This week’s the American gay rights victory was historic, but the transgender community still faces staggering challenges. John Oliver focuses on the “T” in “LGBT."
30 Jun 2015
29 Jun 2015
Pope Francis has requested to chew coca leaves during his forthcoming visit to Bolivia, according to Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao.
Coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant. Mr Machicao said the government offered the Pope coca tea and the pontiff had "specifically requested" to chew coca. Coca leaves were declared an illegal substance under the 1961 UN convention on narcotic drugs. But the growing of coca leaves for religious and medicinal purposes is legal and licensed in Bolivia.
The Vatican has not yet commented. The Pope travels to Bolivia on 8 July.
28 Jun 2015
It’s with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire. Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona.
"The Fish" was Chris Squire's nickname. He earned it primarily due to his very long baths he would take, back when several members lived in the same flat and had to share the bathroom.
For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water.
A man trolling the violently homophobic Islamic State at a London gay pride event got extra troll points Saturday for duping CNN.
CNN reporter Lucy Pawle was at the event when she stumbled upon that man, who to her bewilderment, everyone seemed to be ignoring. Turns out his fake “ISIS flag” was made up of images of dildos, Mediaite discovered.
Pawle tells CNN anchors that she was leaving work when she happened upon the annual London Gay Pride festival. She was shocked to see a man dressed in black and white carrying what she called “a very bad mimicry” but a “very clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag.”
26 Jun 2015
Gunmen killed at least 37 people at a beachfront Tunisian hotel on Friday, the same day terrorists lashed out brutally in France and bombed a mosque in Kuwait.
Tunisia's health ministry reported those deaths as well as 36 injuries in and around the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in the coastal Tunisian city of Sousse, according to the state-run TAP news agency. There were three attackers -- one of whom was killed, one arrested and one escaped -- Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui told reporters.
Tunisia's nightmare came on the same day as at least two deadly terrorist attack in other countries.
One person was beheaded and two injured at a gas factory near Lyon in south-eastern France, according to French President Francois Hollande. And ISIS has claimed responsibility for an apparent bomb blast at the Shiite-affiliated Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait's capital during Friday prayers, leaving at least 25 dead and more than 200 injured.
25 Jun 2015
“Jurassic World” was an instant box office hit when it opened in theaters two weeks ago. But now, moviegoers are noticing details that aren’t sitting well with some people. The uproar started when moviegoers began complaining about one of the dinosaur species in the movie called Pakisaurus.
23 Jun 2015
22 Jun 2015
21 Jun 2015
Al Jazeera has urged Germany to immediately release its journalist Ahmed Mansour, who was detained at a Berlin airport at the request of the Egyptian authorities. Mansour, a senior Al Jazeera Arabic TV journalist, was arrested at Berlin's Tegel airport at 13:20 GMT on Saturday as he tried to board a Qatar Airways flight from Berlin to Doha.
"The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known. Our network, as the Arab world's most-watched, has taken the brunt of this. Other countries must not allow themselves to be tools of this media oppression, least of all those that respect freedom of the media as does Germany," Acting Director General of Al Jazeera network Mostefa Souag said. "Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world's most respected journalists and must be released immediately." In a phone call, Mansour told Al Jazeera that he would remain in custody until Monday when he will face a German judge who will decide on his case.
Mansour was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by Cairo's criminal court in 2014 on the charge of torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011. He denied the charges. And in October last year, Interpol rejected Egypt's request for an international arrest warrant against him. Al Jazeera dismissed the accusation as a flimsy attempt at character assassination against of one of its leading journalists.
18 Jun 2015
"One of the authors of a controversial Sunday Times article alleging that Edward Snowden's actions endangered the lives of British spies defended the story in an interview on CNN Sunday.
With hundreds of descendants of Haitian migrants facing deportation, Haitian Lawyer Network's President Enzili Doto explains how Haitian and Dominican oligarchs exploit Haitian labourers and fuel xenophobia.
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia would add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to its nuclear arsenal this year, prompting NATO's chief to accuse Moscow of dangerous "saber-rattling."
Putin made his announcement a day after Russian officials denounced a U.S. plan to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO member states on Russia's border as the most aggressive act by Washington since the Cold War a generation ago.
Tension has flared anew between Russia and Western powers over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, in which pro-Russian separatist forces have seized a large part of the country's east after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014.
The European Union and United States imposed economic sanctions on Russia. But Washington and Moscow are still bound by a 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that caps deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 each and limits the numbers of strategic nuclear missile launchers to 800 by 2018.
16 Jun 2015
The history of human experimentation is as old as the practice of medicine and in the modern era has always targeted disadvantaged, marginalised, institutionalised, stigmatised and vulnerable populations: prisoners, the condemned, orphans, the mentally ill, students, the poor, women, the disabled, children, peoples of colour, indigenous peoples and the enslaved.
Human subject research is evident wherever physicians, technicians, pharmaceutical companies (and others) are trialling new practices and implementing the latest diagnostic and therapeutic agents and procedures. And the American South in the days of slavery was no different – and for those looking for easy targets, black slave bodies were easy to come by.
There is a rich and rapidly expanding scholarly literature examining the history of human subject research, including studies of the burgeoning bio-medical economy in the US in the 20th century. The Tuskegee experiment and other episodes of medical racism all feature prominently.
The history of the acquisition and exploitation of slave bodies for medical education and research in the US, first explored in depth by historians James Breeden and Todd Savitt, focused primarily on medical schools and the traffic in slave bodies in Virginia. Savitt’s work drew attention to professional medicine’s use of slaves in classroom and bedside demonstrations, in operating amphitheatres, and experimental facilities.
Savitt argued that African Americans were easy targets for ambitious and entrepreneurial white physicians in the slave south. Slaves, as human commodities, were readily transformed into a medical resource, easily accessible as empirical test subjects, “voiceless” and rendered “medically incompetent” through the combined power and authority of the enslaver and their employee, the white physician. Savitt suggested that “outright experimentation upon living humans may have occurred more openly and perhaps more often owing to the nature of slave society,” and also that “the situation may have been (and probably was) worse in the Deep South.”
Also see: usslave.blogspot.com
15 Jun 2015
Last February, when ethnic Russian rebels were closing in on the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, the New York Times rhapsodically described the heroes defending the city and indeed Western civilization – the courageous Azov battalion facing down barbarians at the gate. What the Times didn’t tell its readers was that these “heroes” were Nazis, some of them even wearing Swastikas and SS symbols.
The long Times article by Rick Lyman fit with the sorry performance of America’s “paper of record” as it has descended into outright propaganda – hiding the dark side of the post-coup regime in Kiev. But what makes Lyman’s sadly typical story noteworthy today is that the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has just voted unanimously to bar U.S. assistance going to the Azov battalion because of its Nazi ties.
The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been charged with sexually abusing young boys in the Caribbean country and having child pornography on his computer, and will stand trial next month. In a statement, the Holy See said Jozef Wesolowski will have his first hearing on 11 July.
Wesolowski was recalled to Rome in 2013, and last year he became the first person to be arrested inside the Vatican on paedophilia charges. Since then he has been placed under modified house arrest, pending a decision by the Vatican criminal court on whether to charge him.
14 Jun 2015
11 Jun 2015
10 Jun 2015
United Nations peacekeepers gave more than 225 Haitian women food and medicine in exchange for sex, according to an internal report on exploitation that The Associated Press obtained. The draft by the Office of Internal Oversight Services looks at the way UN peacekeeping, which has about 125,000 people in some of the world’s most troubled areas, deals with the persistent problem of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Expected to be released this month, the report says major challenges remain a decade after a groundbreaking UN report first tackled the issue. Among its findings: About a third of alleged sexual abuse involves minors. “For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need,’ ” the report says.
9 Jun 2015
The Obama administration’s desire for “fast track” trade authority is not limited to passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In fact, that may be the least important of three deals currently under negotiation by the U.S. Trade Representative. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would bind the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and the European Union. And the largest agreement is also the least heralded: the 51-nation Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
On Wednesday, WikiLeaks brought this agreement into the spotlight by releasing 17 key TiSA-related documents, including 11 full chapters under negotiation. Though the outline for this agreement has been in place for nearly a year, these documents were supposed to remain classified for five years after being signed, an example of the secrecy surrounding the agreement, which outstrips even the TPP. TiSA has been negotiated since 2013, between the United States, the European Union, and 22 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and others scattered across South America and Asia. Overall, 12 of the G20 nations are represented, and negotiations have carefully incorporated practically every advanced economy except for the “BRICS” coalition of emerging markets (which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
The deal would liberalize global trade of services, an expansive definition that encompasses air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, accountancy, engineering, consulting, health care, private education, financial services and more, covering close to 80 percent of the U.S. economy. Though member parties insist that the agreement would simply stop discrimination against foreign service providers, the text shows that TiSA would restrict how governments can manage their public laws through an effective regulatory cap. It could also dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, and turn those services over to the private sector. You begin to sound like the guy hanging out in front of the local food co-op passing around leaflets about One World Government when you talk about TiSA, but it really would clear the way for further corporate domination over sovereign countries and their citizens.