Before North Carolina, There Were Other Contentious 'Bathroom Bill' Fights

A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathrooms at Oval Park Grill in Durham, North Carolina.

A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathrooms at Oval Park Grill in Durham, North Carolina. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images hide caption

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The debate over bathrooms and who should use them picked up steam after North Carolina’s recent law requiring people to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. But the debate started years before North Carolina took it up.

One of the first battles was in New Hampshire in 2009 and started out as, “a really very simple extension of nondiscrimination protection to a class that isn’t covered and needs to be covered,” said state Rep. Ed Butler, a Democrat.

In 2009, he proposed the state expand its anti-discrimination laws to include gender identity and expression to address transgender citizens’ concerns about housing, employment, even physical safety.

The debate didn’t play out the way he expected.

“After the public hearings, it became more of a public discussion. And within that public discussion, the issue of bathrooms became the core of the opposition,” said Butler.

Butler’s legislation quickly became dubbed “the bathroom bill” by socially conservative opponents such as Ann Marie Banfield, who characterized the backlash in terms of privacy.

“When you’re talking about opening up restrooms and schools and in public places, it is just uncomfortable, unnatural and unwelcoming to many, many women and girls out there and I think that’s what this really boils down to,” said Banfield.

Bathroom battles

Bathrooms have been a regular site of political conflict around gender and sexuality issues, said Amy Stone, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Trinity University in Texas who studies political rhetoric.

A year earlier in Colorado, socially conservative groups such as Focus on the Family used similar language in an unsuccessful attempt to halt a similar transgender rights bill.

“Very few would argue that they’d want a man in a girls’ bathroom, right? So it becomes very hard to counter them,” said Stone, who noted that some of the same language was used by opponents of gay rights in the 1970s.

In New Hampshire, Stone said the opponents’ framing of the issue became a powerful shorthand in the debate about the transgender rights bill.

News outlets in New Hampshire media began using the phrase “bathroom bill” in their coverage of the bill, which focused the debate even further on bathrooms.

The more the debate focused on bathrooms, the more contentious it got. During the debate on the floor of the New Hampshire House, then-state Rep. Nancy Elliot, a Republican, claimed child molesters would be able to choose their gender identity and and prey on small children in restrooms.

“You couldn’t say anything to them,” charged Elliot. “If you did say something to this person, you could be accused of a hate crime.”

Supporters of the bill tried to push back against the rhetoric, noting that the bill permitted no such thing.

“I’m tired of being called a child molester, because I’m not. I’ve never met a transgender person who is or have been. And I know that if I was in a bathroom and some pervert came in, he would be sorry about it,” said Gerri Cannon, a transgender woman who met with lawmakers every day to keep the bill moving forward.

The state House eventually passed the bill by a single vote, but the tide was turning and a month later the state Senate voted unanimously to kill the bill.

LGBT supporters put the blame squarely on the rhetoric over bathrooms and the media.

“To those among you who repeatedly used the label ‘the bathroom bill,’ who incorporated this into every headline and story lead and failed to tell the whole and complete truth of this legislation, I say you are not journalists. You have served merely as stenographers to ignorance, hatred and discrimination,” said then-state Sen. Jackie Cilley.

The bill’s original sponsor, Ed Butler, notes that while the focus on bathrooms certainly didn’t help his bill, it wasn’t the only factor in its defeat. New Hampshire lawmakers were also passing a marriage equality law at the time. For some, Butler said, also passing a transgender rights bill as well was too much, too soon.

The environment for LGBT rights in New Hampshire has changed in the intervening years, said Butler. The LGBT community is more visible and better organized, and public attitudes are changing about transgender people.

“I think people are finally realizing the absurdity of the argument. We have been going to the bathroom with transgender people for all of our lives, it hasn’t been a problem, and I think people are starting to realize that,” said Butler.

That said, Butler notes there has been no recent attempt to add gender identity to New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination law.

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After Hiroshima Bombing, Survivors Sorted Through The Horror

Survivors of the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare are seen as they await emergency medical treatment in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

Survivors of the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare are seen as they await emergency medical treatment in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945. AP hide caption

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John Hersey went to Hiroshima in 1945 for the New Yorker magazine to talk to people who had lived through the world’s first nuclear bomb. The magazine turned over its entire issue to his report in August of 1946; it’s considered a classic.

John Hersey didn’t try to second-guess the American decision to drop the atom bomb, a year after it ended the deadliest war in history. Simply and plainly, he described the stories of six people who survived in a city where so many thousands died:

“Early in the evening of the day the bomb exploded, a Japanese naval launch moved slowly up and down the seven rivers of Hiroshima,” John Hersey wrote, “alongside the crowded sandspits on which hundreds of wounded lay…”

Mr. Tanimoto found about twenty men and women on the sandspit. He drove the boat onto the bank and urged them to get aboard. They did not move and he realized that they were too weak to lift themselves. He reached down and took a woman by the hands, but her skin slipped off in huge, glove-like pieces. He was so sickened by this that he had to sit down for a moment. Then he got out into the water and, though a small man, lifted several of the men and women, who were naked, into his boat. Their backs and breasts were clammy, and he remembered uneasily what the great burns he had seen during the day had been like: yellow at first, then red and swollen, with the skin sloughed off, and finally, in the evening, suppurated and smelly.

…he lifted the slimy living bodies out and carried them up the slope away from the tide. He had to keep consciously repeating to himself, ‘These are human beings.’

It would be impossible to say what horrors were embedded in the minds of the children who lived through the day of the bombing in Hiroshima. On the surface their recollections, months after the disaster, were of an exhilarating adventure. Toshio Nakamura, who was ten, was soon able to talk freely, even gaily, about the experience, and a few weeks before the anniversary he wrote the following matter-of-fact essay for his teacher at Nobori-cho Primary School:

‘The day before the bomb, I went for a swim. In the morning, I was eating peanuts. I saw a light. I was knocked to little sister’s sleeping place…The neighbors were walking around burned and bleeding. Hataya-san told me to run away with her. I said I wanted to wait for my mother. We went to the park. A whirlwind came. At night a gas tank burned and I saw the reflection in the river. We stayed in the park one night. Next day I went to Taiko Bridge and met my girl friends Kikuki and Murakami. They were looking for their mothers. But Kikuki’s mother was wounded and Murakami’s mother, alas, was dead.’

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Farmers Wait, And Wait, For Guest Workers Amid H-2A Visa Delays

Kent Family Growers is located on a small parcel outside a college town in upstate New York. Farmers from California to North Carolina have complained of delays in the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural jobs.

Kent Family Growers is located on a small parcel outside a college town in upstate New York. Farmers from California to North Carolina have complained of delays in the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural jobs. Lauren Rosenthal/NCPR hide caption

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­­­­­­American farms should be in full swing right now. But some farmers are running behind, waiting on work visas for planters and pickers from out of the country. The H-2A visa program is delayed for the third year in a row.

It sounds like the setup to a bad joke: A professor and a doctor walk onto a farm.

Kathleen Terrence, a pediatrician, kneels in an onion field outside Lisbon, N.Y., with a bunch of kids. As they prepare to plant some 30,000 onions, they’re all taking tips from Mark Sturges — but he’s no farmer, either. He’s a literary critic.

“Are you guys ready?” he asks them, laughing gently. “It’s gonna be fun.”

About 30 CSA members volunteered to plant Kent Family Growers' onion crop in upstate New York.

About 30 CSA members volunteered to plant Kent Family Growers’ onion crop in upstate New York. Lauren Rosenthal/NCPR hide caption

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These are just some of the volunteers who stepped up to plant onions for Kent Family Growers, in upstate New York. But farm owner Dan Kent says he’s worried about the rest of his growing season. The workers he hired are a month late.

“I am assuming that our guys are still in southern Mexico, where they live, waiting for word that they have an appointment at the U.S. Consulate somewhere on the border,” Kent says.

Kent hired his three delayed laborers through the H-2A visa program for seasonal farm jobs. The program has fallen behind every year since 2014.

The reasons vary from year to year, but the outcome is the same. As a result, says Kristi Boswell with the American Farm Bureau, farmers have reported losses of up to $300,000.

“We have perishable commodities – blueberries, we’re starting into pruning for our apples. Melons are also peaking up. And we don’t have a good workforce,” she says.

It seems to be getting worse. Congress has talked about stabilizing the farm workforce by making it easier for workers to become citizens. But immigration reform is pretty much stalled out. Farmers are growing more reliant on seasonal workers with H-2A visas.

Assistant U.S. Labor Secretary Portia Wu says applications to sponsor temporary farm workers shot up 80 percent over the last five years.

“We added staff, approved overtime. It was not nearly enough to meet the surge we saw,” Wu says.

The law says farmers have to try and hire locally. But Boswell, with the American Farm Bureau, says domestic farm labor has dried up.

“We have a workforce that’s aging,” she says. “We have American workers that are not coming out to the farms to do the work. And we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

That hard place is the H-2A program. Boswell says it’s a bureaucratic nightmare to apply – and it’s not cheap. Farmers have to provide housing, transportation, food for workers. Their pay is often higher than the state’s minimum wage. In New York, it’s an extra $2 an hour.

But Megan Horn with the advocacy group Farmworker Justice says the U.S. economy has gotten stronger. If farmers wanted to attract local workers, Horn says they’d have to pay more. “We’re not seeing huge increases in [farm] wages, or very significant increases in wages at all,” Horn says. “They’ve barely kept up with inflation.”

Dan Kent owns Kent Family Growers in upstate New York. This is the first year he's hired workers through the H-2A visa program. They're expected to arrive in late May — about six weeks behind schedule.

Dan Kent owns Kent Family Growers in upstate New York. This is the first year he’s hired workers through the H-2A visa program. They’re expected to arrive in late May — about six weeks behind schedule. Lauren Rosenthal/NCPR hide caption

toggle caption Lauren Rosenthal/NCPR

Dan Kent says he has tried to hire locally, but it’s never worked out. As for offering higher wages, Kent says his crew from Mexico will earn $11.74 an hour. When he factors in their food, housing and travel, it’s more than what he takes for himself.

“For the sake of keeping this whole project alive, I’m going to try this,” Kent says. “But until I can figure out a way to make more than my workers, I’m not apt to pay them $15 or $18 or $25 an hour. It would make me come unhinged.”

Kent has reached out to several members of Congress for help. The House is weighing a bill that would streamline the H-2A visa program. But in the current political climate, it’s not likely to take root anytime soon.

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Reporter's Notebook: 'Embedded' With Doctors Without Borders

A woman walks between two of the tents that house the hospital wards. Most of the camp's residents are women and children.

A woman walks between two of the tents that house the hospital wards. Most of the camp’s residents are women and children. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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For five days and five nights in February, NPR reporters Jason Beaubien and Kelly McEvers were “embedded” with Doctors Without Borders in the middle of nowhere. They were inside a massive United Nation’s compound framed by earthen walls topped with razor wire. It’s known as the POC — Protection of Civilians site. Heavily-armed U.N. peacekeepers patrol the perimeter of the compound; more than 120,000 civilians live there, seeking a safe haven in a war-torn country.

Jason Beaubien talks with Stefania Poggi, who manages the Doctors Without Borders operation. They're standing next to the drainage ponds dug to keep the camp from flooding in rainy season. Kids often jump in for a swim.

Jason Beaubien talks with Stefania Poggi, who manages the Doctors Without Borders operation. They’re standing next to the drainage ponds dug to keep the camp from flooding in rainy season. Kids often jump in for a swim. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, runs a hospital at the camp — the only hospital in that part of South Sudan. The wards are all in tents. The medical staff lives in smaller tents behind the medical wards. Beaubien and McEvers got to know the doctors, the other medical workers and some of the patients who stream in, suffering from malnutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS and many other ailments.

We spoke to Beaubien about what this trip was like.

So I guess it’s not easy to get to the camp.

First of all you have to get to Nairobi and there aren’t any direct flights from D.C. to Nairobi. And then you’ve got to fly to Juba, the capital. And then you’ve got to catch a U.N. flight from Juba up to the actual camp. It took us 3 days just to get there.

How far is the camp from Juba?

Probably 600 miles north by dirt road or just over 300 miles as the crow flies.

Could you have driven there?

One of the things about South Sudan is it’s simply not possible to get out and drive around much of the country. The roads are all dirt, a lot of them are completely washed out, and from a security perspective, the changing dynamics of the conflict mean that even if you could drive over the road you don’t know whether it’s safe.

MSF, for instance, flies absolutely everything they need in to the Bentiu camp, from medicines to hammers and nails to the diesel fuel to run their generators. Even the toilet paper gets flown in here. One of the logisticians joked that if they ran out of toilet paper, people would quickly get angry with him.

Were you able to connect to the outside world?

You’re very cut off. We did not have cell service. You had to get onto a satellite phone just to make phone calls, even that didn’t work very well. You very much feel like you’re in an outpost at the end of the earth. They had internet in the dining hall but it really wasn’t very good. It was extremely slow. Enough to check your e-mail and that was about it.

One of the things about being there is you very much felt like you were there, in this place, and I felt very disconnected from my life back home. And when we left and went back to the capital, Juba, where they have restaurants with menus and cold beers, it felt so luxurious.

The South Sudanese who’ve sought refuge in the camp — how did they get there?

Some people who are relatively close might be able to get a ride on one of the beat-up old buses or pickup trucks that move around Bentiu, the town near the camp. But most of the people are arriving by foot. They are simply walking across the countryside to get there.

What’s it like around the camp?

It’s a very harsh landscape. It feels semi-arid, like it’s on the verge of being a desert. It’s very dusty, incredibly hot. There’s a rainy season as well and when the rains come everything floods and the camp turns into this big field of mud. They’ve done a lot to try to put in drainage ditches and deal with the water but it’s on a completely flat plain and flooding has been a big problem.

How hot did it get when you were there?

It’d get up to 115.

Not exactly good sleeping weather. And I assume there’s no air conditioning.

You’re just in a tent with fans on a little pedestal and mosquito nets. It was still fairly hot at night. But by morning you would want to shut the fan off. By that time it had gotten pleasantly cool. But as soon as the sun peeked up above the horizon, temperatures started going up.

Who lives there? Men? Women? Children?

The majority of residents of the camp are under the age of 5.

One of the camp's 124,000 residents in her shelter.

One of the camp’s 124,000 residents in her shelter. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

So more than 60,000 little kids?

Yeah.

Are both parents typically around?

Many of the families are mother, a female relative who might be an aunt or a cousin, and some kids. There’s definitely a dearth of young men. They’re caught up in the war.

Are the kids in school?

There are a couple of schools run by aid agencies. But you see kids of school age running around constantly. If you ask their parents why they aren’t going to school, the parents say there aren’t enough spaces in the schools for them.

Do the South Sudanese who live there ever go outside the walls?

During the day people come and go. Many women go out of the camp to collect firewood so they have something to cook on and also it’s the one thing they can sell to get a little bit of spending money. But there’s been a serious problem of women being raped outside the camp when they’re collecting firewood.

Do you have to go out of the camp to buy stuff?

No. Inside the camp itself there are markets. They sell used clothing, tins of sardines, rice and other staple foods.

So the food rations handed out to residents aren’t enough?

Even the World Food Programme will tell you that they don’t provide enough in the food rations for a family to completely feed themselves for a month. So everyone is scrambling to try and supplement the rations that are coming from the U.N.

In your story you focus on some of the foreign employees at the hospital – doctors, a midwife. But there are South Sudanese employees as well. Why didn’t you name them?

Doctors Without Borders asked that we don’t identify their local staff All the local staff are residents of the camp who’ve also fled their homes so MSF is concerned for their security.. But they were quite an incredible group of nurses and other medical people running those wards who are all South Sudanese, many had jobs in clinics or hospitals before the war and had some medical training. They really were the backbone of this operation.

David, a South Sudanese health worker at the MSF facility, sits on his bed in his shelter. He's one of the 124,000 people who've come to the camp to escape the fighting. We were asked by MSF only to use the first names of local employees for security reasons.

David, a South Sudanese health worker at the MSF facility, sits on his bed in his shelter. He’s one of the 124,000 people who’ve come to the camp to escape the fighting. We were asked by MSF only to use the first names of local employees for security reasons. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Any moments where you were afraid for your safety?

One guy from the camp was working for us as a translator. When we were out in the camp in Bentiu town, at times he would lean in and basically say he was afraid of other people who were around us. He told us he was concerned that particularly as a young man he could be killed by the militias that are still operating out there. So there was a level of fear among people like him that was just below the surface. And it was that same thing when you ask people inside the camp, “Don’t you want to go home?” People didn’t want to go home, they were afraid of going home. It became clear to us people were not going to leave the camp right away even if a total peace is declared.

What questions did the South Sudanese ask you?

A lot of people felt that the U.S. was going to play a major role in ending the civil war, which technically ended in August of 2015 when both sides signed a peace agreement. It’s something I’ve seen in many parts of the world, where people seemed to think that their issues are very much on the front burner in the U.S.

But the issues of South Sudan are not on our front burner, are they?

No.

So that’s pretty sad.

It is kind of sad, yeah.

Are there any plans to shut the camp down by a certain date?

No, the camp is not yet in the phase where it’s looking toward closing down. The great fear with a camp like this is that it turns into a camp where people don’t go home for generations.

Seems like a very sad time for this new country.

I was based in South Africa while South Sudanese rebels were fighting for independence from Sudan. And while I was at the camp, I remembered this quote from John Garang who was the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – the main rebel group fighting against what was a fairly repressive regime in Khartoum. And when they finally won the right to break away from Sudan, he gave this amazing speech in 2005 that I always remember: “With this peace agreement, there will be no more bombs falling from the sky on innocent children and women. Instead of the cries of children and the wailing of women and the pain of the last 21 years of war, peace will bless us once more with hearing the happy giggling of children and the enchanting ululation of women.”

After decades of war, he was looking forward to hearing the giggling of schoolchildren rather than the wailing of women. But he was killed in a helicopter crash a few months after independence. I wonder what would have happened if this guy, who was a very charismatic leader, had been able to guide this young country in its early days. Maybe the civil war and humanitarian crisis might have been averted if this crash hadn’t happened.

It’s just interesting how history plays out. Sometimes it’s got to do with luck and South Sudan has certainly been looking unlucky lately.

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'Sweetbitter' Sings With Innocence And Experience

Sweetbitter

For Keats, joy was a grape bursting in the mouth: sudden, flooding, and sweet. And, of course, impermanent. Food and feeling are natural partners; this debut novel, set in a Manhattan restaurant, is a feast of both.

“Sweetbitter” is an epithet of Eros first used by Sappho, poet laureate of the literature of longing. In the fragment that gave Stephanie Danler her book’s title, Sappho calls Eros limb-loosening, sweetbitter, the one who can’t be fought. Sappho’s fragments are fevers of desire and limbo, and it’s that same space of almost unbearable want that Sweetbitter occupies: Wanting a place, wanting a person, wanting a life.

Tess moves to New York from a place of “dirt roads between desiccated fields,” a place “so small so small you couldn’t find it on a generous map.” But, the narrator writes, “Let’s say I was born in late June of 2006 when I came over the George Washington Bridge at seven a.m. with the sun circulating and dawning, the sky full of sharp corners of light, before the exhaust rose, before the heat gridlocked in, windows unrolled, radio turned up to some impossibly hopeful pop song, open, open, open.”

New York is “the one place large enough to hold so much unbridled, unfocused desire.” She loves it: the rats, the snow, the Williamsburg Bridge, the onset of autumn when the air tastes of “steel knives and filtered water.”

“It is ludicrous for anyone to live here,” she thinks, at the same time she thinks, “I can never leave.”

Tess is a backwaiter in a restaurant, and falls into the small and large dramas of restaurant life. She is infatuated with the bad-boy bartender, Jake, and his friend, older, sophisticated Simone. Tess is desperately, stupidly young, and thus completely recognizable: “I would get tattoos of the bruises,” she thinks earnestly after rough sex with Jake, who is the exactly the kind of horrible Kierkegaard-reading, chain-smoking person you fall for when you’re 22 (I say this from the wise height of my mid-twenties). Sweetbitter is a young person’s novel, full of the joyful pain that comes from almost-having, a feeling like happiness that would disperse if the object were actually caught.

Like her sexual awakening, Tess’s culinary enlightenment is vivid and exquisite: “So — some tomatoes tasted like water, and some tasted like summer lightning,” Tess thinks the first time she tastes an heirloom tomato. In truffle season, the restaurant smells of “Freshly tilled earth, fields of manure, the forest floor after rain. I smelled berries, upheaval, mold, sheets sweated through a thousand times. Absolute sex.”

The narrator describes the five tastes: sour, salt, sweet, bitter, and a fifth: “Umami: uni, or sea urchin, anchovies, Parmesan, dry-aged beef with a casing of mold. It’s glutamate. Nothing is a mystery anymore. They make MSG to mimic it. It’s the taste of ripeness about to ferment. Initially, it serves as a warning. But after a familiarity develops, after you learn its name, that precipice of rot becomes the only flavor worth pursuing, the only line worth testing.”

When people mention purple writing, they mean something saturated and embarrassing: something that tries too hard, wants too much, doesn’t play it cool. This is a book that tries hard, really hard in a way that is tempting to dismiss; it is voluptuous writing, ripe approaching “the precipice of rot.” It balances on the edge of too much, too strong, too sentimental, too dramatic, too overdrawn or overwritten. But it works, because that is what it feels like to be young and in a big city: like it’s too much, and at the same time not nearly enough. And maybe that earnest fullness of feeling, that wild wanting, that precipice of too much, is the only line worth testing. Maybe anything less ambitious, anything more tasteful or restrained, would just miss the point.

Annalisa Quinn is a freelance journalist and critic covering books and culture.

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Outcry Follows Gang Rape In Brazil, Raising Alarms About Sexual Violence

Brazilians protest in front of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro on Friday against an alleged gang rape that police say they are investigating.

Brazilians protest in front of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro on Friday against an alleged gang rape that police say they are investigating. Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

A 16-year-old girl has reportedly been raped by at least 30 men in Rio de Janeiro. Last weekend’s incident gained attention after a video began circulating online.

“The clip showed an undressed, unconscious woman lying on a bare mattress,” Latin America News Dispatch reports. “She was being filmed by two men, both fully dressed, who took turns manhandling and mocking her.”

No one has been arrested, police said on Friday, according to CNN, though officials said four people had been identified — “including one man who appeared in the video, the girl’s boyfriend and two people who were heard on the video.”

The BBC says activists are calling for protests and have started an online campaign against “a culture of rape” in the country.

Images of the alleged attack on social media “racked up more than 550 likes and a deluge of replies with smiley faces and thumbs-up,” The Globe and Mail reports. “Commenters using vulgar language celebrated the damage apparently inflicted on the girl’s genitalia and said she had no doubt ‘been asking for it.’ “

Vanessa Dios, a researcher at the Brasília-based feminist institute Anis, told the Latin America News Dispatch:

“The day-to-day culture of codifying women’s bodies persists in Brazil. They are constantly given signals to what constitutes acceptable behavior. Among men, the notion that they are allowed to touch and grab women without permission endures.”

Brazil’s interim president said he would work with police to better address violence against women, the CBC says. The Canadian broadcaster notes that Michel Temer was criticized for not including women or black Brazilians in his recently formed cabinet.

The Globe and Mail reports on other actions that members of the government have been criticized for:

“Hours before news of this case broke, the Brazilian Education Minister Mendonca Filho held a high-profile meeting with Alexandre Frota, an actor and reality television star who has repeatedly said he would have no qualms about having sex with a woman who did not consent.

“Late last year, Jair Bolsonaro, a member of the lower house of Congress, was ordered by a court to pay the equivalent of $3,500 in damages to Maria do Rosario, another member, after he said during a debate in the house, ‘I wouldn’t even rape you because you don’t deserve it.’ “

The Brazilian Forum for Public Security says 47,636 rapes were reported in 2014, according to the BBC. The forum estimates that only 35 percent of rape cases are reported.

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Episode 703: How To Hide A Million Dollars In Plain Sight

The search for the owners of Apartment 5B took investigators around the world and ended in a fruit box.

Ilya Marritz

There are apartments in cities around the world, where the lights do not go on at night. The apartment is empty. And it’s hard to tell who owns it or where the money to buy the apartment came from.

And that’s because, some of that money is from questionable origins. If you have a lot of money to hide, you can park that cash in real estate. You hide the money in plain sight. You turn a fancy apartment into a giant piggy bank or secret vault.

On today’s show, the international quest to try answer a simple question: Who owns Apartment 5B?

Music: “Fingernail Grit” and “Wolfman Rompin. Find us: Twitter / Facebook.

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