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Tue, 25 Jul 2017
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Snakes in Suits

Records investigation of sexually abused foster children backs up victim claims of rape by Seattle mayor

An investigation has revealed that records — once thought to be destroyed — exist backing up the claims of a victim who said the Seattle Mayor raped him.
Over the past several years, multiple victims have come forward and accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing them when they were children in the 1980's. Delvonn Heckard, one of the alleged victims, filed a lawsuit against the mayor in April, setting off an investigation by the Seattle Times. What the Times found was nothing short of bombshell and vindication for his alleged victims.

As the Free Thought Project reported in April, Murray's attorney publicly denounced the allegations of sexual abuse from the victims. One of those victims was Jeff Simpson, whose case prompted the controversy in 2008.
"The previous accusers were investigated by law enforcement and the press and found to be not credible and their claims meritless," attorney Robert Sulkin told reporters in April.
However, these claims were easily made because the Oregon Department of Human Services' (DHS) foster-parent records of his abuse were said to be destroyed. The mayor himself even felt secure enough to say last month that the press not finding the supposed records of his abuse of Simpson demonstrated his innocence — a move he now likely regrets.

Comment: See also:


Washington DC doctors allowed to prescribe life-ending medications

© Unknown
Doctors and pharmacies in the nation's capital are now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients.

The Death with Dignity Act of 2016 became law with the signature of Mayor Muriel Bowser in December of 2016. Now the Bowser administration has announced the implementation of the law in the District.

The city said the law allows terminally ill D.C. residents over the age of 18 to legally obtain a physician's prescription for medications to end their lives in a humane and peaceful manner.

For a person to elect to end his life legally in the District, the individual must work with doctors and pharmacies licensed in D.C. that are willing to prescribe and dispense the lethal medications.

Comment: See also: Brittany Maynard: Why I scheduled my death for November 1st


Muslim drag queen claims same-sex Muslim marriages are thriving in UK

© Asifa Lahore / Facebook
Asifa Lahore
Same-sex Muslim marriages are "thriving" in the UK, according to the person billed as the country's first Muslim drag queen.

Asifa Lahore, 34, whose Pakistani family raised her in west London, contested the recent claim made by another gay Muslim that his was the first union between two Muslim people of the same sex in Britain.

Jahed Choudhury, 24, made headlines last week when he claimed his marriage with Sean Rogan in Walsall was the first of its kind in the UK.

But Lahore, who rose to fame after featuring in Channel 4's Muslim Drag Queens in 2015, said that while she is happy for Choudhury, who had attempted suicide because of the abuse he suffered as a gay Muslim, there have already been many marriages within Britain's Muslim LGBT community.

Star of David

Police close off Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers over rules violations after clashes with Palestinians

© Ammar Awad / Reuters
Police have closed off the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers, after a group of Jewish visitors broke the rules of conduct. It follows days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police near the site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy ordered that the Temple Mount be closed to Jewish worshipers and visitors on Wednesday morning.

The order came after a group of Jewish visitors breached the rules of conduct by bringing sacred books to the site and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was warned, another took out a holy book and the group was removed by security forces, Haaretz reported.

The Temple Mount, known as the Ḥaram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims, has been the subject of violent clashes since Sunday, with Palestinians protesting Israel's placement of metal detectors at entrances.

Eye 1

Video of young woman wearing miniskirt in Saudi Arabia prompts heated debate on social media

© منوعات - Tube / YouTube
A young woman wearing miniskirt in the desert
Footage of a young woman in a miniskirt and crop top, wandering in a village in conservative rural Saudi Arabia, has sparked heated debate on social media. Some are calling for the model to be punished, while others are demanding new rules for women's dress.

The video, initially posted on Snapchat, shows a woman posing at a deserted historic fort in the village of Ushaiger, 200km northwest of the capital, Riyadh, Saudi media reported on Monday.

The village is located in the region of Najd, which is known for its traditional mores.

Saudi officials immediately called for measures against the woman, saying that she violated the Muslim country's dress code, Okaz newspaper reported.

Comment: Saudi police have arrested a young woman who was earlier filmed wearing a miniskirt and crop top, wandering around a village in a conservative rural area near the country's capital, local media reported. The footage sparked debate on social media.
Information on the woman's arrest was released by the Riyadh-based Al-Ekhbariya TV channel on Tuesday.

Earlier, the local government of Riyadh said that the authorities were taking the "necessary measures" to find the woman, who was accused of "walking around... in indecent clothing," as cited by AFP.

. ..

The incident has divided the Saudi public, with some calling for the woman to be punished, while others praised her.
Update (July 19): A woman who was detained for wearing a miniskirt and a crop top in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been released without charges, after her arrest led to international criticism of the kingdom's conservative government.
A statement released by the Saudi Center for International Communication says that police released the woman on Tuesday evening after a few hours of questioning, AP reported.

"She was released without charge and the case has been closed by the prosecutor,'' the statement said, adding that the video, which went viral, was published online without her knowledge.

Police arrested the woman for wearing "immodest clothes" on Tuesday, after many called for her to be detained, saying she had violated the kingdom's conservative Islamic dress code.

Gold Coins

Gender-gap among the wealthy BBC media elite?

© Peter Nicholls / Reuters
BBC presenters' six-figure salaries have been published, exposing a stark gender pay gap, with the top-earning woman on £1.5 million less than the highest-paid man.

The top seven BBC earners were all white men. Chris Evans, former Top Gear presenter and Radio 2 host, topped the list, earning between £2.2 million and £2.25 million (US$2.87 million and US$2.93 million) in 2016/2017.

Match of the Day's Gary Lineker earned between £1.75 million and £1.8 million, chat show host Graham Norton made more than £850,000, and news presenter Jeremy Vine earned up to £750,000.

The revelations came as the BBC published for the first time the salaries of its staff who were paid more than £150,000 in the last financial year. The broadcaster fought against the list being published, but was forced by the government as part of its new 11-year royal charter.

Comment: What is outrageous here is that anyone is paid such staggering amounts to sell lies to the public using their own tax dollars.


Banker and former head of Spanish savings bank found dead at hunting estate of gunshot wound to the chest

© Sergio Perez / Reuters
Miguel Blesa, former chairman of savings bank Caja Madrid
Miguel Blesa, the former head of the ill-fated Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid, has been found dead at a hunting estate in the southern province of Cordoba with a gunshot wound to his chest.

A spokesperson for the Guardia Civil told Bloomberg that a worker from the estate called the police at about 8 a.m. An investigation has been opened into the death of the 69-year-old banker.

Blesa, who chaired Caja Madrid from 1996 to 2010, oversaw the bank's merger with six other lenders into Bankia which in turn was rescued with €22 billion ($25.4 billion) in state aid.


German diplomats report refugees enduring "concentration camp conditions" at Libyan camps

German diplomats compared refugee camps in Libya with "concentration camps." The living conditions in these facilities are almost unbearable, they revealed.

In particular, they reported about "severe, systematic violations of human rights." Those include "regular mockeries, torture, rape, extortion," which have become a common practice in the camps, the report said.

At the same time, this fact still doesn't stop refugees from entering the Arab country, from which they can further move to Europe.

Eye 1

Former US contractor in Afghanistan pleads guilty to accepting $250,000 in kickbacks

© Flickr/ Drew Douglas
US Department of Justice
A former employee of a US government contractor in Afghanistan has admitted to accepting over $250,000 in illegal kickbacks from an Afghan subcontractor, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Nebraska McAlpine, 56, of Smyrna, Georgia, pleaded guilty in Atlanta before US District Judge Mark H. Cohen to one count of accepting illegal kickbacks.

"A former employee of a US government contractor in Afghanistan pleaded guilty today to accepting over $250,000 in illegal kickbacks from an Afghan subcontractor in return for his assistance in obtaining subcontracts on US government contracts," the release said on Tuesday.

Chart Pie

Europe's college gender gap: Does equality of outcome imply refusing female graduates?

RFE/RL published the following graphic today:
Let's take a quick look at what these numbers suggest.