Women wage ‘sex jihad’
Women have traveled to Syria to wage “sex jihad” by comforting Islamist fighters battling the regime there, Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou has said. “They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100” militants, the minister told members of the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday. “After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of jihad al-nikah — [‘sexual holy war’] — they come home pregnant,” Ben Jeddou said. Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war. The minister also did not say how many women were thought to have gone to Syria for such a purpose, although media reports have said hundreds have done so.
No ICC for Simone Gbagbo
The government said on Friday it would not transfer former first lady Simone Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but would try her at home instead. The decision came 18 months after the ICC issued a warrant for the wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo for suspected crimes against humanity. The Cabinet decided to file a “motion to dismiss” the warrant and not to send Simone Gbagbo to The Hague, where her husband awaits trial over months of deadly violence that followed 2010 polls. “If we had the slightest doubt about the fairness of the Ivorian legal system, we would have extradited her to the Netherlands,” government spokesman Bruno Kone said.
Assault of diplomat probed
The country is probing allegations that a French diplomat was roughed up by its soldiers at a West Bank protest and says it might file a complaint over her involvement. Human Rights Watch cited witnesses as saying that Marion Castaing was taken out of a truck and thrown to the ground. He said she was among European diplomats accompanying the group as it delivered tents to Bedouins whose shacks had been demolished. Bedouins in Khirbet al-Meiteh in the Jordan valley say they have lived there for decades. The government says they built structures there illegally without permits. The military said forces used non-lethal riot dispersal means when the Palestinian protesters assaulted the forces with rocks.
Arctic ice slightly higher
The amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to the sixth-lowest level, but that is much higher than last year’s record low. The ice cap at the North Pole melts in the summer and grows in winter; its general shrinking trend is a sign of global warming. The National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Friday that Arctic ice was at 5.1 million square kilometers when it stopped melting late last week. It takes scientists several days to confirm sea ice hit reached its lowest level and is growing again. The minimum level reached this summer is about 24 percent below the 20th century average, but 50 percent above last year, when a dramatic melt shattered records that go back to 1979. Center director Mark Serreze says climate change deniers who point to the bounce back from last year — which skewed the trend — would be wrong. “If you threw out last year, this year would be very much in line of what we’ve seen in recent years,” Serreze says. “We are not seeing a long term recovery here. No way.”