Passport

Russian Orthodox activists accuse Facebook of 'flirting with sodomites'

Government-funded outlet Russia Today reports that religious activists in a southern Russian city have called for national ban on Facebook after the popular social media website introduced a new icon system that represented gay couples through the use of gender-appropriate stick figures. Warning that website was "flirting with sodomites," organizers in Saratov delivered a statement to Facebook's Russian headquarters demanding the website remove all content related to "gay propaganda."

Facebook, unsurprisingly, ignored the ultimatum, spurring organizers to escalate their efforts. "We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors," campaign organizer Vladimir Roslyakovsky told reporters. "The U.S. goal is that Russians stop having children. [They want] the great nation to turn into likeness of Sodom and Gomorrah."

Laws restricting gay rights have been on the rise in Russia. The European Human Rights Court's 2010 ruling against the Russian government's ban on gay pride events has been largely ignored and in March, St. Petersburg criminalized "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors," imposing a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 rubles for any found guilty of vaguely-defined "public action." Siberia's regional legislature quickly followed suit in April and the regions of Novosibirsk and Arkhangelsk have imposed similar restrictions. Requests for legal permits to hold Gay Rights Parades have been revoked or denied and illegal protesters arrested in what Human Rights Watch has labeled a systematic breach of international law.

With the Duma reportedly contemplating national action, it's not surprising that anti-gay activists are feeling optimistic. "I am confident that Russian laws and reasonable citizens will be able to protect their children from a fierce attack of sodomites," Roslyakovsky concluded.

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages

Passport

The world's most confident consumers are...

Indonesia has edged out India for the top spot in world consumer confidence in Nielsen's survey, Reuters reports:

Indonesia's shift to top spot in the survey was a further sign that the country, with its big domestic economy and an expanding middle class, is weathering the global slowdown better than some other emerging markets.

"In Indonesia, consumer optimism has been evident all year fuelled by investment rating upgrades from Moody's and Fitch," said Catherine Eddy, managing director, Nielsen Indonesia.

Global consumer confidnece in down two points, to 53 percent, since the first quarter of this year. U.S. confidence fell 5 points. 

The rise of the Indonesian economy and its growing middle class were one of FP's Stories You Missed in 2010. 

ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images