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A Trans Activist Who Was on His Honeymoon in Bali Died After Police Detained Him for Alleged Drug Offenses

Mason Peterson

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In what family members are calling an “act of racial discrimination and transphobia,” a transgender Peruvian man who was in Bali for his honeymoon died after he and his spouse were detained by Indonesian authorities at the airport for alleged drug offenses.

Rodrigo Ventosilla, 32, was an activist from Lima, Peru, and a graduate student at Harvard Kennedy School. He had recently married his partner, Sebastian Marallano, and they traveled to Bali for their honeymoon.

When Ventosilla arrived at the Denpasar airport on Aug. 6, he was detained on suspicion of drug trafficking after authorities found drugs that Ventosilla’s family said he was taking for his mental health and had a prescription for. Marallano, who had flown in on an earlier flight, was also detained when he went to help Ventosilla, the family said in a statement.

Diversidades Trans Masculinas, a Peruvian trans advocacy group that Ventosilla founded, said there was an empty cannabis grinder in one of their suitcases, which they did not realize was there.

Ventosilla’s family said that while in detention, the couple were “victims of police violence,” and alleged that authorities violated their right to legal representation and discriminated against them. Ventosilla died on Aug. 11 after being hospitalized in the ICU for organ failure, the family said.

Bali police denied any wrongdoing and told the South China Morning Post that Ventosilla had a “failure of bodily functions” after taking medication while in custody. It’s unclear what substances they were referring to. Bali police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

His family said they were unable to communicate with Ventosilla during his detention, and lawyers hired by both families were denied access. Indonesian authorities also did not allow them to order an independent autopsy on Ventosilla’s body, they said, and they don’t know the real cause of his death.

They also accused the Peruvian Consulate in Indonesia of ignoring their repeated requests for help and “neglecting its obligations” to help the couple. The family demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs investigate the consul and his team for failing to take charge of the case from the start of the couple’s ordeal.

“The consulate’s action was late, negligent and hindered the request for help from the relatives when Rodrigo was still alive,” they said.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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Soccer Legend Pel? Has Died at Age 82

Mason Peterson

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By age 15, he was already playing professionally for Brazilian team Santos, and at 16, he joined the country’s national team. At 17, he became the youngest player to make it to the World Cup final, where he scored two goals — securing Brazil’s first title and his place as an international sports icon.

In the almost two decades of his career that followed, he averaged more than one goal per game and holds the Guinness World Record for most career goals. He’d go on to win two more World Cups and rack up other accolades, and fans relished not just the victories, but how he played. He popularized soccer’s nickname, “the Beautiful Game,” a phrase which became synonymous with his style. In 1961, he was legally named a national treasure in Brazil — a political move aimed at keeping the popular player from being transferred outside of the country. He later revealed that European football clubs did come calling, but he continued to play for Santos and Brazil.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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Pope Benedict XVI Has Died at 95

Mason Peterson

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Arguably the most incendiary issue Benedict faced upon becoming pope was the ongoing fallout from the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, as well as accusations of a cover-up effort on the part of church administration.

When Benedict became pope in 2005, the Catholic Church was in the midst of a very public reckoning with its history of sex abuse — a crisis about which he was very well informed. In 2001, John Paul II empowered the CDF to centralize all investigations into abuse allegations, removing that power from local dioceses after it became clear that they often failed to take action against predator priests. As the head of the CDF, then-cardinal Ratzinger worked to establish new procedures for reporting and punishing clergy accused of sexual abuse.

As pope, Benedict repeatedly spoke out against the church’s legacy of child sex abuse, apologized to victims, and defrocked hundreds of priests who had been found guilty. However, for many, his actions fell short, in part because he failed to make public the Vatican’s investigations into abuse accusations — a lack of transparency that enabled dioceses to keep these accusations secret from parishioners and law enforcement authorities.

“In the Church’s entire history, no one knew more but did less to protect kids than Benedict,” the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement in 2013, in response to the pope emeritus’s public claim that he did not engage in a ‘cover-up’ of clerical abuse. “As head of CDF, thousands of cases of predator priests crossed his desk. Did he choose to warn families or call police about even one of those dangerous clerics? No. That, by definition, is a cover up.”

Rumors of corruption and secret cabals in the Holy See also plagued Benedict’s tenure as pope, culminating in the “Vatileaks” scandal in 2012.

On Feb. 10, 2013, Benedict shocked the world by announcing his resignation from the papacy. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he said in his official statement.

His decision to retire was later dramatized in the 2019 film The Two Popes, in which Benedict was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

As pope emeritus, Benedict made a conscious effort to stay out of the public eye. He apparently disliked being known by such a lofty title following his resignation and asked others to call him simply “Father Benedict.” He did, however, make public appearances at events of theological significance, such as the Canonization Mass of Pope John XIII and Pope John Paul II on April 27, 2014.

On Sept. 4, 2020, at the age of 93 years, four months, and 19 days, Benedict became the longest-living pope in history.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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People in China Are Demanding the End of Strict COVID Restrictions After 10 People Died in a Fire

Mason Peterson

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Protests are continuing in China against strict COVID lockdown restrictions after a deadly apartment fire brought some people closer to a breaking point.

Across the country, demonstrators took to the streets — a mass movement that is rare in China — and defied laws designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some appeared with sheets of blank white paper, in place of traditional protest signs, as a criticism of the censorship limiting citizens from speaking freely.

After the fire in Xinjiang that left at least 10 people dead, which critics say was due to the stay-at-home measures that resulted in the building’s doors being locked, protests intensified Sunday. In major cities like Shanghai, protestors gathered to demand the end of the country’s ruling party and the resignation of the president. In clips circulating social media, some demonstrators can be heard repeatedly chanting, “Communist Party step down, Xi Jinping step down.”

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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