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What's Going On Around The World Today?

There are major diversity problems at America’s largest LGBT rights group, according to an internal report. A coalition is quietly and slowly trying to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. And, a children’s hospital in Canada threw a huge, adorable slumber party for its patients.

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The death toll from a capsized cruise ship in China rose to at least 75 with many more still missing.

Only 14 people have been rescued, while 75 bodies have been recovered after a cruise ship carrying more than 450 people, many of them elderly tourists, capsized during a storm in China’s Yangtze River in the Hubei province on Monday, according to state-run broadcaster CCTV News. The ship's captain and chief engineer survived and have been taken into police custody for questioning.

And a little extra.

“It's being called China's worst maritime disaster in decades,” NPR’s Bill Chappell writes. However, “as a huge rescue operation continues, Chinese leaders want to censor independent media reports.” The government has told media in the country to not send more reporters to the scene and to recall those already there.

Relatives of those on board are protesting and demanding more information about the rescue efforts, according to BBC News. “We will never shield mistakes and we'll absolutely not cover up (anything),” Xu Chengguang, the spokesman for the Ministry of Transport, said during a news conference Wednesday night. He also said a preliminary investigation had begun.

An internal report shows major diversity problems at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights group in the U.S.

Staff at the Human Rights Campaign last fall described the working environment as “judgmental,” “exclusionary,” “sexist,” and “homogenous,” according to a sharply critical report that was commissioned by the HRC and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“The report detailed systemic problems within HRC — ranging from treatment of employees, including those who are transgender, to concerns about human resources and organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion,” BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner writes. One of the issues highlighted repeatedly in the report was the “White Men’s Club” environment at HRC.

Kevin Wolf / AP Photos for Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign participated in a rally organized by the Unite for Marriage Coalition outside the Supreme Court to demonstrate support for marriage equality on Tuesday, April 28 in Washington, D.C.



Texas executed its oldest death row inmate for killing four people.

Lester Bower, who has maintained his innocence in the 1983 murders of four men, was executed by lethal injection Wednesday after spending more than 30 years on death row. Bower was the oldest and second-longest-serving death row inmate to be executed in the state since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982.

What’s next?

There’s a “little-covered and slow-moving strategy to abolish the death penalty nationwide, led by a coalition of anti-death penalty, civil rights and criminal justice reform organizations,” the Washington Post’s Janell Ross writes in this piece examining what may be next for capital punishment in the U.S.

You may have heard that Nebraska’s legislature recently abolished the death penalty. But “beyond the headlines created by the Nebraska repeal, the actual number of both death penalty sentences and executions has declined sharply … In fact, 80 percent of the 35 executions carried out last year took place in just three states: Texas, Florida and Missouri,” Ross writes. Here’s a map from NPR that shows where (and how) people can be executed in the U.S.

This month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the death penalty and lethal injection and “declare whether the injection of a drug called Midazolam violates the Eighth-Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment,” The Marshall Project writes on three alternates to lethal injection that some states are considering, which are nitrogen gas, firing squad, and the electric chair.


How the Red Cross raised half a billion dollars for Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and built six homes.

Red Cross, the charity of choice for many Americans after natural disasters, has “publicly celebrated its work, [but it] has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti,” according to insider accounts discovered in this investigation by ProPublica and NPR. The investigation shows that “many of the Red Cross’s failings in Haiti are of its own making” and “part of a larger pattern in which the organization has botched delivery of aid after disasters such as Superstorm Sandy.”

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Sherider Anilus, 28, and her daughter, 9-month-old Monica, sit on the spot where her home collapsed a month after the 7.0 earthquake in January 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The FDA is meeting about “Viagra for women” before voting whether to recommend its approval.

If the drug, flibanserin from Sprout Pharmaceutical, wins approval from the panel today, it will become the first Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for female sexual dysfunction. This will be the third time the FDA reviews flibanserin to determine whether the benefits outweigh the side effects like sleepiness, dizziness, and nausea. A campaign to approve the pill “accuses the FDA of gender bias for approving Viagra and 25 other drugs to help men have sex, but none for women,” according to the New York Times.

If you want to read more, check out this earlier piece from BuzzFeed News’ Azeen Ghorayshi on whether the “female viagra” will ever get it up.

Here’s everything we learned after talking to astronauts on the International Space Station.

BuzzFeed News called into the International Space Station to chat with Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts and Flight Engineer Scott Kelly about their time in space. Some of things we learned: they actually use the fancy ~space language~ like you see in the movies, the Space Station has space coffee, and the crew exercises more in space than they do on Earth.

Quick things to know:

  • New U.S. presidential candidates: Rick Perry, Texas’ longest-serving governor, announced his candidacy today. He also ran in 2012. (New York Times) And former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee jumped into the race on Wednesday. He was a Republican U.S. senator and is now a Democrat. (NPR)

  • Former FIFA executive Charles Blazer admitted to taking bribes for World Cup hosting votes in 2013, helping the U.S. build its corruption case. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar confirmed that their eldest child, Josh Duggar, molested five girls, four of whom were his younger sisters and one of whom was a family babysitter, when he was a teenager. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Boston terror suspect Usaama Rahim, who was fatally shot by Boston police on Tuesday, allegedly planned to kill “boys in blue” and behead Pamela Geller, organizer of a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas that was the target of a shooting claimed by ISIS — a claim that was contested by authorities. (BuzzFeed News) Rahim’s shooting raises concerns about the reach of ISIS on homegrown radicals. (New York Times)

  • Sheryl Sandberg wrote a moving and heartbreaking Facebook post on grief for her husband who died a month ago: “I have lived 30 years in these 30 days. I am 30 years sadder. I feel like I am 30 years wiser.” (BuzzFeed News)

  • All the sports right now: Novak Djokovic beat nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal yesterday. (Reuters) The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game of the Stanley Cup hockey final. (NPR) The NBA Finals start today. (USA Today) And, the NFL will stream a game online for the first time this fall. (Re/code)

  • And it’s all for you: Janet Jackson will release her first album in seven years this fall. (BuzzFeed News)

Happy Thursday

The Montreal Children’s Hospital in Canada recently moved to a new building and the kids, many with serious illnesses, had to be packed up and moved in ambulances to the new space. To help them settle in, the hospital set up a giant blanket in the new atrium and littered it with stuffed animals. On top of that, they invited the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to play music to help the children fall asleep. What a beautiful lullaby.


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