Compiled by SARA RATHOD ’15
Nation and World Columnist
Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers ban gays from marching openly
Boston mayor Marty Walsh chose not to attend this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade after LGBTQ rights group MassEquality failed to persuade the parade organizers to allow its members to carry signs identifying themselves as gay. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the parade every year, said that MassEquality members could be permitted to march as long as they made no reference to their sexuality. The organizers, who won the right to exclude certain groups from the parade in a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court battle, have long argued that allowing LGBTQ groups to march openly in the parade conflicts with their religious belief that homosexuality is a sin. The Boston Beer Company, brewer of Sam Adams beer and long-time sponsor of the parade, pulled out of this year’s event, stating that it wanted a deal “that would allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in the parade.” In a similar gesture, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted Monday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan, which has also historically excluded the LGBTQ community.
Senior army officer pleads guilty to reduced charges in sexual assault case
Brigadier Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who was accused of sexually assaulting his former mistress, an Army captain, pled guilty to lesser crimes of disobeying a commander’s order, misusing his government charge card and mistreating his accuser. In exchange, prosecutors have agreed to drop the more serious charges against Sinclair, including that he forced the captain into oral sex twice and threatened to kill her and her family if she exposed their three-year affair. His sentence will be determined this week by a military judge. Sinclair could have been sentenced to life in prison had he been accused of sexual assault. However, even with the lesser charges, he will be forced to leave the military. The captain stands by her assertion that Sinclair sexually assaulted her, but is reportedly glad the two-year case is finally drawing to a close. According to her lawyer, she is ready to resume her military career and “move on with her life.”
Authorities say Malaysian Airlines jet purposefully diverted
On Saturday, Malaysian officials opened a criminal investigation into the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, declaring that the plane had been deliberately diverted from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Authorities are now considering the possibility of a suicide mission by one of the passengers or crew. Both the pilot and the co-pilot are under suspicion, as they possessed the expertise required to divert the plane. Police have searched the home of 53-year-old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah as well as the home of 27-year-old co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid. Air traffic controllers received no mention of trouble on board from the crew the day that the plane disappeared. The final words from the cockpit were “All right, good night,” spoken after the system had already been disabled. Despite speculation of Islamic terrorism, neither the pilot nor the copilot had links to extremist groups, nor did they request to fly together. A coalition of 25 countries continues to search a wide swath of land and sea stretching from Kazakhstan all the way to Australia in order to find the missing plane.
Crimeans vote to leave Ukraine, join Russia
Election officials confirmed Sunday that Crimeans voted by an overwhelming majority to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. A reported 97 percent of voters approved the referendum. Shortly afterward, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign nation, seen as the first step toward absorbing Crimea into Russia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials stated that Ukraine will never accept Russian annexation of the territory. Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, stated that his government will do everything possible to solve the dispute diplomatically and encouraged its population to avoid violence. At the same time, he has announced the partial mobilization of the Ukrainian military. Ukraine’s prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes that there is “a strong possibility” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The European Union and the United States denounced the referendum as illegal and imposed further sanctions on 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials.