Monday, September 21, 2009

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

Gays thought to face most discrimination: survey

A US survey has found that people believe gays are the most discriminated-against social group, with Muslims and Hispanics following. The figures, released by the Pew Research Centre, found that 64 per cent of those surveyed said gays and lesbians face "a lot of discrimination". Fifty-eight per cent agreed that Muslims face the same level of discrimination and 52 per cent said the same for Hispanics. The research looked at perceptions of Muslims in the greatest detail. Forty-five per cent of those questioned said Islam was no more violent than any other faith, compared to 38 per cent who said it was. This figure was almost completely reversed in 2007, when 45 per cent said it was more violent and 39 per cent said it was not. lmost half (45 per cent) of those polled said they knew a Muslim, although only 41 per cent knew the name used to refer to God (Allah) and the religion's sacred text (the Koran). It was found that the more familiar people were with Islam, the less likely they were to associate the religion with violence. The survey was based on telephone interviews with 4013 people during August. The margin of error was 2.5 percentage points.

Boy of 12 set to be youngest transsexual in the UK

A twelve year is boy from is set to become one of the worlds youngest transsexuals after a controversial decision by the parents allowing him to return from the summer holidays as a girl. If parents and doctors agree then the 12 year old may be the youngest person in the UK to undergo a sex change operation. The pupil, who has not returned to school since the story broke, was well known amongst pupils and staff for his desire to live as a girl. Pupils were ushered into an 'emergency assembly' and informed: "You may notice one pupil is not present in this assembly – that is because the pupil is now a girl," reports The Sun. Read more at UK Pink News.

Abercrombie & Fitch sued over head scarf

A Muslim teenager claims in a U.S. federal lawsuit that she was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store at a Tulsa, Okla., mall because she wore a head scarf. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf said she applied for a sales position at the Abercrombie Kids store in the Woodland Hills Mall in June 2008. The teen, who wears a hijab in accordance with her religious beliefs, claims the manager told her the head scarf violates the store's "Look Policy." "These actions constitute discrimination against Ms. Elauf on the basis of religion," the lawsuit states. Read more at CBC.

Iraq Troops' PTSD rate as high as 35 percent, analysis finds

The Veterans’ Administration should expect a high volume of Iraq veterans seeking treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, with researchers anticipating that the rate among armed forces will be as high as 35%, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®). The article “A Dynamic Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among U.S. Troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom” is by Michael P. Atkinson of the Naval Postgraduate School and Adam Guetz and Lawrence M. Wein of Stanford University. The tempo of deployment cycles in the Iraq War is higher than for any war since World War II, the authors write, and military survey data suggest that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among service members. To assure ample mental health resources to care for returning troops. Read more at Science Daily.

Ex-aide says John Edwards fathered mistress' child

A man who once claimed to have fathered the child of John Edwards' mistress says in a book proposal the former presidential candidate is the real father and that he and Edwards worked with his campaign finance chairman to hide that secret, according to a newspaper report published online Saturday. The New York Times said the book proposal by former Edwards aide Andrew Young states he helped facilitate the affair between Edwards and Rielle Hunter [pictured]. According to the newspaper, Young wrote that Edwards once told Hunter they would wed after Edwards' wife, who has cancer, died. Edwards told Hunter that the ceremony would be held on a rooftop in New York and the Dave Matthews Bands would make an appearance, the newspaper said, citing its examination of the book proposal. Read more at AP.

Serbian police 'cancel' Belgrade Pride despite assurances it would be protected

It has been claimed that Serbian police effectively cancelled permission for tomorrow's Belgrade pride to be held in its planned city centre location. After organisers met with police, they said that the event had been cancelled as a result of high security risks and a lack of co-operation from the police that meant they had no choice but to call off the event. Just yesterday, Serbian President Boris Tadic warned against creating an "atmosphere of chaos'" and "threats and violence". He said: "The state will do everything to protect people, whatever their national, religious, sexual or political orientation, and no group must resort to threats and violence, or take justice into its own hands and jeopardize the lives of those who think or are different." Read more at UK Pink News.

Boxer, Floyd Mayweather has gay panic on TV show, Chelsea Lately

Outsports Cyd Zeigler jr. writes: Floyd Mayweather Jr. visited Chelsea Lately to promote his upcoming fight and return to boxing. During the interview, Mayweather twice steered the conversation inexplicably toward his personal homophobia. The first time came when Chelsea told Mayweather to get comfy and put one of his legs on the chair (you gotta see the video to understand what I’m talking about) Chelsea wasn’t questioning Mayweather’s sexual orientation or masculinity in either case, but Mayweather obviously felt he had to go there. The second time was really strange. I got the feeling that Mayweather thinks Murphy is gay, so he had to try to distance himself from he comedian. See the video and read more here.

Megan Meier Suicide UPDATE: Lori Drew acquitted in MySpace hoax

A Los Angeles judge has finalized his decision to throw out convictions of a Missouri mother for her role in an internet hoax directed at a 13-year-old neighbour girl [Megan Meier, pictured] who committed suicide. U.S. District Judge George Wu said in his written ruling that the case was never a legal test of crimes involving "cyberbullying." Prosecutors, who adopted that terminology early on, brought charges against Lori Drew under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute that does not involve cyberbullying, the judge said. Wu acquitted Drew of misdemeanour counts of accessing computers without authorization last month but stressed the ruling was tentative until he issued it in writing. Drew's attorney, Dean Steward, believes Wu's ruling in effect strikes down a portion of the computer fraud act. Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan's death. Instead, prosecutors indicted her under the computer fraud act, which in the past has been used in hacking and trademark theft cases. Wu's 32-page ruling, filed late Friday, cited vagueness of the statute and the chance that innocent users of the internet could become subject to criminal charges if Drew's conviction was allowed to stand. Much attention was paid to Drew's case, primarily because it was billed as the nation's first cyberbullying trial. The trial was held in Los Angeles.