NY Peace Week: Stop Violence, Do Yoga (Free! Today!)

In today's why-can't-we-all-get-along news, we wanted to give a quick shout-out to NY Peace Week, which runs until Jan. 22nd in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of non-violence. They have an important message and all, but we wanted to first get to the news that we think would grab your attention best: free yoga!

That's right, folks. Keep up your new year's resolutions and haul your butt over to 227 West 13th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today for free yoga. Urban Yoga for Teen, Youth, & Community Based Organizations is hosting a "Warriors of Light" workshop and practice, which is about "transforming environmental or internal stress, anxiety, anger, desire, pressure, limitation or lack into expressed flexibility, control, strength, awareness, poise, confidence and ease through body mind integration." Fight stress, anxiety, and pressure -- y'know, all the things that make you a true New Yorker!

If you can't make it this afternoon, don't fret. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can sweat for peace. That's right, perspire for pacifism. Sweat My Body is hosting a Pilates and Body Bootcamp from 7-8 p.m. and a beginner's House dance class from 8-9 p.m.

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Police Question Suspect in Gruesome Elevator Fire Murder [UPDATE]

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Surveillance footage
Early this morning, a man walked into the Transit District 32 building in Brooklyn reeking of gasoline and allegedly implicated himself in yesterday's horrific murder of Doris Gillespie. NY1 reports police are currently questioning the man for the crime, which was captured on surveillance footage. The footage shows a man dressed as an exterminator cornering Gillespie in the elevator at 203 Underhill Avenue Saturday afternoon. The chilling and gruesome murder that followed is nearly unimaginable.

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Rayon McIntosh Plans to Take "Civil Action" Against McDonald's After Metal Rod Beatdown

As we reported earlier, McDonald's employee Rayon McIntosh was cleared of all charges stemming from the infamous beating of two customers who charged at him behind the counter at the fast food chain's West Village location in October. A grand jury ruled that McIntosh was provoked by the two women, citing the graphic viral video of the event as evidence. DNAinfo spoke with McIntosh over the phone after his release from Rikers Island, and he said he feels "elated" and "splendid." He also said he wants to sue McDonald's.

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Police Officer Douses Protesters at UC Davis With Pepper Spray [VIDEO]

The above video was posted to YouTube yesterday evening, and it shows UCD Police Lt. John Pike pepper spraying a line of peaceful protesters at UC Davis. BoingBoing describes the officer's casual nature "as if he's dousing a row of bugs with insecticide," and Gawker agreed, saying Pike's behavior was that of "a gardener using pesticide." We disagree; if you used that much insecticide, you'd poison your yard.

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Have You Seen the Guys Who Beat Up This L Train Rider?

Today's extra-disturbing subway video is one of three men beating up an L train rider. Despite the gross nature of filming violence perpetrated on someone else (the guy apparently asked his attackers to stop spitting, which is, frankly, a reasonable request) -- and, ergh, laughing -- this does do the service of getting their images out to the public, so we're re-posting. More »

Cage-Fighting Event for 8-Year-Olds Is O.K. With the Law, Say Police

It's hard to imagine that this would happen in the U.S., land of helicopter parenting, staunch litigiousness, and swiftly delivered Internet justice, but Europe is different. After 8-year-old kids were involved in a cage-fighting match (a sold-out event watched by 250 people, some of whom videotaped it), British police launched an investigation into the September 10 child-on-child fight at the Greenlands Labour Club in Preston, northwest England. While people are outraged, police have determined that organizers will not face any legal action because, in part, the club has a license to hold events.

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Hate Violence Up for LGBT People, in New York Area and the Nation, Says Report

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A flyer from a 2010 vigil for gay teens who committed suicide
Violence against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people was up last year, both in New York City and the nation at large, according to the 2010 National Report on Hate Violence. The report was released today by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. While 2010 will be remembered as the year people like Tyler Clementi triggered a greater awareness of teen suicide, it will also go down as a record year of violence against LGBT people, particularly in "safe" neighborhoods in New York City.

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Mazo Schwartz, Daughter of Brooklyn Hate Crime Suspect Simchon Schwartz, Speaks Out

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Over the weekend, 46 year-old Simchon Schwartz was arrested for hate crimes against his Turkish neighbors who he is accused of assaulting while yelling, "Fucking arabs! Fucking terrorists!" Yesterday, Schwartz's daughter, Mazo, insisted that her father did not instigate the fight and that he is not a racist. She told the Daily News, "I'm very upset because I'm dating a Muslim and my family is being called racist."

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Pierre Hotel Maids Learn Self-Defense to Prevent Sexual Assault

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After prominent Egyptian banker Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid at The Pierre Hotel (to say nothing of DSK's alleged attack on a maid at the Sofitel), management has decided that they aren't going to take any more chances. Yesterday, the entire staff of the famous hotel took self-defense classes with second-degree-blackbelt instructor Mary Ann Carron. The staff took half-hour classes in shifts while dressed in their full uniforms (including high heels). The staffers reported that after the classes, they were more confident in their abilities to defend themselves. One employee told the Post, "It was good... I feel prepared." John Turchiano, a spokesman for the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council is confident that other hotels will take the Pierre's lead and start offering similar training. [NYP]

National Punch a Hipster Day Is Tomorrow, Apparently!

As inane things tend to do, the Facebook group for National Punch a Hipster Day has caught on! It is tomorrow, June 1, 2011, from 12 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. (No word on that last half an hour.) The location is listed as "Everywhere" because "The infection has spread to an epidemic." The event is being "attended" by 8,197 people as of this writing, with another 792 marked "maybe" and 8,425 "awaiting reply." (Not attending: 2,662 -- hipsters, undoubtedly.) "Need I say more?" says the community page, as distinct from the event page. "All ya gotta do is punch a hipster (so long as you know I'm not at fault)." This does not appear to be parody.

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