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Texas deputy fatally shoots man in crisis, sheriff says

A sheriff’s deputy responding to a mental health crisis call Wednesday shot and killed a Houston man, who authorities said approached the deputy with a knife.

A woman called the Harris County Sheriff’s Office shortly after midnight and said her husband “was experiencing a mental health crisis and was behaving erratically,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

When the deputy knocked on the door of the home, the man who opened it had a knife, the statement said.

“The deputy attempted to retreat and deployed his Taser in an attempt to subdue the man, but the Taser was not effective and the man continued to pursue the deputy,” the statement said.

“The suspect aggressively approached our deputy,” Harris County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Mike Lee said, according to NBC affiliate KPRC. “The deputy and the subject retreated a number of yards out into the street. The deputy attempted to use his Taser on the subject that was still armed with a knife. The Taser was not effective at that time.”

“At that time, our deputy discharged his weapon a number of times, striking the suspect,” Lee said.

The deputy then called for paramedics and backup, according to the sheriff’s office statement. Crews attempted first aid, but the man died on the scene. His name has not been released.

The deputy is on temporary administrative leave while the the sheriff’s office and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigate the shooting.

The deputy has been on the job for seven months, and has been trained in how to interact with people experiencing a mental health crisis, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office told KPRC. The deputy was not injured.

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5 best dry shampoos of 2021: Dove, Billie and more

All hair textures — from straight to kinky-curly — can utilize dry shampoo to soak up oil, dirt and dandruff in between wash days or after exercising. It can also help extend blowouts and add texture to create “second-day hair,” which is helpful when you want to enhance beach waves.

Dry shampoo is available in two forms — spray and powder — and active ingredients vary from brand to brand but starch, clay and alcohol are relatively common, according to hair stylist Courtney Foster. For example, Acure dry shampoo contains cornstarch while L’Oréal has a dry shampoo that utilizes three types of clay.

Application is also simple — hold the spray can about 6 inches away from your head, spritz and then massage the dry shampoo onto your scalp. If you’re into powder dry shampoos, just sprinkle the product onto your scalp and massage it in to help blend the product into your hair and let it absorb excess grease.

Although dry shampoo is useful for touch-ups, it is not a substitute replacement for regular shampooing and conditioning, according to Foster. She recommended people use dry shampoo no more than three times a week to help prevent product buildup.

“Dry shampoo will help for a couple of days, but it will not fully remove the build up,” Foster said, explaining that shampoo removes dirt, debris and oil from the scalp and when skipped, the hair becomes dirty and smelly. “Dry shampoo will help for a couple of days, but it will not fully remove the build up,” she said. “If you use dry shampoo excessively, then it’s not going to be effective.” Foster added that if hair follicles are “clean and clear,” the hair “can properly grow without obstruction.”

Overall, dry shampoo offers both functional benefits — it absorbs dirt and oil, plus minimizes the need to shampoo after exercise — and aesthetic ones.

5 best dry shampoos of 2021

If you’re looking to invest in your hair styling routine, brands like Living Proof, Moroccan Oil and Drybar are all discounted up to 20 percent off during the Sephora Spring sale event that wraps April 19. Ulta is also currently hosting its Spring Haul event where shoppers can save up to 30 percent off dry shampoos from Batiste, Matrix and Hask. You can also find dry shampoo at Shopping reader-favorite retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart. Dermstore also carries a variety of dry shampoo brands like Klorane, Sachajuan and Alterna.

To help guide your dry shampoo shopping experience, we’ve compiled recommendations from Foster and some of the Shopping staff, ranging from a $5 spray to a powder designed for those with dark hair.

Batiste Original Dry Shampoo

Batiste dry shampoo is Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller in its class and boasts a 4.6-star average rating from more than 14,400 reviews. Foster called Batiste her “all-time holy grail” dry shampoo because of the “very lightweight” and vegan formula that mists nicely onto her natural hair and absorbs grease. Shopping editorial intern Kala Herh added she has been using the Original formula for seven years because it doesn’t leave behind a dreaded white residue on her dark hair. The dry shampoo’s fragrance profile includes notes of lavender, musk and powder. Batiste’s dry shampoo is available in 23 variations like Pink Pineapple and Tropical, plus there are formulas created for various hair tones like Brilliant Blonde and Beautiful Brunette.

Dove Beauty Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo

Foster has been using this aerosol dry shampoo for the past five years because it “immediately absorbs” grease in between wash days. She also highlighted the appealing amber scent and refreshing cooling sensation it leaves on her scalp. Dove’s dry shampoo is the most affordable pick on this list and it comes in 13 variations like Fresh & Floral Dry Shampoo and Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo. It earned a 4.3-star average rating from more than 3,600 reviews on Target.

amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo

Foster also recommended this dry shampoo because it doesn’t deposit a “strong spray cloud of whiteness” to her textured hair. Instead, it uses finely grained rice starch to absorb moisture from the scalp while sea buckthorn berry nourishes the hair. The New York-based hair stylist noted amika’s dry shampoo has a light amber scent. It boasts a 4.6-star average rating from more than 5,800 reviews on Amazon.

Billie Floof Dry Shampoo

Shopping reporter Ambar Pardilla is a fan of Billie’s dry shampoo because the cocoa brown powder blends in with her dark hair and creates noticeable volume. (Billie also makes a formula for those with lighter hair.) “With other dry shampoos, I’ve had to forcefully blend in the product after a spritz to make sure I didn’t have white spots all over my hair (or on my clothes),” she said. In contrast, Pardilla needs one to three shakes of Floof dry shampoo to style her hair “just right” and hasn’t dealt with fallout from the powder.

Ouidad Clean Sweep Moisturizing Dry Shampoo

In between wash days, Shopping editor Morgan Greenwald likes to spritz this dry shampoo designed for curly hair types onto her scalp. After 30 seconds of letting the dry shampoo soak up any sweat from her gym sessions, Greenwald will massage the raw silk powder into her ringlets. Ouidad’s dry shampoo is infused with a blend of mongongo and rosehip seed oils, which together help condition her hair and scalp. It received a 4.4-star average rating from more than 60 reviews on Ulta.

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New NBC special ‘Inspiring America’ to honor people making an impact in the world

It’s time to honor the men and women making a difference in the world around them.

The “TODAY” team announced a new franchise Thursday morning called “Inspiring America,” an annual prime-time event from NBCUniversal News Group that will focus on people who have a positive impact in their communities.

The inaugural list features a diverse group of people, including “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach (and first woman to serve as an acting head coach in the NBA) Becky Hammon, World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés and CEO of Feeding America Claire Babineaux-Fontenot. The entire list will be unveiled in the week leading up to the show.

“Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List” will premiere Saturday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and Telemundo while an encore broadcast will air Sunday, May 2, on CNBC at 3 p.m. ET and MSNBC at 10 p.m. ET.

It will also be available to stream on NBC News NOW on May 2 at 9 p.m. ET and on Peacock on demand. “TODAY’s” Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will co-host, along with “NBC Nightly News’” Lester Holt.

Holt stopped by “TODAY” on Thursday for the announcement and noted that these kinds of profiles have been done on “NBC Nightly News” for years.

“These stories lift us up,” he said. “They remind us that no matter what else is going on in the world, there’s still a lot of good people in this country and they’re looking out for other people and they’re finding ways to give back and to be able to extend this now across the platforms of NBC is really gratifying.”

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde said in a statement, “As we all begin to heal after an enormously challenging year, it’s important that we find ways to connect with and inspire one another. That is the very foundation of ‘Inspiring America’ and why it has resonated as a popular signature series on Nightly News.”

“We need uplifting stories now more than ever, and we are uniquely positioned to elevate them into a major franchise reaching millions more across our unparalleled portfolio.”

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Blinken visits Afghanistan after Biden announces U.S. troop withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Afghanistan on Thursday for a surprise visit less than 24 hours after President Joe Biden announced the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country by Sept. 11 of this year.

While in Kabul, Blinken met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation, as well as members of Afghan civil society.

“I wanted to demonstrate with my visit the ongoing commitment of the United States to the Islamic Republic and the people of Afghanistan,” Blinken said as he met Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul.

“The partnership is changing, but the partnership is enduring.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meets with Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday. High Council for National Reconciliation / Reuters

The secretary of state also met with American soldiers at the U.S. embassy. “What you and your predecessors did over the last 20 years is really extraordinary,” he told them.

“I’m in constant awe of what you’ve achieved,” he added.

Ghani said Thursday that he respects the U.S. decision to withdraw.

“Afghanistan’s proud security and defense forces are fully capable of defending its people and country, which they have been doing all along,” he said on Twitter, following a conversation with Biden on Wednesday.

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Other prominent Afghan government officials were not so optimistic.

Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of the Afghan Parliament, said Wednesday that while the country’s people want to see foreign forces leave, “the conditions are not met for that to happen yet.”

“It is possible that Afghanistan turns into another civil war or becomes a haven for international terrorist organizations,” Speaker Rahmani warned in a speech on the parliamentary floor.

“We expect the withdrawal to be conditions-based and dependent upon peace, security, and long-term stability; otherwise, history will repeat itself.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said the withdrawal would backfire by prolonging the conflict and possibly even breathing new life into Al Qaeda. “What do we lose by pulling out? We lose that insurance policy against another 9/11,” Graham said.

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. signed an agreement with the Taliban that foreign troops would leave Afghanistan by May 1 in exchange for their commitment to both disavow Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as well as enter into peace talks with an Afghan delegation.

Intra-Afghan negotiations have continued for months in Doha, Qatar. Turkey announced earlier this week that representatives of both the Afghan government and the insurgent group would meet in Istanbul later this month to accelerate the discussions.

Biden announced Wednesday that all U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan in time for the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that triggered America’s invasion of the country.

“I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” Biden said. “I will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth.”

“It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home.”

Biden said that the U.S. will continue to support the Afghan government and will provide assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. The U.S. will also continue diplomatic and humanitarian work in the country and will support the peace talks.

About 2,500 U.S. troops are serving in Afghanistan — the lowest number since 2001.

As part of their agreement with the U.S., the Taliban also committed to a reduction in violence. But fighting between the two sides has continued despite the talks and civilian casualties and apolitical assassinations have surged.

In the wake of Biden’s decision, the Taliban said they will not participate in any negotiations on the future of Afghanistan until all foreign troops have withdrawn.

Speaking in Brussels before his arrival in Kabul, Blinken warned that the Taliban have a choice to make if they want international recognition or support, insisting that there are a “series of incentives and disincentives that will continue to shape what happens.”

“It’s in no one’s interest, including the Taliban to plunge Afghanistan back into a long war into a civil war that will do terrible damage to the country and to everyone,” he said, adding “ultimately, people of Afghanistan will be the ones to decide their future.”

Blinken held a press conference in Brussels with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Stoltenberg confirmed the withdrawal of all NATO-led forces by May 1 and said it planned to complete the drawdown of all its troops “within a few months.”

“We went into Afghanistan together. We have adjusted our posture together. And we are united in leaving together,” he said.

NATO currently has around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, more than 7,000 of which are non-U.S. forces.

With boots on the ground for nearly two decades, around 2,300 U.S. troops have lost their lives in the country and more than 20,000 have been wounded in what many have referred to as a “forever” war.

More than 100,000 thousand Afghan civilians have also been killed or injured in the fighting since the U.S. invaded in 2001.

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U.S. to sanction Russia over 2020 election interference, SolarWinds hack

The United States is set to hit Russia with fresh sanctions for alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election, a sweeping cyberattack against American government and corporate networks and other activities.

The sanctions are expected to be announced on Thursday and include expelling Russian diplomats from the U.S. and blacklisting more than 20 Russian entities, according to one U.S. official and a second source familiar with the matter.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

The sanctions will come a month after President Joe Biden publicly promised retaliation against Russian President Vladimir Putin for a range of malicious activities that Washington blames on Moscow.

Biden has characterized Putin as a “killer” and said he would “pay the price” for these actions. Russia denies all of these charges, including calling the allegations over the 2020 election “baseless accusations.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested Moscow would respond in kind to any “illegal” sanctions imposed by the U.S.

“We condemn any intentions to impose sanctions, consider them illegal, and in any case the principle of reciprocity operates in this area,” he said Thursday according to Reuters. Russia did not want relations with Washington to be a case of “one step forward and two steps back,” he added.

Last month a declassified intelligence document said that Putin authorized influence operations to denigrate Biden, support then-President Donald Trump and undermine faith in American democracy.

U.S. officials also blame Russian intelligence services for the SolarWinds cyberattack last year, a widespread breach that tore into U.S. government agencies and dozens of corporations.

Microsoft President Brad Smith described it as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.”

In January, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration had asked intelligence services for a full assessment of the hack and the 2020 election interference, as well as Russia’s use of “chemical weapons against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the alleged bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.”

The Biden admin unveiled its first round of sanctions on Moscow for the poisoning and detention of Navalny early last month, in action coordinated with the European Union.

The sanctions come at a time of particular tension after Russia started amassing forces along the border with Ukraine. The Kremlin said the forces are there for a training mission, but few outside the country buy that, and the U.S. and its European allies have called on Russia to withdraw.

In a call with Putin on Tuesday, Biden proposed the two leaders meet at a summit to tackle issues including the situation around Ukraine.

Analysts say a Russian military offensive is not impossible, but many believe it’s more likely an attempt to intimidate Ukraine and a warning to the U.S. and its other Western backers not to get involved in an area it considers its backyard.

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With Prince Philip’s death, the role of a modern monarchy comes into focus

LONDON — Prince Philip’s death marks more than the passing of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband — it is a reminder that her nearly 70-year reign, the longest in British history, is in its final stretch.

Experts say that as her children and grandchildren step up their royal duties, the transition to the next generation is an unstable time that could raise doubts about the monarchy’s value in today’s world.

“This is the end of an era and could bring into question the leadership of monarchy and wider questions of the role of the monarchy in 21st century Britain,” said David McClure, the author of “The Queen’s True Worth: Unravelling the Public & Private Finances of Queen Elizabeth II.”

Prince Philip’s death will have a knock-on effect on people reconsidering the worth of the monarchy to Britain’s life and as a political institution,” he said.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, wave to the crowd after Elizabeth was being crowned at Westminster Abbey in London on June 2, 1953.AFP – Getty Images file

In the U.K., the queen has a formal role as head of state, head of the Church of England and head of the armed forces and as a powerful symbol, giving a speech setting out the government’s priorities at the start of the parliamentary year and formally signing off on legislation.

Britain isn’t the only place where she is head of state. She is also queen of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and several island nations, as well as head of the Commonwealth, an association of 54 countries, almost all of which were once under British rule.

It is in those places where the transition to the next generation will start to raise the most questions, the historian Sarah Gristwood said.

“The British monarchy is always going to be most vulnerable in the years ahead not in Britain, but in the Commonwealth or other states that at present have the queen as head of state but that may not wish to do so forever,” said Gristwood, author of “Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown.”

Queen Elizabeth II sits at a desk in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in Londaon after recording her Christmas Day broadcast in 2017.John Stillwell / Getty Images file

The day after Philip died Friday at age 99, the couple’s firstborn, Prince Charles, referred to the Commonwealth twice in his short speech remembering his father. That was no accident, Gristwood said.

Support for the monarchy as an institution remains high in the U.K. More than 60 percent of those polled think Britain should have a monarchy in the future, according to a survey by YouGov in December. Only 25 percent said it should have an elected head of state.

In Australia, however, longtime critics of the monarchy are looking at the transition to the next monarch as a time to cut ties.

“After the end of the queen’s reign, that is the time for us to say, ‘OK, we’ve passed that watershed,'” former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has campaigned to remove the British monarch as the country’s head of state, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in March. “Do we really want to have whoever happens to be the head of state, the king or queen of the U.K., automatically our head of state?”

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean island nation of Barbados, where the queen is also head of state, the governor-general said in September on behalf of the government that “the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind” and that “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.”

In the U.K., despite the royals’ high poll ratings, detractors are convinced that succession will bring increased resistance to the institution.

“When people think about the monarchy, they think about the queen or Philip and the link back to the past, the war and so on,” said Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, an anti-monarchy campaign group. “Charles will inherit the throne, but he won’t inherit the deference or respect his mother has.”

Members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London watch a fly-by by the Royal Air Force during Trooping the Colour, the queen’s annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019.Chris Jackson / Getty Images file

That hasn’t escaped the attention of the royals. They are, indeed, aware of the perils of the transition and are already planning for it, the royal expert Daisy McAndrew said.

“One of the first things that is planned” when Charles takes over “is a 100-day tour of Great Britain, going all over the country. They will be trying to create a buzz around the accepted new monarch,” she said. “That will be a make-or-break moment for Prince Charles to get the country behind him.”

As the queen has aged, Charles has already taken on many of her duties, including overseas trips. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, have also taken on extra responsibilities.

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But polls show that Charles’ popularity is nowhere near that of the queen. According to a December YouGov poll on who should take over for the queen, 32 percent of respondents named Charles; 40 percent said William.

On a practical level, that may not matter. No U.K. political party supports getting rid of the monarchy, said Antony Taylor, a modern British historian at Sheffield Hallam University.

“Without a political party committed to reforming or removing the head of state, I don’t see how you can institute change,” said Taylor, who studies republicanism.

That, however, may change, as younger generations with no memory of the royal family’s role keeping up the spirits of the nation during World War II grow up.

“For them, things are very fluid, and maybe a fluid situation gives the opportunity for them to think the unthinkable,” he said.

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Macaulay Culkin’s past comments and how white parents might ‘other’ their multiracial children

As fans celebrate the birth of Macaulay Culkin and Brenda Song’s son, comments Culkin made in a past podcast interview are drawing criticism among Asian Americans.

During a 2018 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Culkin said Song is “Asian, so I’m gonna have tiny little Asian babies,” comparing their would-be offspring to Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“It’s going to be adorable — a bunch of Sean Lennons running around the house, that’s what I’m looking for,” Culkin told the host, before claiming that he feels entitled to “make Asian jokes because I have an Asian girlfriend kinda thing.”

The past statements, which resurfaced Monday, have now elicited criticism from many who pointed out that he had “fetishized” his own children.

Brenda Song and Macaulay Culkin attend the sixth biennial Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) telecast on Sept. 7, 2018 in Santa Monica, Calif.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Stand Up To Cancer file

Pawan Dhingra, a professor of American studies at Amherst College, told NBC Asian America that Culkin’s comments are problematic as they objectify his own family.

“More than anything, he’s exoticizing his partner, and the babies, who were at that point not even born yet,” Dhingra said. “I think that’s a problem in and of itself — when you are turning a person into an exotic object because of their race, or their biracial heritage.”

When asked about the criticism, Culkin did not address the remarks specifically, but he provided details on his child’s birth in a statement to NBC Asian America.

“Mother, Father and Baby are all healthy and happy,” the statement read. “Says the new parents, ‘We are overjoyed.’”

Dhingra said many people who are multiracial are reduced to comments around their appearance purely because of their biracial identity, calling the practice “demeaning.” He said such statements obscure the challenges that those who are biracial regularly confront.

Culkin, best known for starring in “Home Alone,” went on to make additional comments about Song’s race during the full podcast interview, laughing that the first Asian joke he made to Song was, “‘You know how I know you’re Asian?’ She goes, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s the shape of your eyes. It’s a dead giveaway.'”

“I do it with her all the time, but I don’t do it in public,” Culkin said of making Asian jokes. “It’s like, oh, baby, you’re my Yoko.”

Dhingra said that in most of the jokes Culkin described to the host, the punchline itself was Song’s identity, something he felt was “belittling.”

“The jokes he was saying to his girlfriend at the time, about the driving and about how she looks, the punchline to all those jokes is being Asian,” he said. “I don’t want to speak about their relationship in any way. I don’t have any bearing on that. But it does kind of fit a very tired belittling of Asians — that we are the joke. We don’t do anything funny. We can’t make a joke. We are the joke.”

At one point, Culkin told Rogan that if he had Asian children, he would be “allowed” to make those comments. He added that because he’d have to deal with the children’s race every day, he would therefore “understand the struggle,” before eventually agreeing with the host, who reminded him that he is a “wealthy white male who’s famous.”

There’s a long history of white people, in particular, falsely claiming that they can identify with those from other backgrounds as they’re able to universalize their experiences and relate to others as a result, Dhingra said.

“If you think you understand someone’s struggle, just because you’re a parent of someone who has a different race than you, then you’re really not putting yourself out there to learn about what it means to be Asian American or be biracial, what it means to be like a person of color,” Dhingra said. “Because you have this sense that you’re an omniscient person who feels privileged to be able to identify with any kind of culture or background.”

Just as men who have daughters can still be sexist and are not immediately in touch with women’s issues due to their parenthood, those with multiracial children can similarly lack knowledge about the experiences and burdens that people of color carry, Dhingra said.

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the nonprofit National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, said the misconception that white parents will understand the struggles of their kids of color often comes from a well-meaning place, but a misguided one. But Culkin’s comments, she said, make it seem as though he’s using his relation to “the struggle” as a “passport to make Asian jokes and basically use your children as an excuse to dehumanize Asian Americans.”

“It’s not even, ‘Oh, now I understand the struggle,’ which is bad enough. … But he’s using that as the premise to be able to make jokes about Asian people, which is even worse,” she said.

Both Culkin, who praised Song’s ability to laugh at his jokes, and Rogan, who said individuals used to be able to make such gaffes “if you were married to an Asian woman 10 to 15 years ago,” were ignoring the fact that politically correct culture exists because there is tangible harm done when such two-dimensional images of Asians and others are perpetuated, Dhingra said.

Choimorrow said the way in which Culkin spoke about his partner and would-be children reflects harmful stereotypes that lead to particularly dangerous consequences for many Asian Americans, especially Asian women. Choimorrow said Culkin’s comments echo the historical dehumanization of Asians as well as fetishization of Asian women, which has made them uniquely vulnerable to sexual and physical violence.

According to the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, 21 percent to 55 percent of Asian women in the U.S. report having experienced intimate physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime. The range is based on a compilation of studies of disaggregated samples of Asian ethnicities in local communities. In comparison, 43.6 percent of women in the general U.S. population experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.

“You actually implicitly participate in ways that perpetuate the stereotypes about us, that make it dangerous for us as Asian American women,” Choimorrow said of Culkin’s jokes.

When it comes to Culkin’s fatherhood of a multiracial child, Dhingra emphasized that parents need to try and comprehend the world from their kids’ point of view, rather than assume they understand how the mind of a child looks.

“What he can do as a parent is to recognize his own gaps of knowledge,” Dhingra said. “That’s not how people should learn about who they are, as being the butt of a joke, developing their racial identity.”

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Anti-gay bias led to ‘serious flaws’ in Toronto serial killer investigation

“Systemic bias” and “serious flaws” in the handling of missing persons cases impeded the Toronto Police Service’s investigation of a serial killer who preyed on gay and bisexual men in Canada’s largest city for seven years, according to an independent review released Tuesday.

The 161-page report said “misconceptions” and “stereotypical ideas” about LGBTQ people led police to overlook evidence and miss “critical connections” during their investigation into the missing men and Bruce McArthur, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to killing eight men, most of them people of color.

“There was institutional resistance to the notion that these cases might be linked and that a serial killer might be preying on Toronto’s LGBTQ communities. This systemic failure is perhaps the most troubling,” Gloria Epstein, a retired Ontario Court of Appeal justice, said in the report.

Convicted killer Bruce McArthur has been sentenced to life in prison.Facebook via Reuters

Epstein said she “cannot say that McArthur would necessarily have been apprehended earlier if the investigative steps outlined in this report had been taken,” but she said the police force “did lose important opportunities to identify him as the killer.”

The report found that police failed to properly communicate with the public about the investigation, which “heightened existing mistrust and ultimately diminished, rather than protected, the integrity of existing and future investigations.”

“This lack of communication reinforced the broadly held impression that ‘the police did nothing,'” Epstein said in the review.

The interim police chief, James Ramer, said “the deficiencies were neither overt nor intentional.”

“There were too many times that we did not live up to what is expected — and in some cases required — of us to keep you safe and the consequences were grave,” Ramer said in a statement.

The report listed 151 recommendations to help improve missing persons investigations, including doubling the number of investigators assigned to the police department’s missing persons unit from four to eight and involving social service and community agencies in cases.

Jim Hart, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, said the force “fell short of certain policing requirements and of our responsibilities to effectively engage the communities we serve.”

“It is vital for us to see what went wrong, and importantly, the ways in which we can and must be better,” Hart said.

The 519, a Toronto-based LGBTQ advocacy group, said in a statement that it hopes the review will lead to “real and meaningful change for all marginalized communities and that these recommendations will be considered within broader calls for accountability and a total reimagining of policing in our city.”

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House panel votes to advance bill on slavery reparations

WASHINGTON — A House panel advanced a decades-long effort to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves by approving legislation Wednesday that would create a commission to study the issue.

It’s the first time the House Judiciary Committee has acted on the legislation. Still, prospects for final passage remain poor in such a closely divided Congress. The vote to advance the measure to the full House passed 25-17 after a lengthy and often passionate debate that stretched late into the night.

The legislation would establish a commission to examine slavery and discrimination in the United States from 1619 to the present. The commission would then recommend ways to educate Americans about its findings and appropriate remedies, including how the government would offer a formal apology and what form of compensation should be awarded.

The bill, commonly referred to as H.R. 40, was first introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., in 1989. The 40 refers to the failed government effort to provide 40 acres of land to newly freed slaves as the Civil War drew to a close.

“This legislation is long overdue,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the committee. “H.R. 40 is intended to begin a national conversation about how to confront the brutal mistreatment of African Americans during chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation and the enduring structural racism that remains endemic to our society today.”

The momentum supporters have been able to generate for the bill this Congress follows the biggest reckoning on racism in a generation in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.

Still, the House bill has no Republicans among its 176 co-sponsors and would need 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate, 50-50, to overcome a filibuster. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were unanimous in voting against the measure.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the committee, said the commission’s makeup would lead to a foregone conclusion in support of reparations.

“Spend $20 million for a commission that’s already decided to take money from people who were never involved in the evil of slavery and give it to people who were never subject to the evil of slavery. That’s what Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are doing,” Jordan said.

Supporters said the bill is not about a check, but about developing a structured response to historical and ongoing wrongs.

“I ask my friends on the other side of the aisle, do not ignore the pain, the history and the reasonableness of this commission,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

Other Republicans on the committee also spoke against the bill, including Rep. Burgess Owens, an African American lawmaker from Utah, who said he grew up in the Deep South where “we believe in commanding respect, not digging or asking for it.” The former professional football player noted that in the 1970s, Black men often weren’t allowed to play quarterback or, as he put it, other “thinking positions.”

“Forty years later, we’re now electing a president of the United States, a black man. Vice president of the United States, a black woman. And we say there’s no progress?” Owens said. “Those who say there’s no progress are those who do not want progress.”

But Democrats said the country’s history is replete with government-sponsored actions that have discriminated against African Americans well after slavery ended. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., noted that the Federal Housing Administration at one time refused to insure mortgages in Black neighborhoods while some states prevented Black veterans of World War II from participating in the benefits of the GI Bill.

“This notion of, like, I wasn’t a slave owner. I’ve got nothing to do with it misses the point,” Cicilline said. “It’s about our country’s responsibility, to remedy this wrong and to respond to it in a thoughtful way. And this commission is our opportunity to do that.”

Last month, the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, became the first U.S. city to make reparations available to its Black residents for past discrimination and the lingering effects of slavery. The money will come from the sale of recreational marijuana, and qualifying households would receive $25,000 for home repairs, down payments on property, and interest or late penalties on property in the city.

Other communities and organizations considering reparations range from the state of California to cities like Amherst, Massachusetts; Providence, Rhode Island; Asheville, North Carolina; and Iowa City, Iowa; religious denominations like the Episcopal Church; and prominent colleges like Georgetown University in Washington.

Polling has found long-standing resistance in the U.S. to reparations to descendants of slaves, divided along racial lines. Only 29% of Americans voiced support for paying cash reparations, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll taken in the fall of 2019. Most Black Americans favored reparations, 74%, compared with 15% of white Americans.

President Joe Biden captured the Democratic presidential nomination and ultimately the White House with the strong support of Black voters. The White House has said he supports the idea of studying reparations for the descendants of slaves. But it’s unclear how aggressively he would push for passage of the bill amid other pressing priorities.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus brought up the bill during a meeting with Biden at the White House on Tuesday.

“We’re very comfortable with where President Biden is on H.R. 40,” Jackson Lee told reporters after the meeting.

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Wounded officer at Tennessee school not shot by student’s gun

A Knoxville police officer wounded in a shooting at a high school where a student was killed this week is not believed to have been shot by the student’s weapon, investigators said Wednesday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said there was a struggle, and the student’s gun was fired before police shot twice.

“Preliminary examinations indicate the bullet that struck the KPD officer was not fired from the student’s handgun,” the TBI said in an updated statement.

That differs from an initial TBI account that said officers responded to the restroom at Austin-East Magnet High School on a report of an armed person inside, and that the student “reportedly fired shots, striking an officer.”

The student who was killed was identified Wednesday as Anthony J. Thompson, Jr., 17. Knoxville police have said the officer was shot in the leg.

The TBI said that investigations uncover facts that may clarify initial reports, and said it was updating its information about the events that occurred.

Wednesday’s statement does not say who shot the officer, or if one officer fired twice or if more than one officer fired. The TBI said Monday after the incident that officers entered the restroom and one officer fired.

An agency spokesperson said that because there is an active investigation into the shooting, Wednesday’s statement was the extent of the information it could release at this time.