Month

December 2016

BREAKING: GUNMAN OPENS FIRE IN TURKEY NIGHTCLUB, 35 KILLED, 40 WOUNDED

TURKISH TIMES (Fair Use)

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s state-run news agency says an armed assailant has opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations, wounding several people.

Istanbul Governor says at least 35 people killed, 40 wounded in attack at Reina night club

The Anadolu Agency said the attack occurred in Istanbul’s Ortakoy district.

Footage from the scene showed at least six ambulances with flashing lights and civilians being escorted out. Media reports said police have cordoned off the area and an operation is ongoing.

It is unclear if there are any fatal victims at the moment.

DEVELOPING STORY 

Thousands of American Students Considering to Study in Canada after Trump’s Win

For some college-bound students distressed by the election of Donald Trump, Canada is calling.

Justin Trudeau Celebrating With The LGBT Community / cbc.ca

ONTARIO, Canada — Universities from Quebec to British Columbia say applications and website traffic from the United States have been surging since Trump’s victory Nov. 8. Although many Canadian schools had also ramped up recruiting in the U.S. recently, some say dismay over the presidential election has fueled a spike in interest beyond their expectations.

Lara Godoff, a 17-year-old from Napa, California, said she scrapped any notion of staying in the U.S. the day after the election. Among other concerns, Godoff, a Democrat, said she fears Trump’s administration will ease enforcement of federal rules against sexual assault, making campuses less safe for women.

Godoff had applied to one college in Canada but added three more as safety schools after the election.

“If we live in a country where so many people could elect Donald Trump, then that’s not a country I want to live in,” she said.

Applications to the University of Toronto from American students have jumped 70 percent compared with this time last year, while several other Canadian schools have seen increases of 20 percent or more. U.S. applications to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, are up 34 percent so far.

“We can’t ignore the election results, but I think there are other strengths that are attracting students to the university, as well,” said Jennifer Peterman, senior manager of global undergraduate recruitment at McGill University in Montreal. Students are also drawn by the school’s diversity and Canada’s affordable cost of living, she said.

In the U.S., officials at some colleges say it’s clear Trump’s election is tilting enrollment patterns. Some recruiters say foreign students are avoiding the U.S. amid worries about safety and deportation, opting for Canada or Australia instead. And Canadian schools have noticed growing interest from China, India and Pakistan.

 

Source: AP / CBC.CA

BREAKING: Truck ploughs into christmas market in Germany. 9 dead, over 50 injured.

A big lorry has ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing and injuring several people.

Twitter

DEVELOPING STORY

Police on the ground have said this is a suspected attack on German shoppers.

A witness said “people are crushed” while another said people are passed out on the ground underneath the articulated truck.

Videos and pictures emerging online have shown market stalls crushed by the huge lorry.

The driver has been arrested, according to reports.

The truck drove up the Budapester Strasse onto the footpath and came to a stop before the gigantic Norwegian Christmas fir tree erected just a week ago.

One person at the market said the truck was travelling “fast” and crashed with a loud bang.

As many as 50 people have been injured and locals are reporting several fatalities.

LGBTQ Films: Freeheld (Available on Netflix)

Freeheld is a 2015 American drama film, starred by Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell, Luke Grimes, and Michael Shannon. It is based on the 2007 documentary short film of the same name about police officer Laurel Hester’s fight against the Ocean County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders to allow her pension benefits to be transferred to her domestic partner after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The film is based on the true story of Laurel Hester (Moore), a police officer in Ocean County, New Jersey.

The story narrates the difficulties faced by a lesbian police detective and her domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Page). Following her diagnosis with terminal lung cancer in 2005, Hester repeatedly appealed to the county’s board of chosen freeholders in an attempt to ensure her pension benefits could be passed on to her domestic partner.

 

Source: Wikipedia / Netflix 

How to Spot “Fake News”

Follow Ellie on twitter (@elliehopeauthor)

“NEW YORK (AP) — The Pope has endorsed Donald Trump for president.”

“A Washington, DC, pizzeria is a front for a child sex abuse ring.”

“George Soros will “bring down” the U.S. by funding “black hate groups.”

 

These are just some examples of viral stories circulated on social media recently that are completely untrue. Facebook on Thursday announced some steps it’s taking to stop the spread of such “fake news” on its huge social network.

This includes working with outside fact-checking organizations and drying up financial incentives to what it calls the “worst of the worst” spammers that traffic in made-up stories. But there are basic things news readers can do themselves to spot fake news. And if you want, you can report them to Facebook, which can flag stories for fact-checkers to evaluate.

CHECK THE SOURCE

Some hoax sites, designed to draw you in for advertising revenue, feature designs that resemble legitimate, well-known websites. Such “spoofing” can be quite effective — but there are often telltale signs to indicate their true nature.

For example, you should be vary of articles on sites whose addresses, or URLs, that end in “com.co,” writes Melissa Zimdars, a communications professor at Merrimack College whose own list of “fake news” sites went viral. (She has since taken it down and published a more general guide .) You can also check the website’s “about” page, its list of contacts, and other stories and photos on it. Poke around a little; if things look less-than-official, you’re probably on a spoof site.

GRAMMAR AND EMOTIONS

Random use of ALL CAPS? Lots of exclamation points? Does it make sense when you read it out loud? Can you imagine a TV newscaster reading it out loud? Is there something just off about it? Does it sound very angry, inflammatory, emotional? None of these are good signs.

POKE AROUND FOR OTHER COVERAGE

If a story is real and really big, you will likely (though not always) see some version of it from multiple sources. Is it on sites like ABC News, The Associated Press, the New York Times, or other places you have heard of? Is it featured in your local newspaper, the one printed on actual paper?

Let’s put it this way: If the pope actually endorsed Trump, you’d see it everywhere.

SOURCES, SOURCES, SOURCES

Anonymous sources can appear in legit as well as made-up news stories. But Googling the people who are named in a story is a good way to check whether the story itself is real. They might have a LinkedIn profile, or appear in other news stories, for example. Someone says they are a university professor? Google the name of the university. Is it a health study on a new cure for cancer? Look it up.

ON FACEBOOK

Facebook users often share articles without reading them. Don’t be that person.

Instead, click on the link and read the story before hitting the “share” button. If you believe a story someone shared is fake, you can post a comment, or report it to Facebook for outside fact-checking by clicking on the gray arrow on the upper right corner and selecting “report this post.” You’ll get an option for “It’s a fake news story.”

 

Source: AP

Why pop stars won’t play for Trump

Reports from the US suggest Donald Trump is struggling to find renowned stars to perform at his inauguration.

American President-Elect Donald Trump / Wikipedia

When President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, many artists played at his inauguration, such as Beyonce and Aretha Franklin.

During his stay in the White House, he’s had audiences with the likes of Rihanna, James Taylor and Kendrick Lamar.

Donald Trump might not be so lucky.

The Wrap reports that Trump’s inaugural committee is struggling to find stars who are willing to play at his swearing in ceremony on 20 January 2017.

An artist who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I couldn’t do it,” “Not even for a billion dollars.”

British Singer & Songwriter Sir Elton John won’t play at Trump’s inauguration. / Wikipedia

“They’re calling managers, agents, everyone in town to see who they can get and it’s been problematic,” an unnamed source told the site.

Grammy-winner John Legend, who has been a guest of the Obamas several times, says he is “not surprised at all”.

“Creative people tend to reject bigotry and hate,” he told the BBC News

“We tend to be more liberal-minded. When we see somebody that’s preaching division and hate and bigotry, it’s unlikely he’ll get a lot of creative people that want to be associated with him.”

“I would never do it,” agrees Swedish star Zara Larsson, speaking at the BBC Music Awards.

“A lot of artists out there have been very pro-Hillary and anti-Donald. So I would never do it and most other smart people wouldn’t do it.”

Sources within Trump’s circle said that Elton John would play, but John denied the claims. His publicist sated:”Incorrect. He will NOT be performing, there is no truth in this at all.”

Low Profile Stars

Since then, the names bandied around have been much lower-profile – from rap-rock rascal Kid Rock to Achy Breaky country star Billy Ray Cyrus.

“I don’t think I would take the money on that one,” says US pop star Adam Lambert, the part-time frontman of Queen, who is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights.

“I don’t think I’d be endorsing that. They might struggle.”

 

Source: The Wrap / BBC News / Wikipedia 

Cherokee Nation joins Native American tribes recognizing same-gender marriage

The tribe’s attorney general announced that The Cherokee Nation will now recognize same-sex marriages.

Shutterstock

Despite the fact that the Cherokee Nation was not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, Cherokee Attorney General, Todd Hembree, announced that the tribe’s constitution “protects the fundamental right to marry,” and that the tribe has a history of “honoring same-sex [sic] unions.”

Prior to this ruling,  Cherokee law limited marriage to one man and one woman.

“A lot of time has passed since then,” said Chrissi Nimmo, an assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation, “And a lot of social changes have happened.”

Because the tribal court has declined to rule on the issue, and tax officials were asking how to handle same-sex marriages licenses issue by the state of Oklahoma, Hembree had to make an executive decisions.

Dawn McKinley and Kathy Reynolds, whose effort to obtain a Cherokee marriage license triggered the 2004 law banning same-sex marriage, said they were surprised by the ruling because Hembree had previously defended the tribe’s right to refuse the license as a lawyer for the tribe.

“We’re overwhelmed,” Dawn Reynolds-McKinley said. “We didn’t expect his opinion to go this way at all.”

Source: Tulsa Times / LGBTQNation 

Witch Hunt in Washington DC: Transgender Police Officer Suspended Over Sex Tape

What a woman does in her privacy is nobody else’s business but hers. However, for the Washington DC police department, this may come as an excuse to suspend Sgt. Hawkins.

Sgt. Hawkins / Twitter

Washington DC, United States — Transgender Police Officer, Sgt Hawkins, is being accused of “taking interns assigned to her unit out drinking with other MPD officers.” At Freddie’s. A well-known LGBT bar in Arlington. The summer interns were both under the age of 21. One of them admitted to having a fake ID and showing it to Sgt. Hawkins who laughed at it. Fox News Reports.

The allegations also said Sgt. Hawkins showed the interns a “homemade video of her having sex with 4 men while she was intoxicated.”

While she hasn’t confirmed nor denied both allegations officially, sources say that Hawkins’ admitted were true in an interview conducted with internal affairs where the tenor was anything but serious.

Hawkins told investigators she pulled out her cellphone and told her interns “if you want to watch it, it’s right here,” and admitted to showing others an inappropriate picture.

Her reputation amongst DC’s LGBTQ community came into question because of her role in the unit. Allegations she gave preference to concerns from transgender citizens over others.

Officers claimed her role was undermined amongst her peers after her predecessor and now chairman of the DC police FOP, Sgt Matthew Mahl incited tensions between her and the gay community after Mahl left the unit on bad terms.

A spokesperson for the Washington DC Police Department released the following statement:

“Following misconduct allegations, Sergeant Jessica Hawkins was the focus of a recent internal affairs investigation. That investigation has concluded and the findings are currently with the MPD’s disciplinary review division. The DRD will review and determine an appropriate penalty. Throughout the investigation, Sergeant Hawkins remained in her current assignment and is still widely considered a valuable MPD team member in our special liaison division.”  

 

Source: Fox News