Here is some stuff in the news today...
RIP Natalie Cole, who has died at age 65. Cole was probably most well-known for her 1991 single "Unforgettable," on which she dueted with the voice of her late father, Nat King Cole, "and the track gave her a top 20 pop hit in both Britain and the US. The single won her Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance, while the Unforgettable album, a chart-topper in the US, won Album of the Year. It also sold 7m copies in the US alone, and doubled that figure through international sales." My condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and fans.
[Content Note: War on agency] Reproaction's Erin Matson and Pamela Merritt write: "2015 was a terrible year for abortion rights. 2016 does not have to be 2015." And Imani Gandy and Jessica Mason Pieklo write: "Here's Why 2016 Could Be the Biggest Year for Reproductive Rights and the Courts in Decades." Two must-reads for today.
[CN: Violence; religious extremism] Oh fuck: "Saudi Arabia rallied Sunni allies to its side in a growing diplomatic row with Iran on Monday, deepening a sectarian split across the Middle East following the kingdom's execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric. Bahrain and Sudan cut all ties with Iran, following Riyadh's example the previous day. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters Riyadh would also halt air traffic and commercial relations between the rival powers. He blamed Iran's 'aggressive policies' for the diplomatic action, alluding to years of tension that spilled over on Saturday night when Iranian protesters stormed the kingdom's embassy in Tehran. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), home to hundreds of thousands of Iranians, partially downgraded its relations but the other Gulf Arab countries—Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman—stayed above the fray."
[CN: Misogyny; assassination] How utterly horrible: "The newly installed mayor of the Mexican city of Temixco was killed on Saturday, according to a tweet from Morelos state Governor Graco Ramirez. Gisela Mota, 33, formally took office with the new year on Friday. Mexico City newspaper El Universal said she was attacked at her home by four armed gunmen. Around 7:30 a.m., the assassins entered Mota's home, beat her, and then shot her in the head, according to El Economista. Paramedics arrived at 7:50 a.m. and confirmed she was dead. Afterward, the suspects tried to flee in a van, but police followed in hot pursuit and exchanged fire with the suspects before killing two of them. The other two were taken into custody, according to Telesur. Ramirez referred to Mota as a 'young and beloved companion,' but said he would not be intimidated by her death. 'We will not relent,' he wrote." Killed one day after she took office. I don't even have words.
Welp! "The furor over recent Chicago police shootings has legislators considering whether voters should be allowed to recall Mayor Rahm Emanuel or future officials who hold his post. Illinois state law currently addresses only the recall of a governor, a provision voters approved in 2010 after former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested and impeached. Now, state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, wants voters to also have the power to remove the mayor of the country's third-largest city." Get rid of him. One way or another. Rahm needs to go.
[CN: Privacy violations; profiling] Goddammit: "The Transportation Security Administration's new rules for screening passengers with its controversial full-body scanners—which were quietly changed just before the busy holiday travel season—represent a significant policy reversal that could affect your next flight. Getting checked by the TSA's advanced-imaging technology used to be entirely optional, allowing those who refused a scan to be subjected to a pat-down. ...But on a Friday in late December, the TSA revised its rules, saying an 'opt out' is no longer an option for certain passengers. ...'Most people will be able to opt out,' says Bruce Anderson, a TSA spokesman. 'Some passengers will be required to undergo advanced-imaging screening if their boarding pass indicates that they have been selected for enhanced screening, in accordance with TSA regulations, prior to their arrival at the security checkpoint. This will occur in a very limited number of circumstances.'" The fuck.
Time to update your Periodic Table tattoos, nerds! "Four new elements have been added to the periodic table, finally completing the table's seventh row and rendering science textbooks around the world instantly out of date. The elements, discovered by scientists in Japan, Russia, and America, are the first to be added to the table since 2011, when elements 114 and 116 were added. ...The four new elements, all of which are synthetic, were discovered by slamming lighter nuclei into each other and tracking the following decay of the radioactive superheavy elements. Like other superheavy elements that populate the end of the periodic table, they only exist for fractions of a second before decaying into other elements." The elements will be officially named later this year.
[CN: Disablism; abuse] This Indianapolis bar's response to an unfathomably rude patron, who was annoyed at being inconvenienced by another patron almost dying, is tremendous.
[CN: Images may be NSFW] Beautiful: "The Body Shapes of Dancers by the Outstanding Photographer Howard Schatz."
[CN: Video autoplays at link] And finally! Won't somebody PLEASE play with this French bulldog?!