‘Mr Gay Syria’: film documents lives of LGBTI Syrian refugees

June 24, 2017

(CNN)When “Mr Gay Syria” premiered at the Sheffield Film Festival in England this June, it took viewers by surprise. Turkish director and journalist Ayse Toprak chronicles the lives of Hussein Sabat and Mahmoud Hassino, as an usual quest brings them together. How do you think LGBTI issues relate to the Syrian crisis? A lot of people feel that we shouldn’t be talking about LGBTI in the Arab world, or in relation to the Syrian crisis, because it’s too …

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Would Trump make a good royal?

June 23, 2017

(CNN)The power of the British monarchy has been on display during recent tragedies. Leave it to Prince Harry to spoil it all. Who, after all, could survive the nonstop attention and demand for selfies? Who would thrive under such scrutiny, and do it all while wearing a gold crown weighing more than three pounds? It would take a certain type of person. The sort of person who fills his court with relatives, perhaps, who thinks the separation of powers is a foreign concept, and …

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Ousted South Korean president’s confidante Choi Soon-sil sentenced

June 23, 2017

Seoul (CNN)The confidante of South Korea’s ousted president has been sentenced to three years jail for her role in a corruption scandal that brought down the country’s leader and roiled its political and business elite. Choi, who has been described as a Rasputin-like character to the ousted leader, is also on trial for abuse of power and fraud. Park went on trial for corruption last month in a case that has gripped the country. …

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One week. 52 senators. Can Mitch McConnell get it done?

June 23, 2017

Washington (CNN)The math isn’t there yet for Mitch McConnell. The swift rejection may be a negotiating ploy, but the public nature of it is a reminder for McConnell of the deep reservations running through his own conference on a proposal that conservatives do not believe goes far enough to repeal Obamacare — and the monumental challenge that lies ahead as he looks for 50 “yes” votes. Protesters dragged away from senator’s office …

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Has the identity of elusive street artist Banksy been revealed?

June 23, 2017

(CNN)British DJ Goldie might just have spoiled one of modern art’s biggest mysteries: The identity of street artist Banksy. From corruption to war to revolution, Banksy applies artistic license to inject a hint of irony, even comedy, into his artistic statements on international affairs. In March of this year, the artist opened an elaborate boutique art hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank, where ornate dcor brought life to lavish murals. An impartial haven in a polarized …

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Saving the twins: Health scares and rehab for once-conjoined boys

June 23, 2017

Valhalla, New York (CNN)Nicole McDonald eases her silver minivan across Bear Mountain Bridge and hooks a right onto the steep two-lane highway. Nicole makes this trip every day from her home in upstate New York to see her twin sons, Jadon and Anias. The 21-month-old boys are at Blythedale Children’s Hospital 40 miles to the south, where they’ve been undergoing rehabilitation since mid-December. The twins, born joined at the head, captured the world’s attention after a …

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Georgia 6th loss isn’t the death knell for Democrats

June 23, 2017

(CNN)The facile headlines the morning after the Georgia 6th donnybrook wrote themselves: Politics ain’t horseshoes. A loss is a loss and Democrats lost a race they had hoped to win Tuesday night. Republicans escaped a disaster that would have sent tremors through Capitol Hill. The shaky effort to scrap Obamacare escaped a potentially deadly setback, as a loss would have further shaken timorous Senate Republicans at a critical juncture. …

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What an autopsy may (or may not) have revealed about Otto Warmbier’s death

June 22, 2017

(CNN)What happened to Otto Warmbier while he was in North Korean custody is a mystery. And it’s likely to remain that way. Following his death on Monday, Warmbier’s parents Cindy and Fred asked the coroner not to perform an autopsy on their son. “No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier’s death have been drawn at this time, as there are additional medical records and imaging to review and people to interview,” the statement said. …

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After cop shot Castile, 4-year-old worried her mom would be next

June 22, 2017

(CNN)The 4-year-old girl tried to calm her distraught mother, Diamond Reynolds, as both of them cried in the back of a police car. As they spent the next agonizing moments struggling to grasp what they had witnessed, their emotional interaction in the police car was captured in a video that was released Wednesday. A shaken Reynolds let out a painful scream, sobbing and cursing, in the video shown by CNN affiliate WCCO. This frightened the little girl, who became worried …

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Friend or food? China’s ‘civil war’ over dogs

June 22, 2017

(CNN)It’s an international public relations disaster for China. People worldwide condemn the event and call for an end to the country’s dog meat trade. Within China, where dogs are increasingly seen as pets rather than dinner, opposition to the festival is growing. Why not end dog meat trade? So, why won’t the Yulin authorities publicly denounce the festival and end the trade? First, dog meat consumption is not illegal. At a time when the consumption happens …

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Philando Castile shooting: Dashcam video shows rapid event

June 21, 2017

(CNN)What’s most shocking is how fast it happened. Until Tuesday, few people had seen the dashcam video from July 6, 2016, when Officer Jeronimo Yanez killed Castile in Minnesota. It was shown in court during Yanez’s trial. Yanez tells Castile his brake lights are out. The video does not show Yanez’s point of view or the inside of Castile’s car, where his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were passengers. Yanez asks for …

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Hanok homes: South Korean architects look to the past in their push to modernize

June 21, 2017

(CNN)South Korea may be known for its sharp focus on the new, but architects — and their increasingly sophisticated clients — are looking to the past for inspiration. “Historically, the prevalent view was that the hanok was useless — it was blocking development and economic progress,” says Hyumgmin Pai, an architectural historian at Seoul National University who curated South Korea’s award-winning pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. “Now …

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Senate intel digs for more Michael Flynn documents

June 21, 2017

(CNN)The leaders of the Senate Russia investigation are probing for more information from former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a process that is ongoing as he provides additional documents in response to their subpoenas. Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the investigation, said they planned to discuss more what they were looking for in the second batch of documents they are seeking from Flynn. …

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Warmbier death raises pressure on White House

June 20, 2017

Washington (CNN)Otto Warmbier’s death as a result of his treatment in North Korea could increase calls for the US to take a tougher line on China, as the two nations prepare to meet in Washington on Wednesday. It’s an approach that resembles the Obama administration strategy and, observers say, has shown no greater success in slowing Pyongyang’s steady march towards developing nuclear weapons and the missile capability to deliver them as far as North America. …

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Rock band The Slants’ victory in court secures your rights

June 20, 2017

(CNN)In the 1971 free speech case, Cohen v. California, the Supreme Court said, “One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” That rings very true today. Now, I get to say: “I told you so.” Join us on Twitter and Facebook Justice Kennedy summed it up perfectly: “By mandating positivity, the law here might silence dissent and distort the marketplace of ideas.” Today, because of a little-known band and a naughty word, you are all more …

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Jews, Christians and Muslims make holy ground in America’s heartland

June 19, 2017

Omaha, Nebraska (CNN)When most people think of Omaha, they imagine sizzling steaks, billionaire Warren Buffet or even former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning calling out before the snap. (Remember “Omaha-Omaha”?). A rabbi, a reverend and an imam (no, it’s not a setup joke) are partners in a decadelong quest to bring together the three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — to share and worship on the same property. …

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Guns kill nearly 1,300 US children each year, study says

June 19, 2017

(CNN)Rambunctious third-graders filled a classroom in Seattle on a crisp autumn day. One of the students dropped his backpack, and horror ensued. Weiser treated that third-grader’s gunshot wound while completing a fellowship at Harborview Medical Center in Washington in 2011. “That would have an impact in the home — where, again, properly secure it — but even if the child or young adult does find the gun, they can’t use it because …

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Hospital designs that are changing the way you’re cared for

June 19, 2017

(CNN)While the healthcare system in America is in a state of crisis, the hospitals, care centers and research facilities that make up the industry — in the States and abroad — have never looked better. “We’re seeing a lot of intersections with corporate America, retail, hospitality and civic [architecture],” she says. “It’s about: How do you attract and retain your community and your patients? How do you attract and retain doctors and …

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Buying Whole Foods could be Amazon’s Waterloo

June 19, 2017

(CNN)When Jeff Bezos made his now-mythical car journey across the country to Seattle, he dreamed up the idea of an online store that could sell everything. The founder and chief executive of Amazon started with books, then moved into other products. The one sector of the retail market Amazon does not have a significant toe-hold in is the gigantic $800 billion a year grocery market. That is until now. With the deal to buy Whole Foods, the online retailer now has a small slice of the grocery …

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Portugal fire leaves 57 people dead, dozens injured

June 18, 2017

(CNN)A raging wildfire killed 57 people and injured dozens more in Portugal, with some victims burned to death in their cars as they tried to flee, officials said. Some victims got stuck in their cars and on the side of the road in what officials described as the “greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years.” The blaze spread Saturday onto Pedrogao Grande town, forcing residents to try and leave the town to escape towering flames. …

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A warning to Washington from Kansas

June 17, 2017

(CNN)Last week, Republican state legislators in Kansas finally acknowledged what we have known since 2012: Gov. Sam Brownback’s “Kansas Experiment” burdened our businesses, wrecked our state’s finances, and mortgaged our children’s future, all in the name of giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Kansas’ job growth actually declined since Brownback’s tax giveaway to the most well-off Kansans. We’ve fallen 47,000 jobs short of the promise made by the …

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