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Fri, 19 Jul 2019
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No, Apple, we don't need 72 different emojis to represent gay, straight & lesbian couples in 5 races

relationship emoji Apple
© Apple
The new relationship emoji being introduced by Apple for its iOS system.
If I wanted an emoji to look exactly like me, I'd just send a photograph. But then, unlike Apple and Google, I understand that they are a symbolic shorthand, not a racist tool of oppression that ignores my identity.

On Wednesday, World Emoji Day, the two California companies revealed their expanded repertoire of "newest designs that bring even more diversity to the keyboard."

Seventy-two new iOS emojis of couples holding hands, instead of a generic symbol. Thus, a blonde woman with a blond man, a blonde woman with a tan skinned man, a blonde woman with a light-skinned black man, a blonde woman with a dark-skinned black man, a dark-skinned black woman with a light-skinned black woman, a white man with a moustache with a white man without a moustache, and so on and on and on.


Fake passport, 'piles of cash' & diamonds but defence lawyers still insisted Epstein was 'not a flight risk'

© Agence France-Presse/ Stephanie Keith
Mysteries only multiply as the Jeffrey Epstein saga continues to unravel. A fake passport found in the sex offender's Manhattan home raises the possibility he had official cooperation traveling the globe under a false identity.

Federal investigators found the document alongside "piles of cash" and dozens of diamonds in a safe in Epstein's New York mansion, the Daily Beast reported on Monday. Prosecutors say the passport, which contains Epstein's photo but uses a fake name, was issued in Austria in the 1980s; they are still trying to determine how it was obtained.

Comment: Child advocate Carissa Phelps says Epstein's famous friends may have participated in 'sinister' crimes:
The scandal surrounding disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein could have been stopped by his many celebrity friends who chose to turn a blind eye, according to attorney and advocate Carissa Phelps.

The author, attorney and advocate for sexually exploited runaway children, spoke to RT's Mike Papantonio to discuss Epstein's case. Phelps, who is herself a survivor of human trafficking, said while nobody should have the resources to enslave others and get away with it, "as long as we have the rich and powerful raping children and getting away with it, we will still have that same behavior and local communities won't stand a chance.

Despite his conviction for soliciting a child, Epstein appeared to continue to enjoy a large circle of so-called 'Hollywood' friends including President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen. Some of which, Phelps says, could have, at best, helped victims, and, at worst, participated in the heinous acts.

"Most of those people that you mentioned probably could have helped victims have a voice and chose not to," said Phelps.

"Some of those people may have had things themselves that they were involved with that were sinister and bad."


Israeli politician Ehud Barak is seen entering Jeffrey Epstein's townhouse despite claiming he never socialised with the Pedophile

Ehud Barak epstein

(Left) Ehud Barak in disguise entering Epstein's NYC apartment. (Right) Ehud Barak not in disguise.
The ever-expanding probe into Jeffrey Epstein's pedophile ring is now threatening to derail the Israeli election as DailyMail.com has obtained exclusive pictures of one of Benjamin Netanyahu's main challengers hiding his face as he entered the convicted sex offender's Manhattan townhouse.

A bevy of young women were also seen going into the multi-millionaire's lavish seven-story home on the same day that Ehud Barak was snapped.

Barak, a former prime minister of Israel now trying to make a comeback in Israeli politics, has long had business ties to Epstein, which Netanyahu's team are now trying to exploit.

And the pictures that DailyMail.com has obtained are certain to add fuel to the fire, as Barak claims he has 'never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls.'

Comment: It's unclear whether Barak was in the townhouse at the same time as the "bevy of beauties" as a timeline is not provided.

Barak has since threatened The Daily Mail with a libel suit if they don't remove the article, Barak's lawyers stated in a letter:
"Your article is embarrassing... There are a number of serious accusations and defamatory insinuations that were made against our client that are completely untrue."

"You attempted to link our client to the Epstein case, claiming that he was somehow involved in his pedophilia network. This is a lie as you know," the lawyers continued.

The letter demanded that the Daily Mail retract the story by 7 p.m. Israel time and apologize to Barak, who has launched a political comeback as the chair of the Israel Democratic Party.

"At best, your motive was naive and irresponsible, and at worst, you intentionally and maliciously harm our client in order to harm his reputation, thereby helping his political rival," the lawyers wrote, suggesting that the Daily Mail had been politically motivated.


Twelve Israelis accused of raping young British woman in Cyprus

Out of the 12 teen Israelis suspected of allegedly raping a 19-year-old British tourist on Tuesday night at an Ayia Napa hotel, three claim to have had sex with her, while 9 claim to have nothing to do with the incident.

The investigation is being handled by Famagusta police which was able to find forensic evidence linking the youths to the scene of the alleged crime, Channel 12 reported. All of the Israelis were arrested at the hotel on Wednesday morning.

The 12 alleged offenders appeared in court on Thursday and were remanded for an additional eight days. KAN Radio reported that some of the suspects told their parents that they were being mistreated by the Cypriot authorities. One of the mothers of the Israeli youths told Channel 12 that her son doesn't speak English well and can't understand the legal process he is subjected to. According to her he called her "in tears" and said "I didn't do anything." The Foreign Affairs Ministry's Counsel Yossef Wurmbrand in Nicosia is in touch with the detained Israelis and their families.

Comment: Which is coincidentally the same response given by the IDF whenever they did in fact "do something." When lawlessness is encouraged by the state, it creates a widespread sense of criminal entitlement. That's not to say this one individual is necessarily guilty - just that his statement to his mother does not in any way imply he is innocent. His guilt or innocence will have to be established on the evidence.

The Israelis are reportedly ahead of their army service and deny the allegations. According to them, the British tourist struck a friendship with two members of the group, with one of the two helping the other with the English to Hebrew communication.

The hotel has many Israeli guests this time of year and other Israelis visiting told Channel 12 that a large group of British people began beating up Israelis whom they thought were close to the room of the 19-year-old British person once news of the alleged crime spread in the hotel.

Comment: The Guardian adds the following details:
The youths, aged between 16 and 18, are alleged to have raped the woman in a hotel room in Ayia Napa, a resort on the south-eastern coast. The woman told police the assault happened on Wednesday morning in her hotel room. Medical examiners said they found bruises and scratches on the woman.


Have 'Russian bots' tricked Americans into thinking their country has problems?

Russian bots
© Global Look Press / Michael Weber
Americans concerned about political friction in the US will be relieved to know that, according to the media, most of these issues have been manufactured by Russian bots. RT took a closer look at this scary conspiracy.

Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris grabbed headlines after she blamed the Colin Kaepernick anthem-kneeling controversy on "Russian bots" - but she's hardly alone in peddling the notion that the Kremlin has somehow fooled Americans into arguing over very-real social and political issues. From police brutality to gun control, the media has repeatedly claimed that hot-button issues in the United States have been conjured up by Moscow.

Gold Coins

Siblings forced to pay $2.3m tax bill after saying it's against 'God's will' - judge replies with Bible quote about 'rendering unto Caesar'

bible cross
© Getty Images
A family have been ordered to pay taxes by a judge, after they refused claiming it was God’s will.
Christian siblings in Tasmania who refused to pay income tax because it goes against the word of God have been ordered to hand over more than $2.3 million to the Australian Taxation Office.

Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot and Fanny Alida Beerepoot faced Hobart Supreme Court this week owing almost $930,000 in income tax and other accrued charges. Mr Beerepoot told the court taxation is a form of ownership, which doesn't rest with the Commonwealth of Australia.


At least 10 killed in Mumbai building collapse

India building collapse
© Mumbai Fire Department
Tragedy struck one of the most congested enclaves of Mumbai just before noon on Tuesday when a four-storeyed structure, believed to be illegal, collapsed in Dongri, killing 10 people and injuring eight.

The toll is likely to climb as fire brigade personnel continued their search and rescue operations at Kesarbai Mansion late Tuesday night. Many more are feared trapped in the rubble. As ministers, politicians and officials rushed to the spot, a blame-game commenced between Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) and BMC.

Heart - Black

Suspect in Des Moines triple homicide is an illegal immigrant now being held on ICE detainer

Marvin Escobar-Orellana triple homicide illegal alien
Marvin Escobar-Orellana makes jail court appearance on three counts of first degree murder, July 18, 2019.
31 year-old Marvin Oswaldo Esquivel-Lopez is charged with three counts of first degree murder after he allegedly killed a family of three who was renting his downstairs basement. Police say he shared an address with the victims, 29 year-old Rossibeth Flores Rodriguez, her 11 year-old daughter Grecia, and her five year-old son Ever.

Esquivel-Lopez was in the country illegally and is now being held on a federal ICE detainer.

"The best way to characterize the relationship is roommates. We don't know how they came to be acquainted but the victims in this case were renting the lower portion of this duplex from the suspect and his family," said Des Moines Police Spokesman Paul Parizek.


Gender insanity: The word 'manhole' to be banned from Berkeley, California city code

Berkeley bans 'man' words
Soon, there will be no more manholes in the city of Berkeley, California. There will also be no chairmen, no manpower, no policemen or policewomen.

No, that doesn't mean a whole city will be without committee leaders and law enforcement. It means that words that imply a gender preference will be removed from the city's codes and replaced with gender-neutral terms, according a recently adopted ordinance.

The city voted Tuesday night to replace gendered terms in its municipal codes, like "manhole" and "manpower," with gender-neutral ones like "maintenance hole" and "human effort."

The item passed without discussion or comments and was not controversial, said Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson, the bill's primary author.

"There's power in language," Robinson said. "This is a small move, but it matters."


Kevin Spacey's sexual assault case dropped by prosecutors due to accuser's 'unavailability'

Kevin Spacey charges dismissed
© Steven Senne/AP
The criminal groping case against Kevin Spacey is over: Prosecutors in Nantucket, Massachusetts, announced late Wednesday they are dropping the charge that he sexually assaulted a teen bus boy in an island bar in the summer of 2016.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe filed a "Nolle Prosequi" document on Nantucket, declaring the case is dropped "due to the unavailability of the complaining witness."

At an eyebrow-raising pretrial hearing in the case last week on Nantucket, the accuser, William Little, now 21, abruptly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination while being questioned about the mysterious disappearance of his cellphone and whether he or his mother had deleted texts from the night in question.

That led Judge Thomas Barrett to strike all his testimony from earlier in the hearing, and raised questions about whether Little would be able and willing to testify for the prosecution against Spacey.

Comment: See also: