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UN: 25 years after Beijing declaration, ‘womens rights are under attack’

One by one, leaders and ministers from over 100 nations admitted Thursday that 25 years after the ad..



One by one, leaders and ministers from over 100 nations admitted Thursday that 25 years after the adoption of a road map to achieve equality for women not a single country has reached that goal — and many warned that instead of progress there is now push back.

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French President Emmanuel Macron put it bluntly, “womens rights are under attack.”

Addressing a high-level meeting to commemorate the landmark 1995 U.N. womens conference in Beijing, Macron said its no secret that the 150-page blueprint to realise gender equality approved by 189 nations in the Chinese capital “would have no chance of being adopted” in 2020.

So “this is no time for commemoration or self-congratulation,” he warned, because progress achieved by women “is being undermined, even in our democracies.”

The Beijing declaration and platform called for bold action in 12 areas for women and girls, including combating poverty and gender-based violence, ensuring all girls get an education and putting women at top levels of business and government, as well as at peacemaking tables. It also said, for the first time in a U.N. document, that womens human rights include the right to control and decide “on matters relating to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health, free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”

Macron said in his prerecorded speech that progress is being undercut “starting with the freedom for women to control their own bodies, and in particular the right to abortion.” And he cited continuing inequalities in schooling, pay, domestic work, and political representation.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has attributed gender inequality to “centuries of discrimination, deep-rooted patriarchy and misogyny.”

In todays more divided, conservative and still very male-dominated societies, he said, “we have seen around the world a pushback against gender equality and womens rights.”

“Now is the time to push back against the pushback,” he declared.

Fijis Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama called it “a sad testament to the human condition” that the world is still struggling to achieve the right of women and girls to live free from violence, go to school, participate fully in decision-making affecting their lives and earn equal pay for work of equal value.

“The second-class status of women is deeply engrained in many societies, and it takes time and effort to root it out,” he said.

The head of the U.N. agency charged with promoting gender equality said there has been progress, but not enough and too slow.

U.N. Womens Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka pointed to 131 countries that enacted legislation to advance gender equality in the last 10 years, the prosecution of gender-related crimes during conflicts, increased school enrollment of girls, and advances in maternal health.

But she also stressed significant “push back” on reproductive rights and other issues in developed countries, including the United States, and in the European Union. In Africa and Asia, she said, there are governments “that have not felt any pressure” to move forward on gender equality.

When the United Nations was founded in 1945 on the ashes of World War II, Mlambo-Ngcuka said, not a single woman was a head of state or government. At the time of the Beijing conference in 1995, there were 12 female leaders, and today there are 22 women leaders among the 193 U.N. member nations.

“Women are now calling for a leapfrog to 50 percent representation, or parity in all spheres, including Cabinets, corporate boards, and throughout the economy, including women as beneficiaries of COVID-19 fiscal stimulus packages, engagement in all peace processes, and closing the digital divide,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

Secretary-General Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic has hit women and girls the hardest and warned: “Unless we act now, COVID-19 could wipe out a generation of fragile progress towards gender equality.”

Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands overseas trade minister, said the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and girls “adds on to an already growing push back against womens rights and girls rights, and gender equality around the world.”

“There is more gender-based violence,” she said. “More women and girls losing their livelihoods, and more girls are sadly not returning to school.”

In her prerecorded speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about being in that small group of women world leaders today and recalled Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, saying 26 years ago when she was a minister of education and science that “No woman in my time will be prime minister.”

Looking back at the Beijing conference, Merkel said its platform and declaration remain “an important cornerstone for the implementation of womens rights around the world” — and 25 years after their adoption “equality should be a given.”

“But we still have a long way to go,” she said, stressing that equality is a question that women and men can only resolve together, and only “if society, business and governments pull in the same direction.”

“Get on board!” Merkel urged. “Lets work together to really target the Beijing goals! The faster the better.”

The landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was the largest-ever formal gathering of women, though hundreds of men were among the 17,000 participants at the official meeting that adopted the roadmap to gender equality. Some 30,000 people, the vast majority women, attended a parallel NGO forum outside the capital.Read More – Source

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‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli charged over pro-Trump riots




A prominent follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon has been charged over the US Capitol riots.

Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli, is in custody on charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

Mr Chansley, who calls himself the QAnon Shaman, is allegedly the man pictured with a painted face, fur hat and horns inside Congress on Wednesday.

Donald Trump faces another impeachment charge for his role in the unrest.

Democrats accuse the president of encouraging the riots, in which five people died.

The FBI has been appealing to the public to help bring the assailants to justice.

Mr Chansley has not commented publicly on the charges.

A statement from the federal attorney for Washington DC said: “It is alleged that Chansley was identified as the man seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants.

“This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade.”

The statement said police had also detained a man from Florida believed to have been photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern from the House of Representatives chamber.

Adam Johnson, 36, is being held on charges including one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry.

Also among those charged is West Virginia lawmaker, Derrick Evans. He is alleged to have posted a video of himself online, standing outside the building with Trump supporters, and then going inside.

He was arrested on Friday and is also accused of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, the Department of Justice statement said.

More than a dozen people have now been charged in offences related to the assault on the Capitol building. They include an Alabama man allegedly found with 11 Molotov cocktails near the unrest.

Mr Trump is due to leave office in 11 days. Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to introduce an article of impeachment against him on Monday, for “incitement of insurrection”.

A White House spokesperson said impeaching the president at this late stage would only further divide the country.

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US election: Trump tells Georgia election official to ‘find’ votes to overturn Biden win




US President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Mr Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post.

Mr Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results were correct.

Mr Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 electoral college votes to his Mr Trump’s 232.

Since the 3 November vote, Mr Trump has been alleging widespread electoral fraud without providing any evidence.

He tweeted on Sunday that Mr Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges. “He has no clue!” the president tweeted.

All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals. So far, US courts have rejected 60 challenges to Mr Biden’s win.

Congress is due to formally approve the election result on 6 January.

Mr Biden, a Democrat, is due to be inaugurated as president on 20 January.

Voters in Georgia are due to vote again on Tuesday to elect two senators for the state. The result could determine the balance of power in the Senate – if the two Democrat contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators and Democratic Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote.

Mr Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.

What happened during the call?

In the excerpts released by Washington Post, Mr Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurising Georgia’s secretary of state.

He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Mr Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.

Mr Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have Mr president is that the data you have is wrong.”

Later in the call Mr Trump said the rumour was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – a charge Mr Raffensperger’s lawyer said it was not the case.

The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.

“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer,” Mr Trump said.

He told Mr Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.

“You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers,” he said.

“Mr President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination,” Mr Raffensperger replied. “We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”


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Fact-checking Trump’s conspiracy theory connecting Georgia’s secretary of state to China




In the waning days of his presidency, Donald Trump continues to spread nonsense conspiracies over the 2020 election and the officials who oversaw it, attacking Georgia’s governor and secretary of state on Twitter Tuesday.

Following Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s announcement that a ballot signature match audit found no evidence of absentee voter fraud in Cobb County, Georgia, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory linking Raffensperger to the Chinese government.
Trump tweeted that Raffensperger has a brother who “works for China,” insinuating some nefarious, pro-China plot to have Trump lose the race in Georgia.
“Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China, and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’. So disgusting!” the President tweeted after attacking Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
Facts First: This is false. A spokesperson for Raffensperger told CNN that the secretary of state has no siblings who work for China, as Trump baselessly alleged.
“There are no relatives who work for China or are affiliated with China,” said Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs.
Though it’s unclear exactly where Trump is getting the idea that Raffensperger’s brother works for China, it’s possible he is picking up on a false conspiracy theory spread by former political consultant Dick Morris, who made the allegation during an interview on Newsmax Tuesday evening and on his personal website.
In the interview, Morris leveled several false or misleading accusations against Raffensberger, including that Raffensperger is related to Ron Raffensperger, the chief technology officer of the Chinese company Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions. Fuchs said that the secretary of state does not have a sibling named Ron.
Georgia Public Broadcasting reported Wednesday “public documents and records [show] that Raffensperger does have four siblings, including a brother, but none of them are named Ron, none work for Chinese technology companies.”
Morris also falsely accused Raffensperger of standing in the way of recounts and refusing to verify signatures. Georgia conducted a statewide audit, hand-counting about 5 million ballots and Raffensperger oversaw an additional recount. And in addition to the state’s existing signature verification process that occurs twice in the case of absentee ballots requested by mail, Raffensberger announced his office would help conduct a signature match audit statewide to further verify signatures on absentee ballots.
In a statement, Newsmax told CNN:
“Newsmax has never made any claim of impropriety by Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger or any member of his family. On Tuesday night, while appearing on the network, commentator Dick Morris claimed he was reporting on an allegation that Raffensperger had a brother who worked at a Chinese company. This claim was apparently inaccurate. During the segment the Newsmax host was highly skeptical of Mr. Morris’ claims and suggested there was no evidence behind Mr. Morris’ assertion, and specifically asked Mr. Morris to provide evidence of his claim.”
CNN has attempted to reach Morris for comment but has yet to receive a response.

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