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Rochester University pressured to fire professor Steven Landsburg over rape comments

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A professor at the University of Rochester who asked why an attacker shouldn’t “reap the benefits” of an unconscious woman is now the target of a campaign to get him fired.

In a March 20 blog post, economics professor Steven Landsburg questioned why raping someone who was unconscious should be illegal if the act caused no direct physical harm. The question was posed along with two other hypothetical questions about pornography and environmentalism.

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Landsburg noted the Steubenville rape victim “was not even aware that she’d been sexually assaulted until she learned about it from the Internet some days later,” and added that as long as someone was unaware of the assault, “why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits?”

The group Women Organized to Resist and Defend has launched an online campaign to get Landsburg fired for his comments. The group describes his blog post as a “shocking” attempt “to normalize and minimize the effects of rape.”

In a follow-up post published on Wednesday, Landsburg insisted his question was merely a hypothetical thought experiment, which was meant to provoke discussion about what sort of “psychic harm” should be acknowledged in policy. He described his question as “more idle noodling than anything else, with no good arguments and no conclusions.”

Landsburg found himself facing another backlash last year for comments directed at Georgetown student Sandra Fluke. After conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut,” the professor wrote that a “far better word might have been ‘prostitute.'”

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“She will, as I understand it, be having sex whether she gets paid or not,” Landsburg added. “Her demand is to be paid. The right word for that is something much closer to ‘extortionist’.”


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Swiss holding ‘funeral march’ to mark disappearance of an Alpine glacier

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Dozens of people will undertake a "funeral march" up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change.

The Pizol "has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP.

The organisation which helped organise Sunday's march said around 100 people were due to take part in the event, set to take place as the UN gathers youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming.

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2020 Election

UAW strike ‘threatens to upend the economy in Michigan’ — and could destroy Trump’s re-election: report

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At the end of the first week of a major strike by the United Auto Workers, the employment standoff threatens to upend President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election map, the Chicago Times reported Saturday.

Approximately 46,000 workers have been striking against General Motors.

There are two major threats to Trump's campaign from the strike.

The first is that the strike could cause regional recessions -- threatening Trump's political standing in key Rust Belt states.

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Security forces fired live rounds at protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president: report

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Egyptian security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the port city of Suez on Saturday, firing tear gas and live rounds, said several residents who participated in the demonstrations.

A heavy security presence was also maintained in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities called for the removal of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Such demonstrations are rare after Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi.

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