Success with an AIDS vaccine is giving researchers some hope:
"An experiment in Thailand involving 16,000 men and women has demonstrated for the first time a small but measurable protective effect of an AIDS vaccine. The vaccine, a complicated mixture of six 'prime' and 'booster' shots, reduced a person's risk of becoming infected by about one-third compared to people getting placebo injections. The results were barely significant on statistical grounds, perplexing for scientific reasons and unanticipated by most researchers. Nevertheless, the first positive results for an AIDS vaccine after two decades of experimentation was being called a milestone."
The NYT reports: "Results of the trial of the vaccine, known as RV 144, were released at 2 a.m. Eastern time Thursday in Thailand by the partners that ran the trial, by far the largest of an AIDS vaccine: the United States Army, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Fauci’s institute, and the patent-holders in the two parts of the vaccine, Sanofi-Pasteur and Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases. Col. Jerome H. Kim, a physician who is manager of the army’s H.I.V. vaccine program, said half the 16,402 volunteers were given six doses of two vaccines in 2006 and half were given placebos. They then got regular tests for the AIDS virus for three years. Of those who got placebos, 74 became infected, while only 51 of those who got the vaccines did. Although the difference was small, Dr. Kim said it was statistically significant and meant the vaccine was 31.2 percent effective. Dr. Fauci said that scientists would seldom consider licensing a vaccine less than 70 or 80 percent effective, but he added, 'If you have a product that’s even a little bit protective, you want to look at the blood samples and figure out what particular response was effective and direct research from there.'"
Said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition: "This is a hugely exciting and, frankly, unexpected result. It changes our thinking in ways we hadn’t anticipated. We often talk about whether a vaccine is even possible. This is not the vaccine that ends the epidemic and says, ‘O.K., let’s move on to something else.’ But it’s a fabulous new step that takes us in a new direction."
An ITN video report, AFTER THE JUMP...
Male Shanghai prostitute charged for knowingly spreading HIV.
100+ protest in Guangzhou, China over police crackdown on gay activity in public park.
Scientists image first close-up view of a single molecule: "To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand."
Gay ACLU counsel Larry Frankel found dead in D.C. park.
Former first daughter Jenna Bush joins the Today show.
Popbytes visits Liza at the Hollywood Bowl.
Disney to acquire Marvel Comics for $4 billion.
"Gravity tractor" to save the Earth from killer asteroids? "The spacecraft would intercept the asteroid and position itself to fly alongside it, just 160ft from its surface. From this position, the 10 tonne craft is able to exert a small gravitational force on the rock, pulling the asteroid towards it. By gradually modifying its course, over several years, the gravity tractor is able to slowly shift the asteroid's trajectory enough to ensure it misses the Earth."
Shalom Sesame: Jake Gyllenhaal to teach kids about Jewish culture.
Thai boxer suspended for three months for appearing in gay magazine photo shoot.
Lesbian couples having a child through fertility treatments can now place names of both parents on child's birth certificate: "It's brilliant that women in our situation will have full legal rights for the co-parent from the beginning. It's fantastically good news. We didn't conceive our children together, but we did conceive of them. Hopefully it will have a positive effect on society's view of lesbian and gay people, because the government are basically saying that we're OK, and perhaps people who are not gay will begin to think the same."
Two men in India sentenced to life terms for murder of gay man who threatened to expose them.
Lansing, Michigan gay man Shawn Bennett lied about gay bashing: "But investigators say Benett admits he tortured himself. Over and over he burned his own body with a lit cigarette."
Larry King: Chris Brown does not remember beating Rihanna.
FLASHBACK: Madonna's eulogy for Herb Ritts.
One month later, hundreds mourn Tel Aviv gay center shooting victims: "Last week, the manager of the youth center, Shaul Asa-el Gannon, opened a temporary center in an alternate location. He noted that there were more teenagers in attendance at the center's events than there were before the shooting. This week, the gay and lesbian youth center will return to its original location on Nachmani Street - the site of the attack - where it will remain under police and security surveillance."
A young elephant used in the tourist entertainment trade fell into a manhole in eastern Thailand's Rayong province earlier this week and had to be extracted using a power shovel and a harness. Ugh:
"Rescuers spent three hours freeing the elephant, who was unharmed, by using a bulldozer to widen the hole. While elephants are used to move large heavy objects in Thailand, many of the animals in Rayong province are trained to carry tourists on elephant treks through the jungle. Mahouts also use elephants to beg on the streets of many large Thai cities and baby elephants, with their cute eyes and hairy heads, are among the most sought after. Baby elephants are often taught tricks to appeal to tourists and, although it is illegal in many cities, work the streets with their owners from early in the morning to late at night. Mahouts control the elephants using a small number of commands and a sharp hook, known as an angkus."
Raw video, AFTER THE JUMP...
Obama's 100 day Gay Report Card. Emma Ruby Sachs in HuffPost: "And when it comes to actual change in the lives of LGBT people, nothing has been done. Obama has failed to hand in any of his assignments."
Brian Sims: a gay college football story.
Guess who wants to play Susan Boyle in the movie?
Sean Penn files for divorce.
Guido Westerwelle hopes to be Germany's first openly gay foreign minister: "I am convinced that today one’s private life is no longer an obstacle. Some other countries may have had a problem with the fact that Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor of Germany. Of course she does not wear a veil on the red carpet when she visits certain Arab states. The American secretary of state (Hillary Clinton) must also hold talks in countries in which women are systematically oppressed. The decision as to who we send as a government representative rests solely with us Germans based on our political and moral standards.”
BUTT magazine holding open call for submissions of gay-themed video art.
Estranged wife of Nevada governor wants veto override of domestic partnership legislation.
Gay man forced out of dying partner's room at Oregon Health and Science University hospital: "The nurse said, 'Christopher is very ill. There are some life and death decisions that have to be made and now is not the time for friends to be in the room.' I'm like, 'we don't have any friends in the room'."
Florida to get Jesus vanity plate.
Amsterdam park notifies visitors that they are approaching a 'gay cruising area': "The signs 'clearly indicate what is happening in each zone; also those where gay men are known to practice 'cruising',' municipal spokeswoman Manon Koffijberg said...'If you don't want to be confronted by a vision of that sort, the signs allow you to avoid specific areas,' said Ms Koffijberg."
Australian curry company denies homophobic attack at Sydney fair.
Channing Tatum courted for Twilight role.
Astronomers snap the most distant object they've ever seen.
A look at Trouble the Water, the documentary about Hurricane Katrina.
Washington man pleads guilty in gay immigration fraud case: "A man accused of advising straight immigrants to claim homosexuality - and potential persecution in their home countries - when they applied for asylum has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud."
Senior Thai monk plans to offer "manners course" for monks who wear make-up and carry pink purses.
Alberta, Canada adds sexual orientation to human rights laws: "But the move to expand protections under the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act was accompanied by a provision allowing parents to pull their kids from school discussions of religion, sexuality or sexual orientation — a move that could let parents yank students from classes on such topics as evolution."
Florida Rep. Bob Allen, who was convicted of soliciting sex from a police officer in 2007, has given up trying to appeal his case: "While he's maintained his innocence and is confident of his innocence, there comes a point where you just have to move on with your life, and I think that's where he's at."
Family, friends and activists hold vigil on anniversary of murder of transgender Fort Lauderdale teen Simmie Williams. Mother: "I was hoping that I would have heard something by now, but not yet. I won't have peace until his killer is caught."
Lindsay Lohan offers a jittery update on her life, plus a gaunt photo shoot by Hedi Slimane.
New York Governor Paterson bringing back openly gay chief advisor: "And he has announced that he would bring back Charles J. O’Byrne, his former chief aide who resigned amid a tax scandal, to serve as a top political adviser. It is a potentially risky move, given that the governor will be seeking tax increases this spring, but it might help with the disarray that has plagued his inner circle."
Elton John Oscar party raises $4 million.
Penn jabs Madonna over Jesus Luz: "Another kid, already?"
Sean Penn opts out of Milk post-Oscar bash: "Not every celebrity completed his Oscar-party rounds. Saturday night, Best Actor winner Sean Penn - who neglected to thank his long-suffering wife in his acceptance speech - ditched Focus Features' bash for "Milk" at BLT Steak on Sunset Boulevard. 'It was the film producers' party for their own movie and Sean didn't show up,' said our astonished source."
Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick share a ball.
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduces bill to legalize marijuana in California, would put pot on same footing as alcohol.
UK Evangelical Christian groups (Accepting Evangelicals, Courage, the Network of Baptists Affirming Lesbian and Gay Christians, the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian & Gay Christians, and the Christian think-tank Ekklesia) call on fellow Evangelicals to rethink attitudes toward gays following condemnation of Westboro Baptist Church outrage: "We would now call upon these groups to reflect on their own attitudes and prayerfully consider what their 'hate the sin, love the sinner' teaching does to the minds and souls of faithful Christians who are gay.
Pussycat Dolls get their claws into Slumdog Millionaire best song "Jai Ho".
Kelloggs' knee-jerk reaction to Michael Phelps bong photo cost it.
Michigan court recognizes adoption by Illinois gay couple: "The court ruled 2-1 that the U.S. Constitution requires state courts to recognize Diane Giancaspro and Lisa Congleton as adoptive parents. It reversed a trial judge who said Michigan’s 2004 voter-approved gay marriage ban kept her from enforcing the women’s parental rights."
Meet the gay teen on the upcoming Fame remake.
Gay Pride organizers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, call off second annual parade after taunts from protestors: "According to the Thai Nation newspaper, the protesters launched verbal attacks through a megaphone saying the event tarnished the city's reputation. They also reacted angrily to remarks made by the organisers that the 'Rak Chiang Mai 51' group was acting like thugs. Fearing violence, the organisers Mplus, Chiang Mai's largest HIV/AIDS group, called the march which was to start from Buddha-sathan through Night Bazaar before ending at the Tawan Trendy Mall. The confrontation reportedly lasted an hour before the organisers agreed to dismantle the stage and cancel the activities in the area. The report noted that 150 policemen had been mobilised for the parade."