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NEWS STAND: Malawi Pardons Gay Couple, Cargill Pushes Salt, Yes, Alicia Keys is Pregnant, and more..

Ban Ki Moon in Malawi
Ban Ki Moon in Malawi

Malawi President Pardons Gay Couple

Hope springs eternal after all. A gay couple sentenced to 14 years in a Malawian prison for “unnatural acts” was pardoned shortly after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations met Malawi’s president. In a press conference, President Bingu wa Mutharika stated, “These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws,” but to imprison them would be inhumane. You think? In case you don’t regularly read TheRoot.com, the two men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 33, and Steven Monjeza, 26, were arrested Dec. 28, two days after holding an engagement party in Blantyre, the nation’s largest city. On May 18, the couple was convicted of sodomy, and while the harsh sentence was generally welcomed by the Malawian public, it drew international rebuke. Celebrities like Madonna, who adopted two Malawian children and Elton John spoke out against the laws and sentencing.When common decency and common sense fail to move you to do the right thing, thankfully a public relations nightmare will.

Salty with Cargill: PR Campaign promotes the “benefits” of salt

Okay black and brown people – read the words coming out of our mouths (in our best Chris Tucker voice) — salt is bad for you and will kill you. That includes processed foods. Salt has recently been outed for its ill effects on the nation’s health, so food giant Cargill has escalated a public relations campaign (which actually began last November) to spread its own message, which is that salt is a great thing.

Since when? Black and brown people have a thing for seasoning but hopefully we know by now that using salt is seasoning at one’s own risk. They good folks at Cargill even enlisted the help of one of our favorite Food Network stars, Alton Brown. Yes, the man who makes you actually think about food and its properties is dumbing us down for Cargill. “Salt is a pretty amazing compound” and we should keep plenty of it in our kitchens is what the food expert spouts in a video about salt. Really? When you hear this sheer and utter foolishness, we want you to think hypertension, obesity, stroke and diabetes. Shame on Cargill and Alton Brown, whose cool card has been officially revoked.

A Family Affair: Victim's brother leads to arrest of accused serial killer

It seems that John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo aren’t the only black serial killers. We may be adding accused serial killer Michael Johnson, 24 of Chicago to the list. Johnson was arrested after DNA linked him to three South Side strangulations. He was caught after he made a fatal error, which was leaving one of his victims whom he assumed was dead, alive. Johnson choked the woman unconscious in an abandoned building 4 to 6 weeks ago, and left thinking she was dead. The woman, who survived the attack, but had not reported the crime to police, ran into Johnson again. She and her brother restrained him until police could get there to arrest him. Johnson was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Who knows how many women Johnson may have killed had he not been stopped. Now if the police could just find the serial killer murdering black women in Rocky Mount, NC we’d be just as grateful.

Georgia teacher quits after affair with student

Stop the presses. Keenon Aampay Hall, 29, teacher of the year at Shiloh High School in Gwinnett County, GA has resigned after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student according The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The AJC also reported that one of the alleged encounters happened in a classroom during school hours. If you didn’t think it could get any fouler, Keenon was outed because she allegedly failed the student because he would not give her a baby. No, your vision isn’t failing – the teacher of the year, who was engaging in a possibly illegal and certainly immoral act with a student, wanted a kid with said student and flunked him when he wouldn’t comply. Hall allegedly took the student to hotels, a friend’s house and classrooms for sex. Authorities also found porn on her laptop. The child’s mother alerted the schools when he complained of the failing grade. The affair between Hall and the student, who is a football player, allegedly took place over a 6-month period. The case is being investigated. We’ve got black serial killers and now black female teachers molesting students. What next? Will black people start dancing to the words instead of the beat?

Rep Confirms the Unthinkable: Alicia Keys Is Pregnant and Engaged


 Thanks for confirming the obvious. The pop star, who has denied a relationship with super producer Swizz Beats during his tumultuous divorce from his wife Mashonda, is pregnant and engaged to said super producer two weeks after his divorce is finalized. We kind of knew this when Keys started sporting an engagement ring a few months ago. We didn’t know the songstress was taking notes from the Angelina Jolie manual of getting a man. At least the Brad and Jen didn’t have children. We’re still not sure how Ms. Keys has managed to sidestep being branded the other woman like oh say Fantasia Barrino, LeAnn Rimes and even Kim Kolziak of The Real Housewives of Atlanta fame in mainstream media. It’s clear that a great public relations team can help you do the unthinkable. We're officially falling out of love with A Keys.

D.C. to begin using more-expensive Trojan condoms in HIV prevention program

We’ve heard it all now. People getting free condoms are now making requests. High school students and college-age adults have been complaining to District officials that the free condoms the city has been offering are not of good enough quality and are too small and that getting them from school nurses is "just like asking grandma or auntie." Okay. If you don’t want to ask “Grandma” or “Auntie,” how about going to the store and buying your own condoms? Novel idea we suppose. Now, D.C. officials are buying Trojan condoms, including the company's super-size Magnum variety, and they have begun to authorize teachers or counselors, preferably male, to distribute condoms to students if the teachers complete a 30-minute online training course called "WrapMC" — for Master of Condoms. We’re all for H.I.V. and STD prevention, but really, do that many people need larger condoms? Just who are they surveying? It it’s teenagers and college-aged adults, then that could be perception – a goal if you will – as opposed to reality. What’s the next complaint? Let’s take a wild guess. “For some unknown reason the condoms keep sliding off.” Shaking our heads over here at the Root.

Call it a comeback: Cutié is a priest again and a dad-to-be

Celebrity priest Alberto Cutié is now a priest in the Episcopal faith, married and a dad-to-be. You may remember the flap over Cutié’s dalliances with a woman, who is now his wife, while he was a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Cutié had the largest Roman Catholic parish in South Beach, FL and was a media mogul before tabloids outed his affair, after which he lost everything. As a Catholic, he secretly struggled with his church's stance toward homosexuality, contraceptives and his own celibacy, in the midst of being a wildly popular priest celebrated for his good looks. As an Episcopalian, he's speaking freely about his support of openly gay clergy, birth control, and abortion, when a woman’s life is endangered.``God's not all that interested in you falling down. God is interested in you getting up again,'' Cutié told Episcopal bishops and hundreds of parishioners gathered Saturday at Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park for the ceremony marking his return to the priesthood. We say amen to that.

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