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Phuket Gazette: Dutch court outlaws pedophile association

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Dutch court outlaws controversial pedophile club
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A Dutch civil court yesterday outlawed a controversial association which advocates the acceptance of pedophilia, saying its promotion of sexual relations between adults and children violates the country’s generally accepted values.

The civil court in the northeastern city of Assen said the association has the right to express its opinion, even if unpopular, but that this does not render it immune to banishment since the court found posts on the association’s website which promote sexual contact between adults and children and portrays children as sex objects.

“The court concludes that the expression of opinions which are unwelcome in the eyes of many is in itself not grounds to issue a ban and dissolve Association Martijn,” the court said in its judgment. “The right of association and the right to freedom of expression applies to everyone and thus also to those who have sexual feelings for children.”

Nonetheless, the court believed the activities of the association are contrary to generally accepted foundations of the legal system and is therefore contrary to public order. “The court will on this basis declare Association Martijn banned and dissolve it,” the ruling said, adding that the group would be dissolved with immediate effect.

Martijn said it plans to appeal the ruling.

“The Association Martijn used multiple platforms to express its beliefs, including a website with material promoting and explicitly describing sex with children,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement following the ruling.

“In addition, the association existed [as part of] a digital and social network for like-minded people and those convicted of sex crimes. This formed an (in)direct threat to children which could lead to major damage to a child’s physical and mental health,” the statement added.

Association Martijn, which was founded in 1982 and is currently led by Martijn Uittenbogaard, provided a platform about pedophilia and called for the legal and societal acceptance of sexual relationships between adults and children. The age of consent in the Netherlands is 16, but the group wanted to see this lowered to 12.

In June 2011, an investigation by Dutch prosecutors concluded that it was unable to outlaw the association because it was acting legally, even though crimes have been linked to Martijn. “From the investigation it has been determined that even though (ex)-members of Martijn are frequently suspected, if not convicted, of possessing child pornography, the actual criminal acts take place outside of the association,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement last year.

The office said it had been unable to find evidence of illegal acts being carried out through the website, and it notes that the association’s statutes explicitly say it strives to act “within the limits of Dutch law.” Crimes committed by both former and current association leaders could also not be linked to Martijn as these were committed outside of the association’s work.

The investigation was in part launched after 27-year-old Robert Mikelsons sexually abused at least 87 children while being employed at two Amsterdam nurseries between February 2007 and January 2010. He also offered his services through several websites, and his 37-year-old husband was found to be a former member of Martijn. This led to increasing calls for the association to be banned.

The association’s former chairman, 67-year-old Ad van den Berg, was arrested last year for possessing a large quantity of child pornography and was later sentenced to 3 years in prison, of which six months were suspended sentence. Prosecutors said he was in possession of 150,000 photos and 7,500 movies which were described as child pornography, but Van den Berg claimed they were for scientific research.

Van den Berg is also known for founding a political party known as the Party for Neighborly Love, Freedom, and Diversity (PVND) in May 2006. The party called for the legalization of child pornography and to abolish the age of consent, but was dissolved in 2010 after it failed to get on the ballot due to a lack of required signatures. PVND argued that its supporters were afraid to sign because their identities would be known.

It is believed Martijn was the world’s only legally recognized association advocating the acceptance of pedophilia, although similar associations have existed in other countries in the past.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Politics

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup | The Thaiger

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to the military coup, which has received major international backlash. As a major donor to Myanmar, Japan joins other advanced nations in condemning the coup which has seen security forces using violence against peaceful protesters.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was quoted as saying in a phone call that “Japan will strongly urge the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and to swiftly restore democratic government.”

But it may not impose sanctions like the rest of the other developed countries as its longtime ties with the armed forces, ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy and investment promoting policy in the country may serve as a barrier in doing so. Britan and the United States have imposed sanctions in recent days which include the US freezing military funds.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says stopping its support of building projects would give China a chance to move in, increasing its clout in Myanmar. Around 450 Japanese companies operate in Myanmar with Japan being the 5th largest investor in the Southeast nation. Singapore has the most companies, followed by China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry says Japan spent about US $1.8 billion in official development assistance in the fiscal year of 2019, making it the largest among the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But it is unknown what China has poured into it as it has refused to disclose its expenditures.

The Japanese government plans to continue coronavirus emergency assistance to Myanmar through international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The World Bank, however, has stopped payments to projects in the nation indefinitely, after the coup on February 1, which disrupted the democratic elections last November and saw the arrest of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy, won the elections in a landslide victory.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Law

Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants

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Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants | The Thaiger

In a landmark decision, Australia is now requiring global digital giants, such as Facebook and Google, to pay for using local news content on their websites. The move sets a precedent that many global companies have been anticipating.

The law passed yesterday after Facebook and Google reached an agreement to pay local Australian news organisations for using their stories on their websites. 1 week ago, Australians woke up to a blackout after Facebook temporarily banned local news, which included emergency notifications. The blackout was in response to the legislation being put forth for approval, with Facebook spokespeople saying it seemed to be their only choice at the time.

The new law sets the stage for other countries worldwide to gain more revenue for local media companies by making such social media giants pay to use content. Google’s “Showcase” product will now feature paid local news with Facebook showing such paid news under its “News” category.

Companies like Google and Facebook pushed back against the legislation, saying such a law could threaten their companies’ business models, with Google saying it could make their search engine website “unworkable.”

But local news organisations have rebuked the reasoning, citing that social media giants claim a large percentage of online advertisin, leaving local news companies out of the revenue game. Citing that news is gathered by reporting and fieldwork, the companies say it is unfair for social media companies to profit largely off of the work of local, smaller companies.

The law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, aims to protect such local companies and to sustain public interest journalism. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs over the past decade as local media outlets have seen the bulk of their advertising revenues flow to digital companies’ sites after using their content.

Australia’s competition watchdog says that for every $100 invested by Australian advertisers, $49 is sent to Google and $24 to Facebook. Now, both online businesses say they will each invest around US $1 billion in local news content globally in the next 3 years. Facebook and Google now have 2 more months to reach solid agreements before being subjected to binding arbritations.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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World

Lady Gaga offers US $500,000 reward for stolen bulldogs

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Lady Gaga offers US $500,000 reward for stolen bulldogs | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/Lady Gaga

Who knew that finding 2 french bulldogs would earn US $500,000? That is the case for the lucky person that finds Lady Gaga’s equally lucky stolen dogs. The dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen in Los Angeles, California while out on a walk with their dog walker.

But that’s not all. The employee in charge of keeping the dogs healthy was shot and wounded by a gunman who left the scene in a car, but not before allegedly shooting another man in this 30s. That man was hospitalised according to LA police.

Asia, Gaga’s 3rd dog was luckily found by police at the scene and was taken home by the singer’s staff. It isn’t clear if the frenchies were targeted due to their owner’s famous status or if they were taken simply because they were an expensive pedigree breed that can be sold for thousands of dollars.

Gaga, however, has offered the hefty reward for their return with “no questions asked.”

SOURCE: CNN

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