November 24, 2015

Pres.Obama Busy Allowing Refugee Gay Couples thru Immigration

Gay couple in Florida received notice they no longer face being separated because one of them is not a U.S. citizen. Julian Marsh and Traian Povov’s green card approval was the first such approval ever in the United States at the time.No longer a rare occurrence.

Refugees and asylees from 23 countries can now ask to bring their same-sex partners with them to the U.S., even if they are not legally married.

The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in an Oct. 1 letter to Congress notes it will “allow a qualifying individual” to request their same-sex partner receive refugee or asylee status under a provision of the U.S. Refugee Assistance Program known as P-3 that specifically deals with family reunification.

The new provision requires the petitioner to file an affidavit proving he or she has been in a relationship with their same-sex partner for at least a year outside the U.S. before submitting their application. The petitioner also needs to consider “that person to be his/her spouse or life partner, and that relationship is ongoing.”

The petitioner must also prove that “legal marriage” to their partner “was not an obtainable option due to social and/or legal prohibitions.”

Only refugees or asylees in the U.S. who are originally from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Cuba, North Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria and Uzbekistan can access the P-3 program.

The program allows a family member in the U.S. to apply “for a same-sex spouse if a legal marriage was conducted and documented.” The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in its letter to Congress that same-sex marriage “is not legal in the vast majority of refugee-producing and refugee-hosting countries.”

“The legal definition of ‘spouse’ remains unchanged,” State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau told the Washington Blade on Tuesday. “However, due to the administration’s recognition that marriage is not a legally viable option in many refugees’ countries of origin, we have granted access to the P-3 refugee family reunification process to the same-sex partners of LGBT individuals who do not have legal access to the institution of marriage in their home countries, provided that the refugee’s partner is otherwise admissible.”

Homosexuality criminalized in many P-3 countries

The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration each year determines the specific refugees and asylum seekers who will be able to take advantage of the P-3 program. This determination is made based on whether a particular nationality “is of special humanitarian concern to the United States for the purpose of family-reunification refugee processing.”

Laws criminalizing homosexuality remain in place in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran, Sudan and portions of Somalia. Reports indicate the Islamic State has executed at least 30 men accused of sodomy in Iraq and Syria.

Anti-LGBT discrimination and violence remain pervasive throughout El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Independent Cuban LGBT rights advocates with whom the Washington Blade has spoken over the last year say officials on the Communist island routinely harass them.
Maykel González Vivero, an independent Cuban LGBT advocate from the city of Sagua la Grande, told the Blade on Tuesday in an email that he welcomes the new P-3 program rule.
“It implies that the United States is willing to support LGBTI families that, for reasons that are no doubt political, are not recognized by the Cuban state,” he said.
Expanded provision ‘absolutely welcome’

The new rule under the P-3 program took effect against the backdrop of the continued influx of refugees and migrants into Europe from Syria, Iraq and other countries.
Secretary of State John Kerry in September announced the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees next year and another 100,000 in 2017.

President Obama in the same month said the U.S. will allow at least 10,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the country in 2016. The San Francisco-based Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration has called upon the White House to set aside 500 of these “slots” for those who are fleeing the war-torn country because of anti-LGBT persecution.

ORAM Executive Director Neil Grungras told the Blade on Tuesday during a telephone interview from Israel that the new rule under the P-3 program is “absolutely welcome.”
“It’s really forward thinking,” he said, noting LGBT refugees and asylum seekers are often unable to bring their partners with them to the U.S. “It’s about time.”
Immigration Equality Legal Director Aaron Morris shared a similar sentiment.

“The State Department’s decision to keep permanent partner P-3 refugees together is a cause for celebration because almost no LGBT refugees have access to marriage equality,” he told the Blade on Tuesday.

Advocates: Expand rule to more refugees, asylees

Matthew Corso, chair of Center Global, a program of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, noted to the Blade that less than 10 percent of all of the LGBT asylum seekers and refugees who have sought assistance from his group are from P-3 countries.
He said he would like to see the U.S. allow more refugees and asylees to take advantage of the new policy.

“While we are pleased to see the State Department moving the needle on reuniting same sex spouses for refugees and asylees from P-3 countries, it will be interesting to see whether or not USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) responds in kind to ensure many more LGBTI refugees and asylees from countries such as Uganda, Russia, Jamaica and others not on the P-3 list can be reunited with their loved ones who are still living abroad,” said Corso.
Morris expressed a similar concern.

“Because this rule will help a couple only if both partners have been designated as refugees, we are eager work with federal agencies to extend similar benefits to families where only one partner has been granted refugee status,” he told the Blade. “This is the reality for most LGBT asylees in the U.S., and no one should have to choose between their family and their own safety.”

Andrea Ayala, executive director of Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad, an LGBT advocacy group in El Salvador known by the Spanish acronym ESMULES, told the Blade on Tuesday in an email that it would prove “difficult” for couples to prove their relationship to U.S. authorities. González expressed a similar concern, but he still described the new policy as a “step forward.”

“It seems fair to me,” he told the Blade.

The Media Does Not Know How to Deal with Trump’s Constant Lying

Donald Trump's interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week (above) is a great distillation of why covering the Republican frontrunner is proving so difficult for mainstream press outlets.

On the one hand, he demands coverage. He's leading the race everywhere: nationally, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina. And with the exception of a brief surge for Ben Carson that's quickly dissipating, Trump has been leading consistently for more than three months. So outlets like ABC and shows like This Week would, naturally, like the longstanding GOP frontrunner to appear on their programs from time to time. It doesn't hurt that Trump is ratings gold compared with the likes of Jeb Bush or past frontrunners such as Mitt Romney, either.

But Trump also has a tendency to use his appearances on TV news to spout flagrant lies about a variety of topics. His statements aren't false the way that, say, Marco Rubio's claim that he can cut taxes by $12 trillion and still balance the budget is false. False claims of that variety are a long and distinguished tradition in American electoral politics, and it's an established policy on programs like This Week to not challenge them too aggressively.

Trump's lies, by contrast are more like something you'd hear a conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones trumpet. Stephanopoulos showed a clip of Trump claiming to have witnessed "thousands and thousands" of Muslims or Arab Americans in Jersey City, New Jersey, cheering in the streets on 9/11 in celebration of the attacks.

This is an odd thing for Trump to say, because it's totally made up. No such celebrations took place in Jersey City on 9/11, so far as fact checkers from PolitiFact to the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler can tell. "You know, the police say that didn't happen, and all those rumors have been on the internet for some time," Stephanopoulos noted. “So did you misspeak yesterday?"                                                                            
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You raised some eyebrows yesterday with comments you made at your latest rally. I want to show them, relating to 9/11.

VIDEO CLIP OF DONALD TRUMP, IN WHICH HE SAYS: “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “You know, the police say that didn’t happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you misspeak yesterday?”

TRUMP: “It did happen. I saw it.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “You saw that…”

TRUMP: It was on television. I saw it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: “…with your own eyes?”

TRUMP: “George, it did happen.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “Police say it didn’t happen.”

TRUMP: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “As I said, the police have said it didn’t happen.”

— Exchange on ABC’s “This Week,” Nov. 22, 2015

This column has been updated.

This exchange demonstrates the folly of trying to fact-check Donald Trump. Even when confronted with contrary information — “police say it didn’t happen” — he insists that with his own eyes he saw “thousands and thousands” of cheering Arabs in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center collapsed during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Trump has already earned more Four-Pinocchio ratings than any other candidate this year. He is about to earn another one.

The Facts

This is a bit like writing about the hole in the doughnut — how can you write about nothing?

Trump says that he saw this with his own eyes on television and that it was well covered. But an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing. There were some reports of celebrations overseas, in Muslim countries, but nothing that we can find involving the Arab populations of New Jersey except for unconfirmed reports. (Some conspiracy Web sites cite a column by controversial blogger and commentator Debbie Schlussel, who is highly critical of Muslims, that makes a reference to an MTV broadcast of protests and riots in Paterson, N.J.; this claim has never been authenticated.) As the Newark Star-Ledger put it in an article on Sept. 18, 2001, “rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack by Muslims here proved unfounded.”

Neither can we find any examples of Trump previously talking about this. Here, for example, is an article in the New York Post interviewing Trump just eight days after the attack; he makes no mention of having witnessed the alleged celebrations. And in a foreword for a book titled “Where Were You On 9/11?,” Trump makes no mention of this: “I was in my apartment in the Trump Tower [on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001]. I knew what was happening because I can see downtown to the Financial district.”

The mayor of Jersey City, which has 15,000 Muslims, quickly tweeted that Trump’s comments were false:

Fulop, who is a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2017, said in a statement that Trump was “shamefully politicizing an emotionally charged issue.” He added: “No one in Jersey City cheered on Sept. 11. We were actually among the first to provide responders to help in lower Manhattan.”

George Pataki, the governor of New York at the time and another GOP presidential hopeful, also tweeted this response to Trump’s remarks on ABC:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, told reporters that he also did not recall seeing what Trump claimed. “I do not remember that, and so it’s not something that was part of my recollection,” he said. “I think if it had happened, I would remember it, but, you know, there could be things I forget, too.”

Since Trump on ABC News suggested that celebrations might have happened elsewhere in New Jersey, we also contacted Jerry Speziale, the police commissioner of Paterson, which has the second-largest Muslim population in the United States — numbering nearly 30,000. He minced few words, even using a barnyard epithet, while giving his response.

“That is totally false. That is patently false,” Speziale said. “That never happened. There were no flags burning, no one was dancing. That is [barnyard epithet].” He said the main concern after the attacks was that the U.S. Muslim population would face retaliation, and so law enforcement officials worked with the community to ensure that did not happen. “They’ve been very helpful and law-abiding.”

We asked Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks whether she could provide any evidence for Trump’s claim. As usual, she did not respond.

Update: Some readers have tweeted to The Fact Checker a Washington Post article from Sept. 18, 2001, as evidence of Trump’s claim. The article, which appeared on page 6, described FBI probes in northern New Jersey after the attacks, saying in the 15th paragraph that “law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”

Of course, “a number of people” obviously does not equal “thousands” — and “allegedly” indicates there is no video footage or other proof that celebrations actually took place. Recall that Trump claimed he saw this on television — and that it was “well covered at the time.”  
The reporters who wrote the story do not recall whether the allegations were ever confirmed. “I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating,” said Serge Kolvaleski, one of the reporters. “That was not the case, as best as I can remember.”​

Frederick Kunkle, the other reporter, added: “I specifically visited the Jersey City building and neighborhood where the celebrations were purported to have happened. But I could never verify that report.”

Irfan Khawaja, an assistant professor of philosophy at Felician College in New Jersey, extensively attempted to trace the rumors of celebrations by Muslims in New Jersey and after months of inquiry (in an article with Gary Fine) came up with only the possibility that “a few Arab-American adolescents briefly relieved their political frustration in front of a library in South Paterson, a way that might be defined as celebrating.”

In an interview, Khawaja said that after extensive research, it was possible that maybe six to 12 teenagers had something akin to a celebration on the morning of 9/11 in Paterson, but they quickly dispersed. But even that is doubtful. “The evidence is very, very sparse that anything took place,” he said. “The bottom line is that Donald Trump is lying, if you look at what he said.” (Khawaja elaborated on his findings in a blog post.)

November 23, 2015

Wether top or bottom You Should know These 4 Classifications



Condoms: The gold standard of safe sex. Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission when used correctly. Condoms are a simple and easy protection method that will keep you and your partner safe.
PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the daily dose of an anti-HIV medication, is 99 percent effective at preventing HIV transmission when used correctly. Truvada is the only drug approved so far for use in prevention. According to recent reports, the vast majority of gay men do not wear condoms 100 percent of the time. PrEP is an excellent tool to keep you safe if you and your partner do not wear a condom for whatever reason. Although PrEP does not prevent against other STDs, a prescription for PrEP does require regular doctor’s visits, which include routine lab work, so it allows for the user to take control of their sex life and stay engaged in their sexual health.
PEP: This prevention method, known as post-exposure prophylaxis, is meant for use only when someone believes that they have been exposed to HIV with risk of transmission. This is not an active prevention strategy, but a reactive precaution that is available to you if you need it.
TasP: Treatment as prevention, known as TasP, is when an HIV-positive person is on antiretroviral treatment and achieves an undetectable viral load. When a person reaches an undetectable status, they reduce their risk of transmission by at least  96 percent. To date, there have been zero confirmed cases of HIV transmission by an undetectable person.

Asexual is an Identity and You should know it


The reason for this site is help our readers to remain educated on certain current and sometimes historical issues that everyone should know. I try to do things differently and that sometimes is a ‘gas’ and sometimes ‘no gas’. I can explain if you would like me to.

It is somehow queer that I have known about Asexual’s and understood it better than being gay since my early days in church. The women which we called sisters (not related to catholic nuns) were very eager to quietly discuss issues of wife beatings, infidelity  and asexuality,  which was given a different name I can not remember. Homosexuality was usually not touched in these circles. 

At the time (about 14) I could not imagine how bad that most have been and I wish I never got that disease. As I became older I understood better.  Why should you know about Asexual's?
Because they are also your friends and you don’t know it.  [ Adam]

The following excerpts are from The Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently. Asexuality is just beginning to be the subject of scientific research. 

Asexual people have the same emotional needs as anyone else, and like in the sexual community we vary widely in how we fulfill those needs. Some asexual people are happier on their own, others are happiest with a group of close friends. Other asexual people have a desire to form more intimate romantic relationships, and will date and seek long-term partnerships. Asexual people are just as likely to date sexual people as we are to date each other.

Sexual or nonsexual, all relationships are made up of the same basic stuff. Communication, closeness, fun, humor, excitement and trust all happen just as much in sexual relationships as in nonsexual ones. Unlike sexual people, asexual people are given few expectations about the way that our intimate relationships will work. Figuring out how to flirt, to be intimate, or to be monogamous in nonsexual relationships can be challenging, but free of sexual expectations we can form relationships in ways that are grounded in our individual needs and desires.

Many asexual people experience attraction, but we feel no need to act out that attraction sexually. Instead we feel a desire to get to know someone, to get close to them in whatever way works best for us. Asexual people who experience attraction will often be attracted to a particular gender, and will identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or straight.

For some sexual arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Some will occasionally masturbate, but feel no desire for partnered sexuality. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal. Because we don’t care about sex, asexual people generally do not see a lack of sexual arousal as a problem to be corrected, and focus their energy on enjoying other types of arousal and pleasure.

Note: People do not need sexual arousal to be healthy, but in a minority of cases a lack of arousal can be the symptom of a more serious medical condition. If you do not experience sexual arousal or if you suddenly lose interest in sex you should probably check with a doctor just to be safe.

Most people on AVEN have been asexual for our entire lives. Just as people will rarely and unexpectedly go from being straight to gay, asexual people will rarely and unexpectedly become sexual or vice versa. Another small minority will think of themselves as asexual for a brief period of time while exploring and questioning their own sexuality. 

There is no litmus test to determine if someone is asexual. Asexuality is like any other identity- at its core, it’s just a word that people use to help figure themselves out. If at any point someone finds the word asexual useful to describe themselves, we encourage them to use it for as long as it makes sense to do so.

Gay Irish Crossing to the South of Ireland to get Married



The North is now the only region in the UK and Ireland not to extend civil marriage rights to same sex couples so many are now choosing to cross the Border to get married.

At Stormont last month, a motion in support of marriage equality received a slim majority in favor for the first time but the move was only symbolic as it vetoed by the DUP using a petition of concern blocking mechanism.

Following Ireland’s historic Yes vote in May the campaign for marriage equality in the North is gaining momentum and is being challenged in the courts.
Labour Senator Mairia Cahill with Labour leader Joan Burton. A party sources said “we believe we will be back in government”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish TimesTop Labour Party figures warn party could lose 20 seats

Princess Anne speaks with jockey AP McCoy after she officially opened the Princess Royal Grandstand during day one of The Open at Cheltenham raceourse, Cheltenham. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA WireMiriam Lord’s Week: Irish lads keep it cool in royal presence
Photograph: Matt KavanaghA very Panti Christmas: Rory O’Neill makes merry with family, Roses and a good film

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks about his decision to step down at Stormont Castle, November 19th, 2015. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire Belfast locals give views on Peter Robinson stepping down

Despite civil marriages carried out in the south only being recognised as civil partnerships in the North, gay and lesbian couples are choosing to tie the knot over the Border anyway.
Donal Murray (32), a nurse practitioner and John Campbell (30), a hotel supervisor met more than five years ago during Belfast Pride festivities.
Their wedding is due to take place in Ballymagarvey Village, Balrath, Co Meath on July 24th next year.
The couple were to have a civil partnership, but following the Yes vote in the referendum they immediately decided to opt for civil marriage instead.
“When the referendum was a success then it just reaffirmed to both John and I that having our wedding in the south was going to be even more special and significant as we would be legally married in the south.”

Murray added that he and Campbell “firmly support equality for the LGBT community and hope that in time the North will change in line with the rest of the UK and Ireland”.
They will be joining the growing list of couples from the North to opt for a civil marriage ceremony across the Border.

Darren and Tony Day for east Belfast were among the first couples to get married last week after the Marriage Act 2015 was signed into law.
Tony (38) a publisher, originally from Lisburn and Darren (42) a musician and teacher, originally from Newtownabbey, have been been together for more than six years after meeting online.
Their wedding was held in Co Monaghan on Saturday and their marriage was legally recognized on Tuesday when a short ceremony made it official.

“We didn’t originally decide to get married in the south,” said Tony.
“Originally we planned on having a civil partnership in Belfast on Thursday but when the choice arose to wait a couple of days after our big day to actually get married we decided that was a better option.
“Purely so that when it does eventually become recognised in NI, we don’t have to upgrade from a civil partnership to a marriage.”
Civil marriage

Day’s ex-wife Sabrina was one of his “grooms maid”, their daughter India (14) did a reading at the service and son Parker (7) walked Tony and Darren down the aisle.
“It was a disappointing that literally an hour after we were married and travelled back to NI, our marriage was no longer recognized as such,” he added.

Belfast solicitor Ciarán Moynagh says couples will avail of civil marriage across the Border, despite it not being recorded as such in the North.
“The progressive movement in the south is hugely positive and really puts the focus on the North of Ireland. It shows that our position is unsustainable,” he said.

He added: “Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 section 215 downgrades an ‘overseas relationship’ to civil partnerships. Obviously this marriage is not overseas but this provision applies as it has been formed outside the United Kingdom. We have even more difficulties when it comes to looking at Scotland. I am not sure the Government when drafting the Civil Partnership Act 2004 ever envisaged this unique issue and I have been approached by couples seeking advice on their status in the North.”
The case of a couple Ciarán Moynagh represents, challenging the conversion of a same-sex marriage in London to a civil partnership in Belfast, is ongoing before the High Court and is listed for two further days of hearing at the start of December.

John O’Doherty, director of the Belfast-based Rainbow Project, said with “equal marriage now a reality across these islands there will be an increasing number of married same sex couples living in Northern Ireland who are not recognised”.
“This further reflects the irrationality of the illogical patchwork of marriage laws across the UK and Ireland.

“The idea that a marriage can be recognised in some parts of the UK and not others has no basis in law and is directly discriminatory towards legally married couples residing in Northern Ireland.
“Unfortunately the Northern Ireland Assembly has proven itself incapable of dealing with this inequality so same sex couples have had to turn to the courts.

“We know that a majority of both people and politicians in Northern Ireland support the introduction of equal marriage so it is only a matter of time before it becomes reality.”

Video games, Gay games and Religion games for Abdeslam the Terrorist on the Loose (latest)


The brothers’ tastes would appear to make them unlikely ISIS extremists. The terror group brutally punishes homosexuality, often hurling gay men off buildings or stoning them to death, along with alcohol or drug use.

Friends of Abdeslam say the fugitive has Skyped them in recent days. His brother, Mohammed, told reporters that he believes Salah “is not far away”, sparking suspicion he may be holed up in Belgium’s capital.

“We had him down as a rent boy”

Brussels went into lockdown on Saturday, shuttering its metro system, canceling concerts, postponing soccer games and telling locals to stay out of crowds amid fears of a “serious and imminent” terror attack.

“We are talking about the threat that several individuals with arms and explosives would launch an attack perhaps in several locations at the same time,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said.
Investigators are still trying to untangle Abdeslam’s role in the carnage in Paris, where 130 people were killed and 350 injured. He and Brahim joined in the carefully planned assaults on restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium with at least six other extremists.

Abdeslam may have rented two of the three cars used in the attacks, French police say, but they don’t know if he acted as a driver or as a shooter. They believe he abandoned a car in a Paris suburb. He was picked up early the next morning and driven back to Brussels by two accomplices who are now in custody.

Officials stopped the car at the border and questioned the men, but let them go. Abdeslam disappeared once he reached Brussels.
The lawyer for one of the accomplices said Abdeslam was wearing “a big jacket, maybe a bomb belt” and behaved nervously, making authorities suspect he had backed out of his murderous assignment in Paris.

Meanwhile, a Moroccan-born Belgian who may have scouted the Paris targets was arrested in Turkey as he tried to flee to Syria, authorities said. Ahmad Dahmani, 26, was collared Saturday with two other suspects.

Investigators tracing the jihadist networks that inspired the terrorists said Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Paris ringleader who was killed in a police raid last week, is connected to the group Sharia4Belgium, known to have sent at least 50 Belgians to join ISIS forces in Syria. 

November 21, 2015

Pentecostals Persecuting BBC DJ Made to Resign For AskingAbout Bigotry, Homophobia


There have been calls from presenters, celebrities and license fee payers for Iain Lee to return to his Three Counties radio show.

Iain quit his BBC radio show after clashing with Libby Powell and accusing her of being a “bigot”. Ms Powell, a lawyer from Christian Concern, was on the programme because her organisation is supporting Pentecostal Minister Barry Trayhorn, who was allegedly forced out of his job at HM Prison Littlehey.  Trayhorn, who also worked as a gardener in the prison, was given a final written warning after he preached what prison bosses believed to be a homophobic verse from the book of Corinthians.
During the show Iain asked her:  “Do you support bigotry? Homophobia is bigotry.”
Ms Powell replied: “This  isn’t homophobia, this is God’s word.”
Iain went on to accuse Ms Powell of not knowing what bigotory was, saying: “Considering you are from a legal centre that’s a little bit worrying.”
After the interview, the BBC issued an apology on their corrections and clarifications site saying: “While the programme is well-known for its combative style, the BBC fully accepts that the language the presenter used, and the tone in which he conducted these interviews, was at several points inappropriate. The BBC – and Iain Lee himself – wish to apologise for any offence that may have been caused.” petition has now been started calling for Iain’s return to BBC Three Counties Radio, and many people have expressed their outrage on Twitter.

Turkish Military Stops Degrading Gay Test for New Recruits


Gay military recruits were previously forced into degrading tests to prove that they were gay.

In Turkey, homosexuals are are exempt from serving in the army, which is compulsory for men aged between 20 and 41. In order to prove their exemption, gay men were being forced into rectal examinations, and even made to photograph themselves having sex.
Turkey’s Armed Forces Physical Capabilities Regulation code classifies homosexuality as a ‘psychosexual disorder’, and states that those whose ‘sexual manners and behavior cause or are expected to cause problems of adaptation and functionality in a military environment’ should be excluded from service.
The Turkish Armed Forces have now relaxed this policy, meaning that these humiliating methods will no longer be enforced. Being exempt from the Turkish military does mean having your sexual orientation listed on your official record, which could then lead to further discrimination.
Any gay recruit who does want to serve in the military is able to, as long as they don’t disclose their sexual orientation, but if it is discovered or disclosed at a later time they risk expulsion. A man known only as Ahmet told Al-Monitor: “Being gay in Turkey is difficult, but for a gay of draft age, these difficulties become a hell.
“The medical examination [to determine fitness] for military service is perhaps the first challenge in your life that forces you to make a choice between your gay identity and social realities.”
Words Danielle Hutley

This Morning French and Russian Jets Raid Syrian(Jihadists) Targets


The raids came a day after Moscow said it was a "terrorist attack" that brought down a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board. 
Those deaths and the shootings and suicide bombings in Paris were claimed by the Islamic State, which declared a self-styled "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria last year.
Since Sunday, Russian and French raids have struck arms depots, barracks and other areas in Raqa city, the jihadists' bastion in northern Syria. 
"This is where we must hit Daesh, in its lifeblood," said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, using the Arabic acronym for the group in comments late Wednesday.
A preliminary death toll by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 72 hours of strikes "have left 33 dead and dozens wounded in IS ranks."
"The limited number of deaths can be explained by the fact that the jihadists had taken precautions," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman, who relies on a network of activists, medics and other sources inside Syria.
"There were only guards around the depots and barracks and most of those killed were at the checkpoints," he said.
The families of foreign fighters in IS, which number thousands, had left Raqa for Mosul, IS's relatively "safer" Iraq bastion. 
The Pentagon said Moscow warned Washington of its impending attacks on Raqa. This was to avoid any US planes in the area being endangered, spokesman Peter Cook said, which "wasn't necessary in this case".
- IS based in 'civilian homes' -
Aktham Alwany, a journalist and activist from Raqa, said civilians in the city were "only moving around when necessary."
"No one knows when the next strike is, whichever the nationality -- Russian, regime, coalition," and many are considering moving to the city's outskirts which are bombed less frequently, he said. 
"Unfortunately, it's no secret that IS's bases are inside civilian homes. There are some bases that look like they're for IS, but in reality they're empty fakes, while civilian homes are teeming with them," Alwany told AFP. 
Raqa city was Syria's first provincial capital lost by the government, seized by rebels in 2013 then overrun by IS in January 2014.
When the jihadist group captured Mosul in neighbouring Iraq in June 2014, its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" across Iraq and Syria.
The group's speedy expansion sparked a US-led coalition to begin carrying out air strikes on it in both Iraq and Syria. France began striking the latter as part of the coalition in September. 
And Moscow began its own air war in Syria, in coordination with embattled President Bashar al-Assad, on September 30.
But after the attacks in Paris and the downing of the Russian civilian airliner, France and Russia agreed to coordinate their military and security services to fight IS. 
On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin instructed his military to work with France "as allies," and agreed in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande on "closer contact and coordination" of operations in Syria. 
- Assad a 'lesser evil' -
And US President Barack Obama praised Russia as a "constructive partner" in international talks in Vienna aimed at reaching a solution to Syria's bloody conflict, which has left 250,000 dead. 
The US and France have been firm backers of Syria's uprising, while Russia and Iran have remained staunch allies of Assad. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday it would be "simply unacceptable" to set Assad's departure as a precondition to "fight against terror." 
Although profound differences in policies remain, IS's attacks have shifted international focus on to the jihadist group. 
Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu said Wednesday Ankara "has plans" for a joint operation with the United States to root out IS's presence along its border with Syria. 
And Spain's foreign minister said engaging with Assad was a "lesser evil." 
"If you want peace, you are going to have get along with Assad at least on a temporary basis," Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said. 
Late Tuesday, Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate and key IS rival, Al-Nusra Front, said it had downed two Russian reconnaissance drones over an airbase it controls in northwestern Syria.
If confirmed, the incident would be the first time the armed opposition down a Russian aircraft in Syria.

Terror in Mali

 People run to cover by the Blu Hotel

DAKAR, Senegal — Heavily armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” stormed a Radisson Blu hotel Friday morning in Bamako, the capital of the West African nation of Mali, seizing scores of hostages and leaving bodies strewn across the building. 

The gunmen barreled past the hotel’s light security early in the morning, confusing guards with fake diplomatic license plates, and then burst into its glass-door lobby with their guns blazing.

“They started firing everywhere,” said a receptionist at the hotel who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “They were shouting, ‘Allahu akbar.’ They cut someone’s throat, a white man. That was awful.”

“I hid in my office,” he said. “I saw four of them, armed to the teeth.”

A senior United Nations official said that as many as 27 people had been killed, with bodies found in the basement and on the second floor, according to a preliminary assessment of the devastating attack.
Police officers blocked the street near La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako, Mali, on Saturday, after five people were shot dead overnight there in a suspected terrorist attack.Gunman Kills Five in Restaurant in MaliMARCH 7, 2015 
By late afternoon, the siege appeared to be ending. No more hostages were being held, said Col. Salif Traore, Mali’s minister of interior security. Two assailants had been killed, he said, but security forces were still sweeping the hotel for other attackers who had holed up in a corner of the hotel.

From early on during the attack, dozens of hostages, many of them crying – including women, children and older people — streamed out of the hotel after hiding in their rooms, said Amadou Sidibé, a local reporter at the scene.

According to the operators of the hotel, 125 guests and 13 employees were inside the hotel after the siege began.

An American Defense official said that 12 to 15 Americans were believed to be at the hotel when the gunmen first arrived. Six American citizens were recovered safely from the hotel, he said. The status of the others is not clear. 

The recent terrorist attacks have reignited a debate on the balance between civil liberties and national security. We would like to hear from you.
American Special Operations forces “are currently assisting hostage recovery efforts,” said Col. Mark Cheadle, a spokesman with the United States Africa Command. “U.S. forces have helped move civilians to secure locations, as Malian forces work to clear the hotel of hostile gunmen.”

The siege in Mali, a former French colony, came only a week after terrorists with assault rifles and suicide vests killed 129 people in attacks across Paris.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack in Mali. Al Jazeera reported that it had received a recording asserting that a local militant group, Al Mourabitoun, had carried out the siege in conjunction with Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, though the claim could not be independently confirmed.

Qaeda supporters quickly praised the attack, with one even saying that the Islamic State “should learn a thing or two,” reflecting the rivalry between the two groups.
“We don’t want to scare our people, but we have already said that Mali will have to get used to situations like this,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, who was on a visit to neighboring Chad, told France 24. “We must all remain humble. No one, nowhere, is safe given the danger of terrorism.”

Northern Mali fell under the control of rebels and Islamist militants in 2012. A French-led offensive ousted them in 2013, but remnants of the militant groups have staged a number of attacks on United Nations peacekeepers and Malian forces. Hundreds of French soldiers remain in the country.

The Radisson Blu hotel is a popular place for foreigners to stay in Bamako, a city with a population approaching two million, and French citizens were among those taken hostage.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that two Germans were among the hostages who had been released from the hotel.

Four Belgians were registered in the hotel, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman in that country. At least one of them, a 39-year-old Belgian working for the Wallonia-Brussels regional parliament, died during the attack. He was in Mali for three days for a meeting.

A diplomat at the Chinese embassy in Bamako said that eight Chinese business people had been trapped in the hotel as well. Embassy officials at the scene were in touch with some of the Chinese hostages by WeChat, a Chinese messaging service, the diplomat said.
Kassim Traoré, a Malian journalist who was in a building about 50 meters, or 160 feet, from the Radisson, said the attackers had told hostages to recite a declaration of Muslim faith as a way separating Muslims from non-Muslims. Those who could recite the declaration, the Shahada, were allowed to leave the hotel. The Shabab, a Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, used a similar approach in the attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013.

The security forces moved through the hotel, floor by floor, freeing hostages as they went, Mr. Traoré added.

Some of the people who fled the hotel were not wearing any clothes as they were taken to a police station. 

[U.S. Military Played No Direct Role in Mali Crisis, Official Says]
“We were just evacuated from the hotel by security forces; I know that there are a lot of people inside right now,” one hostage who made it to safety told France24 television. “I saw bodies in the lobby. What is happening right now is really horrible.”

“I was hidden in my room barely a couple minutes, a couple seconds ago, and someone shouted, telling us to get out,” the hostage said. “My door was smashed open, the security forces arrived.”

Another French hostage, who did not want to be identified, told a friend in Bamako that a group of people were trapped on the roof of the hotel, along with the body of one person who had died in the attack. The hostage told the friend that the French Consulate had told hostages by text message to stay put and wait for a military assault. 

Kamissoko Lassine, the chief pastry chef of the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, said that two armed men arrived at the hotel between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
Security forces evacuated residents from an area surrounding the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, on Friday. Credit Habibou Kouyate/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“They were driving a vehicle with diplomatic plates,” he said. “You know how easy that is at the hotel? The guards just lifted the barrier.”

“They opened fire and wounded the guard at the front,” said Mr. Lassine, who said he was able to slip out a back door and make it home safely. “They took the hotel hostage and moved people into a big hall.”

A member of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, who asked not to be identified, said there were many French people in the hotel, including Air France staff members, along with a delegation for the International Organization of French Speakers. Air France later said in a statement that 12 members of its crew had been at the hotel and were freed.

Five Turkish Airlines crew members, including pilots and flight attendants, have also been freed, while two remained inside the hotel, a Turkish government official said.
Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants — armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s arsenal — began advancing through the country’s vast desert in the north and capturing towns.

A military coup, stirred in part by anger over the government’s handling of the insurrection, overthrew Mali’s elected government in March 2012. Amid the chaos, Islamist rebels managed to consolidate their hold on the northern part of the country, imposing a harsh version of Islamic law.

In January of 2013, the Islamist forces began advancing south from their northern stronghold, heading in the direction of Mali’s capital. France sent in troops to stop them. A brief military campaign halted the Islamist advance, recaptured towns like Timbuktu that had been under the militants’ control, and chased the remaining Islamist fighters back into the desert.

But in a shocking twist, other militants linked to Al Qaeda stormed a vast gas production facility in the desert of neighboring Algeria, taking dozens of expatriate workers hostage. Some 38 were killed during the siege of the gas plant. 

With hundreds of French troops still present in Mali and the country highly reliant on donors, elections in the summer of 2013 restored a democratic government. But its hold on the north remains weak.

There are frequent attacks by Islamist fighters, particular on United Nations troops, in the northern provinces. A shaky peace deal signed in June has not stopped the attacks, and in August five United Nations workers were killed in an assault on a hotel in central Mali. Five months before, militants killed five at a restaurant in Bamako.

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the operator of the Radisson Blu Hotel Bamako, said it was in contact with the local authorities, and the United States Embassy said it had issued a warning to staff members and American citizens to shelter in place. 

France has about 800 troops stationed in Mali as part of a larger 3,500-member regional force in West Africa. Only about a dozen or so of those troops are in Bamako itself, however.

There was no formal claim of responsibility for the siege, but supporters of the Islamic State were posting on Twitter in celebration of the attack under the hashtags #IslamicState, #ParisIsBurning and #Mali_Is_Burning.

In the assault in August, jihadists stormed a hotel in Sévaré, north of the capital, where United Nations staff members were staying, seizing hostages and killing at least five Malian soldiers and a United Nations contractor.

Dionne Searcey reported from from Dakar, Senegal, and Adam Nossiter from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Rukmini Callimachi, Lilia Blaise and Nabih Bulos from Paris, Saskia de Rothschild in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Jane Perlez from Beijing, Helene Cooper in Washington and Somini Sengupta at the United Nations.

November 20, 2015

5 Ft Long Subway[Fogle] Sentenced on Child Sex Crimes- Take {an interactive look at his life}


Jared Fogle, the former Subway spokesperson, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of sex crimes and possession of child pornography. He agreed earlier to pay $1.4 million in restitution to his 14 victims.

The timeline below chronicles Jared Fogle's rise to fame, removal as a Subway spokesperson, and eventual criminal sentencing. 
Please include the following citation to source the data used in these visualizations:
Data is sourced from Gracenote, Indystar.

A Teaching Moment for US Embassy to Russian Paper on Phony LGBT Letter

ikolai Alexeyev punched at a gay demonstration in Moscow
The US embassy in Moscow has given a Russian newspaper a grammar lesson over a fake letter that purports to show that the US pays gay rights activists to smear Russian officials.
The embassy marked more than two dozen mistakes in a copy of the alleged letter that it posted on its Twitter account. “Dear Izvestia, next time you use fake letters, send them to us – we will be happy to help correct the mistakes,” it wrote at the bottom.

 The post was in response to an article in Izvestia on Wednesday that said activists were accusing the Russian officials of homosexuality to “earn grants” from the US State Department. 
The article focused on prominent activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who told Ekho Moskvy radio station in May 2013 that Vladimir Putin’s aide Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of a state-owned bank and a director at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport were gay. 
As proof of the US-backed “campaign to discredit” these officials, Izvestia quoted what the newspaper said was hacked correspondence between Alexeyev and the US State Department. Although it failed to provide a direct link, several quotes come from a letter posted on the CyberGuerilla website earlier this year. 
In the letter, dated 11 May 2015, a rights envoy supposedly thanked Alexeyev for helping to organise a rally against Russian aggression in Ukraine, which drew “negative responses from Russian officials … a clear sign of excellent training and qualification of the protesters”.
“LGBT organisations will get increased financing at the expense of other opposition democratic organisations considering their low efficiency in developing civic society in Russia,” the alleged letter said.
In its red pen-marked version of the letter, the US embassy pointed out mistakes with punctuation, spelling and use of “the”, which is often tricky for Russian speakers. 
“Really?? Gmail??” the embassy wrote next to an email address that the letter instructed Alexeyev to contact for “further financial and organisational issues”.
Russia passed a controversial law in 2013 against what it called gay propaganda. Alexeyev has been frequently detained and beaten during annual attempts to hold a gay pride parade over the past decade.

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