• Quinn Ryan/The Daily Beast

    Exiled

    Sochi's Pro-Gay Protester Speaks Out

    Russian LGBT activist Anastasia Smirnova was arrested for protesting the Sochi Olympics. Then she fled the country.

    Quorum is a live journalism forum focused on LGBT experiences around the world. Its mission is to lift up the voices of non-Western LGBT activists defining the struggle for justice. Visit Quorum.TheDailyBeast.com for more stories of persecution, triumph, adversity, and strength. 

    One of the most powerful moments of last year’s Olympics in Sochi took place not on the skating rink or ski slope, but in a public square in St. Petersburg, where a handful of courageous activists unfurled a banner protesting Russia’s persecution of LGBT people.

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  • Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty

    HYPOCRISY

    Where a Woman Is 'Guilty as Her Rapists’

    A BBC documentary about the hideous rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi in 2012 has touched a raw nerve.

    MUMBAI — Here in India, a BBC documentary has brought renewed focus on rapists and the lawyers who defend them. For “India’s Daughter,” Leslee Udwin and her team interviewed Mukesh Singh, one of the men who raped and murdered a young woman in a Delhi bus in December 2012, and is now on death row. They also interviewed two lawyers who represented Mukesh.

    What these men believe and say is vile and, indeed, nauseating. Essentially, they claim that the woman brought her gruesome fate on her head by presuming to go out late with a boyfriend, and then compounded it by actually resisting and fighting her rapists. She should have stayed “silent” and let herself be raped, Mukesh says, and “they would have dropped her off” without … well, without what? What possible injury to this young woman could these scum have held back?

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  • Family and friends say a final goodbye to Norma Angélica Bruno Román who was killed last Thursday. (Jorge Ríos/RML/Agencia el Universal)

    A Death Foretold

    Who Killed This Woman at a Funeral?

    Despite government efforts to impose law and order in Iguala after more than 40 students disappeared there, murderers still operate with impunity.

    IGUALA, Mexico — Beside the open casket at the funeral of Norma Angélica Bruno Román, age 25, was neither the time nor the place to mourn her murder.

    Norma’s wake was held inside the home she shared with her parents and her two small children. It is a modest concrete dwelling on a street corner in the neighborhood of San Gerardo. Outside, a blue tarp was hoisted to shade a few rows of plastic chairs rented from the local funeral parlor. Halfway down the block, the Mexican Federal Police stood guard in an armored patrol vehicle, part of a force put in place after Iguala’s cops were accused of complicity in the murders and disappearances of 46 student demonstrators last year.

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  • Basin Foto Ajansi/Getty

    FEMICIDE

    Turkey’s Women Protest a Savage Murder

    The slaying of a university student spotlights Erdogan’s contradictions, passing laws that protect women while extolling a culture that treats them as inferior.

    ISTANBUL — The brutal murder of a 20-year-old university student has horrified Turkey, with protesters filling the streets and politicians discussing the return of the death penalty for her killer. But divisions about the role of women in society remain as deep as ever in this conservative Muslim country, and, sadly, a concerted effort to stop the killing of hundreds of women by men every year is unlikely to emerge.

    On February 11, Ozgecan Aslan, a psychology student from the southern Turkish city of Tarsus, took a minibus to go home from the university city of Mersin. When she did not arrive there, her parents called the police. Aslan’s charred body was found several days later in a valley near a picnic area close to a highway linking Tarsus to the capital Ankara.

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  • Viral

    Pussy Riot Protests Eric Garner Death

    Russian protest group targets perceived injustice in the U.S.

    Pussy Riot, the all-female Russian protest group whose members have served jail time for protesting Vladimir Putin’s political tactics, have made their first foray into English-language music–and American politics.

    The group’s first song in English, titled “I Can’t Breathe,” targets the controversy surrounding the killing of unarmed black man Eric Garner by officers of the NYPD in August 2014.

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  • Dan Bar Dov/Demotix/Corbis

    YOU BETCHA!

    The Sarah Palin of Israel

    Left-bashing, race-baiting, flag-waving Miri Regev has leapt to the top of the ruling Likud party. She just may be Israel’s most popular and powerful female politician.

    TEL AVIV — The most powerful woman in Israel’s ruling Likud party has just moved into a trailer. Knesset member Miri Regev, the party’s attack dog and the closest thing Israel has to Sarah Palin, boarded the mobile home—attached to an Audi SUV—last week ready to crisscross the country campaigning for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who never wanted her to be the face of the party to so many Israelis.

    She admits that the trailer, decorated with the Likud’s blue colors and emblazoned with her face, is a gimmick, but it’s one that fits her well. She is, after all, the queen of media stunts—and a frequent object of mockery by Israeli journalists and satirists.

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  • An Indian Muslim bride adjusts her attire at a mass marriage where 35 Muslim couples got married in Ahmadabad, India, Sunday, March 30, 2014. Mass marriages are organized by social organizations primarily to help families who cannot afford the high ceremony costs as well as the elaborate dowry that is customary in many communities. (Ajit Solanki/AP)

    HORRIFYING

    The World’s Craziest Anti-Women Laws

    Women’s advocacy group Equality Now calls out 44 governments for their laws against women.

    Where in the world can a man abduct a woman, marry her, and immediately become impossible to prosecute? That would be Lebanon and Malta. Where can’t a married woman get divorced without her husband’s permission? Try Israel. In Russia, women are still forbidden from “hard, dangerous and/or unhealthy trades.”

    All these laws are still on the books despite the fact that 20 years ago, at the 1995 World Conference on Women, 189 countries signed on to a plan that would incorporate greater gender equality in their penal codes by revoking any discriminatory laws.

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  • Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

    Genocide Rekindled

    In Darfur, Mass Rape Within Minutes

    Soldiers raped more than 200 women and children as violence in the stricken region escalates—again. But with journalists, humanitarians and U.N. officials expelled, who is watching anymore?

    Darfur may not be in the public eye as it was when every liberal arts student donned a “Save Darfur” shirt, when world powers issued public condemnations, and "Rock for Darfur" performers raised tens of thousands in donations annually (there were 22 concerts in 2006 alone). But the western part of Sudan, about the size of France, is still a household name—and though recognition hadn’t followed as the conflict sputtered along, the situation in Darfur has now escalated to a level unseen since the genocide that began in 2003 killed at least 300,000.

    On Wednesday a shocking report of this boiling violence snapped attention back to the long-embattled section of Sudan: According to an investigation released by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Sudanese military raped at least 221 women and girls in Darfur over a 36-hour period in late October.

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  • Farooq Naeem/AFP/Geety

    DESPERATE MEASURES

    Mueller’s Family Proposed Prisoner Swap

    When all other options were exhausted, Kayla Mueller’s family tried to persuade Obama to free a terrorist who wanted to weaponize Ebola.

    The family of Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old American aid worker killed while held hostage by the so-called Islamic State, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama last year asking that he commute the 86-year sentence of a Pakistani scientist serving time in a U.S. prison, according to e-mails obtained by The Daily Beast.

    The move reflected the desperation of the family, and of those trying to help it, as options to win Kayla's freedom narrowed and the terrorists threatened to kill her if the scientist were not released.

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  • Omar/Redux

    REST IN PEACE

    U.S. Won’t Investigate Hostage’s Death

    Officials confirmed 26-year-old Kayla Mueller is deceased but say there’s no evidence a Jordanian airstrike killed her—and the Pentagon won’t probe the circumstances.

    U.S. officials and family members of Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old American aid worker taken captive by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria in 2013, confirmed Tuesday that she has died. But government officials conceded they may never know when and how she perished.

    “We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life,” Mueller’s parents said in a statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”

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  • Antonio Scattolon A3/Contrasto/Redux

    Dirty Tricks

    Rome’s New Open-Air Markets for Sex

    There are prostitutes all over Italy, many of them trafficked women and girls. Now there may be special districts in the capital set aside for their activities.

    ROME — The EUR neighborhood south of the city center was developed in the 1930s by Italy’s Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini to re-create ancient Rome’s splendor ahead of the 1942 World’s Fair, thus the name Espozione Universiale Roma.  That World’s Fair, during which Mussolini planned to showcase 20 years of fascism, was quashed thanks to World War II.  The neighborhood has since become a commercial Mecca with posh apartments and wide boulevards.  But of late it is also an open air market for sex.

    Drive down any of 20 or more EUR streets after dark—and often during the day—and you can’t miss prostitutes who are grouped according to race, sexual orientation and, it would seem, sexual titillation level.  There are streets for transvestites, male prostitutes and Nigerian women; there are also streets lined with eastern European women and others with Asian girls.  Some use campers they keep parked around the street corners. Others conduct their business on the hoods of parked cars.  Street cleaners have long complained that the morning sweep contains sticky condoms and hypodermic needles.  The scene repeats itself in other districts of Rome outside the city center, but not to the same extent as in EUR.

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  • Andrew Innerarity/Reuters, © Andrew Innerarity / Reuters

    Peacemaker

    Can Miss Universe End a Civil War?

    Just two weeks after she beat out 87 other beauty queens from around the world, Colombia’s 22-year-old Paulina Vega may find herself in a bigger role than just Miss Universe. She has found herself in the unique position to be the first beauty-pageant participant, save for Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, to deliver on the most common answer to what is the one most important thing our society needs—world peace.

    Vega offered to help end her country’s 50-year-old civil war between the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group after she donned the crown on Jan. 25. During interviews after her big win, she told the media that “she would be willing to go to Havana so that a peace deal can be signed.”

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