Mormon choir member quits

rather than sing for Trump


LOS ANGELES (AFP): A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has quit the group rather than sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration and appear to endorse “tyranny and fascism.” In a resignation letter posted on her Facebook page Thursday, Jan Chamberlin said she had agonized over whether to sing at the January 20 ceremony and “spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil.” She said her only option, finally, was to quit the famed choir.

“I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events,” she wrote. “I could never look myself in the mirror again with self-respect.” The singer, who had been with the choir for five years, said her decision came down to upholding her moral values. “I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him,” she wrote.

Chamberlin said while she respected the choir’s bid to be politically neutral, “I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that (the) choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man.”

Her open letter came a week after it was announced that the 360-member choir, which has a long tradition of performing for presidents, and the Radio City Rockettes would appear at Trump’s inauguration.

Several members of the dance troupe have also expressed reservations about performing at the event.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which runs the choir, would not comment on Chamberlin’s decision. A spokesman said performing at the inauguration was voluntary and that only a limited number of singers would participate due to limited space.

A petition urging the choir to snub the ceremony has gained nearly 24,000 signatures.

Only a smattering of artists backed Trump’s election bid and the Republican president-elect has struggled to pin down big names for the January 20 event in Washington, with high-profile stars including Elton John turning down invites.



Chinese firms ordered to pay Disney,

Pixar $194k for copying Cars


SHANGHAI (Reuters): A Shanghai court ordered two Chinese firms to pay Walt Disney Co and Pixar more than 1.35 million yuan ($194,440) compensation for copying parts of their hit movies “Cars” and “Cars 2”, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday. The ruling is the latest in a slew of intellectual property wins for large foreign firms, who have complained about widespread copyright infringement in China. Disney and Pixar took the Chinese firms to court saying the characters, titles and posters from local animation “The Autobots” were substantially similar to those from “Cars” and “Cars 2”. The court agreed that the Autobots characters K1 and K2 were similar to Disney and Pixar’s animated cars Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli, Xinhua said.

The court ordered infringement activity to stop immediately, and said Disney and Pixar should receive 1 million yuan to cover economic losses, as well as 350,000 yuan for legal expenses.

Disney is making a major push into China with the recent opening of a $5.5 billion theme park in Shanghai, its first on the mainland. Its animated movies including “Zootopia” and “Big Hero 6” have been big box office hits there.

Disney, Pixar and the two Chinese firms were not immediataly available for comment.

Xinhua said the total order covered more then 1.35 million yuan, but did not list any other payments.

German carmaker BMW and basketball star Michael Jordan have both won intellectual property cases in China this year.



Illinois hairdressers to look for

signs of physical abuse


CHICAGO (AFP): Illinois starting next week will require salon workers to take training to spot domestic violence and sexual abuse - the first law of its kind in the United States. The new law, which goes into effect January 1, will apply to tens of thousands of hairstylists, barbers and other beauty professionals in the midwestern state, including in Chicago, the nation’s third largest city.  It requires barbers and hairstylists to complete an hour-long course on recognizing signs of abuse among their clients and how to offer help. “There’s a special relationship between someone who cuts your hair and the client. You talk about everything under the sun,” said Fran Hurley, an Illinois state lawmaker who sponsored the measure.

“You go back to the same person over and over again,” she said. “Possibly something will be noticed.” The state’s 88,000 salon professionals will be at the forefront of the new law, although they will not be legally compelled to report any potential abuse to authorities.

“So if they see something, and they choose not to report or engage... they’re not held liable,” Hurley said.

Chicago Says No More, a non-profit group, helped develop the curriculum to be used in training, which salon workers will have to complete to acquire or retain their government-issued licenses.

“We are dedicated to collaborating in new ways to address the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Kristie Paskvan, founder of the group.

One in three women and one in seven men in the United States experience domestic violence, according to the non-profit, while 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men are victims of rape.

The group is offering informational posters for salons to display, which include telephone hotlines.

The Professional Beauty Association, a national industry group, said it has been offering its members similar training for more than a decade, and that hundreds have taken its course in recognizing both physical and behavioral signs of abuse.

The signs range from bruises that appear to be in different stages of healing, to withdrawing from friends and family members.

Advocates say Illinois is the first to codify such a curriculum into law and to make it part of the formal professional licensure process.

It’s “cutting edge, in a good way,” Hurley said. “It’s an excellent idea.”



Anthropologists to examine

mummified body found in garage


DETROIT (Reuters): A body that had decomposed to the point of mummification was found in a car in the garage of a Detroit home, and medical examiners have called for an anthropologist to conduct a special autopsy of the remains, authorities said on Friday. The desiccated corpse was discovered by a man who was house shopping and ventured into the home’s garage on Thursday afternoon, spotting the body inside an early 1990s-model Plymouth sedan, police and coroner’s officials said. How long the body had been in the garage and the circumstances of the individual’s death remained unknown, said Lloyd Jackson, a spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. “It was there for a long period of time,” Jackson said. “It’s mummified, so it’s probably been over a year, at least.” Medical examiners visually inspected the corpse, which was found dressed in a shirt, sweater and pants. But the advanced state of decomposition, in which exposed tissue has turned brown, taking on the appearance of tanned leather, precludes a conventional autopsy, even obscuring whether the person was male or female, Jackson said.

Coroners hope to resolve much of the mystery once an anthropologist from the University of Michigan arrives next week to conduct a special examination, including measurements of the hip bones to determine its gender.

Jackson said investigators expect the anthropological autopsy will also reveal the approximate age of the individual, as well as something about the manner, cause and time of death.

For now, there is too little information to know whether foul play was involved, and the case remains an open investigation, authorities said.

The home where the body turned up was being rented by tenants who told police they never used the garage and knew nothing about the body’s presence, Detroit police spokesman Dan Donakowski said.