The King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, has died at the age of 90, weeks after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection.
His half brother and heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Salman, is 79 years old and is also in very poor health – meaning Saudi Arabia will be back in the same spot in a few years. Within hours of acceding to the throne, the newly appointed King Salman, vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors. “We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” he said in a speech on state TV. So… intolerance of free speech, gender discrimination and multiple beheadings?
The US Senate passed an amendment on Wednesday saying climate change is real and not a hoax – because the only way to decide if something is a scientific fact is by having politicians vote on it. The measure, stating that “climate change is real and is not a hoax”, passed by a margin of 98-1. The lone dissenter was Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi. Sigh… Although to Mississippi’s credit, their other state Senator, Thad Cochran, voted yes – possibly because he’s old enough to have witnessed all the cyclical trends since the last ice age. The whole climate science squabble broke out during debate over amendments to the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats wanted Republicans to admit that climate change is real and that human activity plays a role. But while Republicans were willing to admit that climate change isn’t a hoax, many refused to admit that human activity is a factor. Two other amendments (which needed 60 votes to pass) failed: “human activity significantly contributes to climate change” failed 50-49 and “human activity contributes to climate change” failed 59-40. Still, progress…? The Hill
After conducting numerous government campaigns to save the tiger, wild tigers in India appear to be in the battle against extinction. Meanwhile, Ebola is left, right, and center.
India says it now has almost a third more tigers than it did four years ago, citing a number of government initiatives to streamline tiger conservation as the reason behind the increase.
“Our latest estimate today is that India has 70% of the world’s tiger population and we have now 2,226 tigers presently in 47 tiger reserves [up from 1,706 in 2011] and this is a great achievement. It is a net increase of 30% over the last estimation,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar
Javadekar said India was willing to donate tiger cubs to the international community and play a key role in global tiger conservation, asserting that tiger conservation practices that had proved successful in India could be adopted elsewhere.
Great job India! Now if only they could put this much effort into reducing their number of rape cases…
But for every uplifting animal story, there’s another one that will bring you back down.
Turns out the Ebola virus is not just a threat to residents of Dallas, but is also wiping out chimps and gorillas. Current estimates suggest a third of the world’s gorillas and chimpanzees have died from Ebola since the 1990s. The virus has no known cure and is as deadly for great apes as it is for humans, with mortality rates as high as 95% for gorillas and 77% for chimpanzees.
Fortunately the solution is straightforward: vaccination. The only catch? There are only experimental vaccinations available and medical research on apes is typically banned or highly restricted because of their cognitive similarity to humans. Apparently vaccinating an endangered species with an untested vaccine isn’t “ethical”. Plus, getting gorillas to wait patiently in a doctor’s office would prove “too difficult”.
But it’s great news about those tigers, eh?
Pope Francis says the church’s birth control ban does not mean that good Roman Catholics should breed like rabbits – instead they should practice “responsible” parenting by abstaining from sex. So much for his “cool pope” image…
Following his trip to the Philippines, where he met former street children abandoned by parents unable to afford to care for them, the Pope supporting the church’s ban on artificial means of birth control.
Pope Francis was asked what he would say to families who had more children than they could afford because the Church forbids artificial contraception. The pope reiterated the church’s opposition to government population control programs as a form of “ideological colonization” but stressed that “this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another.”
“God gives you methods to be responsible,” he told journalists. “Some think that — excuse the word — that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No.”
Your local Walgreens also gives you methods to be responsible, but unfortunately they don’t supply “church-approved” contraception. The Pope only endorses abstinence or the rhythm method – and apparently spreading AIDS and other STDs around the world. But I suppose AIDS works well with the church’s opposition to government population control programs – it still helps to keep the population down and doesn’t involve the use of condoms. Plus, it might help get rid of those pesky street kids in the Philippines.
Paris is after derisive on-air comments damaged “the honor and image of Paris”.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the lawsuit during an interview with
“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo said. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”
Hidalgo is upset with the news channel’s portrayal of life in Paris’ Muslim neighborhoods in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks – but more specifically with its coverage of supposed “no-go zones” for non-Muslims in certain European cities. The network’s morning show, Fox & Friends, even went so far as to produce a map showing the “no-go zones” where non-Muslims are not welcome.
On another Fox show, a guest who was identified as a security expert claimed that in Britain “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in”. He also claimed that in parts of London, “Muslim religious police” beat and injure “anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim religious attire.”
To which British Prime Minister David Cameron replied:
“When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools Day… This guy is clearly a complete idiot.”
Critics have accused Fox News of using the controversial “no-go zones” idea to perpetuate a fearful narrative about Muslims. Wait… Fox News is engaging in anti-Muslim fear-mongering?!
I can’t believe it! I can totally believe it.
But to be fair, over the weekend Fox News did apologize to for mistakenly suggesting that certain European cities have “no-go zones” where non-Muslims are not welcome. And they did make it clear that it’s actually America who has “no-go zones” where Muslims are not welcomed – otherwise referred to as the Fox News studios.
44-year-old Michael Robert Hoyt, a bartender in Deer Park, Ohio, has been charged with threatening to kill the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner.
Michael Hoyt, who had served Boehner drinks at the Wetherington Country Club for more than five years, said he the senior Republican by spiking his drink.
Hoyt called police on Oct. 29 to tell them he blamed Boehner for his life’s troubles a week after being fired. Apparently the call prompted sufficient enough concerns that officers were sent to his 体彩手机在线怎么下载 a week later. When the police arrived, Hoyt told them he was Jesus Christ and John Boehner was the devil. Clearly, the bartender has a troubling history of mental illness. Either that, or he really is Jesus Christ and Boehner really is the devil – can’t really rule that out at this point.
Hoyt also told officers he was going to kill Boehner because “Boehner was mean to him at the country体彩手机在线怎么下载 club and because Boehner is responsible for Ebola.” Well, at least one of those is probably true…
Hoyt planned on poisoning Boehner’s drink but unfortunately didn’t have the time (or mental capacity) to pull the plan together before he lost his job at the Wetherington Country Club. He then proceeded to tell the cops his Plan B: shoot Boehner with a Beretta .380 pistol and flee the scene.
Police confiscated the weapon and Hoyt was taken to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
To sum up, John Boehner has not been poisoned… despite the alarmingly unnatural orange hue of his skin.
As France mourns the 17 people who died in last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo, Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch decided to give his two cents on the matter.
Referring to the terror attacks in Paris last week, “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”
And just in case that wasn’t offensive enough, he added in a separate tweet, “Big jihadist danger looming everywhere from Philippines to Africa to Europe to US. Political correctness makes for denial and hypocrisy.”
First, spelling Muslim as Moslem is a great way to show people you’re an old, out-of-touch racist. Second, if Rupert Murdoch thinks all Muslims have to apologize for terrorism, does this mean that all white people have to apologize for Rupert Murdoch?
The editors over at Charlie Hebdo have a slightly different take on the issue. The next cover of Charlie Hebdo, due to be published on Wednesday, features Muhammad holding a sign reading, “Je suis Charlie.” The tagline: “All is forgiven.”
Editor-in-chief Gerard Biard told reporters:
“We are happy to have done it and happy to have been able to do it, to have achieved it. It was tough. The front page… was complicated to put together, because it had to express something new, it had to say something relating to the event that we had to deal with.”
Zineb El Rhazoui, a surviving columnist at Charlie Hebdo magazine, who murdered her colleagues last week, saying she did not feel hate towards the gunmen and urged Muslims to accept humour.
The magazine plans to print 3 million issues just one week after the attack on its offices which left 12 people dead, including the satirical magazine’s editor and four other cartoonists.
Everybody loves a good Bill Cosby rape joke – even Bill Cosby.
The scandal-ridden comedian acknowledged the sex allegations against him for the first time Thursday when he at a show in London, Ontario.
Last week 77-year-old Cosby performed his second show in a row since he began canceling appearances in the wake of sexual-assault allegations from more than 15 women. Other than two men being ejected from the audience for yelling “We don’t love you, Bill!” and “You are a rapist! I’m being ejected because you are a rapist!”, the Thursday show went off without a hitch and Cosby even threw a Bill Cosby rape joke in for good measure.
When a woman in the front row rose and started walking out, Cosby asked where she was going, to which she responded to the lobby to get a drink. “You have to be careful about drinking around me,” he replied. The remark was met with gasps – quickly followed by laughs and applause from the predominantly pro-Cosby audience.
Cosby issued a statement after the show, addressing the confrontation:
“Dear Fans: One outburst but over 2600 loyal, patient and courageous fans enjoyed the most wonderful medicine that exist for human-kind. Laughter. I thank you, the theatre staff (Budweiser Gardens), the event organizers and the London, ON community for your continued honor and support. I’m Far From Finished.”
Apparently the hecklers were far from finished too. During the third and final show of his Canadian tour, Bill Cosby was who stood up and removed their coats to reveal white T-shirts with the words “We Believe the Women” on the fronts and backs. Chanting, “We believe the women”, the hecklers left the venue voluntarily but after the women left, a man stood up and shouted, “You’re a piece of shit. You rapist,” before being escorted outside.
Cosby refrained from making any more Bill Cosby rape jokes during his final show in Hamilton – but don’t worry – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler picked up where he left off at the Golden Globes:
After Mitt Romney told a senior Republican he “almost certainly will” run for president and spent the weekend of political supporters and donors, Rand Paul called his potential rival for the 2016 GOP nomination “yesterday’s news”. Well, he kind of has a point there…
The junior senator from Kentucky criticized Mitt Romney for being too liberal for the Republican Party in 2016. Rand Paul that Romney’s promise to be a “conservative alternative” to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won’t go over well and the former Massachusetts governor’s time has passed.
“If (Mitt Romney) runs to the right of Jeb Bush, he’ll still be to the left of the rest of the party, so it may be a difficult spot to occupy,” Paul said.
“Look, I like Governor Romney, I like him personally, I think he is a good person, I think he was a great businessman,” Paul said. “But you know that’s yesterday’s news.”
Paul went on: “I think he did a lot of things right, but in the end you got to have a bigger constituency, you got to get new people, you got to attract new people to win and I think it’s time that probably the party is going to be looking for something fresh and new.”
Like Rand Paul? I’m not sure what Paul is complaining about – if Romney runs slightly to the right of Jeb Bush, he and Bush (and maybe Chris Christie too?) could be competing both for the same financial backers and for the Republican middle ground – which leaves Rand Paul free to duke it out with Tea Party darling Ted Cruz for the crazy vote. If anything, Rand Paul should be thanking Romney for muddling up the Republican middle, not calling him “yesterday’s news”.
Romney, who won some of the Republican primary contests in 2008 but was ultimately beaten by John McCain, went on to lose the presidential election to Barack Obama in 2012. But this time around, Romney is determined to learn from his past mistakes – i.e. not to alienating Hispanics, poor people, binders of women – basically anyone who isn’t a white male millionaire. Who knows – maybe third time’s the charm?
12 people have been killed in a shooting incident at the Paris office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, best known for its controversial cartoons.
Four of France’s best-known satirical cartoonists, including the magazine’s editor, were among the dead. A major manhunt has now been launched in Paris for three gunmen seen armed with AK-47s and pump-action shotguns. According to eye-witnesses the gunmen were yelling “Allahu Akbar”and “the Prophet is avenged.” Apparently the gunmen took issue with the magazine’s controversial series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. A killing rampage over some cartoons? Seems like an appropriate reaction… if you’re insane. President Francois Hollande called it a “cowardly murder” and declared a day of national mourning on Thursday. “Nothing can divide us, nothing can separate us,” Hollande said in a brief but defiant address. “We will win. Nothing will make us renounce our determination. Long live the republic. Long live France.” BBC News
A top figure in Islamic State’s self-declared police force, known for their numerous beheadings, was found beheaded in eastern Syria with a cigarette placed in his mouth and a message written on his body. The Egyptian national’s body was found with signs of torture along with the message “This is evil, you Sheikh”. Residents in areas controlled by Islamic State have said the group has banned smoking in public. “We do not know whether Islamic State killed him or whether it was local people or other fighters,” said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Either way, someone was clearly displeased with the smoking ban. Lesson learned: you can behead and stone as many people to death as you want, just don’t come between a man and his cigarette. Globe and Mail
Florida was dragged into the 21st century by a court order on Monday that lifted the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
The state’s gay-marriage ban has been, making Florida the 36th most gay-tolerant state. Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage has now ended in all 67 counties, going into effect at the stroke of midnight Monday.
But some couples couldn’t even wait until then. Just a few hours after U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle lifted the stay overthrowing a same-sex marriage ban in Florida, couples began tying the knot in Miami-Dade County before the ruling was even effective. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel found no need to wait until the statewide ban expired and presided over Florida’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages Monday afternoon. The first two pairs to get married were part of the original six-couple lawsuit last January that ended in the ban’s dismissal.
Even former Florida governor Jeb Bush is coming around on the same-sex marriage issue – albeit slowly. Bush, a long time same-sex marriage opponent who is currently flirting with a 2016 presidential run, signaled an increasing openness to same-sex marriage saying that “regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law.”
“I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue—including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty,” in response to his state overturning a ban on same-sex marriage.
Huh. Well that’s not exactly a marriage equality endorsement, but it’s Jeb Bush so we’ll take what we can get.