Sunday, July 07, 2019

Female pilots in Ireland forced to abort their babies or lose their job: advocate

Female pilots in Ireland are being told by their employers to “terminate” their pregnancies or their employment.

According to Capt. Evan Cullen, who leads the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association, approximately half of all pilots serving airlines registered in Ireland are self-employed contractors, thus making them reluctant to complain about work conditions. Some of the female pilots, Cullen said, have been told they should not become pregnant.

Female pilots, he said, are being told “you have a choice, you terminate your employment or you terminate your pregnancy. You can’t have both. So that is absolutely what goes on.”

In a hearing before the Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection in Ireland’s Dáil — the lower house in Ireland’s Oireachtas national legislature — Cullen said self-employed pilots are afraid to speak out about pensions and wages, sick pay, collective bargaining, maternity leave, and other issues. These pilots do not have the same rights as regularly employed pilots.

Cullen told the committee that “all Irish airlines” hire contract pilots. In some airlines, he said, 100% of the pilots are self-employed contractors. Dáil member Joan Collins of the Independents4Change party said this is “happening to women” because multinational companies use Ireland as a tax haven. She said she fears that Ireland may be returning to the days 100 years ago before the Easter Rebellion that brought about Ireland’s separation from the United Kingdom. That was a time, she said, when people were going “down the docks and looking for work and really afraid they are not going to get that work.”

Dáil member Paul Murphy of the leftist Solidarity Party deplored the airlines’ policy, saying, “The idea that any woman would have been effectively forced to choose between her employment and her pregnancy, and would have been faced with a situation of being forced to have a termination in order to maintain her employment is obviously horrifying.” According to the Journal, when Murphy asked Cullen to cite cases of female pilots being asked to choose between their jobs and pregnancy, Cullen said, “Female pilots have told me that they’ve terminated pregnancies because they’d no entitlement to maternity leave and therefore no guarantee of a job after they come back.”


Viral ice-cream licker faces decades in prison, felony charges for ‘food tampering’ prank

A woman is facing decades behind bars and more than $14,000 in fines after a supermarket prank went viral and caught the attention of food manufacturers and police.

The woman was filmed licking a tub of tin roof-flavoured Blue Bell ice cream in an apparent prank video that has been viewed over 10 million times in less than a week.

The woman pictured in the video has been identified by detectives from the Lufkin Police Department who said yesterday police worked in co-ordination with the Texan ice-cream manufacturer to track down the alleged food tamperer.

Police have now told NBC News in an email the woman could face a second-degree felony charge for licking the ice-cream tub.

The charge relates to tampering with a consumer product and, according to the Texas penal code, comes with a sentence of two to 20 years if found guilty. She also faces fines of up to $14,239.

In addition to the second-degree felony, police are also seeking advice from the US Food and Drug Administration into whether additional federal charges could be brought against the woman.

Police added they were also seeking a male seen with the woman in CCTV obtained from the Walmart in Lufkin, Texas.

A man, apparently encouraging the woman, can be heard in the video saying, “Lick it, lick it, lick it.”

The man then urges the woman to “put it back!” as she squeals and shoves the ice cream back into the freezer.

“Our detectives are working to verify the identity of the female suspect before a warrant is issued for her arrest on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product,” a police spokesperson told NBC News in an email.

“As that portion of the investigation continues, detectives are focusing on identifying the male (in the green shirt) behind the camera seen in images of the two entering the store together.”

Lufkin Police yesterday indicated they intended to charge the woman over the incident.

The department said in a statement the hunt for the woman involved police from a number of different departments who received tip-offs from around the state and directly from Blue Bell employees.

The tainted ice-cream container was located when a Blue Bell employee identified merchandising products in a Lufkin Walmart by watching the viral video.

From here, authorities moved, located and removed the tainted half-pint of ice cream and quickly obtained CCTV from last Saturday, showing a woman they believe to be the woman in the video.

Following Lufkin Police Department’s announcement yesterday, Blue Bell released their own statement, saying the store where the “malicious act of food tampering” allegedly occurred had been identified.

“Our staff recognised the location in the video, and we inspected the freezer case,” a Blue Bell statement read.

“We found a tin roof half gallon that appears to have been compromised. Based on security footage, the location and the inspection of the carton, we believe we may have recovered the half gallon that was tampered with.”

The company yesterday removed the remaining tin roof-flavoured tubs of ice cream from the store as a precaution. Today, reports emerged the freezer aisle was being patrolled by an armed security guard.


Italy Again at Odds With EU Partners Over Rescued Migrants

Radically different approaches to illegal migration have again put Italy at odds again with its leading European Union partners, after Italian authorities arrested the German captain of a ship which disobeyed an Italian directive not to land migrants, rescued in the Mediterranean, on Italian soil.

Operated by Sea Watch, a German non-governmental organization, the ship called Sea Watch 3 landed 42 migrants at an Italian port on the island of Lampedusa on Sunday, in violation of Interior Minister Mattéo Salvini’s instruction.

The arrest of the vessel’s captain, Carola Rackete, drew condemnation both in Germany and in France. An Italian judge has since released her without charge, but the controversy continues.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told public television in his country, “Italy is not just any state. Italy is in the middle of the European Union and a founding state of the European Union. That’s why we have the right to expect from a country like Italy that it manages such a business otherwise.”

Sea Watch 3, which sails under the Dutch flag, had been in international waters for more than two weeks after recovering 53 migrants from a boat off the Libyan coast. Eleven migrants were handed over to the Italian coastguard for medical reasons.

Rackete docked the ship after two weeks of negotiations, and the 42 remaining migrants are now at a reception center on Lampedusa. Five E.U. countries agreed to take the 42 migrants in varying numbers, with France agreeing to take ten of them.

France’s interior ministry said French officials would allow the ten to be “transferred without delay onto our territory,” where they will apply for refugee status.

The ministry denounced Salvini’s strategy, saying “France has already welcomed to its territory in recent months nearly 400 people who landed in Italy and Malta and are in need of protection,” it said in a statement, adding that that had been done in coordination with the E.U. and other member-states.

French government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye slammed Salvini’s approach. “There is a rule in maritime law that says you have to be able to drop off migrants in the nearest and safest seaport,” she said in a radio interview. “Italy has to respect international standards in this area.”

Ndiaye said France expects the E.U. to show “solidarity” on the issue.

Salvini hit back, saying Italy did not need to take lessons from anyone, France especially. Since the French presidency has said all French ports are open, he said, Italy will suggest the French port of Marseille or the French island of Corsica as destination for migrant ships.

Italy’s approach won support of a lawmaker from France’s far-right National Rally, Stéphane Ravier. “The only method that will stop any more dramas in the Mediterranean is the Salvini method,” she told French television.

“It is out of question to give you any rights if you set a foot in our house,” she said. “And you won’t be able to set down the second foot because you’ll be expelled”.

Meanwhile Martine Aubry, the socialist mayor of Lille in the north of France, has said she is ready to welcome the ten migrants from the Sea Watch 3 to settle in that city.

“I have always thought that France and other European countries are not doing enough to fulfill their humanitarian duty,” she told French television, praising Rackete.

Last summer the Aquarius, a boat belonging to a French NGO with 629 rescued migrants on board, was refused permission to dock in Italy and Malta. Spain eventually allowed it to dock in its port of Valencia, and the migrants were resettled, through negotiation, in France, Germany, Portugal, as well as in Spain.


Religious freedom is remarkably unprotected in Australia

Regardless of what the courts eventually say about the sacking of Israel Folau, the real blame for the sportsman’s religious persecution does not rest with Rugby Australia, Alan Joyce and Qantas. It rests with generations of politicians who have allowed the manifestation of religious belief to be viewed as something shameful.

That is the effect of the network of anti-discrimination laws that has been put in place and supported by successive federal governments. It treats religious freedom as a form of discrimination that is only grudgingly recognised as an exception to the law.

It is therefore easy to understand how sports administrators and businessmen may have got the wrong idea: that the manifestation of religious belief is something vaguely grubby that is acceptable only if it is done behind closed doors, so nobody can take offence.

This is at odds with the structure of international human rights law where all rights are of equal importance and where public displays of religious belief are protected by treaties to which Australia is a party. Yet instead of giving positive protection to religious freedom, the inaction of parliament could be viewed as confirmation that in Australia religion is not that important.

By refusing that task, parliament has vacated the field and left it to others to draw their own conclusions about where the boundary should be drawn between religion and other conflicting rights.

In the Folau case, Rugby Australia was the first to step into the void, and it now looks as if the courts will determine whether this man’s rough and ready version of what is written in the Bible is so offen­sive that he should lose his job.

Rugby Australia terminated Folau’s $4 million contract after he said on social media that hell awaited “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” if they failed to repent.

Everyone has an interest in the outcome of this case. It raises the question of whether Australians can be required to sign away fundamental human rights in return for money — even a very large amount of money. The manifestation of religious belief is protected by international law.

This case may also give the courts an opportunity to rule on how far employers can go in determining what employees do and say outside the workplace.

It is already clear, however, that corporate Australia may need to reconsider the wisdom of taking a stance on social issues. If Folau wins against Rugby Australia, sponsors such as Alan Joyce’s Qantas may be required to chip in for the damages bill — if they are found to have encouraged any wrongdoing.

The effect on the airline’s reputation would not be insignificant.

If Folau does win — and the Morrison government pushes ahead with its promised religious discrimination act — some may consider this affair to have come to an end. Such a view would be misplaced. The fundamental error in the design of Australia’s human rights laws still needs to be fixed to drive home the reality that religious freedom is a fundamental right, not an exception to the law.

With luck, the fallout from this case eventually could put an end to this idiosyncratic treatment of religion.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognises freedom of thought, conscience and religion in article 18(1). It says everyone has the right to manifest their religion, belief, observance, practice and teaching. Article 18(2) says nobody shall be subject to coercion that would impair their freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of their choice.

The government’s planned legislation will help by giving statutory effect to article 26 of that treaty that says discrimination based on religion should be outlawed. But the significance of a federal religious discrimination act needs to be kept in perspective: religious discrimination is already unlawful in most states.

The real test is whether the government’s proposed scheme would have protected Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous against what happened to him four years ago.

Folau, unlike Porteous, has the benefit of provisions of the Fair Work Act that target religious discrimination in the workplace. What happened to the archbishop was not a workplace dispute.

In 2015, Porteous explained the Catholic doctrine of marriage in a widely distributed booklet. That prompted Martine Delaney, a transgender activist and Greens candidate, to complain that she felt offended.

Because he was an archbishop, Porteous thought he had a right under Australian law to explain his church’s teachings. Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commission disagreed and found he had a case to answer.

The real problem with the Porteous case was that it was unresolved. It came to an end only after Delaney, in the face of widespread media attention, withdrew her complaint. That means there is still a risk that the public dissemination of Catholic doctrine in Tasmania could trigger a repeat of that affair.

And it looks as if a federal religious discrimination act would make no difference. “It would not solve all or even most of the problems with religious freedom in Australia at all,” University of Queensland dean of law Patrick Parkinson says.

“It is a minor reform that will fill a lacuna in federal law. The religious discrim­ination bill, as the government envisages it, will have no impact whatsoever on vilification law in the states — it is irrelevant to the Porteous case.

“All it will do is make it unlawful under federal law to discriminate against somebody because of their faith. The problem in Tasmania was that a state law was used against Archbishop Porteous on the basis of causing offence to somebody. That is a totally different matter that raises very significant issues about freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” says Parkinson, who is part of the Freedom for Faith lobby group.

Before Rugby Australia moved against Folau, Parkinson’s group had urged the Ruddock review of religious freedom to support a federal religious freedom act that would be far more robust than Morrison’s proposed scheme.

The Ruddock report did not go that far, preferring the more modest route that has been accepted by the government.

Parkinson, however, argues that a religious discrimination act would still allow Tasmania to take action against religious leaders over the public dissemination of doctrine that left people feeling offended. He sees this as a major weakness with the government’s plan. But he is also opposed to the radical option of a federal charter of rights that would empower the judiciary.

His preferred option is “a very targeted piece of legislation, focused around freedom of speech and freedom of religion”.

Its goal would be to prevent state laws from being applied in a way that would put Australia in breach of the nation’s international obligation to protect religious freedom.

This is how Parkinson’s group explained the concept in its submission to the Ruddock review: “It would be up to a court, interpreting and applying the state law, to determine whether its application so interfered with fundamental freedoms in any given situation that to the extent of the inconsistency with federal law it should be regarded as invalid, or alternatively, read down to avoid inconsistency.”

Parkinson makes the point that the federal government intervened 20 years ago to override Tasmania’s law criminalising homosexuality. “It is no more appropriate that Tasmanian law interferes with freedom of religion than when it criminalised homosexuality,” he says.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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