Thailand is well known for its community of "kathoeys", or transgender "ladyboys". Foreigners often think that kathoeys are only to be found in bars and nightclubs, but this is incorrect. Thailand’s relationship with its transgender community is complex, perhaps even unique in the world. Some have forged successful business careers and integrated well into their local community. Thai tolerance towards transgenders has a long history, but it’s not entirely straightforward.
Laws that discriminate against homosexuals can constitute grounds for granting asylum, but only in “serious” cases of persecution, the European Union’s top court has ruled in relation to a Dutch case involving three African men.
We look at the Twitter IPO, from "cronut" donuts, to protests, to a new book that is a company history-cum-crime novel. Wired.com describes "Hatching Twitter" as "the story of how lonely people came together to build a product designed to connect them to each other and the world around them - only to rip each other to shreds in order to control that very thing". We also look at a story buzzing in Paris: two restaurants are accused of putting "les moches"(ugly people) at the back, out of sight.
As the UN once again comes out to criticise China's human rights record, the country's HIV-positive population faces a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, awareness campaigns and access to medication are improving. But on the other hand, a new draft bill aims to ban HIV-positive patients from entering public baths and spas.
Paris is hosting another fashion week this weekend: Black Fashion Week. With 16 up and coming black designers from Mali to Haiti taking part, it's the chance for them to give their collections and their models some well-deserved attention.
Guido Barilla, head of the Barilla pasta brand, sparks a Twitter storm with anti-gay marriage comments. He apologised as people fumed against him on #boycottbarilla and #barillagate. We look at a professor of literature in Canada who has also backtracked. He had said he wouldn't teach works written by women. Finally, how a small number of Norwegians are gaining from a green subsidy in France for electric cars.
Exactly 50 years ago, the eyes of everyone in the United States, black and white, turned toward the capital Washington, DC, and the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. The scene of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I have a dream" speech will be the setting for a speech by Barack Obama, the country's first black president, and a strong symbol that race relations have changed in the United States. While segregation is gone, this anniversary also brings current grievances to the fore.
Germany will become the first European country to legally recognise a “third gender” in November when new-born babies whose sex is indeterminable will no longer be automatically assigned a male or female gender by medical staff.
A French rights group says it will launch an inquiry into discrimination at Abercrombie & Fitch, claiming its "models" are actually salespeople who should not be hired based on looks. The US retailer has a flagship store on the Champs-Elysées.
Summer is here and so are the recurring tensions over the Roma and the so-called "travelling people" in France. Several mayors have complained about caravans illegally set up on football pitches and other public spaces. Tensions boiled over this week in Cholet, where a mayor muttered that "Hitler did not kill enough" Roma, prompting a wave of outrage. Also this week, former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac is still a lightning rod three months after he left the government.