1. Exonerated but not free: Asia Bibi to spend Christmas in custody
Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi will celebrate Christmas under guard, despite being cleared of the blasphemy charges that kept her in jail since 2010.
Bibi -- a former labourer who was on death row for eight years -- remains a prime target in conservative Muslim-majority Pakistan, with extremists calling for her blood and the government refusing to reveal her location out of fear for her safety.
"It's too dangerous... People want to kill her," said Yousaf Hadayat, a resident from one of Islamabad's impoverished Christian ghettos, littered this week by a smattering of Santa hats and Christmas trees. [...]
Analyst Fasi Zaka warned that the longer Bibi remains in limbo, the greater the danger. "For some elements if they don't have access to Asia Bibi they'll find stand-ins for their vengeance," he told AFP.
Blasphemy continues to be a massively inflammatory issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven accusations of insulting Islam can spark lynchings.
2. Nikki Haley delivers powerful message on Isaeli/Palestinian conflict in parting remarks at UN Security Council meeting
3. Swedish broadcaster guest compares pro-life Christians to ISIS, Nazis
Swedish public broadcaster SVT has been criticised for not challenging a guest on one of its programmes who compared pro-life Christians to Islamic State fighters and Nazi Germany.
The criticism comes after the broadcaster aired its Current News programme which was on the topic of Islamic State radicalism within families and featured Islamologist Mohammad Fazlhashemi, Swedish newspaper Världen Idag reports.
Mr Fazlhashemi commented on a recent video which emerged in Sweden showing Swedish Islamic State supporters interacting with their children urging them to say “Allah hu Akbar” and another describing to his children how he had killed an “unbeliever.”
4. Free Bird Media Canada: Large Turnout at Yellow Vest Rally in Lloydminster Alberta
The Yellow Vest movement is starting to grow in Canada and there have been rallies in multiple provinces. This past Saturday saw a large crowd gather in Lloydminster Alberta. Carl Edward Fleury provided this footage.
5. Geert Wilders and Tommy Robinson: One protected by the State, the other hated by the State
Video put together by Richard Inman from Veterans Against Terrorism.
6. Desperate women fleeing Venezuela sell hair, breast milk, sex to get by
Thousands upon thousands of Venezuelans pour into Colombia over the crowd cross-country bridge, their faces gaunt, carrying little more than a backpack. Rail-thin women cradle their tiny babies, and beg along the trash-strewn gutters. Teens hawk everything from cigarettes to sweets and water for small change.
The young, the old and the disabled cluster around the lone Western Union office – recently established to deal with the Venezuelan influx – in the hopes of receiving or sending a few dollars to send home. Without passports or work permits, the Venezuelans – many with university degrees or decent jobs in what was once the wealthiest nation in Latin America – are now resorting to whatever it takes to survive.
Women sell their locks to local wigmakers in Colombia for around $10-30, depending on length and quality. Other women sell their bodies. Girls as young as 14 line the Cucuta streets available “for hire,” earning around seven dollars “per service.”
“Due to the brutal economic situation in Venezuela, they come to Colombia looking for a job, or at least for shelter and basic care. But they usually end up selling candles or coffee at traffic lights,” said Amy Roth Sandrolini, Chief of Staff at The Exodus Road, a U.S.-based organization devoted to fighting human trafficking globally. “Where they also become vulnerable to being recruited, to become victims of human trafficking.”
7. “Sign of friendship” vs “religious discrimination”: DEBATE as Denmark makes handshake mandatory
Denmark has adopted a new law obliging people to shake hands as part of the ceremony to become a Danish citizen.
8. Pro-polygamy Muslim leader calls for Islamic representation in Italy
One of Italy’s most prominent Muslim leaders has challenged interior minister Matteo Salvini to find a way to give Muslims “democratic representation” in government.
Hamza Piccardo, who famously argued that “polygamy is our civil right,” wrote this week to Mr Salvini asking him to “establish an electoral process leading to the election of a democratic representation of Italian Muslims.”
As the founder of the Union of Italian Islamic communities (UCOII), Piccardo urged Italians in 2016 not to “undervalue polygamy’s demographic effect,” which would help “rebalance” Italy’s low birthrate and the consequent need for foreign manpower.
9. French town opens probe after Yellow Vests BEHEAD Macron effigy & put “head” on stake
Authorities in a south-western French town are furious after Yellow Vest protesters beheaded an effigy of Emmanuel Macron with an ax, put its “head” on a stake and danced. Now the mock executioners face a very real criminal case.
Around 90 protesters dressed in yellow vests – the symbol of the recent wave of anti-government protests in France – gathered in a park in the town of Angouleme to stage the mock beheading on Friday evening. It’s not clear if the day was chosen deliberately, but on December 21 French President Macron celebrated his 41st birthday.
The macabre “performance” quickly spread on social networks and in French media, with photos showing the Yellow Vests literally cutting off Macron effigy’s head with a large ax. If that wasn’t enough, the mock head – with a mask of the president’s face – was then placed on a stake. The protesters then proceeded to dance around a burning barricade after apparently setting the rest of the “beheaded” effigy on fire.
🚧 #GiletsJaunes : un pantin à l'effigie d'Emmanuel Macron a été décapité à #Angoulême. La préfecture de Charente dénonce une "mise en scène macabre". (Sud Ouest / Charente libre) pic.twitter.com/hXy97bYddI— .INFOS (@InfosDeFr) December 22, 2018
10. German citizen organization, "One Percent," create short documentary on Yellow Vest protests: “Storm over Paris”
The "yellow vests" have turned France upside down. International media is reporting about the events in Paris. But we have learnt that we can't trust the mainstream media. Because of this, we travelled to Paris and covered the protests ourselves.