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Author: Mary Chastain

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Mary Chastain

Mary is the resident libertarian. She covers stories in every vertical, but her favorite thing to do is take on the media. She saw its bias against the right when she was a socialist.

Mary loves the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, tennis, cats, Oxford comma, Diet Coke, and needlework.

A civilian fighter in Nigeria has rescued one of the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. The fighter with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) recognized Amina Ali Nkek in the Sambisa Forest, located near the Cameroon and Nigeria border. Officials believe the radical Islamic group has held the girls in the forest since the kidnapping. The kidnapping launched the #BringBackOurGirls campaign across the world and social media, including First Lady Michelle Obama.

A male used the female dressing room at a Ross department store in Mesquite, TX, leaving one woman shocked, especially when the manager pushed aside her feelings and concerns. Customer Lisa Stickles spoke with CBS DFW [emphasis mine]:
“I was in the dressing room, when we heard a man’s voice,” said Lisa Stickles, who says she quickly told a manager. “She went inside the dressing room, came right back out and called me to the side and told me… he was representing himself as a woman today,” Stickles said. A customer service representative with Ross would not comment on the alleged incident but said they do not discriminate against the transgender community; adding, customers may use changing rooms that apply to their gender identity. “What about me? Or my feelings?” said Sickles. “(The manager) told me that if I felt uncomfortable in the dressing room with him there… I’d have to wait until he’s finished.”

The Department of Justice has decided to investigate the massive Russia doping scandal. U.S. courts ruled that prosecutors may charge foreigners abroad if they have connections to the U.S. The New York Times reported that the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York. The officials have targeted "Russian government officials, athletes, coaches, antidoping authorities and anyone who might have benefited unfairly from a doping regime, according to the people, who did not have authorization to speak about the inquiry publicly." Possible charges include conspiracy and fraud. The Times did not elaborate on which connections qualify. They only mentioned "the connection can be limited, such as the use of an American bank."

At least 50 LGBT activists staged a protest outside the Hbeish police station in Beirut, Lebanon, to protest anti-homosexual law. The activists from the Helem Association demanded the government repeal article 534 of the penal code and release four transgender women. From The Jewish Press:
Helem leader Genwa Samhat told AFP that the sit-in, which took place two days before the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, “calls for the abolition of this section of law dating from the (1920-1943) French mandate in Lebanon.” She added: “Most people arrested under this law aren’t detained in the act but in the street because of their appearance.” Also, she said, people “continue to be fired if their boss finds out they’re gay. They’re made to say they quit voluntarily for fear of being outed.” According to Naharnet, Lebanese police are known to raid nightclubs serving homosexual patrons, and homosexuality is a frequent subject of ridicule on television.

The Supreme Court unanimously pushed the Little Sisters of the Poor contraception case back to the lower courts, meaning they do not face fines if they do not provide contraception coverage. Ashley E. McGuire, Senior Fellow at The Catholic Association, released this statement in a press release:
"Today the Supreme Court made it clear that the government still has not done enough to accommodate the conscience rights of the Little Sisters, whose plan they have tried to hijack for things like abortion pills. For now, this is an interim win for the nuns, who just want to get back to their work caring for the poor without interference from government bureaucrats."

A few Russian officials have demanded a Ukraine boycott after singer Jamala won Eurovision with her song "1944," which is about the USSR deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Well, maybe if Russia did not invade east Ukraine or annex Crimea, people would not hate them so much. Jamala, a Crimean Tatar, drew inspiration for the song from her great-grandmother. USSR dictator Josef Stalin deported over 200,000 Crimean Tatars to central Asia on suspicion of corroborating with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The 72nd anniversary of the deportation falls on May 18.

The United States and Poland have broken ground on the site of the new defense missile site, which will probably anger Mother Russia. But what else is new? Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work tried to assure by reminding them the site will only protect NATO members:
"Today we stand at a strategic inflection point and a change in the strategic landscape," Work said at this Polish military base situated in a northern village. Europe and NATO face a range of new and complex security challenges, he said. Addressing those challenges will require a "more capable NATO alliance, one that continues to evolve and adapt to threats," he said. In efforts to protect the alliance, NATO is making important investments, including in missile defense, he said.

The new U.S. missile defense system in Romania has sent Russia into quite a tizzy. So much so that the Kremlin mentioned nuclear war. Andrey Kelin, a senior official in the Russian Foreign Ministry, said the actions "by NATO can only exacerbate an already difficult situation." Tensions have risen between the West and Russia since the latter invaded east Ukraine and annexed Crimean in March 2014.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Clinton Global Initiative provided $2 million to a for-profit company partially owned by close friends of the family. Scott Kleeb, who "twice ran for Congress" as a Democrat, founded Energy Pioneer Solutions in 2009. A document showed other friends of the Clintons also own the company:
An internal document from that year showed it as owned 29% by Mr. Kleeb; 29% by Jane Eckert, the owner of an art gallery in Pine Plains, N.Y.; and 29% by Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, N.Y., a close friend of Mr. Clinton, who also lives in Chappaqua. Owning 5% each were Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias and Mark Weiner, a supplier to political campaigns and former Rhode Island Democratic chairman, both longtime friends of the Clintons.
Tobias spoke with the Journal through email:
“With my modest initial investment, I wound up owning a small percentage of the company. It grew, because ultimately, between loans and equity investments, I’ve wound up putting a little more than $1 million into this effort.”
President Bill Clinton insisted the donation take place at a September 2010 conference.

Ronan Farrow slammed those in Hollywood who still support and worship his father Woody Allen even though his sister Dylan accused the director of molesting her. He wrote in The Hollywood Reporter:
But the old-school media's slow evolution has helped to create a culture of impunity and silence. Amazon paid millions to work with Woody Allen, bankrolling a new series and film. Actors, including some I admire greatly, continue to line up to star in his movies. "It's not personal," one once told me. But it hurts my sister every time one of her heroes like Louis C.K., or a star her age, like Miley Cyrus, works with Woody Allen. Personal is exactly what it is — for my sister, and for women everywhere with allegations of sexual assault that have never been vindicated by a conviction. Tonight, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off with a new Woody Allen film. There will be press conferences and a red-carpet walk by my father and his wife (my sister). He'll have his stars at his side — Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg. They can trust that the press won't ask them the tough questions. It's not the time, it's not the place, it's just not done.

Brazil soccer star Rivaldo used his Instagram to encourage tourists to skip the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio due to violence and corruption. Translation via Google Translate:
Bandits in Rio de Janeiro killed this 17-year-old girl. Things are getting uglier in Brazil. I advise everyone who wants to visit Brazil or come to the Olympics in Rio to remain in their country of origin. Your life will be in danger here. Not to mention the fact that the public hospitals are useless and the mess in Brazilian politics. Only God can change the situation in our Brazil.
Rivaldo used a picture of 17-year-old Ana Beatriz Pereira Frade. Armed robbers surrounded Frade and her stepfather on their way to the airport. One of the men shot her in the head after her stepfather attempted to run into the gang to escape. A baby in the back of the car did not receive any injuries.

The White House said people should not view President Barack Obama's visit to Hiroshima, Japan, as an apology after they announced he will become the first sitting president to visit the city since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on it in 1945. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that if anyone does "interpret it that way, they'll be interpreting it wrongly." Wrongly? So Obama won't say the word "apologize," but is it effectively an apology?

Europe and Russia spent the last few days celebrating the 71st Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) to mark the end of World war II. https://twitter.com/CuriosityStream/status/729504694834331648 The German military surrendered on May 7, 1945, in Reims, France and then again on May 8 in Berlin, Germany, a week after the Red Army overtook the capital.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would leave his GOP convention chair if presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump asks him.
"He's the nominee. I'll do whatever he wants with respect to the convention," he said.
Speaker Ryan responded to Trump's interview on NBC's Meet the Press from Sunday. Trump told host Chuck Todd that Ryan's comments "blindsided" him.

Former Facebook employees have told Gizmodo that the company regularly told them to stamp out conservative news even if it trended on the website. From Gizmodo:
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module. In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”
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