I have decided to take a break from this site.
This site shall be an archive of my work.
Thanks for visiting.
I have decided to take a break from this site.
This site shall be an archive of my work.
Thanks for visiting.
Same sex marriages became legal in England and Wales on 29th March, 2014 at midnight.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force in July 2013 in England and Wales. Couples could register their intention from 13th March, 2014 onwards that legalises same-sex marriage starting 29th March, 2014.
Before, 29th March, same sex couples had the option of getting into a civil partnership that became legal in 2005 under the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed in February 2014 by the Scottish Parliament. The legislation received the Royal Assent on 12th March, 2014. The first same-sex marriage in Scotland will start in Autumn 2014.
The first couples in England and Wales
Peter McGraith and David Cabreza spent 17 years together before being among the first same sex couple to tie the knot in London on the night of 29th March. The wedding took place at Islington Town Hall. Human Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell acted as the chief witness to the ceremony.
Also vying for the title of the first same sex couple to wed in Britain were Andrew Wale and Neil Allard from Brighton.
David Cameron on gay marriages
“This weekend is an important moment for our country,” said British PM David Cameron on the PinkNews website. The rainbow flag flew above Whitehall today.
“I am proud that we have made same sex marriage happen. I am delighted that the love two people have for each other – and the commitment they want to make – can now be recognised as equal. I have backed this reform because I believe in commitment, responsibility and family. I don’t want to see people’s love divided by law,” said Cameron in July last year.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 preserves the Canon Law of the Church of England which states that marriage should take place between the opposite sex only. Queen Elizabeth who is the head of the Church of England gave her Royal Assent to the act on 17th July, 2013.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church had accepted the new law and would continue to demonstrate “the love of Christ for every human being”. However, same-sex marriages are not currently taking place in the Church of England.
Northern Island currently does not intend to legalise same-sex marriages.
The controversial Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with “unnatural offenses” criminalises homosexuality in India.
The Indian Penal Code is a 153-year-old act that was introduced during the British rule in India. Section 377 deals with unnatural offenses.
“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Naz Foundation v. Govt of NCT of Delhi
Naz Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that supports gay rights had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court in 2001 seeking legislation of homosexual intercourse between consenting adults.
The Delhi High Court declared Section 377 as unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults on 2 July, 2009 in Naz Foundation v. Govt of NCT of Delhi. The court claimed that Section 377 violated the fundamental rights to equality before law, freedom from discrimination and life and personal liberty under Articles 14, 15 and 21 respectively of the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court overturned this ruling and upheld the provisions of the constitution on 11 December, 2013. The Supreme Court ruled homosexuality to be a criminal offense setting aside the 2009 judgment passed by the Delhi High Court. The judgment declared that it was upto the parliament to amend the law and the judiciary did not have the mandate to rule on it.
Future of the LGBT community
Homosexuality is considered a taboo in India. Sex between people of the same gender is punishable by law.
Following the ruling in 2009 by the Delhi High Court, Gay people found hope and several came out of the closet sensing a bright future. However, on 28 January, 2014, the Supreme Court dismissed the review petition filed by the Central Government, Naz Foundation and several others.
The community can now file a curative petition to have the law overturned or can seek the parliamentary route to have the law amended.
Former Israeli Prime Mininster Ariel Sharon died after spending eight years in coma following a stroke.
‘Arik’ to his friends, the ‘Bulldozer’ to his critics.
Sharon was a commander of the Israeli army and fought in all of Israel’s major wars before beginning his political career after the 1973 war.
Sharon became the defense minister in 1981 and led the invasion of Lebanon a year later. He became the Prime Minister of Israel in 2001. A few months before slipping into coma, he completed a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Sharon served as the prime minister throughout the most turbulent times in Israel-Palestine history.
He has been accused of war crimes and human rights abuses following the 1982 Lebanon war. The Sabra and Shatila massacre witnessed the killing of between 750 to 3500 civilians mostly from Lebanon and Palestine.
Sharon suffered his first stroke in December 2005. Seventeen days later, a bigger stroke left him in a vegetative state. Over the last one year, he suffered multiple organ failure. He spent months in a hospital in Jerusalem before being shifted to the Sheba Medical Centre, a long-term facility in Tel Aviv.
The soldier-politician was kept alive for eight years by a complicated network of ventilators and feeding tubes. Widowed twice, his sons Omri and Gilad tended to him while he was ill.
Ariel Sharon died aged 85 years on 11th January following multiple organ failure after spending eight years in coma. His funeral is expected to take place on 13 January in accordance with Jewish burial customs. He will be buried at his family’s ranch in the Negev desert besides his wife Lily, the younger sister of his first wife Margalit. Sharon is survived by his sons Omri and Gilad.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron said, “Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history and as Prime Minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated. Israel has today lost an important leader.”
Three years after being saved from bankruptcy, Ireland will exit the Eurozone bailout programme on 15th December 2013.
The Troika programme
Of all the four counties that have benefited from the bailout due to the Eurozone crisis, Ireland will be the first country to exit from the bailout programme.
The price of bailout
Ireland cut spending and raised taxes to balance the economy after seeking bailout in 2010.
The government earned €28bn through budget cuts and increases in tax over the last three years. Taxes were hiked to €5.3bn and a cumulative spending cut was €9.6bn.
Ireland’s cost to borrow money has now fallen to 3.5% from the earlier 15%.
Ireland invested about €64bn into the banking system during the crisis – equivalent to 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Income of €4.2bn has been generated by the bank guarantee for the Exchequer. €2.3bn has been repaid in 2013 following the sale of the Bank of Ireland CoCos (Convertible Contingent Capital), the successful sale of Irish Life and the redemption of the preference shares to the State by Bank of Ireland.
Future of the bailout
Ireland’s ability to exit the bailout has been driven by a focus on managing public finances, restructuring the banking and financial system and focusing on jobs and growth enhancing strategies.
“This isn’t the end of the road. This is a significant milestone on the road,” said Michael Noonan, the minister of finance, said at a press conference.
Before the bailout, about 7,000 jobs were being lost every month. Over the last year, the Irish economy has created 58,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate is now 12.5%. Public sector wages have dipped by 5%.
The current level of debt is 124% of the GDP is above the European average of 94%.
In November 2008, an unknown person who goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper that led to the creation of the first decentralised virtual currency called Bitcoin. Since then the value of the currency has increased and can be used to buy pizza or even pay tuition fees.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoins are generated using a process called mining. The computer is given a complex mathematical problem to solve and the goal is a 64-digit number. The person who solves this algorithm will get 50 bitcoins. The network creates a difficulty where 50 bitcoins are created roughly every 10 minutes.
It is open source and uses peer-to-peer networking, digital signatures and cryptographics to generate currency.
“With e-currency based on cryptographic proof, without the need to trust a third party middleman, money can be secure and transactions effortless,” says Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin Developer
Bitcoin is a mobile phone app or a computer software called a wallet that is used to send and receive bitcoins.
Growth of bitcoin
The bitcoin is highly volatile. The currency has experienced fluctuations several times.
There will be only 21 million bitcoins that will ever be created. Therefore, mining bitcoins is like mining any precious metal that is limited. So far about 10 million bitcoins have been unearthed. Most users would not have the patience to solve the algorithm to earn bitcoins. Therefore, they would buy and sell them from a bitcoin exchange. In such exchanges, bitcoins can be purchased using local currency and even stored.
BTC China is the oldest and largest bitcoin exchange in the world. Other bitcoin exchanges include Hong Kong-based Asia Nexgen, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox and London-based Bitstamp. Bitcoin exchanges exist in Germany, USA, Bulgaria and Canada.
Wikileaks and WordPress have started accepting bitcoins as cash. The Royal Canadian Mint has recently launched the MintChip, an electronic currency backed by the Canadian government. A bitcoin ATM was opened in Vancouver in October 2013 allowing people to buy and sell bitcoins in a coffee shop. University of Nicosia in Cyprus has become the first accredited university in the world where tuition fees can be paid using bitcoins.
Bitcoin is a decentralised electronic cash system that is unregulated. This means, there are no banks, no governments and no borders. Hence, they could be manipulated and speculative. It could be used for money laundering.
Bitcoin is the currency that runs The Dark Web using a software called Tor where users can hide their identity online and access the online black market called the Silk Road. Illegal drugs like LSD, heroin and marijuana have been sold on the Silk Road using bitcoins.
Hackers have attacked wallets and bitcoin exchanges to steal bitcoins. Several bitcoin exchanges such as Bitomat, MyBitcoin, Bitfloor and others have shut down due to hacking and theft of bitcoins.
Bitcoin is an open system where people can view all transactions. However, the identity of the owner is protected.