Jul 17
Her eye on the news
Mile-high feud

Conservative provocateur Ann Coulter drew a sharp response from Delta Airlines after she launched into a Twitter rant Saturday and blasted the airline over a seating mix-up. Coulter had, in a series of perturbed tweets, ad accused Delta of being the “worst airline in America.”

On Sunday, the airline fired back in a statement, saying, “We are disappointed that the customer has chosen to publicly attack our employees and other customers by posting derogatory and slanderous comments and photos in social media,” the airline said, adding that her public remarks were “unnecessary and unacceptable.” Coulter lashed out after her seat had been changed from a window seat in a particular row to a window seat in a different row. “So glad I took time investigate the aircraft & PRE-BOOK a specific seat on @Delta, so some woman could waltz at the last min & take my seat,” the pundit snarked on Twitter about the unexpected inconvenience.

Delta said its employees had relocated Coulter in an attempt to accommodate several passengers with seating requests. Still, Coulter unleashed her wrath over the social media platform, mocking the carrier in one tweet with a made-up slogan: “.@Delta motto: “How can we make your flight more uncomfortable?” Her fulminations continued on Monday morning, but Delta pretty much shut down the dispute on Sunday when it revealed the refund Coulter was being given.

“Delta expects mutual civility throughout the entire travel experience,” the airline said. “We will refund Ms. Coulter’s $30 for the preferred seat on the exit row that she purchased.”

Read the full story at CNN.


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A 40-year-old woman who was set to be married next month is dead after she called 911 to report a possible assault happening behind her home and was fatally shot by one of the responding police officers. Justine Damond, an Australian native who’s been living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and working as a yoga and meditation instructor, called 911 on Saturday night around 11:30 p.m. after hearing a disturbance in the alley behind her home. A source cited by CNN said Damond thought a sexual assault might have taken place.

According to witnesses, police arrived at the alley and Damond, who was wearing pajamas and reportedly not carrying a weapon of any kind, approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. Witnesses said Damond spoke with the officers and then, suddenly, the officer in the passenger’s seat pulled out his gun and shot Damond through the driver’s side door, killing her. Adding to the mystery is the fact that neither officer’s body camera was turned on when the shooting occurred and the squad car’s dash cam didn’t capture footage of the incident.

The city’s mayor, Betsy Hodges, who previously represented the Fulton neighborhood, where Damond lived, as a city councilwoman, said the shooting was “tragic.”

“I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by the fatal officer-involved shooting that happened last night,” Hodges said. She also raised concerns about why the officers’ body cameras had been turned off. All Minneapolis police officers have been required to wear body cameras since last year’s fatal police shooting of Philando Castile. The two officers have been placed on paid leave as the investigation unfolds.

Justine Damond had studied to be a veterinarian in Sydney before moving to Minneapolis to be with her fiancé, Don Damond, 50. With their wedding date approaching, Justine had already changed her last name from Ruszczyk. The couple also have a son, Zach, 22, who was distraught in the hours after his mother’s fatal shooting and spoke out in a cellphone video that was shared online.

“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach said. “I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”

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Read the full story at The Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Washington Post.


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'Brilliant' mathematician

Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani, the first and only woman to win the prestigious Fields medal, died Saturday at the age of 40. According to The Guardian, Mirzakhani had been suffering from breast cancer.

The Fields medal is considered to be the highest honor a mathematician can receive, equivalent in prestige to the Nobel Prize. It is awarded once every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40, to honor and encourage the great minds of the future. Mirzakhani won the award in 2014, “for her work on complex geometry and dynamic systems,” according to The Guardian. No other woman has received the Fields medal since its inception in 1936.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran in 1977. Her early childhood was marked by the Iran-Iraq War, but the conflict had ended by the time Mirzakhani entered middle school, according to The New York Times. In a Fields Medal video, Mirzakhani described herself as being part of the “lucky generation” because she came of age in a time of stability.

She went on to study at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, and later attended graduate school at Harvard. She worked as a professor at Princeton, and later at Stanford.

“Maryam is gone far too soon, but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science,” Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement. “Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path. Her contributions as both a scholar and a role model are significant and enduring, and she will be dearly missed here at Stanford and around the world.”

Watch the Fields Medal video profile of Mirzakhani’s life below.

Read more at The Guardian.


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Courtney Waldon, a 27-year-old woman who suffered extensive fourth degree burns after a campfire accident, says that she hopes to become an advocate for people who have endured other traumatic incidents.

“Whether it be burns, a car wreck or even if it’s just that someone’s husband cheated on them,” Waldon recently told People. “That’s my goal.”

The tragic incident occurred in September 2016, when Waldon’s husband poured gasoline over a campfire. “[S]ome of it got on her body,” People writes. “The next thing she knew she was engulfed in flames.”

Waldon was in an induced coma for 30 days, and stayed in the hospital for 51 days. Upon her return home, Waldon faced yet another blow: Her husband left her two weeks after she was released from the hospital.

Waldon told People that she has persisted through the heartbreak and pain for the sake of her 5-year-old daughter, Caroline. “She’s the reason I live,” Waldon said.

The injuries that Waldon sustained may prevent her from ever working again and her medical bills have climbed over $2 million. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Waldon and Caroline. For more on Waldon’s heartbreaking story and how she is rebuilding her life, watch the video below.

Read the full story at People


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When babies are born with an opioid dependence, they are usually taken from their mothers — the source of the drug addiction –and treated with tiny doses of morphine in neonatal intensive care units. But some medical professionals say there is a better option for treatment: keeping the babies with their mothers.

As The New York Times reports, opioid-dependent babies have proliferated as the opioid crisis has deepened. Between 2003 and 2012, the rate of infants born with a drug dependence has grown nearly five times in the United States. The problem is particularly acute in rural America, where many hospitals do not have neonatal units equipped to deal with opioid-dependent babies. So infants are typically transferred to different facilities, making it difficult for their mothers — who are often poor and still drug-addicted — to reach them.

But some studies have shown that keeping mothers nearby for massaging, cuddling, and breastfeeding, when possible is a viable alternative for treating babies in withdrawal. This strategy is known among medical professionals as “rooming in.”

Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, N.H., recently allowed mothers and opioid-dependent newborns to stay together in the hospital. “Rooming-in reduced the length of stay for morphine-treated infants to 12 days from nearly 17, and the average hospital costs per infant to $9,000 from roughly $20,000, according to a study published last year in the journal Pediatrics,” the Times reports.

As Dr. Matthew Grossman, a pediatric hospitalist at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, put it: “Mom is a powerful treatment.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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For some time, many fans of Doctor Who have been calling on the creators of the BBC sci-fi series to cast its first female Doctor. And it seems the time has finally come. As the BBC reports, British actress Jodie Whittaker will play the show’s 13th Time Lord.

The announcement was made in a trailer that aired at the end of the Wimbledon’s men’s singles final. Whittaker will make her debut during Doctor Who’s Christmas special, when the current doctor — played by Peter Capaldi — regenerates.

Whittaker is perhaps best known for her role on the TV series Broadchurch (which, incidentally, stars former Time Lord David Tennant). She has also appeared in the shows Black Mirror, Return to Cranford, The Marchlands, along with the films St. Trinian’s, Good, and Attack the Block.

Speaking about her groundbreaking new role, Whittaker said, “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. This is a really exciting time and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.”

Chris Chibnall, the show’s new executive producer said he’s always wanted the 13th doctor on the show to be a woman, and that he and colleagues were especially moved by Whittaker’s tryout for the role. “Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away,” Chibnall said. “Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

Read the full story at the BBC.


Zero women involved in decision to cancel TV show about women fighting for gender equality