Lupita Nyong’o forced to apologize to disabled group

Lupita Nyong’o has apologised for offending members of the disabled community with the voice she used as the terrifying doppelgänger Red in Jordan Peele’s Us.

The actress, 36, was responding to backlash from disability groups, who criticised her for crediting Spasmodic Dysphonia as an inspiration for the strained way she spoke as the character.


Discussing how she came up with her character’s speech while on The View on Thursday, the Black Panther star explained: ‘The voice of Red was a composite of influences and definitely a creation of my imagination.

‘But I was inspired by a condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia, which is a neurological disorder, which can be triggered by physical and emotional trauma.

‘In my processes as an actor, one of the things I look to do is to find ways into the most human and most real parts of the camera, and to steer clear of a judgement of them as good or evil, pleasant or creepy.’

She said factors like the way Robert F Kennedy Jr speaks, as well as her research on ‘laryngeal fractures, and vocal cord haemorrhages and [her] own experience with vocal injury’ shaped the way she spoke as Red.

Adding that she also met with people who have Spasmodic Dysphonia, she said that she ‘thought by speaking up about it, and mentioning it, it might have helped shed light on the condition.’

Lupita continued: ‘I understand that it’s a very marginal group of people who suffer from this, and so the thought that I would in a way offend them was not my intention.

‘In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonising the condition. I crafted Red with love and care. So as much as it is in a very genre-specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real.’

The Oscar-winning actress then apologised, as she concluded: ‘So for all of that, I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended.’

US Supreme Court halts Texas abortion clinics closure

The US Supreme Court on Monday temporarily halted the closure of most of the abortion clinics in Texas, two days before rules forcing them to shut their doors were due to go into effect.

Abortion providers said the rules — which included requiring clinics to follow costly hospital-like building standards — amount to a “multi-million dollar tax on abortion services” and would have forced all but nine of the sprawling state’s clinics to close.

The order, which won support of five of the nine justices, blocks implementation of the law while the court considers whether to hear an appeal.

“We’re relieved that the high court has, once again, prevented anti-choice politicians from pushing safe and affordable abortion care entirely out of reach for Texas women,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates six clinics in Texas.

Just 18 abortion clinics are currently operating in Texas, a state larger than France with a population of 30 million people.

That’s down significantly from the 41 clinics operating in Texas in 2013 when a host of restrictions — including those that were temporarily halted Monday — were passed into law. Most of the clinics closed because their physicians had trouble gaining admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Women living in smaller towns and rural areas have been hardest-hit by the closures as nearly all the clinics are in the state’s five large cities.

Similar restrictions enacted in other states have led to a sharp decline in the number of abortion clinics in recent years.

The Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could lead to the closure of the last abortion provider in the state of Mississippi.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott defended the law as a “constitutional exercise of Texas’ lawmaking authority that was correctly and unanimously upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

“Texas will continue to fight for higher-quality healthcare standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law,” he said in a statement.

Photo Credits : AFP

US President Obama Finally Joins Twitter

Six years into his Presidency, US President Barrack Obama has joined twitter.

His official handle is @potus. Within a few hours of joining he got over a million followers, with the number now standing at slightly over 1.5 M.

His first tweet read :

 And then he went one to joke with former President Bill Clinton


North Korea denies hacking Sony

North Korea said on Saturday U.S. accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander,” and that it wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States.

An unnamed spokesman of North Korea’s foreign ministry said there would be serious consequences if Washington refused to agree to the probe and continued to accuse Pyongyang, according to the North Korean U.N. mission and its official KCNA news agency.

The United States stands by its assertion that North Korea was to blame, a White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman said on Saturday, in response to the remarks.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama blamed North Korea for the devastating cyberattack, which had led to the Hollywood studio cancelling the imminent release of “The Interview,” a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

China overtakes US as world’s biggest economy

China has finally overtaken the USA as the world’s biggest economy – at least when the figures are adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity.

According to the International Monetary Fund the combined purchasing power of China’s citizens now outstrips that of America’s.

And by the end of the year will China should make up 16.48 per cent of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP for a total of $17.632 trillion (£11 trillion).

The US, by contrast, will make up 16.28 per cent, or $17.416 trillion.


US Launches First Attacks Against ISIS In Syria

The US and five Arab countries have begun airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.

The strikes were launched using a mix of fighters, bombers, drones and Tomahawk missiles and form part of the expanded military campaign authorised by Barack Obama two weeks ago.

“I can confirm that US military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against IS terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk land attack missiles,” Pentagon press spokesman Read Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time.

“The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the US Central Command commander under authorisation granted him by the commander in chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate.”

The strikes were carried out by manned Air Force and Navy aircraft, and the Tomahawk missiles were launched from US ships in the northern Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush is in the Gulf.

Some of the airstrikes were against Islamic State group headquarters in Raqqa in eastern Syria. Military officials have said the U.S. would target militants’ command and control centers, re-supply facilities, training camps and other key logistical sites.

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President Obama to Unveil Expanded Ebola Response

President Obama plans to unveil an expanded U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the worst outbreak of the disease in history.

Obama, who has called the outbreak a national security priority, will outline new steps to address the crisis during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention in Atlanta.

According to senior administration officials, the ramped up military effort centers on command and control, logistics, training and engineering support.

With the new measures the United States is significantly ramping up its response, and the next steps will focus on command and control, logistics, training and engineering support.

They include:

  • Creating a joint force command headquarters in Monrovia, Liberia. By end of the week, the U.S. will have general officer in place to lead the effort, known as “Operation United Assistance.”
  • Providing engineers to build treatment units. Up to 17 separate facilities with 100 beds each.
  • Training support for health care workers, up to 500 health care workers per week, for as long as needed (although budgeting plans for a six-month period). Training will come from U.S. military medical personnel. The administration hopes to have force on the ground in a couple of weeks. After this scaling up is done, the expectation is for there to be up to 3,000 Defense Department personnel on the ground in support of the joint force command.

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Libya in turmoil as US says UAE, Egypt bombed Islamists

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt secretly bombed Islamist militia in Libya, apparently catching Washington off guard, as turmoil in the North African country deepened with the Islamists naming a rival premier.

The US government said on Tuesday that the UAE and Egypt were behind last week’s two deadly night raids on Islamist positions near Tripoli airport.

“We do believe there were air strikes undertaken in recent days by the UAE and Egypt inside Libya,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.

The State Department also confirmed the air attacks but officials would not say whether Washington was notified in advance.

An Emirati official told AFP only that his country had “no reaction” to the report, while Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri on Tuesday denied any “direct” role by his country.

The air strikes signalled a step towards direct action by regional Arab states that previously have fought proxy wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq in a struggle for power and influence.

Islamist forces in Libya alleged at the weekend that Egypt and the UAE were behind the air raids.



U.S. warplanes strike Islamic State artillery to protect Kurds

(Reuters) – U.S. warplanes struck Iraq on Friday for the first time since American troops pulled out in 2011, attacking Islamist fighters advancing towards the Kurdish region after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent “genocide”.

The fighters had advanced to within a half hour’s drive of Arbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region and a hub for U.S. oil companies. A Pentagon spokesman said two F/A-18 aircraft dropped laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece used by Islamic State fighters to shell Kurdish forces defending Arbil.

Obama authorized air strikes after tens of thousands of Christians fled for their lives from Islamic State fighters who have crucified and beheaded captives.




“We are still friends”, President Uhuru tells the US

President Uhuru Kenyatta has sought to quell rumors of a rift in relations between Kenya and the United States of America.

Kenyatta has said Kenya’s trade deals with countries from the East have not impacted in any way on the historic bonds it has with the US and other Western nations.

The President, who is currently in Washington DC for a US-Africa Leadership summit, spoke at a business forum organized by the Bloomberg Foundation which was also attended by US president Barrack Obama.

“I want to reassure you concerning a rumor going round the international public sphere that Kenya and my Government have turned away from the West in favor of the East,” he said.

The President said Kenya, like many other countries of the world, was only taking advantage of business opportunities in the East and has at no time made a decision to turn away from its traditional allies.

Michigan Crowd at Man U and Real Madrid Match Sets U.S. Record

Naysayers who thought American fans would quickly lose interest in soccer after the World Cup were wrong.

A friendly match between Manchester United and Real Madrid in Ann Arbor, Michigan, set a new record for U.S. attendance at a soccer match Saturday, according to multiple reports.

A sold-out crowd of 109,318 filled Michigan Stadium on Saturday, according to estimates, shattering the previous record of 101,799 set during a 1984 Olympic match between Brazil and France.

The turnout for the match between two of Europe’s biggest soccer clubs underscores soccer’s growing popularity in the U.S. Fans paid anywhere between $45 and $189 for tickets to the preseason match, Yahoo Sports reported.


US suspends Peace Corps program in Kenya

                                                                                                                                                                                       File photo courtesy of

The US has suspended its Peace Corps program in Kenya due to rising insecurity.

The State Department says more than 50 volunteers have been pulled out and the program will only resume once security concerns have been addressed.

The move follows the down-sizing of staff at the US embassy in Nairobi following increased terror threats.

The Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world where volunteers work at the grassroots level helping communities.