Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Pakistan bans Valentine's Day

For once, the government of an Islamic country has done something I approve of; I've hated Valentine's Day ever since 1976, when I went to our high school Valentine's dance, and the girl I was in love with spent most of the evening necking in the corner with my hated rival (and a more offensive spectacle I cannot recall). As reported by Rachel Roberts of the British newspaper The Independent, February 13, 2017 (link in original):

Pakistan has become the latest country to ban Valentine's Day.

It has prohibited all public celebrations and any media coverage because the celebration is not part of Muslim traditions.

The ruling was handed down by the Islamabad High Court, following an unsuccessful attempt to ban the festival last year.

President Mamnoon Hussain urged Pakistanis not to observe Valentine’s Day, which he criticised as a Western import that threatened to undermine Islamic values.

“Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” he said at a ceremony last year.

The court passed its ruling to the ministry, federal government, chairman and chief commissioner, who are obliged to submit a response to the order within ten days.

The festival has seen its popularity increase in many cities in Pakistan in recent years, but religious groups have denounced it.

The order was in response to a private petition which argued the festival promotes immorality, nudity and indecency under the guise of celebrating love.

There have been localised bans of the festival by councils in previous years, although these are said to have been largely ignored.

Whether or not the national ban is implemented will depend largely on how the police, guided by the Government, decide to enforce it – in particular, whether they target shops selling Valentine’s cards and gifts.

Valentine’s Day evolved from a traditional Christian feast day and first became associated with romantic love during the 14th century, when the idea of courtly love flourished.

The first known romantic reference to the feast of St Valentine’s Day was made by Canterbury Tales author Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem Perlement of Foules, or the Parliament of Birds.

In 2015, Pakistan's top Islamic clerical body threatened to issue a fatwa against the sale of condoms following reports they were being sold together with chocolate to mark Valentine's Day.

Despite the objections from more pious Muslims, many Indonesians do celebrate the occasion, particularly in major cities where cards and chocolates to mark it are widely available.

The Pakistani ruling follows a protest against Valentine’s Day by students in Indonesia who believe the celebration encourages casual sex.

Teenagers in the Indonesian city of Surabaya chanted “Say no to sex” in the latest expression of anger towards the celebration in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Religious police in Saudi Arabia banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day goods in 2008, telling shops to remove all red items - a move which is said to have led to a black market in roses, wrapping paper and “red goods”.

Georgian Orthodox priest detained on suspicion of plotting to poison the Patriarch

Fun and games in the Georgian Orthodox Church, as reported by Misha Dzhinzhikhashvili of Associated Press, February 13, 2017:

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Police in Georgia have detained a high-profile priest who is suspected of plotting to poison a senior cleric, prosecutors said on Monday.

The announcement comes after well-respected Rustavi 2 television channel reported about an attempt to poison Patriarch Ilia, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Irakli Shotadze, chief prosecutor in the former Soviet republic, told reporters on Monday that Father Georgi Mamaladze was arrested at the Tbilisi airport on Friday with cyanide in his suitcase. Mamaladze, chief of the property department of the Georgian Orthodox Church, was on his way to Germany where Ilia is undergoing hospital treatment.

Shotadze said the arrest was made after prosecutors received a tip from a man who reported that he had been contacted by a priest looking to buy cyanide. Police also found weapons at Mamaladze's home.

Shotadze refused to name the senior cleric that Mamaladze is suspected of having targeted.

The 84-year old Ilia has been in poor health for several years, and was visibly frail when he welcomed Pope Francis to Georgia in October.

Eka Beseliya, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on legal issues, said Mamaladze's arrest "has prevented a grave crime" but she said she was unable to disclose details of the case since it is classified. Beseliya added, however, that the patriarch's "security and health are protected absolutely."

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Retired Church of England bishops whine about Church's attitude toward sodomites

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

Yet more evidence that the Church of England--described in the 1990s by a Canadian traditionalist Anglican clergyman as "the natural spiritual home of the Queen and Mr. Bean"--is a Christian church in name only. As reported by Associated Press, February 12, 2017:

LONDON — Fourteen retired Anglican bishops are criticizing the Church of England's attitude to homosexuality, saying the church is not listening to the voices of gay Christians.

They are responding to a report from the church's House of Bishops, which calls for a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gays and lesbians, but says the church should not lift its opposition to same-sex marriage.

In an open letter , the ex-bishops say that "while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice."

Former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby, one of the signatories, said Sunday that some gay Anglicans feel betrayed by the lack of support for change.

Gay marriage has long divided the Anglican communion, which has 85 million adherents.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Buddhist monk in Myanmar arrested while in possession of four million methamphetamine pills

As reported by Associated Press, February 7, 2017:

YANGON, Myanmar -- A Buddhist monk has been arrested in Myanmar after authorities found more than 4 million methamphetamine pills in his car and in his monastery, police said Tuesday.

Officer Maung Maung Yin said the monk was stopped Sunday as he drove in northern Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh. Authorities had been tipped off that the monk was carrying an illegal haul.

Maung Maung Yin said an anti-drug task force found 400,000 pills in the monk's car. A subsequent search of his monastery turned up 4.2 million pills along with a grenade and ammunition. A statement from the office of Myanmar's leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, said that one million kyats ($769) in cash was also found in the vehicle.

Myanmar is a major producer of methamphetamine, usually smuggled from the northeast to neighbouring countries. It is also the world's second biggest producer of opium, from which heroin is derived.

"This is not a normal case, and when we were informed that the monk was arrested, we were all shocked," said Kyaw Mya Win, a township police officer.

Asked about the case, the director general of the Religious Affairs Ministry, Soe Min Tun, acknowledged some surprise.

"It is not a very common case, but not impossible to happen. What will happen to the monk is that he will have to give up his monkhood right away and face trial as an ordinary person," he said.

Police said they were still questioning the monk Tuesday.

Last year, Myanmar officials seized 21 million methamphetamine pills with a street value around $35.5 million near the border with China in the biggest such seizure in recent memory.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Uber tells man's wife where he is--so she divorces him

and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

As reported by Rob Waugh of Yahoo News UK, February 10, 2017:

A businessman is suing Uber after what he claims is a flaw in the app allowed his wife to follow his comings and goings – and she divorced him.

The unnamed Côte d’Azur businessman is suing for 45 million euros (£38 million) after the app allegedly alerted his wife whenever he used an Uber.

He claims that he logged into his Uber account on her iPhone, then logged out – but the phone continued to give her alerts when he used the service.

He is now seeking redress in the courts.

The alerts allowed his wife to see information such as his taxi driver’s name, and whenever he used an Uber – and allowed her to read them without his knowledge, Figaro reports.

The French newspaper said that it was able to replicate the issue – and receive notifications about someone’s Uber account, even after they logged out.

It’s not clear how many people might be affected by this – the issue does not seem to affect Android users..

A spokesman for Uber said, ‘Uber does not publicly comment on individual cases, including the case of divorce proceedings between spouses.
Click on the link to see the original article in French as reported by Elisa Braun in Le Figaro, February 8, 2017.
See also my post Woman gets caught cheating on her husband--and sues the phone company (May 22, 2010).