Raisman, survivors accept courage award at ESPYs

It took courage for all of disgraced USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar‘s victims to speak out on his heinous acts of sexual abuse. And it was that same courage that was recognized at this year’s ESPY Awards.

According to USA Today, Olympian Aly Raisman and over 140 survivors hit the stage of the 2018 ESPYs to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award not only for their efforts in shedding light on Nassar’s years of abuse, but also for representing the issue of sexual abuse at large.

Sarah Klein — who USA Today says described herself as Nassar’s first victim nearly 30 years ago — explained to the crowd just how difficult it was to stand up and speak out.

“Speaking up and speaking out is not easy,” Klein said. “Telling our stories of abuse over and over and over again, in graphic detail, is not easy. We’re sacrificing privacy. We’re being judged and scrutinized, and it’s grueling, and it’s painful — but it is time.”

In their group appearance, USA Today says the survivors not only thanked the “Michigan police and prosecutors for helping bring Nassar to justice,” but also “thanked judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who allowed hundreds of women to testify at Nassar’s sentencing.”

It was Raisman, however, who concluded the group’s remarks, offering a message to all survivors of abuse.

“To all the survivors out there: Don’t let anyone rewrite your story,” Raisman said, according to USA Today. “Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.”

Ireland votes to repeal abortion ban

Irish voters have spoken.

According to USA TODAY, voters in a recent referendum have “overwhelmingly backed a repeal of Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion in a sweeping cultural change representing a move away from the nation’s conservative Catholic roots.”

After all the votes were counted, USA TODAY reports that “66.4% supported the repeal out of 2.1 million votes cast,” with only one county — Donegal — giving a ‘no’ majority vote.

Calling it a “quiet revolution,” USA TODAY says Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has acknowledged the people’s will, as well as their hope to build a modern Ireland.

“The people have spoken,” he said. “The people have said that we want a modern constitution for a modern country, that we trust women and we respect them to make the right decision and the right choices about their health care.”

The majority vote now means that the country’s government will attempt to draft and pass legislation that allows abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, reports USA TODAY, a complete reversal of the current law that prohibits all abortions in the country, save for those needed in life-threatening circumstances.

Supporter and co-director of the country’s Together We Yes group Orla O’Connor called the vote “monumental.”

“The vote is a ‘rejection of an Ireland that treated women as second-class citizens,’ she said, according to USA TODAY. “This is about women’s equality and this day brings massive change, monumental change for women in Ireland, and there is no going back.”

NYSE installs first female president

The New York Stock Exchange looking a little more inclusive these days.

According to USA Today, that’s because the NYSE has just named its first female president in its 226-year history. Now taking the helm of the financial market, USA Today says Stacey Cunningham will become the “67th president of the Big Board,” years after she began her career in the industry as a NYSE floor clerk in 1996.

By accepting the position, USA Today says that it now means “two of the world’s most well-known financial exchanges will be led by women,” as Adena Friedman rose to the position of Nasdaq CEO in January 2017 following a stint “serving as the financial market’s president and chief operating officer.”

Cunningham is taking over her presidential duties from outgoing leader Thomas Farley, who vacated the position in pursuit of heading up a pecial purpose acquisition company.

Miami teens’ invention identifies date rape drugs

Thanks to three enterprising Miami teens, a major step has been made in addressing the problem of date rape.

According to the USA Today, 17-year-old Susana Capello and business partners from her entrepreneurial class at Gulliver Prep School in Miami, Florida, Victoria Roca and Carolina Baigorri teamed up to create Smart Straws, a “straw that helps combat date rape through detected common drugs in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks by simply turning blue.”

After being the only few girls in their class, Capello said the team was both inspired and (at first) intimidated by their unique position.

“I was first intimidated because the way the boys in our class pitched was incredible,” Cappello said, according to USA Today. “But since they had really good pitches and really good business ideas, it made us motivated and even more excited to really go for this business idea.”

But after a failed initial idea that then led to the creation of Smart Straws, USA Today says the team came up with Smart Straws after noticing that they were all drinking drinking out of their water bottles with straws.

“The Smart Straw is made of plastic and is discreet for both men and women to carry,” reports USA Today. “Once dipped in a drink, the chemical strips at the end of the straw will turn blue, which means the drink tests positive for either GHB or Ketamine.”

Their idea eventually won the Miami Herald’s Business Plan Challenge High School Track, says USA Today, and now the team is in talks to not only begin securing a patent for their invention, but also launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund their project.

 

MLB hosts first girls’ tournament

Girls can play baseball, too — that seems to be the message behind Major League Baseball’s newest tournament.

According to the USA Today, the MLB hosted its first “girls’ baseball tournament in conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day on April 13-15 in the Los Angeles area.”

Participating in what’s known as the Trailblazer Series, the girls were coached by lauded female baseball coaches and players, one being Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch, reports the USA Today.

USA Today says Commissioner Robert Manfred shared in a statement that the series, held in honor of Jackie Robinson, is a way of commemorating his memory by seeking to make baseball an inclusive place for all those who wish to play the game.

“MLB and USA Baseball have listened to the growing demand for girls’ and women’s baseball by launching this unprecedented event.” he said, according to the USA Today. “It is our honor to support trailblazing young women who will be outstanding representatives of their communities.”

 

Obama tackles discrimination

When a group of female students visited the White House for a screening of the new movie Hidden FiguresMichelle Obama took a moment to acknowledge how “ridiculous” gender and racial discrimination are.

At the event, which centered around STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, The Cut reports that the outgoing first lady “spoke of the adversity she faced while on the campaign trail. ‘We were supposed to be hidden. People didn’t even want to believe we were real. But here we are,’ she said.”

Speaking from her own experience while also referencing Hidden Figures — which “tells the true story of three black women whose brilliant work as NASA mathematicians went largely unrecognized, according to The Cut — Obama continued to impart her words of wisdom to the students in attendance.

“Skin color, gender, is the most ridiculous defining trait that we cling to. It doesn’t matter,” she said, according to The Cut. “What matters is you believe in your own potential. Because people will try to tear you down, I guarantee you that. There will never be a point when people will 100 percent be cheering you on.”

Thank you, Mrs. Obama, for cheering on these students — and students all around the country.

Huffington to leave HuffPost

It’s the end of an era at the Huffington Post.

According to the USA Today, Arianna Huffington — the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online liberal publication — is leaving her namesake news organization, concluding her 11 years with the company.

But her departure from the Huffington Post doesn’t wrap up her career altogether. The USA Today reports that Huffington is launching a new media company called Thrive Global and has been in talks with venture capitalists to fund the new pursuit. Set to officially launch in November, the USA Today says that Thrive Global will “provide content and training seminars on wellness.”

In a statement released by Huffington, the USA TODAY says the media mogul explained her decision to part ways with HuffPost this way:

“When I decided to create Thrive Global, I thought it would be possible to build a startup and continue as editor ­in ­chief of the Huffington Post.Today, it’s clear that was an illusion. As Thrive Global moved from an idea to a reality, with investors, staff, and offices, it became clear to me that I simply couldn’t do justice to both companies,” she said.

While the publication has not yet named a replacement, the USA Today says CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong shared in a staff memo that “an interim editorial committee of other top editors will perform Arianna’s role for now and be involved in an ongoing search for a new editor-in-chief.”

Although it is certain that the Huffington Post‘s new leadership will be equally competent, it will be no easy task to fill the void left by Huffington’s departure.

Ora the next judge on ‘ANTM’

After being cancelled by the CW Network, America’s Next Top Model certainly got a new life when it was picked up by VH1 — and its also getting some new talent to resuscitate the long-admired program.

According to InStyle, former host Tyra Banks recently told the USA TODAY about the show’s forthcoming changes, first detailing new requisites for aspiring models.

“It’s no longer just about having the highest cheekbones and best pout and the best hair,” Banks told the USA TODAY, according to InStyle. “My goal is to really get into these girls’ heads that I’m not looking for some successful model and I’m not looking for some social-media star. I’m looking for both. I’m looking for a hybrid, because that’s where the world is.”

But those aren’t the only changes set to hit the runway of ANTMInStyle says that British pop singer Rita Ora will take over Banks’ hosting duties (Banks will remain as the show’s executive producer), while the judging panel will be rounded out by the likes of celebrity stylist Law Roach, model Ashley Graham and Paper magazine’s chief creative officer, Drew Elliott.

While VH1 and Logo president Chris McCarthy said, “There will never be a Tyra replacement,” InStyle says he also knows that the show’s new team has a keen sense of the current state of pop-culture affairs. “Together they collectively have the power of what is driving fashion and pop culture today,” he said.

As for Ora’s role in the show, the singer told the USA TODAY that she is looking for women who can handle several jobs at once — much like Ora herself.

“The approach I wanted to have as a host and judge to the girls is what my career stands for at this moment in time, which is being a businesswoman and being able to do multiple things at the same time, whether it’s music or shooting (magazine covers) and being in movies and designing clothes,” she said, according to InStyle.

Ora and her team of judges will set out on their search for the freshest face in fashion when ANTM premiers this fall on VH1.

May to be the next PM of Britain

On the heels of the recent ‘Brexit‘ decision, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would resign from his position — but the day he resigns is much sooner than once thought.

According to the USA TODAYCameron announced on Monday, July 11 that he will be resigning on Wednesday — yes, Wednesday, July 13 — and set to take over for Cameron is current Home Secretary Theresa May, making her the second female to hold the position in the country’s history.

“Cameron’s announcement came just hours after May’s only competitor for Conservative Party leader and prime minister — Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom — dropped out of the running,” reports the USA TODAY.

With a reputation of “steely determination,” the USA TODAY says that May has a “willingness to stand up to the men who traditionally dominate British politics” that likens her to previous British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

May “joins German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the leader of one of Europe’s biggest nations,” says the USA TODAY, ad “if Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidential race in November, women would be in charge of the Western world’s most powerful countries.”

An Oxford graduate, May is part of the Conservative Party, the USA TODAY reports, and has served on Cameron’s cabinet since 2010 as the home secretary — a position that is described as “one of the most challenging jobs in government, involving immigration, national security and crime,” and a position she’s held longer than any other politician in the last 50 years, according to the USA TODAY.

And now May can add the title of prime minister to her resume.

Williams for the win

Serena Williams has proven yet again that she is one of the best athletes there is.

On Saturday, July 9, the tennis powerhouse cruised to a 7-5, 6-3 victory in the Wimbledon women’s finals, beating Angelique Kerber to take home her seventh singles title at the tournament, according to the USA TODAY. This win was also her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, which tied the Open Era record held by Steffi Graf, says the USA TODAY.

Throughout the entire match, the USA TODAY reports that “Kerber only managed one break point opportunity” and it was “quickly erased by a Williams ace, one of the 13 she struck in the match.”

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told the USA TODAY that the invincible Serena he saw on the court on Saturday was the “true Serena” he’s always known.

“Today, when she’s in trouble, 15-30: boom, boom. This is Serena. When she needs to lift her level, to close: boom, she does it. This is Serena. I didn’t see that for eight month,” he said, referring to the slow starts she faced coming off of tough losses like that of the 2015 U.S. Open, in which she fell to Roberta Vinci.

So how did Williams overcome prior defeat? The USA TODAY reports that Williams had this to say on regaining her confidence on the court:

“I had to start looking at positives, not focusing on that one loss per tournament — which really isn’t bad, and anyone else on this tour would be completely happy about it,” she said. “Once I started focusing more on the positives, I realized that I’m pretty good.  Then I started playing a little better.”

Congratulations, Serena, on your well-deserved win!