Miss Honduras María José Alvarado and Sister Found Dead

2014 Miss Honduras winner Maria Jose Alvarado was found dead along with her sister. (Google Images)

2014 Miss Honduras winner Maria Jose Alvarado was found dead along with her sister. (Google Images)

Freddy Cuevas and Alberto Arce of the Associated Press are reporting that Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado and her sister Sofía Trinidad Alvarado Muñoz have been found dead. The two bodies believed to belong to Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister were found buried near the spa where they disappeared six days ago, after being led to the bodies by  Muñoz’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz on Wednesday.

The reporters write:

“Authorities were awaiting confirmation from forensic officials that the bodies are Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia, 23, said Gen. Ramon Sabillon.

Sabillon said Sofia’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, confessed and led authorities to the bodies buried in a river bank in a mountainous area of Santa Barbara, about 240 miles (400 kilometers) west of Tegucigalpa.

They were found near La Aguagua spa, where they had gone Thursday to celebrate Ruiz’s birthday.

Both women, who grew up in the area, were shot to death and appeared to have been killed the night they disappeared, Sabillon said.”

Alvarado had been crowned Miss Honduras in April 2014 and was scheduled fly to London to prepare for the 2014 Miss World competition being held in December.

Read more at Yahoo News.

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Modern Slavery: Almost 36 Million People’s Reality

Source: 2014 Global Slavery Index

Source: 2014 Global Slavery Index

BBC News is reporting that nearly 36 million people worldwide, or 0.5% of the world’s population, live as slaves, a survey by anti-slavery campaign group Walk Free says. The author writes:

“The group’s Global Slavery Index says India has the most slaves overall and Mauritania has the highest percentage. The total is 20% higher than for 2013 because of better methodology.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labor, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage.

It uses slavery in a modern sense of the term, rather than as a reference to the broadly outlawed traditional practice where people were held in bondage and treated as another person’s property.

The Global Slavery Index’s estimate is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery. In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that almost 21 million people were victims of forced labor.”

Walk Free found modern day slavery in all of the 167 countries surveyed. The practice is most prevalent in Asia and Africa and least prevalent in Europe. In the Americas, 1.285 million people live in modern day slavery in the Americas.

Read more at BBC News. Please see the actual survey here.

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Dr. Myles and Ruth Munroe: Funeral Will Be Held on Dec. 4

The children of Dr. Myles and Ruth Munroe speak at the first church service since the death of their parents in a plane crash. (Google Images)

The children of Dr. Myles and Ruth Munroe speak at the first church service since the death of their parents in a plane crash. (Google Images)

Leonardo Blair of the Christian Post is reporting that Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth will be laid to rest on December 4 at the Bahamas Faith Ministries International Diplomat Center on Carmichael Road in Nassau, Bahamas. Prior to the funeral, a public memorial service will be held at the 5,000-seat Thomas Robinson Stadium on Wednesday, December 3.  The author reports that the first church service held at their center since the Munroes and seven others died in a plane crash last week was tear-filled. The author writes:

“The Munroes daughter, Charissa, and son, Myles Munroe Jr., couldn’t hold back their tears as they faced his former congregation for the first Sunday since his untimely death with their mother, Ruth, and seven others in a fiery jet crash two Sundays ago.

Kevin Harris, spokesperson for the Bahamas Faith Ministries, which the renowned evangelical pastor and motivational speaker led before his death, told The Christian Post in an interview Monday that attendance at the church exploded Sunday with supporters who had been rocked by the tragedy.

‘We had an overflow. We had to bring in [a] tremendous amount of seating. Thousands of people turned up,’ said Harris.”

Myles Munroe’s Family Issues Statement at Grand Bahama Press Conference from mackeymedia on Vimeo.

Myles Munroe offered words to the congregation for a brief moment before a pre-recorded message was played. He stated:

“‘I was gonna prepare a speech, but as I was getting ready this morning I just knew that I was coming to talk to family,’ Myles said, struggling with tears. ‘I figured I would just speak to family. It’s been the hardest week for my sister and I and my family, and everyone else that has been affected; and it’s because of family why we are able to stand here today,’ he continued.”

Read more at the Christian Post.

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Nigeria: Suicide Bomber Strikes Federal College of Education

Niger State

Sani Tukur of AllAfrica.com is reporting that a deadly explosion has occurred at the Federal College of Education, Kontagora, Niger State. Tukur writes:

“The Niger State police spokesperson, Ibrahim Gambari, said an unidentified female suicide bomber struck at the school on Wednesday, killing herself and injuring three others.

Police bomb units have deployed to the scene, he said. A witness said however that at least one person was killed. That could not be confirmed.

‘She detonated her bomb vest between the auditorium and the college library. She might have been on her way to the library,’ Aisha Kontagor‎a, who lives in Kontangora, told PREMIUM TIMES.”

Niger State lies next to Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

This story is developing.

Read more at AllAfrica.com.

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Michael Brown: Parents Appeal to U.N. Committee

The Parents of Mike Brown. Michael Brown Sr. & Lesley McSpadden.  (Photo Credit: go.com)

The Parents of Mike Brown.
Michael Brown Sr. & Lesley McSpadden.
(Photo Credit: go.com)

CNN is reporting that the parents of  Michael Brown, 18, a Missouri teen killed  by police officer Darren Wilson, 28, have gone to Geneva, Switzerland to testify in  front of a United Nations committee in hopes that it will bring awareness to the shooting of their son as well as other cases of police brutality.

Michael Brown  Sr. and Lesley McSpadden spoke to the U.N. committee against cruel or degrading treatment  used by government authorities. McSpadden told CNN in Geneva:

“We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice, we need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.

Due to differing accounts of events, there has been speculation around what truly occurred between Michael Brown and the white police officer that led to the teens shooting and death.

Though testimony given by Browns parents to the U.N. was done behind closed doors, it was stated that the couple would read from a statement that was submitted by the Brown family and an organization called HandsUpUnited. The author writes:

“The document says Brown’s killing and force used by police officers during protests that followed the killing ‘represent violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.’

It requests that the U.N. panel recommend the immediate arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown, as well as an end to ‘racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson.’

The statement also calls for recommendations that would apply to the entire United States, including that the Attorney General and Department of Justice ‘must conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular. Methodology and findings of this investigation must be made publicly available.'”

Read more at CNN.com.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire. He is a junior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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Why Are So Many Female Veterans Unemployed?

Unemployment leads to other issues like homelessness, where female veterans are the fastest growing population.  (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Female veterans face many barriers to employment.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

Kelly Wallace of CNN is reporting that the unemployment rate for female veterans who have been discharged since September 11, 2001, was 9.3% in 2013, versus about 8% for male vets, according to a report from the Disabled American Veterans. Wallace writes:

“The difference in unemployment between female and male veterans is even more dramatic when you consider veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: For women, the rate was 11.2% last month, 5 points higher than it was for men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

“Women veterans are still having a harder time finding jobs than their male counterparts,” first lady Michelle Obama said at a White House event Monday designed to put a spotlight on the issue.”

Some of the reasons for female veteran unemployment is because many women are married to spouses in the military meaning there is a lot of transience, making it difficult to find jobs, stay employed or build an employment history; many women don’t identify themselves as veterans; there are fewer health services in the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically designed for female veterans.

For example, a third of VA Centers do not have a gynecologist on staff, which is jarring since 1 in 5 female servicewomen say they experience some type of sexual trauma.

Currently, 14.5% of the 1.4 million active military members are women.

Read more at CNN.com.

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Sugar Hill Gang: Big Bank Hank Dead at 57

Founding member of the Sugar Hill Gang, Henry 'Big Bank Hank' Jackson (l) has passed away. (Also pictured: Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright (c) and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien (r).  Photo Credit: Google Images

Founding member of the Sugar Hill Gang, Henry ‘Big Bank Hank’ Jackson (l) has passed away. Also pictured: Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright (c) and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien (r).
Photo Credit: Google Images

Jessica Goodman of the Huffington Post is reporting that a member of the pioneering rap group the Sugarhill Gang has died. Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson passed away on Tuesday from complications due to cancer. The author writes:

“The news — first reported by TMZ — was confirmed to HuffPost Entertainment by David Mallie, business manager for Sugarhill Gang members Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. Jackson was 57 years old.

In a statement to HuffPost Entertainment via Mallie, Wright and O’Brien expressed sorrow and condolences: “So sad to hear of our brother’s passing. The three of us created musical history together with the release of ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ We will always remember traveling the world together and rocking the house. Rest in peace Big Bank.”

The Sugarhill Gang was named after the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Harlem.  The group of which Jackson was a founder, made music history in 1979 when the single “Rapper’s Delight” became the first hip hop track to be listed in the Top 40 charts in the United States.

Jackson was 57.

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Guyana President Ramotar Suspends Parliament

Guyana President Donald Ramontar has suspended Parliament.  (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Guyana President Donald Ramontar has suspended Parliament.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

BBC is reporting that Guyana President Donald Ramotar invoked an obscure constitutional procedure to suspend parliament in order to avoid a vote of no confidence by opponents.  The author writes:

“He [President Ramotar] said in a statement he was disbanding the legislature with the hope that it might eventually ‘benefit our people’.

But his opponents accused the president of undermining democracy. Mr. Ramotar executed his decision as MPs returned for their first day of work after a two-month recess.

Under a constitutional tool known as ‘proroguing’, he said he would be able to suspend parliament for a maximum of six months.

The measure would allow the president’s administration to work with an opposition-controlled parliament without calling early elections, according to the Associated Press news agency.”

Opponents believe that the current government is recalcitrant and renegade.

Read more at BBC News.

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Former Minnesota Viking Safety Orlando Thomas Dies

Former Minnesota Vikings Safety Orlando Thomas dies at 42.  (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Former Minnesota Vikings Safety Orlando Thomas dies at 42.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

Adam Shefter of ESPN is reporting that former Minnesota Vikings safety Orlando Thomas, who led the NFL in interceptions during his rookie season in 1995 with nine interceptions, died Sunday night of ALS.  Shefter writes:

“Thomas’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed the news. Thomas had been battling ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in Crowley, Louisiana.

“Nobody’s ever fought a battle like Orlando fought, with so much dignity — I never saw anything like it,” Bartelstein said Monday morning. “It’s just incredible. He never had a sense of self pity, never felt sorry for himself, he was always worried about everyone else. He was just the most incredible person I’ve ever been around.”

Thomas weighed 225 pounds when he played for the NFL. When he died, he weighed just 70 pounds. Thomas is survived by his wife Demetra and five children. He was 42.

Read more at ESPN.

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Oprah Winfrey: The Queen of Reinvention Delivers with ‘Life You Want’ Tour

Oprah Winfrey speaks to audiences during 'The Life You Want' 2014 Weekend Tour.  Photo Credit: The Peach Review

Oprah Winfrey speaks to audiences during ‘The Life You Want’ 2014 Weekend Tour.
Photo Credit: The Peach Review

There’s an old adage that says when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has done just that, turning a life full of challenges and pain into one marked by triumph and joy. Winfrey has shared so much of her life’s journey through the years in various forms – journalist, talk show host, studio head, actress, editor-in-chief, educator, filmmaker, satellite radio operator, cable channel founder, humanitarian – that one had to wonder what on earth was left for her to share with audiences and on what platform? Is there any category in which Winfrey cannot succeed?

The answer, quite frankly is no, as evidenced by the eight-city The Life You Want Weekend 2014 Tour, where Winfrey and friends come together to help audiences, mainly women, get in touch with their deepest desires while offering a blueprint of how to get there. Sponsored by Toyota and Olay, Washington DC’s Verizon Center played host to an event that was actually more of an experience.

The arena was teeming with participants committed to being a part of what has become a rite of passage for middle-class women looking for more out of life. This tour is a Mecca for a racially diverse group of women trying to side-step mid-life crises, hold it together at home or in the workplace, gain support that is absent from their everyday lives, or simply figure out what’s next in a life that is often moving too fast to function with thoughtfulness and intentionality.

Stepping off of the bustling streets surrounding the Verizon Center, one steps into an arena with even more energy that is contagious as thousands of people smile, cheer and exchange pleasantries. The idea that women can’t get along is put to rest as women embrace and help each other navigate what could be an overwhelming experience.

DJ Kiss spins songs at 'The Life You Want' Weekend Tour.  (Google Images)

DJ Kiss spins songs at ‘The Life You Want’ Weekend Tour.
(Google Images)

Thousands of people dance to the sounds of DJ Kiss, while awaiting the presence of Winfrey and the announcement of the next spiritual guide. There are lectures, journaling, dance breaks, meditations, prayers, fluorescent bracelets, dance breaks, laughter, tears, inspirational stories, mini exercise sessions, motivational speakers, shout outs and dance breaks. There’s even O-Town, a pop-up interactive town square, where you can score whatever else you may want (your photo next to Oprah’s on an O Magazine cover) or need (yoga or free CoverGirl makeup session) during the two-day event.

The Life You Want Tour is literally giving you everything you want, even some things you may not even know you want or need, like spiritual guidance.

Iyanla Van Zant and Oprah Winfrey at 'The Life You Want' Tour Weekend in Washington, DC.  (Verizon Center)

Iyanla Van Zant and Oprah Winfrey at ‘The Life You Want’ Tour Weekend in Washington, DC.
(Verizon Center)

Authors Elizabeth Gilbert and Rob Bell offer words of wisdom and encouragement through storytelling. Iyanla Van Zant literally brings down the house with her mastery of rhetorical tools. Many want Van Zant, who sips champagne throughout her presentation, to fix their lives like on television. She is as direct and intentional on stage as she is on screen. Van Zant encourages attendees to aim for authenticity and not perfection. Like Winfrey, she emboldens the audience with words of encouragement reminding attendees that they have to go through labor to birth the life that they want. As she offers words of encouragement and wisdom, she gently reminds them to have a daily spiritual practice of prayer, meditation and silence.

Winfrey’s The Life You Want Tour is more than a spiritual tent meeting disguised as an empowerment super session. It is an opportunity to learn as much as you can about yourself through the stories of others. The Life You Want Weekend isn’t a spiritual mecca; in fact it is an experiential mecca intent on bringing people together in a myriad of ways. If spirituality speaks to you, then this event is for you. If prosperity speaks to you, then this event is for you. If shopping and fellowship speak to you, then this event is for you. If energy speaks to you then this event is for you. If personal stories of triumph over tragedy like that of cancer-survivor and veteran Jas Boothe of Final Salute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization Boothe founded to help homeless female veterans, then this event is for you.

Oprah Winfrey and Amy Purdy (far left) with Jas Boothe (middle), founder of Final Salute, Inc, recipient of the Toyota “Standing O-Vation” Award. (Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns)

Oprah Winfrey and Amy Purdy (far left) with Jas Boothe (middle), founder of Final Salute, Inc, recipient of the Toyota “Standing O-Vation” Award.
(Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns)

The Life You Want Tour gives you just that, the life you want for two-days so that you can eventually get to the life you need by doing the real work on a daily basis.

After the frenzy dies down, the utopia disappears and Winfrey takes her final bow as The Life You Want Weekend Tour closes in San Jose, CA, one has to wonder what’s next for Winfrey? Yes, there’s the film Selma, but what will be her next major accomplishment?

Perhaps Winfrey’s greatest accomplishment is her ability to remain relevant through a process of reinvention that is effective? In a world where Madonna/Madge has become boring, Winfrey continues to redirect, reinterpret and re-imagine the world and her place in it. She continuously creates the life that she wants and brings audiences along with her.

The Life You Want Tour is a model for empowerment, encouragement and getting the life you want, one weekend at a time.

This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire, with additional reporting from contributor Bamidele Alexander. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

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