ScienceDaily (2007-10-30) -- The AIDS virus entered the United States via Haiti, probably arriving in just one person in about 1969, earlier than previously believed, according to new research. The research is the first to definitively pinpoint when and from where HIV-1 entered the United States, and shows that most HIV/AIDS viruses in the US descended from a single common ancestor. ... > read full article
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Search warrant documents obtained by KXLY-TV provide more details about a gay sex extortion attempt involving state Representative Richard Curtis of La Center, in southwest Washington.
He was in Spokane last week for a Republican Party meeting and staying at the Davenport Tower hotel.
The documents say he met a man at an erotic video store and had sex at the hotel. The man reportedly demanded $1,000 and Curtis called police. No one has been arrested and the Spokane prosecutor will decide whether to file a charge.
In his only public comments about the incident, Curtis told The Columbian newspaper that he did not solicit anyone for sex and is not gay.
"My adopted daughter now has a wife. I'm quite disappointed," Hun Sen said.
He made the rare revelation about his closely guarded family life during a public speech at a student graduation ceremony.
Hun Sen said he plans to file a civil court case to disown his adopted daughter so that she cannot claim any inheritance from his family.
"We are concerned that she might one day cause us trouble ... and try to stake her claim for a share of our assets," he said.
The prime minister and his wife Bun Rany have three sons and two other daughters. He said they adopted their third daughter in the mid 80's when she was 18 days old. She has carried his family name "Hun" just like his biological children. Hun Sen did not reveal her given name.
Although he is cutting ties with her, Hun Sen said he was not discriminating against gays and appealed to society to show respect for them.
"Most of them are good people and are not doing alcohol, drugs or racing vehicles," he said.
Cambodian society, like that of neighboring Thailand, is generally tolerant of homosexuality.
After watching television news reports about gay marriage in San Francisco in 2004, then-King Norodom Sihanouk wrote on his Web site that he supported the right of homosexual couples to marry.
"It's not their fault if God makes them born like that ... Gays and lesbians would not exist if God did not create them," wrote Sihanouk, who abdicated the throne in favor of his son later that year.
Sam Vuthy, coordinator of Women's Agenda for Change, a nonprofit Cambodian group advocating gay rights, declined to comment on Hun Sen's decision regarding his daughter but applauded his appeal not to discriminate against gays.
The much-married Ms Taylor lost out, according to Noreen Nash.
Dean starred in the movie Giant with Taylor and Hudson, but he died before the film was released.
"Elizabeth and Rock took bets on who could get James Dean into bed first.
"I had an idea Rock would win but Elizabeth wasn't so sure. James was troubled but gorgeous," said Ms Nash, according to the Daily Express.
She reports that Ms Taylor lost her bet just days into the filming of Giant in 1955.
Dean was killed in a road accident on September 30th 1955 in a road accident.
The true nature of his sexuality has been endlessly argued over in the five decades since his death.
Some friends claim he only engaged in gay sex for "trade," others that he was bisexual.
Rock Hudson's death from AIDS in October 1985 brought the disease into the consciousness of many Americans for the first time.
His worldwide search for a cure drew international attention.
After his death his long-time lover Marc Christian successfully sued his estate, again calling attention to the homosexuality Mr Rock had hidden from most throughout his career.
Elizabeth Taylor eventually married eight times, twice to Richard Burton, and won two Academy Awards.
BY STEPHEN MANNING, Associated Press
Cmdr. Kevin J. Ronan is accused of using a video camera hidden in an air purifier in his home to tape midshipmen he hosted at his house last year. He is charged with seven counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, three counts of illegal wiretapping and one count of obstruction of justice.
The Navy began its investigation in January after two men, one a midshipman the other a former student at the academy, turned over to authorities recordings they said they found in Ronan's home.
In his opening statement, Navy prosecutor Lt. Justin Henderson said Ronan recorded midshipmen either with partners or alone in his spare bedrooms, edited them down to the sexually explicit content and transferred them to DVDs. He said thousands of gay pornographic images were found on Ronan's home computer.
Ronan "violated the trust of his midshipman sponsorees," Henderson told the jury of six Navy officers hearing the case at the Washington Navy Yard.
Ronan's attorney, William Ferris, said Ronan did not make the videotapes and suggested that midshipmen, who had access to his client's home computer, may have been responsible for the pornography found on Ronan's hard drive.
Ferris said the tapes could have been part of an attempt by one of the two men who turned the tapes over to authorities to blackmail his client. He said the man flunked out in January and faced the prospect of having to repay the government thousands of dollars for his education. Ferris said the man asked his client for money and was refused.
Navy investigators found a purifier with a camera inside, a device typically used for monitoring nannies, in the attic of Ronan's Annapolis home, Henderson said. He said the owner of the company that sold it said Ronan ordered an upgraded version with sound that could record in low light.
Ronan is assigned to the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery but was previously a team physician for Naval Academy sports teams and a medical officer in the midshipman dorm. He also was designated as a midshipman sponsor by the academy, hosting roughly a dozen students under the program where midshipmen spend weekends off campus at private homes to relax.
The case is expected to last two weeks.
BY STEPHEN FROTHINGHAM, Associated Press
Civil unions will become legal in New Hampshire on Jan. 1, allowing gays to apply for the same rights as married people. Same-sex unions from other states also will be recognized in New Hampshire if they were legal in the state where they were performed.
Questioned about civil unions after a speech at a dental benefits company, Thompson said, "I would not be in support of that."
But when he elaborated, he switched from civil unions, which give gays legal rights equivalent to those of married couples, to same-sex marriages, which are legal only in neighboring Massachusetts.
"Basically so far, it is a judge-made controversy," Thompson said. "No state or governor has signed off on such legislation on the state level that has endorsed marriage between the same sexes. There may have been a couple of courts that said the Constitution of their states has required that, so it's a judicially made situation as far as I am concerned."
Massachusetts' highest court ruled in 2003 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. But high courts in several other states have refused to follow suit, including Maryland last month. Cases are pending in Connecticut and California.
Edward Paul, an employee of the Delta Dental Plans Association, asked the question Monday, but had trouble being understood.
"I'm proud to say that in January 2008 New Hampshire has passed a law facilitating civil unions here. ... What is your belief for federal civil unions to be passed?" Paul asked.
"Soviet Union?" Thompson responded.
"No, civil unions," Paul said.
"Oh. No, I would not be in support of that," Thompson said.
Paul said he wasn't surprised, or impressed.
"I think he needs to do more homework on whatever state he's in and I don't think he did on that question," said Paul. He said he is a registered independent who plans to vote in the Democratic presidential primary.
Thompson's campaign has said the candidate would let states decide whether to sanction civil unions. He has supported federal action to protect states from having to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. As a Tennessee senator, he voted against legislation to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
On Monday, Thompson also filed the paperwork to get on the ballot for the GOP primary in New Hampshire.
BY DAVID LEPPARD, The Sunday Times
A member of the royal family has been targeted in an alleged “sex and drugs” blackmail plot being investigated by Scotland Yard.
The royal - who cannot be named for legal reasons - called in the police after being approached by two alleged blackmailers in August.
The men demanded £50,000 not to publicise a video, which they suggested showed the royal engaged in a sex act. The case is understood to be the first time in more than 100 years that a member of the royal family has been the victim of blackmail.
During telephone calls to the royal’s office, the suspected blackmailers also claimed to have evidence suggesting that the royal had supplied an aide with an envelope containing cocaine. They claimed that they had a video tape showing the aide snorting the drug.
After the approach from the two men in August, the royal tipped off Scotland Yard. Detectives then set up an undercover operation to trap the suspects. On September 11, two men were arrested in a police sting at a London hotel. They were seized as they played what they claimed was the sex video in a suite at the Hilton hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair.
The men thought they were showing the film to a member of the royal’s staff. In fact, the man they met was an undercover detective from Scotland Yard’s kidnap and blackmail unit.
The Yard issued a statement yesterday saying: “Two men, a 30-year-old man and a 40-year-old man, appeared at City of Westminster magistrates’ court on September 13, each charged with one count of blackmail.”
Neither the royal nor any of the witnesses in the case can be identified after a judge issued a gagging order.
The alleged extortion attempt began on August 2 when a man telephoned the royal’s office. The caller identified himself only by his first name. He said he was aware that another man who worked on the royal’s staff had in his possession an envelope containing cocaine. The caller suggested the envelope was embossed with the royal’s personal insignia.
The caller then claimed he had a video tape that showed the royal aide giving someone oral sex. He indicated that the person was the royal. The caller asked for the royal to call him and left a mobile phone number.
During subsequent calls, one of the men claimed that the tapes showed a royal aide snorting cocaine. But the caller guaranteed that nobody would ever see them because they were safe in his flat. A Whitehall security official said: “He then said he wanted £50,000 from the royal for the tape.” The source said a senior legal adviser to the royal agreed with one of the men that he would see the tape before handing over the cash.
By this time a detective had been attached to the royal’s staff. He contacted the gang posing as a member of staff and the meeting was arranged at the Hilton. Parts of the video were shown and the meeting was secretly videoed by Scotland Yard detectives in an adjacent room. The two suspects were then arrested.
The official said the video also contained unsubstantiated allegations about other members of the royal family, including the Queen.
The case is the first in modern times that a member of the royal family has been targeted in an alleged blackmail plot. In 1891 the future Edward VII discussed with his solicitor paying off two prostitutes he had visited in return for letters he had written to them. Details emerged only in 2002 when the letters were sold for £8,220 at Bonhams, the auctioneers.
Additional reporting: Anna Mikhailova
It's become one of the best-loved gay events in South Florida. More than 500 people dressed up (or undressed) for Saturday's 12th annual Halloween Ball benefiting SAVE, Miami-Dade County's largest gay-rights group.
Here are lots of pictures I took at the ball. (Click them to enlarge):
BY KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press
But Lance Bass was also living on $35 a day thanks to a miserly contract with former manager Lou Pearlman and agonizing over how to hide his sexuality from bandmates and millions of teenage fans, according to his book "Out of Sync," released this week.
Oh and Justin Timberlake was responsible for breaking up the band, Bass says in the candid tell-all book.
The 28-year-old pop star raised in a strict Christian family says he knew he was gay at age 5 and recalls having innocent crushes on boys. He recounts the horror of his mom finding out he was gay after she read it on the Internet. And how his coming out on the cover of "People" magazine brought flowers and phone calls of support from Elton John and Jennifer Lopez.
But before he was embraced as a gay man, Bass says he spent years worrying about what his secret would do to the band.
"I really felt it was going to ruin our reputation, that was going to be the stigma of our group," he told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.
Bass struggled to fit in with the rest his bandmates, who had girlfriends. He faked it enough to get by and only once let a man back to his hotel room during the 2000 Celebrity tour.
No one found out about the hotel room, but Bass says bandmate Joey Fatone once walked in on him during a party at the height of the group's fame sitting close to another man.
"Later on he told me he knew right then and there I was gay, but that he really didn't care one way or the other," Bass writes.
The small-town boy from Clinton, Miss., says he liked Pearlman from the start, describing the now notorious boy-band mogul as "a large man" who "had a way of making you feel special."
"He had all these limos and Rolls-Royces and was always using them to take us to great dinners in upscale restaurants," according to the book.
Later they realized they were actually paying for the dinners and the clothes, all recoupable fees by "Papa Lou." The relationship ended in an ugly legal showdown after the band learned Pearlman had made himself an unofficial sixth member of 'N Sync, taking a sixth of all earnings on top of his fees for being their manager, record company and producer.
In 1998, the band had sold 3 million albums, but was "dirt poor." At 'N Sync's first check presentation years after the band had formed, Bass describes his shock as he was handed a check for a mere $25,000. He ripped up the check and left the room. The band eventually terminated their contract with Pearlman and signed with Jive Records.
Pearlman is now behind bars after being indicted on three counts of bank fraud and single counts of mail and wire fraud. His possessions, including platinum records and memorabilia from the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, were hawked earlier this year. A judge recently approved the sale of Pearlman's $7.1 million Orlando home.
"He was too greedy, and in the end it destroyed him," says Bass.
Bass, who now stars in the Broadway show "Hairspray," says he naively missed warning signs that Timberlake was planning to abandon the group for a solo career. After months of waiting to record another album, Timberlake stunned the group at a charity basketball game in 2004, saying the group wasn't as focused as they had been and that no one was operating in the best interest of the band.
The rest of the group considered continuing without Timberlake, but eventually went their own way.
Even after the split, Bass tried to foster his hetero image for the sake of tween fans, but as his dating relationships with men became more serious, it was harder to duck the paparazzi.
As for the recent troubles of Britney Spears, who used to hang out on their tour bus in her pajamas while dating Timberlake, Bass says she has distanced herself from her former friends.
"I personally don't think she wanted anyone in her life that she knew previously that would be a good influence on her," he said. "I think she wanted to go through her rebellion stage."
DURHAM, N.H. – Gay men working in management and traditional blue-collar, male-dominated jobs make less than straight men because they are discriminated against by their employers, according to new research released today by the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics.
Lesbians, however, do not experience similar discrimination in the labor market, according to Bruce Elmslie, professor of economics, pictured, and his co-author Edinaldo Tebaldi, former assistant professor of economics at UNH now at Bryant University. Their research appears in the Journal of Labor Research in the article “Sexual Orientation and Labor Market Discrimination.”
According to the authors, gay men who live together earn 23 percent less than married men, and 9 percent less than unmarried heterosexual men who live with a woman. Discrimination is most pronounced in management and blue-collar, male-dominated occupations such as building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; construction and extraction; and production.
The authors also found that lesbians are not discriminated against when compared with heterosexual women. They conclude that while negative attitudes toward lesbians could affect them, lesbians may benefit from the perception that they are more career-focused and less likely to leave the labor market to raise children than heterosexual women. According to their study, 18.1 percent of lesbians have children, compared with 49.4 percent of straight women.
“Employers could reasonably infer that a lesbian applicant or current employee will have a stronger attachment to the labor force than will a heterosexual woman,” the authors said.
The authors note that previous studies of attitudes of heterosexual men toward gay men and lesbians shows that the bias against gay men is much stronger. Other studies show that gay men are more likely to be the victim of violence because of their sexual identity than lesbians.
The authors cite a number of possible factors as to why gay men experience labor discrimination and lower wages in certain industries. There is strong evidence indicating discrimination is tied to employer and employee bias.
“Employers may disapprove of gay lifestyles and act on this bias in making hiring decisions,” the authors said. Employers also may discriminate against gay men in response to the desires of the majority of employees. If employers consider mixing heterosexual and homosexual employees distracting and detrimental to productivity, the authors said the employers may consider it profitable to discriminate.
Gay men also may experience labor market discrimination because customers may not want to interact with them, thus influencing hiring practices. “If customers prefer to interact with heterosexual employees, the owner will act on the customer’s taste for discrimination,” the authors said.
Finally, discrimination may occur as a result of anti-gay attitudes associated with AIDS and misunderstanding as to how HIV is transmitted. Previous research shows that people with HIV/AIDS have higher rates of absenteeism from work. The authors theorize that biased employers may be reluctant to hire gay men because they are concerned about a loss of productivity if a worker becomes infected with HIV/AIDS.
“If employers perceive one group to be generally less productive or more costly than other groups, individual members of the negatively perceived group will receive lower wage offers regardless of their true characteristics,” the authors said.
In this study, employee/employer bias was the most prevalent and overwhelming indication of discrimination against gay men. If the discrimination was consumer-based, the discrimination would be more evident in the services industry where there is direct interaction between employees and customers. If the discrimination was tied to AIDS/HIV status, the distribution of discrimination would be more uniform across industries.
The authors analyzed labor and wage information from more than 91,000 heterosexual and homosexual couples collected by the U.S. Census March 2004 Current Population Survey.