8 Things You Need To Know This AM — Oct 13 2015

Photo: Patrick Frilet/REX USA.

Iran
’s Revolutionary Court claims it convicted detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Back in the summer of 2014, Iranian officials raided the Tehran home of Washington Post reporter Jason Resin and arrested both the journalist and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, accusing the couple of espionage. Although his wife was released on bail a few months after their detainment, Rezaian has remained in Iran’s Elvin Prison. After an approximately three-month-long closed-door trial, and a mysterious two-month-delay in delivering a verdict, Iran announced, through a judiciary spokesman, that Rezaian was convicted of some unknown charges. Along with the exact charges, Iran also failed to specify the journalist’s sentence, but it is believed he was facing up to 20 years in prison. (NPR)
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University of Texas students will protest campus gun laws by openly carrying dildos in a campaign called #CocksNotGlocks. Someone please rework the lyrics of “I’m Proud To Be An American” to include a reference to this story.

This summer, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott passed a new “campus carry” law that allows permit holders to bring a concealed weapon onto the campus of any public university or college. Noting the state’s conservatism when it comes to policies involving sex or sexuality yet the vehemently supportive culture surrounding guns, a group of University of Texas students plan to protest the legislation by wielding “giant swinging dildos” as they walk to class. “I need this proliferation of dildos to offer people a visual representation of what it would be like if we all carried guns,” said Jessica Jin, organizer of the movement. “It should look ridiculous to you. That is the point. This is America. If guns and bloodshed don’t wake people up, a public celebration of sexuality may do the trick.” (USA Today)
British police ended their round-the-clock stakeout of the Ecuadorian embassy hiding Julian Assange. Admit it, they didn’t have enough D batteries or arm strength to continue holding up a boombox playing “Every Breath You Take outside the window.

After spending 40 months and $17 million to keep a watchful eye on the Ecuadorian embassy where Julian Assange hides to avoid extradition to Sweden, London police have called off their 24-hour surveillance. Scotland Yard is still prepared to arrest the Wikileaks founder should he leave the safety of the embassy, but “it is no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence,” officials wrote in a statement. Assange is wanted in Sweden to face questioning about two rape allegations. (BBC News)
California is considering a new policy that will use inmates with violent backgrounds to fight wildfires.

Smokey Bear may be getting some new, unusual allies in his battle against forest fires: the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has proposed an expansion of a work program that assigns inmates to work in fire camps alongside professional firefighters. If the Corrections Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection approve of the plan, individuals convicted of violent crimes will be able to join the wildfire units, which are currently made up of non-violent, minimum-security inmates. (Time)
Georgia plans to erect a tribute to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at Stone Mountain Park, home to the “Confederate Mount Rushmore.

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association clearly has an incredible sense of irony. They are planning to install a “freedom bell” inspired by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech, on the summit of the same mountain that boasts carvings of Confederate “heroes” Robert E. Lee, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. “The new monument would broaden the story told by the park,” Bill Stephens, the chief executive officer of the organization in charge of the park, said. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed off on the new tower that will be etched with the Liberty Bell and King’s words, “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.” (Washington Post)
London outlawed riding a hoverboard in public; rest of the world looks into moving to London.

The hoverboard-centric world promised by films like Back To The Future and Back To The Future Part II (we do not speak of Back to the Future Part III) may seem inevitable at this point, but certain cool-headed heroes are fighting the fad. London’s Metropolitan Police sent out a tweet reminding the British public that hoverboards, like all “self-balancing scooters,” are illegal to ride in public. And the MPS don’t just mean in the streets — even practicing for your “The Hoverboard Nae Nae” Vine on the pavement outside of your house is an offense. (To all of us. It’s an offense to all of us.) (Business Insider)
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Zimbabwe officials won’t prosecute Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion, but in the court of public opinion, Walter, you’ve been found guilty of being a serious shmuck.

Presumably you’ve heard of the tragic and controversial death of Cecil the lion, star of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, at the hands of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. Three months after Cecil’s killing, and the launch of a global firestorm that pilloried Dr. Palmer and his accomplices, Zimbabwe has dropped its request for the American hunter’s extradition, deciding he will not be charged for any wrongdoing. “If you talk to him, tell him that tourists are welcome here,” said Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s Environment, Water, and Climate Minister. “No hunting, though.” Dr. Palmer’s guide, Theo Bronkhorst, is facing charges of conducting an illegal hunt. (CNN)
A group of hip Swedish beard enthusiasts were mistaken for ISIS, even though they only terrorize their poor girlfriends’ beard-burned mouths and faces.

Innocent people being racially profiled and misidentified as terrorists happens all the time — most notably in airports or middle school cafeterias — but this time it happened to some white dudes, so it’s news: the Swedish chapter of the international beard aficionados group Bearded Villains was visited by police after a passerby mistook its photo shoot for a meeting of a terrorist cabal. It seems the confusion was caused by the Villains’ proud display of their black sigil, which slightly resembles the ISIS flag. (Huffington Post)
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