Friday News Bites: Syrian Refugees, Oliver Sacks + More

Greetings, one and all. Quick roundup of news stories this Friday, though I invite you all (as usual) to share anything interesting that has crossed your path.

60 million people have been displaced from their homes over the past year, many of them coming to Europe from Syria. More than 2,500 people have died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Here are some ways you can help these refugees.

Pope Francis continues his campaign for “Not-So-Stereotypical Pope” by declaring that women in the Catholic church who have had abortions may seek absolution from their priest. While a considerable step forward (and likely a big deal to devoutly Catholic women who may have been wrestling with guilt), here’s how the church still has a long way to go in this particular area of their doctrine.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott doesn’t really want to admit that his “investigation” of Planned Parenthood turned up no evidence of “mishandling fetal remains.”

To the surprise of probably very few, Republicans like President Obama’s ideas better when they think they’re Donald Trump’s. Cue the weeping for society.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the Obama Administration officially changed the name of Mount McKinley in Alaska back to its native name, Denali. Denali, a traditional Koyukon Athabascan name, has been used as the mountain’s official name in Alaska since 1975.

If you’ve ever wanted the job title “Hermit,” then Spain’s Our Lady of The Rock would like to hear from you.

In Illinois, police are still searching for suspects involved in the fatal shooting of Lt. Charles J. Gliniewicz. One man has been apprehended so far.

Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, remains in jail. A federal judge said that other county clerks would also face contempt of court charges if they refused.

Johnsonville is recalling some of their pork sausage patties sold in 11 states. They are being recalled for possibly having “extraneous materials.” Lovely.


Celebrated neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks has died after a battle with cancer. He was 82.

Director Wes Craven, best known for horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street and Screamdied on Sunday from brain cancer. He was 76.

In Entertainment:

GLAAD is changing how it tracks LGBT representation on television:

“Over the years, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in LGBT representation on most of the TV networks we track in our report,” says Matt Kane, GLAAD’s programs director for entertainment media. “We may have the numbers, but [networks] still aren’t quite representing the LGBT community in a way that’s accurate… There are still people who are starved for representation in popular culture.” Having achieved some progress on a quantitative level, GLAAD is focusing its efforts on broadening the kinds of LGBT people depicted on TV, namely people of color and transgender people.

After criticizing Nicki Minaj for speaking out on the racial bias in the VMA nominations, Miley Cyrus turned up for her hosting gig wearing blonde dreads. When Nicki won an award, you best believe she called Miley out.

So there’s going to be a post-apocalyptic zombie film starring boy bands called Dead 7. And it’s filming in my home state. Butte is wonderfully weird, so I think it’s perfect.
And finally, the BBC announced that Doctor Who‘s Christmas Special this year will feature the return of River Song, played by Alex Kingston. Don’t fuck it up, Moffat!

Alex Kingston as River Song in Doctor Who television series.

Until next time.

By 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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