Collegiate Debaters Nadia Lewis and Jamila Ahmed Become 1st Black Women to Win National Competition
Harry Potter is still the most invisible of all, though.
AP: China’s ruling Communist Party announced on Friday that it will loosen its one-child policy and abolish a heavily criticized labor camp system.
Under new rules, couples will be allowed to have two children if one of the parents is an only child. The previous policy limited most urban couples in China to one child and allowed two children for rural families if their first-born was a girl.
Follow more updates on China at BreakingNews.com.
Hawaii governor signs same-sex marriage bill into law
Star-Advertiser: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the marriage equality bill into law today, making Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
He signed the bill before a crowd of several hundred people at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.
Now, the struggle over marriage equality will shift to the courts, where Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) and a group of Christians will seek to block the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Dec. 2, as the measure allows.
The lawsuit contends that the 1998 constitutional amendment that gave the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to heterosexual couples outweighs a statutory change. Another public vote, the lawsuit argues, would be necessary to redefine marriage.
Judge Karl Sakamoto has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Circuit Court.
Photo: Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his wife Nancie Caraway sit in the auditorium at the Hawaii Convention Center before today’s bill-signing ceremony. (Craig T. Kojima / Star-Advertiser)
Prison program gives dogs, inmates 2nd chances
ALTO, Ga. - It isn’t often that one hears about inmates saving lives, but at one state prison in north Georgia they are doing just that. A special program allows prisoners to help rescue dogs from shelters and give them a second chance at life.
Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto appears to be a typical prison on the outside, but on the inside there is something special going with dogs living with inmates. Forever Friends K9 Rescue is a program that pairs inmates with dogs from the Habersham County Animal Shelter.
Dogs who have been at the shelter too long and were slated to be put down get a second chance. For 12 weeks 7 dogs live and train with two inmates a piece. They concentrate on obedience, crate training and being house broken. The goal is for the dogs to be adopted out by their forever family.
And for the inmates it is a bit more complicated. 37-year-old Pearl Hartley says she was a very lost person going into the prison. She says her addiction to pills landed her behind bars.
Pearl’s projects are Angel, a lab mix who spent the first 6 months of her life in a cage built for a Pomeranian. She is still a bit unsure of the world, but Pearl has helped Angel come out of her shell. If you ask Pearl, she says it’s angel who has taught her how to live.
And that’s what Warden Kathy Seabolt says it is all about, the second chances.
The prison tried out the program for the first time this summer. All the dogs were adopted out to staff and families of inmates. This group of dogs will be ready for adoption the week before Christmas.
For more information on how you can adopt one of the dogs visit the Habersham County Animal Control website by clicking here.
Video at the link!
Actually this picture “Community Puts in a Wheelchair Park” is not just any park, this is Morgan’s Wonderland and it is the only amusement park in the world that accommodates special needs people. It’s in San Antonio, Texas, and I have been there twice with my daughter, who has Asperger’s and my family. My daughter gets in free as do all who are special needs.
Every single ride is outfitted for everyone.
There are superhero mascots everywhere of all different varieties, as varied as life itself. There is even a calming garden to go for some if they have been overstimulated, as can be the case for people with autism and Asperger’s.
I have seen a grown man tear up the first time he finally got the sensation of swinging in a real swing that can support him in his chair, something some of us take for granted.
It has been visited by over 35 countries and it is a wonderful, wonderful place.
Stephen Turner, 56, had only been on board for 10 yards when the vehicle began careering down a hill in West Yorkshire.
The driver of the single decker had passed out and the bus was rolling out of control towards a busy junction and traffic lights.
Until two years ago, Sasha Fleischman was a shy teen, a loner with odd hobbies and a bright mind, but far from a civil rights activist.
But between Fleischman’s freshman and senior year something changed: Fleischman decided to identify as agender or “nonbinary” gender, neither male nor female. Sasha asked to be referred to by the pronouns “they,” “them,” and “their.”
Family members say that very personal decision helped the teen blossom. But police believe it also led another teenager to light Fleischman’s skirt on fire as the student slept on a local bus, causing severe injuries that could take months to heal.
Since the incident, public support for the injured 18-year-old has been overwhelming, with more than $20,000 raised to help with medical expenses and civil rights leaders expressing outrage about the case. And understanding seems to be growing about the issues of gender identity that Fleischman hoped to call attention to.
On Friday, about half the 100 students at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, where Fleischman attended, wore skirts for Skirts for Sasha Day and carried signs reading, “Get well, Sasha, we miss you.”
8-Year-Old Helping Homeless Kids One Cup at a Time
Some kids are born athletes. Others excel at art or science. Jaxon Evans has the compassion gene.
The 8-year-old Bakersfield, California, resident has opened a Kool-Aid stand to raise money to buy toys he plans to give out to homeless children. So far, Jaxon has raised $1,600 and is aiming to raise $2,500 before Black Friday, when he and his mom, Alandra Evans, 39, will hit Toys R Us. (Their local store has even offered them a 10 percent discount.)
“He has compassion for others,” Alandra tells Yahoo Shine of her son, who got the idea thanks to a fellow student who ran a lemonade stand for charity. “It’s cool to aid kids,” Jaxon says.
Alandra Evans, who teaches eighth grade at Sequoia Middle School in Bakersfield, supplied the Kool-Aid and Jaxon enlisted two friends to help set up. He even made up fliers to give out at school, while his mom posted messages to friends and family members on Facebook.
“Everything $1. Or pay with your heart,” read the sign next to donated baked goods and hand-mixed punch. That first fundraiser, held in late September, raised $400. Then word got out on the local news. When people heard the effort was for charity, “that $1 turned into $10,” according to Alandra.
With two sales down, Kraft has sent the budding philanthropist enough Kool-Aid to cover his next two fundraisers, which will be held this month.
Last week, Jaxon and his mom visited the Bakersfield Homeless Center – which mostly serves women and children and feeds up to 500 people a day – to meet some of the kids who will benefit. After speaking with officials about the center’s needs, the Evans family added nonperishable food and baby products to their shopping list.
Those toys Jaxon wants to buy? “Yes, it absolutely makes a difference,” Carolann Wooton, external affairs manager for the center, tells Yahoo Shine. She said that the center depends on individual donors for 25 percent of its funding. Jaxon’s good deed will be well received. “It’s good for our kids,” she adds.
While Jaxon would prefer to distribute the toys wearing a Santa suit, Alandra isn’t completely on board with that idea. But she does know that her son’s heart is in the right place. “His compassion for living things, you can’t teach that in a child,” she says. “You either have it or you don’t.” [x]
Tuition-free opportunity from University of the People
University of the People President and founder Shai Reshef is arriving in South Africa this month to recruit hundreds of deserving students for Microsoft’s 4Afrika scholarship. UoPeople aims to expand access to tertiary education in Africa, and in turn assist in increasing and accelerating economic development in the continent. To date, students from 138 countries have been accepted with 1000 more expected from Africa specifically in 2014.University of the People (www.UoPeople.org ) is a non-profit, tuition-free, degree granting online academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. It is designed to provide access to college studies for qualified high school graduates, despite financial, geographic, societal, or personal constraints.Earlier this year, the University announced a drive to increase its footprint and reach for African students. In support of this, Microsoft recently announced its offering of 1000 UoPeople scholarships for African students. This is the institution’s largest scholarship programme to date and opens the doors to higher education for so many African students.“Increasing access to post-secondary education in Africa will create a significant impact on the African youth. By empowering them to be the future generation leaders of their communities, countries and the continent, equipped with world-class education, we believe they will be able to take Africa to its rightful place on the world stage” says President Reshef.The University of the People will be scouting across South Africa for at least 100 deserving students to take advantage of the Microsoft 4Afrika scholarship. “We are also seeking out other corporations that may take up the challenge to sponsor more students in Africa and we anticipate that South Africa will be a major source country for our scholarship programmes,” said Reshef.Founded in 2009, UoPeople has partnered with several prestigious brands and educational institutions such as Yale University for research and the New York University to accept students. In addition, the University works with Microsoft for scholarships and access to its certificate programmes, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities; and Hewlett-Packard, for general support, scholarships for women and internships.The organisation has gained widespread support of leading academics with its President’s Council chaired by New York University President John Sexton and includes Oxford Vice-Chancellor Sir Colin Lucas, Rector Emeritus of the Academy of Paris, Michèle Gendreau-Massaloux, and UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, among others. UoPeople is supported by The Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Hewlett Foundation and companies such as HP, Google, Microsoft, Western Union and Estee Lauder and many more. UoPeople has received the support of almost 1.2 million people on Facebook and garnered media coverage throughout the world. [x]
Hyundai provided its ix35 fuel-cell car as part of a unique and sustainable city garden in London.
NBC News: The US will require insurers to cover mental health and addiction the same as they do physical illness, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday.
"This is the largest expansion of behavioral health coverage in a generation," Sebelius said. "The rule is a reality in part because of the leadership of President Obama, who was committed to getting this done this year."