April World and National News

US and UN condemn LGBT violence

The United States government  and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights at the United Nations have denounced LGBT persecution in the Russian-affiliated independent region of Chechnya. They demand Russian and Chechen authorities put an end to the persecution of gay men in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

The statement is in response to reports of abductions, unlawful detentions in concentration camps, torture, beatings and killings of men perceived to be gay or bisexual. Russia and Chechen governments deny the charges. A Chechen spokesperson claimed there were no LGBT in the country because, “If a person were that way, their family would put them in a place from which they would never return.”

Neb. foster ban joins Ala. Miss. in dustbin

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a decision to strike down a 1995 ban on same-sex couples becoming foster parents. The court compared the ban to “a sign reading ‘Whites Only’ on the hiring-office door.”

Last year, a federal judge struck down a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples in Mississippi. A few weeks before, the Supreme Court summarily reversed an Alabama Supreme Court decision that had refused to recognize a same-sex parent adoption from another state.

The Nebraska ruling comes as lawmakers began discussions on a bill that could ban workplace discrimination based on an employee’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Emmys to Asia: You choose

Cable network Showtime asked the Emmys how to submit Billions star Asia Kate Dillon, who is the first gender non-binary character on a mainstream television show, for award consideration. The Emmys organization wrote back, “You choose.”

Dillon appeared in Orange is the New Black, identifies as gender non-binary offscreen and uses the pronoun “they” for identification. A Television Academy spokesperson said. “Asia is free to choose the category they wish to enter.”

West Point stunt goes viral

A model and YouTube personality, Max Emerson, attended the West Point Military Academy’s army prom this spring on the arm of his boyfriend, National Guardsman Andrés Camilo. Emerson also shared a shot of himself in Calvin Klein briefs as he got ready for the event.

The photos went viral after being featured on Yahoo Style, Elite Daily, The Washington Blade and other media outlets. The publicity stunt comes nearly six years after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Idaho men sentenced in bashing death

Kelly Schneider, who with three others left an Idaho man to die after stripping him, kicking him with steel-toed boots and stealing his car, has been sentenced to 28 years to life in prison.

Steven Nelson was killed after he responded to an online ad promising a sexual encounter. He was instead attacked by Schneider, who yelled homophobic slurs while kicking him repeatedly, then stripped and robbed him in the pre-dawn darkness, according to prosecutors.

The critically injured man walked, naked and without shoes, for about a half mile after the assault for help. He died several hours later but was able to provide investigators information that helped identify his attackers.

A co-defendant, Jayson Woods, will receive prison time. Kevin Tracy and Daniel Henkel, have both plead guilty, were accused of hiding nearby during the attack in case Schneider needed backup.

Minella’s Gest hired hit on Elton

Imadi Handi, the bodyguard of Liza Minella’s late former husband, David Gest, told the Sun newspaper that Gest was so enraged that Sir Elton John publicly questioned his sexual orientation that he hired a hit man for $50,000 to kill the pop star at a concert in California. Sir Elton’s remark “I’d love to buy Liza a heterosexual husband,” sent Gest flying into a rage.

Handi  hired the unnamed hit man and had gave him a down payment of $25K . Gest relented and tried to get his money back.

Minelli divorced Gest, her fourth husband, in 2007 and he died in 2016.

42 wants 45 to leave AIDS funds alone

Former president George W. Bush in a column for the Washington Post asks the proposed $300 million cut in the $1.1 Billion PEPFAR budget be canceled. The program, initiated in the Bush administration, provides funding for treatment, care and prevention of HIV/AIDS in poorer countries, mostly in Africa and the Caribbean.

Bush writes, “with the resilience of the African people and the generosity of the American people, nearly 12 million lives have been saved. And nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free to infected mothers.”

Digital Test for HIV

Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council have developed a biosensor that can detect HIV in someone’s blood as soon as seven days from serio-conversion. It also produces results within five hours of testing. Most HIV tests aren’t able to find the virus in blood until a few weeks after it has entered the body.

Small silicon and gold structures were chemically modified with specific antibodies to trap the p24 protein HIV marker and creates a signal leading to easier detection. The chip may also be used for early detection of some cancers, but, according to researchers, that’s a bit trickier.

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