Global Scan

Which repressive regime is restricting protests now? Try a state in Australia...

melbourne protests.jpg

Protesters carrying placards attend a rally in favor of taxing carbon emissions in Melbourne, Australia, on March 12, 2011.

Credit:

Mick Tsikas/Reuters

A bill approved in the Australian state of Victoria Tuesday night, despite strong opposition, makes protests effectively illegal.

The State Parliament approved the Summary Offences Act, which allows police to order anyone who is obstructing access to public buildings, or who is expected to become violent or damage property, to "move on." Penalties for those who are repeatedly told to move on include being banned from a public area for up to a year. Those who violate such a ban can be jailed for up to two years, according to The Guardian.

The measure, advocates say, will help ensure access to a Melbourne abortion clinic that is the site of frequent protests. Opponents, though, see the measure as an effort by the state government to put an end to long-running protests, "such as the anti-Tecoma McDonald’s group, anti-East West Link picketers, as well as industrial disputes."

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In Sri Lanka, the gallows are unused, but they can't keep a hangman

Sri Lanka has more than 400 people on its death row, but no executions have occurred since 1976. Despite the long delay in executions, the country still wants to have a hangman on staff — just in case executions resume. But the state of the country's gallows have proven so frightening that three separate indiviuals have resigned, rather than be hangman for the country.

The latest individual to have the job was midway through training when he was first shown the gallows. He immediately asked to be relieved from his job. Officials say they'll give the man a month to reconsider his decision, before advertising once more to fill the position, the BBC reports. Sorry, there's no photo of the gallows.

Caribbean dads are often barred from their children's births

In Trinidad and Tobago public hospitals, as in other Caribbean countries, fathers are routinely barred from the delivery room. It's a long-standing practice, but one that's becoming increasingly out of date. Midwives and fathers are now campaigning to get that changed.

Although attitudes at public hospitals are changing, progress is slow and haphazard. Some now allow fathers to witness their child's birth, if they jump through a series of hoops — such as attending certain classes. But even then, staff sometimes bar fathers from the delivery room at the last minute. Janine Mendes-Franco reports for Global Voices as part of PRI's special series, The Ninth Month, examining pregnancy and childbirth around the world.

Just how bad can a student dorm get?

Student dorms are not known for their cleanliness. After all, students clean them. But student housing in Macedonia has reached new lows, if you believe these photos from the Independent. They were posted on Reddit by user yrrmi on Tuesday to show the conditions at Goce Delcev, a dormitory in Skopje, Macedonia.

The buildings are wet, the walls covered in mold. And be wary of looking at pictures of the sink if you've just eaten. He explained: "In general, student dormitories in Macedonia are notorious for their sub-human conditions." Just to ram the point home, yrrmi also uploaded photos of what is allegedly prison accommodation in Norway. Judge for yourself which you would prefer!

Lydia the shark is crossing the Atlantic — and you can follow her journey

Lydia is a 14-foot-long great white shark that is being tracked as she swims across the Atlantic. If she finishes her journey, it would be the first documented trans-Atlantic crossing by a great white. She is currently near the coast of Ireland.

Lydia was fitted with a satellite tag a year ago, off the coast of Florida, as part of the Ocearch scientific project. PRI's The World spoke to Greg Skomal, a senior scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who explained how the team removed Lydia from the sea and fitted her with a tag. Spoiler: she was awake the entire time.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

The island nation of Vanuatu is currently bearing the brunt of the winds and rains of Tropical Cyclone Lusi, as much as 8 inches of rain in some areas. But the storm is continuing to strengthen and is moving toward New Zealand. Lusi, which is currently the equivalent of a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane is expected to hit New Zealand by the end of the week, according to AccuWeather.

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