Iran sends executions into overdrive
In the month of May, Iran seems to have seriously ramped up executions, even compared to the greater-than-usual pace which had been seen in the first third of this year, according to the Iran Human Rights NGO.
As reported in VOA:
Between January and May, Iran carried out 307 executions, a number significantly higher than the 220 executions reported in the same period last year.
However, in the month of May alone, executions by the Iranian state reportedly numbered 142, almost half the number that occurred in the preceding four months.
This represents even further intensification of the brutal authoritarian crackdown in which the Islamic Republic has been engaging since the beginning of the protests spurred by Mahsa Amini’s murder. The number of executions for purported “drug offenses” also seems to be going up, though many are for the usual offenses: “blasphemy” and “treason” and so forth.
A new death sentence in Pakistan
Four years after an initial arrest for “blasphemy” over WhatsApp, a young Christian has joined the many other convicted blasphemers who sit on death row in Pakistan.
Reportedly, the victim, Nauman Masih, is only 19 years old. A “forensic examination” apparently proved that he shared unspecified blasphemous content on the messaging app. He was also sentenced to a fine.
Though he is able to appeal the verdict, this young man is now likely to spend the rest of his life in prison, assuming Pakistan continues to hold to its practice of not actually executing those sentenced to death. All of this for a completely imagined crime.
Indian education’s anti-science turn
India, under its increasingly-entrenched Hindu nationalist government, is taking important steps to protect children from scientific knowledge.
Scientific American reports that school students under the age of 16 will no longer be taught about evolution—or the periodic table of the elements:
The news that evolution would be cut from the curriculum for students aged 15–16 was widely reported last month, when thousands of people signed a petition in protest. But official guidance has revealed that a chapter on the periodic table will be cut, too, along with other foundational topics such as sources of energy and environmental sustainability. Younger learners will no longer be taught certain pollution- and climate-related topics, and there are cuts to biology, chemistry, geography, mathematics and physics subjects for older school students.
Ostensibly, cutting this content from school curricula is somehow supposed to promote open discussion in class. You can read more about the cuts here.