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Sat, 03 Dec 2022
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EU High Court makes landmark ruling on homosexual workers' rights in civil partnerships

EU flag gays

Decision means employers across the EU have to grant the same employee benefits to workers in a civil partnership as their married colleagues.
The European Union's Court of Justice has ruled that homosexual couples in a civil partnership must be granted the same employee benefits as their married colleagues.

The move comes after Frederic Hay, a bank worker in France who entered into a civil partnership, was refused benefits - including paid leave and a salary bonus - which were awarded to his colleagues when they married.

Hay initially challenged his employer's position in the French courts. Then the highest appeal court in the country, the Court of Cassatio, asked the EU's Court of Justice whether the difference in treatment for persons who have entered into civil partnerships constituted discrimination.

The EU Court of Justice concluded that a refusal to grant the same benefits to employees in civil partnerships as those in marriages, constituted direct discrimination based on sexual orientation.

French law and the bank's collective bargaining agreement have changed since Hay brought his case.

The landmark decision means employers across the EU have to grant the same employee benefits to workers in a civil partnership as their married colleagues.


Seattle tunnel project blocked by mystery object

The Transportation Department and contractors building a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle are trying to identify the mystery object that has blocked their tunnel boring machine - but probably won't know for sure until Friday.

The machine called Bertha ran into something last week and was shut down Saturday about 1,000 feet from the start. The $80 million machine is designed to break up boulders, so there's speculation about what it hit.

Engineers are considering drilling down 60 feet to the object as one of the ways to break up or remove the obstruction. A large crane equipped with a drill bit was brought to the site Wednesday morning.

Experts estimate it will take until Friday to identify the obstruction.

The nearly two-mile tunnel is supposed to be completed by the end of 2015, creating a four-lane replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Highway 99.

But already it has experienced at least three delays - one caused by union picketing over work assignments, another by a sinkhole near Jackson Street and now the mystery object.

Heart - Black

US guards 'did nothing' to stop adult prisoners from raping juveniles

© Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi
Michigan prison officials needlessly housed juvenile inmates with adult convicts, where the guards then ignored allegations that the young inmates were sexually abused and essentially used as currency inside the facility, according to a new lawsuit.

Brought forth by seven unnamed juvenile prisoners, the case hinges on the idea that the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) has consistently failed to keep prisoners under the age of 18 apart from the more hardened adult inmates. It alleges that at least two of the plaintiffs were repeatedly raped because their older cellmates were selling access to the younger ones. It goes on to implicate corrections officers for allowing the rape to continue.

"MDOC staff was aware of the assaults and aware that male adult prisoners were paying John Doe 5's cellmate access for access to John Doe 5 for purposes of sexually assaulting him," the suit claims.

Deborah LeBelle, an attorney based in Ann Arbor, told MLive.com that she was aware of the suit when it was initially filed in October, but decided to bring it back to light because of the seriousness of the allegations. When the suit was re-filed, it was classified as a violation of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, a Michigan law that forbids differential treatment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.


Firm that employed fake interpreter for deaf at Mandela memorial service has 'vanished'

A South African deputy minister said Thursday that the man who turned out to be faking sign language as an interpreter for the deaf during Tuesday's memorial event for Nelson Mandela did not speak English very well and worked for a company that has "vanished into thin air."

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, deputy minister of women, children and people with disabilities said at a news conference at the state-owned South African Broadcasting Co.: "I don't think he comes from the streets. He comes from a school for the deaf."
The interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, who stood on stage beside the world's most powerful leaders, including President Obama, earlier told the Johannesburg Star that he was schizophrenic and hearing voices but said he had no choice but to remain on stage and motion with his arms.

Bogopane-Zulu suggested that even if he does know sign language, Jantjie's English-language skills still weren't adequate, especially for an internationally broadcast event with hundreds of visiting dignitaries from South Africa and abroad.

"For you to be able to interpret, you must understand the language that's being spoken at the podium," she said. "He is Xhosa-speaking as his first language; the English was a bit too much for him. So, yes, he could not translate from English to sign language."

2 + 2 = 4

School drops sexual harassment claim against 6-year-old who kissed girl

Hunter Yelton
Hunter Yelton
Amid a tidal wave of negative publicity, a Colorado school system has let a 6-year-old boy return to school and said it won't classify his kissing a girl on the hand as sexual harassment.

The story of first-grader Hunter Yelton made national news and spurred outrage this week after word spread that his school near Colorado Springs suspended him for the kiss and accused him of sexually harassing the girl.

On Wednesday night, CNN affiliate KRDO reported that Canon City Schools Superintendent Robin Gooldy met with Hunter's parents. The superintendent then changed Hunter's disciplinary offense from "sexual harassment" to "misconduct."

The boy has also returned to school at the Lincoln School of Science & Technology.

Boy's mom: An innocent crush

The boy's mother, Jennifer Saunders, told KRDO the whole thing stemmed from an innocent crush Hunter had on a girl in the class. He kissed her on the hand during reading group. That landed him a two-day suspension from school and an entry of sexual harassment in his school files.

Saunders admitted Hunter had problems at school before, getting suspended for rough-housing and for kissing the same girl on the cheek.

But the label of sexual harasser outraged her.

Comment: Hunter is a normal 6-year old who is being punished and criminalized for behaving like a 6-year old. Sickening.


Belgian Senate votes to extend euthanasia to terminally ill children who are in great pain and want to die

Jean-Jacques De Gucht of the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats spoke in favour of the bill
The Belgian Senate has voted in favour of extending its euthanasia law to terminally-ill children.

The Senate voted 50-17 in favour of the legislation, which is opposed by religious leaders in Belgium.

The bill seeks to allow children to ask for euthanasia if their illness is terminal, they are in great pain and there is no available treatment.

It will now go before the lower house of parliament, where correspondents say it is likely to be approved.

Belgium passed a law decriminalising euthanasia for terminally-ill people over the age of 18 in 2002.

The latest bill proposes to make Belgium the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.


Colorado school shooting: Boy shoots 2 students, kills himself, officials say

colorado shooting
Students gather just outside of Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., as police responded to reports of a shooting.
A student at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., opened fire at the school, then killed himself, officials said Friday.

At a televised news conference, County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the student entered the building armed with a shotgun looking for a specific teacher. At least one student was injured in the shooting, he said.


Breaking News: Denver-area high school shooting - suspect may still be in building

Two people have been shot and a shooter may still be inside a high school in suburban Denver, according to multiple Denver news outlets.

Police and emergency vehicles are on the scene at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, about 15 miles south of Denver. Hundreds of students are being evacuated from the school.

The high school is in the Littleton School District, and only a few miles from the scene of previous mass shootings at the Aurora movie theater in 2012 and Columbine High School in 1999.

Denver Post reporter Ryan Parker says witnesses at the scene tell him that a student shot at least two students in the school cafeteria about 1 p.m. MT. Parker tweeted that Adam Jones, whose sister goes to high school, said students are still locked in rooms, and "very scared."

1st photo from #Arapahoe HS shooting scene. @CarlBilek in the area. School behind restaurant.
From Newsite 7 News:

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia that there has been a shooting at Arapahoe High School.

Robinson believes there are two victims and that the suspect is inside the school.

Hundreds of students have been evacuated safely.

There are reports that officers have made contact with the suspected shooter.

The Sheriff's office tweeted that parents should go to Shepherd of the Hills Church at 7691 South University Blvd.

A witness told 7NEWS she saw police in riot gear at the scene.

Arapahoe High School is at 2201 East Dry Creek Road in Centennial.

Littleton Public Schools and Elizabeth schools have been placed on lockdown. Cherry Creek Schools are on secured perimeter, which means the outer doors are locked. Douglas County Schools is on lockout, which means there is increased alert, all doors locked, visitors need ID to get in and children will be dismissed at normal time with increased patrols. All public schools in Aurora have been placed on lockdown as a precaution, according to Aurora PD.

Cardboard Box

Fonda foundation not so charitable, records show

Jane fonda
Though Jane Fonda's private foundation has nearly $800,000 in assets, the group has not made a charitable contribution during the last five years for which it has filed federal tax returns, an apparent violation of Internal Revenue Service rules.

According to the Jane Fonda Foundation's most recent tax return--filed last year and covering calendar year 2011--the organization's cash, stock, and bond portfolio was valued at $798,133. The filing lists the 75-year-old actress as the foundation's president and chairman of the board, and reports that she devotes 10 hours a week to the charitable group.


Probation for drunk Texas wealthy teen driver who killed four sparks backlash

Ethan Couch

Ethan Couch, the teen who drove over 4 people while drunk
A decision by a Texas judge this week to give an affluent teenager probation after he killed four people while driving drunk has sparked a backlash and complaints of a miscarriage of justice.

State District Judge Jean Boyd on Tuesday sentenced the 16-year-old boy to 10 years probation and ordered him to get therapy. The teen was driving a pickup truck when he ran down four people who were helping fix a vehicle at the roadside in the Fort Worth area.

Comment: Imagine what the sentence would be if the crime was committed by one of the youths from a minority community in the U.S., one of those who do not suffer from "affluenza"!