Ending Child Marriage Starts by Knowing What Works

When she was 12, Chimwemwe, from a rural village in southern Malawi, married a 17-year-old boy. She had started having sex with him when she was 10 because, she said, he gave her money and small gifts, while her parents could not afford to feed her or buy her clothes.

Chimwemwe, not her real name, became pregnant, and their families forced them to marry. When I interviewed her in September 2013, two years into her marriage, she said: “I’ve never experienced happiness in my marriage. I’ve never seen the benefit of being married.” Her husband beat her, she often went without food and she had almost died giving birth.

Chimwemwe dropped out of school in standard four (equivalent to fourth grade) but said she does not want to go back because “I feel I was not good with books.”

Read more.

Photo: A 14-year-old girl holds her baby at her sister’s home in a village in Kanduku, in Malawi’s Mwanza district. She married in September 2013, but her husband chased her away. Her 15-year-old sister, in the background, married when she was 12. Both sisters said they married to escape poverty. © 2014 Human Rights Watch

BREAKING: 3 Journalists Injured In Gaza: Israeli Army Makes Journalists Sign Death Liability Waiver Before Entering Gaza


IDF is reportedly requiring journalists entering Gaza to fill out a form that absolves the Israeli army of all responsibility in the event of injury or death.

The form, tweeted by The Huffington Post’s Sophia Jones, was given to reporters in a convoy of press entering Gaza’s Erez Crossing.

At erez crossing, reporters crossing into #gaza are made to sign form absolving IDF of any responsibility if press gets hurt/worse.

— Sophia Jones (@Sophia_MJones) July 18, 2014

Reporters entering Gaza today made to sign a disclaimer saying that Israeli MOD & IDF bear no responsibility for their injury/death.

— Louisa Loveluck (@leloveluck) July 18, 2014

The form reads:

I am aware that neither the MOD nor the IDF shall bear any liability whatsoever for damage or [unreadable] resulting from military operations in and around Gaza or otherwise caused to my person or [p…] during, or as a result of, my presence in or entrance to Gaza.

The form continues to state that the signee shall no sue the MOD or IDF for damage sustained during, or as a result of, their presence or entrance to Gaza.

Additionally, the form says the signee agrees to compensate the IDF should any individual or company sue the IDF on their behalf.

Forms like this are common for reporters stationed in conflict zones. The U.S. military required all journalists to sign a similar form when they were reporting in Iraq.

Louisa Loveluck, a Cairo-based correspondent for CS Monitor and the Telegraph, says it’s been standard practice on some crossings since 2012, she tweeted on Friday in discussing the document.

Mashable has reached out to the IDF for comment and will update if and when we hear back. We’ve also reached out to the Committee to Protect Journalists for further insight and will add that here once we have it.

BREAKING: Israel Begins Ground Invasion in Gaza, Dozens of Casualties Reported


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement today announcing that Israeli forces have begun a ground invasion in Gaza. The goal of the operation, according to statement, is to “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror.”

IDF spokesman Moti Almoz told the Jerusalem Post, “The operation has reached its ground phase. Large numbers of forces began a focused effort to destroy tunnels in Gaza. We are in a new stage.” He said forces are “moving now in various areas of Gaza. We will continue to attack in every location we think needs to be struck.”

The Post also notes that Israeli forces intend to “destroy the Gazan terror tunnels leading to Israel.” Earlier today, Israel thwarted a Hamas attack in which 13 men attempted to reach a kibbutz by tunnel.

Israel’s Channel 10 reporter Alon Ben-David reports that there have been “dozens” of Palestinian casualties in the ground invasion so far. At least 235 Palestinians have been killed in the last ten days.

Despite this escalation, The New York Times reports that cease-fire talks are still happening:

Palestinian, Egyptian, Israeli and American officials said intense discussions were underway on terms for a cease-fire that could take effect as soon as 6 a.m. Friday, but none was willing to be quoted by name. … “The effort to achieve an end of the violence is ongoing,” said one senior Israeli official. “We’re not there yet.”

Earlier today, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied reports that a cease-fire deal had been reached. A Hamas spokesman also denied the reports.

Source: Allie Jones for Gawker

Senate Republicans Filibuster Hobby Lobby Reversal Away


As expected, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill that would have prevented employers from interfering in a woman’s birth control coverage. The vote for cloture failed 56 to 43, according to the Associated Press, meaning the bill won’t go forward for a yes or no vote. 

The Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act would have reversed the Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows “closely held” for-profit religious organizations to opt-out of covering certain kinds of birth control if they have religious objections. As Sen. Mark Udall, the bill’s co-sponsor, put it, it would “keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms.” 

Though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised another vote on the bill before the end of the year, this is a bill that was destined to fail. Democrats have tied the Hobby Lobby ruling to their midterm campaign, and a successful vote would have meant restoring women’s full freedom to decide what birth control works for them. At the risk of furthering the “war on women” narrative, Republicans — who saw the Hobby Lobby ruling as a victory — weren’t likely to do the left an election solid. 

But that doesn’t mean Republicans don’t care. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and two other Republicans introduced a bill that would remind people that women can still buy their own contraceptives with their own money, and call for a Food and Drug Administration study to look into whether birth control can be sold over the counter, according to the Associated Press. Of course, that’s small consolation to women who can’t afford the blacklisted forms of birth control without insurance.

Source: Arit John for The Wire


Israel targeted and killed four Palestinian boys earlier today as they were playing football on the beach in Gaza. 

Their names were Ismael Mohamed Bakr, 9, Ahed Atef Bakr, 10, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, 10 and Mohamed Ramez Bakr, 11, and they were all from the same family.

According to Abu Hassera, whose shirt was stained with blood: “When the first shell hit the land, they ran away but another shell hit them all. It looked as if the shells were chasing them.”

Now, everyone is used to seeing pro-Israel bias in the media and it’s no surprise. But this ‘article’ from the New York Times is something else. As pointed out by Ben White: there is no mention of “Israel”, or the “IDF”, or “Israeli military”, or basically any agency.

(Source: standwithpalestine)

BREAKING: Attorney General Promises He Will Participate In Any Supreme Court Challenge To Marriage Equality


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on ABC This Week yesterday in an interview that centered on Syria, warning Americans of the danger in traveling to the Middle East. Near the end of the interview, the attorney general made some unflattering remarks when asked about former governor Sarah Palin’s call for impeachment, which have been getting a considerable amount of attention on the morning news shows. But sandwiched between the danger and the diva, was a promise to the LGBT community concerning the marriage equality cases making their way to the Supreme Court. 

Attorney General Holder said whenever the Supreme Court grants certiorari, the U.S. Department of Justice will join the case, and file an amicus brief advocating for full marriage equality. He went on to say the president had asked him to:

make the promise of the Windsor decision real.”

You will remember the Justice Department refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, causing an angry House of Representatives to hire outside council.

The attorney general also offered his prediction on how any marriage equality case that comes before the Supreme Court will be decided, saying he thought any ban was unconstitutional.

Attorney General Holder:

"I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination."

Utah is the only state that has so far appealed a lower court’s decision striking down its ban on same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court, but others will soon follow as the appeals process is played out. The High Court has not yet granted certiorari in any marriage equality case. 

Watch the interview:

BREAKING: Major League Baseball To Use All-Star Game To Make Major Pro-LGBT Announcement


Just before Tuesday night’s All-Star game in Minneapolis, Major League Baseball will make a major announcement about homophobia in baseball. 

Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler is reporting that tomorrow’s announcement “will dramatically shift” MLB’s “ability to combat homophobia and help gay players, coaches and staff in the League.”

A year ago, MLB adopted a new workplace code of conduct that protects players and staff from anti-LGBT harassment. “We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks, along with those of different races, religions, genders and national origins,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said at the time.

In 2011, MLB added sexual orientation to it’s non-discrimination policy as part of their labor deal with the players union.

It is unknown is Commissioner Bud Selig will make the announcement himself.

BREAKING: Democrats Set Up Senate Vote On Bill To Overturn Hobby Lobby, Republicans Expected To Block Bill

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union