This Week in the World: October 31st, 2013

Complaints about asylum themed attraction

Thorpe Park’s annual Fright Nights in England has received complaints regarding their Asylum Maze, which has been a part of Fright Nights for the past eight years. A mental health and nursing student, Katie Sutton, heard of this maze—in which actors chase people around a fake asylum—and organized a petition to shut down the attraction. Sutton stated that the attraction was offensive by stigmatizing mental illness, while the theme park argues that it is not meant to portray a mental health institution accurately, simply trying to draw from classic horror films scenarios. In the area, several supermarket chains withdrew Halloween costumes such as the “Psycho Ward Patient” or “Mental Patient,” after being criticized for the stigmatization of mental illness.

Halloween zombie advertisement being investigated

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is looking into a bus advertisement featuring the face of a zombie after several complaints. The banner was advertising a Halloween attraction in Sussex, England with haunted houses and rides. The ASA said that there were complaints about the picture of the blood splattered zombie last year as well, although after the investigation, the advertisements were left on the buses. Stuart Beare, who helps to run the Halloween attraction, said the advertisements were not meant to offend anyone, and that they were no worse than images on television, newspapers and magazines.

Rana Plaza Victims still waiting for compensation

The charity Action Aid has reported that many victims of a major clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh are still awaiting compensation. Primark is the only company to date to have given financial support to those affected by the collapse, and is planning to pay wages to those affected for the next three months. Action Aid found that a high percentage of people are still facing severe financial difficulty. After investigating, Action Aid reported that ninety-four per cent of the people they talked to had received no financial benefits from their employers, and that ninety-two per cent had not gone back to work yet. The Rana Plaza collapse was the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history, killing more than 1,100 people.

Saudi women drive despite police ban

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving. On Oct. 26, at least sixty women took part in protesting this ban by driving successfully without punishment. While there are no specific laws banning women from driving, licenses are not issued to women. Protests such as this tend to take place annually, although women who have been known to take part in recent years were followed this past Saturday, to ensure that that they did not drive. Activists behind the Oct. 26 driving campaign have said in recent interviews that they believe that public opinion towards women driving has changed. More Saudis, including men, are supporting the lifting of the driving ban.

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