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World News
by Rex Wockner

This article shared 2175 times since Wed Sep 19, 2001
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AIDS is now South Africa's number-one killer, accounting for 40 percent of all deaths among people aged 15 to 49, the Medical Research Council reported Sept. 16.

One in nine South Africans is believed to be HIV-positive.



Gays staged a protest inside the World Conference Against Racism Sept. 5 in Durban, South Africa.

Among other things, they were upset over a vote that excluded the International Lesbian & Gay Association ( ILGA ) from participation in the gathering.

Police moved the protesters from inside the International Conference Centre to the street outside.

An ILGA spokesperson noted that the full name of the conference was the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Related Intolerances. Sexual orientation, she said, is certainly a "related intolerance."

ILGA was excluded from the gathering by a 43-43 vote at an organizing session July 30 in Geneva. Twenty-seven other nations abstained from the vote and 80 were not present.



About 300 gays and lesbians marched in Minsk, capital of Belarus, Sept. 7 even though last year's parade, the nation's first, was shut down by police.

Organizers said they were allowed to proceed this year only because many foreign journalists were in Minsk to cover the Sept. 9 presidential election.

The parade ended with an hour-long rally in front of President Alexander Lukashenko's residence.

Activists from Western Europe who planned to attend the pride festivities were denied visas to enter Belarus, organizers said.



A participant in Portugal's Big Brother 3 TV reality show came out Sept. 4.

The group was talking about significant others and contestant Ricardo said, "My girlfriend is a boy."

"Ricardo is 24 years old, very straight-acting but sweet at the same time," said the Web site PortugalGay.PT. "He worked in a call center and shares an apartment with his boyfriend. He came out to his family and friends when he was a teenager."

Messages posted on the Portuguese Big Brother Web site ( ) have been mostly supportive of Ricardo's revelation.



The International Third Position ( ITP ) , a right-wing political party, is flooding Newcastle, England, with anti-gay hate literature, the Evening Chronicle reported Sept. 14.

Hundreds of the brochures have been distributed and "they plan to send another 100,000 of the sick leaflets to houses throughout the region," the newspaper said.

ITP spokesman Colin Jeffries told the paper: "The North East [ of England ] is one of the areas where we get the most support because there are a lot of working-class people there who share our beliefs. ... We handed out copies of our magazine, Voice of St. George, before the England versus Albania game at St. James' Park and they went down a treat."

The leaflets encourage citizens to join a campaign to ban homosexual sex.



A group of mothers is organizing in Edinburgh, Scotland, to stamp out "cottaging," the British term for having sex in public men's rooms, reported Sept.13.

The partner of one of the women claims to have been groped and called "fresh meat" by a group of cottagers as he relieved himself in a public loo at Abbeyhill and London Road.

"I only nipped into the toilet after I got off the bus for a quick pee," James Ferguson said. "When I went inside there were about five young men hanging around. They behaved in a very aggressive way towards me, and one said something about me being fresh meat. The next thing I knew one of them had his hand on my bottom. I admit that I lost my temper and I warned them to stay away. There was a bit of an argument. It turned nasty and I ended up chasing one down the street to try and make a citizens' arrest. ... I'm sick of people like this hanging about."

Ferguson's partner, Julie Stevens, said she and other mums from the area are complaining to police and local officials and may picket cruisy loos.

A cottaging "insider" told the newspaper that most of the men who cause problems are married to women. "They are often more problematic than those who are openly gay, acting in a more aggressive way," the insider said.



Rock star Elton John will not fly on U.S. airlines unless the flight carries an armed guard and the cockpit has been sealed, he told Britain's The Sun Sept. 15.

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks "will change the way we live our lives," John said. "Flying won't be the same. ... It is evil and devastating. They should have armed guards on planes and they should seal the cockpits. That's the only way people will fly. I know I wouldn't get on an American airline unless it had an armed guard."

John urged people angry over the attacks not to lash out at Muslims in general.

"The worst thing that could happen would be a knee-jerk reaction against Muslim people around the world," he said. "Most of them are peace-loving but you've got factions of crazy people who want this war in the name of religion. They're just scumbags. I don't think there is a's religious hatred."



A gay/lesbian community center opened in Lugansk, Ukraine, Aug. 18.

The Our World Community Center apparently is the first such facility in any former Soviet republic.

"We hope that the community center will help us to develop our own lifestyle further, to be saved from fear, and to feel that we ourselves are valuable citizens in the country," cofounder Andriy Maymulakhin said at the launch ceremony.

The facility offers a library, films, plays and AIDS information. A bar and discotheque will open soon.

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