A Thai woman raising one of the babies she gave birth to as a surrogate may soon receive help from the Australian government.
Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, was left with Gammy after his biological parents went back to Australia with only his healthy twin sister. Gammy, now seven months old, has Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition. Pattaramon said she's not mad at Gammy's mother and father and is "always willing to forgive them," but does "want to see that they love the baby girl as much as my family loves Gammy. I want her to be well taken care of."
As The Associated Press reports, in Australia, it is illegal to pay a surrogate mother; it can be done for free, but the surrogate then has the right to keep the child and not give it to the biological parents. In some states, including Western Australia where Gammy's biological parents live, it is legal to pay a surrogate living abroad. On Monday, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB the law is "very, very murky," and the government is "taking a close look at what can be done here, but I wouldn't want to raise any false hopes or expectations. We are dealing with something that has happened in another country's jurisdiction."
He added that Pattaramon is "an absolute hero" and "a saint."
Pattaramon said a surrogacy agency in Bangkok promised her 300,000 bhat, or $9,300, but never paid following the twins' birth in December. She also said the agency knew about Gammy's health issues when she was four to five months into the pregnancy, but doctors waited until she was seven months along to tell her and then suggested she abort him. "I asked them, 'Are you still humans?'" she told The Associated Press. "I really wanted to know."
There is some immediate assistance on the way for Pattaramon; an Australian charity called Hands Across the Water has raised $200,000 for Gammy since July 22. Catherine Garcia
A Florida elementary school teacher who does not speak Spanish is suing the local school board after she was denied a job teaching recent immigrants in both English and Spanish, The Guardian reports. Tracy Rosner claims that she is "otherwise fully qualified for the job," and that not hiring her amounts to "employment discrimination on the basis of race and national origin."
In a story by New York's Gabriel Sherman published Friday, former Fox News employee Laurie Luhn detailed alleged harassment by former network chief Roger Ailes over a span of more than two decades. The explosive account chronicles Luhn's experience of alleged harassment at Ailes' hands beginning in the summer of 1988 and running through 2011, when she signed a settlement with Fox News that included "extensive nondisclosure provisions," Sherman writes.
By Luhn's account, the first instance of outright harassment by Ailes occurred Jan. 16, 1991:
Luhn put on the black garter and stockings she said Ailes had instructed her to buy; he called it her uniform. Ailes sat on a couch. "Go over there. Dance for me," she recalled him saying. [...] When she had finished dancing, Ailes told her to get down on her knees in front of him, she said, and put his hands on her temples. As she recalled, he began speaking to her slowly and authoritatively, as if he were some kind of Svengali: "Tell me you will do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. At any time, at any place when I call. No matter where I call you, no matter where you are. Do you understand? You will follow orders. If I tell you to put on your uniform, what are you gonna do, Laurie? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO, LAURIE?" [...] Ailes asked her to perform oral sex, she said. [New York]
Luhn told Sherman that Ailes demanded phone sex and regular hotel-room meet-ups, though "it was always the on-my-knees, hold-my-temples routine. There was no affair, no sex, no love." Luhn also said several Fox employees deduced she was sexually involved with Ailes, especially as she began moving up in the company. Several Fox employees were implicated in Luhn's account — some by name and some anonymously — and while many declined to comment, several confirmed certain parts of Luhn's telling of events.
As Sherman notes, "so far, most of the women who have spoken publicly about harassment by Ailes ... had said no to Ailes' sexual advances. ... This is the account of a woman who chose to go along with what Roger Ailes wanted." Ailes has denied all allegations against him, and last week resigned from the network. Read Luhn's entire story, synthesized by Sherman, at New York. Kimberly Alters
Audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21 percent in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association. Revenue from audiobook downloads in the U.S. grew 38 percent last year from 2014, while revenue from e-books actually declined by 11 percent. "People listen to audiobooks while traveling, exercising, gardening, and relaxing at home," the Journal explains. "They switch devices from one activity to the next, listening on smartphones, tablets, computers, and MP3 players." And audiobook readers are spending a lot of time listening. "Many, many millions of people give us on average two hours a day," said Donald Katz, founder of audiobook market leader Audible.
Higher-paid CEOs underperform compared with their lower-paid counterparts, according to a study of 429 public companies by research firm MSCI. The average shareholder returns for firms with the lowest-paid CEOs were 39 percent higher over a 10-year period than those for firms with the highest-paid CEOs. "In fact," the MSCI report states, "even after adjusting for company size and sector, companies with lower total summary CEO pay levels more consistently displayed higher long-term investment returns."
Questions of Russian hacking were raised once again Friday when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a group that raises money for House Democratic candidates, admitted that it too had been hacked. The committee's announcement came just a week after thousands of Democratic National Committee emails were posted on WikiLeaks as a result of a hack suspected to have been sanctioned by the Russian government. The Guardian reported that "intrusion investigators" say the hack at the DCCC looks a lot like the DNC breach.
The committee said it is "cooperating with federal law enforcement with respect to their ongoing investigation." At this point, it remains unclear exactly who was behind the hack, though it's believed to have taken place from "at least June 19 to June 27, though it may have been longer," Reuters reported. That would imply the DCCC breach occurred just days after the DNC first publicly announced it had been hacked. Becca Stanek
If you wish to give your child a fairy-tale bedroom has no price ceiling, here's your chance. The Fantasy Air Balloon Bed and Sofa (approximately $25,100) turns bedtime into a joyride and dreams into fanciful journeys. Created by a Portuguese company that also manufactures beds shaped like seashells, rockets, and 1960s VW Microbuses, this piece features a fabric top that appears to be a balloon rising through the ceiling, plus a base made from a solid wood frame wrapped in hand-woven wicker. The bed includes a remote-controlled light and sound system that can generate additional magic.
Mike Pence must've briefly blanked on the fact that he's Donald Trump's running mate Friday when he decided to go after President Obama for "name-calling." Pence apparently found it distasteful that Obama dared to suggest Trump is a "demagogue" during his Wednesday address to the Democratic National Convention, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: "I don't think name-calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the president of the United States would use a term like that."
Obama, however, didn't even directly attach the word "demagogue" to Trump's name — a precaution Trump certainly didn't take when he dubbed Hillary Clinton as "Crooked Hillary," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as "Low Energy Jeb," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as "Lyin' Ted," Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine as "Corrupt Kaine," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as "Liddle Marco," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as "Goofy Elizabeth," and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as "Crazy Bernie." Becca Stanek