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WORLD Councilwoman killed, gay whistleblower, medicinal vending machine
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-03-20

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Rio de Janeiro Councilwoman Marielle Franco was killed March 14 after attending and speaking at a Black women's empowerment event in the city, The Washington Blade reported. She was a bisexual Brazilian of African descent who grew up in one of Rio de Janeiro's favelas. Franco was also one of Rio de Janeiro's most outspoken critics of police actions in these areas of the city. The country has broken out in protests, according to Vibe.com . Local authorities told reporters two men in a car fired nine bullets at Franco's vehicle. The only Black woman on city council, Franco has now become a global symbol, The Washington Post noted.

A Canadian former employee of the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has stepped forward to reveal how the company harvested data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles and used the information gained to sway both the 2016 U.S. election and the U.K.'s Brexit campaign, Out magazine reported. In a video for The Guardian, whistleblower Christopher Wylie—who describes himself as a gay Canadian vegan—explains how the company, headed by Steve Bannon and funded by billionaire Robert Mercer, used backdoor access to Facebook profiles to mine personal data.

South Africa now has an ATM-like vending machine to dispense medicines to patients with chronic illnesses such as AIDS in a move aimed at reducing waiting times and congestion in public healthcare facilities, Reuters reported. The Health Ministry and charity Right to Care said the Pharmacy Dispensing Unit was the first of its kind in Africa, and allowed patients with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS to receive repeat medication in a few minutes. At the epicenter of the worldwide AIDS pandemic, South Africa now boasts the largest treatment program in the world.

In New Zealand, gay-rights advocates are gearing up to fight the government for compensation for men convicted of same-sex crimes, The Guardian reported. Last year, justice minister Amy Adams apologized to hundreds of gay men who were convicted of a crime for engaging in consensual sex prior to the same-sex law reform of 1986. Following decades of petitioning by campaigners the government is working towards expunging the criminal records of convicted men, but has ruled out financial compensation, as have the British and Australian governments in similar circumstances.

A longtime Toronto psychiatrist who believes homosexuality is a "sexual disorder" that can be overcome has been found guilty by Ontario's medical regulator of sexually abusing two of his male patients, The Toronto Star reported. Dr. Melvyn Iscove, 72, was described in a decision of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario's discipline committee as having a "special interest in the treatment of patients with problems related to homosexuality." He also engaged in mutual masturbation and oral sex with two male patients on different occasions during therapy sessions, and once had anal intercourse with one of them in his office, the committee found.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's breakfast with new ( and gay ) Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was closed to the media—at the request of the vice president, according to IndyStar.com . In a departure from the recent past, reporters were told the March 16 event to be attended by Pence and Varadkar would be private and the media wouldn't be invited. People speculated whether issues such as gay and lesbian rights and Pence's stance on gay-conversion therapy were discussed at their meeting. According to the Irish Examiner, Varadkar said he would have preferred that his meeting with Pence would be open to the public, but added that a private session may allow for more "frank conversation."

In Canada, a man is willing to give up a $5,000 human-rights settlement to talk about alleged mistreatment he faced as an openly gay man in jail in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, CBC.ca reported. Kelly Canadian, 25, said he was incarcerated for nine months beginning in September 2016, after he stole two pizzas and assaulted a police officer. During that time he alleges guards at North Slave Correctional Complex ( NSCC ) repeatedly harassed him and called him names like "faggot" and "cocksucker." Seven months into his incarceration, Canadian filed a human-rights complaint against NSCC, a facility run by the N.W.T. government.

Israel is preparing to deport LGBT asylum-seekers to Uganda and Rwanda—two countries with histories of homophobic violence, NewNowNext.com noted. According to The Jerusalem Post, the Population, Immigration and Border Authority does not consider LGBT refugees a protected class, like women and children, who are usually safe from deportation. In Uganda, same-sex relations are against the law and "aggravated homosexuality" is punishable by up to life in prison. There is no law against homosexuality in Rwanda, but harassment, extortion and arbitrary arrests are not uncommon.

Italy's True Colours has closed deals following the European Film Market on several titles, including the comedy My Big Gay Italian Wedding, which is currently performing well at the Italian box office and will be released in the United States by Breaking Glass Pictures, according to Variety. Breaking Glass, run by Richard Wolff and Richard Ross, has also picked up Italian drama Tainted Souls from True Colours.

Last October, it was revealed that Copenhagen will host the world's largest LGBT festival, WorldPride, in 2021—and, now the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation has decided that the huge LGBT sporting event EuroGames will also be held at the same time in the same city, CPHPost.dk noted. Merging the two big events means that Copenhagen could expect approximately 500,000 people descending upon the city to take part in the proceedings. The 2021 EuroGames will offer events in 27 sports—from traditional sports like football and swimming to more New Age sports like dodgeball and eSport.

A British transgender male model has been announced as the face of a new campaign aiming to challenge the stigma around periods, The Independent reported. Kenny Jones, 23, appears alongside activists, fashion designers and writers in the "I'M ON" campaign launched by period-subscription service Pink Parcel. Jones, who was christened Kelsey, has spoken out about how he suffered with his periods when transitioning at a young age; he was 14 when he came out as trans, and 16 when he shaved his head and changed his name.

John Epping, a curler who came out publicly as gay last year, won a bronze medal in the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian curling championships, Outsports.com noted. It was the first appearance in the national championships for Epping, whose team won the bronze medal and will split $42,000. Last June, he married his husband, Thomas Shipton.

Ireland's 2018 Eurovision entry could face a broadcast ban in Russia, as the video for the song features a gay couple, Independent.ie reported. Ryan O'Shaughnessy will represent Ireland in Lisbon with the self-penned track 'Together," and the video features a male couple dancing in Dublin's Temple Bar. However, there has been speculation that the video violates Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" ban.


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