One unreliable witness put two men behind bars for 25 years. Now they’re ‘finally, finally’ free.

One unreliable witness put two men behind bars for 25 years. Now they’re ‘finally, finally’ free.

Two men serving life sentences for a crime they say they didn’t commit stepped out a back door and into the cold behind New Jersey State Prison on Wednesday.“Finally, finally!” Kevin Baker shouted as he embraced his attorney.“Yes sir, yes sir!” Sean Washington replied. He wrapped his arms around his mother, who waited hours on a sidewalk outside the prison along with a contingent of supporters, not knowing when, exactly, they would be released.Baker and Washington won their freedom after an appellate court threw out their convictions in December and prosecutors decided not to retry them earlie… (more…)

The brothels of Daulatdia: Sex workers to get ‘honourable’ funeral

The brothels of Daulatdia: Sex workers to get ‘honourable’ funeral

Daulatdia (Bangladesh) (AFP) – Often treated as less than human in life, there has been little dignity in death for the sex workers of one of the world’s biggest brothels: their bodies frequently tossed into unmarked graves or dumped in the river.Until now.On Thursday, Hamida Begum became the first sex worker from Bangladesh bordello Daulatdia to receive a formal Islamic funeral, breaking a longstanding taboo in Muslim majority Bangladesh where prostitution is legal but regarded by many as immoral. Scores of women gathered at the graveside, weeping for the 65-year-old’s passing but also becaus… (more…)

Small businesses suffer as China virus shuts communities

Small businesses suffer as China virus shuts communities

Beijing (AFP) – Wang Li’s guesthouse sits a stone’s throw from the Great Wall, an idyllic setting for a weekend getaway. But in these uncertain times of the new coronavirus, Wang and her family are the only occupants.The 35-year-old woman now spends her days disinfecting Yingfangyuan Farmhouse and its empty restaurant near Beijing, as millions of people across the country stay home, either under government orders or out of caution.As the virus claims more lives and infects thousands of people every day, it is also taking a toll on the country’s small businesses that rely on spending from China… (more…)

How to tell if your cat is a jerk — or just misunderstood

How to tell if your cat is a jerk — or just misunderstood

Catsare popular pets: there are an estimated 200 million pet cats worldwide, with more pet cats than pet dogs. Cats live in about 38 percent of Canadian households, 25.4 percent of American householdsand 25 percent of European households.Catsalso seem to be a great source of entertainment. There are two million cat videos on YouTube and counting, and countless internet-famous cats, like Grumpy Catand Lil’ Bub, each with millions of followers on their social media accounts.Despite the popularity of cats, as anyone who has been around a cat knows, reading cats is not always an easy task. One min… (more…)

Family or job? Tough decisions for Hong Kong border commuters

Family or job? Tough decisions for Hong Kong border commuters

Hong Kong (AFP) – Waiting at a bus stop on Hong Kong’s border with mainland China, Billy Yiu was preparing to say goodbye to his wife and baby, unsure when he might see them again.The 40-year-old Hong Konger works in the semi-autonomous financial hub and commutes daily from neighbouring Shenzhen, where rents are far cheaper.But the journey will be all but impossible for the foreseeable future.In a bid to halt the spread of a deadly new coronavirus, Hong Kong on Saturday began placing anyone crossing from the mainland under a mandatory 14-day quarantine.So on Thursday night Yiu was making a fin… (more…)

Messages of freedom

Messages of freedom

A man and a woman are lying face down on the grass. Their heads are covered with what looks like a plain white T-shirt. Fully naked, they are engaged in some sort of fight — an arm wrestle — in which no one triumphs.Onlookers never know who wins as it’s a video playing in loop for two minutes — an artwork by Thai artist Tada Hengsapkul on view at the recent S.E.A. Focus 2020, which was held last month at Gillman Barracks visual arts precinct in Singapore.“It’s a living monument,” Tada said of his artwork. “It’s a never-ending fight between women and men. Or it can also be interpreted different… (more…)