NEW YORK, August 13 -- Accused sex child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was discovered Saturday inside his New York City prison cell with a bedsheet wrapped around his neck that was tied to his bunk bed.“
The convicted pedophile, who was 6 feet tall, apparently killed himself by kneeling toward the floor and strangling himself with the makeshift noose, a law enforcement source said Monday,” according to the New York Post. Law enforcement received a call at 6:39 a.m. local time that Epstein was in cardiac arrest and was later pronounced dead at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. Epstein was facing charges of sex trafficking that stemmed from activities over a period of three years in the early 2000s. He served a 13-month prison sentence in Florida in 2008 after he was charged with similar offenses, and was forced to register as a sex offender. His attorneys unsuccessfully lobbied for bail and house arrest on the new charges, but a federal New York judge declared him a flight risk and a danger to the community. New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said the autopsy on Epstein was performed on Sunday and stated she would release the determination upon “further information.” Federal authorities, including Attorney General William Barr, have expressed dismay at Epstein’s death in federal custody and pledged to investigate. “I was appalled and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry, to learn of the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s failure to adequately secure this prison,” Barr said in New Orleans Monday. “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and office of the inspector general are doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,” he added. The nation’s chief legal officer also issued a warning to those who may have conspired with Epstein, stating that they “should not rest easy.” “Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it,” he said. The Associated Press reported Sunday that the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit was experiencing staff shortages the time of Epstein’s death with only one guard working a fifth-straight day of overtime and another guard working mandatory overtime. Epstein was put on the prison’s suicide watch after he was discovered on July 23rd with neck bruises, according to several reports. He was said to be taken off the watch list days later.
Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who worked at three federal prisons, said he is stunned by Epstein’s removal from the list. “For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking. For someone this high-profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances. You leave him on suicide watch until he’s out of there,” Lindsay told NBC. “It’s too early to say what I think should happen, but if this did occur as we believe that it did, some staff are going to have some hard questions to answer.” Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has pledged to continue the case against Epstein despite his death. “To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing,” Berman said.
TEHRAN, August 12 -- It's difficult to combat a subject that's so taboo, discussion of it is off-limits. But the silence that has long surrounded sexual harassment and abuse of power in the Iranian workplace is finally being broken.
The Information Technology Organisation (ITO), a subsidiary of Iran's ICT Ministry, has become the first Iranian government agency to publish in-house guidelines banning what it refers to as "forbidden conduct" - harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse of power. Drawing on international examples, but modified to align with "Iranian and Islamic values", the harassment guidelines cover verbal and physical threats, aggressive behavior, defamation and intimidation, among other offences. Sexual harassment is described by the guidelines as any sexual advance made without consent, while discrimination is defined as "any form of unpleasant, unjust or in-equal behavior" based on race, nationality, religion, gender, age or political tendencies. The section on abuse of power covers all misuses of authority that negatively affect an individual's career. The guidelines were spearheaded by ITO's head of women participation, Meshkat Asadi. "Obviously we're still at the beginning of the road," she said in an interview with the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. "But it seems that serious barriers can come down when thoughts turn into words and those words are put on paper, so there's hope that this could be effective." Asadi's boss, ITO head Amir Nazemy, in an effort to catalyze change within companies that fall with his ministry's remit, used Twitter to call on CEOs of major startups and fintech firms to adopt the guidelines. "As sexual harassment is a taboo [in Iran], preventing it requires special support from executives," he wrote. Several of the largest names in Iran's startup and tech scene have answered the call. Those adopting the guidelines include ride-hailing companies Snapp and Tap30, online buying platform Takhfifan and cloud computing services provider ArvanCloud. ArvanCloud has taken the initiative a step further and established an in-house online platform to give employees the option to report harassing behavior anonymously. ITO officials responsible for the guidelines refused requests for comment.
The task of changing workplace culture
Some Iranian executives welcome the government effort to curb abuse, and want to build on the guidelines to effect genuine change in the workplace. "Even if we set the right framework, nothing meaningful will happen if we don't work on the cultural aspect and develop a corporate culture that has the capacity to welcome such improvements," Aseyeh Hatami, CEO of recruitment and jobs site IranTalent said. That promises to be a long road, she said, because the absence of initiatives to encourage healthy sexual behaviors in the workplace and in society at large has led to confusion over what constitutes acceptable behavior. "For instance, one of my male employees had asked a female co-worker to go to a coffee shop to discuss a work project, and she perceived that as a breach of her private space and professional etiquette," Hatami said. Reporting abuses of power is difficult even in the most constructively regulated environments. It often invites personal scrutiny and ends up re-victimizing and, in the worst cases, vilifying victims of abuse. The fears associated with reporting abuse and harassment are acute in Iranian workplaces, which are often bereft of resources to deal with these issues. Many small and medium-sized businesses lack robust human resources departments to investigate complaints. Companies that have established support mechanisms reporting and rooting out abuse have done so independently because the law does not require it. While Hatami is pleased that the government has established binding rules, she is concerned about regulatory overreach. "Having regulations is great and necessary, but businesses in Iran, especially fledgling ones, take a hit both from lack of suitable regulations and from hasty laws that go into too much detail and tell executives how to run their businesses," she said. Hatami hopes the ITO guidelines can be gradually refined through community feedback.
Educating executives to lead the way
Though the reforms are seen by many as an important catalyst, changing attitudes, they say, needs to start at the top of an organisation. "The ITO guidelines are a positive step, but there's much to be done in terms of educating executives and other employees, and organisational structures need to be improved in a way that would support victims," a training specialist at the National Iranian Gas Company said on condition of anonymity. "If guidelines are put in place across the country, I have no doubt that many [people] will undermine [cast doubt on] whether instances of sexual harassment and abuse of power even take place due to the taboo nature of the subject," she said. In its guidelines, the ITO encourages educational initiatives including organisation-wide workshops to educate all employees about forbidden conduct, requiring executives and supervisors to undergo targeted training as a prerequisite for job promotions, and handing out copies of the guidelines to new employees. The guidelines also designate a role for local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to act as a safety net for victims and for reporting harassment cases. "There is a tendency in companies to sweep such issues under the carpet, which encourages perpetrators," ITO chief Nazemy said in a recent interview. "By involving NGOs, at least an independent pair of eyes will scrutinize such cases".
The training expert at the state-run gas company said that the company has received complaints of abuse in the past, which were mostly handled directly by high-level executives rather than the human resources department. "Management usually prefers to resolve complaints peacefully at the personal level through reaching mutual agreements, and acts very strictly in terms of requiring evidence in dealing with serious cases to prevent defamation," she said. The trainer told that in one of those cases, an executive in a provincial branch of the state-run entity was fired from his post after a victim produced video evidence of harassment. The ITO guidelines encourage the resolution of complaints by mutual agreement, including through the involvement of a third-party arbiter. If unsuccessful, the guidelines direct alleged victims to file formal complaints within 90 days of the offence that was committed or the last event in the chain of reported events and present evidence.
NEW YORK, July 21 -- Investigators found an expired Austrian passport with Epstein’s picture and a different name.
Therefor Jeffrey Epstein will remain behind bars after a judge denied the accused child sex trafficker’s request for bail. US district judge Richard Berman on Thursday turned aside Epstein’s bid to be confined in his Manhattan mansion, where he had offered to pay for armed guards and wear an ankle bracelet tracking his location.
TOKYO, July 8 -- Japanese journalist Shiori Ito, who has accused a prominent former television reporter of rape, said in a damages lawsuit Monday that she tried to stop him and was "desperate to protect" herself.
The 30-year-old Ito is seeking 11 million yen ($101,500) in compensation from Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a former reporter at Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., known as TBS. Yamaguchi has denied any unlawful act, saying his act was based on consent. "I felt dizzy when I was dining together (with Yamaguchi), and when I woke up at a hotel I was being raped," Ito said in a hearing at the Tokyo District Court. "I was desperate to protect my body, telling him to 'stop.'" Ito claims she was raped at a hotel in 2015 following a meal in Tokyo with Yamaguchi, who had promised assistance in getting her a job. "Even now I have flashbacks," she told the hearing, adding that the stress has led to some physical ailments.
Following the incident, she filed a complaint with police but prosecutors dropped the case in July 2016, citing insufficient evidence. Ito later filed a complaint with the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, but it also judged in September 2017 that the prosecutors' decision was "appropriate," saying there was no reason to overturn it. The trial also includes a counter-lawsuit filed by Yamaguchi, who is seeking 130 million yen in compensation from Ito, claiming his social reputation has been damaged by her remarks.
Author: Linda Lim
Your libido fluctuates with your physical and emotional state, and the condition of your relationship. When this happens we often fret about our sexual prowess, but it is perfectly normal, and fixable. This week, we examine the issues surrounding female sexual dysfunction, which are not discussed enough and may be poorly understood, meaning many women feel unprepared and on their own when they experience it. Sexual inhibition or lack of sexual interest in women has many causes – anxiety, depression, stress, physical illness, medication, lack of sleep, relationship issues, age, hormone-based contraceptives, hormonal imbalances, a history of unfulfilling sex, past incidents of shaming about sex. Sexual functioning requires a balance between neurotransmitters and hormones. If there is even the slightest imbalance, a woman’s appetite for sex will drop. Relationship issues such as lingering anger or resentment, lack of communication, or an absence of trust can also lower sexual desire.
“Women in long-term relationships can often experience a loss of desire, as they may crave more eroticism, variety, or spark in their sex lives ... Feeling desired by one’s partner is an important turn-on for many women,” says Dr Kristin Zeising, a clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist at MindnLife, a Hong Kong-based private psychology practice. “A history of feeling shamed for sexual expression can impact desire and cause a woman to be more inhibited. Historically and culturally speaking, female sexuality is often stigmatised ... Other factors include past sexual traumas, religious upbringing, or even unsatisfactory sex, and women feel uncomfortable discussing these issues with their partner for whatever reason,” Zeising adds. Loss of interest in sex is widespread, and affects between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of women, depending on which part of the world they live in, she says. Asian and Middle Eastern women are more likely to experience a lack of sexual desire, and sexual problems such as an inability to reach orgasm, Zeising says.
“Women of all ages and cultures can experience a lack of desire at some point in their lives, so it’s quite normal and common. Women aren’t meant to always want sex, in whatever context or situation. In some cases, a woman may not desire sex on a regular basis – or at all – and they are perfectly fine with that. “However, it’s when a woman is feeling like her body has changed, or when their partner desires sex more than they do, that a depleted sexual appetite becomes problematic.” Many middle-aged women are vulnerable to low sexual functioning. They find that, as they age, their hormone levels drop and their bodies may need more stimulation than they previously did. “As oestrogen levels drop, the vaginal tissue thins and dries out, and this can make sex painful enough to put women off the act altogether,” Zeising says. “For many women, the reduction of oestrogen alone explains a nosedive in libido. But other aspects of menopause may also leave them feeling unsexy and not desiring sex, like mood swings, hot flushes, weight gain, and anxiety about ageing.” When that happens, she says, women should talk to a gynaecologist about medication and other solutions to make sex more comfortable. Zeising says feeling positive about ageing and about a partner tends to outweigh the physiological effects of declining hormone levels.
Seven steps to stimulate your sex life:
● Schedule sex; create a space to allow sex regularly and build up the anticipation:
● Re-frame how you think about sex to reduce anxiety;
● View sex as a team sport by emphasizing mutual pleasure over performance;
● Tell your partner what you like and what you need from them;
● Give yourself permission to reap pleasure from the act of sex;
● Focus on the emotional pleasure and satisfaction gained from sex with your partner;
● Use your imagination; map out a sexual fantasy to share with your partner.
AMSTERDAM, April 15 -- A petition to make paying for sex illegal has accumulated more than 42,000 signatures and will appear before Dutch parliament for debate.
The campaign “I am priceless” (Ik ben onbetaalbaar) is led by largely Christian organisation Exxpose that hopes to make paying for sex illegal in the Netherlands. The campaign attempts to tug at emotional heartstrings by using phrases such as “what if it was your sister?” and “prostitution is both a cause and consequence of inequality”. The campaign states that the Dutch sex industry exploits women and is obsolete, further suggesting that women need other options instead of sex work.
Sex workers have responded negatively to the campaign, saying the campaign will have an inherently negative affect and make their job “much, much more dangerous”. Foxxy argues that making it illegal to access sex work would only make it more difficult for the women. It would make them more vulnerable to violence as they would be working illegally, and therefore they would not have the support of the authorities. The petition comes at the same time as tour groups are being banned from the Red Light District.
SINGAPORE, April 14 -- From celebrities to ministers, condemnation from the West has been heaped on Brunei for enacting harsh anti-gay laws that prescribe death by stoning for various offences – but the tiny oil-rich nation has showed little concern it may be making foes of its traditional friends.
Neither is it likely to fully alienate the West, observers say, despite remaining resolute on the implementation of sharia law in the face of backlash from world leaders. Ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s richest men, has a track record of balancing dialogue with the West – the United Kingdom and the United States are major export partners – while courting increased engagement with China, the country’s main import trading partner. “Brunei has been practising hedge diplomacy in its foreign policy,” says Mustafa Izzuddin, a fellow at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. “However, the greater the criticism from Western countries – including resorting to boycotts – the more likely Brunei will turn to Asia and in particular, China, which has cleverly stayed clear of Brunei’s domestic affairs.”
Beijing has developed a keen interest in Brunei, partly due to the possibility of joint development deals in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which could provide a key toehold into contested South China Sea waters. Brunei is among the claimants to the disputed sea, but its unassertive approach has made it appealing to China, says Mustafa. While Beijing has yet to propose any concrete plans, similar attempts to forge deals with other South China Sea claimants suggest it would “not be surprising to see China offer joint development prospects to Brunei”, says Joseph Liow of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
But if joint agreements are signed, it could prove problematic for other Southeast Asian claimants and the wider international community as it would undercut the 2016 international ruling that says China has no claims to the waters delineated by its controversial nine-dash line, says Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. If China manages to strike a development deal with Brunei, it would indicate Brunei’s EEZ waters were legally “disputed”, strengthening Beijing’s claim and weakening near-universal consensus of the ruling, says Poling. However, there is still “no evidence Brunei is willing to take that gamble”, he says.
Nevertheless, ties between both countries are growing, as Brunei looks to diversify its income streams in a country traditionally reliant on oil reserves – estimated to run out within two to three decades. Brain drain is a growing issue, as is unemployment, which stood at 9.3 per cent according to latest figures. The nation, an enthusiastic supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative , has unveiled a development plan to build a dynamic and sustainable economy by 2035.
BANGKOK, April 6 -- ‘It’s complicated,’ says the artist who got Prayut and Thaksin to ‘shake hands’, now tackling other issues.
Patpong, Bangkok’s most notorious red-light area, seems a likely enough place to provoke a discussion about sexual attitudes in this country. Even better, have the discussion at Candle Light Studio, a new gallery for naughty art above the Barbar Fetish Club on Patpong Soi 2. The provocateur is the masked graffiti artist who calls himself Headache Stencil, fresh from skewering the junta government and chaotic election in his previous show, “Thailand Casino”. The exhibition, “Sex Drugs & Headache Stencil”, officially opens Candle Light Studio, which apparently used to be a go-go bar. Families with small children can easily reach it from BTS Sala Daeng but probably shouldn’t.
The ascent to the third floor entails passing young ladies dressed in sexy cosplay outfits, who beckon passers-by inside to watch decent folks paying indecent folks to spank them. Once you reach the gallery, though, everything gets very dark very fast. Headache Stencil has spread his edgy art around two rooms. In the first, it’s all about issues related to sex. He’s painted the walls with women in bikinis and university uniforms with dollar signs and there’s a mural of penises – in pastel blue for some reason. Keep looking. There’s a stencil of a sexy woman with a formidable brain in a jail cell, and another of two male naval officers kissing.
“It’s an open secret that prostitution and drugs, despite being illegal, are widespread in Thailand,” Headache told us. “But the issues that affect the lives of sex workers and drug addicts are quite complicated.” The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act 1996 and Article 286 of the Criminal Code seek to handcuff the sale of sex, pimping and running “prostitution establishments”.
The laws don’t seem to be working, though. It’s been variously estimated that anywhere from 800,000 to more than two million Thais earn money as prostitutes, and many of them are under 18.
“It used to be that sex workers were all poor and uneducated, but now in our capitalist-consumerist era, many college students are getting into the sex trade because they want money to buy mobile phones, brand-name clothes and even cars and condos,” Headache said.
The victims of society
In a stunning installation that forms the show’s center piece, he’s stacked up a pile of naked dolls smeared with blood, the word “victims” sprayed on the platform. “Women are regularly raped or sexually harassed in Thailand,” he said. “Some die as a result, but they all suffer in some way. They’re the victims.” On to the next room, where the subject is drug abuse. Headache’s done a black-and-white stencil of da Vinci’s “Last Supper” on one wall, but with a 3D table that’s set with a feast of street dope. On the menu are ecstasy, yaba, cocaine, amphetamine, Xanax and LSD – none of it real, officer. You have glass pipes as well, plus a bottle of whisky for good measure. Also, stencilled skulls! The litany of drugs appears on another wall alongside a portrait of a boy holding a marijuana bong.
“It’s like the last chapter in an addict’s life,” explains the artist, who admits he’s done some sampling. “Overdosing on drugs really is the ‘last supper’ before you die.” As well as harming themselves, however, drug addicts and drunks also plague society with crimes committed to fuel their habits, he said. For teens, the issues are far more complicated, and the government needs to handle the matter carefully. “The government should separate the addicts who commit crimes from those who are just sick and get the latter proper treatment.
“Both the sex trade and the drug trade are complicated. We need sustainable and realistic alternatives. We need to bring these people back into society.”
OTTAWA, March 21 -- The bodies are piled up like cordwood, yet the Trudeau Liberals insist they have done no wrong and, please, turn the page – look at our budget, gaze at your navel, anything, but stop looking at LavScam.
If the Liberals have done no wrong, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists beyond credence, then how is the body count explained? It’s a veritable massacre. Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould, fired and then resigned. Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, resigned. Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, resigned. Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary and fast friend, resigned. How many is that? Four bodies for doing nothing wrong? And they are not just any bodies. These are front-line casualties, two top-ranking cabinet ministers. And Wernick is the chief bureaucrat in all the land, the boss of all bosses in the federal civil service. And, Butts, of course, was Trudeau’s puppet master, the brains in the PMO, his best friend since their days at McGill University, and the man everyone outside the hearing range of Trudeau referred to as PM Butts. They all had gold seats at the power table. Anyone who had the misfortune to tune in to their favourite news channel saw the House of Commons become a circus Tuesday as the screams and insults from Opposition MPs drowned out Finance Minister Bill Morneau as he attempted, in vain, to read his last budget before October’s election.
So, he literally “tabled” it, set the physical copy on his desk, lifted the embargo, and left the Commons to conduct post-budget interviews out of range. The outraged Opposition had every right to be ranting and raving, of course, not so much because the budget stunk but because the Liberal puppets who had majority control on the emergency justice committee used that power to permanently shut down the probe into the LavScam scandal. There was nothing more to see, they claimed. It was time to move on, they said in unison, as journalists covering the fiasco looked behind the curtains to see if Gerald Butts was still directing the show from his hidey-hole.
On Wednesday, the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer moved it up a notch, writing a letter to the chair of the Commons’ ethics committee – yes, another committee – to hold a televised hearing Thursday to “examine developments in the accusations against the Prime Minister and his closest political allies that they conspired to stop the criminal trial of a company accused of bribery.” That company, of course, is Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin – hence LavScam – which had the Trudeau inner circle twisting itself in knots trying to get Wilson-Raybould to convince federal prosecutors to pass on a criminal trial, and give SNC-Lavalin a sweetheart plea agreement that could see it heavily fined but escaping the hardball of criminal court. Wilson-Raybould refused, she got turfed and demoted, and then quit cabinet. The result was LavScam. Butts rolled his own head out the door as the required sacrificial lamb. Philpott quit cabinet in principle, and in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould, and Wernick submitted his pink slip as the boss of bosses. And then there was the sudden slap to Trudeau’s face Wednesday when Whitby, Ont. MP Celina Caesar-Chavanne, who has accused the PM of hostile treatment, and who had verbally backed Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, packed her bags in the Liberal caucus and left to sit as an Independent. So, there’s the fifth body. Yet nothing wrong allegedly happened, despite political blood flying every which-way and the first probe shut down by the Liberal bobbleheads who controlled the so-called “emergency justice committee.” The Liberals must think Canadians are suckers. They’re playing us as fools.
"Trudeau’s fake feminism exposed yet again"
OTTAWA, March 21 -- Caesar-Chavannes had challenged Justin Trudeau on Twitter, calling him out after he tried to claim he was about “listening.”
‘“I believe real leadership is about listening, learning & compassion…central to my leadership is fostering an environment where my Ministers, caucus & staff feel comfortable coming to me when they have concerns” I did come to you recently. Twice. Remember your reactions?” She letter said that Justin Trudeau yelled at her and said she didn’t “appreciate him.”
After the PMO denied the account, Caesar-Chavannes’ husband backed her up, saying that the yelling was so loud that he could hear it through the phone while his Celina and Justin were talking. The MP for Whitby will now sit as an independent MP. She has previously confirmed that she won’t be seeking re-election. As we see yet again, Justin Trudeau does everything he can to help out his corrupt buddies, while screaming and yelling at women who disagree with him.