South African Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for unintentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in an incident on Valentine's Day 2013. The Paralympic sprinter, who in September was cleared of murder charges, was also handed a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge.
"It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were created that there is one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and one law for the rich and famous," Judge Thokozile Masipa said as she read out her decision. She added that it was difficult to arrive to a decision that was "fair and just to society and to the accused."
Two Christian pastors and a deacon have each been given six-year sentences by an Iranian court. A persecution watchdog group has expressed concern over the development, noting that the prisons are isolated and will force the men's families to travel great distances to see them.
"We are deeply concerned by the six-year sentences given to pastors [Benham] Irani and [Matthias] Haghnejad and deacon Silas Rabbani, and the fact that they will serve these sentences so far from their families and home towns," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper.
"We are particularly appalled by the extra six years given to pastor Irani, who has already endured ill-treatment whilst in prison and now faces nearly a decade in prison on trumped-up charges. We urge the Iranian government to release without delay every person who is imprisoned for their faith. Their incarceration contravenes international covenants guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief, to which Iran is party." more >>
Washington state's I-594 has massive money pouring into it, because it's apparently the only gun-control measure on the ballot this fall anywhere across the country. There are actually two dueling gun measures in the state. The first one, I-594, the Washington Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Initiative, is being bankrolled by billionaires on the left in favor of gun control, including anti-gun activist and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as former wealthy Microsoft execs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Thanks to them, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility has raised nearly $9 million for the initiative this far, massively outspending the other side, which has raised only $1.3 million.
I-594 has been cleverly drafted to sound like it merely makes small changes to gun laws, not a flat-out ban or gun registration scheme. This is why it is so dangerous. People are less likely to oppose it; in fact, polls show that even a majority of gun owners - 54 percent of the 35 percent of Washington residents who own a gun - are in favor of it.
The reality is, the bizarrely-long 18 ½ page initiative is so confusingly and vaguely worded - with many terms and phrases left undefined - that former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders warned protesters at a rally against I-594 how impossible it will be to comply with. Gun owners will easily make honest mistakes, making it easy to prosecute them. Many will just give up trying to own a gun. more >>
Feeling confused about the Houston sermon subpoena scandal? Here are answers to five questions you may have.
Q: What happened?
A: In May, Houston city government passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) to ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. After passage, opponents began collecting signatures to add a ballot measure to repeal the new law. more >>
Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney Feldman, you have gone too far, and your bullying will backfire. The pastors of Houston, joined by Christian leaders across the country, will not be intimidated and they will not back down.
Earlier this week, Americans were outraged and shocked to learn that the city of Houston issued subpoenas to several local pastors, demanding to inspect their sermons, speeches, presentations, and communications to their congregations having anything to do with homosexuality or gender identity.
Stop bullying people of faith. That's the bottom line of a harshly worded letter written by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to Houston City Attorney David Feldman.
Feldman's office sent subpoenas to five Houston pastors last month demanding that they turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity issues. They also wanted sermons or correspondence that referenced Annise Parker, the city's first openly lesbian mayor.
The subpoenas were issued in a response to a lawsuit related to Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), also known as the "Bathroom Bill." more >>