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WORLD Egypt summit, HIV remission, trans lingerie brand
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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At a summit with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, out gay Ireland leader Leo Varadkar has called for "universal" respect for LGBT+ rights, PinkNews noted. Varadkar stressed the pace of change in Ireland, which has welcomed same-sex marriage and reforms on abortion despite its conservative Catholic history. Many of the countries represented by the Arab League—including Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen—criminalize homosexuality.

And at the same summit, Luxembourg's prime minister, Xavier Bettel, confronted Arab leaders over the repression of gay rights, The Guardian noted. Retweeting this account, Bettel wrote, "Saying nothing was not an option for me." Bettel—the first EU leader to be married to a same-sex partner—had planned to make the statement before arriving at the summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt—which hosted the first gathering between the EU and Arab League.

A second person has experienced sustained remission from HIV-1, according to a case study published March 5 in the journal Nature, reported. Effectively, some scientists believe that the "London patient" has been cured of the viral infection, which affects close to 37 million people worldwide. The new case report comes more than 10 years after the first case, known as the "Berlin patient."

London-based Carmen Liu Lingerie/GI Collection—which calls itself the world's first transgender lingerie brand—recently launched with a fashion show, according to a press release. However, there were several anti-transgender protesters outside the event causing a stir by singing transphobic songs, wearing ant-LGBT clothing and waving anti-trans derogatory posters. See more about the brand at

Organizers of the largest LGBTI pride event in South Korea urged the government not to give in to conservative groups and protect attendees, Gay Star News noted. The 20th Queer Culture Festival will take place in May, including a parade on June 1, organizers said at a press conference. Pride events in Korea are increasingly under attack from conservative Christians.

A court rejected a damages suit filed against a university in Tokyo by the parents of a graduate law student who died after he was outed as gay by another student in 2015, The Japan Times reported. The parents sued Hitotsubashi University, claiming the state-run school failed to respond properly to the outing of the 25-year-old that led to his death. However, the Tokyo District Court ruled the university had not failed in its responsibility to secure a safe environment for its students.

Bohemian Rhapsody will be given a limited release in China staring mid-March—but the film will be censored for LGBT and drug content, The Washington Blade reported. According to the Hollywood Reporter, footage of Freddie Mercury ( Rami Malek ) kissing other men will be removed from the film. Scenes depicting drug use will also be edited out of the movie. The news comes after China censored Rami Malek's acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

British organization BAFTA has told its members that cinema giant Cineworld, the world's second largest theater group, has pulled support for the organization following Netflix's four BAFTA wins for Roma, Deadline noted. In a letter sent to BAFTA members, the organization said, "I regret to tell you that ... Cineworld informed us of its unilateral decision to withdraw its support of BAFTA, citing similar concerns [to those expressed by fellow commercial chain Vue concerning streaming movies] regarding the eligibility requirements of the Film Awards." Cineworld is the UK's largest operator by market share, with more than 1,000 screens.

Nominations for the 2019 Olivier Awards were unveiled in London with Marianne Elliott's gender-switched production of Stephen Sondheim's Company tying Broadway transfer Come From Away to lead the pack of musicals with nine nods each, reported. On the drama side, Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance is the most nominated, with eight mentions, including Best Supporting Actress for Vanessa Redgrave and Best Director for Stephen Daldry. Gillian Anderson scored her third Olivier nomination, for All About Eve, while Sir Ian McKellen nabbed his 11th nomination, for King Lear. The Olivier Awards ceremony will take place on April 7 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Rihanna's partnership with European fashion conglomerate LVMH is reportedly well underway, and the singer herself put up more than $34 million to help with funding, noted, citing Business of Fashion. The project—entitled "Project Loud France," named in honor of Rihanna's fifth studio album, Loud—doesn't have a launch date but is currently in the works. The "Rehab" singer will own a 49.99-percent share with LVMH being the majority shareholder at 50.01 percent, investing approximately $36 million. The secret project is registered to the same LVMH fashion group, which houses iconic brands including Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine and Marc Jacobs.

Chanel presented the final collection designed by its longtime creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, in a show that left models in tears, noted. The brand's fall/winter 2019 show took place at the Grand Palais in Paris, featuring a transformative set decorated as a glamorous winter ski wonderland, and filled with tributes to the late designer, Lagerfeld, who died at the age of 85 on Feb. 19.

British company Ted Baker's founder and CEO Ray Kelvin has resigned as the fashion brand investigates allegations he behaved inappropriately toward staff, reported. He had been on a voluntary leave of absence since December following allegations of harassment, including "forced hugging" of staff members. Kelvin denies all claims that he acted inappropriately toward employees.

Keith Flint—the lead singer in pioneering British electronic group The Prodigy, was found dead at his home, noted. Prodigy's hits, including "Firestarter" and "Breathe," propelled the group to commercial success throughout Europe and the United States. Flint, who was 49, reportedly took his own life, noted.

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