Feb 11
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Cardi B made history on Sunday night when she won a Grammy for best album, making her the first female solo artist to ever take home the award.

According to Time, Best Rap Album only became an official Grammy category in 1996, and has typically been won by male artists, with the exception of Lauryn Hill, who took home the award in 2007 as part of the hip-hop group Fugees. Jezebel reports that only four other solo female artists have ever been nominated: Eve, Missy Elliott, Nicky Minaj and Iggy Azalea.

Scooping up the award for her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, Cardi triumphed in what Billboard calls a “stacked category”; the other nominated albums were Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap, Travis Scott’s Astroworld, Pusha T’s Daytona and Mac Miller’s Swimming. This marks Cardi’s first Grammy win, and she spoke about the challenges of creating the album while pregnant during an emotional acceptance speech.

“I want to thank my daughter,” she said, referring to her baby, Kulture, who was born in July. “I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter. “When I found out I was pregnant, my album was not complete … We had to have this album done so I could shoot these videos [while] I’m still not showing. It was very long nights.”

Read more at Time.


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'How we make change'

Elizabeth Warren made it clear that she has her sights set on the Oval Office when she launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid on New Year’s Eve. Now, as the New York Times reports, the Massachusetts senator has formally kickstarted her campaign.

On Saturday, Warren addressed a crowd of supporters at the Everett Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts—the site of a  landmark 1912 strike led by female laborers. It was a deliberate choice of location for Warren, a specialist in bankruptcy and commercial law who vowed to advocate on behalf of American workers.

“Today, millions and millions and millions of American families are also struggling to survive in a system that’s been rigged, rigged by the wealthy and the well-connected,” Warren said, according to the Times.

“Like the women of Lawrence,” she added, “we are here to say enough is enough!”

The presidential hopeful has put forth a plan that would implement a two percent wealth tax on fortunes of more than $50 million, and a three percent tax for fortunes that cross the $1 billion threshold, reports the Guardian. She said that the current system favors big businesses and the wealthy, who “seem to break the rules and pay no price.” Key to dismantling this system, she added, is doing away with the current administration, which she called “the most corrupt in living memory.”

Responding to Warren’s campaign launch on Twitter, President Trump invoked a taunt that he has often used to attack the senator: her purported Native American heritage. “Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” he wrote on Twitter, in an apparent reference to the forced and perilous relocation of Native Americans in the 1830s, which is known as the Trail of Tears.

Trump has long attacked Warren over her claims that she hails from Native American ancestry, repeatedly mocking her by referring to her as “Pocahontas.” Last October, in an early sign that she was seriously considering a presidential run, Warren released a video in which she revealed the results of a DNA test showing that she had some Native American heritage. Her decision to publicize the results was condemned by Native American leaders, who criticized her for implying that race is determined by blood and for ignoring the importance of cultural kinship and tribal affiliation to Native citizenship.  Warren apologized to the Cherokee Nation earlier this month.

Whether the controversy will continue to dog Warren remains to be seen. But during the first days of her campaign, she has been focused not only on criticizing Trump, but also on repairing what she sees as the injustices of a “badly broken system.”

“So, our job as we start rolling into the next election is not just to respond on a daily basis,” she said during an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to CNN. It’s to talk about what we understand is broken in this country, talk about what needs to be done to change it and talk about how we’re going to do that, because that is not only how we win, it’s how we make the change we need to make.”


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Turning point?

Last week, the Supreme Court made its first ruling on an abortion rights case since Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an outspoken anti-abortion advocate, was added to the bench. At stake in the case was a 2014 Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — a provision that in practice would reduce the number of qualified abortion providers in the state to just one doctor.

In a 5-4 ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court effectively put off a final decision by preventing the measure from taking effect until the court could review it more fully. The decision was made on partisan lines, with the exception of Chief Justice John Roberts who sided with the court’s liberal justices. In 2016, the court struck down a near-identical Texas law over the objections of Roberts and the court’s other conservative justices.

Despite legal precedent that bars states from placing an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion, states have continued to pass a variety of laws aimed at closing down abortion clinics, narrowing the window of legal abortion, and banning particular procedures. According to HuffPost, at least 16 abortion-related cases could soon be taken up by the court. And should Roberts revert to his prior opinions when making an ultimate ruling in the Louisiana case and others, similar laws are expected to rapidly be pursued by anti-abortion advocates nationwide.

In Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama, state governments have passed laws that ban one of the safest and most common forms of abortion in the 2nd trimester. The method, known as “dilation and extraction,” has been demonized by anti-abortion advocates as “dismemberment.” In Texas and Indiana, laws that mandate fetal tissue be buried or cremated are also potentially up for review by the nation’s highest court. Pro-choice advocates have said that such laws are designed to make it economically feasible for poor women to obtain abortions.

By aggressively passing such laws, a number of conservative states have effectively reduced the number of abortion providers available to a handful, making it virtually impossible for women who cannot afford to travel significant distances to obtain them. In states such as North Dakota and Kentucky, only one abortion clinic remains — and continued legislative efforts are underway to try to force their closure.

Read the full story at HuffPost.


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One step forward ...

A bid by Thailand’s Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi to become her country’s prime minister has been thwarted by her own party, after receiving a royal command from her brother, the king.

In a dramatic, but not entirely unanticipated, reversal, the Thai Raksa Chart party issued a succinct statement announcing that they were complying with a royal command to block her candidacy.

The statement added that the party was ready to do its duty with respect to the “tradition and royal customs” under Thailand’s constitutional monarchy.

The princess rocked Thai politics on Friday, when she announced she would be the prime ministerial candidate for the populist party, that hopes to unseat sitting prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Prayuth was head of the army when he led a 2014 coup against ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, to whom the Thai Raksa Chart remains loyal. The election on March 24 is the first since the 2014 coup.

“I would like to say once again that I want to see Thailand moving forward, being admirable and acceptable by international countries, want to see all Thais have rights, a chance, good living, happiness to all,” Ubolratana had said, on her Instagram account, when she announced her candidacy.

Her younger brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, issued a statement late on Friday, saying his elder sister’s candidacy was “inappropriate” and that it was against the spirit of the constitution for royalty to be involved in politics.

Customarily under the Thai constitutional monarchy system, royals recuse themselves from politics. But the status of Ubolratana falls into a gray area since she had her highest royal titles taken from her by her father in 1972 after she married a fellow student, American Peter Ladd Jensen, who she met while at school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I have relinquished my royal titles and lived as a commoner,” she said in an Instagram post announcing her decision to run.

Since her return to Thailand from the U.S. in the late 1990s, Ubolratana has found success as an actress, TV hostess, and anti-drug campaigner.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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Despite the rise of #MeToo and other women’s rights movements across the world in recent years, polls show that most young women — and older ones — continue to reject the term feminist. But the reason why women decline to be called feminists, writes Dr. Christina Scharff, a senior lecturer in Culture, Media, and Creative Industries at King’s College London, appears to correlate more strongly with fear of being stigmatized than it does with women’s equality.

In an Op-Ed for the BBC, Scharf notes that fewer than 20 percent of young women self-identify as feminists, according to polling in the U.K. and U.S. And while the popularity of the term has risen somewhat in recent years — a 2018 YouGov poll found that the number of British women who said they were feminists had increased to 34 percent compared to 27 percent in 2013 — that same study found that 80 percent of respondents believed that women and men should be treated equally in all respects.

According to Scharf, it appears that people — and especially lower-income groups — support the idea of feminism but not the word itself. Since the 1920s, she notes, feminists have been denounced by society as unfeminine, sexually undesirable, and deviant. A hundred years later, she wrote, her own research shows that fear of being associated with “man-hating, lesbianism or lack of femininity” was a key factor for many young German and British women who eschewed the feminist label. Despite the discouraging lack of support for feminism itself, Scharf concludes, the fact that the majority of people now appear to support women’s equality — at least in principle — should give feminists reasons for optimism.

Read the full story at BBC News.


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