Happy Wednesday! Welcome to an at-least-it’s-not-all-completely-horrible edition of xoNews. Today, I have an update on a famous television dad/child molester (preview: not really good news here), but I do have good news about Ebola (I mean, as good news as you can get about Ebola) and the launch of a technological advance that will make paying for things more convenient and more secure. Who doesn’t want that? I also have an update on the situation in Kobani, since I know from previous comments many people are interested in this story.
Speaking of commenting, please feel free to do so. Or you can even tweet me directly @AmandaLauren (my tweets are far less depressing than the news is)…
Stephen Collins Update
A few weeks ago, I reported about the release of an audiotape featuring "7th Heaven" dad, Stephen Collins, where he confesses to molesting and/or exposing himself to three girls all of whom were between ages 11-13 at the time. These tapes became public amidst a nasty divorce battle with his wife Faye Grant. The New York Police Department and Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s office are currently conducting investigations. The Los Angeles Police Department is also investigating a case they had against Collins, which was closed two years ago.
As part of the NYPD investigation, one of his victims came forward, who is now in her 50s, saying the molestation took place in the 1970s and says she doesn’t plan on launching a civil suit against Collins, because she’s not after his money. She decided to come forward hoping that the actor’s more recent victims will step forward. She also said she called the LAPD to let them know that Collins is in fact a sexual predator.
Unfortunately, all of the cases against Collins that we know of are decades old, meaning the statute of limitations will bar prosecution. Long story short, the actor is probably going to get away with it.
Colorado Briefly Considers Banning Edible Marijuana
If you didn’t know, marijuana is legal in Colorado (as well as Washington state). On October 20, the state Department of Health and Environment briefly considered banning edible marijuana, such as brownies, chocolate, etc, making recommendations for a house bill, which stated it would:
Prohibit the production of retail edible marijuana products other than a simple lozenge/hard candy or tinctures that are plainly labeled using universal symbol(s) and that users can add to their products at home. Hard candy/lozenges would be manufactured in single 10 mg doses/lozenges and tinctures would be produced and labeled with dosing instructions, such as two drops equals 10 mg.
Some people are saying this action was a response to two deaths this year in Colorado, where the coroner listed marijuana intoxication as a contributing factor. Just to be clear, there have been no reports of anyone dying from marijuana intoxication alone, ever.
After this information was initially released, people were obviously up in arms. Dr. Larry Wolk, The Health Department’s executive director and chief medical officer then had to clarify what exactly was going on with this recommendation:
…it is just that, a recommendation. Our recommendation does not represent the view of the governor’s office, nor was it reviewed by the governor. It was put together only in consideration of the public health challenges of underage marijuana ingestion.
So, while a working group discussed these recommendations, nothing has changed yet. The final rules of the recommendation will be made after the 2015 legislative session under The Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division. So, at least for now, you can enjoy your weed brownies in Colorado guilt-free and legally.
Turkey has finally agreed to help Kobani, after pressure from the United States. Kobani is a city on the border of Syria and Turkey, which has been in serous danger of being taken over by ISIS. Turkey was hesitant to help the situation because they believe some Syrian-Kurds have ties to the terrorist group, P.K.K. P.K.K. has had a three-decade long war against the Turkish government, although there have been peace talks for about a year and a half.
Since the U.S. has decided to hit ISIS with airstrikes, Turkey, who is supposed to be an ally, has been incredibly unhelpful, refusing to open up the border to let weapons and aid go through to the Syrian-Kurds. So, earlier this week, the U.S. had enough and started airdropping supplies and weapons. Secretary of State John Kerry made a statement regarding the administration approving the airdrop because it would have been “irresponsible” and “morally very difficult” to not support the Kurdish in a “crisis moment.”
Let me say very respectfully to our allies the Turks that we understand fully the fundamentals of their opposition, and ours, to any kind of terrorist group, and particularly, obviously, the challenges they face with respect to the P.K.K. But we have undertaken a coalition effort to degrade and destroy ISIL, and ISIL is presenting itself in major numbers in this place called Kobani.
While Turkey has finally agreed to help the U.S. aid the Syrian-Kurds, they have yet to actually join the coalition against ISIS.
Apple Pay Launches
Apple Pay launched this week and it should be a game changer for the way we pay for things online and offline in various ways. First of all, if you carry a big purse and have to search for your wallet constantly (like I do), paying with your phone, which you probably have out anyway, is majorly convenient. (If only the phone could replace car and house keys…)
But more significantly, it will offer major security that the magnetic strips on credit cards just don’t. Here's how: when you enter in a credit card to your phone, the number actually doesn’t get stored in the phone. When you make a purchase, your phone pings a company, such as First Data, which gives the phone an alias or “token” instead of the actual credit car number. The only way to access the token is with your fingerprint. The token is stored securely in your iPhone. These layers of security can prevent fraud, such as recent credit card breaches of millions of Home Depot and Target customers.
Currently, you need an iPhone 6 to use the system, but it will soon work on the iPhone 5. There are 220,000 merchants that currently accept Apple Pay including Bloomingdales, Macys, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Petco, McDonalds and Chevron.
· Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died on October 20th at the age of 82. The cause of his death has not been released, but he has been battling cancer on and off since 2006.
· South African Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison after being charged with culpable homicide, which is similar to a manslaughter charge in the United States, for the death of the girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Both sides have the option to appeal the sentence. But, Pistorius could actually be out in only 10 months because he can apply for house arrest after completing 1/6 of his sentence. If that makes your jaw drop, remember the South African court system is very different from that in the United States.
· Some good news about Ebola (yes, you read that correctly) -- Nigeria has officially been declared Ebola-free. For the past 42 days, which is double the incubation period, there have been no new cases reported. In America, 43 people who were in quarantine after coming into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan (the Nigerian man who brought the disease over to the US) have been reported healthy. Also, on Monday night, the CDC released new guidelines for healthcare workers with Ebola patients.