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Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty in 3 Cases of Rape and Sexual Assault

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Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape in a Los Angeles trial on Monday, five years after he became a magnet for the #metoo movement.

The jury of eight men and four women reached the verdict after deliberating for more than two weeks in the second criminal trial of the 70-year-old onetime powerful movie mogul, who is two years into a 23-year sentence in New York for rape and sexual assault.

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation, and another count of sexual misconduct involving an Italian model and actor who claimed he showed up uninvited at her hotel room door during a film festival in Los Angeles in 2013. The jury couldn’t agree on several counts, including one involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The jury could not decide on her and another woman’s allegations. On those counts, a mistrial was declared.

He was also found not guilty of a sexual battery allegation leveled by a massage therapist who treated Weinstein at a hotel in 2010.

He faces up to 24 years in prison when he is sentenced. There was no immediate reaction from prosecutors or defense attorneys to the verdict.

“It is time to end the defendant’s reign of terror,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said in the prosecution’s closing argument. “It is time to bring the kingmaker to justice.”

Harvey Weinstein

With no forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts of the assaults claimed by Weinstein’s accusers to have occurred between 2005 and 2013, the case was heavily reliant on the stories and credibility of the four women at the center of the charges.

Among the accusers was Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Her powerful and emotional testimony about being raped in a hotel room by Weinstein in 2005 provided the trial’s most dramatic moments.

Lauren Young, the only accuser who testified at both Weinstein trials, said she was a model aspiring to be an actor and screenwriter meeting with Weinstein about a script in 2013 when he trapped her in a hotel bathroom, groped her and masturbated in front of her.

The jury was unable to decide on the charge against Young. Jurors told the judge they were 10-2 in favor of conviction on her count and 8-4 in favor of conviction on the two counts involving Siebel Newsom.

Martinez concluded that the women entered Weinstein’s hotel suites or let him into their rooms without knowing what was in store for them.

“Who would have guessed that such a titan of the entertainment industry would be a degenerate rapist?” she asked.

The women’s stories echoed the allegations of dozens of others who have emerged since Weinstein became a #MeToo lightning rod starting with stories in the New York Times in 2017. During the trial, a film based on that reporting, “She Said,” was released, and jurors were repeatedly warned not to watch it.

Harvey Weinstein

The defense made #MeToo an issue during the trial, however, emphasizing that none of the four women went to the authorities until after the movement made Harvey Weinstein a target.

Defense attorneys claimed that two women were completely lying about their encounters with Weinstein, while the other two had “100% consensual” sexual encounters that they later reframed.

“Regret is not the same thing as rape,” Weinstein’s attorney Alan Jackson said in his closing argument.

He urged jurors to look past the women’s emotional testimony and focus on the factual evidence.

“‘Believe us because we’re mad, believe us because we cried,'” Jackson said jurors were being asked to do. “Well, fury does not equal truth. “And tears do not produce truth.”

In court, all the women charged went by the name Jane Doe. The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly or agree to be named through their attorneys, as the women named here did.

Prosecutors called 40 additional witnesses to provide context and corroboration to those stories. The term “responsibility” refers to determining whether a person is responsible for his or her actions. They were brought to the stand so that a pattern of sexual predation could be established.

Weinstein was acquitted of four other felony charges before the trial even began when prosecutors announced that a woman he was accused of raping twice and sexually assaulting twice would not testify. They declined to give a reason. Judge Lisa Lench dismissed these charges.

Weinstein’s latest conviction gives victims of famous men’s sexual misconduct a victory after some legal setbacks, including the dismissal of Bill Cosby’s conviction last year. The rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson, which was taking place at the same time as Weinstein’s, ended in a mistrial. And actor Kevin Spacey was victorious at a sexual battery civil trial in New York last month.

Weinstein’s conviction in New York was upheld on appeal, but the state’s highest court will hear the case next year. The California conviction, also likely to be appealed, means he will not walk free even if the East Coast conviction is thrown out.

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THAILAND: Rescue Dig Saves Toddler Trapped In Well For One Night

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BANGKOK, Thailand — A 19-month-old girl fell into a dry artesian well shaft at a cassava farm in northern Thailand 18 hours before she was saved. It took rescuers all night to get her out.

Rescuers clapped and cheered as the toddler, the daughter of Myanmar migrant workers, was pulled from the 15-meter (49-foot)-deep well shaft and placed on a stretcher that carried her to an ambulance waiting nearby.

“You guys did an excellent job. “We did it!” exclaimed one rescuer as his colleagues wept and hugged each other in Tak province’s Phop Phra district.

While her parents were working at the plantation, the child fell into the hole late Monday afternoon.

thailand rescue

Rescuers In Thailand Were On The Scene Quickly

The deep pit, dug by the landowner to be an artesian well, was left uncovered after it failed to reach groundwater, according to Phop Phra district chief Sanya Phetset on Tuesday.

According to local media, the first rescuers on the scene shouted down the hole and heard the child cry back. After lowering a camera into the hole to assess the situation, a tube was snaked to provide oxygen.

Using backhoes and other excavation tools, rescuers dug a 30-centimeter-wide trench alongside the pit overnight.

thailand rescue

The Child Is Now Safe And Sound

“At first, it appeared to be a simple operation because it appeared to be loose dirt, but once we started digging, we discovered rock, which made it difficult because excavators cannot dig through it,” Sanya explained.

He explained that the operation was risky because the digging could collapse the well’s sides onto the child.

After being carried to safety, the toddler was immediately taken to Phop Phra Hospital in Thailand.

“She is now safe. “She’s a little tired, but nothing serious,” Sanya explained.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

Pope Francis has clarified his recent remarks about homosexuality and sin, stating that he was referring to official Catholic moral teaching, which states that any sexual act other than marriage is a sin.

In a Friday note, Francis emphasized that even black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that may eliminate the sin.

Francis made the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press on January 24, stating that laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who brought up the issue of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful or “intrinsically disordered.”

“All right, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the fictitious conversation. “It is also a sin not to be charitable to one another.”

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Pope asked for Clarification.

LGBTQ advocates hailed his comments calling for decriminalizing homosexuality as a watershed moment that would help end harassment and violence against LGBTQ people. However, his use of the word “sin” raised questions about whether he believed that simply being gay was a sin in and of itself.

The Reverand James Martin, an American priest who runs the Outreach ministry for LGBTQ Catholics in the United States, asked Francis for clarification and published the pope’s handwritten response late Friday on the Outreach website.

In his note, Francis reiterated that homosexuality “is not a crime” and that he was trying “to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just.”

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which states that every sexual act other than marriage is a sin,” Francis wrote in Spanish, emphasizing the final phrase.

However, in a nod to his case-by-case approach to pastoral ministry, Francis noted that even teaching is subject to the circumstances, “which may decrease or eliminate the fault.”

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Sex is a Sin, as is Any Sexual Act

He admitted he could have been more specific in his comments to the AP. However, he stated that he was using “natural and conversational language” in the interview, which did not necessitate precise definitions.

“As you can see, I was generally repeating something. ‘Sex is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of the bonds of holy marriage,’ I should have said. This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sexual sin, but we all know that Catholic morality considers not only the matter but also freedom and intention, and this for all types of sin,” he said.

According to Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws, 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty. According to experts, even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ people.

According to Catholic teaching, marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman. It restricts intercourse with married couples and prohibits artificial contraception.

During his decade-long pontificate, Francis has upheld that teaching while prioritizing outreach to LGBTQ people.

Pope Francis has emphasized a more merciful approach to applying church doctrine, preferring to accompany rather than judge people.

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

In an internal memo, a four-star general in the United States Air Force stated that the US and China risk going to war in two years and advised officers under his command to prepare, including with target practice.

According to NBC, General Mike Minihan, head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, believes the fight will take place in 2025 but hopes he is wrong. He claimed that presidential elections in the United States and Taiwan in 2024 would allow China to take action against Taiwan.

According to NBC, a Defense Department official stated that the remarks do not represent the Pentagon’s position on China. According to an Air Mobility Command spokesperson, the memo is part of the command’s effort to prepare for conflict if deterrence fails.

The administration of President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s military buildup and what the US perceives to be a more aggressive Chinese stance toward Taiwan.

According to the administration’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor “with the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do so.”

China has slammed the latest US defense spending bill, which allows up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, for exaggerating the China threat and meddling in its internal affairs.

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Blinken Conerned Over Taiwan and China

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about Beijing’s intentions regarding Taiwan as he prepares for a rare visit to Beijing, China.

When asked if the temperature had cooled with China during a visit to the University of Chicago, Blinken replied, “I think so because when you’re talking and engaging, it tends to have that effect.”

“The rest of the world anticipates that we will manage this relationship responsibly. “They understand that how we manage it will also impact them,” he said.

According to Taipei Times, Blinken will visit Beijing from February 5 to 6, marking the first US secretary of state visit to the rising Asian power since October 2018.

The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping () met in November in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss wide-ranging disagreements between the world’s two largest economies.

Blinken, on the other hand, expressed concern about Taiwan, citing Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the country and major military exercises conducted near it in August.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I believe, China deciding that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades and had been successful in terms of our countries’ relationship and managing what a difficult situation is,” he said.

“What we say to China is that — they say this is a sovereign issue for us; we respond that this is an interest to the United States and countries all over the world,” Blinken said, referring to Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors, which is critical to the global economy.

Any disruption of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait would be disastrous for the global economy, he said, adding that 50 percent of container ships operating around the world pass through the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan manufactures 70 percent of higher-end computer chips.

Blinken was in Chicago for a trip that included a stop at the city’s historic Ukrainian community to discuss the response to Russia’s invasion.

By: Geoff Thomas

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

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