Ex-CIA Officer Tries to Clear Her Name (Extra Scene from ‘The Italian Job’) – Vice News Published on Nov 10, 2015

Sabrina De Sousa is one of nearly two-dozen CIA officers who was prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced by Italian courts in absentia in 2009 for the role she allegedly played in the rendition of a radical cleric named Abu Omar. It was the first and only criminal prosecution that has ever taken place related to the CIA’s rendition program, which involved more than 100 suspected terrorists and the assistance of dozens of European countries.

But De Sousa, a dual US and Portuguese citizen, said she had nothing to do with the cleric’s abduction and has been wrongly accused. For the past decade, she has been on a global quest to clear her name. VICE News met up with De Sousa in Lisbon, Portugal–and other key figures connected to the case–for an exclusive interview about the steps she’s now taking in an effort to hold the CIA accountable for one of the most notorious counterterrorism operations in the history of the agency.

In this extra scene, Sabrina De Sousa explains how she’s used the Freedom of Information Act to help further her defense.

Watch the VICE News Interview with Michael Morell – http://bit.ly/1Nv6SMJ

Falsely Institutionalized By Her Husband (Excerpt from ‘India’s Mental Health Crisis’) – Vice News Published on Oct 28, 2015

India is currently suffering a mental health crisis. With only 43 government-run mental hospitals serving a population of 1.2 billion, resources are spread thin. What’s more, mental illness is highly stigmatized in India, especially among women, who are typically committed to mental health facilities with no legal rights, receiving involuntary treatment, and sometimes without a proper diagnosis.

In this excerpt, VICE News speaks with “Vidya,” a woman who was falsely institutionalized by her husband in order to file for divorce.

Watch: Institutionalized: Mental Health Behind Bars – http://bit.ly/1DHIqYj

The Man Who Defends Men Accused Of Campus Rape – By Jessica Roy October 22, 2015 3:12 p.m.

Photo: Rayon Richards

Photo: Rayon Richards

Last December, James Clark* was finishing his first semester as a sophomore at a prestigious New England liberal-arts college when he received an email saying the dean wanted to speak with him. On the phone, the dean informed him that a female classmate had reported Clark for sexual misconduct. An official process began. School investigators began conducting an inquiry into the incident, and a no-contact order was issued, requiring Clark to keep his distance from the accuser while dates for future interviews with the dean were scheduled. Clark was shocked — he’d thought what happened that night was consensual. As a transfer student, he was new on campus, but had made a few friends. They were supportive, but after that phone call, he was essentially alone. Just as their classmates were finishing finals and embarking on winter break, Clark and his accuser were caught in a narrative that would alter the course of their lives forever. From then on, they would be weighted down by the same albatross: She would be the woman who believes she was sexually assaulted, and he would be the man who believes he was falsely accused of assaulting her. [The Cut was unable to reach Clark’s accuser for comment.]

Clark immediately called his parents, and they were distraught. What do you do when your 18-year-old son is the accused in a campus sexual-assault case? The accuser had not reported to the police, so the case was being handled through the school’s system, which involved an investigation, a hearing, and, if found guilty, an academic punishment. James’s mother, Susan*, thought he needed a lawyer anyway. She began frantically reaching out to attorneys, desperate to find someone to represent Clark in his school’s sexual-misconduct hearing. Most lawyers the Clarks contacted weren’t interested in defending James — this wasn’t technically a legal case, and what would be the benefit to them, especially given the debates about campus sexual assault raging? But after several phone calls, they found their man: Andrew T. Miltenberg, a New York–based business litigation attorney who had begun to make a name for himself defending young men whom some consider indefensible.

“I remember it was New Year’s Eve. He called us back and we talked about it and he said, ‘I think I can help you,’” Susan tells me. “I said to my husband, ‘I think this man is going to work very hard for our son.’”

Miltenberg is an advocate and resource for some of the thousands of male students who are accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses every year. The process at most schools involves a hearing or hearings where both the accused and the accuser are allowed to have an advocate attend to make sure their best interests are served. Miltenberg has acted as an adviser for over 60 students in college hearings, and he’s currently representing male students in a number of civil lawsuits filed against universities where they feel they were mistreated.

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Where The Girls Are (And Aren’t): #15Girls – John Poole OCTOBER 20, 2015 2:59 PM ET

Many fewer baby girls are born in India and China than the odds would predict.

Many fewer baby girls are born in India and China than the odds would predict. LA Johnson/NPR

Many fewer baby girls are born in India and China than the odds would predict.

LA Johnson/NPR

The world’s girls are healthier than ever. They live longer and more of them are going to school than at any time in history.

This story is part of our #15Girls series, profiling teens around the world. Read the stories here.

But most of them face discrimination simply because they are girls. The discrimination happens at every point in their lives.

In some cases, it starts even before they’re born, when parents decide to abort a pregnancy if the fetus is female.

A good way to get a sense of the progress — and the remaining gaps — in worldwide gender equality is by looking at the data. Numbers can tell a compelling story. The story we’re going to tell focuses on girls ages 10 to 19, an age range used by the World Bank and other groups to track populations. Worldwide, about 600 million girls fall into this age range. Nearly half of them live in just seven countries. Those countries are the focus of our story.

You might expect that there would be an even number of boys and girls in this age group in these seven countries.

But you’d be wrong.

Source: World Bank Population Estimates for 2015 Credit: Christopher Groskopf and Alyson Hurt/NPR

Source: World Bank Population Estimates for 2015
Credit: Christopher Groskopf and Alyson Hurt/NPR

The Missing Girls

Consider the girls who were never born.

On average, about 105 boys are born worldwide for every 100 girls. Girls tend to make up for this difference over time because of their greater resilience and resistance to disease.

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Playboy Magazine To Stop Publishing Nude Images – MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ OCTOBER 13, 2015 4:56 AM ET

Playboy Magazine To Stop Publishing Nude Images

In this Oct. 13, 2011, photo, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises Hugh Hefner poses for a photograph at his home at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills.i

In this Oct. 13, 2011, photo, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises Hugh Hefner poses for a photograph at his home at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills.


As part of a redesign to the magazine that will debut next March, Playboy will stop publishing photos of nude women. Its website stopped featuring nudity in August, and traffic has since increased from four million to 16 million users a month, according to Playboy executives.

The magazine has included naked photos of women since its debut in 1953, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the first centerfold. “If you’re a man between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you,” wrote founder Hugh Hefner in his first editor’s letter.

The New York Times reports on the reason for the redesign:

Its executives admit that Playboy has been overtaken by the changes it pioneered. “That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”


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What’s Holding Women Back in the Workplace? – By NIKKI WALLER AND JOANN S. LUBLIN September 30, 2015

Despite support at the top, gender equality is a long way off at most U.S. companies. A study by Lean In and McKinsey reveals why—and what employees and companies can do about it.

A new LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. study on Women in the Workplace finds that corporate diversity initiatives aren't helping women break the glass ceiling. WSJ's Shelby Holliday takes a closer look at the reasons why and other key takeaways from the data. Photo: iStock/Getty Images

A new LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. study on Women in the Workplace finds that corporate diversity initiatives aren’t helping women break the glass ceiling. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday takes a closer look at the reasons why and other key takeaways from the data. Photo: iStock/Getty Images

Why aren’t there more women in the upper ranks of corporate America?

Cue the broken record: Women rein in career plans to spend more time caring for family. What’s more, they are inherently less ambitious than men and don’t have the confidence that commands seats in the C-suite.

Not so fast.

Something else is happening on the way to the top. Women aren’t abandoning their careers in large numbers; motherhood, in fact, increases their appetite for winning promotions; and women overall don’t lack for ambition and confidence that they can take on big jobs. Yet when asked whether they want a top role in their companies or industries, a majority of women say they would rather not grab the brass ring.

Those are the findings of a major new study of women in the workplace conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. The research, which gathered data on promotions, attrition and trajectories from 118 companies and surveyed nearly 30,000 men and women, is among the largest efforts to capture attitudes and data about working women. The study involved major North American companies and North American units of global ventures headquartered elsewhere. It reveals sharply different views of the workplace, in which women say they experience a playing field at work that is anything but level.

Roughly equal numbers of men and women say they want to be promoted—78% and 75%, respectively. But as men’s desire for big jobs intensifies in the course of their careers, only 43% of women said they want to be a top executive, compared with 53% of men. Perhaps most startling, 25% of women feel their gender has hindered their progress, a perception that grows more acute once women reach senior levels.

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Many Republican Women Have Second Thoughts About Donald Trump – By Emma Court and  Colleen McCain Nelson Sept. 22, 2015 7:10 p.m. ET

GOP front-runner loses ground in polls after his comments about Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump works a crowd in Dallas on Sept. 14. His standing with women has slipped since then.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump works a crowd in Dallas on Sept. 14. His standing with women has slipped since then. Photo: Mike Stone/Reuters

GREENVILLE, S.C.—When Ruth Silver was watching last week’s Republican debate in her Wantagh, N.Y., living room, she was so impressed with Carly Fiorina’s “class and poise, I wanted to stand up and applaud.”

Ms. Silver, 71 years old, said the former Hewlett-Packard executive’s performance was so strong she began rethinking her support for celebrity businessman Donald Trump.

For now, Ms. Silver is sticking with Mr. Trump but she is part of a shrinking pool: Female voters’ support for the first-time candidate dropped 12 percentage points among likely GOP voters after last week’s CNN debate, according to a CNN/ORC poll conducted Sept. 17-19. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

That decline in support helped drive down Mr. Trump’s standing in the primary field. Although still the front-runner, his backing tumbled by eight percentage points, to 24% from 32% in a CNN/ORC poll conducted Sept. 4-8. Of those who tuned in to watch the debate, 31% of the likely GOP voters said he did the worst job—the highest percentage of any candidate.


Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday declined to refute a questioner who declared that Muslims are a “problem” in America and reiterated the long-debunked rumor that President Barack Obama is a Muslim.

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

The second debate, which covered both foreign and domestic issues, marked the first flagging of Mr. Trump’s support among GOP voters, an opening that Ms. Fiorina gained from as she shot up to second in the poll at 15%. She also emerged as the clear debate winner, as 52% of likely GOP voters said she did the best job, the poll found.

Mr. Trump took the debate stage after Rolling Stone published disparaging remarks he made in an interview about Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!,” Mr. Trump told the magazine.

In interviews, the celebrity businessman said his comments were misunderstood and he was referring to her persona, not her facial features. Asked about that explanation during the debate, Ms. Fiorina’s rebuttal brought down the house. “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what [Donald] Trump said,” she said.

Mr. Trump’s exchanges with Ms. Fiorina came just weeks after he said Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her whatever” when she asked him tough questions in the first GOP debate, a comment that some interpreted as a reference to her menstrual cycle. Mr. Trump said his remarks were being misinterpreted, and that he wasn’t referring to her cycle.

“I cherish women,” Mr. Trump said on CNN in August. “I want to help women. I’m going to be able to do things for women that no other candidate would be able to do, and it’s very important to me.”

Yet, the personal nature of his remarks are driving away some potential backers and giving even some of his loyalists pause. Mr. Trump’s recent remarks about high-profile women also could hamper a general-election candidacy. In the 2012 election, exit polls showed that 53% of the voters were women, outnumbering their male counterparts.

“I do think he’s a sexist. Absolutely,” said Katie Packer Gage, a Republican strategist who isn’t working for a presidential candidate. “When you talk about the way a woman behaves in the context of their menstrual cycles, it reduces them to something, and suggests they don’t have control of themselves or their emotions.”

Mr. Trump’s financial acumen could be an asset in the White House, said Wanda Owens of Walhalla, S.C., but she has concerns about his ability to handle foreign affairs and his comments about women.

“He’s kind of brutal toward women,” said Ms. Owens, who supports Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and another political newcomer. She added that she questions whether women would be appointed to top positions in a Trump administration.

Mr. Trump’s female backers say they aren’t offended because his blunt rhetoric is just part of his tell-it-like-it-is style.

Joan Belfield in Sayville, N.Y., said the Fiorina comment was “thoughtless,” a “stupid thing to say,” yet she still leans towards Mr. Trump. Is Mr. Trump sexist? Ms. Belfield said no. “He says that about men, too.”

Joyce Kaufman, the host of a popular radio show based in South Florida, also sees the candidate as an equal-opportunity name-caller. “If we want to play with the boys, then we have to play with the boys,” Ms. Kaufman said.

But “wavering” Trump supporter Leeann Frazier of Brownwood, Texas, said she is more concerned about Mr. Trump’s ability to “tone it back” than any specific remarks he has made.

“I don’t take his statements personally as a woman. I don’t think he means that. He just speaks off the cuff, and he’s always been one to go for shock factor and say what he thinks,” Ms. Frazier said.

Write to Colleen McCain Nelson at colleen.nelson@wsj.com

Senate GOP starts fast-track on bill to block Planned Parenthood funding – By Jordain Carney September 21, 2015, 08:17 pm

Senate Republicans on Monday night started the Senate’s fast-track process on legislation that would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) began the process, known as Rule 14, that will allow the legislation to skip over the Senate’s committee process and go straight to the Senate floor where it can be brought up for a vote. The Senate will likely complete the process on Tuesday.

The legislation, which passed the House last week by a 241-187 vote, would place a one-year freeze on federal funding for the organization giving lawmakers more time to investigate claims of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood made in a string of controversial videos.

Senate Republicans also started the fast-track process on a House-passed bill that would tighten restrictions on abortion doctors who violate infant protections.

The proposals come as Republican leadership is under pressure to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline to pass a government spending bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to not let the government shutdown, and called his party’s push to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a spending bill an “exercise in futility.”

But Congress’ path to keeping the government open remains unclear with only a handful of days left before the deadline.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, told reporters that the Senate could take the lead on a funding bill, but added that “I don’t think it’s been finally decided.”

The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya’s Women-Only Village – Vice News Published on Sep 9, 2015

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Where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the desert, the people of Samburu have maintained a strict patriarchy for over 500 years in northern Kenya. That is, until 25 years ago, when Rebecca Lolosoli founded Umoja village as a safe haven for the region’s women. Umoja, which means “unity” in Swahili, is quite literally a no man’s land, and the matriarchal refuge is now home to the Samburu women who no longer want to suffer abuses, like genital mutilation and forced marriages, at the hands of men.

Throughout the years, it has also empowered other women in the districts surrounding Samburu to start their own men-excluding villages. Broadly visited Umoja and the villages it inspired to meet with the women who were fed up with living in a violent patriarchy.

Serena Williams beats sister Venus to make US Open 2015 semi-finals – Kevin Mitchell at Flushing Meadows Tuesday 8 September 2015 22.15 EDT

Serena and Venus Williams

The woman policing the gangway that leads down to the media seats on Arthur Ashe glanced at a stadium TV screen, and whispered, “I like Venus.”

It wasn’t “like” as in the American sporting argot, “think she will win”, more an expression of admiration bordering on sympathy for the older Williams sister (justified, as it happens), who was expected to be marmalised by Serena, the champion who had out-titled her over their careers 69-46, who had won 15 of their 26 matches and who was reaching for a quarter-final win that would propel her to within two victories of history.

And so the predicted result transpired, unexpectedly, in three sets.

Obstructing Serena’s route to the final and coronation as the first woman to sweep all four majors in a calendar year since Steffi Graf in 1988 is a player she has beaten all four times they have met, Roberta Vinci. The Italian has won just 22 games in those matches.

That has slaughter written all over it.

So did this quarter-final, which lasted an hour and 38 minutes and which Serena won 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

It is not disrespecting Venus – who has won more easily in this tournament than has Serena – to point out the disparity in spoils and consistent dominance stretching back several years. She is in pretty respectable company trailing her sister in every statistic known to nerds. In slams, Serena now leads 9-5, including four on the spin in recent majors.

But, if you dismiss as absurd the notion that collusion between two sisters whose bond is unbreakable, there remains the dilemma of culling half-heartedness from conviction. There was little evidence of the former, much of the latter, by both players. Yet it was a strangely antiseptic affair.

No description could match watching the contest unfold live, but the numbers tell the story. There were a remarkable 126 rallies of four shots or fewer and only three that lasted longer than nine strokes. The paradox was they were so good they made it look bad, not a fight but an exchange of brilliant winners, 35 by Serena, 24 from Venus, with a combined unforced error count of only 37. As executions go, it was quick and clean.

Never the less, in the first set, fans looked this way and that around the stadium, fiddling with their phones, peeping up at the jumbo screens to see if they’d made it on to the roaming shoot of the stands, and wondering when it might be cool to maybe slip away. Not many did.

At times this was like kissing your sister – except they are sisters. The longest rally of the match arrived at 30-love to Venus in the third game of the second set after 44 minutes of tennis they could market as a lullaby video. It lasted all of 13 shots, and it wasn’t all that. Venus won it, by the way, holding to love, but everyone shifting in their seats knew it was not going to change the course of the match, and, of course, it didn’t.

Even when Serena dropped serve (breaking her run of 18 holds in a row) with a double fault (a second serve into the net at 68mph) to fall 1-3 behind, it was hard to detect in the champion a shred of anxiety.

A third double fault handed Venus the gift of serving out the second set at 5-1 after a little under an hour. She had three set points, and Serena was plunged into her 11th three-setter of the season when she banged the third into the net.

And still inevitability hung heavy in the air.

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