West Brom 2-2 Aston Villa: Jay Rodriguez earns Baggies stoppage-time draw

West Brom 2-2 Aston Villa: Jay Rodriguez earns Baggies stoppage-time draw

Jay Rodriguez appeared to score West Brom’s second equaliser with his arm Jay Rodriguez bundled in a controversial injury-time equaliser as West Brom twice came from behind to draw a dramatic local derby and deny Aston Villa a third successive away win.

Two Anwar El Ghazi goals – one wickedly defected off Ahmed Hegazi, the second a stunner – had looked set to lift Dean Smith’s Villa into the Championship top six.

But, from Matt Phillips’ right-wing cross, Villa keeper Orjan Nyland was found wanting as Rodriguez bravely nipped in ahead of him to get his chest to the cross – and the ball trickled over the line. However, Villa players complained it had gone in off the striker’s arm.

After consulting with officials referee Darren England gave it, taking Rodriguez to 10 Championship goals for the season, to match his strike partner Dwight Gayle, who had slotted home Albion’s first equaliser before the break.

The draw moves third-placed Albion within four points of leaders Norwich City, while Villa remain eighth, now two points off a play-off place.

But Villa top scorer Tammy Abraham had only himself to blame for not putting the game to bed when, at 2-1 up, he missed two great chances. Relive West Brom’s draw with Aston Villa

Another derby full of incident

Villa took a hugely fortunate 12th-minute lead when Albion defender Hegazi got in the way of El Ghazi’s goalbound left-foot shot – and succeeded only in steering home a deft header, which totally wrong footed home keeper Sam Johnstone and sneaked into the net at the former Villa loan man’s left post.

But the Baggies responded well – and were level on 28 minutes when Harvey Barnes won his one on one duel with Alan Hutton down the Albion left, chipped to the right of the box and found Gayle who controlled before steering home a low right-foot shot on the volley.

John McGinn was close to restoring Villa’s lead when his powerful right-foot drive slammed against Johnstone’s left upright.

But, when his Villa team-mate El Ghazi came up with a strike of similar quality, this time there was no escape for Albion.

Jack Grealish set it up with a weaving crossfield run but, just when he was bundled off the ball looking for a free kick, the ball ran on to El Ghazi and he unleashed a 25-yard right foot thunderbolt that flew into the top right corner.

Gayle then headed over and it needed a great cover tackle to deny Barnes, before Villa should have sealed victory at the other end.

From Yannick Bolassie’s left wing cross, 11-goal Abraham somehow conjured up an incredible miss as he went to slide in with his left foot, got his long legs in a hopeless tangle and missed completely. And he then flashed a near post header high and wide.

Albion then survived a big penalty shout when Hegazi appeared to take out both Bolassie and Abraham.

But it was the Baggies who had the last word as, despite Villa moans that he might have handballed, Rodriguez somehow rescued a point.

UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan not fearful of World Snooker sanctions

UK Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan not fearful of World Snooker sanctions

Ronnie O’Sullivan cruises through to semi-finals – best shots Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is not fearful of any sanctions from World Snooker after being warned by chairman Barry Hearn "enough is enough".

After reaching his 11th UK Championship semi-final, O’Sullivan continued his ongoing row with Hearn by reiterating his plans for a breakaway tour.

But Hearn said: "Nobody is bigger than the sport. Not me, or Ronnie, but we need our stars."

O’Sullivan said fellow player John Higgins was with him "all day long".

Three-time UK champion Higgins was deeply upset after his second-round exit in York, and hinted he may retire at the end of the season.

O’Sullivan suggested after his second-round win that he is "ready to go" and form a breakaway tour, clarifying afterwards it would be a "last resort".

O’Sullivan said: "I spoke to John and he said ‘whatever you get, I am in’ so I have definitely got John on board. I phoned him four, five days ago and asked him to call me when he is ready.

"We had a chat. I told him: ‘I know the reason why you said what you did.’ He said he is not truly out of love with the game but he cannot carry on as it is.

"I asked if he would do something with me and he went: ‘Yeah, all day long, I would love to do it.’" I am doing it for the players – O’Sullivan

Five-time world champion O’Sullivan is unhappy with the number of events on the calendar and the travelling required to compete across Britain, Europe and China.

He says the system is "blatantly unfair" and has a signed list of players who "all agree" about the changes he wants implemented, which include seedings at tournaments for the top-16 players, and rankings to be calculated on an average from the tournaments played.

Despite playing in three of a possible nine ranking events this season, O’Sullivan’s record is excellent. Prior to the UK Championship, ‘The Rocket’ was the beaten finalist at the Northern Ireland Open, progressed to the semi-finals of the English Open, and also won two invitational events.

Hearn, though, said he is "bending over backwards for Ronnie" and his "door is always open" for a discussion about any concerns. O’Sullivan rejected the invitation as "there is no point" speaking to him. O’Sullivan tweeted this message in a debate over player burnout on tour O’Sullivan said: "I get some of the other players don’t want to put their names to it, I understand if they are worried of upsetting Barry Hearn, but I have been open about it and happy to take it on.

"I cannot keep being singled out – ‘it is just Ronnie that wants these changes, it is just Ronnie that is moaning’. I have brought it out into the open and everyone feels it is something they can talk about but what we really need now is players to put their name to it and put some pressure on them.

"I predict that Hearn will say I am self-indulgent, but that is totally not the case. I am doing it for the players and not gaining anything out of it. All I am trying to do is prolong my career and play the best snooker I can and to be the best you can be.

"If his door is truly open, let’s have a transparent chat, talk about it and be open to new ideas, new promoters and have another tour. Let people choose where they want to play and work together.

"Barry does not want that, he wants everyone to play in his tournaments and no-one is allowed to set up their own tournaments other than if you work for Barry.

"I am a bit braver than most of the guys on the circuit and ready to look at an alternative." O’Sullivan comments ‘damaging’ to snooker

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has warned O’Sullivan that no player is "bigger than the sport" Hearn suggests O’Sullivan could be fined or banned for any more outbursts, and said the player needs to "adopt the proper procedure" by speaking or writing to the WPBSA, the players’ union or the players’ commission.

He added: "I have to factor in something special with Ronnie, the guy is a genius and geniuses are not the same people as you and I. They don’t have the same rationale or the same thought process.

"That does not mean you can ignore the rules, but you have to take into account they are different people. I am trying to with Ronnie and he is making my life harder and harder.

"I want to put an arm around Ronnie rather than hitting him on the head with a rock. He needs to understand the way we work and we need to understand he may have some points worthy of consideration. We will run the sport for the benefit of 128 players, not one.

"Of the 127 players, not one would even contemplate doing anything with Ronnie O’Sullivan because his agenda is for Ronnie O’Sullivan and that is on a selfish point. That is understandable but it is damaging to the game when you are talking to major governments and major broadcasters for them to be reading about a breakaway.

"It is a word which tips you away from the sport, it is controversy. That is damaging and must stop." Slow play is ‘tantamount to cheating’

Hearn also want to eradicate slow play in the game, and says anything over 30 seconds per shot is "excessive".

Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is the fastest player on tour, with an average shot time of 16.25 seconds, while Englishman Rod Lawler is slowest on 33.35 seconds per shot.

Hearn said: "This could potentially be used as gamesmanship to slow down a game against a faster player. That is tantamount to cheating.

"We will have to bring in rules to govern that at the end of the season. Those would involve an average shot time inside the arena for the fans and players.

"The referees are in a difficult place, having to be brave enough to tap them on the shoulder and say ‘you’re a bit slow’."

From next year, prize money for the UK Championship will increase by £150,000 to a total of £1m, with the winner receiving £200,000, a £30,000 increase from the current tournament.

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Newspaper headlines: A cross-party alliance to ‘dump May’?

Newspaper headlines: A cross-party alliance to 'dump May'?

MPs from Labour, the DUP and the Conservatives are "lining up to sack Theresa May" if her Brexit deal does not pass Tuesday’s Commons vote, according to the Times. The newspaper says that, should the PM be ousted, those expected to compete to succeed her include Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Amber Rudd, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove. The Daily Telegraph also leads on the prime minister’s future. The paper reports that ministers believe the chances of Mrs May’s deal passing Tuesday’s vote are "zero", and that she will "told to quit" if she loses the vote. To add to the PM’s woes, the Telegraph suggests three "middle-ranking Eurosceptic ministers" are considering resigning because they "cannot back the prime minister’s Brexit deal". The Guardian’s front page also features trouble for Mrs May, who is reportedly trying to "forestall a rash of resignations" ahead of Tuesday’s vote. The paper’s lead story, however, is about activist Tommy Robinson. According to the report, Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is receiving "financial, political and moral support from an array of non-British groups". The Guardian says that Mr Robinson did not respond when asked to comment on the story. Statins – the cholesterol-reducing drug – "would save thousands of lives" in the UK if administered in "big, regular doses", reports the i weekend. The paper, quoting a report by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Leicester, says the treatment could prevent 12,000 heart attacks and strokes each year. The Daily Express also leads on the statins story, reporting that some people in the trial saw a 40% reduction "in their risk of suffering a cardiovascular event". "You little miracle!" reads the front page of the Daily Mail, which splashes on an interview with the first woman to give birth using a womb transplanted from a dead person. Fabiana Santos was born in Brazil without a womb but, after a successful transplant in 2016, gave birth to her daughter, Luisa. After a nine-year association with the brand, singer Cheryl has been dropped by cosmetics company L’Oreal, according to the Sun. The paper claims her contract, which saw her appear in shampoo adverts, was worth £4m. The Mirror says that BBC licence-fee payers might "feel short-changed" this Christmas due to the number of re-runs set to be broadcast over the festive period. The paper says the number of repeats is set to rise 50% in comparison to last year. The story carries quotes from Kate Phillips, BBC controller of entertainment commissioning, arguing some viewers "love" repeats. The news that Germany’s ruling Christian Democrat Union has chosen Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as its new party leader – ending Angela Merkel’s 18-year reign – makes the front page of the FT Weekend. The CDU general secretary narrowly beat Friedrich Merz, a millionaire lawyer, in a run-off vote in Hamburg. Mrs Merkel remains as German chancellor. The Daily Star’s front page features a story about ambulance crews being made to "hand over" gifts given to them by grateful members of the public. Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning

LGBT Texan of the Year: Lupe Valdez

LGBT Texan of the Year: Lupe Valdez

Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy in Oak Cliff last December. (David Taffet / Dallas Voice) Lupe Valdez didn’t win her bid for governor, but her campaign was a transformative moment in Texas history

There were four openly-LGBT gubernatorial candidates across the U.S. running in this year’s mid-term elections. Dallas County’s former sheriff, Latina lesbian Lupe Valdez was one of them. While Valdez did not succeed in her bid to oust Republican incumbent Greg Abbott, she brought in nearly 43 percent of the vote — an amazing feat for an openly-LGBT Democrat in a state-wide race in such a deep red Republican stronghold.

Valdez’s campaign signaled a huge step forward for LGBT candidates — indeed, for all progressive candidates — in Texas. And for that reason, Dallas Voice names Lupe Valdez as our LGBT Texan of the year.

Valdez’s race was, “transformative,” said LGBT Victory Fund CEO Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston who is herself a history-making LGBT candidate in Texas. And, she added, Valdez knew “when she got into it” that her run for governor was a long shot, a total uphill race.

Still, Parker said, Valdez is “an experienced candidate” with a compelling personal story.

Valdez is the child of migrant workers. She grew up in San Antonio, in a neighborhood without paved streets. On the campaign trail, she often told the story of commuting across town to attend a better high school and stopping in the bathroom when she got to school each morning to wipe the mud off her shoes.

After she graduated from high school, Valdez paid for her own college and earned a masters degree in criminology from UT Arlington.

Valdez joined the U.S. National Guard, reaching the rank of captain. She then went on to work as a federal agent, investigating fraud and abuse in the U.S. and working undercover in South America to gather information about drug traffickers and money launderers. As sheriff, Lupe Valdez always rode in the Pride Parade In 2004, Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles, who had been in office for 20 years, was fighting allegations of corruption. A 30-year veteran of the sheriff’s department defeated Bowles in the Republican Primary, and Valdez won the Democratic Primary. The Latina lesbian was all but written off in the general election, but she surprised just about everyone by winning. With that victory, Valdez joined a handful of other Democrats to become the first Democrats to win county-wide office in Dallas in years. It was the year that Dallas County turned blue.

When she took office, Valdez knew that very few people in the sheriff’s department supported her. So she spent quite a bit of her first year as the county’s top cop winning over the support of her staff — and then replacing those who refused to accept the leadership of the country’s first lesbian Latina sheriff.

One of her biggest challenges as sheriff was bringing the county jail up to standards. Poor sanitation, an inadequate smoke evacuation system and substandard medical and mental health care plagued Lew Sterrett Justice Center. And the number of guards at the jail fell below a legally mandated guard-to-inmate ratio.

In 2010, the jail finally passed state and federal inspection for the first time in years.

In 2016, Valdez hit the national stage when she was a prime-time featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention, and rumors that she was planning a run for higher office began to fly. But Valdez remained as sheriff until 2017, when she officially declared her candidacy for governor.

At that time, Kate Brown, who identifies as bisexual, had been governor of Oregon since 2015. The country’s only other LGBT governor was New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, who came out in 2004 and immediately resigned from office amid scandal.

This year, in addition Valdez here in Texas and Brown, who won her re-election in Oregon, transgender candidate Christine Hallquist ran for governor of Vermont and Jared Polis, who is gay, ran for governor of Colorado. Hallquist lost in Vermont, but in Colorado, Polis made history as the first gay men elected governor of a U.S. state.

While Valdez didn’t win the governor’s seat in Texas, her campaign still has some victories to claim: Valdez closed the electoral gap between herself and Abbott by 6 percent compared to the 2014 election when Abbott defeated popular and high-profile Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis. Valdez got more than 1.7 million more votes than Davis did, and almost 800,000 more votes than Abbott did in his first governor’s race.

In addition to being the first lesbian to run for governor in Texas, she was the first Latina to run for the office. And she was only the fourth woman to receive a major party’s nomination for governor in Texas.

Had she won, Valdez would have been only the third Catholic governor in Texas — Abbott is Catholic, as was Francis Lubbock who served from 1861 to 1863. But Valdez would have been the first Texas governor to have been born Catholic rather than converting after marrying a Catholic.

All of those factors figured into making her election a long shot in red Texas. But Valdez addressed that the night she won her runoff against Andrew White, son of former Gov. Mark White: “I am constantly hearing this is going to be such an uphill battle,” she told a crowd of supporters gathered for her runoff. “Please, tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle.”

Parker said Valdez connected to everyday people across Texas.

“Lupe is Texas,” Parker said. “She built bridges. She connected to kids facing their own challenges. Win or lose, she was inspirational.”

While she doesn’t expect Valdez to run another statewide race, she said she hopes she stays engaged, especially with the state’s growing Spanish-speaking population. She can, Parker predicted, “be an amazing bridge-builder” with that community.

Valdez has been part of the Victory Fund family since her first campaign, and Parker said she expects the former sheriff will remain involved, teaching a new generation of candidates across the country how to run for office.

For Equality Texas CEO Chuck Smith, Valdez’s story is compelling. “She’s who we are as Texans,” he said. She demonstrates “our grit; our resourcefulness. We persevere through anything. She speaks to many people.”

And incoming Stonewall Democrats President Brandon Vance called Valdez an inspiration. “Her race was great in that way, especially to black and brown children,” Vance said, noting that young minority children can look at Valdez and said, “I can serve the public. She just did it.”

Vance said she inspired him to become the first African-American president of Stonewall and to run for public office himself. Most recently, Vance was a candidate in the Dallas City Council District 4 special election in November.

Vance also praised Valdez for being openly LGBT, too. “Over the years, she’s been open about who she is,” he said, noting that the first time he met Valdez, he was at the Round-Up Saloon.

A friend told Vance, “Hey, there’s the Dallas County sheriff,” and he responded, “What’s she doing here?” His friend answered, “Just enjoying herself with friends.”

So Vance walked over and introduced himself to the sheriff who was, he said, warm and gracious. Vance said he told her then that she made him proud.

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox praised Valdez’s gubernatorial campaign for raising visibility. “In Texas, it’s no small feat to run as an openly gay candidate,” Cox said. “We know she didn’t win, but her race was an act of bravery in itself.”

And, Cox said, Valdez inspired other people to run and be involved during her tenure as sheriff. “What I have noticed is that she showed up everywhere,” even though she could have played it safe by staying on the sidelines of the LGBT community, Cox said.

“But a lot of organizations would ask her to do things and she would show up every time,” Cox said. “She was engaged with the community.”

There are very few female sheriffs, Cox said. So “having an out, elected official in a position traditionally held by a man, that again opens up those doors and conversations and opportunities for people who come after her. Maybe someday we’ll get to a place where sexual orientation doesn’t matter, a time when what matters is what kind of person we are and how well we do our jobs. But we aren’t there yet.”

Mark Phariss, who ran for a state Senate seat in Far North Dallas and Collin County, called the Valdez campaign historic.

“I went block walking with her and she’s a hard worker,” Phariss said. “She very savvy. I respect her as a campaigner and like her as a person. I enjoyed spending time with her.”

Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Patti Fink said Valdez has given people in the community hope.

“She’s been elected four times,” Fink said. “She’s shown you can be LGBT, elected and out.”

She called Valdez an amazing leader in the past and expects her to continue to be a role model for the LGBT community in the future.█

LGBT youth hear gunshots outside SMYAL house

LGBT youth hear gunshots outside SMYAL house

SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir said staff have remained safe and have not been directly impacted by the shootings.(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) Residents and staff members at the LGBT youth advocacy group SMYAL’s eight-bedroom transitional house for homeless LGBT youth were among many residents living near a section of Benning Road, N.E. that heard the sounds of gunshots last month during the latest of several shooting incidents in the area.

According to D.C. police, a man was shot and killed on the 1800 block of Benning Road., N.E., around the corner from the SMYAL house, in a hail of gunfire about 1:50 p.m. on Nov. 26. Police said a second person received a non-life threatening gunshot wound in the same incident.

The shooting marked another in a series of shootings along or near a section of Benning Rd., N.E. in the last several months, police and residents in the area have said. Police said four people were shot and wounded along the 1800 block of Benning Road, N.E. on Sept. 21 and a man was shot to death there on Sept. 24.

SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir told the Washington Blade that residents and staff at the SMYAL house at 746 19th St., N.E., which is less than one block off of Benning Rd., have remained safe and have not been directly impacted by the nearby shootings. But he said the youth residents and staff were aware of the incidents.

“They heard the shots,” he said in referring to the Nov. 26 incident that took the life of one of two people struck by gunfire.

The SMYAL house opened in January 2017 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said the shootings did not appear to be random and that the persons shot may have been targets related to disputes. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kathy Henderson told NBC 4 News she believes the shootings were linked to possible disputes among drug dealers coming into the neighborhood from other parts of the city.

Premier League clubs’ Rainbow Laces posts draw homophobic responses

Premier League clubs' Rainbow Laces posts draw homophobic responses

Premier League football teams including Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have received thousands of homophobic responses on social media for showing solidarity with Stonewall’s pro-LGBT Rainbow Laces campaign .

Over the past two weeks the clubs have been posting pictures on social media of rainbow-striped logos and messages to back the annual campaign, which was launched by Stonewall in 2013 to kick out homophobia in football.

A post on Manchester United’s Facebook page in support of the campaign received more than 43,000 “angry” responses.

Fans’ comments including “Say No to LGBT”, “God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Lukaku” and “Gaychester United” each received more than 10,000 likes.

Similar homophobic messages were left on the pages of Arsenal and Chelsea after they updated their profile pictures to include rainbow-coloured logos and messages of support for the campaign.

The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said the responses were “shocking” and a wake-up call to the FA and clubs.

“Quite clearly, the existing campaigns [to curb homophobia in football] have not been sufficient,” he said. “Even so, I suspect that these bigoted comments are coming from a hardcore minority and do not reflect the views of most fans. Unfortunately social media does tend to attract and give a voice to people with extreme views.”

Kirsty Clarke, Stonewall’s director of sport, said: “It’s great to see so many sports associations across the UK proudly championing LGBT equality as part of our Rainbow Laces campaign. The backlash from a small minority online is a reminder of just how vital it is for all of us to do our bit to help make sport everyone’s game.

“This year’s campaign is about giving people confidence to be active allies and show their visible support for LGBT people, either on or off the pitch. It’s been heartening to see that allyship in action, particularly on social media, where we’ve seen countless messages from people who aren’t LGBT calling out abuse from fellow fans and highlighting why their attitudes have no place in sport.

An Arsenal spokesperson said the club’s policies made it clear that discriminatory behaviour would not be tolerated.

“We are very proud to be supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign and do a great deal of work to promote equality across all levels of the game,” the spokesperson said. “As Facebook is the platform where these views are being shared, we are ensuring that all of our Arsenal for Everyone initiatives and messages, plus ways to report anti-LGBT language on a match day, are posted via this platform.”

LGBT-owned Denizens Brewery challenges straight bro beer culture

LGBT-owned Denizens Brewery challenges straight bro beer culture

From left are Emily Bruno, Jeff Ramirez and Julie Verratti, co-owners of Denizens Brewery. (Photo courtesy Denizens) Washington residents need not be reminded that long nights, pizza and beer are staples of the political campaign lifestyle.

When Julie Verratti and her wife, Emily Bruno, left their campaign lives in Boston and moved to Washington a decade ago, they just couldn’t quite quit the political lifestyle — or the beer part.

So in 2014, the couple and their brewmaster brother-in-law Jeff Ramirez opened Denizens Brewery , the only woman/minority-owned and -operated brewery in Maryland (115 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Md).

No ordinary brewpub, it’s as much a community organizing point as it is a beermaking center. Denizens brews a rotating list of small-batch, craft beers and serves pints, growlers, bar noshes and plenty of pride.

A lifelong beer aficionado and onetime homebrewer, Silver Spring native Verratti’s career took her first to Massachusetts to work on the John Kerry presidential campaign, where she and Bruno met. Fast forward a couple years, and the pair is still together, taking part in the nation’s first statewide marriage equality victory at Mass Equality.

In true D.C. fashion, Verratti decided to pursue a law degree, which brought her and Bruno back to the area. It was here, over holiday dinners, that they broke bread with Ramirez. For his part, besides marrying into the family, Ramirez is also was a veteran of the Colorado and Pennsylvania beer scenes. Verratti pitched him on the idea of opening their own brewpub and Denizens was born.

Explaining the division of labor, Verratti says simply, “Jeff makes the beer. I sell the beer. And Emily does the business operations.”

Today, as the growth among broader beer industry fizzes, craft brewing is mushrooming in popularity, changing the perception of how beer is consumed and what beer is meant to be. Though it may be changing faster than corporate beer culture, craft brewing is still a white male-dominated industry, Verratti says. She’s set out to change that through Denizens.

Denizens’ philosophy is reflected in its name. Verratti explains that their brewery, “should be a gathering place for the community.”

There shouldn’t be a craft beer type of person, she continued, because “craft beer belongs to all of us.”

“We don’t just shove IPAs down people’s throats.”

The brewery has five flagship beers, drawing from traditional lager, ale and Belgian styles. It also pours seasonal selections that showcase the spot’s creative barrel aging and sour programs.

The barrels bring their own only-in-D.C. story. One beer, named Call Waiting, is aged in bourbon barrels sourced from fellow LGBT liquor purveyors, Republic Restoratives. Verratti is a fan of the Ivy City-based distillery’s “kick-ass cocktails,” and they partner on programs in the LGBT community.

Putting their political organizing hats on, the partners lobbied for statewide policy change that allowed for easier local beer production and distribution and reduced regulations on where beer can be consumed.

Advancing this progressive agenda even further, Verratti has joined the board of the Brewers Association, representing thousands of beermakers across the country. She chairs the diversity committee, endeavoring to ensure that small, independent brewers improve diversity in their workforce, customers base and atmospheres. This year, the leadership panel at the annual conference was made up entirely of women.

At Denizens, “We’re so proud of being out,” Verratti says. “We’re extremely vocal of being an LGBT operation and supporting LGBT causes.”

At the brewery, the three owners have made a concerted effort to create a community space. They work with nearby University of Maryland to experiment with yeast strains and carry Maryland-made products and ingredients for the kitchen that plates everything from wings to winter kale salads. They also host special beer events, craft fairs, trivia, live music, a running club, and yes, even drag shows. They also give back to LGBT organizations, including HRC and SMYAL, and the MoCo Pride Center.

“While we’re not a ‘gay’ brewery like there are ‘gay’ bars, everyone knows who we are,” she says.

Looking forward, Denizens is in full construction mode for its second, roomier location in Riverdale Park, Md. The production space is five time larger (to make more lager), and will also include a full restaurant and tap room.

Even as she works to change the attitude of the beermaking industry, Verratti understands that “it still has a bro-style culture. And that manifests itself in people feeling excluded. We’ll never be the ‘cool kids’ on top of every craft trend. But we will make sure our customers never feel left out or marginalized. We welcome everyone with open arms and a good beer.”

Second UK citizen found dead in Jamaica within days

Second UK citizen found dead in Jamaica within days

Barbara Findley, 58, who previously lived in London, went missing on 29 November A British photographer has been found dead in Jamaica, days after another UK citizen was killed there.

Barbara Findley, 58, spent five years in Jamaica after moving from Kennington, south-east London, and was reported missing on 29 November.

She was found nine days later on the side of a road in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, The Times reported .

The Foreign Office said it had been assisting Ms Findley’s family following reports of her disappearance.

The incident follows the disappearance and death of Karen Cleary-Brown, a 44-year-old woman who had visited Jamaica. ‘Wonderful life planned’

She had been in the process of having a new home built there.

Ms Cleary-Brown’s partner Ken Brown, 65, said the body of his spouse was discovered buried in the garden of her property on the Caribbean island.

She had been missing since 25 November and was found on Monday when her killer, who was also working on her property, confessed to the murder and led detectives to her grave, Mr Brown said.

"I am just devastated. She was building a dream home. We had planned this wonderful life together," the 65-year-old added.

"She was coming back in January and then we were going to go for a big holiday around Thailand – the future was rosy."

The news comes six months after the deaths of British couple Charlie and Gayle Anderson, who were murdered in their Jamaican home after moving from Manchester.

Huawei: Meng Wanzhou faces Iran fraud charges, court hears

Huawei: Meng Wanzhou faces Iran fraud charges, court hears

A court sketch shows Meng Wanzhou during her bail hearing at the Supreme Court of British Columbia Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, is facing fraud charges relating to alleged breaking of US sanctions on Iran, a Canadian court has heard.

Details of the charges were revealed when a publication ban was lifted by a judge in Vancouver.

Ms Meng, daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in the city on Saturday and faces extradition to the US.

The court is deciding whether or not to allow bail.

China has demanded Ms Meng’s release, insisting she has not violated any laws. What happened in court?

On Friday, the Supreme Court of British Columbia was told that Ms Meng had used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014.

They said she had publicly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company. What’s going on with Huawei?

A quick guide to the US-China trade war

Ms Meng faces up to 30 years in prison in the US if found guilty of the charges, the court heard.

Court reporters said she was not handcuffed for the hearing and was wearing a green sweatsuit.

A Canadian government lawyer said Ms Meng was accused of "conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions".

He said she had denied to US bankers any direct connections between Huawei and SkyCom, when in fact "SkyCom is Huawei".

The lawyer said Ms Meng could be a flight risk and thus should be denied bail. The media were camped outside the court for the bail hearing Why was the arrest significant?

The arrest has put further strain on US-China relations. The two countries have been locked in trade disputes, although a 90-day truce had been agreed on Saturday – before news of the arrest came to light on Wednesday.

Huawei is one of the largest telecommunications equipment and services providers in the world, recently passing Apple to become the second-biggest smartphone maker after Samsung.

Ms Meng’s arrest was not revealed by Canadian authorities until Wednesday, the day of her first court appearance.

Details of the charges were also not revealed at the time after she was granted a publication ban by a Canadian judge. Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of the company’s founder Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Friday that China had been assured that due process was being followed and Ms Meng would have consular access while her case was before the courts.

"Canada is a rule-of-law country and we follow our procedures, our laws and our agreements," she told journalists during a press teleconference.

"Due process has been, and will be, followed in Canada."

Ms Freeland reiterated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claim that Ms Meng’s arrest had "no political involvement". Does Huawei concern the West?

Some Western governments fear Beijing will gain access to fifth-generation (5G) mobile and other communications networks through Huawei and expand its spying ability, although the firm insists there is no government control.

Japan is expected to ban government use of products made by Huawei and ZTE over cybersecurity concerns, local media reported on Friday. It would follow moves by New Zealand and Australia to block Huawei . Should we worry about Huawei?

Why has the UK not blocked Huawei?

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said his country has had "enormous concerns for years" about the practice of Chinese firms "to use stolen American intellectual property, to engage in forced technology transfers, and to be used as arms of the Chinese government’s objectives in terms of information technology in particular".

"Not respecting this particular arrest, but Huawei is one company we’ve been concerned about," he said. What does China say?

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters: "The detention without giving any reason violates a person’s human rights."

"We have made solemn representations to Canada and the US, demanding that both parties immediately clarify the reasons for the detention, and immediately release the detainee to protect the person’s legal rights." What are the Iran sanctions?

US President Donald Trump last month reinstated all the US sanctions on Iran that had been removed under a 2015 nuclear deal. Trump re-imposes Iran sanctions: Now what?

Iran nuclear deal: Key details

Mr Trump had been fiercely opposed to the deal, which saw Iran limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

The re-imposed sanctions hit oil exports, shipping and banks – all core parts of Iran’s economy.

Although there are some waivers, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the US will "aggressively" target any firm or organisation "evading our sanctions".

This Is What It’s Like To Be A Transgender Woman In Motorsport

This Is What It's Like To Be A Transgender Woman In Motorsport

All the women I know who race or work in motorsport do it for the same reasons as the guys – we’re petrolheads, we love being around race cars. It’s a passion which unites us all.

But motorsport can be challenging for women as it’s one of the most male dominated sports there is. It only introduced initiatives to encourage more women into the sport in the last few years so there’s hardly any diversity, let alone LGBT representation.

Making the decision to transition is tough for most trans people but for me, being in motorsport, I just couldn’t see a way forwards in my sport. I resigned myself to giving up entirely.

It didn’t help that there’d never been any LGBT role models in my sport to give me the courage to be myself. I just couldn’t see myself competing as a trans woman as I didn’t believe I’d be accepted. As a teenager struggling with dysphoria, it would have made a huge difference to see someone like me in professional motorsport who I could look up to and identify with. I’ve met so many LGBT people, especially trans people, who’ve given up sport for the very same reasons I did.

Giving up was hard. Motorsport is a fundamental part of my identity and motivates me to push myself to try to achieve greater things in my life. Without it, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

I took a leap of faith and came out on Trans Day of Invisibility in 2018. When I returned to the sport, walking back into the paddock for the first time was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I was shaking and had to physically force myself to step out into the paddock. I just needed to know if there would be any support. Luckily a handful of friends came over to hug and welcome me. Even now, I don’t know if they realise that their support convinced me I had a future on track. It really was that important.

Six years on, and the support they showed me has been matched by so many others in in my sport. I now feel empowered to do everything I can to promote diversity and inclusion in the sport I love so much. It’s one of the reasons I recently announced my plan to become the first transgender racer to compete at the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Having an opportunity to be visible means so much to me. If I can inspire others through sharing my experiences then that’s really powerful. I now see the absence of diversity and inclusion within motorsport as a huge opportunity to improve the participation and visibility of LGBT people in the sport.

The Rainbow Laces Campaign is an inspired idea, as it lets the LGBT community celebrate its visibility and participation in sports and, perhaps more crucially, gives allies the opportunity to show their support.

I first wore my Rainbow Laces during Pride month at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport. I asked all the teams and drivers competing in the British GT Championship to put Pride stickers on their cars to show support as allies. Needless to say, I was nervous as nothing like that had ever been done before in motor racing. But the response was incredible. There were stickers on virtually every car competing that weekend, even on the pace and safety cars.

It shows that the support we need to create more inclusive environments is often just under the surface. Our allies are already there. All they need is a focus. For me, that’s what Rainbow Laces is all about, so I always wear mine with pride.