tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Monday, Aug 20, 2018
  • Home
News Roundup

Researchers reveal ‘dirty’ jokes in Anne Frank’s diary; Lebanon’s gay pride week halted in crackdown; more in world news


Frank talk of sex in Anne’s diary

Researchers using digital technology deciphered the writing on two pages of Anne Frank’s diary that she had pasted over with brown masking paper, discovering four naughty jokes and a candid explanation of sex, women’s sexual development, contraception and prostitution. "Anyone who reads the passages ... will be unable to suppress a smile," said Frank van Vree of the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. "The ‘dirty’ jokes are classics among growing children. ... (She) was above all also an ordinary girl." Anne, then 13, wrote the two pages Sept. 28, 1942, just after her family went into hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam house and two years before their capture. Experts say the pages reveal less about her interest in sex and more about her development as a writer by using fiction to cover sensitive topics. She wrote candidly in other parts of her diary about her burgeoning sexuality and her anatomy. Due to copyright issues, it is unclear whether the hidden passages will be incorporated into new editions of her diary. But one of her jokes was this: "Do you know why the German Wehrmacht girls are in Holland? As mattresses for the soldiers."


Pride week halted in crackdown

Lebanon’s beleaguered gay pride week was canceled a couple of days into the celebrations after its organizer was briefly detained, he and his lawyer said Tuesday. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is often criminalized, shunned and persecuted in the conservative Arab region. In Lebanon, however, LGBTQ people have enjoyed a margin of freedom. But organizer Hadi Damien said he was detained for organizing Beirut Pride week. Lawyer Layal Saqr said Damien was interrogated over allegedly "encouraging debauchery and offending public decency." Authorities asked Damien to sign a pledge to call off the week, she said, to avoid possibly two years in prison. Damien added he signed to avoid a wider crackdown on LGBTQ people. Last year, Lebanon’s pride week — the first in the Arab world — was also disrupted after Islamist groups complained and threatened to attack a planned parade.


Soros groups out under pressure

Facing intense political pressure and the threat of legal sanctions, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations said Tuesday that it had become impossible to work in Hungary and that the foundations would move to Berlin. The groups — which promote democracy, free expression and civil rights — have come under growing hostile political and legal pressure from Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has stifled dissent and declared that "the era of liberal democracy is over." Soros, 87, a Jew who survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest, later made a fortune in the financial markets. Orban campaigned on a nationalist, anti-immigrant platform and vowed to seek revenge against those he deemed enemies of the state. He has proposed what is commonly referred to as a "Stop Soros" law, aimed at penalizing NGOs that assist asylum-seekers and refugees.

Korean Peninsula

North threatens to cancel on U.S.

North Korea abruptly postponed high-level talks with South Korea on Wednesday to protest a joint South Korean-U.S. Air Force drill, and warned the summit between North Korea’s leader and U.S. President Donald Trump next month could be jeopardized. The news injected uncertainty into what had been months of warming relations on the Korean Peninsula. It came weeks before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has raised the possibility of relinquishing his nuclear weapons, is scheduled to confer with Trump in what would be the first meeting between leaders of both countries. The two Koreas had been scheduled to meet today to discuss putting in place a signed agreement to improve ties and ease military tensions. The North postponed those talks "indefinitely."


Europe, Iran seek to save deal: Major European powers hope to keep Iran committed to a deal to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb despite deep misgivings about Tehran’s Middle East politics and President Donald Trump’s vehement opposition. An EU official said France, Britain, Germany and Iran yielded a blueprint Tuesday for further talks to salvage the nuclear deal.

Ramadan to start Thursday: Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations declared Ramadan would not begin today based on a moon-sighting methodology. That means millions of Muslims will likely begin fasting Thursday. The month is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and, through charity and more, remind them of those less fortunate. It is also a chance to kick addictions.

Gap sorry for T-shirt’s map of China: U.S. retailer Gap apologized Tuesday for selling T-shirts globally with what it says is an incorrect map of China that didn’t include self-ruled Taiwan, in the latest example of corporate kowtowing to Beijing. The map also appeared to leave out southern Tibet and the disputed South China Sea. — tbt* wires

Weather Center