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Azerbaijan on strict lockdown – citizens must get permission before exiting home

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To combat the spread of coronavirus in Azerbaijan, strict restrictions on the movement of citizens will come into force starting April 5. In order to leave the home, citizens will have to inform the authorities every time via SMS.

At the same time, а state of emergency has not yet been declared in the country, and there is no state plan to mitigate the economic consequences of the quarantine regime and support those segments of the population who, due to this, have been left without a livelihood.

According to official data, as of April 2, the total number of coronavirus infected in Azerbaijan reached 400 people. Five of those infected died, 26 recovered. A strengthened quarantine regime has been introduced in the country. Closed metro. Most organizations and enterprises suspended work. Streets are patrolled by police and internal troops.

The following categories of citizens will be able to move freely with an official identity card or certificate of employment:

  • Government officials and government officials (e.g., deputies and presidential staff)
  • Ministry staff
  • Ombudsmen, lawyers
  • Employees of enterprises and organizations of national importance or engaged in life support
  • Medical workers
  • Law enforcement officers, judiciary, military personnel
  • Employees of foreign embassies and international organizations accredited in Azerbaijan.

Some will be able to obtain permits only after their employers apply for a permit for them on the website www.icaze.e-gov.az.

All other citizens can leave the house only in order to:

  • to buy food and other essential goods,
  • go to the doctor,
  • go to the bank or mail
  • go to the funeral of a close relative.

First, citizens will have to send a free SMS to number 8103 with the number of their ID card and indicate the reason they need to go outside.

For violation of these rules, an administrative penalty will be imposed – from fines to a prison term.

Social media users have perceived of the restrictions as an attempt of total control by the state.

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POPE: Media Should Help People ‘Distinguish Good from Evil’…

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ROME — Pope Francis told members of the Catholic Press Association Tuesday that the media should build bridges, defend life, and help people, especially the young, “to distinguish good from evil.”
In their reporting, journalists should help people “to develop sound judgments based on a clear and unbiased presentation of the facts, and to understand the importance of working for justice, social concord and respect for our common home,” the pope told them.
The pope sent his message to participants in a virtual Catholic media conference sponsored by the Catholic Press Association and began by expressing his closeness “to those who have been affected by the virus and to those who, even at the risk of their lives, have worked and continue to work in assisting our brothers and sisters in need.”
The experience of the pandemic “has shown how essential is the mission of the communications media for bringing people together, shortening distances, providing necessary information, and opening minds and hearts to truth,” Francis said.
The communications media are called “to inform and to unite,” the pontiff said. “E pluribus unum – the ideal of unity amid diversity, reflected in the motto of the United States, must also inspire the service you offer to the common good.”
“How urgently is this needed today, in an age marked by conflicts and polarization from which the Catholic community itself is not immune,” he continued. “We need media capable of building bridges, defending life and breaking down the walls, visible and invisible, that prevent sincere dialogue and truthful communication between individuals and communities.”
“We need media that can help people, especially the young, to distinguish good from evil, to develop sound judgments based on a clear and unbiased presentation of the facts, and to understand the importance of working for justice, social concord and respect for our common home,” he said.
The pope also said that journalists should be men and women of conviction who “protect communication from all that would distort it or bend it to other purposes.”
Communication is not only a matter of professional competence, he said. “A true communicator dedicates himself or herself completely to the welfare of the others, at every level, from the life of each individual to the life of the entire human family.”
With a nod to recent protests in the United States, the pope said everyone must work “to overcome the diseases of racism, injustice and indifference that disfigure the face of our common family.”
“Where the world sees conflicts and divisions, may you look to the suffering and the poor, and give voice to the plea of our brothers and sisters in need of mercy and understanding,” he said.
The pope ended his message by assuring Catholic journalists of his support and prayers, while urging them to remain “united in faith and resistant to fleeting cultural fads that lack the fragrance of evangelical truth.”
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Turkish President Defends Religious Conservatives’ Homophobic Views

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current President of Turkey, took the opportunity to denigrate the LGBTQI community of Turkey whilst defending similarly homophobic remarks made by the head of the Turkish Red Crescent at the end of June.
Erdogan’s speech was delivered to the majority-Muslim nation after he held a meeting with his cabinet and echoed the rhetoric of various religious conservatives.
The Turkish president claimed that the LGBTQI people of his country had been “sneaking up on our national and spiritual values again” and said that queer folks “throughout human history” have been “trying to poison young people.”
“I invite all members of my nation to be careful and take a stand against those who exhibit all kinds of heresy that our Lord has forbidden, and those who support them,” Erdoğan said
He called on Turks to “come out against those who display any kind of perversion forbidden by God.”
Erdoğan also took aim at queer allies, announcing that people who support “such marginal movements contrary to our faith and culture are partners in the same heresy in our eyes.”
 Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent – Turkey’s version of the Red Cross which offers humanitarian aid – was sounding off about Pride Month and vowed on Twitter never to let the LGBTQI community “step on human dignity.”
Even though Kinik did not explicitly mention homosexuals and later said his comments were aimed at paedophiles only, his tweet drew a wave of criticism including from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent Societies, where he serves as one of five Vice Presidents.
Turkey has a questionable history of LGBTQI rights, even though it is one of the more liberal countries in the Middle East.
Same sex activity was legalised in the Ottoman Empire (the predecessor of modern Turkey) in 1858, when wide reforms brought in new laws that no longer contained any articles explicitly criminalising homosexual activity, though acts of homosexuality were punishable, usually with fines.
In modern times and since the day Turkey was officially proclaimed a republic on October 29, 1923, homosexual activity has been a legal act. Although public opinion is conservative and LGBTQI people have reportedly been experiencing increased discrimination, harassment and violence in recent years.
Turkey does not recognise same sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnership benefits.
 The first Turkish LGBTQI organisation, Lambda Istanbul was established in 1993 and they continue against much opposition from government to fight for one of it’s main agendas, which is to help change the tenth article of the Constitution of Turkey, which fails to advocate specifically for the LGBTQI community.
Clandestine Pride events started being held in 1993 and with Lambda Istanbul‘s involvement, eventually led to the first public pride event which was held in Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul in 2003.
This initial event had 30 people in attendance which grew to over 100,000 attendees at it’s last legally sanctioned event in 2014.
Turkey’s government denied permission to event organisers to hold Pride Events in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

© Star Observer 2020 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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Dramatic explosion at Turkish fireworks factory kills two

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A deadly explosion at a fireworks factory in northwest Turkey on Friday has killed four people and wounded at least 94 others, Turkey’s health minister said. Fahrettin Koca added that rescue teams were working to recover at least 45 people trapped under the factory’s rubble.Video posted on social media showed flashes, bangs and a huge plume of smoke at the Big Coskunlar Fireworks factory, located in the Sakarya province. It was unclear what had triggered the blast.This is believed to be the third explosion at factory since 2009. Fireworks in Turkey are used to celebrate occasions like graduations, weddings and holidays.Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also shared his condolences, speaking to media after Friday prayers in Istanbul. Erdogan said 189 people were working inside the complex in the Hendek district of Sakarya.The blasts from the explosion were heard up to 31 miles away, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported. While the governor of Sakarya, Cetin Oktay Kaldirim,told state media that dozens of injured workers had already been taken to local hospitals for treatment.”We can’t intervene because explosions are continuing,” said Kaldirim. Adding, that there were at least 110 tons of explosive materials in the factory.Dramatic video footage online shows ambulances and fire-fighting vehicles at the scene.Health Minister Koca said in a statement provided to Anadolu news agency, that there were at least 85 ambulances and two ambulance-helicopters present.He also asked local residents to wear masks and stay indoors, in case they were affected by smoke or noxious gases from the factory. Reuters contributed to this report.Aziz Akyavas Aziz Akyavas is an NBC News Producer based in Istanbul, Turkey. Adela SulimanAdela Suliman is a London-based writer and reporter for NBC News Digital.
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