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Monday, September 30, 2019

Is Dwayne Johnson returning to his wrestling roots?

Is Dwayne Johnson returning to his wrestling roots?

Kind of.

The superstar and former wrestling icon Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will return to WWE’s SmackDown this week for the first time since 2013. He’s set to make a special appearance during the highly anticipated premiere of Friday Night SmackDown on October 4.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson shocks social media fans with Hawaii wedding photo

FOX recently acquired the WWE franchise and moved it from Tuesday to Friday night, with the first installment airing this week from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The premiere will be preceded by a 30-minute blue carpet special that will highlight “arrivals and backstage access to celebrities and athletes, as well as past and present WWE Superstars to kick off the new era of WWE on Fox.”

Sparks fly (literally!) at premiere of ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ and Dwayne Johnson proves he’s a real-life hero

Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news on social media.

The newlywed who is currently starring on the final season of HBO’s Ballers has had quite a year.

In August, he shocked fans by marrying his longtime girlfriend, Lauren Hashian, in an intimate Hawaiian ceremony. The couple shares two children, Jasmine, three, and Tiana, 15 months and have reportedly been an item since 2007.

The post Is Dwayne Johnson returning to his wrestling roots? appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

REPORTS: R. Kelly wants OUT of jail because its unfairly strict

R. Kelly is looking to get out of jail and his reasons are pretty ridiculous, even for him.

According to reports, lawyers for the singer who was locked up without bond on racketeering charges insist R. Kelly is not a danger to the community. They filed an 11-page motion in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Monday in an attempt to have him released on bond while he awaits trials, due to the unfairly strict restrictions of jail.

Snoop Dogg jokes about Tekashi 69, and drags R. Kelly into it

One of the “strict” restrictions reportedly include his inability to see both of his girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary at the same time.

“Presently, he is only allowed one unrelated person to visit,” one of his attorneys said. “In other words, although he lives and has lived with two lady friends, only one of them is allowed to be on his visiting list, and after 90 days he is required to switch. No other friends or professional colleagues are allowed to visit. That is not right.”

The motion also insists that R. Kelly is not a flight risk.

“Mr. Kelly possesses almost no financial resources, and no evidence was presented to the Court to the contrary. Indeed, there is nothing in the record to support such an inference. Likewise, Mr. Kelly is not a frequent international traveler. His passport is presently in the custody of authorities in Cook County, Illinois in connection with Illinois State court proceedings. That passport was issued approximately eight years ago and does not contain a single stamp for travel.”

R. Kelly’s daughter reveals intimate details about their complicated relationship: ‘People don’t want to work with me just because of who he is’

The 52-year-old Grammy winner landed behind bars after a 13-count federal indictment   accused him of conspiring to interfere with his 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County by paying off victims and witnesses in the case.

He’s also charged with four other indictments in Cook County including allegations of sexual assault of one woman and sexual abuse of three minors.

R. Kelly maintains his innocence, pleading not guilty on all of the charges against him.


The post REPORTS: R. Kelly wants OUT of jail because its unfairly strict appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Gabrielle Union is bringing ‘Black Girl Magic’ to NBC

Gabrielle Union is booked and busy and now she’s bringing Black Girl Magic to NBC.

The superstar who’s currently holding court as a judge on America’s Got Talent will executive produce the series written by Emebeit Beyene, Crystal Boyd and Chandra Russell.

Why Gabrielle Union says Dwyane Wade won’t let ‘old white man’ Santa to take credit for Christmas presents

The trio co-create the web series Downtown Girls together in 2013 and Russell writes fro Comedy Central’s hit South Side.

According to reports, the 30-minute series will be a “mystical comedy” about three estranged sisters who learn a mysterious secret about their family history that changes their lives and brings them back to the magical world of New Orleans.

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union list Biscayne Bay home for $32.5 million

Emebeit Beyene confirmed the good news on social media.

“This is what dedication looks like. I worked hard for this, man,” Beyene posted. “Cried all year off taking so many L’s. Grateful to my team for believing in me, @gabunion for advocating day in and day out, and most importantly, to those two ride or dies pictured next to me. Let’s do this.

The post Gabrielle Union is bringing ‘Black Girl Magic’ to NBC appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni jailed on abortion charges

Activists say the charges against Hajar Raissouni are part of a crackdown on critical reporters.

from BBC News - Africa

The imam who died fighting racism in South Africa

Relatives of Abdullah Haron, who died in detention 50 years ago, are still traumatised by his death.

from BBC News - Africa

Delivery system can make RNA vaccines more powerful

Vaccines made from RNA hold great potential as a way to treat cancer or prevent a variety of infectious diseases. Many biotech companies are now working on such vaccines, and a few have gone into clinical trials.

One of the challenges to creating RNA vaccines is making sure that the RNA gets into the right immune cells and produces enough of the encoded protein. Additionally, the vaccine must stimulate a strong enough response that the immune system can wipe out the relevant bacteria, viruses, or cancer cells when they are subsequently encountered.

MIT chemical engineers have now developed a new series of lipid nanoparticles to deliver such vaccines. They showed that the particles trigger efficient production of the protein encoded by the RNA, and they also behave like an “adjuvant,” further boosting the vaccine effectiveness. In a study of mice, they used this RNA vaccine to successfully inhibit the growth of melanoma tumors.

“One of the key discoveries of this paper is that you can build RNA delivery lipids that can also activate the immune system in important ways,” says Daniel Anderson, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.

Anderson is the senior author of the study, which appears in the Sept. 30 issue of Nature Biotechnology. The lead authors of the study are former postdocs Lei Miao and Linxian Li and former research associate Yuxuan Huang. Other MIT authors include Derfogail Delcassian, Jasdave Chahal, Jinsong Han, Yunhua Shi, Kaitlyn Sadtler, Wenting Gao, Jiaqi Lin, Joshua C. Doloff, and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute.

Vaccine boost

Most traditional vaccines are made from proteins produced by infectious microbes, or from weakened forms of the microbes themselves. In recent years, scientists have explored the idea of making vaccines using DNA that encodes microbial proteins. However, these vaccines, which have not been approved for use in humans, have so far failed to produce strong enough immune responses.

RNA is an attractive alternative to DNA in vaccines because unlike DNA, which has to reach the cell nucleus to become functional, RNA can be translated into protein as soon as it gets into the cell cytoplasm. It can also be adapted to target many different diseases.

“Another advantage of these vaccines is that we can quickly change the target disease,” he says. “We can make vaccines to different diseases very quickly just by tinkering with the RNA sequence.” 

For an RNA vaccine to be effective, it needs to enter a type of immune cell called an antigen-presenting cell. These cells then produce the protein encoded by the vaccine and display it on their surfaces, attracting and activating T cells and other immune cells.

Anderson’s lab has previously developed lipid nanoparticles for delivering RNA and DNA for a variety of applications. These lipid particles form tiny droplets that protect RNA molecules and carry them to their destinations. The researchers’ usual approach is to generate libraries of hundreds or thousands of candidate particles with varying chemical features, then screen them for the ones that work the best.

“In one day, we can synthesize over 1,000 lipid materials with multiple different structures,” Miao says. “Once we had that very large library, we could screen the molecules and see which type of structures help RNA get delivered to the antigen-presenting cells.”

They discovered that nanoparticles with a certain chemical feature — a cyclic structure at one end of the particle — are able to turn on an immune signaling pathway called stimulator of interferon genes (STING). Once this pathway is activated, the cells produce interferon and other cytokines that provoke T cells to leap into action.

“Broad applications”

The researchers tested the particles in two different mouse models of melanoma. First, they used mice with tumors engineered to produce ovalbumin, a protein found in egg whites. The researchers designed an RNA vaccine to target ovalbumin, which is not normally found in tumors, and showed that the vaccine stopped tumor growth and significantly prolonged survival.

Then, the researchers created a vaccine that targets a protein naturally produced by melanoma tumors, known as Trp2. This vaccine also stimulated a strong immune response that slowed tumor growth and improved survival rates in the mice.

Anderson says he plans to pursue further development of RNA cancer vaccines as well as vaccines that target infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, or Ebola.

“We think there could be broad applications for this,” he says. “A particularly exciting area to think about is diseases where there are currently no vaccines.”

The research was funded by Translate Bio and JDRF.

from MIT News

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse rings the changes for Brazil friendly

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse brings six players into the squad for next month's friendly international against Brazil in Singapore.

from BBC News - Africa

Olympian Allyson Felix breaks Usain Bolt’s record for world championship medals

U.S. Olympic team sprinter Allyson Felix won a 12th world track and field title breaking a tie the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, cementing a monumental comeback and her first gold medal after becoming a mom.

She joined in the first mixed-gender 4×400-meter relay at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar along with Americans Michael Cherry, Wil London III and Courtney Okolo for a finish of just over 3.9 seconds. Felix ran a 50.4-second split, or time she completed her leg of the relay.

READ MORE: Olympian Allyson Felix opens up about giving birth eight weeks premature last month

The nine-time Olympic gold medalist surprised her fans late last year when she gave birth to her baby girl Camryn last November, but she suffered medical complications that sent her into labor eight weeks early.

“So special, to have my daughter here watching means the world to me,” Felix told NBC Sports. “It’s been a crazy year for me.”

Felix became the first athlete since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988 to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games.  But she feared that having a child would somehow sideline her career and she struggled with trying to “live up to my pristine nice girl image”.

“Having a child felt like I’d be risking my career and disappointing everyone who expected me to always put running first,” she said previously.

She returned to running over the summer with an outspoken message about women’s rights in sports, particularly after she left Nike as a spokesperson when the athletic gear company gave her a 70 percent cut in pay after her pregnancy.

However, she fought against companies punishing women athletes for lesser performances after being pregnant.

READ MORE: Allyson Felix talks ‘Active’ schools campaign, keeping sports clean

“If we have children, we risk pay cuts from our sponsors during pregnancy and afterward. It’s one example of a sports industry where the rules are still mostly made for and by men,” she wrote in a New York Times op-ed earlier this year. She has since signed a contract with women’s sports gear maker Athleta.

The post Olympian Allyson Felix breaks Usain Bolt’s record for world championship medals appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Samuel L. Jackson Signs On as First Celebrity Voice Of Amazon’s Alexa

Can’t get enough of Samuel L. Jackson? Well, now you will be able to hear his voice in your home or car on-demand via the Amazon Alexa.

Jackson, who is known for his signature profanity-laced phrases, is the first celebrity voice slated to be used in Alexa-themed devices. Amazon’s celebrity voice feature will cost an additional 99 cents and will be featured on Amazon’s home devices as well as Amazon’s new wearable line of earbuds, eyeglasses, and a ring. More celebrity voices are expected to be added in the near future. Users will have the option to utilize one of two different versions of Jackson’s voice: an explicit edition and a non-explicit one.

Amazon made the announcement on its blog about the newly added premium feature featuring the actor. “Actor and producer Samuel L. Jackson is the first celebrity voice we’ve created for Alexa using neural text-to-speech (NTTS) technology. Simply ask Sam to tell you jokes, information about the weather, set timers and alarms, play music and more—all with a bit of his own personality. You’ll be able to interact with Samuel L. Jackson, in explicit and non-explicit versions, later this year for $0.99.”

As reported on Amazon’s corporate site, the company also revealed it will soon start selling wireless earbuds, finger rings and prescription eyeglasses with its Alexa voice assistant built-in.

“Customers want their smart home technology to make everyday tasks easier, but not at the expense of spending their whole weekend, or hiring an expert, just to get everything set up,” said Daniel Rausch, Amazon Vice President, Smart Home. “We think customers will be delighted with what we have coming this fallmore ways to find smart home devices they can set up in minutes, new Alexa features that take the stress out of being away from home, and new products that help families enjoy great meals together or just have a little fun.”

from Black Enterprise

Cory Booker says he hit his $1.7M campaign fundraising goal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says he’s hit the $1.7 million fundraising goal he set for his campaign a week ago, ensuring he has enough money to continue his White House bid.

Booker says on his website he’s “proud of this grassroots team — thank you.”

The New Jersey senator had said if he failed to raise the money by Monday he’d end his 2020 bid. The plea prompted support from politicians including former rival New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (KEER’-sten JIHL’-uh-brand) and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who hopped on an all-staff phone call Sunday to encourage Booker’s team.
Booker’s campaign manager said the money would go toward ballot access and hiring staff, among other things.

Booker raised $4.5 million during the second quarter but spent nearly $1 million more than that.

The post Cory Booker says he hit his $1.7M campaign fundraising goal appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Twitter’s grammar snobs swoop in on Antonio Brown after he seeks help

Antonio Brown hopped on the internet to ask for help in his new college class, but it didn’t go over so well for the embattled former Patriots wide receiver.

Brown who is facing accusations that he raped his former trainer Brittany Taylor and sexually exposed himself to another unnamed woman, is sitting on the sidelines after the New England Patriots released him amid the explosive claims.

READ MORE: Antonio Brown blasts Patriots, says he’s done with the NFL in Twitter rant

Brown, whose 2019 NFL year crashed within the first month of the season, slammed the NFL and decided to turn  back to education and apparently signed back up for some college classes and shared it on social media last week.

But after seeing the errors in his tweet, the Twitterverse shut the athlete down and concluded he needs help is more ways than one, Brobible reports.

Well the epic hit backs from fans was a lesson he looks like he needed.

Brown reenrolled at Central Michigan University, which he left in 2010 to enter the NFL draft after three seasons. He signed up to take Introduction to Management, Technical Writing, Death and Dying, and a Racism and Equality course, The Daily Mail reports.

“Back to school @cmuathletics,” Brown wrote on Instagram.

READ MORE: Antonio Brown signs up for college after being cut from Patriots

Brown’s legal issues

Brown was released by the New England Patriots last week after a second woman came forward and accused him of sexual harassment, following an explosive sexual assault claim by his former trainer Brittany Taylor who filed a civil suit.

After being released, Brown blasted the Patriots owner Robert Kraft pointing out Kraft’s own legal troubles involving alleged sexual solicitation at a Florida massage parlor.

He is also battling both the Raiders and the Patriots for payment of the “guaranteed” millions they reportedly owe him.

The post Twitter’s grammar snobs swoop in on Antonio Brown after he seeks help appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Oprah Winfrey gifts HBCUs with $1.15 million at United Negro College Fund event

Oprah Winfrey surprised attendees at a Charlotte fundraiser by announcing that she would match the $1.15 million it had already raised.

During the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon, when the billionaire media executive got up to speak, she asked how much money the fundraiser had brought in.

READ MORE: Oprah Winfrey launching wellness arena tour in early 2020

“We do want to make this the world record-breaking event,” Winfrey told the crowd of 1,120 people. “I believe in the power of education, there is nothing better than to open the door for someone.”

The annual event was held to raise funds for deserving college students at HBCUs to bolster their success rates, The Charlotte Observer reports.

The United Negro College event’s fundraising goal was to raise $1.15 when Winfrey blessed them with a matching gift totaling 2.3 million.

“Oprah Winfrey inspires us to live a purposeful life,” said Tiffany Jones, area development director for the UNCF.

Winfrey was close friends with Angelou, who diedin 2014. She shared with the audience the importance of leaving an indelible legacy.

“‘You have no idea what your legacy is going to be, because your legacy will be every life you touch,’” Winfrey said Angelou told her. “Your legacy is how you treat everybody.”

READ MORE: Oprah says Ta-Nehisi Coates new book moved her like ‘Beloved’ did

“Listen to the whisperer,” she continues. “Your job is to figure out the pattern of your life, the flow.”

But she joked, “Some need bricks.”

The post Oprah Winfrey gifts HBCUs with $1.15 million at United Negro College Fund event appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

GOP split over impeachment pushback as Democrats plow ahead

By LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The president’s lawyer insists the real story is a debunked conspiracy theory. A senior White House adviser blames the “deep state.” And a Republican congressman is pointing at Joe Biden’s son.

As the Democrats drive an impeachment inquiry toward a potential vote by the end of the year, President Donald Trump’s allies are struggling over how he should manage the starkest threat to his presidency. The jockeying broke into the open Sunday on the talk show circuit, with a parade of Republicans erupting into a surge of second-guessing.

At the top of the list: Rudy Giuliani’s false charge that it was Ukraine that meddled in the 2016 elections. The former New York mayor has been encouraging Ukraine to investigate both Biden and Hillary Clinton.

“I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again,” said Tom Bossert, Trump’s former homeland security adviser. “That conspiracy theory has got to go, they have to stop with that, it cannot continue to be repeated.”
Not only did Giuliani repeat it Sunday, he brandished pieces of paper he said were affidavits supporting his story.

“Tom Bossert doesn’t know what’s he’s talking about,” Guiliani said. He added that Trump was framed by the Democrats.

Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, meanwhile, noted that he’s worked in the federal government “for nearly three years.”

“I know the difference between whistleblower and a deep state operative,” Miller said. “This is a deep state operative, pure and simple.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, heatedly said Trump was merely asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to root out corruption. That, Jordan said, includes Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either of the Bidens.

Mixed messaging reflects the difficulty Republicans are having defending the president against documents released by the White House that feature Trump’s own words and actions. A partial transcript and a whistleblower complaint form the heart of the House impeachment inquiry and describe Trump pressuring a foreign president to investigate Biden’s family.

In a series of tweets Sunday night, Trump said he deserved to meet “my accuser” as well as whoever provided the whistleblower with what the president called “largely incorrect” information. He also accused Democrats of “doing great harm to our Country” in an effort to destabilize the nation and the 2020 election.

Trump has insisted the call was “perfect” and pushed to release both documents.
“He didn’t even know that it was wrong,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, describing a phone call from Trump in which the president suggested the documents would exonerate him.

But Democrats seized on them as evidence that Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” by asking for a foreign leader’s help undermining a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden. Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry and on Sunday told other Democrats that public sentiment had swung behind the probe.

By all accounts, the Democratic impeachment effort was speeding ahead with a fair amount of coordination between Pelosi, Democratic messaging experts and its political operation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that he expects the whistleblower to testify “very soon,” though details were still being worked out and no date had been set. Hearings and depositions were starting this week. Many Democrats are pushing for a vote on articles of impeachment before the end of the year, mindful of the looming 2020 elections.

Schiff said in one interview that his committee intends to subpoena Giuliani for documents and may eventually want to hear from Giuliani directly. In a separate TV appearance, Giuliani said he would not cooperate with Schiff, but then acknowledged he would do what Trump tells him. The White House did not provide an official response on whether the president would allow Giuliani to cooperate.

Lawyers for the whistleblower expressed concern about that individual’s safety, noting that some have offered a $50,000 “bounty” for the whistleblower’s identity. They said they expect the situation to become even more dangerous for their client and any other whistleblowers, as Congress seeks to investigate this matter.

On a conference call Sunday, Pelosi, traveling in Texas, urged Democrats to proceed “not with negative attitudes towards him, but a positive attitude towards our responsibility,” according to an aide on the call who shared the exchange on condition of anonymity. Polling, Pelosi said, had changed “drastically” in the Democrats’ favor.

A one-day NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted Sept. 25 found that about half of Americans — 49% — approve of the House formally starting an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

There remains a stark partisan divide on the issue, with 88% of Democrats approving and 93% of Republicans disapproving of the inquiry. But the findings suggest some movement in opinions on the issue. Earlier polls conducted throughout Trump’s presidency have consistently found a majority saying he should not be impeached and removed from office.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York urged the caucus to talk about impeachment by repeating the words “betrayal, abuse of power, national security.” The Democrats’ campaign arm swung behind lawmakers to support the impeachment drive as they run for reelection, according to another call participant to spoke on condition of anonymity.

The contrast with the Republicans’ selection of responses was striking.

A combative House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said that nothing in Trump’s phone call rose to the level of an impeachable offense.

“Why would we move forward on impeachment?” the California Republican said. “There’s not something that you have to defend here.”

Bossert, an alumnus of Republican George W. Bush’s administration, offered a theory and some advice to Trump: Move past the fury over the 2016 Russia investigation, in which special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of conspiracy but plenty of examples of Trump’s obstruction.

“I honestly believe this president has not gotten his pound of flesh yet from past grievances on the 2016 investigation,” Bossert said. “If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.”

Two advisers to the Biden campaign sent a letter Sunday urging major news networks to stop booking Giuliani on their shows, accusing Trump’s personal attorney of spreading “false, debunked conspiracy theories” on behalf of the president. The letter to management and anchors of shows at ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News added: “By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.”
Giuliani appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’ “Face the Nation,” while Schiff was interviewed on ABC and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Bossert spoke on ABC and Miller on “Fox News Sunday.” Jordan appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Pelosi and McCarthy appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington; writer Bill Barrow in Atlanta; and AP Polling Director Emily Swanson contributed to this report.
Follow Kellman on Twitter at

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from theGrio

iPhones, Wearables, Plant Music: Things We Loved This Month

Plus: The best handheld console for playing a videogame involving an obnoxious goose.

from Wired

Tekashi 6ix9ine is optimistic people will forget his ‘snitching’ ways, report says

Troubled rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine has been singing like a canary during his federal racketeering trial and reportedly believes things will be popping post-prison and that his haters will soon forget that he ever blew the whistle on the inner workings of the gang he was once affiliated with.

According to TMZ Tekashi, whose given name is Daniel Hernandez, thinks all will be well once he leaves prison. The rapper cut a plea deal with the feds that required him to give up names of top drug lords and testify against the Nine Trey Bloods gang in exchange for an early release.

Unnamed sources tell the website that he feels anyone angry at him over his testimony is jealous of him and are threatened by him. He also reportedly believes when he’s released his popularity will flourish. Tekashi’s attorney, Dawn Florio, did not comment on the report.

READ MORE: Cardi B denies being a member of Nine Trey Gangster Bloods as claimed by Tekashi 6ix9ine

Tekashi is reportedly turning down witness protection and wants to continue his rap career despite the obvious danger he and his family are in due to a broad perception that he has become a “snitch.”

But Tekashi seems to think people will turn the other cheek and forgive and forget once he’s back on the block doing his music again.

But Tekashi will have to face a skeptical hip hop culture given the sideeye he’s been given by people like 21 Savage and 50 Cent. He reportedly plans to hire his own bodyguards to protect him around the clock so he can continue his rap career.

Tekashi’s deal with the feds earned him a reduced possible 47-year sentence for cooperating with prosecutors.

Celebrities and fans have heavily discussed Tekashi on social media naming many of his friends linked to his former gang, the Nine Trey Bloods while on trial.

The “Gummo” rapper is said to have implicated Trippie ReddCardi BJim Jones, and Casanova in his testimony in court.

READ MORE: Tekashi 6ix9ine brings “retired rapper” Jim Jones name into his courtroom bombshell

Music executive J. Prince, says Tekashi was rat material from the start. Moreover, the CEO of Houston-based label Rap-A-Lot Records maintains that the Brooklyn rapper is surely going to get what’s coming to him, according to TMZ.

He describes Tekashi as a “clown,” claims that the rapper’s most recent testimony about last year’s robbery was a “complete lie.”

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from theGrio

How to Make GIFs on Your Smartphone or Laptop

GIFs rule the internet. Here's how to hit a perfect loop every time.

from Wired

Male high school senior at Memphis school crowned ‘Homecoming Royalty’

For Brandon Allen, being crowned homecoming queen was a dream come true for the Memphis Tennessee high school senior, despite being male.

“I decided to wear a dress because I strongly believe in the fact that I’m a queen,”the LGBTQ teen.

On Friday, his wish came true when his peers elected him to a gender neutral new title: Homecoming Royalty of White Station High School.

READ MORE: Victories by transgender high school girl runners spark controversy over competition

“When I won I felt so relieved and so happy because I had been fighting for something that I wanted for the longest amount of time and then I finally got it,” Allen, 17, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Allen’s homecoming court picture with him donning a sparkly gold dress made its rounds on social media to  a mix of reactions from those who embraced him and others who were critical.

The school shared the WSHS senior’s image holding a bouquet of flowers on Facebook. They also shared the image on Twitter. The school’s principal Carrye Holland said she was proud students exercised their right to choose who they wanted.

“It’s the students’ choice of who they want to support as homecoming royalty,” said Holland. “I’m exceedingly proud to be the principal of our amazing school. WSHS loves and supports everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe.”

The superintendent shared Holland’s sentiments.

“The District is committed to ensuring a positive and respectful school environment where everyone is treated with dignity,” said Joris M. Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools in Memphis. “Homecoming queen and king is a tradition based 100 percent on student votes. As Superintendent, I support student voice and expression.”

READ MORE: An irate Malik Yoba reportedly leaves interview after questions on transgender sex workers

Allen was thankful to his school community of peers and staff for helping him make a dream come true after two unsuccessful attempts at homecoming court during his sophomore and junior years.

“Majority of the school population was supporting me,” he said. “It’s because I’m such a social bird.”

The post Male high school senior at Memphis school crowned ‘Homecoming Royalty’ appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Amber Guyger murder trial continued on Saturday, Botham Jean’s 27th birthday

Over the weekend, testimony in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger continued. Guyger is on trial for fatally shooting Botham Jean twice in the chest after entering is apartment by mistake last September. Jean would have celebrated his 27th birthday on Saturday if he had lived to see it.

On the same day, Judge Tammy Kemp called for the case to proceed, but determined that the jury did not need to be present for the testimony of the first witness.

Expert testimony began with retired Dallas ISD Police Chief, Craig Miller, who said that Guyger may have suffered from something called, “Inattentional blindness,” when she first came to Jean’s doorway. Miller explained that this is when any person temporarily filters out visual images that are noticeable because he or she is focused on one some other primary object or target, but he could not say definitely that Guyger suffered from this phenomenon.

READ MORE: As Amber Guyger, the former cop who killed Botham Jean, stands trial, his sister seeks justice

Miller testified that in his 37-years of being on the police force, the first shot is usually the most accurate when officer’s shoot their weapon. He also said that it would be logical for Jean to have “ducked” when Guyger entered his apartment with her gun drawn. Based upon the facts, Miller believes that Guyger’s use of force in this scenario was reasonable.

Judge Kemp took it upon herself to ask a number of questions to better understand the state of “Inattentional blindness,” and upon the conclusion of Miller’s testimony, decided that it would be fair to allow the jury to hear his expertise on that subject alone. She, however, would not allow his testimony on whether or not Guyger’s actions were “reasonable,” the use of deadly force was reasonable or on the logical assumptions of how Jean reacted and moved that night.

“If that’s the conclusion that a jury wishes to reach, I don’t believe they need experts to tell them that,” said Kemp.

READ MORE: Dallas Judge decided Amber Guyger’s murder trial will remain in Dallas following jury selection

After taking a break, the jury returned and the court briefly brought lead investigator, Texas Ranger David Armstrong back on the stand to talk about the stress Guyger encountered during the shooting. It was determined that Armstrong, who has previously said that he believes Guyger did not commit a crime, can only testify to his abilities as an expert, and not regarding what Guyger may or may not have been thinking at the time of the shooting, which would be speculation.

This all followed an extremely emotional day of testimony from Guyger herself who took the stand on Friday to testify that she was genuinely afraid for her life when she shot Jean after entering the wrong apartment.

After the 31-year old broke down in tears twice on the stand, she claimed that she shot Jean in self-defense claiming that he came towards her as she shouted at him to show his hands.

“I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life and I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day,” Guyger told the jury.

If the jury believes that Guyger acted in self-defense and her actions were reasonable, she will be acquitted of all charges.

The trial resumes on Monday at 9:30 a.m.(CT), but there is speculation that the defense will rest its case followed by closing arguments.

Wendy L. Wilson is the managing editor of theGrio. Follow her rants, raves, and reviews on Twitter @WendyLWilson_

The post Amber Guyger murder trial continued on Saturday, Botham Jean’s 27th birthday appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Uganda appoint McKinstry as new Cranes coach

Former Rwanda and Sierra Leone coach Johnny McKinstry is appointed coach of Uganda on a three-year deal.

from BBC News - Africa

Inside Pioneer: May the Best Silicon Valley Hustler Win

Submit a project. Rack up points by completing quests. Post weekly updates. This is tech culture distilled into a game—with real consequences.

from Wired

Today’s Cartoon: Work Trips

When microdosing and microeconomics meet.

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SportPesa halts gambling business in Kenya

The football club's sponsor, SportPesa, halts operations in the east Africa nation after new gaming taxes.

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Jihadists 'attack US Baledogle training base in Somalia'

Al-Shabab militants reportedly blasted through the gates and sent fighters inside.

from BBC News - Africa

Nigeria police raid Lagos ‘baby factory’

Victims were raped with the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the children, police say.

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How to dismantle a nuclear bomb

How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don’t, for the most part. When countries sign arms reduction pacts, they do not typically grant inspectors complete access to their nuclear technologies, for fear of giving away military secrets.

Instead, past U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaties have called for the destruction of the delivery systems for nuclear warheads, such as missiles and planes, but not the warheads themselves. To comply with the START treaty, for example, the U.S. cut the wings off B-52 bombers and left them in the Arizona desert, where Russia could visually confirm the airplanes’ dismemberment.

It’s a logical approach but not a perfect one. Stored nuclear warheads might not be deliverable in a war, but they could still be stolen, sold, or accidentally detonated, with disastrous consequences for human society.

“There’s a real need to preempt these kinds of dangerous scenarios and go after these stockpiles,” says Areg Danagoulian, an MIT nuclear scientist. “And that really means a verified dismantlement of the weapons themselves.”

Now MIT researchers led by Danagoulian have successfully tested a new high-tech method that could help inspectors verify the destruction of nuclear weapons. The method uses neutron beams to establish certain facts about the warheads in question — and, crucially, uses an isotopic filter that physically encrypts the information in the measured data.

A paper detailing the experiments, “A physically cryptographic warhead verification system using neutron induced nuclear resonances,” is being published today in Nature Communications. The authors are Danagoulian, who is the Norman C. Rasmussen Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, and graduate student Ezra Engel. Danagoulian is the corresponding author.

High-stakes testing

The experiment builds on previous theoretical work, by Danagoulian and other members of his research group, who last year published two papers detailing computer simulations of the system. The testing took place at the Gaerttner Linear Accelerator (LINAC) Facility on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, using a 15-meter long section of the facility’s neutron-beam line.

Nuclear warheads have a couple of characteristics that are central to the experiment. They tend to use particular isotopes of plutonium — varieties of the element that have different numbers of neutrons. And nuclear warheads have a distinctive spatial arrangement of materials.

The experiments consisted of sending a horizontal neutron beam first through a proxy of the warhead, then through a lithium filter scrambling the information. The beam’s signal was then sent to a glass detector, where a signature of the data, representing some of its key properties, was recorded. The MIT tests were performed using molybdenum and tungsten, two metals that share significant properties with plutonium and served as viable proxies for it.

The test works, first of all, because the neutron beam can identify the isotope in question.

“At the low energy range, the neutrons’ interactions are extremely isotope-specific,” Danagoulian says. “So you do a measurement where you have an isotopic tag, a signal which itself embeds information about the isotopes and the geometry. But you do an additional step which physically encrypts it.”

That physical encryption of the neutron beam information alters some of the exact details, but still allows scientists to record a distinct signature of the object and then use it to perform object-to-object comparisons. This alteration means a country can submit to the test without divulging all the details about how its weapons are engineered.

“This encrypting filter basically covers up the intrinsic properties of the actual classified object itself,” Danagoulian explains.

It would also be possible just to send the neutron beam through the warhead, record that information, and then encrypt it on a computer system. But the process of physical encryption is more secure, Danagoulian notes: “You could, in principle, do it with computers, but computers are unreliable. They can be hacked, while the laws of physics are immutable.”

The MIT tests also included checks to make sure that inspectors could not reverse-engineer the process and thus deduce the weapons information countries want to keep secret.

To conduct a weapons inspection, then, a host country would present a warhead to weapons inspectors, who could run the neutron-beam test on the materials. If it passes muster, they could run the test on every other warhead intended for destruction as well, and make sure that the data signatures from those additional bombs match the signature of the original warhead.

For this reason, a country could not, say, present one real nuclear warhead to be dismantled, but bamboozle inspectors with a series of identical-looking fake weapons. And while many additional protocols would have to be arranged to make the whole process function reliably, the new method plausibly balances both disclosure and secrecy for the parties involved.

The human element

Danagoulian believes putting the new method through the testing stage has been a significant step forward for his research team.

“Simulations capture the physics, but they don’t capture system instabilities,” Danagoulian says. “Experiments capture the whole world.”

In the future, he would like to build a smaller-scale version of the testing apparatus, one that would be just 5 meters long and could be mobile, for use at all weapons sites.

“The purpose of our work is to create these concepts, validate them, prove that they work through simulations and experiments, and then have the National Laboratories to use them in their set of verification techniques,” Danagoulian says, referring to U.S. Department of Energy scientists.

Karl van Bibber, a professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, who has read the group’s papers, says “the work is promising and has taken a large step forward,” but adds that “there is yet a ways to go” for the project. More specifically, van Bibber notes, in the recent tests it was easier to detect fake weapons based on the isotopic characteristics of the materials rather than their spatial arrangements. He believes testing at the relevant U.S. National Laboratories — Los Alamos or Livermore — would help further assess the verification techniques on sophisticated missile designs.

Overall, van Bibber adds, speaking of the researchers, “their persistence is paying off, and the treaty verification community has got to be paying attention.”

Danagoulian also emphasizes the seriousness of nuclear weapons disarmament. A small cluster of several modern nuclear warheads, he notes, equals the destructive force of every armament fired in World War II, including the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The U.S. and Russia possess about 13,000 nuclear weapons between them.

“The concept of nuclear war is so big that it doesn’t [normally] fit in the human brain,” Danagoulian says. “It’s so terrifying, so horrible, that people shut it down.”

In Danagoulian’s case, he also emphasizes that, in his case, becoming a parent greatly increased his sense that action is needed on this issue, and helped spur the current research project.

“It put an urgency in my head,” Danagoulian says. “Can I use my knowledge and my skill and my training in physics to do something for society and for my children? This is the human aspect of the work.”

The research was supported, in part, by a U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Award.

from MIT News

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Egypt protests: Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah arrested amid rare unrest

Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was freed from jail in March, is reportedly accused of publishing fake news.

from BBC News - Africa

Harry: Protecting nature doesn't make me a hippy

The Duke of Sussex calls on humanity to overcome "greed, apathy and selfishness" and protect nature.

from BBC News - Africa

Uganda's Solomon Serwanjja wins BBC World News Komla Dumor award

Ugandan journalist Solomon Serwanjja is this year's winner of the BBC World News Komla Dumor award.

from BBC News - Africa

FL Commissioner calls out cop for wrongful arrest and gets berated by city officials, but praised by Ava Duvernay and others

Recently Elberg Mike Gelin, a commissioner for the city of Tamarac, FL, called out sheriff deputy Joshua Gallardo for wrongfully arresting him four years prior, at an event being held in honor of Gallardo by the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO).

The public confrontation took place on Wednesday (September 25), when Officer Gallardo went in front of Commissioner Gelin and other city officials to accept an award for “Deputy of the Month.” Shortly after receiving his award, Gelin called Gallardo back to the front of the room, in what most assumed would be an extended congratulatory remark.

Instead, Gelin proceeded to call the officer out.

“Joshua Gallardo, will you come down for a second? It’s good to see you again. You probably don’t remember me but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” Gelin started.

READ MORE: Prosecution rests in Amber Guyger murder trial while defense team now prepares to get the former Dallas officer off

The commissioner continued, “You lied on the police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here.” Gallardo then gave the commissioner a thumbs-up, before going back to his seat.


The past incident in question took place four years prior, when Gallardo arrested Gelin, who was attempting to record a “victim of battery,” outside of a Salvation Army.

Gelin, who at the time was not an elected official, claimed that at least 15 other onlookers were on the scene, and that Gallardo singled him out because he was recording. Gallardo’s arrest report alleged that Gelin was directly behind him, did not comply to move back from the scene. Gallardo arrested Gelin for “resisting without violence.”

“I advised the black male to move back, that this is a crime scene,” Gallardo wrote in his report, according to the document obtained by Buzzfeed News. “He advised he was recording the incident and that he did not have to move.”

Gelin, however, denied ever being directly behind Gallardo, and the state attorney later didn’t pursue charges against Gelin.

READ MORE: Police officer placed on leave after calling students ‘N-word’ and ‘monkeys’

Gelin spoke on his decision to speak up on the incident four years later.

“It was a traumatizing experience that was played out many times in my head. I had a flashback and so I spoke up,” he told Buzzfeed News.

The mayor of Tamarac, Michelle Gomez, referred to the incident as embarrassing, and that she initially believed the commissioner “had something nice to say,” to the officer.

“It was supposed to be an all-smiles day,” Mayor Gomez told the Sun-Sentinal. “I was embarrassed… We were all shocked. Nobody expected this. It was a nice event to honor our BSO, our deputies.”

READ MORE: NAACP blasts Comcast and DOJ for attacking civil rights protections for Black people

BSO released a statement on their official Facebook page, calling the incident an “insult,” and further berated Gelin on his decision to confront Gallardo at the event.

Meanwhile, Gelin has received a ton of support from those not in attendance. Activist Shaun King not only shared the video on his own page, famed director Ava Duvernay also tweeted a show of support to Gelin, saying “Stay strong.”

Fellow citizens and supporters also took to Twitter to tweet their support of Gelin:


The post FL Commissioner calls out cop for wrongful arrest and gets berated by city officials, but praised by Ava Duvernay and others appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Tristan Thompson’s video of daddy-daughter day with True will melt your heart

Recently NBA player Tristan Thompson uploaded a video of him and his daughter, True Thompson, enjoying a daddy-daughter day at Universal Studios Hollywood.

In a short clip uploaded to Thompson’s Instagram page, the Cleveland Cavalier power forward and center is pushing one-year-old True in a stroller through the theme park, going on baby-friendly rides, and even winning an elated True a stuffed animal and prize.

READ MORE: Tristan Thompson speaks on baby True for first time since her birth

The 28-year-old father of two captioned the video with a few special words for his favorite little girl.

“This made my heart smile. I choose to not share too much about my kids on social but this video I couldn’t resist. One of my most cherished and prized roles is being a Dad,” Thompson wrote. He ended with the sentiment “Daddy loves you!”

How sweet!

Just last month, Thompson addressed cheating allegations against baby mother Khloe Kardashian. Thompson came to the defense of the 35-year-old reality star, saying that he was single when they hooked up, despite rumors that he left his then-pregnant son’s mother, Jordan Craig, for Kardashian.

“When I met Khloe I was SINGLE. The negative comments that are constantly being directed towards [Khloe] are unnecessary. She does not deserve all this backlash for my wrong doings,” Thompson tweeted.

The athlete then commended Jordan and Khloe for being “great mothers” to his son, Prince Thompson, and daughter, True.

“Both Khloè and Jordan have been nothing but great mothers to my kids.”

READ MORE: All is forgiven? Khloé Kardashian and daughter, True, moving to Cleveland to be with Tristan Thompson

Thompson’s statement came after months of fans ripping Kardashian apart for her comments towards former family friend, Jordyn Woods, for sharing a kiss with Thompson at a party. This led to the reality star calling the 20-year-old Woods out for “ruining her family,” which many found to be hypocritical on Khloe’s part.

Glad to see that at the end of the day, the kids are being left out of the drama.

The post Tristan Thompson’s video of daddy-daughter day with True will melt your heart appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Is You Holiday Resort Built On Indigenous Land?

By Rina Chandran

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Thailand’s indigenous people risk losing more of their land to hotels and national parks amid an unchecked tourism boom that has marginalized them, human rights groups warned on Friday.

Bangkok was the world’s most visited city for a fourth year in 2018, drawing nearly 23 million visitors, according to Mastercard. Many tourists go on to Thailand’s sandy beaches in the south and national parks in the north.

As demand for land for hotels and other tourism facilities grows, authorities are targeting indigenous land, said Emilie Pradichit, director of human rights group Manushya Foundation, which this week published a report on Thai indigenous rights.

“Indigenous people do not have legal recognition of their collective and individual land and resource rights, so they are often subject to forced evictions,” she said.

“Authorities promise them jobs in the tourism industry, but these do not compensate for the loss of their land,” she said.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand did not respond to requests for comment.

There are about 6 million indigenous people in Thailand, making up over 9% of the country’s population.

Large swathes of land across the country have been designated as forest reserves and national parks over the years, depriving many communities of their customary land rights, Pradichit said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of indigenous people have been charged with trespass and evicted under the forest reclamation order of 2014.

The National Parks Act, aimed at boosting conservation, imposes strict penalties on forest dwellers.

The Urak Lawoi indigenous community in Phuket, a key tourism destination, has battled evictions for years with legal petitions.

“We would like our children to live on the land of our forefathers, but we don’t have documents, so we can be evicted any time,” said Jitti Pramongkrit from Sampum village in Phuket.

A 2010 Thai Cabinet resolution to respect the traditions of Karen indigenous people and the Chao Lay, and allow them access to national parks, has not been implemented, land rights activists said.

Last month, the environment minister told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government would review conflicting land claims in national parks, and set up a working group to resolve cases involving indigenous people.

Globally, indigenous and local communities own more than half of all land under customary rights. Yet they only have secure legal rights to 10%, according to Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative.

Palm oil estates in Indonesia and pineapple plantations in the Philippines have uprooted indigenous people from their land, human rights groups said this week.

They also face violence: more than 59 Thai land and environmental activists have been killed or have disappeared over the last 20 years, according to advocacy group Protection International.

Earlier this month, Thai police said a skull fragment found in a scorched oil drum in a reservoir belonged to Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, an indigenous Karen land rights activist who went missing in 2014.

Pholachi had been protesting evictions in the Kaeng Krachan National Park, which authorities wanted to be declared a World Heritage Site to draw more tourists.

“The authorities say we can get good jobs, but they only want us to dress up and pose for tourists,” said Noraeri Tungmuangtong, co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand.

“We belong here, and the government must respect our culture and our right to the land,” she said.

(Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran; Editing by Michael Taylor. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit

from Black Enterprise