World news in brief

By Drum Digital
19 November 2013

Amsterdam pays drunkards with beer to clean city.

Jury convicts US preacher for gay wedding

A United Methodist minister was convicted in a Pennsylvania church trial of breaking church law by officiating at his son's same-sex marriage, a case that rekindled debate over the policy of the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer testified that he tried to follow God's command to minister to all, even if he disobeyed the Methodist Book of Discipline.

Schaefer said he could have avoided the trial by agreeing to avoid any more same-sex ceremonies. But he declined, noting that three of his four children are gay.


Toronto mayor stripped of powers

Toronto city council voted to strip Mayor Rob Ford of most of his remaining powers in further sanctions against him following admissions of crack smoking and binge drinking.

The move effectively makes the chief magistrate of Canada's largest city and economic hub a figurehead -- which Ford vowed to fight.

"You are absolutely telling everybody that voted in the last municipal election that their vote does not count," he said.

"This is going to be outright war," he said.


Amsterdam pays drunkards with beer to clean city

At nine o'clock in the morning in a garden shed behind a house in Amsterdam, a handful of alcoholics are getting ready to clean the surrounding streets, beer and cigarette in hand.

For a day's work, the men receive about R130, a half-packet of rolling tobacco and, most importantly, five cans of beer: two to start the day, two at lunch and one for after work.

"This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam's Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women," said Gerrie Holterman, who heads the Rainbow Foundation project. "The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park," she said.


Germany rethinking legalization of prostitution

A decade after Germany legalised prostitution, a debate has kicked off to again ban the trade, with leading feminist Alice Schwarzer labeling the country "a paradise for pimps".

Dozens of politicians, actors and journalists this month have signed Schwarzer's appeal to Chancellor Angela Merkel and parliament to abolish sex work.

"We know there is slavery in the world today, but there is no modern democratic country that would tolerate, accept or promote slavery," she said at a recent Berlin press conference on her new book "Prostitution, A German Scandal".

She urged a review of the 2002 law -- passed under a centre-left Social Democrats-Greens coalition government -- that theoretically gave sex workers access to unemployment insurance, controlled working conditions and medical coverage.


Election Day bomb in Nepal

A crude bomb exploded in Nepal's capital hours after polls opened for national elections, injuring three people and raising fears that left-wing extremists will disrupt the vote, police said.

The incident, which comes after a series of similar attacks by anti-poll protestors in recent days, occurred when an eight-year-old boy picked up the bomb apparently thinking it was a toy, another police official said.

"Eight-year-old Samir Khadgi grabbed the bomb assuming it to be a toy on a road in Bhotebahal," Hemant Pal, a Kathmandu-based police official,.

"He has injuries on his hand and face," Pal said.

Two others suffered minor injuries, local police official Yagyadinod Pokharelsaid


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