BALTIMORE — The defense rested its case in the trial of Officer William G. Porter early Friday afternoon. Testimony resumed Friday morning with Porter’s defense calling several people who know Porter well to testify to his character, including his mother. Helena Porter, the officer’s mother, took the stand and said her son was “the peacemaker in…
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By Sean Moran
By Sean Moran
At the October 7 London premiere of the film Suffragette, several activists from the group Sisters Uncut crashed the red carpet and released smoke canisters as part of a protest against recent budget cuts to facilities that offer care to victims of domestic violence. When asked why they chose this film for the protest, one activist replied that the film’s “celebratory sense” has created a “delusional element” that feminism has accomplished its goals.
Suffragette, set to begin a limited American release on October 23, tells the story of one mother’s experiences as she gets caught up in the female suffrage movement in early 20th century Britain. The movie stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter (who also happens to be the real life great granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, the Prime Minister who opposed female suffrage), and Meryl Streep as the leader of the suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst.
A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?
Along with the protest at the premiere, the film has also received some backlash against a promotional photoshoot where the actresses wore t-shirts that read “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave.” Critics immediately began criticizing this quote for perceived racial insensitivity. Some pointed out that Emmeline Pankhurst and many other suffragettes were not advocating for black female suffrage too.
As much as people try to argue that the Pankhurst was a progressive feminist, the truth is that she wasn’t. Pankhurst was aided by her two daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, the former much in her mother’s image, while the latter had much more radical beliefs. Neither Emmeline nor Christabel believed women should wear pants or short hair, and both detested the rise of the Labour Party that represented the working class. Emeline also believed women should remain chaste, and all but denounced her daughter Sylvia when she had a child out of wedlock.
This raises an important issue with historical films: is it okay to force historical facts to fit a modern narrative? A movie can be effective in getting an ideological message across, but how much can you ignore or even distort actual history?
It would seem more authentic if characters did have inconsistent beliefs about equality, believing men and women should be equal but only some men and women (white, educated, upper class, etc.).
So in a way, the protestors at the premiere were right; this film shouldn’t be seen as the epitome of feminist ideology (Note: I have not seen the actual movie yet, and the film could totally address these issues).
Having said all that, I think this film will provide an adequately objective viewpoint. In an interview with Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, screenwriter Abi Morgan admitted that she didn’t want to do a feminist film.
“I don’t think any of us said, ‘Let’s make a feminist movie.’ I think we kind of went, ‘This is exciting. We never see women blow up buildings. We never see them militant.’”
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By John Massey
The Japanese population is rapidly declining.
The population has lost almost one million people over the past five years.
This decline has been long predicted by demographers but the world’s third largest economy has been unable to find a solution.
The situation is dire and hard to overstate.
If Japan can’t start having many more babies then the country will face great challenges later on in the century. These challenges could undermine the very core of the country’s social order.
Japan has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, 1.41 children per woman in 2012.
As a result, the number of people 65 and over has increased from 12.1% in 1990 to 26% in 2014.
Furthermore, estimates put Japan’s retirement age population at 40% of the total national population by 2060.
This would likely put a tremendous burden on Japan’s social safety net, state pensions alone being ¥792,100 per year ($6,960.76). This accounts for nearly 33% of Japan’s national budget in 2015 and it will only continue to balloon as the years roll on.
Having to cope with close to half of your population being in need of geriatric care is not a problem exclusive to Japan.
China recently revoked and replaced its One Child Policy, with the Two Child Policy.
In part this is to combat China’s low fertility rates, 1.66 births per woman, and in part to counter act the imbalance between the number of men and women, a 30 million person disparity.
Other low fertility countries include, but are not limited to: Singapore (0.81), South Korea (1.18), Germany (1.44), Russia (1.61), The United States (1.87), and the United Kingdom (1.89). All of these nations have fertility rates incapable of sustaining their current populations without immigration helping to offset the disparity.
Elderly populations then are not only a threat to the economic growth of Japan, but to advanced economies in general.
It would then seem that in order to combat global population decline, and with a greater number of developing nations creating advanced economies, nations may need to compete for immigrants in order to sustain their populations.
This may be particularly difficult for Japan, due to the relative difficulty in learning its national language, and a culture that is not as used to welcoming immigrants as many of its potential competitors.
Of course the other way for Japan to get back to an equilibrium in terms of old and young is to have young people have more children- lots more children. The government has tried many different methods, including offering to pay parents to have kids, but it has had little impact.
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By Kyle Jones
Pope Francis has announced that he will make his first official visit to Mexico as the Pontiff in February of 2016.
Vatican officials have confirmed that the pope will arrive in Mexico for his eight-day trip on February 12th. Pope Francis had hoped to be able to visit Mexico earlier this year prior to visiting the United States, but was unable to due to scheduling conflicts.
While in Mexico, the pope is expected to address issues such as poverty, organized crime, violence, and discrimination against migrants trying to find a better a better life.
Official details of the papal visit have not yet been released.
Archbishop Norberto Carrera of the Archdiocese of Mexico City; however, has confirmed that the pope will be meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto and will visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It has also been rumored that the Pope is considering visiting sites along the Mexican border with the US to see where some migrants cross illegally into the United States.
Mexican political leaders have been enthusiastic about Pope Francis’ visit since church officials first announced the trip earlier last month. Many politicians have invited the Pope to visit specific states, and address the National Congress.
Church officials have said it is unlikely that the pope will address the Congress, and have denounced the enthusiasm and the “decadence of the political class” who only wish to capitalize on Pope Francis’ popularity among the more than 80% of Mexican citizens who are Roman Catholic.
In addition to his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis has also expressed his desire to visit Argentina, Uruguay and Chile during 2016. The last papal visit to Mexico was taken by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2012.
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