Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Newsday Tuesday: June 30 Edition

This week was definitely a sad week in the world of entertainment. On Tuesday, we lost TV personality and Tonight Show announcer Ed McMahon, 86, to bone cancer and pneumonia.

The following Thursday, both actress Farrah Fawcett, 62, and "King of Pop" Micheal Jackson, 50, passed away. Fawcett was battling anal cancer and known best for her role in the 1970s TV show Charlie's Angels. Jackson, who's death is still under investigation, is the pop phenomenon who has sold more albums than any other artist, including his biggest hit "Thriller," and has had a career that has spanned over 4 decades.

Then last Sunday, Billy Mays, 50, was found dead in his home, apparently due to a heart condition. Mays's claim to fame is as spokesperson for such products as "OxiClean," "Orange-Glo," and other household products. All of these people will be very missed and their impact on the entertainment community will not be forgotten.

Back to the world of feminism, a lot has been going on. So lets get a quick recap of the highlights for the week.

Last Tuesday, on the 37th anniversary of Title IX, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that millions of dollars in grants will be awarded to improve girls' proficiency in math and science.

Neera Desai, PhD, a pioneer of women's studies in India, died of cancer at age 84 this week. Dr. Desai founded India's first women's studies program, the Research Center for Women's Studies at SNDT Women's University in Mumbai.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the appointment of Lynn Rosenthal as the first ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women last Friday (which our president, Ellie Smeal, was in attendance of). Vice President Biden is a strong advocate for fighting domestic violence, as he co-authored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The US Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the strip-search of 13-year old student Savana Redding at her Arizona public school was unconstitutional. Redding was accused of bringing ibuprofen to school, which is banned under the school's drug policy. The school's principal sent her to the nurse's office, where she was stripped down to her bra and underpants. The Court ruled that Redding's Fourth Amendment rights had been violated.

On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee urging passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The bill, which passed in the House in April, would allow for "federal prosecution of violence undertaken because of the actual or perceived gender, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity of any person."

Virginia - A 2008 court decision which declared unconstitutional a Virginia ban on a specific abortion procedure was overturned Thursday in a split 6 to 5 decision.

Arizona - The Arizona State Senate on Thursday passed a restrictive anti-choice bill that requires minors to receive notarized parental consent prior to an abortion.

A lawsuit is being filed against the Namibian government as at least fifteen HIV-positive women were forcibly sterilized. The International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS has documented cases that indicate that the women were coerced into signing documents consenting to their sterilization.

Following a failed prison break where 20 women were brutally raped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) late Sunday, it is apparent that rape is being used as a weapon of war more and more in the Congo. Since the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began in 1998, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped in sexual violence widely viewed to be a war tactic

Women are starting to play a major role in the public uprising after the Irani elections several weeks ago. Several U.S. reporters are arguing that women's increased role in politics is making women more of a major factor in the current political arena. This is also causing the needs and interests of women to become more and more important on the political agenda.

L'Oreal was found guilty this week of racial discrimination in hiring by France's highest court. The suit claimed that L'Oreal employees were told to look for "BBR" women – a common euphemism used to describe white French people of white French descent. The company has been fined €30,000 and is required to pay an additional €30,000 to SOS Racisme, an anti-racism group who helped to bring the suit. Read more about this in a past blog post.

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