Best-selling author Colleen McCullough said six men found guilty of a string of sex attacks on Pitcairn Island were following a Polynesian custom of having sex with young girls and called their convictions "an absolute disgrace," a newspaper reported yesterday. \nMcCullough, the author of the 1977 international best seller The Thorn Birds, lives on Australia's Norfolk Island, a former penal colony that is home to a number of Pitcairn Island descendants. \nLate last month, six Pitcairn men were convicted of rapes and sex attacks dating back as far as 40 years on the remote island, which is located midway between New Zealand and South America and is home to descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian wives. \n"They are as much Polynesian as anything else," McCullough told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. "It's Polynesian to break your girls in at 12." \nMcCullough said the UK-led rape trials were "an absolute disgrace" and should not have interfered with local customs. \n"These are indigenous customs and should not be touched," she said. "It's hypocritical too. Does anybody object when Muslims follow their customs? Nobody's afraid of 50 Polynesians, but they are very afraid of a million Muslims," McCullough said. \nBut Karen Willis, a rape crisis counselor, said child rape is not an accepted practice in any culture. \n"This is just one of those myths," she said. "It's not a cultural thing. It's about patriarchy and male power." \nWillis said some societies do initiate children into sexual relations at a young age, but celebration and ritual are key. \n"In Pitcairn it was done in secrecy, and that's one of the main differences between sexual assault and normal sexual relations," she said. \nChildren who experience sexual assault often develop depression, phobias, flashbacks and panic attacks as adults, Willis said.
POLAND-GERMANY RIFT: Warsaw’s response to Berlin over a NATO system that would increase the alliance’s involvement in the war came as Kyiv accused Russia of war crimes Anti-missile systems that Germany offered to send to Poland should instead go to Ukraine, the Polish government said on Thursday, a proposal that is likely a nonstarter for Berlin because it would significantly ratchet up NATO involvement in Ukraine. Poland’s surprising response to Berlin’s offer was welcomed by Ukraine, which is desperate to protect its airspace as barrages of Russian missiles have knocked out power across the country. German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht said that use of NATO defense systems outside its territory needs to be agreed by all member states. “It is important to us that Poland can rely on allies
AWAITING EXTRADITION: Daniel Duggan has been classified as ‘extreme high risk,’ has not been allowed to use stationery and has been denied treatment, his lawyer said The lawyer for a former US military pilot arrested in Australia and facing possible extradition to the US said that his client was wrongly classified as an “extreme high-risk” prisoner, and he had asked the attorney-general to release him. Former US Marines pilot Daniel Edmund Duggan was arrested in New South Wales in October at the request of the US government, the same week the UK announced a crackdown on its former military pilots working to train Chinese military fliers. The US must lodge an extradition request for Duggan by Dec. 20 under a bilateral treaty, a Sydney court was told yesterday.
WARTIME DIPLOMACY: Zelenskiy met EU leaders and hosted the International Summit on Food Security, which included discussions on agricultural exports from Ukraine Fleeing shelling, civilians on Saturday streamed out of the southern Ukrainian city whose recapture they had celebrated just weeks earlier. The exodus from Kherson came as Ukraine solemnly remembered a Stalin-era famine and sought to ensure that Russia’s war in Ukraine does not deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports. A line of trucks, vans and cars, some towing trailers or ferrying out pets and other belongings, stretched 1km or more on the outskirts of the city of Kherson. Days of intensive shelling by Russian forces prompted a bittersweet exodus: Many civilians were happy that their city had been won back, but
Polish women have not been this angry for this long, and they are taking on the ruling conservatives. Incensed by remarks from the country’s most powerful politician, former Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who accused them of drinking excessively and keeping the birthrate low, many took the streets of Warsaw on Monday. It is a repeat of scenes from two years ago when hundreds of thousands of women marched against a near-total ban on legal abortions, in Poland’s largest public protests in decades. What is different this time is that the ruling party is facing the biggest challenge to its two-term rule before