An end to 'marry-your-rapist' law
The Parliament in Jordan voted Tuesday to revoke a law allowing rapists to evade criminal prosecution if they marry their victims, becoming the latest country in the Middle East to move to scrap such laws. A handful of countries, including several in the Arab world as well as in the Philippines, a majority Catholic country, have maintained legal provisions for men accused or convicted of rape to avoid punishment. Women's groups have agitated for years for the laws to be repealed, saying they further victimize rape survivors. And one by one, the laws are falling. A government committee in Jordan had recommended that the law, known as Article 308 of the country's penal code, be revoked and the lower house of the Jordanian Parliament voted to do so on Tuesday. The repeal is expected to be endorsed by the appointed Senate and approved by King Abdullah II. Other countries that have dumped the law: Morocco repealed it in 2014 and Tunisia last week. A parliamentary committee in Lebanon has recommended that its law be repealed; a vote by the full legislature is expected later this year.
Opposition leaders detained after raids
Masked security forces staged raids in the middle of the night Tuesday to haul away two leading Venezuelan opposition leaders, suggesting an expanded crackdown on dissent after widely denounced elections aimed at boosting the authoritarian government. The moves against Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, who were both already under house arrest, could intensify the international fallout after Sunday's election, which created a new super congress stocked with backers of the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The vote was decried as fraud-ridden by the opposition and prompted the Trump administration on Monday to slap sanctions on Maduro. In a video posted online by Ledezma's wife, security forces are shown apparently dragging the opposition leader between the glass doors of a building. Both men were taken to Ramo Verde military prison southwest of Caracas, aides and family members said. The heavily guarded hilltop complex is a notorious detention center for political and military prisoners.
Nearly 500 on trial for failed coup
Turkey put nearly 500 people on trial Tuesday on charges of leading last year's failed coup, parading dozens of the men into a courthouse as protesters threw stones and shouted "Murderers!" The trial is part of a post-coup crackdown that has imprisoned 50,000 people and seen another 110,000 fired from their government jobs. Many of the suspects face life in prison for crimes including murder and attempting to overthrow the government. The main defendant in the case is being tried in absentia, U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government blames for the deadly July 15, 2016 coup. Gulen has denied involvement. The other defendants include generals and fighter jet pilots at the Akinci air base, on the outskirts of Ankara, the capital, who are accused of directing the coup and bombing key government buildings. The trial, which is expected to last at least a month, is one of dozens underway in Turkey. The coup attempt resulted in 249 deaths, including 30 coup-plotters were also killed.
Suspected gang members killed in botched escape
Three suspected gang members were killed in a shootout at a courthouse in a Moscow suburb on Tuesday after overpowering guards and stealing their weaponry, Russia's Investigative Committee said of their botched escape attempt. Two more suspected members of the group dubbed by the media and police as the GTA Gang, a reference to the "Grand Theft Auto" video game series, were hospitalized with "severe gunshot wounds," the committee said on its website. The GTA Gang became notorious in 2014 for allegedly using spikes to burst the tires of vehicles in the Moscow area in order to rob the drivers. The gang has been linked to at least 17 murders. The five suspected members — all natives of Central Asia, according to the Interfax news agency — were at the Moscow Regional Court for a hearing.
Study: As Earth warms, farmer suicides to rise
A new study suggests that India will see more farmers commit suicide as climate change brings hotter temperatures that damage crops and exacerbate drought. For every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of warming above 68 degrees during the growing season, there are 67 more suicides on average, according to the findings published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Experts said the study's findings should raise alarms, especially with India's average temperatures expected to rise another 5.4 degrees by 2050. That will bring more erratic weather events, more drought and stronger storms.
Pub regrets turning away trainee priests
A British pub has apologized for turning away a group of trainee priests after mistaking them for rowdy bachelor-party revelers in costume. The Archdiocese of Cardiff said Tuesday that seven Roman Catholic seminarians went to the City Arms in Cardiff, Wales, last week to celebrate the ordination of one of the group. Father Michael Doyle said the clerics were turned away by a doorman, who told them "sorry gents, we have a policy of no fancy dress and no stag do's." Doyle said the group was reprieved when a bar manager realized the clergyman were real. They were allowed in and given a round of beer on the house. — tbt* wires