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The Blackwater murder trial ends with a hung jury; 20-Gay-Teen reaches India.
Gay sex decriminalized in India
- India’s Supreme Court moved to decriminalize gay sex on Thursday. With an estimated population of 78 million queer people, this is the “biggest decriminalization verdict in history.” [Gay Star News / Shannon Power and Rik Glauert]
- The five judges voted to overrule Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a 157-year-old statute that deemed gay sex illegal and a punishable offense. The Supreme Court justified the ruling as an interpretation “per the requirement of changing times.” [Times of India]
- Gay sex was initially decriminalized in 2009 by the Delhi High Court, but that ruling was quickly overturned by the Supreme Court. Decriminalization efforts returned to the court system this year. [The Cut / Sarah Nechamkin]
- The fight for gay rights in India is far from over, however. Gay marriage is still illegal and gay couples cannot adopt children together or inherit one another’s property. [LA Times / Shashank Bengali and Niha Masih]
Deadlocked in the Blackwater murder case
- The second trial of a former security guard for Blackwater USA (charged with murder for killing more than a dozen unarmed civilians in Iraq) resulted in a mistrial on Thursday. [NPR / Camila Domonoske]
- Nicholas Slatten, the security guard, was allegedly involved in 2007’s shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. The incident killed 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians and wounded 17 others. [USA Today / Michael Collins]
- Slatten was accused of murder, and three other fellow guards for Blackwater, an infamous private security company that was hired by the government in 2004, were convicted of manslaughter charges. [BBC]
- The alleged murders sparked outrage from diplomats and humanitarians around the globe. It also propelled efforts to end the use of private military services, though nothing has changed yet. [Washington Post / Spencer S. Hsu]
- Slatten was previously convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life, but judges from a federal appeals court overturned the decision and called for a retrial. [CNN / Zachary Cohen and Laura Jarrett]
- Prosecutors now have to decide if they will retry Slatten for a third time. They will grapple with whether this third try “is the charm” or if “justice pursued for too long become[s] injustice — or simply pointless.” [Above the Law / Justin Dillon]
- Former Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore is suing comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 million for defamation, emotional distress, and fraud. A disguised Cohen invited Moore, accused of assaulting teenage girls, onto his prank show “Who is America?” and had him take a “pedophile detector” test. [Slate / Matthew Dessem]
- A YouTube star paid $100 to become a mayor in Hell, Michigan. Unfortunately, he was immediately impeached after banning heterosexuality in the tiny town. [Cosmopolitan / Tess Koman]
- The Verge’s Sarah Hagi explores the weird world of the viral video sensation known as “Yes, Papa.” It seems no one in the Billion Surprise Toys universe is allowed to eat sugar … and they’re all liars. See for yourself. [The Verge / Sarah Hagi]
- Scientists have discovered, and captured, the first known omnivorous shark species on Earth. The bonnethead shark’s diet primarily consists of seagrass, because “fish are friends … not food.” [The Guardian / Ian Sample]
“Under Trump, neutrality has become a difficult position for any individual or institution to maintain. Everyone is expected to take a side. Even attempts to articulate safe, bipartisan points of consensus run afoul of tribal suspicions.” [David Greenberg on the death of neutrality / Politico]
Watch this: The gender wage gap, explained
Hillary Clinton and Anne-Marie Slaughter discuss the cultural norms at the center of the worldwide gender pay gap, including the “motherhood penalty” on this week’s episode of Explained, now on Netflix.
Sign up for The Weeds pop-up newsletter! Matt Yglesias dissects what’s really at stake in the 2018 midterms between now and Election Day.
Author: Jennie Neufeld