News: David Blaine, Amazon, Dog Reason, Manolo Blahnik
BREAKING: Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill dropped from National Defense Authorization Act. More from Lane Hudson at the HuffPo: "There are a couple problems with this situation. First, it doesn't even make sense. The House of Representatives was able to pass a fully-inclusive stand alone hate crimes bill this year. It defies logic to tell us now that they don't have the votes now that it is attached to the Defense Authorization bill. If anything, it should make it significantly easier to pass. After all, this is legislation that I'm told is supported by about 80% of the public in opinion polls. It's also named after a kid who was beaten to death and has become an icon in American history. But, the Democrats are scared that Bush may veto the bill and they'll get blamed for trying to starve soldiers. There go the Democrats again. Scared of our own shadow."
Brazilian gay magazines are popping out of the woodwork: "following the footsteps and recent success of Junior magazine, DOM (or De Outro Modo) is the second big gay publication to debut in Brazilian newstands this year."
British city of Brighton first to ban racist, anti-gay "murder music".
Gay rights pioneer Bob Kohler dies. Village Voice: "Bob Kohler, gay activist, former owner of the Loft on Christopher Street, Stonewall veteran, founder member of the Gay Liberation Front, ACT UP member, and longtime fixture of Charles Street, died on Wednesday at the age of 81. The cause of death was cancer, according to family friends. A Queens native who lost a kidney in World War II, Kolher was remembered as tireless fighter for gay rights, transsexual rights, queer youth, and people with HIV/AIDS who never gave up the struggle even as he battled illness and advancing years."
Gerard Butler shows off some muscle.
National Board of Review launches film awards season: "For 2007 They've chosen Best Picture: No Country For Old Men (The rest of their top ten is: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Atonement, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bucket List, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton and Sweeney Todd." Check out the rest of the nominees here.
WWF: More than half of Amazon will be lost by 2030. "Almost 60% of the region's forests could be wiped out or severely damaged by 2030, as a result of climate change and deforestation...Destroying almost 60% of tropical rainforest by 2030 would do away with one of the key stabilisers of the global climate system, it warned. Such damage could have a knock-on effect on rainfall in places such as central America and India, and would also destroy livelihoods for indigenous people and some 80% of habitats for animal species in the region. The 'point of no return', in which extensive degradation of the rainforest occurs and conservation prospects are greatly reduced, is just 15-25 years away - much sooner than some models suggest, the report warns."
Man accused in anti-gay bottle-throwing case in Scottsdale says he didn't do it: "A bouncer at a downtown Scottsdale bar told police he watched as a man coming out of a nearby bar curled his right hand around a beer bottle and hurled it through a gay man's car windshield, racking up the third gay hate crime in the city in the last year. But James Randall Walker, the 24-year-old airplane mechanic arrested for tossing the bottle, said in an exclusive Scottsdale Republic interview that his is a case of mistaken identity. 'I'm not the right guy,' Walker said."
Dogs can sort photos into categories, or at least know what other dogs look like: "At first, the pooches were simultaneously shown photographs of a landscape and of a dog, and were rewarded if they selected the latter, using a paw-operated computer touch screen. After attaining a good level of computer savviness, the dogs were then shown an unfamiliar landscape and dog photos. They continued to correctly identify the pictures with the dog. In the final phase of the experiment, the dogs were shown an unfamiliar dog that was superimposed on a landscape that had been used in the training phase. The animals were still able to pick out the dog in preference to an image of just a landscape. Range told New Scientist that this is proof that dogs have reasoning abilities."
Alarm in Britain after U.S. says it has the right to kidnap British citizens wanted for crimes: "A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it."