So prosecutors thought they had a solid case when they charged a Manatee County woman who failed to tell her female partner that she was HIV-positive. A Tampa appeals court, however, threw out the case, ruling that “sexual intercourse” could take place only with a penis and a vagina — in other words, between a man and a woman. But last month, a South Florida appeals court issued a conflicting opinion, upholding charges against a Key West man whom police had accused of lying about being HIV-positive to his male partner. The ruling more broadly defined intercourse, finding that it did not require opposite genders or specific body parts.The Florida Supreme Court is likely to end up resolving the clashing opinions, which are being closely monitored by gay-rights advocates.
On the one hand, they support legal rulings that convey equal status to same-sex relations — but they also oppose the HIV disclosure law, arguing that the long-controversial statute stigmatizes people infected with the virus. “It’s a progressive ruling, but the law itself is draconian,” said Norm Kent, a South Florida activist and criminal-defense lawyer who publishes the South Florida Gay News. Scott Schoettes, the HIV Project Director for the gay-rights group Lambda Legal, said it was hard to see “a silver lining” in a disclosure law he called unjust.
“It’s nice to have courts recognize relations between two men,” he said. “But it would be nice to recognize granting us our rights in an affirmative sense, not just when it comes to criminalizing our sex lives.” In Florida, it is a third-degree felony — punishable by up to five years in prison — for a person who knows he or she is HIV-positive to have sex with someone else without informing them. The law came into effect as part of the “Control of Sexually Transmissible Disease Act” that Florida lawmakers passed in 1986 as fears about HIV, which can lead to AIDS, were growing nationwide. The disclosure law also covers other sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia — but HIV is the only one that carries a felony charge. Thirty-four U.S. states and territories have passed similar laws. Detractors are widespread. In February, President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS issued a resolution calling criminalization of HIV an “unjust, bad public health policy” that “is fueling the epidemic rather than reducing it.”
The council pushed for states to repeal or revise the laws. Critics say the laws ignore scientific data that show HIV is rarely transmitted through oral sex or digital penetration, and that the risk is often considerably low even in cases of vaginal or anal sex. “All of these laws are just based upon misconceptions about how easy it is to transmit HIV. It’s not that easy,” said Schoettes, a lawyer who believes the laws should be altered to include proving “intent” and that a victim actually contracted the virus.The law came under scrutiny in 2010, when the Second District Court of Appeal in Tampa took up the case of an HIV-positive Manatee County woman charged with having oral and digital-penetration sex with another woman.
Read more : miamiherald.com/2013/11/18/3763310/hiv-disclosure-law-sparks-unique.html#storylink=cpy
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, was freed on bail Thursday after six months under house arrest.“Islamabad’s commissioner issued the release order at 10:30 a.m. today,” said Aasia Ishaque, a spokeswoman for Mr. Musharraf’s party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, referring to the top district official. A court granted bail to Mr. Musharraf on Sunday in a case related to his role in the 2007 military siege of a mosque in Islamabad where militants were holed up. His lawyers submitted surety bonds on Wednesday. He can travel freely within the country. But he is barred from traveling abroad without court permission, Ms. Ishaque said.
Speculation has been rife here that he will go into exile after his release, on the pretext of visiting his ailing mother in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Ms. Ishaque denied the speculation. “He is not leaving,” she said. “He will stay in Pakistan.” Ms. Ishaque said the threat level to Mr. Musharraf’s security was “extraordinarily high.” “He will not hold any public meetings for the next two days,” she said. “After that, he will start meeting people and will also hold a press conference.” Since April, Mr. Musharraf has been at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. Paramilitary troops and police officers guard the premises because of threats against the former ruler from militants from the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Mr. Musharraf, 70, was put under house arrest soon after his return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile in March. He faces an array of criminal charges, including involvement in the deaths of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; a nationalist politician, Akbar Khan Bugti; and a religious leader, Abdul Rashid Ghazi. Mr. Musharraf has denied the accusations and said the cases against him are politically motivated. Mr. Musharraf took power after a bloodless military coup in 1999 and ruled until 2008, when he was defeated in an election. He faces potential treason charges over his role in suspending the Constitution in 2007, though few analysts believe that the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to go ahead with those charges. Mr. Musharraf was disqualified from running in the general election in May, in which his party performed poorly. Few Pakistanis have shown much enthusiasm for returning him to power.
(CNN) — Even if it’s not the land of opportunity it once was, the Big Mobility Scooter still has a lot going for it. In fact, there are at least 10 things by our count that you can’t find as good anywhere else on earth. With the caveat that China is on a trajectory to take over at least six of these categories by 2016, we present them without further interruption. Except for this last interruption (interrupting also being something Americans are fantastic at): Be sure to express your wholesale agreement with our list in the comments.
1. Effusive greetings
“Ahoy!” “Aloha!” “Hey!” “Hola!” “Howdy!” “Hiya!” “Ho there!” “Well, look who it is!” “What’s happenin’?!” “‘Sup!” “Yo!” “Hello!”
The variety and vibrancy of the American greeting is unrivaled, upholding a threshold of friendliness that Americans demand, Europeans find onerous and others find perplexing.
Want to slip through somewhere un-greeted?
Whether you’re leaving a hotel, shopping for a pair of jeans or just trying to get around a bystander, someone’s going to pop out from the shadows with a neighborly salutation, the enthusiasm of which may border on deranged.
2. Road trips
If we’re talking about something that can be done while seated, Americans are probably going to excel at it.
Germany likes to lay claim to the world’s first road trip, but having come of age at the same time as the automobile, the United States was custom-built for it. With roadside oddities like Carhenge in Nebraska and the world’s largest ball of paint in Indiana, along with infamous rest areas and national parks (more on those later) dotting America’s majestic roadscape at uniform intervals, you’re never far from the next adventure.
Unless you’re driving through Texas.
With all due respect to the English city, the U.S. is the home of the derby in all its forms, be it racing, smashing or haberdashing. Originating in the county fairs of the nation’s 1950s backwoods, demolition derbies, like the one held annually in Delaware County, New York, pit hulking early-model autos against one another in contests of Americanly excessive ramming until only one remains functional. On the oval track, Louisville’s Kentucky Derby is a spectacle of horseshoed pageantry, while roller derbies from Austin to Seattle are cataclysms of people-wheeled fury.
Not to keep taking shots at Germany, but there’s only so much you can do with barley and hops. Live a little, Üter! By contrast, American brewers aren’t bound by purity restrictions on their craft, allowing them to push the pint glass with new additives, processes, styles and malt and hops strains moved through the largest number of breweries of any nation on earth. Whether it’s Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Founders, or Asheville, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed breweries, in no country is beer more innovative.
The U.S. is a microcosm of nearly every world culture, climate, landscape and category of wildlife. (And whatever doesn’t occur naturally gets recreated at Disney.) Beaches extend from Cape Cod to Kaanapali; bayous encircle the Gulf of Mexico; alpine mountains streak the Rockies and Appalachians; rain forests span the Pacific Northwest; deserts stretch across the Southwest. Cougars, wolves, bear, bison and mustangs roam plains and forests; gators, crocs, whales, dolphins, turtles and snakes frequent the coasts; condors, eagles, falcons, flamingos, bats and pterodactyls — just making sure you’re still with us — inhabit the skies. But of course the Melting Pot concept was built on ethnic diversity. Despite the politics of immigration, the U.S. has and will continue to welcome the world’s huddled (and also brilliant) masses, making it as heterogeneous as any nation on earth.
Geo-diversity has pocked much of the landscape with vast gorges and canyons that create expansive pockets of pure emptiness ringed by the most stunning rock formations, vegetation and slack-jawed tourists imaginable.
Unbelievable until experienced, Utah’s Bryce Canyon is the closest you can get to another planet without tickets on Virgin Galactic.
Then there’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado), Palo Duro Canyon (Texas), Canyon de Chelly (Arizona), Sequioa and Kings Canyon (California), Waimea Canyon (Hawaii) and hundreds more to round out a list so deep and wide that it makes the U.S. the hands-down winner in this category even without mentioning the Grandest one of them all.
7. National parks
Overlooked during the westward expansion of the American frontier in the 1800s, Yellowstone was made the world’s first national park the way you might give the last kid picked for kickball the top spot in the order.
Turns out it’s one of America’s great national treasures, a tradition extended to 400 more areas comprising more than 84 million acres of buttes, plateaus, rapids, coral reefs, caverns, badlands, volcanoes, glaciers, falls, fjords, swamplands, sandstone arches, mangroves, geysers, gift shops and excellent interpretive centers ranging from coast to coast.
Make all the fat jokes you want — seriously, they’re hilarious — but no other nation offers the portions and varieties of culinary experimentation found in the U.S. This year’s gastronomic breakthrough was the cronut, a croissant-donut hybrid introduced by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. It’s just the latest in a litany of extreme foods that’s yielded curated cupcakes, ramen burgers, sushirritoes, Korean tacos — the only limit will be an eventual shortage of truffles. There’s nothing the home of super-sizing won’t deep-fry, roll in bacon or drown with nacho cheese sauce, proving Americans eat like none other. Just don’t ask them to do math.
Most countries have a national sport. The U.S. has four. (OK, three; you can have hockey, Canada.)
While the world’s most popular sport, soccer, has yet to gain critical traction in the U.S., it also has the burden of competing with the seasonal panoply of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. That’s tough enough without NASCAR, golf and action sports like extreme death gliding and low-orbit cloudboarding or whatever else is nipping at soccer’s heels. Some of the best places to catch a game in the U.S. are Wrigley Field (Chicago) and Fenway Park (Boston) for baseball; Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin) for football; and Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, North Carolina) and Rupp Arena (Lexington, Kentucky) for college basketball.
10. Moving pictures
From internationally beloved TV shows like Breaking Bad and The Daily Show to movies like Avatar and anything the Coen brothers do to viral videos like Harlem Shake and the Kardashian sex tape, America is the world’s dramatic chipmunk.