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Today’s Lady News: Trailblazing Journalist Helen Thomas Retires Following Controversy

  • Journalist Helen Thomas has announced she will retire after controversial comments she made last week about Jews and Israel. Thomas, 89, was a trailblazer for women journalists who covered U.S. presidents dating back to President Kennedy. Among numerous other “firsts” in her career, Thomas became the first woman to become the White House bureau chief for a wire service in 1974 and one year later she was invited to be the first female officer of the National Press Club. Last week, Thomas came under fire for saying that “Israel should get the hell out of Palestine” and that Jews in Israel should return to Germany, Poland, or the U.S. She has since apologized for her remarks. [Chicago Sun-Times, Huffington Post]

  • Nevada State Senator Dennis Nolan has admitted to leaving a phone message on May 19 for the sister of a rape victim, suggesting it would be “financially beneficial” to her if the sister claimed the sex had been consensual. Nolan was interceding on behalf of a friend, Gordon Lawes, 28, who was convicted in 2008 of raping a 16-year-old girl and was sentenced to life in prison. Nolan has claimed he didn’t intend to bribe the victim’s sister. [AP, Talking Points Memo Muckraker]
  • An anti-abortion group called Radiance Foundation has erected billboards throughout Georgia featuring a black child’s face with the words “Black & Unwanted,” with a link to TooManyAborted.com. The same group erected billboards read “Black Children Are An Endangered Species” months ago. Radiance tries to link the racism to support of legal abortion. [Essence]
  • A lesbian couple was the first pair of domestic partners to have a wedding-like celebration at City Hall. Although gays cannot legally marry in New York State, last week the New York City City Clerk’s office began offering a ceremony similar to a wedding for same-sex domestic partners. [New York Daily News]
  • The Florida state legislature has sent a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion to Governor Charlie Crist. Crist has 15 days to take action, but has indicated he will veto the bill. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Alaska’s state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of putting a ballot initiative requiring parental notification for minors who want an abortion. The initiative would be on the ballot this August. [KTUU]
  • Police in Florida say a guman, who shot and killed his wife outside the restaurant where she worked, bypassed the men and targeted other women inside. So far four women, including the wife, Liazan Molina, 24, have been killed. [AP]
  • A Houston police officer was arrested and charged with raping two women while he was on duty. Officer Demetrie Trevail Dixon was charged with four felony counts of sexual assault and two misdemeanor counts of official oppression, after a sting operation found he had taken women to warehouse building parking lots to rape them. If convicted, Dixon faces up to 20 years in jail. [Houston Chronicle]
  • A 23-year-old woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by three men in New York City’s Central Park early on Sunday morning. The woman was waiting for a bus on Fifth Avenue early in the morning when she said three guys offered to smoke pot with her. (Police say the pot may have been laced with angel dust.) Inside the park, the three men allegedly held her down and sexually assaulted her. The victim walked topless out of the park at 3:30 a.m and was found by a taxi driver, who gave her a shirt and called 911. Police say they have video of the alleged attackers taken from a convenience store in the area earlier that evening. [New York Daily News]
  • Seven players from the Green Bay Packers were questioned over the weekend regarding the alleged sexual assaults of two women. Police say six of the players are not considered suspects, while one player remains under investigation. [CNN]
  • Inmates at prisons throughout Indiana have raised over $5,600 for a parenting education program for pregnant women in jail. The money raised will help finance the Wee Ones Nursery, which offers parenting classes. Mothers may live with their newborns in a separate section of the prison if they have not been convicted of violent crimes and have less than 18 months left on their sentences. [Chicago Tribune]
  • According to a recent study by Black Coaches and Administrators, the numbers of black women receiving head coaching jobs for women’s basketball are on the rise. [Essence]
  • Women’s rights activist Shelby Knox has organized a “girlcott” of Urban Outfitters in response to shirts the store has recently offered, including a women’s shirt which reads “Eat Less” and a men’s shirt imploring men to protect their daughters’ virginity. [TheGloss.com]

INTERNATIONAL

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.5 billion today to improve the health of women and children in places like India and Ethiopia through family planning (contraception) and other measures. The Gates Foundation’s push is a joint effort with the United Nation and some of the groups funded include Save The Children and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition [Reuters].
  • Roz Savage, a British environmentalist, has become the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean. Savage’s 250-day trip sought to raise awareness about climate change and plastics polluting the ocean. [The Sun UK]
  • Meet Linda Tucker, a British woman who has devoted her life to protecting rare white lions. [Daily Mail UK]
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