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World news: Singer dies, couple released, 'RuPaul' expands
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Gay, HIV-positive South African singer Koyo Bala, 36, died at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town after battling with anal cancer for two years, reported. Bala was part of a pop group known as 3-Sum, which was made up of Balaš Amstel Maboa and the late Jeff Moyo, and they were popularly known in the South African entertainment industry as gay-rights activists. Bala disclosed he was HIV-positive in 2011.

The sister of a U.S. Army veteran and her partner—sentenced to more than 20 years in a Kuwaiti prison, on what the family said was trumped-up drug-possession charges—has now said that they're slated to be released. Jasmine Coverson, the sister of Monique Coverson ( whose partner is Larissa Joseph ), posted on on April 4, "my mother and myself learned that my sister, Monique, and Larissa, will be released TODAY, following the ruling of INNOCENT based on last Monday's appeal. I cannot say thank you enough for the prayers, the well wishes, and for all who stood standing against all odds for both of our girls."

On YouTube, a Northern Ireland teen asked why his same-sex parents—who have been together in a stable relationship for the past 20 years and have two sons—asks the Democratic Unionist Party ( DUP ) why it's blocked same-sex marriage, The Belfast Telegraph reported. In his post, Darragh Tibbs, 15, asks: "Northern Ireland led the way in LGBT equality—so what has changed?" Tibbs also explains how he has written to his MLA—the DUP's North Down representative, Gordon Dunne—asking him to explain why he voted against same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Netflix is now streaming RuPaul's Drag Race in hundreds of countries across the globe, including Saudi Arabia, according to Gay Star New. Seasons two through six of the drag-competition show are streaming, with subtitles available from Arabic to Korean, in countries including Uganda, Indonesia and Iran. They will not be edited or censored, with Netflix confirming they will be the same episodes that stream in the United Kingdom.

Malaysian transgender activist Nisha Ayub—once jailed for cross-dressing and sexually assaulted in prison, is the first trans woman to win the U.S. Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award, The Malay Mail Online reported. Ayub—who co-founded two transgender-rights NGOs, the SEED Foundation and Justice for Sisters—was one of 14 women around the world who received the 2016 award.

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is now the target of homophobic chants from fans at matches, Gay Star News noted. The development follows reports that Ronaldo is dating Moroccan kickboxer Badh Hari after it was alleged the pair were "more than friends"—something that was never proven. The Spanish LGBT Observatory has condemned the anti-gay chants.

In Canada, a transgender man who was physically assaulted and humiliated by a bouncer at a nightclub in Ontario has been awarded $15,000 in compensation, Gay Star News reported, citing The Toronto Sun. The altercation took place two years ago, when the victim, Caesar Lewis, was with his friends at Mississauga's Sugar Daddy's Night Club. Lewis, who is in his mid-twenties, described to the court that he was in the men's washroom when a bouncer of the nightclub came banging on his cubicle, demanding him to leave or he would be ejected. However, before Lewis was ready, the bouncer forced open the door and dragged him out with his pants still at his knees.

Prominent gay German lawmaker Volker Beck faces a drug-possession charge after police arrested him with 0.6 gram of what a local prosecutor described as a "substance," The Washington Blade reported. The newspaper Bild said that Beck had had crystal meth in his possession when he was arrested near Berlin's Nollendorfplatz, a square in the city's Schoneberg's neighborhood in which several gay bars and clubs are located. Beck resigned from his leadership positions within the German parliament; he remains a member of Parliament.

In Australia, Jonathan Pavetto—an agricultural economist and member of the LGBT community—has been chosen by the Liberal Party to run against Bob Katter for the Queensland seat of Kennedy in the upcoming federal election, Out in Perth noted. Katter, known for his opposition to LGBT rights, will not be the only member of his family running in the upcoming election. Karl Katter, Bob's gay half-brother, is the Australian Liberal Party's choice for the seat of Higgins.

In Ireland, Pantibar is the first of a number of venues in Dublin, Cork and Limerick to offer free HIVA testing, which has a turnaround time of 30 seconds, The Belfast Telegraph noted. The scheme comes after concerns were raised that young men in particular under-estimate the risk of the disease. Irish acting Minister for Health Leo Varadkar announced funding for the project.

Music fans are mourning after famous Australian DJ Paul Holden died after falling over in his home, The Daily Mail reported. Holden began his DJ career in 1980, before going on to work as a producer and performing at a number of major events, such as Field of Dreams and the Big Day Out.

He was also staple on Sydney's LGBT scene, often DJing gay and lesbian events, including Mardi Gras.

The organizers of the annual British LGBT Awards, taking place May 13, have announced that the newly launched gay and lesbian insurance provider Emerald Life has come on board as a major sponsor of this year's event, Gay Star News reported. Now in its third year, the British LGBT Awards take place at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden following a public nomination and voting process. Among this year's nominees are Caitlyn Jenner, Hillary Clinton, Sam Smith, Boy George, Cara Delevingne, Nicola Adams and John Amaechi.

The 10th edition of Montreal Pride will take place Aug. 8-14. Designed around the usual three key components—community activities, cultural events and festivities—this year's programing will also include many new partnerships with several community organizations, a press release stated. Montreal Pride will once again present its three flagship events: Community Day, the Pride Parade and the T-Dance.

Hedi Slimane—the designer who set French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent on course to be luxury's next billion-euro brand—is leaving the label in what some say could be a significant blow to the conglomerate's fastest-growing mark, The Wall Street Journal noted. Slimane is now the fourth major creative director to leave a high-fashion brand since July, when Alexander Wang left Balenciaga.

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