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WORLD NEWS Laverne Cox, HIV cases, possible serial killer
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

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The Civil Aviation Authority ( CAA ) has given a man with HIV permission to seek medical approval to become an airline pilot after reversing its previous ban, The Guardian reported. The Scottish man, known as Andrew, came forward last year to disclose that the CAA had refused to allow him to start training as a pilot for easyJet because he was HIV-positive. He told BBC Scotland he was "overwhelmed, shocked, elated and humbled" to learn the CAA had now reversed its decision, which it said were due to strict European Aviation Safety Agency restrictions linked to certain medical conditions.

In Australia, a transgender prostitute accused of causing grievous bodily harm to a former client by passing on HIV to him through unprotected sex has been found guilty by a jury, PerthNow reported. Clayton James Palmer—who identifies as a woman and supplied sex services via online ads under the pseudonym of Sienna Fox—was charged with assaulting the unnamed victim by having unprotected sex him multiple times until late July 2015. Prosector Ben Stanwix said, among other things, that Palmer "didn't want to face reality"; however, defense attorney Simon Freitag said it was the nurse who informed Palmer of the infection who was struggling with reality, pointing to her meth use and mental-health problems.

Laverne Cox can add "Cosmopolitan cover girl" to her ever-growing list of credits and accomplishments, The Huffington Post noted. The Emmy-winning actress, producer and LGBTQ-rights advocate made history as the first transgender woman ever to appear on a Cosmo cover, appearing atop Cosmopolitan South Africa's February issue in a sheer black leotard. The Valentine's Day-themed #SayYesToLove edition is focused on LGBTQ issues, and features a rainbow-colored masthead designed specifically for the occasion.

After nearly a year of the local gay community's pleas, Toronto police have finally arrested a suspect ( and possible serial killer ) in the disappearance of two gay men, according to LGBT Nation. Police charged Bruce McArthur, 66, with the first degree murders of Selim Esen, 43, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, both of whom disappeared last year. Police emphasized that they have yet to discover the remains of either man, and that investigators have identified at least five different properties across Canada to search for their bodies.

A Kenyan police report stated that a Roman Catholic priest is in custody for allegedly sodomizing a man, noted. Police said that villagers in Muranga County in central Kenya had been monitoring the priest—whom they thought was gay—and alerted local authorities when an 18-year-old man went into the priest's quarters. Gay people in many parts of Africa face severe harassment, physical threats and judicial punishment; Kenya has a law banning sodomy.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has urged Novak Djokovic and other male players who want higher prize money to "get together with the women," BBC Sport noted. Djokovic used an ATP players' meeting at the Australian Open to propose the formation of a union to fight for greater financial reward. Navratilova ( who won 18 major tournaments ) supports that, but warned the 12-time Grand Slam champion paying men more than women is not the answer. "We really need to pull together and not against each other," she said.

A rugby team in France has dropped a player for using an anti-gay slur, noted. Mathieu Bastareaud, a center with the French Rugby Club ( RC ) Toulon, was initally given a three-week suspension by the European Professional Club Rugby ( EPCR ) after he called Italian forward Sebastian Negri a "f-cking f-ggot" during Toulon's match against Benetton Treviso. The 29-year-old skipper tweeted an apology, stating that he "reacted badly in responding to [Negri's] provocation" and that he was "sincerely saddened I could have hurt people."

Lebanon's censorship authorities recommended a ban on Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama The Post ahead of its planned opening last week in movie theaters in Beirut, Page Six noted. It was unclear why The Post was being banned—as recent Spielberg movies have been shown in Lebanon—but a leaked U.S. State Department memo from 2007 revealed that Spielberg was blacklisted by the Arab League for supporting Israel.

A lesbian Catholic from Uganda and a former president of Ireland who has supported LGBT equality will be featured at a Catholic event marking International Women's Day this March, according to New Ways Ministry. Ssenfuka Joanita Warry will be a keynote speaker for the Voices of Faith's ( VOF ) "Why Women Matter" event hosted at the Jesuit Curia in Rome. The event also features former Irish president Mary McAleese—the parent of a gay son and a vocal advocate of marriage equality—as well as Joana Gomes, project director with Jesuit Relief Services in Chad, and German journalist/theologian Alina Oehler.

Former reality-TV star Jordan Bruno has been crowned Mr. Gay Pride Australia for 2018, .au reported. Bruno found fame after appearing on Channel Seven series My Kitchen Rules, but after the show he became a high-profile advocate for marriage equality and LGBTI mental health and launched a series of classes encouraging young people to cook. Bruno will go on to represent Australia in this year's Mr. Gay World Competition, which will be held in Knysna, South Africa, in May.

In Africa, the TV drama iKhaya stirred controversy because actor Sphamandla Dhludhlu's character, Lindani Mbatha took a picture of his genitals to send to his gay lover, played by Thulane Shange, Sowetan Live reported. While many fans praised the young actor for his bravery for pushing his abilities and stepping out of his comfort zone, others posted anti-gay remarks, accusing him of being "isitabane." However, Dhludhlu says he is proud of taking on the character because this brings under the spotlight an issue many South African men and women can relate to.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting their first child, NBC News noted. She will take six weeks of maternity leave—far less than the 22 weeks of paid parental leave that New Zealanders are entitled to. Only a few elected leaders have been pregnant while in office; for example, Benazir Bhutto gave birth while she was Pakistan's prime minister in 1990.

K-pop ( Korean pop ) star Holland has dropped his first video, and it doesn't shy away from the singer's sexuality, LGBTQ Nation noted. Instead, it puts it front and center and tackles the issue head-on in an area where there are few out queer celebrities. "Neverland" is rated 19+ in the country because he kisses another guy in the video—but that hasn't stopped it from taking the web by storm, as the video garnered more than 1 million views in its first 24 hours of going online.

Pita Taufatofua—the taekwondo athlete who captured attention in the 2016 Olympics as the shirtless, oiled flag bearer for Tonga—has qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, LGBTQ Nation noted. Taufatofua will compete as a cross country skier, despite never having been on skis in his life before last year. Taufatofua was eliminated in his first bout in the 2016 Olympics.

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