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Animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot stirs fury in Reunion with ‘racist’ comments

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The highest ranking official on the French island of Reunion filed a legal suit against former film star and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot on Wednesday after receiving a letter deemed “racist” by the authorities.

In the letter, sent on Tuesday to the prefect of Reunion and local media, Bardot described inhabitants of the Indian Ocean island as “aboriginals who have kept the genes of savages” and denounced what she called the barbaric treatment of animals by a “degenerate population”.

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“This letter contains terms that are offensive and racist toward the inhabitants of Reunion”, prefect Amaury de Saint-Quentin said in a statement.

Bardot’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, dedicated to animal protection, said Bardot had written the letter as a personal initiative, separate from the institution.

Bardot, now 84, rose to sex symbol status as an actress in the 1950s. She starred in numerous films and was also famous as a singer and fashion model but in recent decades has become better known as an outspoken campaigner for animal welfare.

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Reunion is an overseas French department in the southern Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar, and is known for its volcanoes, coral reefs and rainforest.

Bardot’s comments triggered widespread outrage on the island, with several officials saying they would also take legal action. Two anti-racism NGOs, Licra and SOS Racisme, said they too intended to go to court.

“Ordinary racism has no place in the exchange of opinions”, France’s Minister of Overseas Territories Annick Girardin said on Tuesday, adding that she would add her name to the complaint filed by the island’s prefect.

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In Paris, the president of the lower house of parliament, Richard Ferrand, expressed his “contempt” for Bardot’s comments.

Animal rights activists say abuse of animals is common on the island and that animal sacrifice is tolerated in some religious ceremonies.

Reporting by Bernard Grollier; Additional reporting by Julie Carriat and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Richard Lough and Gareth Jones

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Pilgrims gather for cosmic-like ritual in Bulgaria’s mountains

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Thousands of pilgrims gathered Monday in Bulgaria's Rila mountains to welcome their "spiritual" new year with a cosmic-like dance performed in concentric circles, creating a striking image on the verdant mountain plain.

The white-clad dancers hiked up to Bulgaria's Seven Rila Lakes at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 feet) and performed a special meditative dance known as "paneurhythmy" for more than an hour under the sound of singing and violins.

They are followers of the Universal White Brotherhood -- an esoteric society that combines Christianity and Indian mysticism and was founded by Bulgarian theologian Peter Deunov back in 1897 but banned during communism and still considered a sect by the country's Christian Orthodox Church.

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NBA star Stephen Curry finances college golf team for six years

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Three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors said Monday he will support the creation of Howard University's first top-level golf program for the next six years.

Curry, a six-time NBA All-Star guard and avid golfer, was inspired to make the contribution by Otis Ferguson IV, a senior at the Washington DC university who Curry met during a campus visit earlier this year.

Ferguson had been campaigning to establish a golf team at Howard. He found a backer in Curry, who decided establish men's and women's golf at the historically black college.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Curry also persuaded golf equipment manufacturer Callaway to promise equipment and sport apparel giant Under Armour, who are one of his sponsors, to provide uniforms.

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Paul Krugman hilariously roasts Trump economic adviser for decades’ worth of terrible predictions

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Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on Monday set his sights on Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who himself is not actually an economist, for making decades' worth of terrible predictions.

Writing on Twitter, Krugman concedes that making predictions is a difficult business and he admits to making his own bad predictions in the past.

However, he then explains that Kudlow is unique because he's been making the same false prediction for decades -- namely, about tax cuts for the ultra-rich producing economic miracles.

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