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12 Aug

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Colorado student Austin Wilkerson avoided prison time for raping an intoxicated woman. Now she wants to share her court statement with the world

Austin Wilkerson was convicted of sexually assaulting a ‘helpless’ and ‘half-conscious’ first-year student after he told friends he would take care of her.

Austin Wilkerson was convicted of sexually assaulting a ‘helpless’ and ‘half-conscious’ first-year student after he told friends he would take care of her. Photograph: Boulder Police

Another victim of college sexual assault has released a statement on the trauma of the attack and ensuing trial, offering a powerful depiction of rape culture and victim-blaming that echoes the viral letter of the woman at the center of the high-profile Stanford sexual assault case.

Austin James Wilkerson, a 22-year-old former University of Colorado student, was convicted of sexually assaulting a “helpless” and “half-conscious” first-year student after he told friends he would take care of her. Prosecutors say Wilkerson repeatedly tried to cover up the crime and lied under oath about the full extent of the assault against the vulnerable woman.

Despite the guilty verdict by a jury, Judge Patrick Butler decided not to send Wilkerson to prison this week with a ruling that closely resembles the lenient sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

In a statement to the Guardian on Thursday, the victim said that she was motivated to share her story and impact statement after seeing other survivors of sexual assault come forward:

“Although I did have to re-live the trauma multiple times, I would go through this process all over again. Our goal has been to have the rapist not perpetrate again, which hopefully won’t happen even with the light sentence. We get to put a face to the 1-in-4 statistics. Surprisingly, this whole ordeal has been therapeutic. I get to tell my story and not keep it bottled up.”

She continued, “Other brave survivors’ eerily familiar stories have inspired me to share my story that rape isn’t always a stranger in the bushes.”

Here is the 21-year-old woman’s full statement to the court:…………..

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David Lisnard rules that bathing apparel must respect ‘good customs and secularism’

The ruling said beachwear which displays religious affiliation ‘is liable to create risks of disrupting public order’.

The ruling said beachwear which displays religious affiliation ‘is liable to create risks of disrupting public order’. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The mayor of Cannes has banned the wearing of burqinis on the beaches of the French Riviera resort famous for its annual film festival.

Mayor David Lisnard signed off on the ruling that “access to beaches and for swimming is banned to anyone who does not have [bathing apparel] which respects good customs and secularism,” which is a founding principle of the French republic.

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order (crowds, scuffles etc) which it is necessary to prevent,” it says……….

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Parliamentary poll follows tax haven revelations that led to protests and prompted prime minister to quit

Iceland’s President Gudni Johannesson, with wife Reid, after his inauguration in August following a successful anti-establishment election campaign.

Iceland’s President Gudni Johannesson, with wife Reid, after his inauguration in August following a successful anti-establishment election campaign. Photograph: Geirix/Reuters

Iceland has announced early parliamentary elections triggered by the Panama Papers scandal that forced the prime minister to resign.

The trove of leaked documents revealing the vast extent of global tax evasion implicated several senior Icelandic politicians. Then-PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned after the leak in April, becoming the first major figure to fall from grace over the scandal. Rarely seen protests erupted on the streets but his government remained in place.

On Thursday his replacement, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson: “We intend to hold the election on 29 October.

“Judging by how matters progressed in parliament this spring and summer, we expect that that will happen.”……..

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Actor says experience ‘really, really sucks’ after being detained for a third time in seven years, this time in LA

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan. Photograph: Matthias Balk/EPA

The Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has expressed annoyance about being detained by US airport immigration authorities for a third time, saying the experience “really, really sucks”.

The last time Khan, 50, was detained by immigration officials, in New York in 2012, it sparked uproar among his Indian fans who accused the US of racial profiling, and led Washington to apologise.

“I fully understand and respect security with the way the world is, but to be detained at US immigration every damn time really really sucks,” Khan tweeted after he was pulled aside at Los Angeles airport on Thursday.

“The brighter side is while waiting caught some really nice Pokémons,” he added.

As news of Khan’s detention broke on Indian television channels, the US assistant secretary of state Nisha Biswal quickly expressed regret.

“Sorry for the hassle at the airport, @iamsrk – even American diplomats get pulled for extra screening!” Biswal tweeted.

Washington had previously denied allegations that Khan was singled out because his name denotes him as a Muslim. Someone with the same name is reportedly on a US no-fly list of 80,000………….

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US politics

Election 2016

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Opinion: A match made in hell: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and the bigots

Trump said he’d ‘protect’ LGBT people from Muslims. But in Florida, of all places, he’s cosying up to homophobes, and they’re conservative Christians

Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate vice presidential candidate Mike Pence attend a campaign event at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa August 5, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

‘If Trump is to run as a Republican, he must embrace the zealots. And if he is to embrace the zealots, he must engage in that most time-honored tradition of the religious right: scapegoating the LGBT community.’ Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

There’s something medieval about Trump’s uneasy partnership with his running mate Mike Pence – and I’m not just talking about Pence’s retrograde politics.

Partnering with the embattled governor of Indiana was a strategic marriage a feudal dynast could be proud of. Pence, though wildly unpopular following his Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is a born-again evangelical, a demographic Trump desperately needs to court.

Trump has admitted as much.

“I think if you look at one of the big reasons that I chose Mike – and one of the reasons is party unity,” Trump said the day he announced Pence as his VP pick. “I have to be honest.”

It’s a match made in hell. Trump was uneasy about Pence from the beginning. Reports surfaced that Trump wanted to change his mind up to the very last moment. In December 2015, Pence referred to Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban as “offensive and unconstitutional”.

But if Trump is to run as a Republican, he must embrace the zealots. And if he is to embrace the zealots, he must engage in that most time-honored tradition of the religious right: scapegoating the LGBT community.

On the eve of the two-month anniversary of the Pulse massacre, where we lost 49 of our LGBT brothers and sisters, Trump is speaking at an anti-LGBT summit in Orlando called Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project.

According to Right Wing Watch, he is joining “Little” Marco Rubio in a lineup of speakers that make Kim Davis look like a “Love is Love” bumper sticker:

David Barton, a Republican activist who believes HIV/Aids is God’s punishment for homosexuality and that God is actively preventing a cure to maintain it as such. He also believes anti-bullying policies in schools are attempts to indoctrinate students into homosexuality………….

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