Wednesday, December 13, 2017
In the second poorest municipality in one of Mexico’s poorest states, girls under the age of 15 are being sold by their fathers as virgin brides for 180,000 pesos (US $9,400), or in many cases even less
In the last 17 years, more than 300 young women have been forced into marriages of that type in Metlatónoc, Guerrero, according to a human rights center in the Montaña region where the municipality is located. In most cases, the fathers of prospective grooms pay the fathers of young daughters so that their sons can have a teenage, virgin girl as a wife. If a higher price is quoted, the typical response is “they don’t want her as a whore,” Melitón Hernández, a police chief in the town of Yuvi’nani, said. A local lawyer and advisor to the municipal trustee said that the tradition is engrained in society, above all among the indigenous Mixtec Tu’un Savi people. “It’s an old practice that we can’t eradicate even though the law says that the practice is a crime, specifically human trafficking,” Serafín Nava Ortiz said. Another lawyer, who works for the Tlachinollan human rights center in Tlapa, has worked on more than 100 forced marriage cases over the past 17 years in which she has tried to convince parents of girls to alter their opinions about the practice. Girls who refuse to get married at such a young age turn to the center to act as a mediator with their parents, Neil Arias explained. Often, she believes she is successful in changing the parents’ minds but admitted that once they left the center’s doors, she didn’t know what the final outcome would be. “How many marriages end up being carried out or are left unregistered? It’s unknown. It’s a hidden figure, the cases are still constant,” she said. In its 2017 annual report, the Tlachinollan center stressed that the practice has lost all of its traditional significance to become nothing more than a “commercial exchange” that infringes on a girl’s body and dignity and “could result in the crime of human trafficking” being committed. Treated like objects and the private property of their husbands, the girls and are forced into sexual relationships without giving prior consent, the center said. Cases of rape, family conflict and breakdown and monetary disputes have all been reported in relation to the practice. At least one man has also been imprisoned on human trafficking charges despite arguing that he acted in good faith in accordance with his community’s traditions and customs. In an interview, even the police chief admitted buying wives for his sons, saying that three years ago he paid 110,000 pesos (US $5,735) for a 14-year-old bride. Asked where he got the money from, Hernández responded, “I was on the other side [United States]. I brought about 300,000 pesos from there . . .” he explained. Years earlier, he paid 130,000 pesos for a wife for his eldest son. Others sell goats, pigs or land to raise the funds, Hernández explained, adding openly that many men also cultivate opium poppies. He also joked about buying his own wife, saying flippantly that he paid “50 pesos about 55 years ago.”
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Britain: The vast majority of men convicted of grooming young white girls – 84% – are of Asian origin
The study by the renowned counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam says that of these, seven in ten are believed to be of Pakistani-Muslim heritage. Asian gangs have deliberately abused white girls because they hold entrenched racist attitudes towards them as being easy targets for sex, according to the report, which is based on the testimonies of convicted Asian men during court hearings. In 2012, nine British Pakistani men were convicted of abusing under-age white girls. Although the testimonies of three victims led to the convictions of the gang members, police believe the group abused and trafficked as many as 47 white girls. A separate grooming gang from Rochdale involving ten more men was convicted at a trial in 2015.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Researchers led by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Genealogical Society of Ireland have published The Irish DNA Atlas: Revealing Fine-Scale Population Structure and History within Ireland. The research provides the first fine-scale genetic map of Ireland, revealing the first evidence of 10 distinct genetic clusters on the island, which roughly align themselves with the country’s historic provinces and major historic movements of people. The Irish DNA Atlas was compiled from DNA samples of almost 200 individuals with four generations of ancestry linked to specific areas across the island of Ireland. These samples were then compared with thousands of samples from across Britain and Europe, revealing seven distinct clusters of Gaelic Irish ancestry, and three of shared British-Irish ancestry. The RCSI’s Edmund Gilbert, first author on the paper, said of the findings: “Our work informs on Irish history; we have demonstrated that the structure emerging from genetic similarity within Ireland mirrors historical kingdoms of Ireland, and that Ireland acts as a sink of Celtic ancestry. Additionally, we find evidence of a west-Norwegian-like ancestry that we believe is a signature of the Norse Vikings. We also observe the impact of historical events, such as the Ulster Plantations, on the DNA of the people of Ireland.”
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The achievement gaps between racial groups in New York City appear as soon as students begin taking state tests and get worse over time, according to a new analysis of state test-score data
Black and Hispanic students score below their white and Asian peers beginning in third grade, then fall further behind as they move into middle school, according to a report released by the city’s Independent Budget Office. The analysis follows roughly 71,000 individual students who entered third grade in 2008, tracking their state standardized test scores through seventh grade (in math) and eighth grade (in reading). The study, which includes students in traditional and charter schools, controls for factors such as students’ disability status, poverty level, and the schools they attended — suggesting that racial gaps cut across different schools and student groups. Roughly a third of black and Hispanic students in that 2008-09 cohort landed in the bottom quartile on the reading tests — meaning they earned lower scores than 75% or more of test-takers. By contrast, just 13% of white and Asian students fell in that lowest tier. The gaps were similar in math, with Asians doing a little better than whites and Hispanics narrowly outperforming blacks. Over time, black students in that cohort fell further behind. By eighth grade, 33% scored in the lowest quartile in reading — a 4 percentage point increase from third grade. In math, 35% were low-performing, a 3-point increase. Meanwhile, the share of white and Asian students in the bottom rungs of reading and math grew smaller. By the end of middle school, the percentage of Hispanic students in the bottom quartile in reading had shrunk by 3 points — narrowing from 33% to 30%. In math, it stayed the same: 30%. That slight improvement in reading helped narrow their gap a tiny bit with their white peers, but not with Asians. If black and Hispanic students were over-represented in the bottom rungs of achievement — Asians dominated the top. In third grade, nearly half of Asian students scored above the 75th percentile — a larger share than any other racial group. In reading, they landed slightly behind white students. By eighth grade, Asian students had widened their lead in math, with 59% making it into the top quartile — a 10-point leap from third grade. And in reading, 49% reached the top rung. In both subjects, they made up a larger percentage of top scorers than all other racial groups, including whites. In both reading and math, black boys represented a far greater share of low-performing students than boys in any other racial category. By the end of middle school, 41% of black boys scored in the bottom quartile in reading, and 38% were low-performing in math. White boys, by contrast, had just 14% in the bottom rung in reading, and 10% in math.