Girl Scouts reap benefits after donor refuses to support transgender girls

  • 2 July 2015
President Barack Obama hugs girl scouts on the South Lawn
Girl scouts with President Obama at the very first White House Campout on 30 June

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned a $100,000 (£64,000) donation after the donor said transgender girls couldn't benefit. In response, the organization's leaders launched an online fundraiser that far outpaced the original contribution.

When Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO Megan Ferland received $100,000 from a donor to help send scouts to summer camp, she was thrilled. Several weeks later, however, the same donor sent a letter insisting that none of the funds benefit transgender girls. The national Girl Scouts office had recently released a statement welcoming transgender girls, saying that, "if a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe."

After Ferland read the donor's letter, she decided to return the money immediately.

"It was not a long thought process," she says.

Unfortunately, the loss of the financial aid meant roughly 200 girls would miss out on the chance to go to camp. So Ferland launched the "Girl Scouts is #ForEVERYGirl" campaign on June 29, an Indiegogo fundraiser with accompanying YouTube video. Within 24 hours the group had recouped the $100,000. The money has continued to pour in ever since, thus far almost tripling the original donation.

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Why are teachers busting a move?

  • 2 July 2015

Teachers are normally figures of authority and responsibility, but when senior students leave school they get a chance to show a different side.

For students, the end of school means lots of things: exams, results, impending freedom and saying farewell. And for teachers in the UK and around the world, a popular way to say goodbye to school leavers is to make a video and post it on social media.

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What links a reporter and the robot apocalypse?

  • 2 July 2015
Connor v O'Connor: on the left, Linda Hamilton, who starred in the Terminator films; on the right, Sarah O'Connor, employment correspondent for the Financial Times
Connor v O'Connor: on the left, Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor in the Terminator films; on the right, Sarah O'Connor, employment correspondent for the Financial Times

A journalist started a Twitter storm when she reported an industrial accident in Germany - but the huge interest wasn't about the story. It was sparked by an inadvertent reference to a sci-fi classic.

Sarah O'Connor is the employment correspondent for the Financial Times and in her own words, she normally tweets "really boring stuff about unit wage costs." On a good day, her Twitter bon mots might get a few dozen retweets. But then she tweeted this: "A robot has killed a worker in a VW plant in Germany".

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What it means to be female in Nigeria

  • 1 July 2015
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose book inspired #BeingFemaleInNigeria

What does it mean to be female in Nigeria? Women in Nigeria are using a hashtag on Twitter to share their experiences of everyday gender discrimination.

It started with a small book club meeting in the capital of Abuja on Sunday. Its members were discussing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "We Should All Be Feminists", based on the writer's popular talk. "We started describing our own experiences and challenges and thought we should bring the discussion to a larger group," says the book club's Florence Warmate. The area sales manager began to tweet her thoughts with the hashtag #BeingFemaleinNigeria, and soon the timeline flooded with other women sharing the unique situations they face because of their gender.

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What are you going to do with your leap second?

  • 30 June 2015
clock2

Have you thought about what you're going to do with your extra second?

The slightly odd rotation of the earth means that timekeepers are adding an additional tick to the last minute of the last hour of the last day of June. It's a tricky problem for computer programmers, but it seems many of us are wondering how exactly to use that bonus time.

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Bree Newsome: Flag activist becomes online folk hero

  • 30 June 2015
Bree Newsome takes down the Confederate Flag from a pole at the Statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, June 27, 2015.

On Saturday morning Bree Newsome climbed up a flagpole on the South Carolina state house grounds an activist, determined to take down the confederate flag flying there. By the time she climbed down and was quickly arrested by state police, she was a hero to many online.

The act of civil disobedience by Newsome and spotter James Ian Tyson sparked an outpouring of support on social media sites. The hashtags #freebree, #freejames, #takeitdown and #keepitdown started trending on Twitter as soon as Newsome started descending the 30-foot pole, grasping the Confederate flag in her hand.

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How one country came together after a terror attack

  • 30 June 2015
A Kuwaiti man mourns over the coffin of a relative, who lost his life during the attack on a mosque in Kuwait City that killed at least 27 people on Friday.
A Kuwaiti man mourns over the coffin of a relative, who lost his life during the attack on a mosque in Kuwait City that killed at least 27 people on Friday.

Following a suicide attack on a mosque, many Kuwaitis have reacted by publicly rejecting sectarianism and calling for unity on their social media accounts.

The bomber, who authorities say was from Saudi Arabia, targeted a Shia mosque, in a country where a majority are followers of Sunni Islam. The attack left at least 27 dead and more than 200 injured.

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Who came out against Facebook's rainbow flags?

  • 29 June 2015
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the rainbow flag tool by changing his own profile pic
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the rainbow flag tool by changing his own profile pic

It was wildly popular, but not everybody likes Facebook's pro-gay marriage photo filter - it's prompted a backlash in Russia and across the Arab world.

If you went on Facebook over the weekend you may have seen friends' profile pictures turned multi-coloured. Maybe you even tinted your own pic. A rainbow filter tool was introduced by the company after last week's landmark Supreme Court decision which cleared the way for same-sex marriage across the US. But in some areas of the world the response to the initiative was less than enthusiastic - and even downright hostile.

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What should social networks do about hate speech?

  • 29 June 2015
Mourners gathered outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston after a mass shooting that killed nine people.
Mourners gathered outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston after a mass shooting that killed nine people.

Extreme racist comments posted on the discussion website Reddit in the wake of the Charleston church shooting have once again raised questions about freedom of speech and the internet. How far should social networks go in censoring hate speech?

Reddit is arguably the mainstream social network most devoted to freedom of speech. It has continued to uphold that idea even in the face of criticism - for instance a controversy over a user who posted extreme content including a thread devoted to pictures of underage girls. The site didn't ban the user Violentacrez, but he did lose his job after his real identity was exposed by the website Gawker.

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The letter that summed up anger at Donald Trump

  • 26 June 2015
Adriana Almanza Facebook post

An open letter written after US business mogul Donald Trump made controversial comments about Mexicans while announcing his presidential campaign has catalysed anger within America's Hispanic community.

His comments about Mexican immigrants were stark: "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting," Donald Trump said during his announcement speech last week. He went on to vow to build a fence on the US-Mexico border: "I will build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me and I would build it very inexpensively and I will have Mexico pay for it, mark my words."

Read full article The letter that summed up anger at Donald Trump