Friday News Bites: Bugs! Bears! Barrowman! Ohhh Myyy.

Despite my silly headline, we do have some serious stories to cover this week. Let’s get to those first, and you shall be rewarded with some amusing stories to see you into the weekend.

First up, here is a really handy link: 9 questions about the Israel-Palestine conflict you were too embarrassed to ask. Yes, it includes “What are Israel and Palestine?” and it’s okay that you don’t automatically know this.

Continuing on with that conflict, a UN shelter for refugees was hit by an apparent Israeli airstrike on Thursday, killing 15 people. Officials are calling conditions in Gaza “dire.”

Because of all these bombings, the FAA temporarily banned US flights to Israel’s main airport.

In other flight news, a teenager from Indiana has died in an attempt to fly around the world. Harris Suleman was killed when the plane crashed near American Samoa, and his father, Babar Suleman, is lost at sea.

Last weekend, the NYPD announced that they had placed Officer Daniel Pantaleo, recently seen using a chokehold on a man who later died, on “modified assignment,” pending an investigation into the incident. Essentially, that means he’s on desk duty and not patrol, but I guess it’s something.

In Arizona, death row inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood remained alive for two hours during his botched execution:

Wood’s execution almost didn’t occur today. Just three days ago, a federal appeals court put the lethal injection plans on pause, requiring the state to disclose “the name and provenance of the drugs to be used in the execution” and “the qualifications of the medical personnel” performing the execution. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that lower court’s ruling, and, after another brief stay by Arizona’s Supreme Court, the execution continued as planned.

All this conflict has arisen because overseas drug-makers have raised moral objections to their products being used in executions, and refused to sell the medications for that purpose. As the usual drugs used to lethally inject inmates have been pulled from the shelves by their makers, the American justice system has turned to untested, often undisclosed, drugs to kill its inmates. Those drugs are usually made not in pharmacies but in drug compounding facilities not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

In news pertaining to my personal state of residence, it turns out that Senator John Walsh (D-MT) plagiarized much of his master’s thesis when he attended the United States Army War College. Dude, come on, we live in an age where anyone can find out that sort of thing. Stop making this election about voting for the less-bad choice.

R.I.P.

James Garner, prolific actor and star of ’70s television show Rockford Files, died at age 86. His cause of death is not yet known.

Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak, who worked on films including The Patriot with Mel Gibson, died at age 21. Bartusiak had been suffering from epileptic seizures,  though her cause of death has not been officially announced.

In Lighter News

Well, this is unfortunate but it makes irony and pun-lovers quite happy: “Tree Planted To Honor Beatle Is Killed By Beetles.” A pine tree planted in Los Angeles to honor George Harrison recently died due to the bug infestation, but the city plans to plant another tree.

So! Apparently bears like gay oral sex. Or, since the male bears presumably mate with lady bears, does that make them bi bears? Get your terminology straight (uh, or not-straight), SCIENCE.

(To digress: There is probably a video out there called Bi Bears already, isn’t there? And if not, some frisky business purveyor really should get on that.)

Speaking of same-sexin’: During the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, here’s John Barrowman protesting against the 42 nations of the Commonwealth in which homosexuality remains illegal. Of course, it’s in a way that is so very BARROWMAN:

Finally, if you’d like to support a great organization helping young LGBTQ people and their parents, do check out Everyone is Gay.

See you next time, Unicorns.

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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