was a “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March” and noting that the United States has the “lowest female unemployment in 18 years.”

Despite this, the vast majority of protesters were dissatisfied with the immigration and health care reform the Trump administration has promoted and demanded equal rights for women, immigrants and members of the LGBT community, and were shouting feminist slogans against sexual assaults.

In New York, was Leslie, a woman who, like many others, was wearing the same pink cap she wore in the first marchas a “symbol of a new wave of feminism”.

“It’s an important year because we can vote to reclaim the House and Senate and deny power to the president,” she told Efe, referring to the midterm elections to be held in November.

The Women’s March organization, which focused last year on Washington DC, because of its proximity to the Capitol, and when 500,000 people attended, on Saturday sought to turn the protests into political action, encouraging women to run for public office and to exercise their right to vote.

In Las Vegas, the capital of Nevada, which turned to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the march will focus on the “PowerToThePolls” campaign and will feature Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter representatives on Sunday to boost voter registration and political mobilization.

Other prominent cities where thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday were Washington, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the latter with more notoriety because it concentrates much of the national film industry.

Actresses such as Viola Davis, Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria took the microphone to extol women’s empowerment and allude to the Hollywood harassment scandals uncovered in recent months, which have sparked feminist movements and social denunciation such as MeToo or Time’s Up.

On Saturday and Sunday, there are hundreds of global women’s rights marches and events planned in the capitals of countries such as Argentina, Kenya, China, Canada, Australia and Rome, but also in secondary cities and at the local level.

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