A senator in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party caused outrage across the political spectrum yesterday by proposing a law limiting free abortions to one per woman, after which they would be made to pay. \nUnder Antonio Gentile's law, after their first free abortion through the state health service, financially comfortable women would have to foot part and then all of the bill, varying from between 2,000 and 3,000 euros. \nGentile, who has the support of about 20 senators of Forza Italia and its post-fascist coalition ally, Alleanza Nazionale, said the proposal was to discourage multiple abortions by the cash-strapped health service and to encourage contraception. He told La Repubblica newspaper that young Italians "do not appreciate the value of contraception." He said he plans to present the law to Parliament next month. \nThe proposal angered politicians from other parties as well as women's rights advocates barely a week after the Vatican reiterated the Catholic Church's stance that a woman's mission is to stay at home and breed. \n"Unfortunately we are inundated with Catholic fundamentalists," said one Forza Italia deputy who disapproves of the proposal. \nEU parliamentarian Emma Bonino, formerly the European commissioner for humanitarian affairs, said: "More and more, we Italians are not European citizens, we are Vatican citizens. Every day we wake up and find there is something new designed to take away women's right to choose." \nShe said Italy was the only country in Europe where the RU486 abortion pill was not on sale, where the morning-after pill was not available over-the-counter and where there are proposals to give pharmacists the right to refuse to sell morning-after pills. \nMany saw the proposal by the senator as an attempt to encourage women to have more children. \nItaly's birth rate last year was Europe's lowest at 9.18 births per 1,000 population, compared to the region's average of 10.43 per 1,000. \nItaly's birth rate has been low for several years, with many women choosing to focus on their careers and some couples choosing to reach a certain financial threshold before starting a family. \nTo encourage Italians to have more children quickly, the government offered a 1,000-euros "baby bonus" last year for every second child born by the year's end. \nBut the government has ended access to some fertility treatments with a law, that gives embryos equal rights to women.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread