Indonesia's harsh new laws

A new Islamic law in Indonesia's devoutly Muslim Aceh province takes a strict interpretation of Sharia law including a provision to stone adulters to death. The "Islamic Crime Bill," passed by the regional parliament on September 15, 2009, authorized the following punishments for adultery and homosexuality:

“Any person who deliberately commits adultery is threatened with 100 cane lashes for the unmarried and stoning to death for those who are married.”

“Any person deliberately performing homosexuality or lesbianism is threatened with up to 100 cane lashes and a maximum fine of 1,000 grams of fine gold, or imprisonment of up to 100 months.”

Additionally, the law outlines the punishment for rape is a minimum of 100 cane lashes and a maximum of 300 cane lashes or imprisonment of at least 100 months and up to 200 cane lashes or a maximum imprisonment of 200 months for pedophiles.

The regional parliament passed this law in order to target "behavior considered morally unacceptable."

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images


Portrait of the Eurocrat as a young revolutionary

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who was just reelected to a second term, is about as establishment as you get, a staunch defender of free trade and open markets. 

But in the mid-1970s, soon after Portugal's transition to democracy, Barroso was a committed member of the Maoist Reorganising Movement of the Proletariat Party. Here he is at a meeting of leftwing students in 1976, laying into Portugal's bourgeois education system in a somewhat confusing statement:

Barroso switched to the mainstream Social Democratic Party in 1980, going on to become Portugal's Prime Minister two decades later. 

Barroso has clearly come a long way since those days, though I would imagine that the mastery of bullshit jargon and obfuscation that he apparently acquired as a young Maoist must serve him well in Brussels.