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World news: China backlash, Canada lawsuit, Chechnya leader
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times

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A crackdown on a wide range of internet videos by Chinese censors has caused a backlash on the microblogging site Sina Weibo, with many users objecting to a decision to ban content which features same-sex relationships, BBC News reported. The outcry was prompted a decision by Beijing regulators to censor the portrayal of same-sex activity in online videos. Under the latest guidelines, which the China Netcasting Services Association issued, at least two to three "auditors" have to check all online content to make sure it adheres to the "advanced culture of socialism."

Five employees have sued the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, claiming they suffered racist and anti-LGBT harassment and discrimination from Canada's spy agency, Courthouse News Service noted. In their federal statement of claim, four John Does and one Jane Doe have sued Her Majesty the Queen for $35 million. Among other things, they claim the culture of discrimination in the spy agency is toxic, from the top down, and that employees can prosper and advance their careers by participating in the "accepted culture and norm" of discriminatory behavior.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence of gay men in his countr—and then said, "If there are any, take them to Canada," The Independent reported. David Scott, from HBO's Real Sports, asked the 40-year-old head of state: "I wanted to ask you about the alleged roundup, abduction, and torture of gay men in the Republic. What, Mr. President, do you want to say about that?" Kadyrov replied, "This is nonsense. We don't have those kinds of people here. We don't have any gays." Kadyrov also vowed to "put the world on its knees and screw it from behind." Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta was the first to break the story of an anti-gay purge in the Russian republic.

Blood-donation rules for sex workers and gay men are being relaxed in England and Scotland after improvements in the accuracy of testing procedures, BBC News reported. Men who have sex with men can now give blood three months after their last sexual activity instead of 12. Moreover, sex workers—who were previously barred from donating—now can, subject to the same three-month rule.

The New York Times recently wrote a profile of Myanmar resident Olive Yang, who rejected royal birthright to become a cross-dressing opium warlord. ( She died recently at age 90. ) By the time she died, Yang had led hundreds of men, endured prison and torture, had a relationship with a film actress, and helped engendered a truce between ethnic rebels and the government. By age 25, she commanded hundreds of soldiers guarding caravans of raw opium on mules and trucks across the hills to the Thai border.

The Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., recently hosted a gay minister from Nigeria, The Washington Blade reported. Rev. Jide Macaulay on July 6 met with congregants to discuss the House of Rainbow, an LGBT-affirming fellowship he founded in 2006. Macaulay also spoke at the Colesville United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, which has a number of congregants from Sierra Leone and other African countries.

On July 27, popular Icelandic band Sigur Ros plans to use a gig in Australia's Margaret Court Arena to raise money for LGBT rights, PinkNews reported. Court, an iconic Australian tennis player, made a splash earlier this year with a string of homophobic comments, such as comparing gay people to Adolf Hitler. Sigur Ros has responded by saying, "Having being made aware of recent comments by Margaret Court, the band has commissioned a special T-shirt celebrating positivity and inclusion, with proceeds going towards Australian Marriage Equality." The crest on the T-shirt ( not available for international sale ) features two naked same-sex couples holding symbols of equality, under a rainbow.

After five years making headway in the Korean entertainment industry, Marshall Bang is preparing to break into the K-pop market as its first openly gay singer, NBC News reported. Although he's looking to pursue a career in Korea, Bang's music is intrinsically tied to his experiences both as a Korean-American ( who once lived in New York City ) and a gay man. Bang draws inspiration from his life experiences as well as from the likes of Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti Labelle and Whitney Houston. He already has songs entitled "Home" and "Circle" on iTunes under the name MRSHLL.

A gay man is suing Russian fitness store Hardcore for refusing to employ him over "excessive grooming," Gay Star News noted. Eduard Zavyalov, who lives in Siberia, applied to Hardcore for a sales consultant position in May. During the interview, the potential employers reportedly only asked Zayalov questions about his appearance. In a formal statement, Hardcore's human resources director Natalia Chernorai explained Zavyalov's "behavioral mannerisms ( feminine speech inflections and gestures ) as well as his outward appearance ( excessive grooming and provocative clothing ) suggests [he] belongs to the LGBT community."

Kristen Worley has settled her human-rights application with Cycling Canada, the Ontario Cycling Association and Union Cycliste Internationale ( UCI ). Worley sought changes to the policies, guidelines, rules and processes surrounding XY female athletes, gender verification and therapeutic use of required hormones that are captured by anti-doping regulations, reported. As a result of the settlement, Cycling Canada and the Ontario Cycling Association have agreed to lunch awareness and education related to diversity of participants as well as review and revise internal policies to embrace human rights, among other things.

An Irish bakery that refused to bake a cake branding same-sex weddings a "perversion" has been cleared of wrongdoing, PinkNews reported. The case arose when a Dublin bakery rejected an order for a cake bearing a long anti-gay slogan. The customer then deliberately filed a discrimination complaint, in an attempt to draw a parallel with a case in Northern Ireland, where a bakery owner was punished for refusing to print a pro-gay message. However, the Workplace Relations Commission ruled that while sexuality is a protected characteristic under anti-discrimination laws, there's no such protection for homophobia.

The future of one of London's most iconic clubs, G-A-Y, is under threat after the landlord demanded 400,000 pounds more in rent, the Metro reported. The venue currently pays around 300,000 pounds, but owner Jeremy Joseph said the building manager has tried to more than double the rent. And the dispute has led to uncertainty over the venue's future, with Joseph currently locked in arbitration—a process that has taken six months.

Close-Knit is being promoted as Japan's first mainstream trans-focused film, reported. The film follows Tomo, a young girl, whose mother suddenly disappears and leaves her alone—so she moves to live with her uncle, Makio, and his partner, a trans woman named Rinko. apan is still a very conservative country, director Naoko Ogigami said.

Montreal Pride President ÃƒïΏ½ric Pineault and Montreal Alouettes General Manager Kavis Reed announced that both organizations are partnering this summer, a press release noted. The Aug. 11 football game between the Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts will be co-presented with Montreal Pride. For every sold ticket in Canada Pride Montreal 2017's section, $5 will be given to Equipe Montreal, an organization representing LGBTQ sports leagues in the province.

The BBC revealed the salaries of its top stars, with presenters Chris Evans and Gary Lineker among the highest earners, according to Page Six. The public broadcaster was forced by the British government to publish the names and numbers in its annual report, and as expected, the data showed that most of the big earners are men. Evans was the highest-earning star and the only one in the $2,893,548 to $2,932,648 bracket. The top-earning woman at the BBC was presenter Claudia Winkelman, who was in the $586,530 to $586,528 bracket.

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