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The women risking jail with lesbian movie

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Two Nigerian filmmakers face the prospect of imprisonment if they ignore the stern warning of the authorities and proceed with the release of a movie about a lesbian relationship.
The dramatic face-off with the regulators – the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) – is worthy of a film itself.
Producer Pamela Adie and director Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim are determined that Ife (meaning “love” in the Yoruba language) reaches a Nigerian audience, but the NFVCB says it will not be approved as it violates the country’s strict laws on homosexuality.

International premiere

To get around this, the filmmakers are planning a surprise online release to catch the regulators off-guard. The NFVCB, however, is diligently monitoring all digital platforms to prevent the movie from getting out.
According to NFVCB boss Adebayo Thomas, Adie and Ikpe-Etim could be jailed for promoting homosexuality in a country where same-sex relationships are forbidden and can carry a 14-year sentence.
They are organising a private screening in the commercial capital, Lagos, at the end of the month, for which they believe they do not need to get permission.
Ife will also get an international premiere in Canada in October.
Pamela Adie quote
Adie said the aim of the film was to show an accurate picture of lesbian and bisexual women in Nigerian movies.
If a lesbian woman does appear in a standard Nollywood movie they are often portrayed as being possessed, influenced by bad friends or forced into homosexuality and always needing “saving”, she told the BBC.
“You rarely see stories about LGBT people, especially about queer women that speak to the realities of our lives.
“Ife was made to bridge the gap and to get the conversation going in Nigeria.”

Coming out to a Nigerian mother

Ife is a story about two women falling in love as they spend three days together. They “then have their love tested by the realities of being in a same-sex relationship in a country like Nigeria”, according to the publicity for the film.
If July’s trailer, where sex is hinted at but not actually shown, is anything to go by, then Ife certainly pushes the boundaries of telling the LGBT story by Nigerian movie standards.
Two actors on the set of Ife are sat on a couchIMAGE COPYRIGHTPAMELA ADIE
image captionUzoamaka Aniunoh (L) and Cindy Amadi (R), seen here on set, play the two women falling in love
In one shot, the two protagonists, Ife and Adaora are in bed talking about love and the challenges faced by LGBT people especially within their families.
Their conversation forms the spine of the teaser for the film.
“I told my mum first, took her about a week to come to terms with it,” Ife, played by Uzoamaka Aniunoh, says talking about revealing that she was a lesbian.
“Which is short for a Nigerian mother,” interjects Adaora, played by Cindy Amadi.
“Is it too soon to say I might be in love with you?” asks Adaora as they cuddle.
“We are lesbians, this is the perfect time,” answers Ife.

‘It has to be censored’

Homosexuality is an extremely contentious issue in many parts of Africa and Nigeria is no different.
It is a highly religious and traditional society and its influential Christian and Muslim organisations oppose homosexuality.
As a consequence, Nigeria is one of 30 countries on the continent where it is criminalised.
The legislation outlawing same-sex relationships was passed in 2014 and built on the colonial-era prohibition of sodomy. Police in Nigeria have cracked down on people suspected of homosexuality, forcing most into hiding.
Ikpe-Etim quote
The feeling of being sidelined and the need to challenge beliefs that homosexuality is immoral is what inspired director Ikpe-Etim to take on the project.
“Before now, we have been told one-sided stories. What we are doing with this film is normalising the queer experience, we are normalising the LGBT romance.
“It will begin to erase that shame that LBQ [lesbian, bisexual and queer] women face,” she told the BBC.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Africa is becoming increasingly vocal and visible, thanks to the internet providing a space for films, talk shows and websites.
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But that has not stopped filmmakers from getting into trouble with authorities.
The head of the NFVCB said there was no space for Ife or other homosexual movies in Nigeria, citing the law.
“There’s a standing law that prohibits homosexuality, either in practice or in a movie or even in a theatre or on stage. If it’s content from Nigeria, it has to be censored,” Mr Thomas told the BBC.
He said that whatever the platform was, “as long as it’s Nigerian content and it’s telling a Nigerian story, then we have a right to it”.
But there is no plan for large-scale screenings of Ife in Nigerian cinemas or selling the DVD, as the producers want to make it available online as pay-on-demand. But even that will get them into trouble with the regulators.

Increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people

“If it did not pass through NFVCB and it is released, the filmmakers will be prosecuted according to the law,” Mr Thomas said.
“As long as it’s Nigerian content, we will pull it down because we have collaborations with Google, YouTube and other key players.”
But that has not deterred the producers and Adie says her team will continue as planned, as they believe they have done nothing wrong and do not plan to seek permission for an online release.
This is not the first time an LGBTQ-themed movie has fallen foul of regulators on the continent.
Stories of Our Lives, a collection of five short films based on stories of LGBTQ life in Kenya was banned in 2014 for being “contrary to national norms”.
This was also the fate of Rafiki, Kenya’s first film about a lesbian relationship, which went on to be the East African nation’s first film to premiere at the Cannes film festival and also receive an Oscar nomination.
Inxeba/The Wound, a South African film about a relationship between two men in the context of the Xhosa initiation ritual was also banned from mainstream South African cinemas in 2018.
Despite the set-backs, some in the LGBTQ community in Africa say they are gradually gaining confidence and acceptance and link it to the increased visibility in films and literature which are encouraging greater tolerance among younger generations.
A 2019 survey of attitudes in Nigeria showed an increase in acceptance of LGBTQ people – though the balance was still tilted against them.
Some 60% of Nigerians surveyed said they would not accept a family member who was LGBTQ, but this was significantly lower than the 83% who put themselves in that category in 2017.
The need for further change is why people like Ikpe-Etim want to keep telling the stories of the LGBTQ community.
“As a member of an under-represented group, you are constantly at the mercy of people who don’t understand what it means to be queer. “I knew if I wanted the society to view LGBTQ people in a different light, I had to tell the full story,” she said.
Source: bbc.com

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PHOTOS: Villagers erect massive penis statue to bring forth rain

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Villagers in Yothaka, in Thailand’s Chachoengsao province, ended a period of drought by building a giant erect penis statue.

Farmers in the area had been concerned that there hadn’t been enough rain recently and that water from irrigation canals was too salty and had been damaging crops.

To call forth the rain, a giant penis statue, or “Palad Khik”, was erected on Jun 9.

This week. local village headman, Chamnan Kenthongdaeng, 52, told a press conference that on June 11, just two days after the giant penis was installed it had started raining, with a shower that lasted about half an hour.

Koson Samang, the headman of a nearby village, had made a video of the rain as proof.

However, local farmers complained that the brief shower hadn’t been long enough to irrigate their fields.

Chamnan 52, promised that prayers to the phallus will continue.

 

Villagers erect massive penis statue to bring forth rain

He told Pattaya News that erecting a Palad Khik, representing fertility and new growth, was a local tradition going back decades, to the time of his grandparents.

Chamnan said that the giant penis, built in the middle of the road, wouldn’t cause any problems with traffic, because it was built on a cul-de-sac.

 

Villagers erect massive penis statue to bring forth rain

“It will be removed as soon as the seasonal rain comes,” he promised.

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G7 to agree tough measures on burning coal to tackle climate change

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Boris Johnson and David Attenborough talking in front of a projection of EarthIMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES
image captionDavid Attenborough (right) is to address the summit

World leaders meeting in Cornwall are to adopt strict measures on coal-fired power stations as part of the battle against climate change.

The G7 group will promise to move away from coal plants, unless they have technology to capture carbon emissions.

It comes as Sir David Attenborough warned that humans could be “on the verge of destabilising the entire planet”.

He said G7 leaders faced the most important decisions in human history.

The coal announcement came from the White House, which said it was the first time the leaders of wealthy nations had committed to keeping the projected global temperature rise to 1.5C.

That requires a range of urgent policies, chief among them being phasing out coal burning unless it includes carbon capture technology.

Coal is the world’s dirtiest major fuel and ending its use is seen as a major step by environmentalists, but they also want guarantees rich countries will deliver on previous promises to help poorer nations cope with climate change.

The G7 will end the funding of new coal generation in developing countries and offer up to £2bn ($2.8bn)to stop using the fuel. Climate change has been one of the key themes at the three-day summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with other G7 leaders, 12 JuneIMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
image captionThe G7 summit is being held in the resort of Carbis Bay in Cornwall, south-west England

Leaders of the seven major industrialised nations – the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy – are expected to set out plans to reduce emissions from farming, transport, and the making of steel and cement.

They will commit to protecting 30% of global land and marine areas for nature by 2030. They are also expected to pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030, relative to 2010 levels. The UK has already surpassed that commitment.

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a news conference on Sunday afternoon, the final day of a summit where he has clashed with EU leaders over the Brexit deal’s requirements for checks on goods from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden relax between sessions of the G7 summit in Cornwall, 12 JuneIMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
image captionAfter the summit US President Joe Biden – shown here with President Macron of France – will have tea with the Queen

‘Plain to see’

A video message from Sir David Attenborough was played to world leaders in Cornwall on Sunday as they set out their plans for meeting emissions targets.

Speaking beforehand, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished… Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly plain to see.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet.”

He said the decisions facing the world’s richest countries were “the most important in human history”.

As well as the measures on coal and ending almost all direct government support for the fossil fuel sector overseas, the G7 is expected to phase out petrol and diesel cars.

BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin said there had been “a crucial lack of detail on two questions so far: the proposed green masterplan to help developing countries get clean technology and the amount of cash richer [countries] will hand to the poorer to tackle the climate crisis”.

China, which according to one report was responsible for 27% of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019 – the most of any country – is not part of the G7.

What is climate change?

The Earth’s average temperature is about 15C (59F) but has been much higher and lower in the past.

There are natural fluctuations in the climate but scientists say temperatures are now rising faster than at many other times.

This is linked to the greenhouse effect, which describes how the Earth’s atmosphere traps some of the Sun’s energy.

Solar energy radiating back to space from the Earth’s surface is absorbed by greenhouse gases and re-emitted in all directions.

This heats both the lower atmosphere and the surface of the planet. Without this effect, the Earth would be about 30C (86F) colder and hostile to life.

 

Scientists believe we are adding to the natural greenhouse effect, with gases released from industry and agriculture trapping more energy and increasing the temperature.

This is known as climate change or global warming. You can read our simple explainer here.

The G7 leaders are also expected to endorse a plan aimed at reversing the loss of biodiversity – a measure of how many different species live in ecosystems – by the end of the decade.

Mr Johnson is also launching a £500m fund to protect the world’s oceans and marine life.

The “blue planet fund” will help countries including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific Island states, tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

A major UN report from 2019 said that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 to keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5C.

Graphic showing the faces of each leader

BBC.COM

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Macron ‘slapper’ bags 4-month prison sentence

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A 28-year-old Frenchman who described himself as a right-wing or extreme-right “patriot” was sentenced to four months in prison Thursday for slapping President Emmanuel Macron in the face.

Damien Tarel was also banned from ever holding public office in France and from owning weapons for five years over the swipe Tuesday, which caught Macron’s left cheek with an audible thwack as the French leader was greeting a crowd.

During Thursday’s trial, Tarel testified that the attack was impulsive and unplanned, and prompted by anger at France’s “decline.”

He sat straight and showed no emotion as the court in the southeastern city of Valence convicted him on a charge of violence against a person invested with public authority. He was sentenced to four months in prison and handed an additional 14-month suspended sentence. His girlfriend broke down in tears.

Tarel, who shouted a centuries-old royalist war cry as he hit the president, described himself as a right-wing or extreme-right “patriot” and member of the yellow vest economic protest movement that shook Macron’s presidency in 2018 and 2019.

Poised and calm, he firmly defended his action and his views on Macron, without providing details of what policies he wants France to change.

Tarel acknowledged hitting the president with a “rather violent” slap. “When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction,” he told the court. “It was an impulsive reaction… I was surprised myself by the violence.”

While he said he and his friends had considered bringing an egg or a cream pie to throw at the president, he said they dropped the idea — and insisted that the slap wasn’t premeditated.

“I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country,” he said, without explaining what he meant.

He told investigators that he held right- or ultra-right political convictions without being a member of a party or group, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The slap called attention to an assortment of ultra-right groups bubbling beneath France’s political landscape, which are considered increasingly dangerous despite their small following.

Macron wouldn’t comment Thursday on the trial, but insisted that “nothing justifies violence in a democratic society, ever.”

“It’s not such a big deal to get a slap when you go toward a crowd to say hello to some people who were waiting for a long time,” he said in an interview with broadcaster BFM-TV. “We must not make that stupid and violent act more important than it is.”

At the same time, the president added, “we must not make it banal, because anyone with public authority is entitled to respect.”

Another man arrested in the ruckus that followed the slap, identified by the prosecutor as Arthur C., will be judged at a later date, in 2022, for illegal possession of weapons.

The prosecutor’s office said as well as finding weapons, police who searched the home of Arthur C. also found books on the art of war, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf,” and two flags, one symbolizing Communists and another of the Russian revolution.

Neither Tarel nor Arthur C., also 28, had police records, the prosecutor said.

While crimes in France often take months or years to reach trial, in this case authorities used a special emergency procedure to hold a trial within just two days of the slap. Tarel did not object to the procedure.

Videos showed Macron’s attacker slapping the French leader’s left cheek and his bodyguards pushing the man away during a quick meet-and-greet with members of the public, who were kept back behind traffic barriers in the winemaking town of Tain-l’Hermitage.

The attacker was heard to cry out “Montjoie! Saint Denis!” a centuries-old royalist war cry, before finishing with “A bas la Macronie,” or “Down with Macron.”

 

Source: Adomonline

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