Craft successfully docks
The Shenzhou-10 spacecraft yesterday carried out a successful docking, state media said, two days after the launch of the country’s longest manned space mission. The spacecraft linked up with the Tiangong-1 module in an “automated docking,” Xinhua news agency said. Three astronauts, including China’s second woman in space, are spending 15 days in orbit as the country’s ambitious space program reaches another milestone. The docking success comes almost a year after the Shenzhou-9 performed China’s first manual docking with the same module. The maneuver last year tested a docking technique that is needed to be able to construct a space station, which China aims to do by 2020.
Female Dalai Lama touted
The Dalai Lama waded into the nation’s bitter gender war yesterday, saying his successor as the spiritual leader of the Tibetans could be a woman. “If the circumstances are such that a female Dalai Lama is more useful, then automatically a female Dalai Lama will come,” he told a press conference in Sydney to launch a 10-day tour of Australia. The exiled 77-year-old was questioned about the gender conflict reignited by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week. He replied that the world faces a “moral crisis” of inequality and suffering, and needs leaders with compassion. “In that respect, biologically, females have more potential,” the Dalai Lama said. Labor Party leader Gillard claimed on Tuesday that the conservatives would marginalize women and set back abortion laws if they win elections in September.
Feminist activists jailed
A court sentenced three European feminist activists to four months in jail on Wednesday after they demonstrated topless in central Tunis last month against the Islamist-led government, one of their lawyers said. Marguerite Stern and Pauline Hillier of France, and Josephine Markmann of Germany, all members of the Femen protest group, appeared topless on May 29 to call for the release of fellow activist, Amina Tyler of Tunisia, who was detained last month. “The judge sentenced the three Femen activists to four months and one day in prison for an attack on public morals and indecency,” lawyer Souheib Bahri said. Tyler, 18, was arrested in Kairouan on May 19 after she hung a feminist banner from the wall of a mosque and tried to bare her breasts.
Sex trade on the increase
With bum bags strapped around their waists, sex workers wait by the roadside close to Hackescher Markt, one of Berlin’s busiest shopping districts. It is a familiar sight just before dark in the capital of a country that has been dubbed “Europe’s biggest brothel.” The sex trade in Germany has increased dramatically since prostitution was liberalized in 2002 — more than 1 million men pay for sex every day, according to a documentary, Sex — Made in Germany, aired this week on Germany’s public broadcaster, ARD. Based on two years of research using hidden cameras, the film by Sonia Kennebeck and Tina Soliman exposed the “flat-rate” brothels where men pay 49 euros (US$65) for as much sex as they want. Germany’s law governing the sex trade is considered one of the most liberal in the world. It was passed by the former coalition government in a bid to strengthen the rights of sex workers. Since then, red light districts have become even more prominent in cities such as Berlin.