Louisville Film Society to host annual Oscar Watch Party

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‘And the winner is …’ It’s time to start making your Oscar night plans, Louisville


Kirby Adams


Louisville Courier Journal
Published 10:48 AM EST Jan 7, 2020

The 77th Golden Globes on Sunday night kicked off the 2020 season of entertainment awards shows. Now, with that glittery and booze-soaked celebration fading in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward to February to the opulence of the 92nd Academy Awards. 

Who will win the golden Oscar for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture and Director? Find out the answer to these Academy Awards night nail-biters in the company of friends, new and old, at the seventh annual Oscar Watch Party presented by Louisville Film Society Feb. 9.

With a little over one month to go before the famous words “and the winner is” are heard around the world, the Louisville Film Society is hosting its own award-worthy Oscar Watch Party at Rabbit Hole Distillery in NuLu at 711 E. Jefferson St.

Guests are invited dress to dazzle and walk the red carpet starting at 7 p.m. then join the fun and festivities. Christine Fellingham (Louisville Magazine) and I will again serve as Masters of Ceremony and will welcome guests on the red carpet before the live broadcast begins at 8 p.m. Multiple large-screen TVs will be placed throughout Rabbit Hole to view the awards streaming live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

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And even though this is a party, don’t worry if you’re a “serious” Oscar viewer. There will be a special designated area for serious Oscar watchers set in the active distillery.

Throughout the broadcast, you’ll enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a full open bar, including custom cocktails designed by Rabbit Hole, all served in an ambiance reflecting the glamour of Hollywood’s biggest night. 

Be sure to bring extra cash to test your skill at predicting the winners in a $250 ballot competition. Plus, there will be raffles and a silent auction with film-related items and more.

Tickets to Louisville Film Society’s Oscar Watch Party are $100, which includes a one-year $50 Louisville Film Society membership. They may be purchased at louisvillefilmsociety.org.

The Louisville Film Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources and support to local filmmakers as well as enriching the Louisville community through exposure to engaging and innovative films and cinematic programming. The Oscar Watch Party is the organization’s primary membership drive and fundraiser helping to support the organization’s programming and operations throughout the year.

For more information, contact Nancy Tafel at nancy@louisvillefilmsociety.org or 502-593-1243.

Oscars 2020: Here are the films and actors leading the race

 Reach Kirby Adams at kadams@courier-journal.com or Twitter @kirbylouisville. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/kirbya.

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Birth Tourism: Pregnant Nigerian Women To Be Denied United States Visa Under New Policy – Motherhood In-Style Magazine

The United States Government on Thursday gave visa officers more power to block pregnant women abroad including those from Nigeria from visiting America. Under a new rule, the US Department of State directed visa officers to stop “birth tourism” — trips designed to obtain citizenship for children of pregnant women to the country.

The President Donald Trump’s administration is using the new rule, which takes effect on Friday, to push consular officers abroad to reject women they believe are entering the United States specifically to gain citizenship for their child by giving birth.

The visas covered by the new rule are issued to those seeking to visit for pleasure, medical treatment or to see friends and family, a report by The New York Times, said.

Conservatives have long railed against what they call “anchor babies,” born on American soil and used by their parents to bring in other family members.

President Trump has also criticised the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to most babies born on American soil.

It is not clear whether such “birth tourism” is a significant phenomenon or that “anchor babies” do lead to substantial immigration, but many conservatives believe both issues are real and serious.

“Birth tourism poses risks to national security,”

Carl C. Risch, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs at the State Department, wrote in the final rule.

“The birth tourism industry is also rife with criminal activity, including international criminal schemes.”

Consular officers were already unlikely to grant visa to women, who they believe were travelling to the United States solely to give birth. But with the new rule, the White House seems to be signalling to officers abroad that those close to delivering a child would be added to a growing list of immigrants unwelcome in the United States.

Nigeria is number three on birth tourism list in the United States after Russia and China. On Tuesday the US announced plans to impose fresh visa restrictions on countries including Nigeria.

Trump’s administration said the move was necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, as countries on the list don’t adequately vet their travelers to America.

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Kenyan Mum, Connie Muuru, Advises Women As She Marks 4 Years Since Her Daughter Was Battered To Death By Boyfriend – Motherhood In-Style Magazine

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Yesterday, January 14, marked the fourth anniversary of the death of a young Kenyan woman, Sharon Muuru who was killed by her boyfriend, Salim Kipruto Seem. The deceased’s mother, Mrs Connie Muuru, a Nairobi businesswoman took to Facebook to mourn and warn victims of domestic violence as she always does since the untimely loss of her daughter, who was a single mum.

Connie, who has started a project that would empower victims of domestic violence, says her daughter’s experience has made her cognizant of the morbid experiences people in violent relationships go through. She narrated that Salim made a habit of getting violent with the deceased even though he was jobless, lived in her daughter’s house and was fended for by Sharon.

The deceased was also not married to her killer and her only child was from a previous relationship according to Connie, who only got to know of how serious her child’s travails had been, only after the young mum had passed.

She narrated to eDaily what transpired until her daughter died.

”If someone shows you little elements of violence, walk out. Don?t wait to be beaten to death ? this applies to members of both genders.

Let the wrangling couple, whose relationship is marred by violence, to separate and solve their differences when not living under the same roof.

They can come back together later after their problems are solved amicably. For instance, my daughter knew her partner Serem was not a good person because she was beaten severally. She shouldn?t have waited until she was killed.

I am not against families, I am not against marriages. But when it comes to death, nothing can be compared.

My daughter thought since she was the one providing and paying the rent, then the man was the one to leave.

But that shouldn?t be the case. If you are the one providing and your partner becomes violent, please leave him or her. You can get another house and other properties, but not another life.”

Read Connie’s Facebook post from yesterday below:

Baby girl I wish there’s anything I can do to bring you back… It’s exactly 4 years today, since you left us.
January 14th will remain dark and sad day all my life!

It’s more painful to remember the man you cared and loved, decided to kill you.
Sadly you allowed him to continue staying in your house, even after many nights of violence.

You were kind… brilliant…considerate and selfless… maybe that’s why he took advantage of you.

But it’s doesn’t matter now though…I only hope that you made to heaven child

Continue resting with Angels, because you are one of them!

Your beautiful memories are with me daily and have consciously, refused to forget you.
IN MEMORY OF MY DAUGHTER SHARON MUURU, I CONTINUE SAYING NO TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!

If your spouse can’t solve problems without a fight just part ways, while you are alive.Remember you have only one life… once you lose it, it’s forever!

MAY THE BEAUTIFUL SOUL OF MY DAUGHTER SHARON MUURU REST IN PEACE

See more photos:

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Nigerians React As Oyedepo Sacks Church Officials For Stealing Millions

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David Oyedepo
David Oyedepo

Mixed reactions have trailed the decision of David Oyedepo, presiding bishop of the Winner’s Chapel, to sack some church officials for allegedly looting the church’s treasury.

Oyedepo, who during an empowerment summit organized for the church’s ordained workers on Saturday, said some “very high up officials,” including accountants, turned themselves into a network of fraudsters — the very vices they were “trusted to prevent.”

He said, “We had no choice but to dismiss them. You can imagine top church officials engaging in doubling figures and other dubious practices. After we dismissed them, we discovered more fraud. ”

“Those who should discover the fraud were the ones involved in it. One of them refused to confess until the last minute. Can you imagine accountants perpetrating fraud in the house of God?

“Don’t employ them, don’t sympathize. Whoever sympathizes with the wicked is wicked himself. Don’t sympathize with any perpetrator of fraud, otherwise, you are a partaker of the evil act.”

This statement has stirred mixed reaction from many Nigerians on Twitter, as they have taken to the platform to either bash or defend the cleric over his decision.

Read Also: Oyedepo Fumes As Highly Placed Church Officials Steal Millions

See some reactions below

I see nothing wrong with Oyedepo dismissing those thieves that stole from God 🙏🏼 but asking others not to employ them is totally wrong, even God forgives who is Oyedepo not to. And besides those private Jets and luxury life style was not handed over to him directly from heaven 🚶🏼‍♂️

— Warlord (@BalogunGambari) January 12, 2020

“Don’t employ them and don’t sympathise with them. Whoever sympathises with the wicked is wicked himself.” – Bishop Oyedepo on church members who stole church money.

But same person has “sympathised” with the wicked and wanted Nigerians to “employ” him.

What has changed? 🤔

— Musa Ahmed (@Kempez2017) January 11, 2020

There are real prophets and there are fake prophets.. For sure.

I can’t say which oyedepo belongs to..
But y’all that derive joy in jumping into every pastor bant, you think you’re “woke”, you think you’re the modern day “3wise men” all in one body. 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

— captain steam 👨🚀 (@nielo_2wit) January 12, 2020

Many People Especially The So Called “Born Again” Claim They Don’t Believe In Karma But It’s Clearly Playing Out To Business Man Oyedepo,

When He’s Dinning With Looters, Wailing & Supporting Them He Didn’t Know Looting Shall Be His Portion Too,

SHIOR! pic.twitter.com/YlfWqPprAG

— Iké Nná (@IKENNA_____) January 12, 2020

But How Come The God Of Oyedepo That Gives Him All The Visions And Prophecies That He Always Shouts Didn’t Show Him When The Officials Were Looting His Church Treasury?

Is This Not A Confirmation That This Oyedepo Man Is Just A Business Man?

God Cannot Allow Such To His Own! pic.twitter.com/8qp95qot0G

— Iké Nná (@IKENNA_____) January 12, 2020

So a church treasury was looted and bishop oyedepo dismissed thoes that were involved, so one fool said he should have seen it in a vision before it happened….

Well he should have but he still caught them so we move 💪.

— Australia visa specialist 💯 🇦🇺 (@Haryurlar1) January 12, 2020

The church officials stole millions and the pastor sacked them. Where is the forgiveness once preached and visionary of Christ Jesus advocacy? By their fruits ye shall know them, Oyedepo isn’t different from end time pastors. After una go say nah pastor matter e no concern me 😡

— Ijaw Damsel 🚣🏽‍♀️ (@Dabobelemabo) January 12, 2020

I’m not concerned on why Bishop David Oyedepo is trending…
I’m concerned as to why @OfficialAPCNg Bots and handles, APC sympathizers are the ones launching these attacks…

Is Oyedepo contesting elections or has he hammer Buhari recently? 🤔🤔🤔

— The Puppeteer * (@AkporCharles) January 12, 2020

The post Nigerians React As Oyedepo Sacks Church Officials For Stealing Millions appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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“I lost it all” – Nigerian Mum, Uche Osagie Speaks After Her Three Children’s Death In New Year’s Crash In Canada – Motherhood In-Style Magazine

The new year has started on a rather sour note for a Canada based Nigerian mum and she’s lamenting her woes. The distraught mum, Uche Osagie lost her three children in a car accident which occurred on New Year’s Day.

Narrating how the devastating and unimaginable loss occurred, Uche said her three children died in the collision which took place at northern Ontario highway while on her way to file an appeal for permanent status in Canada.

The Nigerian mother who fled Nigeria eight years ago with her two oldest children for a better life in Canada, said she was travelling to Toronto to get a lawyer to file a federal appeal after receiving a letter that her second appeal had been denied. The Osagies were, in fact, returning from that mission when their vehicle struck a rock-cut on New Year’s Day. The collision occurred close to the Highway 144 turnoff on Highway 17, just 20 kilometres shy of their home in Chelmsford, reports CBC.

The distraught mother said;

“I thought I was doing the best thing for them to bring them to Canada to give them a better life, but I don’t know anymore. 

“The celebration they longed for, they are no longer here to celebrate. So, to me, I think I’m a loser. I lost it all. All my fight, everything, is in vain and I ask myself, once again, and I keep asking God, ‘Why did you keep me?’ You should have taken me and let those children have a better future. It’s all about them. I lived all my life for those kids.”

“My son Destiny said ‘no, I’m not going back to Nigeria,’ ”

Osagie told CBC.

“‘I want to live in Canada. I would rather die than be deported.’”

Destiny, 11, was the eldest of the three children killed in the horrific crash. Brother Flourish, 10, and sister Britney, 6, also perished. Gerry Lougheed Jr. said the situation is among the saddest he has dealt with in nearly five decades as a Sudbury funeral director.

“For a whole family to be devastated like that is just unbelievable. When you have children at that age and so full of life – I’m sure they had friends at school and played games and all that fun stuff – and then in a matter of moments to have those three lives taken away, it’s terrible.”

He told the Star.

Flags flew at half-mast Monday outside Chelmsford Public School, where the Osagie children were pupils, and the Rainbow District School Board offices on Wembley Drive. Mental-health workers were on hand at the public school to provide support for classmates.

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Netflix release film depicting Jesus as Gay – Millions sign petition against it

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Nigeria News | Laila’s Blog
Netflix release film depicting Jesus as Gay – Millions sign petition against it

Netflix released a comedy film that depicts Jesus as a gay man and Christians around the world would not have it.

The new Netflix Christmas edition titled “The First Temptation Of Christ”, shows Jesus Christ in a gay relationship with his male friend Orlando and Mary as a weed-smoker in the comedy film and this has angered millions of Christians especially, all over the world.

The First Temptation of Christ was made by a YouTube comedy group and was released by Netflix in Brazil on 3 December.

Netflix’s description of the show reads: “Jesus, who’s hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family. A Christmas special so wrong, it must be from comedians Porta dos Fundos.”

In the one-off show, it is implied that Jesus is in a sexual relationship which has led to millions signing a petition demanding its withdrawal.

At the time of this report, 1,701,233 people have signed a petition against the programme.

Reacting to the film, Apostle Suleman on Sunday took to his social media page to condemn the it and what it stands for said it is “an insult to Christianity and abuse to our sensibilities”. He called for Christians to delete the App on their device to join in condemning the film. He wrote;

We have 2.5billion Christians on earth,if Netflix goes ahead with this rubbish,we should boycott them.. that movie is evil,its not right and it will not stand.

Delete Netflix app on your system..unfollow them if you are a true Christian..The movie ‘gay jesus’ is an insult to christianity and abuse to our sensibilities..we stand to condemn it and all it stands for…Mad people…

We have 2.5billion Christians on earth,if Netflix goes ahead with this rubbish,we should boycott them.. that movie is evil,its not right and it will not stand.

— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) December 15, 2019

Delete Netflix app on your system..unfollow them if you are a true Christian..The movie ‘gay jesus’ is an insult to christianity and abuse to our sensibilities..we stand to condemn it and all it stands for…Mad people…

— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) December 15, 2019

Also reacting, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri condemned the movie and wondered if they would try the same thing with Quran.

He warned that Christian’s style of tolerance should not be taken as weakness.

The other day, a misguided woman used Scripture as an ashtray. Now, @Netflix announces a film about a gay Jesus. Would they do that to the Quran? Do NOT take advantage of Christian’s tolerance. We choose non-violence. Not that we can’t be violent!#FreeLeahSharibu #RenosNuggets

The other day, a misguided woman used Scripture as an ashtray. Now, @Netflix announces a film about a gay Jesus. Would they do that to the Quran? Do NOT take advantage of Christian’s tolerance. We choose non-violence. Not that we can’t be violent!#FreeLeahSharibu #RenosNuggets

— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) December 15, 2019

Follow us on Facebook – @Lailasnews; Twitter – @LailaIjeoma for updates

Netflix release film depicting Jesus as Gay – Millions sign petition against it
Damilola Ismail

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Why the fight against disinformation, sham accounts and trolls won’t be any easier in 2020

2020 Election

The big tech companies have announced aggressive steps to keep trolls, bots and online fakery from marring another presidential election — from Facebook’s removal of billions of fake accounts to Twitter’s spurning of all political ads.

But it’s a never-ending game of whack-a-mole that’s only getting harder as we barrel toward the 2020 election. Disinformation peddlers are deploying new, more subversive techniques and American operatives have adopted some of the deceptive tactics Russians tapped in 2016. Now, tech companies face thorny and sometimes subjective choices about how to combat them — at times drawing flak from both Democrats and Republicans as a result.

This is our roundup of some of the evolving challenges Silicon Valley faces as it tries to counter online lies and bad actors heading into the 2020 election cycle:

1) American trolls may be a greater threat than Russians

Russia-backed trolls notoriously flooded social media with disinformation around the presidential election in 2016, in what Robert Mueller’s investigators described as a multimillion-dollar plot involving years of planning, hundreds of people and a wave of fake accounts posting news and ads on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube.

This time around — as experts have warned — a growing share of the threat is likely to originate in America.

“It’s likely that there will be a high volume of misinformation and disinformation pegged to the 2020 election, with the majority of it being generated right here in the United States, as opposed to coming from overseas,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

Barrett, the author of a recent report on 2020 disinformation, noted that lies and misleading claims about 2020 candidates originating in the U.S. have already spread across social media. Those include manufactured sex scandals involving South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a smear campaign calling Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) “not an American black” because of her multiracial heritage. (The latter claim got a boost on Twitter from Donald Trump Jr.)

Before last year’s midterm elections, Americans similarly amplified fake messages such as a “#nomenmidterms” hashtag that urged liberal men to stay home from the polls to make “a Woman’s Vote Worth more.” Twitter suspended at least one person — actor James Woods — for retweeting that message.

“A lot of the disinformation that we can identify tends to be domestic,” said Nahema Marchal, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Project. “Just regular private citizens leveraging the Russian playbook, if you will, to create … a divisive narrative, or just mixing factual reality with made-up facts.”

Tech companies say they’ve broadened their fight against disinformation as a result. Facebook, for instance, announced in October that it had expanded its policies against “coordinated inauthentic behavior” to reflect a rise in disinformation campaigns run by non-state actors, domestic groups and companies. But people tracking the spread of fakery say it remains a problem, especially inside closed groups like those popular on Facebook.

2) And policing domestic content is tricky

U.S. law forbids foreigners from taking part in American political campaigns — a fact that made it easy for members of Congress to criticize Facebook for accepting rubles as payment for political ads in 2016.

But Americans are allowed, even encouraged, to partake in their own democracy — which makes things a lot more complicated when they use social media tools to try to skew the electoral process. For one thing, the companies face a technical challenge: Domestic meddling doesn’t leave obvious markers such as ads written in broken English and traced back to Russian internet addresses.

More fundamentally, there’s often no clear line between bad-faith meddling and dirty politics. It’s not illegal to run a mud-slinging campaign or engage in unscrupulous electioneering. And the tech companies are wary of being seen as infringing on American’s right to engage in political speech — all the more so as conservatives such as President Donald Trump accuse them of silencing their voices.

Plus, the line between foreign and domestic can be blurry. Even in 2016, the Kremlin-backed troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency relied on Americans to boost their disinformation. Now, claims with hazy origins are being picked up without need for a coordinated 2016-style foreign campaign. Simon Rosenberg, a longtime Democratic strategist who has spent recent years focused on online disinformation, points to Trump’s promotion of the theory that Ukraine significantly meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, a charge that some experts trace back to Russian security forces.

“It’s hard to know if something is foreign or domestic,” said Rosenberg, once it “gets swept up in this vast ‘Wizard of Oz’-like noise machine.”

3) Bad actors are learning

Experts agree on one thing: The election interference tactics that social media platforms encounter in 2020 will look different from those they’ve trying to fend off since 2016.

“What we’re going to see is the continued evolution and development of new approaches, new experimentation trying to see what will work and what won’t,” said Lee Foster, who leads the information operations intelligence analysis team at the cybersecurity firm FireEye.

Foster said the “underlying motivations” of undermining democratic institutions and casting doubt on election results will remain constant, but the trolls have already evolved their tactics.

For instance, they’ve gotten better at obscuring their online activity to avoid automatic detection, even as social media platforms ramp up their use of artificial intelligence software to dismantle bot networks and eradicate inauthentic accounts.

“One of the challenges for the platforms is that, on the one hand, the public understandably demands more transparency from them about how they take down or identify state-sponsored attacks or how they take down these big networks of authentic accounts, but at the same time they can’t reveal too much at the risk of playing into bad actors’ hands,” said Oxford’s Marchal.

Researchers have already observed extensive efforts to distribute disinformation through user-generated posts — known as “organic” content — rather than the ads or paid messages that were prominent in the 2016 disinformation campaigns.

Foster, for example, cited trolls impersonating journalists or other more reliable figures to give disinformation greater legitimacy. And Marchal noted a rise in the use of memes and doctored videos, whose origins can be difficult to track down. Jesse Littlewood, vice president at advocacy group Common Cause, said social media posts aimed at voter suppression frequently appear no different from ordinary people sharing election updates in good faith — messages such as “you can text your vote” or “the election’s a different day” that can be “quite harmful.”

Tech companies insist they are learning, too. Since the 2016 election, Google, Facebook and Twitter have devoted security experts and engineers to tackling disinformation in national elections across the globe, including the 2018 midterms in the United States. The companies say they have gotten better at detecting and removing fake accounts, particularly those engaged in coordinated campaigns.

But other tactics may have escaped detection so far. NYU’s Barrett noted that disinformation-for-hire operations sometimes employed by corporations may be ripe for use in U.S. politics, if they’re not already.

He pointed to a recent experiment conducted by the cyber threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, which said it paid two shadowy Russian “threat actors” a total of just $6,050 to generate media campaigns promoting and trashing a fictitious company. Barrett said the project was intended “to lure out of the shadows firms that are willing to do this kind of work,” and demonstrated how easy it is to generate and sow disinformation.

Real-life examples include a hyper-partisan skewed news operation started by a former Fox News executive and Facebook’s accusations that an Israeli social media company profited from creating hundreds of fake accounts. That “shows that there are firms out there that are willing and eager to engage in this kind of underhanded activity,” Barrett said.

4) Not all lies are created equal

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are largely united in trying to take down certain kinds of false information, such as targeted attempts to drive down voter turnout. But their enforcement has been more varied when it comes to material that is arguably misleading.

In some cases, the companies label the material factually dubious or use their algorithms to limit its spread. But in the lead-up to 2020, the companies’ rules are being tested by political candidates and government leaders who sometimes play fast and loose with the truth.

“A lot of the mainstream campaigns and politicians themselves tend to rely on a mix of fact and fiction,” Marchal said. “It’s often a lot of … things that contain a kernel of truth but have been distorted.”

One example is the flap over a Trump campaign ad — which appeared on Facebook, YouTube and some television networks — suggesting that former Vice President Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine into firing a prosecutor to squelch an investigation into an energy company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter. In fact, the Obama administration and multiple U.S. allies had pushed for removing the prosecutor for slow-walking corruption investigations. The ad “relies on speculation and unsupported accusations to mislead viewers,” the nonpartisan site FactCheck.org concluded.

The debate has put tech companies at the center of a tug of war in Washington. Republicans have argued for more permissive rules to safeguard constitutionally protected political speech, while Democrats have called for greater limits on politicians’ lies.

Democrats have especially lambasted Facebook for refusing to fact-check political ads, and have criticized Twitter for letting politicians lie in their tweets and Google for limiting candidates’ ability to finely tune the reach of their advertising — all examples, the Democrats say, of Silicon Valley ducking the fight against deception.

Jesse Blumenthal, who leads the tech policy arm of the Koch-backed Stand Together coalition, said expecting Silicon Valley to play truth cop places an undue burden on tech companies to litigate messy disputes over what’s factual.

“Most of the time the calls are going to be subjective, so what they end up doing is putting the platforms at the center of this rather than politicians being at the center of this,” he said.

Further complicating matters, social media sites have generally granted politicians considerably more leeway to spread lies and half-truths through their individual accounts and in certain instances through political ads. “We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an October speech at Georgetown University in which he defended his company’s policy.

But Democrats say tech companies shouldn’t profit off false political messaging.

“I am supportive of these social media companies taking a much harder line on what content they allow in terms of political ads and calling out lies that are in political ads, recognizing that that’s not always the easiest thing to draw those distinctions,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state told POLITICO.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Boyfriend chokes girlfriend to death in unique sex style

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The defence in the trial of a man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane has begun its case in New Zealand.

According to The Telegraph, the defendant, a 27-year-old New Zealander who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Grace died accidentally during sex at the end of a Tinder date in December last year.

Today the court was told that British backpacker Grace belonged to BDSM dating sites and allowed a former partner to choke her during sex.

An ex-boyfriend of the university graduate from Essex said they had used a system of safe words and signals to make sure she was never in danger.

In a statement read to the jury at Auckland High Court the man, whose identity is protected, said: ‘When we researched it we knew the word was asphyxiation. Grace and I discussed keeping hands wide and on the side of the neck, never on the front.

‘Grace and I would have a safe word most of the time which we had discussed, something like “turtle” or something ridiculous.

‘Grace and I used a tapping practice too. If Grace tapped me three times then it would stop.

‘Grace would tap out maybe one in four times. Grace would be sure to do this and I trusted that anytime it was too much for Grace she would do this.

‘Grace and I were careful to discuss not only the physical but the psychological aspects to practising BDSM.’ Statements from police revealed that Grace had been active on BDSM dating site Whiplr an hour before meeting the defendant outside a central city casino.

Defence barrister Ron Mansfield told the jury: ‘All the evidence shows that Miss Millane was a loving, bright, intelligent young woman and she was.

‘That is her reputation and that should be her reputation and her memory at the start of this trial and at the conclusion if it.

‘The fact that we need to discuss with you what she liked to do in the bedroom should have no impact on he reputation at all.’

He added: ‘It’s important that we are fully informed. It’s not the time for embarrassment or immaturity.

‘If this couple engaged in consensual sexual activity which included pressure being applied to her neck with her consent and that went wrong, that is not murder.

‘Death through this mechanism may thankfully be rare but it does happen and sadly it happened here.’ Grace died at the defendant’s apartment in Auckland last December.

Mr Mansfield said he admits Grace died from pressure he placed on her neck but said expert evidence was consistent with his account that it was consensual, not violent.

In his police interview, played at the trial last week, the defendant said he only realised Grace was dead when he found her lying on the floor.

He admits he later crammed her body into a suitcase which he buried in a shallow grave in nearby woodland. Grace Millane’s alleged murderer’s first interview with police.

Mr Mansfield claimed the defendant’s failure to call for help, disposal of Grace’s body and initial lies to police were due to ‘panic’.

He told the jury: ‘He may have thought he wouldn’t be believed, but don’t prove him right.’

The court has also heard evidence from pathologist Dr Fintan Garavan, appearing for the defence, who told the jury that due to the volume of alcohol Grace had drunk during the date, her heart may have gone into a ‘terminal tailspin’ when she was choked.

He told the jury a combination of obstruction of the blood flow, pressure on her nervous system and being drunk meant she might have died quickly.

He said there were no signs of her having struggled and that it ‘would not be obvious to a person nearby unless you know what you are looking for’ that she was in any danger.

A second defence barrister, Ian Brookie, told the court Grace had drunk six cocktails and a tequila shot and had shared three half-litre jugs of margaritas and sangria with her alleged killer while on their date.

Dr Garavan said: ‘It very likely has become an important indirect player in causing death’, explaining that being drunk could turn off a ‘safety valve’ which would normally trigger someone to fight for breath. He agreed the primary cause of death was asphyxiation, which he said would have required just one kilogram of pressure.

But under cross-examination, Dr Garavan agreed that once someone had become unresponsive during choking, the hold on their neck would have to continue for several minutes before death occurred. He added: ‘You would expect a sober person would notice something but not necessarily a drunk person.’ The trial continues.

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The Emperor’s new clothes: the politics of birth research — Sheena Byrom

In Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the Emperor’s new clothes no one dares to say they don’t see a suit of clothes on him for fear they will be seen as stupid and incompetent. It takes the cry from a small child, “but he isn’t wearing anything at all”, to identifying the farce being carried out.

Sometimes research papers are put out with misleading media releases and political agendas that go unquestioned by a media hungry for controversy and the next sensational headline. In this blog we will identify the naked Emperor in the form of the recent New Zealand paper (NZ) published by (2016), titled A Comparison of Midwife-Led and Medical-Led Models of Care and Their Relationship to Adverse Fetal and Neonatal Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study in New Zealand.  The Wernham paper caused consternation around the globe with doctors waving it in triumph pretending the Emperor had a magnificent outfit on while midwives scrambled to understand what was happening, crying amidst the crowd, “but he isn’t wearing anything at all.”  

How did something that was fairly low level scientific evidence get more attention, and lead to such public questioning of the safety of midwifery care, than 15 randomised controlled trials and a (CSR) on this issue?

Just a reminder about the Level 1 evidence of continuity of midwifery from over 17,000 women randomised in 15 separate RCTs:

“This review suggests that women who received midwife-led continuity models of care were less likely to experience intervention and more likely to be satisfied with their care with at least comparable adverse outcomes for women or their infants than women who received other models of care. Further research is needed to explore findings of fewer preterm births and fewer fetal deaths less than 24 weeks, and all fetal loss/neonatal death associated with midwife-led continuity models of care.”

 How did we ever think the Emperor had new clothes?

The first alert in this recent saga is the media release that came out from the first author’s university, strictly embargoed beforehand to excite the ‘crowd’ awaiting the emperors arrival. The media release revealed the first bias in the authors’ agenda and was the ultimate hook for the media:

“Mothers using autonomously practising midwives throughout their pregnancy and childbirth are more likely to have adverse outcomes for their newborns than those who use obstetricians, according to a retrospective study of nearly a quarter million babies born in New Zealand published in PLOS Medicine by Ellie Wernham of University of Otago, New Zealand, and colleagues.”

Firstly, this study was never about midwifery care during childbirth, or pregnancy for that matter. Midwives also look after women cared for by private obstetricians so this care is never just about medical care just as it is never just about midwifery care. Secondly, there was no statistical difference in perinatal mortality. You would have hardly known this from the media reports. Thirdly, the authors were clearly data dredging when they combined Intrauterine hypoxia, birth related asphyxia and neonatal encephalopathy in order to get a highly significant outcome. Rare adverse events and small numbers were sensationalised in the media release (“55 percent lower odds of birth related asphyxia, 39 percent lower odds of neonatal encephalopathy, and 48 percent lower odds of a low Apgar score at five minute after delivery”). Neonatal encephalopathy occurs 1-2 in 1000 births and is a rare event. Presented this way makes it sound so dramatic and it takes only one or two cases to change the outcome.

Why the Emperor is actually naked

The authors were unable to look at actual care during childbirth because they don’t appear to have this data, so they took model of care at booking and then misled the media and public that this was an indication of care at birth, when it was not. The problem with this is while all women who book with private obstetricians will remain under the care of private obstetricians from booking to birth, between 30-35% of women under midwifery care will be referred during pregnancy to a doctor. Despite this fact all outcomes (only adverse perinatal ones) in the paper are reported as due to midwifery care, when they are clearly not.

One could argue that the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of continuity of midwifery care reported in the use a similar method – that is model of care on booking and intention to treat analysis. However, the difference is randomisation reduces selection bias and the study groups should be as similar as possible at the outset so the researchers can isolate and quantify the effect of the intervention they are studying (in this case midwife or medical care). In a RCT you can see what care women got and you would also know the mode of birth and maternal outcomes, which are not reported in this study. RCT’s can be used to change practice but lower level evidence should not; yet that has not stopped groups such as the calling for this in Australia.

The NZ study had several concerning limitations that were not adequately considered in the unfolding debate:

1.     One of the most significant findings of the CSR of continuity of midwifery care was the 24% reduction in preterm birth under midwifery care. There was also a significant reduction in perinatal mortality. Only women over 37 weeks were included in the recent NZ study, so there was no chance to see whether this important effect was seen in this study.

2.     Not only are of long term outcomes but there were a large number of missing Apgar scores and this was greater for women who booked with obstetricians.

3.     The inclusion of women more than 42 weeks, which were seen in larger numbers in the midwife booked group and are more likely to have stillbirths associated with prolonged pregnancies, is concerning. If the authors took 37 weeks gestation as a cut-off to exclude preterm birth (higher risk), why not take 41+6 to exclude the higher risk post-term pregnancies. It would have been very interesting to know how many adverse events were seen in the post-term group. Women choosing midwifery care are more likely to not want to be induced and to go over 42 weeks, as is seen in this study.

4.     The inability to separate antepartum stillbirth from intrapartum stillbirth is critical in trying to assess the impact of birth provider on outcomes and this could not be done, despite the study protocol suggesting it would be.

5.     In the study protocol published with the paper neonatal nursery admissions were examined but not reported. When we look at the author’s Master’s thesis where this information is available, more neonatal admissions are reported for babies born to women who booked with private obstetricians. This was not reported in this paper. One has to ask, why?

6.     In the first author’s Master’s thesis (where this study originally came from), substantially lower rates of caesarean section (22% vs 32.9%) and instrumental birth rates (9% vs 12.3%) are reported for women who booked with midwives, leading to significantly less maternal morbidity. Again this was not reported, giving a very one-sided view considering the authors are virtually questioning the entire NZ maternity system.

7.     There appears to be quite a bit of missing data in this study and it is unclear how this was dealt with in the analysis.

8.     Many socio demographic variables are not accounted for (e.g. alcohol and drug use), and others such as smoking are notoriously underreported. Midwives tend to look after women with greater socio demographic disadvantage and mental health issues. None of this is adjusted for.

9.     Other medical complications that arise following booking, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, etc are not accounted for and may be increased in women who book with midwives due to ethnicity factors, life style etc.

10.  Rurality and birth place were not taken into consideration, limiting the usefulness of this study to help make targeted changes rather than slamming the entire N Z maternity system.

11.  There is no difference in PMR between Australia and NZ despite the fact that 30% of care in Australia is by private obstetricians whilst in NZ around 90% of women have a midwife as a lead care provider.

12.  A previous NZ paper that also hit the media headlines in recent times, purporting to show the risk of perinatal death was higher when midwives were in their first year following graduation, has recently been questioned by the who have been unable to replicate the study. This is worrying.

13.  of low risk women in NSW who had a birth in a private hospital under private obstetric care with low risk women who had a birth in a public hospital with midwife/medical care we found greater morbidity for women giving birth in a private obstetric model of care.

The one highlight in this whole saga has been the united support of the midwives in NZ by the , The , , and bodies around the world.

The political fallout from this paper has been extraordinary, for it actually tells us very little. No practice changes could ever be made based on this study. The Emperor may have no clothes, but the delusion has been maintained by a misleading media release, politically motivated reporting of findings by the authors, a hungry unquestioning media sensing blood in the water and wanting sensational headlines, and obstetricians determined to drag the advances made by the profession of midwifery back to the ‘good old days’ when they were compliant handmaidens. 

#ENOUGH

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VP Osinbajo never led prayers for the death of Buhari at RCCG – VP’s aide Akande | Showbiz Nigeria

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Special Adviser to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande has denied claims made by a newspaper columnist, Festus Adebayo, that Osinbajo recently visited a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and led members of the church in prayers for the death of President Buhari.

Adedayo, in a piece published in the Tribune which was titled ”The Trial of Brother Osinbajo”, alleged that he received information that Osinbajo, who is a Senior Pastor with the RCCG, had, in a gathering with members of the church, prayed for the death of the President when he was away on medical leave. Adebayo alleged that a confidante of Buhari, who was at the gathering, informed the President of Osinbajo’s prayers rendered against him and this has led to the breakdown in the relationship between Buhari and Osinbajo.

When Buhari went on his earlier UK search for health remedy to an undisclosed ailment, it was a top gossip in the seat of power that Osinbajo, engrossed in a prayer session with his Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) accomplices in his home state of Ogun, and frantically being prayed for, for God to make him president by one of the pastors who starred at the prayer session, didn’t know that a strong ally of Buhari – unbeknown to the ally that such “prayer coup” was ongoing – had entered their midst, innocently there to pay obeyance to the VP.

Still with their eyes closed, the prayer warriors nearly prayed that the ground should swallow them when, upon opening their eyes, they saw the president’s ally with them. If you were praying the VP into the office of the president, with the VP shouting thunderous “Amen” to your prayer, weren’t you praying for the boss’ death? That was the first infraction against the laws of power the VP was said to have committed. And one of the reasons Osinbajo hounded and still harangues the ally till today.

The second foot Osinbajo reportedly hit against the stone was said to be his role during Buhari’s AWOL shuttle to his infirmary. That Walter Onnoghen, allegedly primed to package Buhari inside a judicial casket during the 2019 elections, emerged acting Chief Justice of the Federation through his acting pen angered Villa power apparatchik, so much that they imputed a political Judas into Osinbajo’s act. The removal of Lawal Daura, erstwhile Director-General of the Department of State Services on August 7, 2018 also rankled these owls. If Osinbajo stepped on their mamba’s tail by this act, he fiddled with their lion’s tail subsequently when, at a conference of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), he unabashedly said that, before Saturday, January 12, Buhari was not aware of Onogohen’s trial.

What this did was to populate and give official imprimatur to the belief that Buhari was just a mere scarecrow decorating the patio of Aso Rock. He wore Omoyele Sowore’s activists’ bandana. More stinging to this set of people known as the cabal, was the fact that Osinbajo sidelined all of them in his decision-taking during the period, was already strutting hither thither like an accursed turtle-dove which, to them, added to the coup-prayer session, was an apparent indication that he was sure Buhari wouldn’t come back and the clock was ticking for the cabals at the Villa” he said

Reacting to Adebayo’s claim, Laolu in a statement released today, denied Adebayo’s allegation and asked the journalist to present evidence to back up all his claims.

Mr. Festus Adedayo’s article above is a sad descent into the gutter by this gentleman. When a professional columnist of Adedayo’s age and experience puts his reputation behind outright fiction and absolute mischief, usually it is a sign that the poor fellow is compromised. This is the sad reality we face today and it is truly troubling.

But let us give Mr. Adedayo the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that he has some facts to support the reckless insinuations and innuendoes in his article.

He should then be able to answer the following questions.

He claimed that the Vice President, together with some Redeemed Church ‘accomplices’, gathered to pray at some place unstated in his home State of Ogun, at a date that was not indicated, for the purpose of interceding for the VP to become President, and by extension, hoping for, or seeking the death of the President.

So where exactly in Ogun State did this prayer session take place, and when? Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording? Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired – what are their names? Who is the “strong Buhari ally” who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President? If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicize his strange discovery.

Who primed Onnoghen to “package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit? If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?

These asinine stories put together by Mr. Adedayo betray a more evil motive. The Vice President’s commitment to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is unrelenting. But there is a desperation in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President. It appears that they need some well known press names who are prepared to write anything. But for what reward? One wonders. They clearly found one here, as the writer’s jaundiced article bumbled from the realm of baseless claims to outright fiction.

We do not expect an apology from Mr. Adedayo to the Vice President. This is the style of these professionals gone rogue. They are prepared to smear others and stick to their vile stories. Their conscience seems unperturbed by their reckleness. But, again, we give him the benefit of the doubt, let him answer the questions we have asked” he said

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