April 15, 2019

The spire of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral has collapsed as a massive fire continues to engulf the iconic landmark.

Devastating video was captured on Monday of the moment when part of the spire, which had become overtaken by flames, collapsed. The roof of the cathedral also collapsed into the church as those on the scene observed in horror.

The fire at the 800-year old cathedral began at about 6:50 local time, ABC News reports. The building had been in the midst of renovations. Firefighters are currently responding, and police say no deaths have been reported, per The Associated Press. A Notre Dame spokesperson said, "Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame." Brendan Morrow

March 15, 2019

An Australian senator on Friday released a shockingly Islamophobic statement after a horrific attack on two mosques in Christchurch left 49 people dead.

Fraser Anning, who was elected as a Queensland senator in 2017, released a statement after an attack was carried out against Muslims, and it includes exactly one sentence condemning the violence followed by seven paragraphs suggesting Muslims themselves are to blame, per CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Anning writes that the attack "highlights" a "growing fear within our community" of "the increasing Muslim presence," and he claims that the "real cause" was "the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place." Anning goes on to write that "the entire religion of Islam" is a "violent ideology" and that Muslims are not "blameless."

This is hardly a first-time offense for Anning, who has advocated for ending Muslim immigration and in 2018 delivered a Senate speech calling for a "final solution to the immigration problem," evoking the infamous phrase referring to Nazi extermination of Jewish people, per BBC News. Anning refused to apologize for these comments even as he was condemned by members of Parliament.

Anning's statement was similarly condemned all around on Friday, The Washington Post reports, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying his comments are "disgusting" and "have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament." Brendan Morrow

January 29, 2019

Actor Jussie Smollett has been hospitalized after being brutally assaulted in what police are treating as a possible hate crime.

Chicago police say Smollett, who is openly gay and plays a gay character on the Fox drama Empire, was attacked while leaving a restaurant Tuesday by two suspects who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The attackers also reportedly poured a chemical substance over him and wrapped a rope around his neck. NBC News reports the chemical substance is thought to have been bleach.

Police say that Smollett is recovering at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is in "good condition," Variety reports. Brendan Morrow

November 20, 2018

A bombing in Afghanistan's capital has left at least 40 people dead and 60 injured, BBC News reported Tuesday.

An explosion went off at a wedding hall in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where religious scholars and clerics were gathering on the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. Hundreds of Muslims were gathered for the occasion, TIME reports, and The Washington Post cites an Afghan official who said a suicide bomber was responsible for the deadly blast.

"The victims of the attack unfortunately are all religious scholars who gathered to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad," Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief told The Associated Press.

This comes after ISIS claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in Kabul that killed or wounded more than 100 people in August, per BBC News, and after six Shiites were killed in a bombing during a protest there, reports the Post. No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack. Brendan Morrow

October 19, 2018

Another 93 women have come forward to accuse a former University of Southern California gynecologist of sexual misconduct, HuffPost reported Friday. The women, who are suing the school for its handling of the alleged abuse, join nearly 400 more who have previously reported wrongdoing by Dr. George Tyndall.

Many of the nearly 500 women who were allegedly mistreated say USC ignored their complaints against Tyndall.

Allegations against Tyndall first became public earlier this year, when the Los Angeles Times reported that he had been accused of misconduct, including making inappropriate remarks, groping, and taking pictures of patients' genitals. Students reportedly filed complaints against Tyndall as early as 1988, but he was not suspended until 2016.

A 2017 sexual harassment allegation led to an internal USC investigation that found evidence to support the claim. He resigned, and reportedly received a payout. Tyndall has denied the allegations.

Prior to the announcement of this new set of lawsuits, 50 of the accusers were already suing USC, reports CNN. In a press conference on Friday, attorney John Manly called for the state attorney general to get involved, saying that the university "miserably failed these women." Brendan Morrow

October 17, 2018

New horrifying details are emerging about the evidence Turkey claims to have in the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials reportedly shared with the United States details of an audio recording that suggests Khashoggi was killed minutes after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The audio reportedly includes the voice of Salah Al Tabiqi, a Saudi forensic specialist, who tells others in the room to listen to music while he dismembers Khashoggi.

Audio leaked by a Turkish newspaper also suggests Khashoggi had his fingers cut off and was beheaded, and that the Saudi consul general told operatives to "do this outside," The New York Times reports. "You will put me in trouble," he reportedly said.

The United States is awaiting the completion of a Saudi investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance. The journalist arrived at the consulate earlier this month and has not been heard from since. Saudi Arabia's government has denied any knowledge of what happened to him, but Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he is expanding the probe to find details.

President Trump seems to be leaning toward believing Saudi officials' denials; on Tuesday he compared accusations that they were involved in Khashoggi's death to the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Both, he said, are cases of being considered "guilty until proven innocent." Pompeo, after speaking with Saudi leaders Tuesday, said he did not yet "want to talk about any of the facts." Brendan Morrow

July 9, 2018

Last December, the Trump administration quietly reversed an Obama-era directive that prevented Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from detaining pregnant women except in extreme cases, altering the policy to prevent holding only women in their third trimester. "We provide [detained pregnant women] with prenatal care, we provide them separate housing, we provide them specialists, we will take them to appointments if they need to go somewhere else, we provide them counseling," said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in May. Yet in a disturbing investigation published Monday, BuzzFeed News has found that to not be the case, detailing the stories of several women who say they were ignored, roughly handled, shackled around the belly, and denied urgent medical care — even as they were miscarrying their children.

Jennye Mariel Pagoada Lopez, 24, said one night she got so sick that a fellow detainee was forced to scream and wave at a security camera to get her help — but the officials who arrived still refused to get her to a doctor, despite her heavy bleeding. It took five days for a medical professional to perform an exam without an ultrasound, and two days after that to tell her she had miscarried. The bleeding still did not stop: "They were refusing to give me sanitary towels, I needed like 30 per day and we were given three per day," said Pagoada. "They told me I could buy more in the commissary."

"I can't even say how painful it is to be there without help, without support, and with the pain of having lost something so precious," said Rubia Mabel Morales Alfaro, another mother who miscarried and who calls the assurances of care promised by Nielsen a "lie."

Virginia Sushila Schwerin, a midwife who volunteers at a clinic that serves migrants, added: "Pregnant women have highly specialized needs and this is a high-risk group. I think it's inhumane to detain them." Read more at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange

July 3, 2018

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a House Freedom Caucus founder whose name has been in the mix to replace Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as House speaker, reputedly knew about the Ohio State University team doctor allegedly molesting students while he was a coach at the school but did nothing to stop it, NBC News reports. "[Jordan is] a great guy … so it's sad for me to hear that he's denying knowing about" the allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss, said Dunyasha Yetts, who wrestled at the school between 1993 and 1994 and claims he personally told Jordan about the alleged abuse. "I don't know why he would, unless it's a cover-up. Either you're in on it, or you're a liar."

Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at OSU between 1986 and 1994, and he has maintained to The Columbus Dispatch that "I had not heard about any type of abuse at all."

"I love Jimmy to death," said another former wrestler. "It was a head-scratcher to me why he would say he didn't know anything. Doc used to take showers with the team even though he didn't do any workouts, and everybody used to snicker about how you go into his office for a sore shoulder and he tells you to take your pants down."

Former wrestler Mike DiSabato claimed to the law firm representing OSU that "Strauss sexually assaulted male athletes in at least 15 varsity sports" and that "based on testimony from victim athletes ... we estimate that Strauss sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998."

Yetts expressed his frustration with Jordan's denials by telling NBC, "For God's sake, Strauss' locker was right next to Jordan's and Jordan even said he'd kill him if he tried anything with him." Strauss died in 2005 of suicide. Read more about the allegations at NBC News. Jeva Lange

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