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12 November 2018

US: New Investigation Finds Police Departments Claim Success While Leaving Rape Suspects On The Street

A joint investigation from Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica finds police departments across the U.S. masking the truth about how effective they are at getting justice for rape victims.
A joint investigation from Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica finds police departments across the U.S. masking the truth about how effective they are at getting justice for rape victims.
Dozens of cities in America are making many rape cases look as if they are solved without actually arresting a suspected rapist.

In "Case Cleared: How Rape Goes Unpunished in America," reporters from Newsy, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica found that in those cities, a type of clearance intended to be the exception has become the rule for closing rape cases.
In 2016 in Austin, Texas, for example, police records show that 51 percent of rape cases were cleared. But "Case Cleared" reporters found that suspects were arrested only 17 percent of the time. The rest were exceptionally cleared – closed with no arrest.
The FBI allows police departments to clear a case two ways: By making an arrest, or by what is called "exceptional means." For a rape to be cleared by exceptional means, the FBI requires that the police know who and where the suspect is and have enough evidence to support an arrest but can't arrest the suspect because of an element outside the control of law enforcement, such as the suspect is dead or already in jail. When police report how many cases they have cleared, most do not have to identify how or why, just the number of cases cleared.
For the project, reported by Newsy's Mark Greenblatt and Mark Fahey; ProPublica's Bernice Yeung; and Reveal's Emily Harris, reporters requested data from the 100 largest police jurisdictions and analyzed more than 70,000 rape cases. Almost half of those who responded cleared more rape cases by "exceptional means" than by making an arrest, including Oakland and Long Beach, CaliforniaWichita, KansasBaltimore County, Maryland; and Hillsborough County, Florida.
"They are not solving crimes," said Dr. Cassia Spohn, a leading expert in criminology and the director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. "In the public's mind, when you say we cleared a case, I think the public assumes that means you solved it and you made an arrest."
Among the investigation's findings:
  • In one large county, despite gathering a trove of evidence against a suspected child sex predator, police exceptionally cleared the case. The suspect was left free and traveled hundreds of miles to another city where he was arrested for similar crimes.
  • A longtime sex crimes supervisor and 26-year veteran of the Austin Police Department reveals, for the first time, how she was ordered to change police records in a way she says falsely portrayed the city's success in solving rapes.
  • The investigation uncovered a major flaw in the FBI's new system for reporting crimes: cases classified as "unfounded," where police either do not believe the victim or do not believe the crime occurred, are no longer tracked – erasing any trace of this practice in the FBI's new system. This goes against the recommendation of a joint FBI and Department of Justice task force.
The news organizations' investigation has already had impact:
  • The Prince William County Police Department in Virginia has directed a top-level review of every unfounded rape case going back several years. The department has already identified cases from its preliminary review of 2017 rapes that were misclassified as unfounded. By classifying a case as unfounded, it removed the crime from official statistics. The department's police chief has already agreed to change some unfounded cases to unsolved rapes, with more reclassifications possible.
  • A prominent official with the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics is calling for the federal government to begin tracking unfounded crimes in the new FBI crime reporting system. The chairman of a key FBI committee that is implementing the new system has agreed to push for reform.
    "Case Cleared: How Rape Goes Unpunished in America"
    "Case Cleared: How Rape Goes Unpunished in America" - Still from Trailer
"Case Cleared" will be released in two episodes of "Reveal," airing on Nov. 10 and 17, and available through local public radio broadcasts and via the "Reveal" podcast. 

Newsy airs its two "Case Cleared" documentaries on its cable channel, over-the-top streaming platforms and online at, on Nov. 14 and 15 at 6 p.m. Eastern.

ProPublica will feature an interactive graphic and make the police data used in this investigation available on its website, making it possible for many communities to learn the truth for the first time about how often rape cases in their own areas are solved "exceptionally."
The Trailer:
For more details on where to listen and watch, visit and

9 November 2018

US: The Man of Steel's 80th Anniversary Culminates With Big Screen Double Feature of 'The Death of Superman' and 'Reign of the Supermen' in Special Event This January

'The Death of Superman' / 'Reign of the Supermen' Double Feature
'The Death of Superman' / 'Reign of the Supermen' Double Feature
Superman's greatest adventure – his death and rebirth – will be unveiled in a special two-day exclusive theatrical event as Warner Bros. and DC join forces with Fathom Events for a double feature presentation of the previously released The Death of Superman and the first in-theater screening of the all-new Reign of the Supermen nationwide on January 13 and 14, 2019.

As the second half of the double feature, Reign of the Supermen will be seen nationally in theaters ahead of its Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release on Digital starting January 15, 2019, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on January 29, 2019.

The Death of Superman
'The Death of Superman'
The Man of Steel meets his ultimate match when the monstrous, unstoppable creature Doomsday comes to Earth – hell bent on destroying everything and everyone in his path, including the Justice League – in the action-packed The Death of Superman. In the second half of this two-part landmark tale, Reign of the Supermen finds Earth's citizens – and the Man of Steel's heroic contemporaries – dealing with a world without Superman. 

But the aftermath of Superman's death, and the subsequent disappearance of his body, leads to a new mystery – is Superman still alive? 

The question is further complicated when four new super-powered individuals – Steel, Cyborg Superman, Superboy and the Eradicator – emerge to claim themselves as the ultimate hero. 

In the end, will any of them prove to be the real Man of Steel?
Reign of the Supermen
'Reign of the Supermen'
Fathom Events, Warner Bros. and DC present The Death of Superman / Reign of the Supermen Double Feature in more than 500 select movie theaters on Sunday, January 13 at 12:55 p.m. and Monday, January 14 at 8:00 p.m. (all local times), through Fathom's Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). 

For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

  • The two-part film is an animated adaptation of "The Death Of Superman," DC's' landmark 1992-93 comic phenomenon, and features an all-star voice cast led by Jerry O'Connell (Carter, Bravo's Play  by Play, Stand By Me), Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians) and Rainn Wilson (The Office, The Meg) as the voices of Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. The trio is joined by Jason O'Mara (The Man in the High Castle, Terra Nova) as Batman, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Rent, Daredevil) as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion (CastleThe Rookie) as Green Lantern/Hal JordanMatt Lanter (Timeless, 90210) as Aquaman, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, Insatiable) as The Flash, and Nyambi Nyambi (Mike & Molly, The Good Fight) as Martian Manhunter, as well as Cress Williams (Black Lightning) as Steel, Cameron Monaghan (Gotham) as Superboy, Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Hank Henshaw & Cyborg Superman, Charles Halford(Constantine) as Bibbo Bibbowski and The Eradicator, and Tony Todd (Candyman) as Darkseid.
"Superman is one of the most iconic Super Heroes of all time, and this double feature event will give fans an opportunity to come together to celebrate the franchise," Fathom Events VP of Studio Relations Tom Lucas said. "We are excited to partner with Warner Bros. again to bring back The Death of Superman and introduce fans to Reign of the Supermen."
"Warner Bros. is proud to join forces with Fathom Events to culminate the year-long celebration of Superman's 80th anniversary with a double-feature big screen presentation of The Man of Steel's most heralded adventure," said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing. "'The Death of Superman' was a monumental moment in comics history, and these films – expertly produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC – capture the enormity of that story in terms of both action and emotion. Seeing both films, on the big screen, gives the fans another vehicle to unite and celebrate this beloved Super Hero and this landmark tale."
⏩ Tickets for The Death of Superman / Reign of the Supermen Double Feature can be purchased at and participating theater box offices.
SOURCE: Fathom Events

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8 November 2018

National Press Club Protests White House Treatment of Reporters

Jim Acosta Vs Donald Trump
Jim Acosta Vs Donald Trump (image via Mashable)
National Press Club leaders expressed outrage Thursday at President Donald Trump's escalating attacks on the press and the White House's revocation of a reporter's credentials.

Andrea Edney, president of the National Press Club, said the following:
"The president's personal attacks on reporters, especially on CNN's Jim Acosta, during a Nov. 7 news conference were unprecedented and beneath the dignity of the office.

The president and his aides have suggested they are aggrieved only by certain segments of the media, not all of it. But the Fourth Estate stands as one. An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us."

Barbara Cochran, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, a non-profit arm of the club that conducts press-freedom and professional-development programs, said the following:
"The press's job is not to report things as positively as possible but to report things as truthfully as possible. We make mistakes; but when we do, we promptly correct them.

Most presidents in our history have bristled from time to time at tough coverage. But no previous president has shut out or publicly demeaned individual reporters and news organizations. The First Amendment protects the press from government control precisely so that the public has access to information reported truthfully and unconstrained by fear of government reprisal."

Andrea Edney also said: 
"After the press conference, the president's performance was exacerbated by White House aides. They revoked Acosta's press pass without reasonable cause. 

Then, in a new low, they justified it by falsely accusing Acosta of inappropriately roughing up a female White House intern--and then sought to substantiate the charge by circulating a doctored video of the event."
Jim  Acosta has been in the White House press corps for five years
Jim  Acosta has been in the White House press corps for five years (image via BBC)
About The National Press Club:
The National Press Club, founded in 1908 and based in Washington, D.C., is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. 
Through its Press Freedom Committee, the club defends transparency and free expression around the world.
SOURCE: National Press Club
Bonus Image:
Mr Trump and The Media
Mr Trump and The Media (Image from Trumpton Facebook Page via

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NBC, Universal Brand Development and LEGO Unleash Two-Part 'LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit' On November 29

LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit premieres on NBC November 29, 2018 at 8pm local time.
LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit premieres on NBC November 29, 2018 at 8pm local time.
NBC has partnered with Universal Brand Development and The LEGO Group for the upcoming debut of a two-part animated special: "LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit." The all-new animated special – inspired by the blockbuster Jurassic World franchise – will air on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
⏩ The story takes place before the adventures of Jurassic World in 2015. 
In the special, Simon Masrani has an idea for a new attraction that is guaranteed to keep Jurassic World at the forefront of theme park entertainment. It's the greatest thing since the discovery of dinosaurs, but in order for it to succeed, he needs his right-hand can-do problem solver, Claire Dearing, to get a trio of dinosaurs across the park to the new, super-secret exhibit. 
Reluctantly teaming up with newcomer Owen Grady, the animal behaviorist she hired sight unseen to deliver the dinosaurs, the duo set out on a fun-filled adventure across the island. 
Unfortunately, delivering the dinosaurs to the new attraction is not as easy as they thought.

"LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit" - Owen Grady and Claire Dearing
"LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit" - Owen Grady and Claire Dearing
The two-part special will be available to stream the morning after the NBC broadcast, Nov. 30, across multiple platforms, including the NBC app and, where it can be viewed without a login, as well as on Hulu and On Demand. It will also be available for download from major digital retailers. The DVD, with exclusive bonus content, drops Jan. 15, 2019.

For more information, visit
About LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit:
With the grand opening of Jurassic World's new super-secret dinosaur exhibit just days away, only one thing is missing - the dinosaurs! In order to get the job done, Simon Masrani enlists his newly-hired assistant, Claire Dearing, to ensure the new attraction opens on time...or else. Unfortunately, Owen Grady, the animal behaviorist Claire hired to deliver the dinosaurs, is late. Things aren't looking too good for Claire...or for Owen, who just wants to deliver the dinosaurs, collect his paycheck and get off the island.
But the mission to deliver the dinosaurs turns out to be far more difficult than anyone could have imagined. From a runaway Gyrosphere, hang gliding with a Pteranodon (how did they get out of the Aviary?!), to a high-speed game of chicken with a T-Rex, Owen will earn his paycheck and then some. And Claire may just get promoted to Assistant Manager of Park Operations. 

"LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit"
"LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit"
Along the way, we get the first inklings of why Owen and Claire drive each other crazy, but despite their differences, they succeed and make a great team. Oh, and Owen meets Blue for the first time as he discovers he has a way with dinosaurs he never knew about!
SOURCE: NBCUniversal
The Trailer:

US: Betsy DeVos' War on Workers Impeding Education's Mission, Union Says

The American Federation of Government Employees, which is the exclusive representative for Department of Education workers nationwide, says Congress needs to take a close look at Secretary Betsy DeVos’ sweeping restructuring plan for the agency
The American Federation of Government Employees, which is the exclusive representative for Department of Education workers nationwide, says Congress needs to take a close look at Secretary Betsy DeVos’ sweeping restructuring plan for the agency
The Department of Education's ability to effectively serve students, teachers, and taxpayers is suffering as Secretary Betsy DeVos continues to wage war on her own workforce, says the union representing nearly 4,000 Education employees.
The American Federation of Government Employees, which is the exclusive representative for Department of Education workers nationwide, says Congress needs to take a close look at Secretary DeVos' sweeping restructuring plan for the agency, which is being pushed through even as the department continues to break the law by enforcing policies that violate workers' rights.
"Betsy DeVos is hellbent on destroying the Department of Education from the inside out," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
"First she trashed our labor contract – eliminating commonsense policies that promote telework and continual learning, preventing employees from resolving workplace grievances or management concerns, and evicting union representatives from the worksite," Cox said. "Now she is pushing through a sweeping reorganization that will result in many employees being displaced or moved into other jobs without the proper training or experience."
In July, an investigator with the Federal Labor Relations Authority found merit in the unfair labor practice charge that AFGE filed in March after Education Department management walked away from the bargaining table and imposed its own illegal management edict. Yet the department has refused to comply with the FLRA's finding, which cannot be enforced due to the agency's vacant General Counsel position.
Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos (image via
The tactics being used by Secretary DeVos and her management team to gut employees' rights and union protections are even more severe than what was later proposed in President Trump's three anti-worker executive orders, the bulk of which were overturned by a federal judge in August.
"Secretary DeVos is undeterred and single-minded in her quest to decimate the Department of Education by making the agency such a miserable and untenable place to work that even the most dedicated employees will quit," Cox said. "We need Congress to step in now before more harm can be done."
The turmoil within the department is clearly having a negative impact. The latest governmentwide survey shows that employee satisfaction at the department has plummeted, with just three in 10 employees saying they are satisfied with their senior leaders' policies and practices and just four in 10 saying they highly respect the department's leaders. 
Only 39 percent of employees think the department's senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity, down from 53 percent just two years ago. 
And on the question of whether senior leaders support work/life programs, just 37 percent said yes, down from 66 percent in 2016.
"When you make it harder for employees to come to work and do their jobs by taking away telework and flex schedules, when you fail to honor labor agreements providing for child care and employee training, and when you attempt to silence employees from reporting discrimination or sexual harassment, you create a toxic climate that is making it very difficult for employees to effectively do their jobs," Cox said.
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7 November 2018

Award-Winning Filmmaker Spike Lee to Speak at C2 Montréal 2019

American filmmaker Spike Lee will be taking the stage at the 8th edition of C2 Montréal, the award-winning creative business conference happening on May 22-24, 2019
American filmmaker Spike Lee will be taking the stage at the 8th edition of C2 Montréal, the award-winning creative business conference happening on May 22-24, 2019. (Image via C2 Montréal)
To kick off this year's roster of speakers, C2 Montréal announced today that it will be hosting the Socio-political critic and acclaimed storyteller under the banner theme of TOMORROW.
Spike Lee will lead the discussion on racial inequalities and the creative storytelling behind his powerful films. Participants will get to dive into the mind of this icon widely regarded as one of contemporary cinema's most influential figures.

A prolific creator's groundbreaking achievements 
The 61-year-old producer, director, writer and actor is largely recognized for creating provocative pictures that explore race relations, political issues, urban crime and violence.
Spike Lee's company has produced over 35 films since 1983, including the recent BlacKkKlansman and the critically acclaimed films Do the Right ThingMalcolm X and Inside Man
Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman - Poster
Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman - Poster
Spike Lee has also produced and directed music videos for artists like Michael Jackson, and authored six books including the recent retrospective That's  My  Story  and  I'm  Sticking  To  It.

Revolutionizing black talent in film and tackling biases for better businesses and societies
"Spike Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in film by tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals. We feel C2 Montréal, with its mission to propel the economy and society forward, is the perfect platform for Spike Lee to engage participants in a dialogue about how we can better tomorrow with our actions today" said Richard St-Pierre, President of C2 Montréal. He adds, "like Lee, C2 Montréal does not shy away from controversial topics, having featured speakers like Snoop Dogg, Chelsea Manning and other impressive headliners."
Pre-sale tickets to the three-day conference are available at the fall rate here.
 SOURCE: C2 Montréal
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6 November 2018

Ariana Grande Named 2018 Billboard 'Woman of the Year'

Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande (Credit: Dave Meyers)
Billboard has announced today it will honor Ariana Grande with its 2018 Woman of the Year award. The award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and activist will accept the honor at the 13th annual Women in Music dinner and awards ceremony on December 6 in New York City
The highly-regarded event, held in conjunction with the release of Billboard's Women in Music issue, will also honor the most powerful female executives in the industry.
"Ariana Grande is a star on her own terms, never bending to any particular musical trend or path in the industry," says Billboard's VP of Content, Ross Scarano. "Certain in her convictions, she consistently stands up for herself and her decisions in a world that often isn't hospitable to that sort of strength in young women. She's got guts, she's making some of the best music of her career, and she's absolutely deserving of Woman of the Year."
Over the past year, Ariana Grande has continued to assert herself as one of popular music's indispensable superstars, with Top 40 hits including "No Tears Left To Cry," "Breathin'" and "God Is A Woman." All three singles come from Grande's critically acclaimed 2018 full-length, Sweetener, which became her third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 albums chart and scored the largest streaming week ever for a pop album by a female artist upon its release.
Ariana Grande has also used her formidable voice to support worthwhile causes: earlier this year, she participated in March For Our Lives in support of gun control legislation, and has been a staunch advocate for mental health awareness, gender parity and the Black Live Matters movement. 
"One Love Manchester" - Poster
"One Love Manchester" - Poster
Last year, Ariana Grande helped organize the One Love Manchester benefit concert in response to aid the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, broadcasting to 50 countries and raising more than $23 million.
With 10 career Top 10 hits and a combined 6.4 million equivalent album units earned to date, Ariana Grande is a premier pop personality, an in-demand arena headliner and a role model to young women around the world. Grande was previously honored with the 'Rising Star' Award at Billboard's 2014 Women in Music event.
Billboard's Woman of the Year award has become one of the music industry's highest honors. Previous artists named Woman of the Year include Selena Gomez, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift.
The 13th annual Women in Music event and red-carpet pre-show will be broadcast live on Twitter, 7pm-10pm EST on December 6. Additional honorees of Billboard's 2018 Women in Music event will be announced in the coming weeks.
SOURCE: Billboard

5 November 2018

Arron Banks Criminal Investigation: Could Evidence Against Him Make Brexit Void?

Banks needs to account for Brexit spending
Banks needs to account for Brexit spending. (PA/Stefan Rousseau)
The National Crime Agency is to open a criminal investigation into Brexit campaign backer Arron Banks after the Electoral Commission revealed that it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Banks was “not the source” of millions of pounds in loans to the organisation Leave.EU. Banks has denied that there was any funding from Russia in the £8 million he donated to the Brexit campaign.

There have also been fines for overspending on Brexit campaigns and questions about how voter data was used.

All these events have led to a new legal case being listed for an oral hearing in the High Court on December 7. This will argue that Brexit must be declared void and that the notification of Article 50 must be nullified. It is being led by two Queens’ Counsel against the prime minister. So, if the investigation against Banks confirms wrongdoing, can Brexit be declared void in court?

There is no doubt that potentially criminal overspending, data-harvesting and Russian interference delegitimise the Brexit poll in the public’s eye. But it also matters because at common law, votes can be void when they break the law. The common law principle applies to all votes: both elections and referendums.

The constitutional principle was applied in a case called Morgan v Simpson. In 1975, a group of citizens in Croydon argued that a Greater London Council candidate’s election was invalid because 44 votes had not been counted. First, the Court of Appeal held if an “election was conducted so badly that it was not substantially in accordance with the law as to elections, the election is vitiated, irrespective of whether the result was affected or not”. It also said that where there is an irregularity – even one that isn’t major – that “did affect the result”, a vote must also be declared void.

This is part of the general legal principle that “fraud unravels everything”. “Fraud” in law is an objective concept. It would implicate any potentially fraudulent funding of Brexit.

It means that the people’s “order” that the prime minister trigger article 50 and negotiate to leave the European Union could be unravelled.

It could include the fraudulent appropriation of Facebook data. If official campaign Vote Leave knowingly overspent, that might be have implications too, as would potentially fraudulent funding of Brexit by Russia through Arron Banks. It means that the people’s “order” that the prime minister trigger Article 50 and negotiate to leave the European Union could be unravelled.

The case that argues Brexit is void, which gets its first hearing on December 7, is called Wilson v Prime Minister. The barristers’ argument is well worth reading in full, but the opening sentence is gives the gist: it asks whether a “free and fair vote is one of the constitutional requirements of the United Kingdom”. Wilson and the other claimants submit that it is.

Now, it’s a big thing to litigate the very validity of Brexit. But if Russian athletes win Olympic medals when they are taking drugs, their victories are not valid. The same is true of a corrupt vote.

What’s clear is that the UK is in a terrible situation. There is a very real risk of ending a 210-year union between Britain and Northern Ireland, and the 311-year union between England, Wales and Scotland.

For Russia, the power to disable two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in two years is an earth-shaking geopolitical victory. It didn’t work with Marine Le Pen in France, and it can’t touch China. But if it gave the UK Brexit, and the US Trump, British parliamentarians need to look impartially and dispassionately at what has been unfolding, and act.

The British constitution is not codified, but it is written in the case law and the statute books. The law tells us every vote must be free and fair. If Brexit was not, as more and more evidence appears to show, it’s time to bury it.The Conversation

About Today's Contributor:
Ewan McGaughey, Senior Lecturer in Private Law, King's College London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Bonus Related Images:
(Via The Brexit Comic - Facebook Page)
Is this your collar I can feel Mr Banks?
"Is this your collar I can feel Mr Banks?" - The Brexit Comic
Three Wise Mays
"Three Wise Mays" - The Brexit Comic
*BREAKING*  Johnson & Gove admit Vote Leave was wrong to stoke fears about immigration ... oh and breaking electoral law ...
"*BREAKING* Johnson & Gove admit Vote Leave was wrong to stoke fears about immigration ... oh and breaking electoral law ..." The Brexit Comic

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