Tunisian Women Can Now Marry Non-Muslims

Across the globe, the LGBT community is finally receiving the rights it deserves. In Canada, gender discrimination is outlawed. Taiwan became the first Asian country to recognize same-sex marriage. However, homosexuality remains a crime in many countries. In fact, some traditional marriages aren’t even tolerated due to religious factors. But President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia is shifting views, now allowing Tunisian women to marry non-Muslims.

Until now, a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian Muslim woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.

Tunisia, which is 99% Muslim, is viewed as one of the most progressive Arab countries in terms of women’s rights.

Non-Muslim marriages were restricted in 1973. The president referred to it as an obstacle to one’s freedom of choice. Baffling was the fact that the law did not apply to men and included minority women who were Jewish or Christian.

Scrapping the decree may not do away with the cultural and traditional obstacles women face with their families in cases of inter-faith marriage, but it now offers Tunisian women greater freedom of choice from a legal perspective.

The battle for women’s rights may be a little worn out, but remains optimistic. A round of applause for Tunisia!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

The U.K. Ban on Ivory Sales And Exports

Time and again, elephants have proven that they are worth more than just their tusks. Back in August, they rescued hundreds of tourists from a flood in Nepal. And while some, like war veteran Col. Faye Cuevas, are doing their best to protect them, it seems the efforts are not enough. Last year, the U.K. has taken a favorable — albeit small — step towards banning almost all sales and exports of ivory products.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a consultation to end the trade in ivory of all ages — previous attempts at a ban would have excluded antique ivory produced before 1947.

The government says there will be some exemptions, for musical instruments and items of cultural importance.

A lack of clear restrictions is corroborating the fears of environmentalist groups, who are unsatisfied by the ban. They argue that the UK still leads in exporting legal pre-1947 ivory antiques even in the past few years, and though the transactions are technically not punishable by law, the high amount of sales stimulates demand and encourages poaching in Africa.

Nonetheless, pressures from conservationists and Prince William himself — a long-time campaigner against the trade — are pushing the government to impose a total ban. If I were being encouraged by English royalty to head towards a certain direction, I’d probably start walking.

At a wildlife conference in Vietnam, [Prince William] said: “Ivory is not something to be desired and when removed from an elephant it is not beautiful.

“So, the question is: why are we still trading it? We need governments to send a clear signal that trading in ivory is abhorrent.”

Well said, Prince William. I toot my horn (or tusk?) in your favor. While waiting for further updates this 2018 from the government of the UK, perhaps we could share a toast to the greatness of elephants.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban On Women Drivers

Throughout the course of history, women across the globe have been fighting for their rightful place in society. Unfortunately, the war is far from over — but women continue to speak out. Robyn and Michelle Lyle are working to remove the stigma on breast education. Now, Saudia Arabia is lifting its 27-year-old ban on female drivers — an enormous victory for thousands.

Saudi leaders… hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.

Many have attempted to justify the ban by claiming that driving would promote promiscuity or even damage women’s ovaries. For long, Saudi women have been subject to male “guardianship.” The law, which requires male consent for a woman’s actions, is limiting and humiliating. Eliminating the ban will have positive effects on many aspects of Saudi life.

Low oil prices have limited the government jobs that many Saudis have long relied on, and the kingdom is trying to push more citizens, including women, into private sector employment. But some working Saudi women say hiring private drivers to get them to and from work eats up much of their pay.

The decree is another breakthrough for Saudi’s female population, who were only given the right to vote in 2015.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

California To Impose Straw Rule At Restaurants

These days, restaurants are not only serving up delicious new meals, but becoming mindful of their impact on the environment. Chains such as TGI’s are serving vegan burgers to reduce meat consumption, while bay-area cafes are returning oyster shells into oceans. Each bit of effort is unique, while every vision remains the same — to go green. Lavish with five-star establishments, California is taking its eco-consciousness even further against plastic straws. A new law requires sit-down restaurants to dispense straws only if specifically requested.

“Really, what’s at stake here is a few moments of convenience creating a years-long environmental threat,” said David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay.

The bill follows California’s ban on single-use plastics and will hopefully transition into a total ban. Let’s be real. Paper straws are tons better than their plastic counterparts, but not when they thaw into a soggy mess.

“We are aware of the problem we’ve created with plastic and wanted to get away from it as much as possible,” said [Daniel] Parks, the beverage manager at Pagan Idol.

While every activist would prefer a complete wipe-out, it may take others some time to realize straws really aren’t all that.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

U.K. Bans Production Of Cosmetic Microbeads

You know plastic waste is a problem when the UN is taking matters into its own hands. Its Environment Programme has partnered with 200 countries, of which the U.K. is taking things a step even further. Seconding an American enterprise, the U.K. is finally bringing a lingering microbead ban into effect.

“The world’s oceans are some of our most valuable natural assets and I am determined we act now to tackle the plastic that devastates our precious marine life,” said environment minister Thérèse Coffey.

The ban will force manufacturers to revamp products like exfoliators and toothpaste. Overall, it’s a good start for one of the world’s leading plastic consumers. The embargo will work hand-in-hand with additional efforts to charge extra for plastic products.

Mary Creagh MP, (environmental audit committee) EAC chair, said: “The microbead ban is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.”

For Mother Nature, hard work doesn’t come to an end. Ultimately, it’s us who suffer without her.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Iceland Enforces Equal Pay For Men And Women

It’s the 21st century and women’s rights are finally becoming a thing of the present. With startups like Xinca employing single mothers and Saudi Arabia getting with the times, things are looking up. Kicking the new year off with an even greater win for the female workforce is Iceland. The Nordic country is deeming it illegal to pay women less than men.

“Holding women back holds our economy back. Tackling gender inequality and discrimination is good for business and for all of us,” … said [Sam Smethers, who campaigns for women’s rights as CEO of the Fawcett Society.]

The law will apply to companies employing more than 25 staffers at a time. Of course, bonuses aren’t out of the question — but they are rewarded only to top performers. Women’s rights campaigners have naturally taken their approval to social media.

Tennis player Billie Jean King added: “Iceland again leading in the equality movement. A new female Prime Minister, and a Parliament where nearly half of its members are women. Equal representation benefits everyone!”

Currently on top of closing gender gaps, it’s no surprise that Iceland is pushing the limits for women. After all, they do run the world (at least according to Beyonce).

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

China Calls For Near-Complete Ban On Ivory Sales

Following India’s campaign against the use of wild animals in circus shows, China has caved to international pressures. In a giant leap forward, the mass ivory consumer is finally placing a near-total ban on the material. Things will definitely be looking up for 30,000 African elephants slaughtered by poachers each year.

China and the U.S. both agreed to “near-complete” ivory bans, which prohibit the buying and selling of all but a limited number of antiques and a few other items.

Ivory is in demand for intricate carvings, trinkets, chopsticks, and other items.

With no proven clinical use, ivory used as medication is purely based on superstition. Despite previous international bans, China has consistently managed to quietly condone black market trade — until now.

“The Chinese government’s ban on its domestic ivory trade sends a message to the general public in China that the life of elephants is more important than the ivory carving culture,” said Gao Yufang, a Ph.D. student in conservation biology.

With no means to curve laws, China is finally bound to the positively inescapable ban. There is no guarantee to a drop in poaching, but when society gets it, it seems everything falls naturally into place.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Plastic Bags Are Now Illegal In Kenya

2017 has proven to be the year of anti-plastic ambassadors. Many groups are engineering alternatives for the material, whether to replace coffee capsules and even Legos. On the other hand, the Kenyan government wants to speed up the process by banning plastic bags entirely.

Beginning [August 28], if you’re carrying your groceries in a plastic bag or put out your trash in a disposable one, you could be fined up to $38,000 or be sent to jail for up to four years.

While the motion holds good intentions, it is economically stressing. Thousands of Kenyans work within the plastic industry. There are no cheap and readily available plastic alternatives.

“It’s not the plastic’s fault. It’s a lack of a system to collect the plastic and reuse it and make a value chain out of it beyond that first usage.”

The material may be affecting water, livestock, and public health, but the fact of the matter remains the same. Communities need to recycle. Let’s not forget that a single household’s segregated trash could make a world of a difference.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: