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George Zimmerman Sues Trayvon Martin’s Family

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George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, is suing Martin’s family, the lawyer who represented them, and other people associated with the murder case. Zimmerman is being represented by a right-wing lawyer who supported the anti-Obama “birther” movement, and the claims in the lawsuit stem from a documentary by a fringe filmmaker who traffics in conspiracy theories. Zimmerman fatally shot Martin in a 2012 case that sparked a national debate over racial profiling and gun laws. Martin, 17, was unarmed when Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, reported him as “suspicious” as he walked through a gated community where Martin was visiting family in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, claiming he acted in self-defense. He was later acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges. Now he’s suing Martin’s family and associates for $100 million, based on claims from a discredited documentarian.The lawsuit targets Martin’s mother, father, various people associated with Martin and his case, the state of Florida, the Martin family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump, and HarperCollins Publishers, which released Crump’s book on the killing of minorities this year. The suit claims one of the witnesses against Zimmerman misrepresented herself—with Crump and the Martin family’s knowledge.Zimmerman is being represented by Larry Klayman, an attorney described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a professional gadfly notorious for suing everyone from Iran’s Supreme Leader to his own mother.” While accusing President Barack Obama of secretly being Muslim in 2013, Klayman called for a “second American nonviolent revolution” to get Obama to “leave town, put the Koran down […] and to figuratively come out with his hands up.” A “birther” who claimed Obama faked his U.S. birth certificate, Klayman has also claimed the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was ordered by Saddam Hussein. Klayman is a founder of the conservative group Judicial Watch, which has repeatedly sued the Clintons. This summer, a D.C. legal ethics panel recommended barring Klayman from practicing law for 33 months over a complaint by a former client who accused Klayman of exploiting her financially when she refused his advances. Klayman said he planned to appeal and claimed the hearing was “politicized.” The panel told The Daily Beast the appeal was “ongoing.”In a statement to The Daily Beast, Klayman said, “George Zimmerman seeks justice not just for himself, but for all of those others victimized by dishonest prosecutors who seek convictions to further their political and other unethical agendas to advance their careers. He also seeks justice against those who would divide the nation by pitting the races against each other for ‘fun and profit,’ including the Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump and his friend Al Sharpton.” (Sharpton is not a defendant in the case.)In a statement on behalf of himself and Martin’s family, Crump blasted Zimmerman.“This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions. He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims. This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings,” Crump said Wednesday.Those alleged “baseless imaginings” stem from a new documentary by a longtime conservative conspiracy theorist.“The facts pled in this Complaint, which set forth the injury suffered by Plaintiff, were only recently discovered by Plaintiff Zimmerman on or about September 16, 2019 through the publication of the book and film by Hollywood director Joel Gilbert, both entitled The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud the Divided America,” the lawsuit reads. (Klayman’s announcement of the lawsuit also advertised a screening of the film.)Gilbert is a repeat Infowars guest who has peddled a number of right-wing conspiracy theories. In 2012, he made a movie claiming President Barack Obama was actually the secret son of labor leader Frank Marshall Davis, and that Obama had been raised from birth to lead a communist revolution. (Gilbert accounted for the two men’s lack of physical similarities by claiming Obama had plastic surgery to hide his link to Davis.)Gilbert also pushed a hoax that claimed Obama wore a ring inscribed with a declaration of Islamic faith, and that Obama’s mother posed naked for fetish magazines (both claims were debunked). During the 2016 presidential election, Gilbert produced a film falsely accusing Bill Clinton of fathering an illegitimate child (the man in question took a DNA test decades ago that indicated Clinton was not the father). Gilbert also designed a pro-Trump Times Square billboard, paid for by Roger Stone’s super-PAC. He previously marketed other conspiracy films, including one suggesting Paul McCartney is secretly dead. The film was later reclassified as a mockumentary.Gilbert claimed to have mailed millions of copies of his anti-Obama documentary to swing state voters in 2012, raising questions about his financial backing. The Federal Election Commission mulled legal action against Gilbert that would have required him to disclose his funding, but the agency’s general counsel ruled that the videos counted as a media action, not an independent political expenditure.Zimmerman has previously tried to capitalize on his fame from the Martin shooting. In 2017, he advertised a “celebrity boxing match” against rapper DMX. The fight was later cancelled. Later that year he likened Martin to a “dog.” He also made $138,900 auctioning the gun he used to kill Martin.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Dalai Lama: We Must Act As One to Preserve Our World

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This planet is our only home. Environmental experts say that over the next few decades, global warming will reach such a level that many water resources will go dry. So ecology and combatting global warming are very important.

For example, my country, Tibet, is the ultimate source of water in Asia. Rivers including Pakistan’s Indus, India’s Ganges and Brahmaputra, China’s Yellow River, as well as the Mekong, flow from Tibet’s plateau. So we should pay more attention to the preservation of Tibetan ecology. This is not only for the interest of 6 million Tibetans but all people in this region. In the past, when I was flying over Afghanistan, there were clear signs that what used to be lakes and streams were already dry. I feel that Tibet also may become like that soon. Regarding Tibet’s political matters, I have already retired. But regarding Tibet’s ecology and very rich culture, I’m fully committed.

We human beings have these marvelous, brilliant minds. But we are also the biggest troublemakers on the planet. Now we should utilize our brains with compassion, and a sense of concern. This is why one of my commitments is promotion of deeper human values.

From birth, we rely on others, particularly our mothers. From then, each individual’s existence entirely depends on a community, because we are a social animal. Community is the source of our happiness, so we must take care of the community. So now, in modern times, the concept of humanity is one community. East, west, north, south: everyone is interdependent. The modern economy has no national bound­aries. Therefore, now we need a sense of oneness of all 7 billion human beings. In the past, many problems were created because of too much emphasis on our differences, such as nationalities and religions. Now, in modern times, that thinking is out of date. We should think about humanity, about the whole world.

We must listen to scientists and specialists. Their voices and knowledge are very important. And religious people should pay more attention to scientists rather than just pray, pray, pray. In the ancient Nalanda Buddhist tradition, which we Tibetans follow, everything is investigated and not accepted by faith alone. If through reasoning we find some contradiction, even in Buddha’s own words, then we have the right to reject them. From childhood, I was always engaged in a lot of debate. Our thinking was based not in faith but reasoning.

Buddha himself was not born in a palace but under a tree. He attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. When he passed, it was under a tree. One of the rules during our monsoon retreat is that we should not cut down anything green. So this shows that Buddha himself paid attention to green issues.

Hours, minutes and seconds: time never stands still. We also are part of that nature. The past is important, but already past. The future is still in our hands, so we must think about ecology at the global level.

This essay is adapted from his recent TIME 100 Talk





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Downing Street advertises for £135k data science 'skunkworks' chief in latest Cummings shake-up

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Downing Street has placed an advert for £135,000 job to head up "skunkworks" in Number 10, in what appears the latest in Dominic Cummings' shakeup of Whitehall. The new job will be responsible for a new data science unit in Number 10, aimed to “transform” decision-making in government. A skunkworks is a term originating in America during WWII for a project developed by a small and loosely structured group focusing on radical innovation. The civil service advert says the role will involve leading a new "analytical unit known as ‘10ds" – which stands for "10 Data Science". It says: "The vision of 10ds is a skunkworks type organisation that builds innovative software to allow the PM to make data driven decisions and thereby transform government". Mr Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief aide, is known for his disdain for traditional civil servants. He has said his focus after Brexit will be the establishment of a British version of the US’s Advanced Projects Research Agency (Arpa). He recently instructed government advisers to read a book on Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock, as well as High Output Management by Andrew Grove. While the salary for the new role is advertised as up to £135,000, "outstanding" candidates could get more. The advert says the “newly created role will be responsible for establishing No10's quantitative ability” as well as advising the Prime Minister. It says the job presents an opportunity to work "at the heart' of government. Applications close on July 27. Earlier this year Mr Cummings placed an advert for “data scientists, project managers, policy experts and assorted weirdos” to apply for Downing Street jobs. Mr Cummings used his personal blog to invite applications from “true wild cards, artists, people who never went to university and fought their way out of an appalling hell hole”. In a much-publicised post, he said: “If you want to figure out what characters around Putin might do, or how international criminal gangs might exploit holes in our border security, you don’t want more Oxbridge English graduates who chat about Lacan at dinner parties with TV producers and spread fake news about fake news.” Shortly after the blog advert was posted, a new Downing Street adviser Andrew Sabisky quit following reports of his controversial comments on pregnancies, eugenics and race.



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Philippines Lawmakers Vote to Shut Down Country’s Largest TV Network After Attacks From President Duterte

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(MANILA, Philippines) — Philippine lawmakers voted Friday to reject the license renewal of the country’s largest TV network, shutting down a major news provider that had been repeatedly threatened by the president over its critical coverage.

The House of Representatives committee on franchises, dominated by President Rodrigo Duterte’s political allies, voted 70-11 to reject a new 25-year franchise for ABS-CBN Corp. The National Telecommunications Commission had ordered the broadcaster to shut down in May after its old franchise expired. It halted broadcasting then, but the vote takes it off the air permanently.

Duterte and his allies had raised questions about the network’s compliance with the law and the terms of its franchise.

International media watchdogs condemned the closure of ABS-CBN, which was founded in 1953, as a major blow to press freedom.

Human Rights Watch said the lawmakers’ vote was “a grievous assault on press freedom in the country” and the greatest blow to media freedom caused by any government act since then dictator Ferdinand Marcos shut the broadcasting giant and other media outlets after declaring martial law in 1972.

“This move solidifies the tyranny of President Rodrigo Duterte, who accused ABS CBN of slights against him and politically targeted it for refusing to toe the government’s line and criticizing his so-called `war on drugs,’” said Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director of the U.S.-based rights group.

Reflecting the extent of unease over the network’s shutdown, both the opposition and several key Duterte allies questioned efforts to close it. Concerns have also been raised by a diverse range of groups, including top business executives, left-wing activists and Catholic church officials.

ABS-CBN has more than 11,000 news and production personnel nationwide. Aside from reporting on the coronavirus, which has infected more than 50,000 people and killed 1,314 in the Philippines, it has provided food and medical aid to more than 2 million people, company officials said.

The network was last shuttered under the rule of Marcos and reopened after his 1986 ouster by an army-backed “people power” revolt.

Media watchdogs accuse Duterte and his government of muzzling independent media such as ABS-CBN that have reported critically on issues including his anti-drug crackdown, which has left thousands of mostly poor drug suspects dead. Duterte has accused the network of not airing his paid campaign ad and favoring a rival candidate in the 2016 election, allegations the company denied.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says Duterte took a neutral position on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal and left it to Congress to decide.

But ahead of the franchise expiration, the government’s solicitor-general, Jose Calida, asked the Supreme Court in February to revoke the franchises of ABS-CBN and a subsidiary in a separate attempt to shut the company for allegedly abusing its franchises and violating a constitutional prohibition on foreign investment in Philippine media. ABS-CBN denied the allegations.





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