Atheist Republic News Summary:Actress Apologizes for Saying She’s Atheist

1. A court in South Korea has ruled that the country’s decades-old ban on abortion must be lifted, in a historic decision that sparked celebrations in Seoul. Doctors who perform terminations can be imprisoned for up to two years, while women face a maximum one-year sentence or a fine of up to 2m won (£1,341) under the current law. The nine-member panel ruled by seven to two that a 1953 law banning abortion was unconstitutional and ordered the national assembly to revise it by the end of next year. The new law under certain conditions,allow terminations in the early stages of pregnancy and doctors no longer face criminal charges.

2. Nusrat, who was 19, was from Feni, a small town 100 miles (160km) south of Dhaka. She was studying at a madrassa, or Islamic school. On 27 March, she said the headmaster called her into his office and repeatedly touched her in an inappropriate manner. Before things could go any further she ran out. She went to the police with the help of her family. She was filmed by the officer in charge on his phone as she described the ordeal. The video was later leaked to local media.

The headmaster was arrested on March 27. A group of people gathered in the streets demanding his release. On April 6, Nusrat went to school to sit her final exams. Nusrat said a female student took her to the roof of the school, saying one of her friends was being beaten up. Four or five people, wearing burqas, surrounded her and pressured to withdraw the case. She refused, then she was set on fire. She died on April 10. Police have arrested 15 people.

3. Dylan Toften and Thomas Hurd went to go get their marriage license from the town clerk in Root, New York, but Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen refused to do so last August. She objected to their marriage for religious reasons. She later claimed she denied them the license because they had not made an appointment with her office. The men sued the city, saying her refusal violated the state's Marriage Equality Act, not to mention federal civil rights laws. The town of Root has agreed to pay the couple $25,000 and Erickson issued an apology for her faith-based hate.

4. Safa Kabir, a Bangladeshi actress, told a radio station that she didn’t believe in any sort of afterlife because she didn’t believe in things she couldn’t see. The footage of the interview went viral and she faced a torrent of criticism in the conservative Muslim country. She issued an apology, insisting on Facebook that she is not an atheist and her comments were misinterpreted.

5. Shafilea Ahmed, 17, suffered years of abuse from her mum and dad before they decided to end her life for bringing ‘dishonour’ to the family. In September 2003, the couple pinned their daughter down on the sofa and stuffed a carrier bag into her mouth until she turned blue and suffocated. Her body was dumped 70 miles away from their home in Warrington. Now one of the teenager’s close family friends, Shanin Munir, has helped reveal the extent of the abuse she went through before her death. Shafilea’s parents planned an ‘honour killing’ as a way to end the ‘shame’ she had brought on the family. 

During a furious row over her short-sleeved top, they killed her in the living room and made her siblings watch. Her sister Alesha later went to the police and told them what had happened. Iftikhar and Farzana were found guilty and were sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole in 2012. A documentary "When Missing Turns to Murder" was released on Monday, April 15.

6. The Hope Clinic for Women provides abortion care, and taking a page from another clinic in Colorado, they just put up a billboard welcoming visitors from Missouri. In a press release, Dr. Erin King, an OB/GYN who serves as the clinic’s executive director, states, “The goal of this billboard is to remind people coming in from Missouri that they are now in a state that trusts and allows pregnant people to make their own healthcare and family planning decisions.”

7. In an 11-page letter to be published in a German magazine for priests, Klerusblatt, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that the scandal is the fault of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and more liberal sexual ethics. Catholic League’s Bill Donohue thinks the letter is wonderful: “Thank God we still have the seminal voice of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to guide us. He is indispensable.”

8. Two sisters from Saudi Arabia who are trapped in Georgia have appealed for asylum after fleeing the ultra-conservative kingdom. Maha al-Subaie, 28, and Wafa al-Subaie, 25, claim they are in danger and will be killed if they are forced to return to Saudi Arabia. They had made their case for international help on Twitter, under the account @GeorgiaSisters. 

The sisters are appealing to the UN to help them get to a third, safe country. "Our family threaten us every day in our country," Wafa said, while her sister Maha said they had proof of

9. Christchurch mosque shooting survivor Wasseim Alsati had a rare morning off on March 15, and he decided to spend it with his then-four-year-old girl Alen Daraghmih and take her to mosque with him. But before they even got inside Al Noor, they were shot and left for dead. He slipped into a coma for two and a half weeks. He kept slipping in and out of consciousness. And every time he woke up, he started screaming, certain his youngest child was gone. During the first week of April, Alen awoke from her coma, she turned five while she was still unconscious. She can't see anything and is just barely responsive. It could be another 6 months before the doctors can assess just how bad the damage is.

10. The orphaned kids of Islamic State's Khaled Sharrouf are desperate to come home, five years after they were dragged to Syria by their parents. Zaynab, 17, Hoda, 15 and Humzeh, 8, are stuck living in a filthy tent in the al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria after their parents and two oldest brothers died. Desperate to come home, the teenager is also seven-and-a-half months pregnant with her third child. Now, with most of the adults in their life dead, the kids’ grandmother Karen Nettleton is working to get them back to Australia.

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