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Netflix Asked To Remove ‘Offensive’ Videos By Gulf Arab Countries

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Gulf Arab countries have asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” on the streaming service, apparently targeting programs that show people who are gay and lesbian.

A joint statement issued on behalf of a committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council made the request, saying the unspecified programs “contradict Islamic and societal values ??and principles.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates each published the statement via their respective governments as well. They, along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, make up the six-nation council.

While the statement didn’t elaborate, Saudi state television also aired video of an interview it conducted with a woman identified as a “behavioral consultant” who described Netflix as being an “official sponsor of homosexuality.”

It aired footage at the same time of a cartoon that had two women embrace, though the footage was blurred out.

Saudi state television also aired a segment suggesting Netflix could be banned in the kingdom over that programming reaching children.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The move comes after countries in the Muslim world in June banned the public showing of Disney’s latest animated film ‘Lightyear’ over a brief moment showing two lesbian characters kissing.

After that, the company’s Disney+ streaming service said its “content available should align with local regulatory requirements” in Gulf Arab countries.

Many Muslims consider gays and lesbians to be sinful. In some parts of the Arab world, members of the LGBTQ community have been arrested and sentenced to prison. Some countries even maintain the death penalty.

The move also comes as regional streaming services try to eat into Netflix’s revenue, including the Shahid service operated by the Saudi-owned MBC Group. The Saudi government is believed to hold a controlling stake in MBC Group after a series of arrests in 2017 ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over corruption allegations that saw him centralize power in the kingdom.

Netflix has limited content previously in Saudi Arabia.

In 2019, activists blasted the streaming service for pulling an episode of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” that criticized Prince Mohammed over the killing and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the kingdom’s involvement in the war in Yemen.

Netflix at the time said the episode was removed from the kingdom as a result of a legal request from authorities and not due to its content.


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New Mexico Supreme Court upholds dismissal of corruption charges against four officials

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ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is calling on lawmakers to strengthen the state’s anti-corruption law.

A recent ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of criminal charges against four defendants, and Balderas told the Albuquerque Journal that the court “took away from citizens a very necessary tool to prosecute public officials who use their public office for their own personal gain.”

The case dealt with the dismissal of ethics charges against a series of former public officials, including former Doña Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez, an ex-Sixth Judicial District Attorney Francesca Estevez, former New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla and ex-San Juan County Magistrate Judge Connie Lee Johnston.

In each of the cases, district courts dismissed the charges but the state appealed the verdicts. The cases were lumped together in from the Supreme Court as each centered on the enforcement of three provisions in the Governmental Conduct Act — subsections that direct officials to treat their positions as a public trust, conduct themselves in a way that justifies the confidence placed in them by the people and disclose conflicts of interest.

Two of the cases involved elected officials from southern New Mexico.

Gutierrez was removed from office after he was found guilty on civil charges of public corruption or gross immorality by a public official in 2016, after sexual harassment allegations were raised by a woman who worked in the office. But criminal charges against Gutierrez were dropped in 2016 by an Alamogordo District Court judge before a trial could begin.

Estevez, the DA for Hidalgo, Luna and Grant counties, faced multiple ethics charges after she allegedly intimidated police to subvert an investigation after she was pulled over in June 2016 for reckless driving in Silver City. Though Estevez would accept a plea deal in 2018 — pleading guilty to one count of reckless driving and two counts of disorderly conduct — a criminal corruption charge against her was dismissed by Third Judicial District Judge Douglas Driggers.

The state appealed the dismissal of the criminal corruption charges against Gutierrez, Estevez and others and in 2020 the New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed three of four decisions, including against the two against southern New Mexico officials.

The high court, however, unanimously ruled the sections of the GCA were never intended by legislators to be enforced as criminal statutes and the language doesn’t “spell out what act or omission is required for its violation and does not establish criminal elements that could inform clear jury instructions.”

The state Legislature is set to open a 60-day session in January when lawmakers may take up legislation revising ethics laws and other statutes, according to the Journal.

Balderas, a Democrat whose term ends this year, told the newspaper that he’s urging lawmakers to work with the ethics agency to “strengthen these laws in order to build public trust with our community which has grown skeptical and tired of corruption.”

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: New Mexico Supreme Court upholds dismissal of corruption charges against four officials


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PN calls for police update after Marsa junction scandal

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PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami has called for a police update after the news broke that the European Union’s anti-fraud office is investigating the Marsa junction project.

The MP was addressing Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in Parliament.

The European Union’s anti-fraud office is investigating the Marsa junction project after data found on Yorgen Fenech’s mobile phone indicated the possibility of corruption, the Times of Malta reported on Sunday. The newspaper said that data on the phone revealed that Fenech had a background role as a middleman in the project and that he had been promised €2 million in success fees – half of which would pass through a secret company linked to the infamous 17 Black.

“Had the authorities sent for the former chief of staff, or for the former prime minister to ask them if they knew anything? Did they know how the €40 million tender was awarded to one bidder and not the other?,” Fenech Adami asked.

Asked outside parliament later during the day by sections of the press, Prime minister Robert Abela said that he did not know about the Marsa flyover being probed by the European’s prosecutor’s office over corruption suspicions.

Fenech Adami also asked for an explanation as to how a four year old who was on a migrant boat in national waters was left to die cause of a lack of a search at sea  in four days.

“I know this will not make me popular, but we must have the guts to say that it is not right that a four-year-old girl dies from thirst in an area which the country is responsible for,” he said.

The girl, Loujin was travelling with her mother on a boat amongst some 60 Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian migrants at the end of August, with the intention of sailing from Lebanon to Italy. They had been adrift for days and the girl died while being airlifted to a hospital in Greece.

Fenech Adami stated that Malta has certain international obligations, despite the Opposition’s clear position that the country’s laws should be respected, that criminals should be prosecuted, and that human trafficking should not be facilitated.

The PN MP wants that Minister Camilleri “come clean” and provide all relevant information regarding the case.

Fenech Adami said that this criticism is not intended towards AFM workers who carry their work dutifully.

“When I criticise, I am not criticising the courageous soldiers. I am criticising, very harshly the political decisions taken,” he said.




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New Mexico Supreme Court upholds dismissal of corruption charges against four officials

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ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is calling on lawmakers to strengthen the state’s anti-corruption law.

A recent ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of criminal charges against four defendants, and Balderas told the Albuquerque Journal that the court “took away from citizens a very necessary tool to prosecute public officials who use their public office for their own personal gain.”

The case dealt with the dismissal of ethics charges against a series of former public officials, including former Doña Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez, an ex-Sixth Judicial District Attorney Francesca Estevez, former New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla and ex-San Juan County Magistrate Judge Connie Lee Johnston.

Doña Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez testified in his trial, Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

In each of the cases, district courts dismissed the charges but the state appealed the verdicts. The cases were lumped together in from the Supreme Court as each centered on the enforcement of three provisions in the Governmental Conduct Act — subsections that direct officials to treat their positions as a public trust, conduct themselves in a way that justifies the confidence placed in them by the people and disclose conflicts of interest.


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