Here is some stuff in the news today...
Yesterday, the 2016 Pulitzer Prizes were announced, and it's really fascinating and terrific how many of them were awarded to people covering issues of gender and/or race. Congratulations to the winners!
[Content Note: Migrant/refugee crisis; death] Another tragedy in the Mediterranean: "Somalia's government said on Monday about 200 or more Somalis may have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to cross illegally to Europe, many of them teenagers, when the boat they were on capsized after leaving the Egyptian shore. Italian President Sergio Mattarella had said earlier on Monday that several hundred people appeared to have died in a new tragedy in the Mediterranean, after unconfirmed reports spoke of up to 400 victims of capsizing near Egypt's coast. More than 1.2 million African, Arab, and Asian migrants have streamed into the European Union since the start of last year, many of them setting off from North Africa in rickety boats that are packed full of people and which struggle in choppy seas." So profoundly sad.
[CN: Terrorism; death] "At least 28 people have been killed and 329 injured in a huge explosion in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul, police and officials say. A [redacted] attacker detonated a vehicle and a fierce gun battle followed. Officials say the attack is now over and the area has been cleared. A Taliban spokesman said the group carried out the attack. It comes a week after it said it was launching its 'spring offensive,' warning of large-scale attacks. Tuesday's bombing happened during the morning rush hour in Pul-e-Mahmud, a busy neighbourhood where homes, mosques, schools, and businesses nestle close to the Ministry of Defence, other ministries, and military compounds. Soldiers and security officers are reported to be among the casualties, but the majority are civilians." Fucking hell. Just awful.
[CN: Transphobia] In good news (for now): Tennessee's anti-trans "papers to pee" bill has been shelved for this year's session. Unfortunately, it will probably be reintroduced next year, or whenever the bigoted legislators pushing it feel the heat of national attention is off of them. It was withdrawn "amid concerns the legislation would cost Tennessee federal funding," but not amid concerns that it is grossly indecent and endangers trans people.
[CN: Transphobia] HOWEVER! A federal appeals court ruled today to uphold "the Department of Education's interpretation of existing federal civil rights laws to protect transgender people against discrimination in education. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld the department's interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include protections in the law's ban on sex discrimination that allow transgender people to use a restroom in accordance with their gender identity." Obviously, this could have major implications for the ability of state legislatures to pass anti-trans access legislation.
[CN: War on agency] Rewire has a new podcast series, CHOICE/LESS, which "delivers powerful, personal stories of reproductive injustice and the laws, politics and people beyond the headlines. In the first three episodes: Candice discusses how her childhood influenced her own reproductive decisions, and how her choices about childbearing and parenting were hindered by HB 2, the sprawling anti-abortion law at the heart of the Supreme Court case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. Regina shares the story of the heartbreaking pregnancy complications that tested her physical, emotional, and spiritual limits, and the hospital board vote that would determine her future. Valerie discusses her family's joy for her third pregnancy, the news that changed everything, and the cruel legal obstacles that left her stranded in her own state."
[CN: Death] Horribly sad: "UN ambassador Samantha Power's trip to Cameroon's frontlines in the war against Boko Haram started horrifically on Monday as an armored Jeep in her motorcade struck and killed a young boy who darted into the road. The incident occurred near the small city of Mokolo, in northern Cameroon, where Power, her aides and accompanying journalists were headed to meet refugees and others displaced by the years of brutal attacks across West Africa. ...The motorcade was moving at a fast clip, at times exceeding 60mph, while villagers lined up along the sides of the road. But when the boy darted on to the two-lane highway, there was no time for the sixth car in Power's convoy to react. The driver was Cameroonian. At the moment of impact, a man could be seen running up the embankment, with his arms held high, to the street to try to stop the child. ...An ambulance in the US caravan immediately attended to him. The boy was rushed to a local hospital, though his condition was already hopeless, according to people familiar with the incident, who spoke on condition of anonymity." My sincerest condolences to his family and community, and to the driver, and to everyone involved.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] "Despite Polls, Republicans See Sanders as an Easier Opponent." Polls show Bernie Sanders beating Republicans by a wider margin in a general election match-up than Hillary Clinton beats them. "And yet, prominent Republican operatives are chomping at the bit to face Sanders." They'd prefer the largely unvetted candidate to the most thoroughly vetted candidate in history?! No kidding.
[CN: Video autoplays at link] In case you've been following HOTSAUCEGATE, here's a helpful video that explains Hillary Clinton was not, in fact, pandering to Black voters by saying she carries hot sauce with her, but has had a well-documented history of loving the fuck out of hot sauce since at least the '90s.
[CN: Misogynoir] "A group of mostly black women who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Napa Valley Wine Train have settled the case for an undisclosed amount. The group's attorney, Waukeen McCoy, told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday the two parties reached a settlement last week. He says the settlement amount is confidential. The 11 women, 10 black and one white, said they had gathered on the train to discuss a romance novel. But before the train left the station in Napa, a train employee asked them to quiet down because they were offending other passengers, the women said. When the train reached St. Helena, they were escorted off the train into a dirt lot where police were waiting." I hope they are all happy with the settlement, and I hope the decision-makers at the Napa Valley Wine Train will henceforth stop being racist shitlords.
RIP Doris Roberts. "Roberts, a character actress who labored honorably both on stage and screen for years before finding the perfect vehicle for her talents, the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, died on Sunday. She was 90."
Here is a photo of Hillary Clinton voting for herself (presumably) in a snazzy coat!
Neat! "Our Closest View Yet of Ceres' Strange Bright Spots Finally Reveals How They Formed." The pictures at the link are incredible. I mean, if you're a space nerd.
[CN: Moving GIF at link] And finally! "This Instagrammer Captures the Tiny Beauty of Hummingbirds." Stunning.