Forced marriage to be illegal
On January 21 it was 12 years since Fadime Sahindal was murdered by her own father in Uppsala in what was deemed an ”honor killing.” Fadime’s death, indeed her story—she had turned to both police and media when her family insisted on an arranged marriage and she opposed them—sparked a debate in Sweden about immigration integration. A four-day manifestation of the organization “Glöm aldrig Pela och Fadime” (Never Forget Pela and Fadime) took place this January. In conjunction with this, the Swedish government have submitted a bill on a new crime: forced marriage. The proposal was presented by Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask. In order to combat forced and child marriages, the government wants to introduce this new offense as early as this summer. To force someone into marriage is already punishable as unlawful coercion, but through this new offense more actions would be punishable. The punishment will be prison for up to four years. And not only formal marriages are included in this bill, but also marriage-like relationships. ”We can not permit it,” Ask said. The bill will be submitted to Lagrådet (the Council of Legislation). It will be illegal, among other things, to induce someone into marriage by using his or her position of vulnerability; for instance, parents or relatives may not force a child or a young adult into marriage. Even preparations or attempts to bring such a forced marriage about will be punishable. Not only legally valid Swedish and non-Swedish marriages are covered in this bill, but also religious and traditional marriages. More info:

Jesus lost a finger
The iconic Jesus Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro lost its right middle finger during a storm in December. The statue, which was built partly by Skånska Cement and which celebrated is 82nd birthday last October, stands atop a steep mountain and is often hit by lightning strikes. The statue underwent a $4 million renovation in 2010 to repair badly eroded parts of its face and hands. The Archdiocese of Rio manages the statue. Father Omar Raposo there says repairs will soon be made. He adds that the church has a stock of the same stone originally used to build the statue, erected in 1931. For more on the Jesus Christ the Redeemer statue: "Made in Sweden"