Report: Jussie Smollett Staged Attack After Racist Letter Didn’t Get ‘Bigger Reaction’

Richard Shotwell/AP

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reportedly staged an attack against himself in late January after a “racist” letter sent to the TV show’s studio, which contained a white powder, did not get a “bigger reaction,” according to a local Chicago news station.

A source told CBS Chicago the actor allegedly “concocted” the “staged” Jan. 29 attack and paid his “acquaintances”—brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo—over $ 3,000 to carry it out.

Smollett reportedly opened the letter on Jan. 22 at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios, and the white powder prompted a HAZMAT team to respond. Chicago Police Department told the news station that the substance turned out to be asprin. Cinespace Studios would not comment to The Daily Beast about the incident. Fox, “Empire’s” network, also declined to provide comment or confirmation.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Ice fishing is the Zen hobby you didn’t know you needed

There’s nothing like hearing the crunch of ice under your feet as you walk out onto a frozen lake. As the sun rose in the sky one recent cold morning, revealing the mountainous terrain and white forest all around me, I followed a new friend to my new sport: ice fishing. In New York’s rural…
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Pediatrician: How I partnered with parents who didn’t want to vaccinate

Vaccinating, like all parenting decisions, is one that is made from a place of love and caring. A parent who chooses to vaccinate has their child’s best interest at heart, as does a parent who chooses not to vaccinate.


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Tameka Foster Talks Almost Dying During Plastic Surgery: “I Was Married, Publicly Shamed And Didn’t Ever Feel Like I Was Enough”

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Ten years ago, Tameka Foster, then known as Tameka Raymond and married to Usher, one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, almost died while trying to get plastic surgery.

Looking back on that experience this week, Foster expressed her gratitude for life, but also addressed the public criticism that she says pushed her to get the surgery in the first place.

“Feeling grateful today,” she wrote on Wednesday. “10 years ago today I suffered a cardiac arrest in Brazil. #Flatlined #IDied. I was married, publicly shamed and didn’t ever feel like I was enough, pretty enough, exotic enough, slim enough, light enough, worthy enough. Funny part… Today I’m 20 pounds heavier, feel much prettier, single AF, happier, and so amazingly worthy.”

Instagram Photo

As the story goes, two months after welcoming their second child together, Naviyd Ely Raymond, Foster decided to fly to Brazil to get liposuction done on her stomach. She knew that being the wife of a public figure, she wouldn’t be able to escape unwanted commentary about her body after baby. She hadn’t been able to escape it before she had Naviyd and Usher Raymond V, as people openly questioned the fact that Usher had chosen to be with her and marry her in 2007. The singer felt the need to publicly defend her honor in 2008 on MTV’s TRL, saying, “I hear y’all talking crazy out there, she’s a beautiful black woman. Stop. Stop talking. And I love her. Stop it.”

But that wouldn’t be enough.

Before Foster could even undergo the procedure, she went into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia. Ellen Dasptry, a rep for the surgeon who was supposed to have performed the surgery in Brazil, said Foster was revived and placed into a medically-induced coma immediately.

“When an attack like this happens, the doctors put the patient to sleep… and make sure that everything is okay and that there has not been any damage,” Dasptry told PEOPLE in 2009. “This is the protocol every time and this is what was done.”

Foster survived the very scary situation, and was in much better condition a week later. However, her marriage fell apart soon after. Just months after her health ordeal, Usher filed for divorce.

Check out photos of Tameka during happier but still stressful years with Usher by hitting the flip:

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LeBron James didn’t like how Harrison Barnes trade went down

LeBron James isn’t happy with the way Harrison Barnes got traded on Wednesday. “So let me guess this is cool cause they had to do what was best for the franchise right??? Traded this man while he was literally playing in the game and had ZERO idea,” James said on his Instagram account after it…
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The governor didn’t get what he needed most out of his press conference: Reaffirmation of support from some of the biggest names in Virginia’s Democratic circles

If Ralph Northam hoped to use his extraordinary press conference on Saturday to convince top Virginia Democrats to side with him as others call for his swift resignation, the governor failed.


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Rami Malek Says He Didn’t Know About Bryan Singer’s Assault Allegations

According to a report from USAToday, Rami Malek had no idea about the allegations regarding Bryan Singer, who was recently accused of assault and consensual sex with underaged boys – again. This comes just after he and the rest of this co-workers were nominated for Best Picture.

Malek, who just got his very first Oscar acknowledgment for his portrayal of the Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, clarified that before he started working with Singer, he didn’t know about the allegations. Rami said they had considered him for the role before they even looked at Bryan as the potential director.

“So I had my head down preparing for this for about a year ahead of time, and I never looked up.” According to Malek, he “didn’t know much” about Singer since he didn’t even really know anything about him until he was given the role as director.

Rami explicitly stated he didn’t hear about the allegations, they were something he wasn’t aware of. As it was previously reported, Singer was fired by Fox during the last weeks of production and was then replaced by Dexter Fletcher.

Rami said that he was grateful to have a person really come through and see the movie until the end. On Tuesday, Bohemian Rhapsody earned four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, just a day before four new people accused him of sexual misconduct.

According to the report from The Atlantic, Singer had sexual relationships with young boys and knew they were under the legal age of consent in the state of California. The singer later released a statement to USA Today which said the journalist has been writing about Bryan since 1997 as a consequence of his “bizarre obsession.”

Malek said that for all of those who enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody, they can take comfort in knowing that he was fired from the final moments of the movie, so there’s that.

Other people on social media have actually been quite conspirational regarding Bohemian Rhapsody. Some online have suggested that the cast and crew of the flick were tipped off by The Atlantic, and chose to fire Singer at the last minute to avoid scrapping the movie.

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A Star-Studded Soccer Game Was Saudi Arabia’s Latest Attempt to ‘Sportswash’ Rights Abuses. It Didn’t Work

A headed goal from soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo propelled Juventus to 1–0 victory over rivals AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana (Italian Super Cup) Wednesday, but the reluctance of the sport’s top players and clubs to speak out against Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses has prompted accusations they are complicit in ‘sportswashing’ for the Gulf state.

The game took place at Saudi Arabia’s 62,000-capacity King Abdullah Stadium, where a fan-zone featured mock gondoliers and Venetian bridges, soccer stars posed for pre-match photos in traditional Saudi headdresses and fans in the bleachers held aloft cardboard cutouts of the Kingdom’s ruling monarchs. But back in Italy, state broadcaster RAI’s journalists union accused Italy’s elite Serie A league of helping gloss over Riyadh’s strict gender segregation laws, the brutal war in Yemen, and crackdowns on dissident voices – including the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The $ 8 million that Saudi Arabia is paying for the right to hold each of three Supercoppa games it is scheduled to host over the next five years constitutes “the price of silence in the face of bombs which have been massacring civilians in Yemen for four years, in the face of the enlistment of child soldiers, in the face of the brutal murder [of Khashoggi],” RAI’s journalist union said in a statement issued a couple of days before kickoff. Highlighting the presence of male-only sections in the stadium and the incarceration of women activists, RAI’s union’s accused those involved of being accomplices to delivering “un calcio ai diritti umani” (a kick against human rights).

Read more: Women in Saudi Arabia Can Finally Attend Live Soccer Matches

Serie A’s deal with Riyadh drew scant public opposition when it was announced last June. The Italian season’s traditional opener—now scheduled during its mid-winter break—had in the past been played in the U.S., China, Qatar and Libya. Its temporary home in Saudi Arabia was confirmed the same month reforms overseen by de-facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon (nicknamed MSB) permitted women in the Kingdom to drive, and a year after they were allowed to attend live soccer games in stadiums for the first time.

But Khashoggi’s murder in Istanbul last year—which U.S. Senators say was ordered by the crown prince—largely put an end to Bin Salman’ efforts to cast himself as a reformer. The high-profile flight of Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun this month prompted fresh scrutiny of the country’s male-dominated guardianship system, which curbs women’s ability to make critical decisions about their lives.

In addition to RAI’s and other unions staging a protest outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Rome, Wednesday’s match also drew criticism from Italian politicians and Amnesty international, who in October urged Juventus and A.C. Milan to pull out of the game.

“International sports events have become an established public diplomacy tool for Gulf countries to enhance their global stature and to deflect attention from political controversies and human rights abuses,” says Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at London-based policy institute Chatham House. “But sometimes this strategy has backfired, instead drawing attention to issues the countries would like to sweep under the carpet.”

Read more: ‘Rahaf Is Going to Start a Revolution.’ Saudi Women Are Demanding Reforms After a Teen Fled the Country in Fear for Her Life

Italy’s top league is only the latest organization to be accused of assisting a Gulf state’s “sportswashing.” Soccer’s international governing body FIFA has failed to hold the Qatari government to account over what Human Rights Watch estimates could be more than 2,000 unexplained deaths of outdoor workers since FIFA awarded Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup, writes researcher Nicholas McGeehan. McGeehan has also criticized German club Bayern Munich for keeping quiet over human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by its sponsor Qatar Airways.

Such organizations are “so hungry for cash and the Gulf States are so happy to hand it out at every turn that they have not been allies in trying to use sport as a tool for positive change or reform,” McGeehan tells TIME. It’s a damning indictment of organizations that frequently tout their commitment to fair play and inclusivity. But, McGeehan says, the game’s stars are “probably among the most powerful actors” to affect change.

In a statement Serie A president Gaetano Micciche said the league was working to ensure women would be able to access all areas of the stadium’s seats for subsequent Supercoppa fixtures. But analysts say the negligible criticism from soccer’s luminaries illustrates how Saudi Arabia is so far withstanding public pressure, bolstered by international business and political interests overriding concern for human rights.

“Football is part of the Italian economic and cultural system, and can’t have logic, especially in international relations, different from those of the country to which it belongs,” Micciche said in a statement defending the decision to proceed with the match. “Saudi Arabia is the largest Italian commercial partner in the Middle East thanks to dozens of important Italian companies that export and operate there, with many of our compatriots working Saudi Arabia, and none of these relations have been disrupted.”

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Company that hijacked Holmes and Theroux on Twitter ‘didn’t break law’

The chief executive of a company which demonstrated a security flaw in Twitter by hijacking the accounts of Eamonn Holmes and Louis Theroux has denied breaking the law.
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Andy Serkis Was Bummed AG Didn’t Include His Dance In The ’Thank U, Next’ Video | PeopleTV

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The Real Reason Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson Didn’t Celebrate Christmas Together

Khloe Kardashian, True ThompsonA member of Khloe Kardashian and True Thompson’s little family was noticeably absent from their Christmas celebrations, but why?
Tristan Thompson did not make it to Los Angeles for…

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That Didn’t Take Long: Novelists Tackle Trump

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Standing for months in front of Trump Tower with a “literary” sign—such as WHO WILL GO UPRIVER FOR PRESIDENT KURTZ?—I wondered which American novelists would dare to brave the supposed curse of topicality and treat the famously litigious Donald Trump during his Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now presidency.

The first was the relatively new U.S. citizen Salman Rushdie in The Golden House. In the last month or so, Gary Shteyngart in Lake Success and Jonathan Lethem in The Feral Detective have published novels set, respectively, just before and just after Trump’s election. All three novelists call Trump a “monster” but avoid engaging him directly as a character. They instead make him an off-stage figure, to whom their characters react, and invent Trumpian stand-ins to absorb the writers’ wrath.

Sufficiently enraged to stand in the cold, I hoped for a novel as super-heated, explicitly political, and courageous as Robert Coover’s The Public Burning. About the Rosenbergs’ execution as “Atomic Spies” in 1953 when Richard Nixon was vice president, written in the ’70s when Nixon was president, and featuring Nixon as a major character, The Public Burning is an epic circus that mix-masters fact and fabrication. The novel closes with its superhero Uncle Sam, personification of old white-man anger, preparing Nixon to screw the American public as Sam has prepared all past presidents: by sodomizing him. Scheduled for a Bicentennial release, The Public Burning was delayed by legal challenges and one publisher’s cowardice until 1977.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Celebs hawking Cîroc vodka didn’t mention paid ad deal: FTC

Sean “Diddy” Combs helped to make Cîroc a best-selling vodka — but he and scores of other celebs never said that they were paid to hawk it, according to a consumer watchdog group. The singer was singled out in a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission on Monday night for flouting the agency’s disclosure…
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‘Bumblebee’ Director Didn’t Want Michael Bay’s Opinion on the Character

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains mild spoilers for Bumblebee. Proceed at your own risk.

If fans – or, should we say, haters? — of the Transformers franchise aren’t discussing how unconvincing the robot fight scenes are, they’re debating the intricacies of Bumblebee’s voice. One minute, his dulcet tones are completely destroyed and he’s using a blend of soundbites and music from the radio to communicate, the next he’s using the voice he was born with. And then it’s busted again. Sometimes, the problem is implied to be fixable, and sometimes it’s suggested that he doesn’t want it fixed.

So, with the sparky little yellow VW-Beetle-Autobot now starring in his own spin-off movie, it seems timely to tackle the contentious issue of Bumblebee’s voice, and attempt to figure out once and for all why it’s so all over the place. Especially since, as you’ve probably heard, Bumblebee speaks (with Dylan O’Brien’s voice) in this movie. Though not for long…

The Origin Story

For this 1987-set prequel, franchise champion Michael Bay relinquishes the reins to make way for animation genius, and self-confessed Transformers fan, Travis Knight, at the helm. It’s a brave but calculated move that might just reinvigorate a franchise that saw its fifth film, The Last Knight, take a considerable drop in profits. Amid accusations that the series has become overblown, for Bumblebee it’s very much back to basics, with a small-scale, heartwarming, coming-of-age story taking precedence over high-stakes robot wars. It works beautifully, and while the slate in some ways is wiped clean, Knight still had to take care to incorporate Bay’s tweaks to the lore.

“In Michael’s films, they changed some of the mythology, and Bumblebee speaks through the radio. That’s one of his iconic characteristics,” says Knight. “So, it was really important for me, if we were going to tell an origin story about one of the Transformers, one set in the era where the Transformers originated – the mid-’80s – [to address Bumblebee’s voice].”

As a child of the 1980s, Knight first fell in love with Transformers when he saw the original animated series.

“Bumblebee always had a voice,” says Knight, remembering the cartoon. This meant that it was critical for Knight “to understand some of these aspects of Bumblebee’s character that never really got satisfying answers as to how these things happened”.

For Knight, it was important to show how Bumblebee’s voice became damaged: “And how, both literally and metaphorically, he regains it by the end of the movie.”

His Voice Is Unfixable


Bumblebee's voice
Bumblebee's voice is unfixable, says director Travis Knight.

That isn’t to say Bumblebee regains the power of speech as he once knew it. Instead, he finds this new, arguably more effective, way to communicate via the relationship he has with Hailee Steinfeld’s outsider teen, Charlie. It is she who teaches him about the power of music to communicate and express emotion and complex thought, and as he uses the technique more and more, we witness him become increasingly adept at it. A good thing too, since Knight declares that Bumblebee’s voice can’t ever be fixed because of what we see happen in the film. And if you don’t want that scene spoiled for you, scroll past the next paragraph now.

“He has his, whatever the equivalent of his vocal synthesizer/processor is, ripped out of his throat,” he explains. “It would be the same thing if we lost the ability to speak. We’d never be able to speak again, and the guy rips it out, and destroys it. So, no — he’s never going to be able to speak again but through this [radio] thing he’s able to communicate and express himself.”

Crawling Inside Michael Bay’s Brain

Important as it was for Knight to show how Bumblebee is irreversibly maimed, rendering him forever mute, it was less pressing for Knight to figure out exactly why Bumblebee’s voice drifts inexplicably in and out within Bay’s franchise. And he says he never questioned — or wanted to question — Bay about it.

“I didn’t want to know if Michael had a difference of opinion on that because I knew very clearly that this is why, and this is what it needs to be.”

“I had a number of conversations with Michael, but not specifically about that aspect,” says Knight. “It was important for me to just kind of sit director-to-director, filmmaker-to-filmmaker, and talk about his philosophy on the series. He’s the guy who’s been the shepherd for the Transformers franchise for the last decade. I really wanted to crawl inside his brain and just get his philosophy on things. How he approached it.

“But specifically with Bumblebee’s character, no, I didn’t ask him about that. Because in my mind I knew the story that I wanted to tell for this movie, and that was an aspect of that story. I didn’t want to know if Michael had a difference of opinion on that because I knew very clearly that this is why, and this is what it needs to be.”

Different Choices

Knight adds, “This movie is self-contained, so I imagine where it goes from here. And, of course, there’s the films that follow, which show you where he goes. But I might not have made that choice if I was making those films.”

Knight concedes that fans might never get satisfactory answers to the questions they have. “Look, it’s super inconsistent, I acknowledge that,” he says. “I think Michael would acknowledge that; that, oftentimes, it bounces around. I know that. He knows that. I don’t know why.”

With prequel Bumblebee garnering better reviews than perhaps any of the Transformers sequels, it’s clear there’s life in the franchise yet. Executives would do well to keep Travis Knight on for at least one more film — his vision has won over the critics and looks set to please audiences too. And if he does stay on, perhaps we’ll see some answers retconned after all — or the franchise entirely rebooted perhaps?

Bumblebee hits screens in Australia on December 20, the US on December 21 and the UK on December 24, with preview screenings in the UK on December 15, 16 and 20.

‘Bumblebee’: Hooray! Robot Fights Have Serious Consequences

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Dolce & Gabbana Never Met a Controversy They Didn’t Like—Until Now

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#BoycottDolceGabbana has become almost as perennial a Twitter hashtag as #MondayMotivation or #SponsoredPost.

The ever-controversial line has a dubious resume that includes design snafus like releasing blackamoor earrings or $ 2,395 “slave sandals.” Founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have stoked controversy before, whether it be in the form of calling babies born from IVF “children of chemicals, synthetic children” or making unsolicited, negative comments about the singer Selena Gomez’s appearance.

But just when many Dolce critics believed they had become desensitized to the antics of both founders—especially 56-year-old Gabbana, the more outspokenly vitriolic half of the pair—came the events of last week.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Famous Men You Didn’t Know Were Members of Omega Psi Phi

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was founded on Nov. 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. It was the first international and predominately Black frat to be created on the campus of a historically Black college or university. The organization‘s Greek letters, ΩΨΦ, stand for the first three letters of its motto, “Friendship is essential to the soul.” There are currently 750 undergraduate and graduate chapters of Omega Psi Phi, which strive to uphold the cardinal principles of “manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift.” Throughout its 107-year history, Omega Psi Phi has been able to claim prominent figures who regularly […]

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Tax cuts have been controversial, but voters didn’t seem to care about them

Voters in the midterms felt neither tremendously motivated by the 2017 tax cuts nor had their lives been changed much by them, NBC News exit polls find. 
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5 things you didn’t know about flying first class

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Whether you’re a frequent flyer who regularly travels for business, or if you just fly once a year for your family vacation, you know that flying can be one of the most stressful and tiring experiences of your journey. When flying economy, you have little leg room, odd next door neighbors, super long queues and pretty basic commodities – Yep, the toilet will always smell! But there is another part of the plane that you barely ever see: First Class. Unless you’re really lucky, of course. Here’s what it’s like to fly in first class.

Many people use it to network

We’ve all seen the scenes in movies where the two unsuspecting victims meet next to each other on the plane, share a pleasant hello and then a cliche moment brings them together – cut to the ending and they’ve become BFF’s and set up a meeting in New York to go over a business proposal together next month. Okay, it doesn’t really work like that, but many people do use first class to network with other like-minded. Because the people who fly in First Class normally have more money and work for Fortune 500 companies, they’ll all have something in common – business. In fact, Virgin Atlantic have found that one in five of their First Class customers had done business with someone they had met during their first class flight. Some airlines are now even creating specific networking flights!

You get even more vacation time

If you’re used to flying economy, you’ve probably seen the First Class passengers stroll along past you with their fast-track boarding passes and saunter onto the airplane while you crouch on the floor in a crowded airport lounge. Yep, the first class passengers not only get to board the plane first – but they also get to depart the plane before everyone else too! This means they can get ahead of the game, and be the first in the queue for customs and baggage reclaim. Ultimately, this means they get even more vacation time because they’ll be out the airport doors and onto the beach while you’re still stuck on the plane!

It’s super comfortable

Okay, we all know the deal. Economy flights are in NO WAY comfortable. With little-to-no legroom, a next door neighbor who is sitting way too close to you and using your armrest, and absolutely no way to stretch out and have a good kip; a long-haul flight can be an absolute killer. But long-haul First Class flights? They’re a completely different story. In nearly every first class area of any airplane, the seats are a world apart. Quite literally. With individual seating, each passenger gets their own little area of the plane with a reclining chair (which makes an extremely comfortable bed), a sliding divider which shuts you off from the other passengers, and your own personal TV. The nine-hour flight will just be like your average evening at home.

You can actually get work done

If you’re traveling on a business trip and need to perfect your presentation before you reach your destination, it will be pretty impossible to do so if you sit in economy – because you two choices; have the ability to feel your legs and not get work done, or get work done and lose all circulation. The choice is yours. However, in first class, working is no issue. In fact, your plane journey will probably be more comfortable than your own office! In your First Class seat, you’ve got your own individual table with ample writing space, multiple power sockets to ensure your laptop never runs out of battery, and most now have WIFI! Who needs an office?

You don’t need to be rich to fly first class!

There’s a common misconception that you need to be super rich to afford seats in First Class. As much as it is true buying first class seats through the airline will cost you a hefty sum, there are ways to try and get a first class upgrade for a cheaper price (or even for free!). First and foremost, you need to go by the premise that ‘it doesn’t hurt to ask.’ You’ll be surprised how accommodating airlines can be when it comes to upgrading their passengers – if you just ask! The best way to do this is to always be polite and friendly to them when you go to the check-in desks, and if they have something available, they may bump you up. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Ever wondered what it’s like to fly first class? Here are a few pointers to whet your appetite, but why not try it out for yourself?

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Facebook admits it didn’t do enough to prevent ‘offline violence’ in Myanmar

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A night before the U.S. midterm elections, Facebook has dropped an independent report into the platform’s effect in Myanmar.

The report into Facebook’s impact on human rights within the country was commissioned by the social media giant, but completed by non-profit organization BSR (Business for Social Responsibility).

And it affirms what many have suspected: Facebook didn’t do enough to prevent violence and division in Myanmar.

“The report concludes that, prior to this year, we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more,” Facebook’s product policy manager Alex Warofka wrote in a statement. Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Social Media, Human Rights, and Myanmar


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Jimmy Kimmel Didn’t Have to Do This Brooklyn Interview (But He Did)

Jimmy Kimmel had every right to cancel this interview. Whenever Kimmel brings his late-night ABC show to the east coast for one of its popular week-long runs in Brooklyn, he does a little publicity on the Saturday before things kick off. He doesn’t have a lot of time. Kimmel wrapped a Thursday broadcast of “Jimmy […]

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!