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Mexico City to swap Columbus statue for one of indigenous woman



bbc– Mexico City’s governor has confirmed that a statue of an indigenous woman will replace the capital’s Christopher Columbus monument.

The statue was removed last year after indigenous rights activists threatened to tear it down.

Claudia Sheinbaum said it will be replaced by a replica of a pre-Columbian statue known as the Young Woman of Amajac.

Protesters have toppled Columbus statues in Latin America and the US.

Columbus, an Italian-born explorer who was financed by the Spanish crown to set sail on voyages of exploration in the late 15th Century, is seen by many as a symbol of oppression and colonialism as his arrival in America opened the door to the Spanish conquest.

Ms Sheinbaum’s latest announcement was made on 12 October – the anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas.

In the US it is widely celebrated as Columbus Day. But in Mexico and other Latin American countries it is known as Día de la Raza (Spanish: Day of the Race). Many view it as a commemoration to native resistance against European conquest.

Ms Sheinbaum said she wanted to make the change as part of the “decolonisation” of the famous Reforma Avenue, where an empty plinth currently stands.

She added that the new monument – set to to be three times as tall as the Columbus statue – was in recognition that “indigenous women had been the most persecuted” during and after the colonial period.

The original Young Woman of Amajac was discovered in January in Veracruz.

It is believed that the sculpture depicts a leading female member of the Huastec people at the time of its creation.

The original currently sits in Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum, which is going to create the replica.

After the city government decided to remove the Columbus statute from its plinth, a number of proposals were put forward including a statue inspired by a pre-Hispanic Olmec head.

However, it was derided as a token gesture for its lack of authenticity, prompting Ms Sheinbaum to cancel it and opt instead for the Young Woman of Amajac.

The statue of Christopher Columbus will be moved to a park in another area of Mexico City.


The world’s tallest living woman is a 24-year-old from Turkey



CNNA 24-year-old Turkish woman who stands 215.16 centimeters (7 feet, 0.7 inches) tall has been confirmed as the world’s tallest living woman by Guinness World Records.

Rumeysa Gelgi’s phenomenal height is due to a condition called Weaver syndrome, which causes accelerated growth and other abnormalities, Guinness World Records said in a statement.
Gelgi was re-measured this year after being named the world’s tallest living female teenager in 2014, at the age of 18.
Due to her condition, Gelgi usually moves around in a wheelchair, but she is able to use a walker for short periods.
Gelgi is keen to use her platform to inform people about rare medical conditions like Weaver.
“Every disadvantage can be turned into an advantage for yourself so accept yourself for who you are, be aware of your potential and do your best,” she said in the statement.
Her height intrigues people when they see her, but most people are kind and supportive, Gelgi told Guinness World Records.
“It’s an honour to welcome Rumeysa back into the record books. Her indomitable spirit and pride at standing out from the crowd is an inspiration,” said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, in the statement.
“The category of tallest living woman is not one that changes hands very often, so I’m excited to share this news with the world,” he added.
The world’s tallest living man, Sultan Kösen, is also from Turkey and stands 251 centimeters (8 feet, 2.8 inches) tall.
Guinness World Records said the fact that both the tallest living male and female record holders are from the same country is “a rare occurrence.”
The last time it happened was in 2009, when Bao Xishun (236.1 centimeters; 7 feet, 8.95 inches) and Yao Defen (233.3 centimeters; 7 feet 7.85 inches) from China held the records. Gelgi took over the record from Yao.
The tallest woman ever recorded was Zeng Jinlian from Hunan Province, China, who measured 246.3 cm (8 feet, 1 inch) at the time of her death in February 1982.
In August, Guinness World Records confirmed that Samantha Ramsdell, from Connecticut, is the record holder for the world’s largest mouth gape for a female.
Her mouth gape measures 6.56 centimeters, or about 2.5 inches. When measured across, it reaches more than 10 centimeters, or four inches.
Ramsdell is a keen TikTok user and her videos include one of her stuffing three donuts in her mouth, a step up from her video fulfilling a request to eat two at one time. She can also fit in a large order of fries.

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Razzies: Singer Sia named worst director for controversial film Music



Singer Sia has been named “worst director” for her controversial debut film at the Razzies, the pre-Oscars prizes for the year’s worst movies.

Titled Music, her film won three Golden Raspberry Awards in total, including worst actress for Kate Hudson and worst supporting actress for Maddie Ziegler.

The movie has been criticised for casting Ziegler in the autistic lead role and for its portrayal of autism.

It was described as an “insensitive” and “ill-conceived” “autism musical”.

The film follows Zu, a newly sober drug dealer played by Hudson, who becomes the guardian of her young autistic half-sister, played by Sia’s protégé Ziegler.

The Australian pop star has previously apologised for casting a neurotypical actor as a nonverbal autistic girl, and for scenes depicting the use of restraints on autistic people.

“I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings,” she tweeted in February, shortly before deleting her account. “I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”

‘Fake news snooze-fest’

Now in their 40th year, the Razzies have previously honoured titles such as Cats and Showgirls. This year’s winners were announced in a video on YouTube.

The award for worst film to the “fake news snooze-fest” Absolute Proof, which claimed there had been fraud in the 2020 US presidential election. Its star and director Mike Lindell also won worst actor.

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s cameo in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, saw him win worst supporting actor. Mr Giuliani dismissed as a “complete fabrication” a clip from the film which appeared to show him with his hands down his trousers on a bed in a hotel room.

Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr’s critically-panned remake of Dr Dolittle picked up the award for “worst remake, rip-off or sequel”.

A special prize went to 2020 itself for being “the worst calendar year ever”.

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Independent UN expert calls for Julian Assange’s release, cites prison’s COVID outbreak



“Mr. Assange is not a criminal convict and poses no threat to anyone, so his prolonged solitary confinement in a high security prison is neither necessary nor proportionate and clearly lacks any legal basis”, said Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture.

The WikiLeaks founder has been detained since 2010 after his site published classified diplomatic information. A decision on extradition to the US is expected early in the new year.

Inhumane punishment

The UN expert made the call amidst reports that 65 of some 160 Belmarsh inmates have contracted the coronavirus, including a number in the wing where Mr. Assange is being held.

Painting a picture of progressively severe suffering inflicted on Mr. Assange from his prolonged solitary confinement, the Special Rapporteur upheld that it not only amounts to arbitrary detention, but also to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Moreover, given his pre-existing medical condition, Mr. Melzer expressed particular concern about COVID-19 exposure.

“Prison decongestion measures seen around the world in response to COVID-19 should be extended to all inmates whose imprisonment is not absolutely necessary”, the Special Rapporteur said. “First and foremost, alternative non-custodial measures should be extended to those with specific vulnerabilities, such as Mr. Assange, who suffers from a pre-existing respiratory health condition”.

A history of deprivation

In an opinion rendered in December 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that since his arrest on 7 December 2010, Mr. Assange had been subjected to various forms of arbitrary deprivation of liberty, including 10 days in London’s Wandsworth prison; 550 days of house arrest; and almost seven years of self-confinement in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, under threat of arrest if he left the building.

Moreover, since April 2019, Mr. Assange has been held in near total isolation at Belmarsh.

“The British authorities initially detained Mr. Assange on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Sweden in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct that have since been formally dropped due to lack of evidence”, said Mr. Melzer.

“Today, he is detained for exclusively preventative purposes, to ensure his presence during the ongoing US extradition trial, a proceeding which may well last several years”.

A call for freedom

Against the backdrop of significant risks associated with his continued imprisonment and concerns over his treatment and conditions of detention, the UN expert reiterated previous appeals that Mr. Assange be immediately released or placed under guarded house arrest.

“Mr. Assange’s rights have been severely violated for more than a decade”, asserted the Special Rapporteur. “He must now be allowed to live a normal family, social and professional life, to recover his health and to adequately prepare his defence against the US extradition request pending against him”.

The expert also reiterated his call to the British authorities not to extradite him to the US due to serious human rights concerns.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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