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An Israeli government minister has been widely condemned for saying gay conversion therapy works, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu calling his remarks “unacceptable”.

Education minister Rafi Peretz, who is also a rabbi, told the country’s Channel 12 TV station: “I think that it is possible to convert [someone’s sexual orientation].

“I can tell you that I have a deep knowledge of education, and I have done it too,” he said.



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Discussing a student who approached him and told him he was gay, Mr Peretz said he hugged him, was kind to him and sought to help him “understand himself well and then decide on his own”.

The politician added: “The goal is that first of all he gets to know himself better and then he can decide.”

Mr Netanyahu later issued a strong statement saying he had personally spoken with Mr Peretz to convey his anger.

“The remarks of the minister of education regarding the LGBT community are unacceptable and do not reflect the position of the government under my leadership,” he said.

The Israeli educational system, he said, “will continue to accept all Jewish children whoever they are and without any difference based on sexual orientation”.

Mr Peretz released a clarification statement two hours after his interview aired, stressing he had not said anyone should send their child to conversion therapy.

Israel’s justice minister Amir Ohana, said it did not go far enough, warning that the therapies were harmful and “could cause youths pain and suffering to the point of suicide”.

Nitzan Horowitz, leader of the left-wing Meretz party, echoed Mr Ohana’s comments as he said gay conversion therapy was a dangerous practice which caused extremely severe circumstances for young people, including suicide.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his minister’s remarks ‘unacceptable’

Israel’s LGBT Task Force, the Aguda, demanded Mr Peretz resign.

Gay conversion therapy, which attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation through psychological, spiritual and sometimes physical means, has been widely discredited around the world, including by Israel’s health ministry.

The UK government announced such therapies would be banned as part of plans to improve the lives of LGBTQ people.

Mr Peretz leads the Union of Right Wing Parties, a religious nationalist political party brought into the government by Mr Netenyahu after April’s elections.

The politician, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli military, sparked outrage last week when he said that the rate of intermarriage among US Jews was “like a second Holocaust”.

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Is this the first crime committed in space? | UK News

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For couples splitting up, it can feel as if your ex-partner is going to the ends of the Earth to make things difficult for you. 

For one woman, she believes her former spouse’s disagreeable behaviour extended into space.

NASA is investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her ex-partner while living at the International Space Station (ISS), according to The New York Times.

In what could be the first crime committed in space, astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improper access to her ex-wife’s private financial records.

Ms McClain, who is thought to be on the shortlist to become the first woman on the moon, said she accessed the account but did nothing wrong.

Her ex-partner Summer Worden is reported to have complained to the federal trade commission and her family lodged a complaint with NASA’s office of inspector general.

Ms McClain has returned to Earth after six months on the ISS and is contesting the complaint, telling The New York Times she was monitoring the family’s finances in the same manner that had been previously agreed between the two women.

“She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” her lawyer said.

Ms McClain and Ms Worden, an air force intelligence officer, married in 2014 and had been raising Ms Worden’s son together before they split in 2018.

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Hong Kong police fire tear gas in new protests over surveillance fears | World News

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Police in Hong Kong have used tear gas for the first time in about 10 days to try to break up fresh anti-government protests.

The latest demonstrations took place in the Kwun Tong industrial district of the Chinese-ruled city on Saturday.

Protesters took to the streets to demand the removal of smart lampposts over fears they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Police fire tear gas
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Police fire tear gas against activists in the Kwun Tong district of Hong Kong
Hong Kong protests
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Some activists carried umbrellas, which have become a symbol of passive resistance against the authorities

Activists, carrying umbrellas in the sweltering heat, filled a main road in the Kowloon peninsula, calling for the government to answer their demands.

Some protesters set up makeshift barricades on a road outside a police station, as they faced off with police in riot gear.

“Hong Kong people’s private information is already being extradited to China. We have to be very concerned,” said march organiser Ventus Lau.

Umbrellas have become a symbol of passive resistance against the authorities.

The Umbrella Movement is a political group which emerged during the Hong Kong democracy protests of 2014.

The latest wave of demonstrations began almost three months ago over a now-suspended bill which would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.

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The protests are also fuelled by concerns about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula that was put in place after the territory returned from UK to Chinese rule in 1997.

Simon Cheng Man-Kit reportedly failed to return to Hong Hong from Shenzhen in China 10 days ago
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Simon Cheng Man-Kit has been released after 15 days in detention

Meanwhile, a British consulate employee has been released after 15 days of detention in mainland China.

Police in Shenzhen said Simon Cheng Man-kit was released as scheduled on Saturday, having been detained for violating public security management regulations.

The Global Times, a Communist Party-owned newspaper, said he had been detained for “soliciting prostitutes”.

China often uses such charges against political targets.

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Hong Kong: Police fire tear gas to try to disperse new anti-government protests | World News

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Police in Hong Kong have used tear gas for the first time in about 10 days to try to break up fresh anti-government protests.

The latest demonstrations took place in the Kwun Tong industrial district of the Chinese-ruled city.

Protesters took to the streets to demand the removal of smart lampposts over fears they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Activists, carrying umbrellas in the sweltering heat, filled a main road in the Kowloon peninsula, calling for the government to answer their demands.

Some protesters set up makeshift barricades on a road outside a police station, facing off with police in riot gear.

“Hong Kong people’s private information is already being extradited to China. We have to be very concerned,” said march organiser Ventus Lau.

Umbrellas have become a symbol of passive resistance against the authorities.

The Umbrella Movement is a political group which emerged during the Hong Kong democracy protests of 2014.

The latest wave of demonstrations began almost three months ago over a now-suspended bill which would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.

The protests are also fuelled by concerns about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula that was put in place after the territory returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

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