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Ancient Handholding Skeletons Are Men but Italy Won’t Say Gay

Ancient Handholding Skeletons Are Men but Italy Won’t Say GayArcheo ModenaROME—In 2009, the straight world swooned when archaeologists discovered two ancient skeletons from between the fourth and sixth centuries A.D. holding hands in a grave in Modena, Italy. They were dubbed the “Lovers of Modena” and have become synonymous with heterosexual romance, their image now often used in Italy to symbolize undying love.When they were discovered, archeologists said the bones were in such a state of decay that the usual genetic-based methods used in confirming the biological sex of ancient remains was of no use. Still, one of the figures was slightly smaller than the other, so it was assumed they were male and female. The individuals did not die in situ—their hands were placed holding each other's by whoever buried them, most likely to represent a relationship between the two people. Eleven people were buried in the cemetery where they were found, all initially thought to be soldiers and victims of an ancient war, based on wounds consistent with battles. The consensus among anthropologists was that the presumed female hand-holder was the lover of one of the warriors.This week, scientists with the University of Bologna announced the “Lovers of Modena” were actually both biologically male, thanks to a revolutionary process they used to examine tooth enamel. A certain peptide that is present only in males was present in all 16 teeth extracted from both skeletons. The scientists also found that only one of the 11 individuals buried in the cemetery was female, and she wasn’t holding anyone’s hand. Then, suddenly, the hand-holders weren’t lovers at all: Italian archaeologists insisted that surely they were brothers or cousins who died in battle. Archaeologist Federico Lugli, who led the Bologna study, conceded that while it was impossible to know if the two men were lovers, he highly doubted it. “In late-ancient times it is unlikely that homosexual love could be recognized so clearly by the people who prepared the burial,” he told The Daily Beast by email. “Given that the two individuals have similar ages, they could be relatives, probably siblings or cousins.”Homosexuality was well documented in Roman times. Emperor Nero married women to bear children, but he had sex with men for pleasure. He publicly married two men, Pythagoras and, years later, Sporo, who was castrated and made to wear a woman’s gown during the ceremony, according to historical accounts by Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio, whose writings account for much of what we know about ancient Rome. The ancient Roman Empire legal tome Lex Scantinia sets out a series of regulations for men having sex with other men, including that freeborn Romans—that is to say those who were not slaves or war prisoners—could not take a passive role when having sex with a man. But by no means did it make same sex relationships illegal and it was quite common for noble Romans to have male lovers in addition to wives who fulfilled the traditional role of childbearing. In the case of the skeletons of the Lovers of Modena, it seems historians are not willing to concede that two individuals who were once thought to be romantically linked when they were presumed to be male and female are likely not now that their biological sex is the same. “The burial of two men hand in hand was certainly not a common practice in the late-ancient era,” Lugli says. “We believe that this choice symbolizes a particular relationship between the two individuals, but we do not know the nature of it.”There are plenty of examples of ancient figures buried in all manner of embrace—most of which have been positively identified through genetic sampling as male and female, but not all. The embracing skeletons found in Petrykiv village in western Ukraine are thought to be from a woman who committed suicide to be buried with her man, but the analysis was made based on jewelry and size. In 2015, a couple of 6,000-year-old spooning skeletons were found in Greece, though no one has any idea yet why they were in such a position. Their bones were identified as biologically male and female. Usually, when couples are found buried together, the first question is why they died at the same time and if one was sacrificed to be buried with the other. Now, thanks to the new dental enamel science, archaeologists can go back to other ancient lovers to find out more about who they were. “At present there are no other burials of this type,” Lugli says of the two male hand-holders. “In the past several graves were found with pairs of individuals laid hand in hand, but in all cases it was a man and a woman. The link between the two individuals of the Modena burial, instead, remains a mystery.”  Or perhaps the evidence is right in front of them. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Israel won’t let them in

Israel won’t let them inEpstein's bones, Israel's ban on congresswomen and a seven-hour gunbattle. Here's Thursday's top news.



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Trump Wins? House Democrats Probably Won’t Like Budget Deal

Trump Wins? House Democrats Probably Won’t Like Budget DealThe Trump administration and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle struck a budget deal Monday, and House Democrats may not react well to some of its details.House Democrats will find it hard to negotiate for policy changes using the deal, like pushing for federal funding of abortion as prohibited by the Hyde Amendment or clamping down on President Donald Trump using Pentagon funding for building a U.S.-Mexico border wall.Congressional leaders agreed to prevent such measures, known as “riders” or “poison pills,” as part of Monday’s deal. House Democrats may make things tough and argue that certain policy pushes are not poison pills, however, reported The Washington Post. They already passed abortion and wall funding provisions in this year’s party-line spending bills, reported Politico.Trump emphasized the poison pills ban in his Twitter announcement of the deal Monday evening.



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Duterte Won’t Let Up on Deadly Drug War Amid Calls for UN Probe

Duterte Won’t Let Up on Deadly Drug War Amid Calls for UN Probe(Bloomberg) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pledged to continue his war against drugs in his final three years in office despite international calls for a probe into the rising death toll.“Do not destroy my country for the three years that I am still here,” Duterte said in a speech in Leyte, central Philippines, on Friday. “Do not produce drugs for our children to eat and go crazy. I will really kill you.”Since taking office in 2016, Duterte has waged a campaign against drugs that has killed thousands and been condemned by human rights advocates. Philippine police place drug-related killings at 6,600 during his presidency, a quarter of the 27,000 estimated by rights groups. Iceland has initiated a resolution supported by 28 nations calling on the United Nations to investigate.Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo called the UN resolution an interference, saying that other nations may have been misled by “false news” on the drug war because the deaths were mainly caused by suspects resisting arrest.In his speech, Duterte reiterated that the Philippines cannot fight China over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea because of China’s military might. He instead urged the U.S. to intervene.“Let them assemble all their armaments there in South China Sea,” he said. “Fire the first shot and I’ll be glad to do the next.”To contact the reporters on this story: Clarissa Batino in Manila at cbatino@bloomberg.net;Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Matthew BrockettFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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SCOTUS Won’t Revive Alabama Law Banning Dismemberment Abortion

SCOTUS Won’t Revive Alabama Law Banning Dismemberment AbortionThe Supreme Court declined Friday to revive an Alabama law that would ban dismemberment abortions.The state was forced to appeal to the High Court after a lower court ruled that its 2016 Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which bans so-called “dilation and evacuation” abortions, violated the precedent established by Planned Parenthood v. Casey in placing an "undue burden" on abortion access.Justice Clarence Thomas was the only justice to comment on the Friday decision. In his concurring opinion, Thomas agreed that the law should not be revived on procedural grounds, but lambasted the legal "aberration" that constrained the court.“The more developed the child, the more likely an abortion will involve dismembering it,” Thomas said. “The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents States from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible. But under the ‘undue burden’ standard adopted by this court, a restriction on abortion — even one limited to prohibiting gruesome methods — is unconstitutional if ‘the purpose or effect of the provision is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.’”“This case serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control,” he added.The declination comes after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in August that dismemberment abortions, which are the most popular form of second-trimester abortion, cannot be prohibited because there are no alternatives that would not present an “unsurmountable obstacle” to women.Writing for the panel, Chief Judge Ed Carnes, like Thomas, held that he and his colleagues were bound by what amounts to an “aberration” in constitutional law.“Some Supreme Court Justices have been of the view that there is constitutional law and then there is the aberration of constitutional law relating to abortion,” Carnes wrote, referring to previous dissents from Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia. “If so, what we must apply here is the aberration.”



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Galaxy Note 10 leak reveals a futuristic feature you won’t find on any iPhone

Galaxy Note 10 leak reveals a futuristic feature you won’t find on any iPhoneThe Galaxy Note 10, now expected to launch on August 7th, is hardly a secret anymore. We've seen plenty of leaks that have confirmed the phone's design and even the sky-high price tag has been outed. The Note 10 will come in two sizes, both featuring the same Infinity-O display that will have curved edges with tiny top and bottom bezels. In many ways, the Galaxy Note 10 will be similar to the Galaxy S10 when it comes to specs, but an insider now claims the phone will have a futuristic feature that no other popular smartphone has — not even the iPhone. If this rumor is accurate, it will give Samsung an advantage over almost all competitors out there when it comes to design.Ice Universe, a reliable Samsung leaker, explained on Twitter that the Note 10 will have bezels as narrow as the iPhone, and that's possible thanks to a new display innovation: Sound on Display (SoD) tech.https://twitter.com/UniverseIce/status/1141244216992866304Instead of having to place a speaker at the top of the phone, Samsung can turn the screen itself into a speaker. This tech has been in the making for quite a while, and Samsung is one of the two companies that can pull it off. The other one is LG, which launched its LG V8 ThinQ earlier this year, the world's first phone with SoD tech. LG, however, hasn't been able to match Samsung for a long time when it comes to flagship smartphone sales.The Galaxy S10 still features a speaker at the top. It's almost invisible, but it's there. SoD screens will allow Samsung and every other company that sources OLED screens from Samsung Display to further reduce the size of their top bezels.The iPhone 11, meanwhile, isn't expected to drop the front-facing speaker anytime soon, and certainly not this year on the iPhone 11. Apple is rumored to stick with the same iPhone X notch design for at least one more generation of handsets, which means the front speaker isn't going anywhere for the time being. Google's Pixel 4, one other highly anticipated handset of the second half of 2019, will also have a speaker at the top, right in the middle of a pretty thick top bezel.



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DeVos: ‘One-Size-Fits-All Approach’ to Education Won’t Do

DeVos: ‘One-Size-Fits-All Approach’ to Education Won’t DoStudents and teachers both suffer from a "one-size-fits-all approach" to education, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Friday.DeVos joined National Review's Jay Nordlinger at the National Review Institute 2019 Ideas Summit to discuss the Trump administration's progress on school choice, an issue the secretary has made her top priority."What I really want to see is that every child have a great opportunity, an equal opportunity to get a great education in K–12," DeVos said. "Far too many kids are achieving at not the levels that they could, that they're stuck in schools that don't work for them."Last month, the Education Department proposed $ 5 billion a year in federal tax credits for scholarships to private schools as well as apprenticeship and other educational programs. DeVos said the plan would not siphon money from the public-school system, which is a concern raised by critics of school choice, who worry that public schools in poor areas where students do not have the opportunity to choose another school could be crippled financially."For over 100 years we've been doing school essentially the same," DeVos said, adding that she believes there is "growing momentum" for her policies. "We need a lot more education freedom."DeVos added that part of her goal is to address the federal government's "outsized role" in childhood education and "empower states in the way that was originally intended.""I'm very much in favor of shrinking the federal role in education," she said, emphasizing that education "needs to go down to the most local level . . . the parent."As far as teachers go, DeVos said that the current top-down education system denies teachers the "autonomy and flexibility" to "be their best.""The teaching profession has become very de-professionalized over the years," she said, because teachers "don't feel respected" when they aren't allowed autonomy to decide how to teach their students.Despite the flaws DeVos still hopes to address in the education system, she said she feels "optimistic" when she meets young students and sees the "excitement in their eyes" about the future.



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Fed Says It Won’t Hike Rates in 2019, Citing Economic Slowdown

Fed Says It Won’t Hike Rates in 2019, Citing Economic SlowdownThe Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday and predicted that it will not raise them again for the entirety of the coming year due to a recent slowdown in economic growth.In a widely anticipated move, the central bank’s policy-making Federal Open Market Committee abandoned its previous prediction, made just three-months ago, of continued strong economic growth that would necessitate two rate hikes this year.After predicting in December that the economy would continue to grow at 2.3 percent on the year, officials revised their assessment to 2.1 percent. As a result, the benchmark-funds rate will remain between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent. The Fed has generally kept rates low since the 2008 financial crisis, but began raising them incrementally under Janet Yellen.The new economic-growth forecast further widens the chasm between the central bank and the White House, which has consistently provided the rosier prediction of 3.2 percent growth this year.The decision to halt rate hikes will likely please President Trump, who, following the Fed's December announcement, lambasted Chairman Jerome Powell for threatening the bull market he's enjoyed since taking office.> It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike. Take the Victory!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2018Powell, for his part, has resisted criticizing the president and has repeatedly asserted the Fed's independence from the Trump administration.



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Rubio Predicts Maduro’s Troops Won’t Block Humanitarian Aid

Rubio Predicts Maduro’s Troops Won’t Block Humanitarian AidSenator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said Wednesday that Venezuelan troops have already begun to disobey orders and will likely refuse to block the thousands of volunteers who plan to escort a humanitarian-aid caravan across the country's border on Saturday.“Saturday’s a day when we’re going to find a lot about the Maduro regime,” Rubio told Bloomberg in a telephone interview. “I have reason to believe that rank-and-file military are not going to violently suppress aid workers.”Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is officially recognized as the president of Venezuela by the Trump administration and 30 other nations, has urged the military to defect and refuse Maduro's orders to block aid shipments at the border.“There’s already significant resistance” by rank-and-file troops, causing military leaders to doubt “whether the people under their command are going to do what they’re asking them to do,” Rubio said.More than 600,000 Venezuelans have preemptively signed up to escort large shipments of much-needed food and medicine across the country's border with Colombia, according to Guaidó, who vowed the aid will enter the country “one way or another.”The supplies have been accumulating at the border due to the Maduro regime's refusal to accept foreign aid intended to ease starvation and sickness. Maduro has repeatedly cast the foreign-aid efforts as a "political show," designed to serve as a pretext for invasion.



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Northam Tells Staff He Won’t Resign over Racist Yearbook Photo

Northam Tells Staff He Won’t Resign over Racist Yearbook PhotoDuring a cabinet meeting Friday afternoon, Virginia governor Ralph Northam told his staff that he will not resign despite the overwhelming condemnation he’s received from fellow Democrats this week following the emergence of a racist photo on his 1984 medical-school-yearbook page, according to the Associated Press. The yearbook photo, which depicts one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan uniform, was first published on Friday by the right-wing website Big League Politics. Immediately following its publication, Northam admitted to appearing in the photo and apologized for the harm it caused his constituents. Then, during a Saturday afternoon press conference, Northam backtracked, denying that he appeared in the photo but admitting to darkening his face on another occasion while he was in college.



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