Man Kills Fiance, Commits Suicide in Lekki, Lagos Nigeria

Wake Up Nigeria, June 23, 2020

A Nigerian man simply identified as Chris, stabbed his fiance to death, and thereafter committed suicide in their home in Victory Park estate in Lagos state on Sunday, June 21.

According to residents of the estate, the couple moved into the estate 3 weeks ago with their two young children. Not much was known about the couple but just a day before the murder-suicide, they were spotted jogging together on Saturday night, June 20.

A neighbor who spoke on condition of anonymity to LIB, said:

On Sunday afternoon, neighbors close to the couple’s apartment heard loud music emanating from their home and this lasted for many hours.

The neighbors went to the estate office to complain about the loud music and insisted the estate officials go there and caution the couple.

The estate authorities went to the couple’s compound to appeal to them to turn down the volume of the music coming from their apartment.

They however met with the wife’s sister who was downstairs with the couple’s children. The sister immediately went upstairs so she can inform her sister and the husband about the complaint laid by the estate authorities. She knocked several times but got no response.

After waiting for so long, the sister and the estate officials decided to pull the door down. They were greeted by a horrific sight.

Apparently, the man had killed his wife. It is believed it was pre-meditated because when they got into the room, they saw different kinds of knives there. The woman’s legs and hands were bound and her mouth shut with a cellotape. The husband used a clipper to shave her hair, stabbed her head, her eyes, stabbed her multiple times with different knives.

The scene was nothing short of a horror movie.

After stabbing his wife to death, the man committed suicide by drinking sniper”

Spokesperson of the state police command, Bala Elkana who confirmed the incident to LIB, said: “it is true. Homicide detectives have sealed up the place. They have commenced investigation. The corpse of the man and the woman have been moved to the hospital for an autopsy.
2 kitchen knives were found there and two bottles of Sniper. The woman had injuries from stabbing while foams were coming out of the man’s mouth who is suspected to have taken those Snipers. Investigation is ongoing.”

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Ondo Deputy Governor blocked from moving properties at Government house

Ahead of his planned defection from the All progressives Congress, APC to the main opposition party, the people’s Democratic party, PDP, the Ondo State Deputy Governor,. Agboola Ajayi was on Saturday night stopped by security Agents from moving his property out of the Government House.

The Deputy Governor with some of his aides were at the Government House to move some of his personal property out .

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BREAKING NEWS: At least ten people shot in the New Orleans French Quarter | Daily Mail Online

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At least 11 people have been shot on Canal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  

A suspect opened fire in the neighborhood popular for nightlife just before 3.30am Sunday. 

Two of the victims were hospitalized in critical condition. One had been shot in the chest and the other in the torso.  

NOPD Supt Shaun Ferguson confirmed that a person of interest has been detained. He emphasized that it’s unclear what involvement, if any, the person of interest had in the shooting.  

At least 11 people were shot when a suspect opened fire in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the early hours on Sunday morning. Two of the victims were hospitalized in critical condition

The shooting occurred on Canal Street in the heart of the popular neighborhood for nightlife

Local police had already increased their presence in the area because of the Bayou Classic football game between Grambling State University and Southern University on Saturday night.

Officers confirmed they were just a few feet away from the shooting, and initially thought they were being fired at but couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from.

An investigation is ongoing as authorities collect witness statements and surveillance footage near the scene.  

The victim’s identities, ages and genders have not been released, but officials said no officers were injured.   

One witness, Kenneth Culbreth, described the scene to NOLA.com. 

Culbreth said he was leaving a CVS pharmacy on Canal Street when he heard the shots ring out.  

‘I heard pops. It was so many, I couldn’t keep count,’ he said.

An employee at the CVS rushed to control the chaos that erupted after the shooting.  

‘I heard three rounds, and people started running,’ the unnamed employee said.  

This is a developing story.  

New Orleans Police had already increased their presence in the area (pictured in a file photo) because of the Bayou Classic football game between Grambling State University and Southern University on Saturday night  

BREAKING NEWS: At least ten people shot in the New Orleans French Quarter

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Apple Card faces probe over discrimination complaint | ABS-CBN News

cell phone person

Something curious happened when a husband and wife recently compared their Apple Card spending limits.

David Heinemeier Hansson vented on Twitter that even though his spouse, Jamie Hansson, had a better credit score and other factors in her favor, her application for a credit line increase had been denied.

The prominent software developer wondered how his credit line could be 20 times higher, referring to Apple Card as a “sexist program” (with an expletive added for emphasis).

The card, a partnership between Apple and Goldman Sachs, made its debut in the United States in August.

“My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter. “Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does.”

Hansson’s tweets caught the attention of more than just his 350,000 followers.

They struck a nerve with New York state regulators, who announced Saturday that they would investigate the algorithm used by Apple Card to determine the creditworthiness of applicants.

Algorithms are codes or a set of instructions used by computers, search engines and smartphone applications to perform tasks, from ordering food delivery to hailing a ride — and yes, applying for credit.

The criteria used by the Apple Card are now being scrutinized by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

“Any algorithm that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class violates New York law,” an agency spokeswoman said in a statement Saturday night.

“DFS is troubled to learn of potential discriminatory treatment in regards to credit limit decisions reportedly made by an algorithm of Apple Card, issued by Goldman Sachs, and the Department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” the statement said.

An Apple spokeswoman directed questions to a Goldman Sachs spokesman, Andrew Williams, who said that the company could not comment publicly on individual customers.

“Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law,” Williams said.

David Hansson did not respond to an interview request Saturday night.

His wife’s experience with the Apple Card, the first credit card offering by Goldman Sachs, does not appear to be an isolated case, however.

Steve Wozniak, who invented the Apple-1 computer with Steve Jobs and was a founder of the tech giant, responded to Hansson’s tweet with a similar account.

“The same thing happened to us,” Wozniak wrote. “I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019.”

In addition to Goldman Sachs, Apple partnered with Mastercard on the Apple Card, which the companies hailed as a revolutionary “digital first” credit card that had no numbers and could be added to the Wallet app on the iPhone and used with Apple Pay.

A spokesman for Mastercard, which provides support for Apple Card’s global payments network, did not respond to a request for comment Saturday.

David Hansson, a Danish entrepreneur and California resident, is known for creating Ruby on Rails, a popular computer coding language used to create database-backed web applications. He is an author and decorated race car driver on the Le Mans circuit, according to a biography on his website.

In a subsequent tweet, he said that the Apple Card’s customer service representatives told his wife that they were not authorized to discuss the credit assessment process.

He said that customer service employees were unable to explain why the algorithm had designated her to be less creditworthy but had assured his wife that the bank was not discriminating against women.

An applicant’s credit score and income level are used by Goldman Sachs to determine creditworthiness, according to a support page for the Apple Card. Past due accounts, a checking account closed by a bank for overdrafts, liens and medical debts can negatively affect applications, the page stated.

On Friday, a day after David Hansson started railing on the Apple Card’s treatment of female credit applicants, he said his wife got a “VIP bump” to match his credit limit. He said that didn’t make up for the flawed algorithm used by Apple Card.

He said many women had shared similar experiences with him on Twitter and urged regulators to contact them.

“My thread is full of accounts from women who’ve been declared to be worse credit risks than their husbands, despite higher credit scores or incomes,” he said.

2019 The New York Times Company

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Two gay US airmen were attacked by a mob in a nightclub / LGBTQ Nation

person

Two gay U.S. military personnel say they were attacked by a mob in a nightclub in Croatia, and local media is saying they were attacked because they were “acting gay.”

Ny’Zavian Dozier, 24, and Keith Rowe, 25, say that they were at the Opera nightclub in the city of Zadar.

Dozier posted on Facebook that it was “one of the most scariest moments ever.”

“There was one point when I believe there was a guy that had me in a headlock,” he added.

In an Instagram video, Rowe explained that at 3 a.m. this past Saturday night the pair “got jumped by 10 Croatian men and basically we were fighting for our lives.”

“These guys had every intention of not letting us walk away alive,” Dozier said. “I have never felt so defenseless in my entire life. I truly couldn’t protect my friend.”

Rowe said that a woman they met at the club came to help them after the mob dispersed.

“She is my angel, an amazing friend,” he said.

The two were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Rowe and Dozier are in the U.S. Air Force, according to their social media accounts, and they are stationed in Germany. They were on vacation in Croatia – Zadar is known for its historic center and beaches.

A that they received reports of the attack.

“Upon entering the field, it was determined that the men, American citizens ‘danced a little more vigorously’ and that annoyed these men who attacked them,” the spokesperson said.

The police said that they have not yet determined whether the attack was bias-motivated, and no arrests have been made.

, local media is reporting that they were attacked because they “had been acting gay” and were seen “twerking.”

The U.S. embassy in Zagreb condemned the attack in a statement.

“The well-being and security of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the State Department’s top priorities. The Embassy is ready to provide appropriate assistance to American citizens in need and their families.”

Pijerino Bebić, the owner of the Opera Club, said, “I condemn any violence, we at the Opera have such a relationship that all our guests are welcomed and no one ever looks at skin color, religion or anything like that.”

He added that club staff attempted to intervene and called for help after the attack occurred.

Literally experienced one of the most scariest moments ever last night. A group of 8-10 Croatian men targeted my friend…

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Eddie Murphy shows you can evolve, apologise and still be funny

A 30-year-old video of George Carlin is proof some standups have long understood the ugliness of attacking underdogs. Its a lesson many current comics are learning

Comedy

Comedy is dying and political correctness is killing it. Nobody can joke about anything any more without triggered liberals screaming racism and cancelling them.

Ill stop there because Im sure you have heard this screed before. Conservatives love complaining about how millennial snowflakes cant take a joke and dont understand edgy humour. In September, for example, the comedian Shane Gillis was dropped from Saturday Night Live after footage surfaced of him making racist, homophobic and misogynistic gags. Gillis responded to the outrage with a non-apology in which he explained that he pushes boundaries and takes risks.

Comedians should obviously push boundaries and take risks. But punching down has never been remotely risky or funny. This isnt a development of our woke era; its a principle the worlds best comics have always acknowledged. Just look at the 30-year-old video of George Carlin that recently went viral. In the clip Carlin criticises bigoted jokes made by his fellow standup Andrew Dice Clay. Comedy has traditionally picked on people in power, Carlin says. Women and gays and immigrants, to my way of thinking, are underdogs. He adds: I think [Clays] core audience is young, white males who are threatened by these groups.

Aiah Samba (@Dualityman81)

Wow, this is from 1990. And I thought us sensitive folk didnt understand the unfunny punching down jokes from these comedians. Interesting pic.twitter.com/2jU5Xj6pA3

September 28, 2019

Around the same time that Carlins comments were going viral, the New York Times published a new interview with Eddie Murphy, who is returning to standup. Murphy, 58, told the Times he isnt afraid of current controversies over humour, pointing out that he was picketed for homophobic jokes he made in the 1980s. It took Murphy a long time to apologise for those jokes and the backlash was partly why he stopped doing standup for years. But you know what? He still has a career. Whats more, he says he cringes when he thinks of his old, ignorant material.

So there you are: Murphy is living proof that political correctness hasnt killed comedy. He shows that its perfectly possible to apologise and evolve, even if it takes a while. I hope Gillis is paying attention.

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Tom Green Has One Big Regret About Drew Barrymore and SNL

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Tom Green was never more famous than when he hosted Saturday Night Live on Nov. 18, 2000.

Not only was his insanely popular talk show still airing on MTV, he was coming off a scene-stealing performance in the hit comedy Road Trip. Just weeks earlier, Charlies Angels, in which Green appeared opposite his new fiance Drew Barrymore, debuted at No. 1 at the box office.

It was an amazing thing to have gotten to do it, Green says of his SNL experience, 19 years later, on this weeks episode of The Last Laugh podcast. However, he adds, I think if I could go back and do it again someday, I would do it a lot differently.

When producer Lorne Michaels offered Green the chance to host that fall, the comedian insisted that his childhood friends from Canada, whom he had hired as writers on The Tom Green Show, come in for the week and help write sketches. I didnt understand the politics of Saturday Night Live, he says, acknowledging that SNLs writers at the time, including Mike Schur, who would go on to create The Good Place, future Oscar nominee Adam McKay and head writer Tina Fey, may not have appreciated the input.

I was aggressively trying to deconstruct everything that I encountered, Green explains. Just because I was a kid in my twenties and I was like, thats the way you do it. Lets try to take it apart and put it back together upside down and inside out.

I think in hindsight I would have rather just shown up and worked with everybody else and just kind of went with the flow a bit more, he adds. But I was young and passionate. Green says his friends ended up writing about half of the sketches that aired in his episode, including one in which he appeared in a bathtub with Lorne Michaels as well as his monologue and the final sketch of the night.

Greens big idea for the episode was a gag that would be teased at the beginning of the show and pay off in the final moments. His relationship with Barrymore was all over the tabloids and he thought it would be funny if they appeared together during his monologue and announced they would be getting married on live television at the end of his SNL debut.

I try not to have regrets, but that is something that I actually regret, Green says. So Drew and I actually were engaged at the time. So we thought, this will be a funny prank. Well prank the audience. Well tell everyone were going to get married on SNL and then she wont show up at the altar at the end and that will be the punchline. Even though we were still getting married, like a month after. That was the bit.

But the thing I regret about that bit to this day, which Im actually sad about, to be honest with you, is that the way we wrote the bit, we kept teasing that we were going to get married at the end of the showshes out in the hallway in her wedding dress, my parents are there in the audience, he continues. And then at the end of the show, she doesnt show up. And the end of my SNL I have a meltdown on stage. And its a complete meltdown and the band stops playing and the entire cast disappears and Im just standing alone on stage at the very end of the show.

Artistically, Green still thinks it was a pretty awesome way to end the show. But it does sort of ruin my beautiful Saturday Night Live kumbaya moment, he says. At the end of every Saturday Night Live, [the host] is hanging out with the cast and celebrating together. But on his episode, its just Green screaming I thought you loved me! on stage by himself.

In some ways, its kind of a metaphor for the rebellious, naive kid that I was: Were going to go there and were going to try to turn SNL upside down! he says. But in other ways, I think it just sort of ruined my Saturday Night Live experience. He does add that he and Barrymore went to the after party with the cast and had a blast.

Green maintains that it was one of the highest-rated episodes that season because of the prank. It was a massive success in that sense, because we did create a reason to stay up til the end, he says.

According to a Variety item from that week, the cancelation of the wedding was sprung on Lorne Michaels only five minutes before the ceremony was to take place on camera and the show reportedly had a priest and City Hall license on hand. Caroline Kennedy, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Harvey Weinstein were among the celebrities waiting backstage to celebrate with the newlyweds after the show.

To put it in perspective how crazy his life was at that time, Green tells me that the morning after Saturday Night Live aired, he and Barrymore got on a plane to London to have dinner with Prince Charles at St. Jamess Palace for the royal premiere of Charlies Angels.

Green sat next to Camilla Parker Bowles at the dinner and had a two-hour conversation about stuff like France and organic farming among other topics. Was it a real mouse? Prince Charles asked Green of the infamous scene from Road Trip in which he attempts to feed a snake and ends up putting a live mouse in his mouth. The answer was yes.

Green and Barymore ultimately did get married in July of 2001 and were divorced less than nine months later. Green has called their marriage a crazy whirlwind of a time.

So it was a bizarre time in my life, Green tells me. If he ever gets the chance to host SNL again, which would be nice, he says, I would love to be able to not bring my friends from high school in and not try to make it some crazy, warped episode.

Nearly two decades later, the 48-year-old comedian chalks the whole thing up to the naivety of youth.

I had been so hellbent on causing chaos everywhere I went that suddenly when I was where I was, I still was behaving as if I was living in my parents basement, Green says. I should have probably taken certain opportunities to just be grateful that I was there. And I didnt realize that at the time.

Next week on The Last Laugh podcast: Stand-up comedian and star of ABCs Black-ish and Grown-ish, Deon Cole.

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Elizabeth Warren Leads Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for First Time in New Iowa Poll

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took the lead in a new Des Moines Register Iowa poll on Saturday night, marking the first time the Massachusetts senator led both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the first caucus state in the poll.

According to the new survey, Warren leads at 22 percent, with Biden following at 20 and Sanders at 11 percent. No other candidate reached double digits but South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg followed at 9 percent, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 6 percent to round out the top five. Additionally, the poll found that Warren was drawing the support of 32 percent of those who say that they caucused for Sanders in 2016 and that she narrowly led him among voters under age 35.

Its the first time weve had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board, J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co. which conducted the poll, said.

The poll comes as Sanders campaign has shaken up its staff in two early voting states.

The Independent from Vermont remains at or near the top of most primary polls and no other candidate has matched his fundraising and grassroots organization capacity. But even with his staying power, he has been increasingly eclipsed in the eyes of opponents by Warren as the main progressive force in the race.

Stuck in this position, Sanders campaign has shuffled staff in two early crucial primary states, where his operation replaced their New Hampshire state director and Iowa political director and a deputy Iowa field director. Some sympathetic to Sanders have noted that changing around staff at this juncture obviously demonstrates a sign of dissatisfaction with the senators status in the race. He continues to build and demonstrate a massive legion of support, hitting one million donors this weeka milestone no other candidate has reached yet.

That explains why now, internally, the only message that Sanders team would convey is confidence, with one surrogate noting that the Vermont senators resources are so vast that his campaign will kick into an even higher gear with an anticipated television ad buy in the early states.

There are two advantages that Senator Sanders has, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a campaign co-chair, told The Daily Beast. Hes got the largest grassroots fundraising base. He hasnt yet gone on television in the early states. Hes going to go on television in the early states. Some of the other candidates have already been on television. Once he goes on television, hes going to be able to sustain it and have more resources to do that not just in the early states but in places like California.

Despite Khannas claim about the senators plans, a spokesperson for the campaign later quickly denied that there would be an ad buy soon.

Whether or not there will be, Sanders campaign for now is chalking up the staffing changes to isolated incidents and natural growing pains through the course of a campaign.

Pundits in the Beltway might not believe it, but Bernie Sanders campaign in Iowa is out-organizing the entire field, and this is all powered by the most grassroots volunteers and donors of any campaign in the country.
Iowa State Director Misty Rebik

For instance, there had been some annoyance with how Joe Caiazzo had been running the New Hampshire operation. That was made clear by reported cheering last weekend when members of the state steering committee heard that he had been reassigned to Massachusetts.

Sanders dominated in his neighboring state in the 2016 primary, which helped propel his campaign to become a major threat against Hillary Clinton. Now, he is locked in a tight contest with Biden and Warren, according to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls.

In Iowa, the campaign parted ways with political director Jess Mazour, though in that case there was far less apparent open negativity about the way in which she was running things.

Well continue to make moves that we feel best position this campaign to win, campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement to The Washington Post about the move. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Sanders famously fought Clinton to a near-draw in the Hawkeye State in 2016, portending the strength of his campaign to come. Though famously difficult to poll, he is now basically deadlocked in second place with Warren behind Biden. Yet his campaign announced on Friday that they had surpassed one million voter contacts in the state, another sign of the strength of their ground operation that they hope pays off next year.

Pundits in the Beltway might not believe it, but Bernie Sanders campaign in Iowa is out-organizing the entire field, and this is all powered by the most grassroots volunteers and donors of any campaign in the country, Iowa State Director Misty Rebik said in a statement.

The purgatory status for Sanders campaign was demonstrated by an Iowa poll on Saturday night that showed him slipping. But theres no doubt that he remains among one of the top contenders for the nomination, with other campaigns even saying as much. In a memo on Saturday, Sen. Cory Bookers (D-NJ) campaign manager issued an urgent plea for fundraising in the next 10 days to effectively keep him in the race. Within it, he noted that Biden, Sanders, Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the four campaigns with enough resources to compete for the long haul currently.

Warren has completely out campaigned him. I scratch my head and go how is Bernie going to get around her?
Unaffiliated Democratic consultant

While he still is among the top tier of candidates in the crowded field, there is some evidence to suggest that Sanders opponents are more interested in training their fire on Warren for now. On Thursday, a number of the other presidential contenders leveled various criticisms at the Massachusetts Democrat, with Buttigieg explicitly invoking her by name to say that she was extremely evasive in answers about Medicare for All, the primary policy plank that has animated Sanders political vision for years.

Warren also won the support this week of the Working Families Party, a left-wing political outfit that supported Sanders in the last primary. The voting process, and the lack of a revealed tally, has led to some acrimony from Sanders supporters who have leveled charges that the leadership of WFP essentially commandeered the process to back Warren.

Maurice Mitchell, WFPs national director and Nelini Stamp, national organizing director at WFP, wrote about the selection process in response to criticism that they had heard. In turn, they also urged that supporters remain positive about both candidates.

Both Warren and Sanders are fighting for the world we want to see, and both have brought new and vital ideas into the political debate, they wrote. Our endorsement of Senator Warren does not diminish our respect for Senator Sanders, and to be clear, were going to be relentlessly positive about both of them in the months ahead.

Sanders and Warren appear poised to remain relentlessly positive about each other as wellas neither side has demonstrated a willingness or desire to go negative. In fact, Khanna defended both of them against Buttigiegs attack line in a tweet on Friday.

But underscoring some of the recent moves by the campaign appears to be a notion from some that Warren is outflanking Sanders for now. And it remains to be seen whether she is having an ephemeral moment or steadily climbing her way to the nomination.

Warren has completely out campaigned him, an unaffiliated Democratic consultant familiar with the campaign told The Daily Beast. I scratch my head and go how is Bernie going to get around her?

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American gold medalist kneels during national anthem at the Pan Am Games

American gold medalist kneels during national anthem at the Pan Am Games - CNN

(CNN)American gold medalist fencer Race Imboden knelt as the national anthem played Friday at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, to protest racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants and President Donald Trump.

“I chose to (sacrifice) my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change,” he said.
Imboden, 26, was ranked as the world’s second-best in the foil event, and won a bronze medal in the men’s individual foil on Tuesday. On Friday, he helped the US win gold in the men’s foil team event, and then took a knee on the podium as the Star Spangled Banner played.
    As Imboden knelt, his teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin stood tall. Several members of the silver medalist Brazilian team saluted and Canada’s bronze-winning team stood quietly.
    Taking a knee during the national anthem became a form of civil protest after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee throughout the 2016 football season in protest of police brutality and injustice against people of color. Since then, many athletes, from NFL players, to soccer star Megan Rapinoe to amateur high schoolers have knelt as a form of protest, sparking anger from Trump and others.
    Imboden was not the only American to protest during the anthem at the Pan American Games. Gwen Berry took gold in the women’s hammer throw competition on Saturday, and she raised her fist in the air at the end of the national anthem in protest.
    news
    “Somebody has to stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who’s making it worse,” she told USA Today on Saturday night. “It’s too important to not say something.”
    Both could face disciplinary action, as all participants signed agreements not to make any political, religious, or racial remarks during the Games.
      US Olympic and Paralympic Committee spokesman Mark Jones said in a statement to CNN Sports that “every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature. In these cases, the athletes didn’t adhere to the commitment they made to the organizing committee and the USOPC.”
      “We respect their rights to express their viewpoints, but we are disappointed that they chose not to honor their commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result,” Jones said.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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      The truth about comedy writers’ rooms

      Grubby banter, sexless flirting and the smell of pizza and ambition … writer Sarah Morgan reveals the funny business that goes on behind the scenes of your favourite shows

      books

      In the recent movie Late Night, Mindy Kaling plays a naive young comedy writer joining the writing team on a late-night US chat show. The staff are exclusively white, male, expensively educated and surly a running gag is that every one uses the womens restroom to defecate because no women work in the office. Kaling, as a perky diversity hire, shakes up the show and drags it into the 21st century. Its a wish fulfilment comedy: what would actually happen, with just one woman or person of colour in the room, is that the lads would carry on being sexist and racist but would then swivel their heads at her like ventriloquist dummies to check that she was cool with it.

      US writers rooms have a feral romance to them, as seen in shows such as 30 Rock, which was inspired by Tina Feys real time as head writer on Saturday Night Live, when her male peers would pee into jars on their office window sill and call it sun tea. In the UK, were a little more embarrassed at the idea that comedy is written, and feel it should be hidden away, shamefully and quietly. (When a writing partner and I asked for an office at the BBC in which to write our radio series, we were grudgingly offered The Jill Dando room, an 8ft sq office in TV Centre featuring a King-Kong-at-the-window-scale mural of the tragically murdered TV personality. We laughed. Writers are horrible.)

      Recently, ITV announced an initiative to aim for gender-balanced writing teams on its comedy shows, which came as a shock to some people who claim to passionately love comedy but dont know how it is made. People who think Morecambe and Wise came up with all their own material, and Angela Rippon just started doing all that mad stuff with her legs on the day. You know what though? Its sort of OK comedy writers feel deep down we are doing our job properly when you dont know were there, like God. No, not like God: we dont have that level of self-esteem. Were like people who pump out the toilets at music festivals. Thats it. Gag writers are like the portable loo people, quietly keeping your entertainment entertaining. We know that no one at home cares if Simon Cowell is being genuinely spontaneous, or if his quip about David Walliamss trousers was crafted by a sweaty nerd on a 600th of his salary. Were just happy to be in showbiz.

      I love my job. Ive worked in more than 50 writers rooms, not including the shows I helped develop that never made it to air. Some days I pinch myself that Im being paid to laugh my head off. On Horrible Histories you get free lectures from historians its like being paid for school, only youre actively encouraged to make fun of the lesson afterwards. Some shows Ive proudly worked on for decades, some were just a fleeting engagement in a production company office that smelled of pizza and ambition. Food is vital to the workings of a writers room. If a producer offers to buy lunch, everyone will immediately order the most expensive thing possible, because comedy writers are tiny children, and also because you know a free lunch means you are working through lunch.

      The job has changed a lot in 10 years, but some writers rooms do still feel loud and gladiatorial, as in Late Night. Often in the UK they are dominated by male Oxbridge-educated caucazoids (some of my best friends are male Oxbridge-educated caucazoids, etc, etc). Writers are generally sensitive and insecure. If you put us together in a room we will overcompensate like the advice given to someone on their first day of prison, punch the biggest bloke in the yard.

      There was one pop-based panel show writers room so notoriously toxic, the survivors talk as though it has been entombed in concrete like Chernobyl. A half-formed idea would get cut short with a Thats shit or Not funny. The writers assistant would get sent out with a complicated sandwich order and a grave warning that the star would lose his shit if she got the order wrong. (Of course, the sandwich shop didnt exist. She was terrified! Lol!)

      Tina
      Tina Fey in US sitcom 30 Rock, which was inspired by her time as head writer on Saturday Night Live. Photograph: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

       

      These rooms are raptor pits, according to Andy Riley, co-creator of Year of the Rabbit, who has compiled a glossary of writers room terms on his website How to Talk Comedy Writer. There is loads of secret lingo, such as Die-dia (from Kat Sadler), an idea that you feel dying in your mouth the second you start pitching. A bad room will crush a die-dia dead (thats not funny), a good room will toss it around a bit to see what other ideas it shakes out. A die-dia is from the same family as the bad version, which is a much derided term that a higher-up might use when pitching the shape of a joke, but not the joke itself. We need a funny reveal for what the dog is chewing. The bad version is a dildo? I dunno, youre the writers. Honestly, pitching the bad version is actually really useful, but its a thing that producers say so writers make fun of it. We dont often get to feel lofty.

      Sam Bain, co-creator of Peep Show, says: Comedy writing rooms should be like improv Yes, and Rather than Thats shit. When a room is good, its heaven, a sort of sexless flirting where colleagues bat ideas back and forth and nothing is off-limits. A certain amount of inappropriateness is actually vital to the health of a room.

      Executives who pop in can be startled by the filth and off-topic banter. Its our way of getting to know each other. Jason Hazeley, co-creator of Cunk on Britain, calls this doing scales the practice gags that warm you up for the real work. Ive also heard it called clearing the pipes or getting the poison out. Its not pleasant, but it is funny, if dead-baby jokes before 10am are your thing. Quite why were allowed to get away with this Im not sure, theres no other job where its expected that you need to be appalling before you can do your job properly. Sure Ill bring in this 747, but I just have to snap the legs off this heron first. Its my process.

      When the Times Up movement hit Hollywood there was concern that some people wouldnt feel comfortable with the anything goes approach. There was a famous lawsuit where the writers assistant on Friends (the only female and person of colour in the room) sued because of the eye-wateringly inappropriate conversation among the chief writers (including speculations about a female cast members genitalia). The decision went in the shows favour, with the judge referring to the Friends room as a creative workplace focused on generating scripts for an adult-oriented comedy show featuring sexual themes.

      Sarah
      Ive been in situations where later Ive pondered the weird nature of my employment Sarah Morgan. Photograph: Karla Gowlett

       

      Ive never felt unsafe or intimidated at work, but Ive been in situations where later Ive pondered the weird nature of my employment. There was a day in a small room where the head writer delivered a monologue about inserting Cadbury Mini Eggs in the non-traditional orifice of a lady friend. I didnt feel especially harassed (I almost certainly yes and-ed with egg puns) but I cant speak for the young woman whose job it was to sit and take notes all day. Crucially, Im not sure it was a super-productive way to write in-house sketches for the website of a luxury car brand.

      While no one wants to think about how the sausage is made, its a fact that most shows have writers rooms panel shows, award shows, sketch shows, topical news shows, a chat show for a popular fake TV judge they are all team written. Though youd be forgiven for not knowing that if you look at the credits. Writers arent much of a thing in comedy, outside sitcoms. They are credited as programme associates (or additional material). Programme associates are the modest heroes thinking of funny captions for a photo of a puffin, or writing questions about Boris Johnsons hair, or coming up with sketch ideas a talk-show host could do based round a giant papier-mache vulva that had been commissioned by the production company for another show but didnt get used. (These are all things that have happened on programmes I have written on, sorry, been associated with.)

      But the title may not be around for ever. The Writers Guild of Great Britain is starting a campaign to scrap positions such as programme associate and credit writers for their writing. Writers should always be credited as writers, says Gail Renard, former WGGB chair and member of the guilds comedy committee, or else they stand to lose their residuals, pension contributions, and other payments theyve rightly earned. Why should we be hidden in the shadows like some dark comedy secret?

      Well, theres lots of reasons why comedy writers should be kept a dark dirty secret see above but a reluctance to give proper credit isnt one of them.

      Late Night is showing in UK cinemas.

       

       

       

       

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