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Hey anonymous: Websites move to block toxic online comments

Written by The AP Wednesday, 01 January 2014 06:54

Mix blatant bigotry with poor spelling. Add a dash of ALL CAPS. Top it off with a violent threat. And there you have it: A recipe for the worst of online comments, scourge of the Internet.

Blame anonymity, blame politicians, blame human nature. But a growing number of websites are reining in the Wild West of online commentary. Companies including Google and the Huffington Post are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people to use their real names in order to restore civil discourse. Some sites, such as Popular Science, are banning comments altogether.

Protests target same-sex wedding at Rose Parade

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 31 December 2013 05:19

Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair joke that they're getting married New Year's Day in front of 80 million of their closest friends, and the men say they aren't that concerned that a few thousand others may boycott the first same-sex marriage at the 125-year-old Rose Parade.

The pair, together for 12 years, plan to tie the knot atop a giant wedding cake on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float when it stops at the Rose Parade's reviewing stand on Jan. 1. Hundreds of thousands of people line the 5 1/2-mile parade route through Pasadena and an estimated 80 million more are expected to watch on TV from around the world.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will lead the final 60-second New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square by pushing the ceremonial button to signal the descent of the event’s famous ball. The giant New Year's Eve ball is covered in more than 2,600 crystal triangles and lit from within by more than 32,000 lights.

Sotomayor, a Bronx native, was appointed to the court in 2009.

Federal appeals court denies stay, same-sex marriage continues in Utah

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 26 December 2013 05:59

A federal appeals court has refused yet again to stop gay marriage in Utah, making it more likely that same-sex weddings in the home of the Mormon church are here to stay for the immediate future.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of Utah's request for an emergency order to put gay marriage on hold marked yet another legal setback for the state. Utah lawyers have repeatedly struck out in their bid to block gay marriage, getting rejected on four occasions in recent days.

Utah asks Supreme Court to halt gay marriages

Written by WiG Tuesday, 31 December 2013 16:06

Utah officials on Dec. 31 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend the same-sex marriages that have taken place since earlier in the month, when a federal district judge overturned a state ban on such unions.

Utah's appeal to the high court was delayed by holidays and changes in the Utah Attorney General's office.

Robin Roberts thanks girlfriend in end-of-year post

Written by WiG Monday, 30 December 2013 07:50

Robin Roberts thanked her longtime girlfriend, Amber Laign, in a year-end post published on Dec. 29 on the ABC News anchor's Facebook page.

The message, which follows Roberts' battle with a life-threatening illness, is the first time the "Good Morning America" anchor has publicly acknowledged her 10-year, same-sex relationship with Laign, a massage therapist from the San Francisco Bay Area.

A&E relents, ends suspension of Phil Robertson from 'Duck Dynasty'

Written by WiG
and AP reports
Friday, 27 December 2013 19:39

After being suspended from A&E’s reality show "Duck Dynasty" for making hateful comments about gays in a magazine interview, Phil Robertson is returning, the channel said Friday.

Robertson is the patriarch of a hillbilly Louisiana clan that’s become rich making duck calls, which are used by hunters to lure the wild fowls into the range of their firearms.

Putin frees his enemies as part of Sochi spin

Written by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV,
AP writer
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:05

It came as a shock both for those released and the general public — President Vladimir Putin's move to pardon his foes has allowed him to drive the news agenda less than two months before the Sochi Games.

Putin is dribbling out a headline day after day in the media. First, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released after a decade in prison, then Pussy Riot activists were pardoned and now 30 Greenpeace activists are awaiting their turn.

United Nations urges Ugandan president to not sign anti-gay bill

Written by WiG Tuesday, 31 December 2013 06:49

The United Nations human rights office is calling on the president of Uganda to not sign a anti-gay bill that would authorize life sentences for LGBT people.

“LGBT individuals in Uganda are a vulnerable and marginalized minority, already facing violence and discrimination. If signed by the President, this new law would reinforce stigma and prejudice, and institutionalize discrimination,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Boy Scouts officially open ranks to gay youth Jan. 1

Written by The AP Monday, 30 December 2013 07:17

The Boy Scouts of America accepted openly gay youths starting on New Year's Day, a historic change that has prompted the BSA to ponder a host of potential complications - ranging from policies on tentmates and showers to whether Scouts can march in gay pride parades.

Yet despite their be-prepared approach, BSA leaders were rooting for the change to be a non-event, comparable to another New Year's Day in 2000 when widespread fears of digital-clock chaos to start the new millennium proved unfounded.

Activists: Anti-gay ruling in India hurts AIDS fight

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 26 December 2013 06:20

Gay-rights activists and health workers in India are warning that a new Supreme Court ruling criminalizing homosexuality will undo years of progress in fighting AIDS by driving gay and transgender people underground.

They say HIV services expanded and gay and transgender people became more likely to seek them out after a landmark 2009 ruling decriminalized same-sex acts by throwing out a colonial-era law. India's top court revived the law Dec. 11, saying it is up to the country's lawmakers - not the court - to change it.

UK pardons gay WWII code-breaker Alan Turing

Written by AP
and WiG reports
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 07:53

Britain has posthumously pardoned Alan Turing for a gay sex conviction. Turing was the computing pioneer and code-breaker credited with helping to win the war against Nazi Germany.

Turing committed suicide more than 50 years ago, after his persecution for homosexuality, which included forced chemical castration.