France passes law making it illegal to pay for sex

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/06/france-passes-law-illegal-to-pay-for-sex-criminalise-customers

in Paris
Wednesday 6 April 2016

France is to make it illegal to pay for sex after MPs finally approved new legislation on prostitution following more than two years of rows and opposition by senators.

Under the new law, anyone caught purchasing an act from a sex worker will be fined and required to attend classes on the harms of prostitution.

There would be a €1,500 (£1,200) fine for a first offence, rising to €3,750 for a second, which would also be put on the person’s criminal record. The offender would be forced to attend classes highlighting the harms of prostitution.

The law was passed by 64 votes to 12 with many MPs absent.

The French parliament started debating the bill in 2013, but the final vote was delayed after several hearings owing to sharp divisions between the lower parliamentary chamber and the senate.

The move makes France one of only a handful of European countries to follow the Nordic model of criminalising consumers rather than sex workers. These include Norway and Iceland. Last year, Northern Ireland introduced legislation to make it the only part of the UK where people can be convicted of paying for sex.

The Socialist MP Maud Olivier, who championed the bill in France, said the aim was to “reduce [prostitution], protect prostitutes who want to leave it and to change mentalities”.

Complete article at:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/06/france-passes-law-illegal-to-pay-for-sex-criminalise-customers

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Does climate change make it immoral to have kids?

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/02/does-climate-change-make-it-immoral-to-have-kids

Bringing children into a disintegrating environment used to be a theoretical fear. Now it’s a very real one


Saturday 2 April 2016

The decision whether or not to have a child is one of the bigger ones a person will make in life – often the biggest.

I needed some strong convincing from my wife when it came time for us to make it. Most of my reluctance was self-interested: I liked my life well enough, and I didn’t want to change it. My wife talked about feeling a biological imperative, which I had no answer for. Who was I to stand in the way of something like that? I signed on.

But there is a whole other potential person to consider, too – the new life that you are bringing into the world without asking first.

It’s not really fair. For while the world is a wonderful place, one we humans have made nicer for ourselves with wonderful inventions like books and record players, penicillin and pizza, it’s also a really awful place, one we’ve ravaged with deforestation and smog, nuclear weapons and mountains of pizza delivery boxes and other garbage.

The awfulness seems to be getting worse, especially now that climate change has sped up – sea level rise that was supposed to take centuries has recently been projected as taking just decades. This complicates the already difficult decision of whether to have a kid.

We’re living through what scientists call the “Sixth Extinction”, an era of precipitous decline in the number of species able to live on the planet. The last mass extinction, the fifth, happened 66 million years ago, when a giant asteroid crashed into Earth and 76% of all the species on the planet perished.

This time, we’re doing it to ourselves.

“Climate scientists agree that humanity is about to cause a sea level rise of 20 or 30ft, but they have tended to assume that such a large increase would take centuries, at least,” the New York Times’s Justin Gillis reported. But a recent study led by retired Nasa climate scientist James E Hansen, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, indicates that the negative effects are happening a lot faster than we’d thought, perhaps feet of rise within the next 50 years.

“That would mean loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s large cities and all their history,” Hansen told Gillis, adding, “We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control.”

Imagine that: New York, Tokyo, Mumbai, Shanghai, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Miami would go first. Think about the implications. Global economic collapse, famine, border disputes, wars. Jesus, just the inland traffic.

Thinking about the horrific future scientists predict hurts a very specific part of me, a part of me that I only first learned was there when I met my newborn son, 11 years ago, as he lay on the tray of the scale where the doctors had just weighed him and counted his fingers and toes.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/02/does-climate-change-make-it-immoral-to-have-kids

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