Monday, June 30, 2008
An India-born businessman has been found guilty of hiring killers to murder his son's wife because she was African-American
Chiman Rai, 68, was handed the verdict by a Fulton County jury in Atlanta, Georgia, a day after closing arguments in the trial. They held him guilty on seven charges, including felony, murder and burglary. Prosecutors plan to seek death penalty for Rai. Their contention is that he had his son Rajeev 'Ricky' Rai's wife Sparkle, 22, killed because he was racist and believed an inter-racial marriage would embarrass his family. In April 2000, Sparkle was found murdered, strangled with a vacuum cord and stabbed more than a dozen times within weeks of her March 2000 wedding to Ricky. Their six-month-old daughter Analla was left unharmed in a nearby room in their Fulton County apartment in Georgia. The case baffled investigators for years until two witnesses came forward two years ago and identified Cleveland Clark as the killer who was helped by his brother Carl Clark. Both were serving time in a Mississippi prison for armed robbery when they were charged for the contract killing. Prosecutors said Rai, indicted in 2006 for the crime, teamed up with Willie Fred Evans and Herbert Green to serve as middlemen. The two co-defendants testified in court that they arranged the killing. Both have pleaded guilty to lesser charges and cooperated with prosecutors. Prosecutors said $10,000 was passed to Clark brothers and that Cleveland, who also faces the death penalty in a separate trial, carried out the killing. Defence attorneys contended Evans and Green lied to cover up their own role in the killing, which looked like a robbery gone bad. The prosecution's case was helped by Ricky testifying during the trial that he and the victim had moved cities to escape family pressure about the relationship. Rai brought his family to the United States in 1970 from India. After teaching and running a supermarket, he bought a hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, where he hired Sparkle as a clerk. Daughter of a news reporter, she fell in love with Ricky and became pregnant before their wedding. Ricky also said in the court that he married an Indian woman after Sparkle's death. He has not seen his daughter Analla, on whom he once doted, since shortly after the murder. He gave her custody to Sparkle's father and step-mother.
A former EastEnders actress whose 16-year-old brother died after being stabbed in north London has urged people to "put an end" to the violence. Brooke Kinsella, who played Kelly Taylor in the BBC One soap, said her brother Ben was a "true angel". Ben was attacked during a row in York Way, Holloway, on Sunday. Police believe four black youths aged 17 or 18 were involved in the incident. He died of multiple stab wounds to the torso, a post-mortem examination found. Ben, who died in hospital hours after the attack, is the 17th teenager to be killed in London in 2008.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
4 black teenagers have been arrested on hate crime charges for throwing rocks at a school bus full of Jewish children
Four teenagers have been arrested on hate crime charges for throwing rocks at a school bus full of Jewish toddlers in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a volatile racial history, the police have said. The police said that three girls and one boy yelled epithets as they broke windows on the bus in Crown Heights last month. The children in the bus were not hurt. The teenagers arrested are black; each is 14. The case is part of a string of events that have recently stirred tensions among black and Jewish residents in Crown Heights. Others episodes have included an assault on a black college student and an attack on an Orthodox Jewish teenager. In 1991, clashes erupted in Crown Heights after a Jewish driver hit and killed a 7-year-old black boy. In the ensuing chaos, a 29-year-old Hasidic scholar was fatally stabbed.
The brother of a girl who was strangled to death in Canada, apparently for failing to wear the Muslim hijab headscarf, has been charged with murder
Waqas Parvez, 27, initially was charged with obstruction of justice in the death of Aqsa Parvez. Aqsa Parvez, whose family is of Pakistani origin, was 16 when she was killed in December 2007 during what friends said was a family dispute over her reluctance to wear the traditional headscarf. Shortly after her death, her father, Muhammed Parvez, 57, was charged with second-degree murder. In June 2008, the charge was upgraded to first-degree murder. The killing sparked debate in Canada about the conflict between first- and second-generation immigrants: parents who hold to traditional values vs. children who desire to fit into Western culture.
A member of the General Synod of the Church of England has said that the British Government needs to be more strict in preventing the growth of Islam
Alison Ruoff said the Labor Government is soft-pedalling on Muslims who don't want to integrate with other communities in Britain. She said the Archbishop of Canterbury had pointed to the inevitability that elements of Sharia would be introduced in Britain. She said the leaders of the church hadn't done enough to put the church message across. "Our Government is allowing it to happen out of political correctness, but it should be protecting our values and heritage," she added.
Two thirds of children from white families say they had been bullied in the last three years but less than half of children of Indian origin make the same assertion. Anti-bullying campaigners say white children are now in the minority in some areas raising their chances of being bullied. Claude Knights, director of anti-bullying charity Kidscape, said:“More and more we’re hearing that in some cities it isn't the usual isolation of ethnic groups, suddenly we have got statistics that show we have got a larger number of white young people being bullied. In some cities there’s a dislocation of certain white children. So many cultures around them are being celebrated but where’s their place? There’s been such an attempt that you don’t forget what has come in to the system that what was there already has been forgotten.” This isolation makes children feel “different” she said, and was likely to lead to them being bullied. Six in ten children of black Caribbean origin said they had experienced bullying in the last three years, according to research into 16-year-olds by the Department for Children Schools and Families(DCSF). The results indicated that 58% of children from Pakistani backgrounds and 54% of those with Bangladeshi roots had been victims of bullies. Louise Burfitt-Dons, founder of the charity Act Against Bullying, which cut ties with Jade Goody after allegations of racist bullying against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty on Big Brother, said: “Normally all you hear about is bullying with racial groups being discriminated against. Whites are becoming more aggressive than they used to be as a result of trying to integrate into a new society norm that is so aggressive. They have changed the way they behave in order to survive.”
Friday, June 27, 2008
The Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex
Pat Buchanan explains how Israel and her neocon allies are pushing for a U.S. attack on Iran.
Zimbabwe's once proud white farming community is facing extinction, as President Robert Mugabe steps up his campaign of violence and intimidation
Virtually all of the remaining 280 white farmers have been invaded by government supporters since Mr Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential election in March 2008. Land and independence are the central planks of Mr Mugabe's propaganda campaign for re-election as president. Judicial moves to take over properties have been stepped up since the elections in March, which resulted in defeat for Zanu-PF in parliament and Mr Mugabe trailing Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential poll.
Some senior leaders of the Islamic community are calling on the Australian government to recognize polygamous marriage
Several Muslim clerics say that polygamous marriages, although illegal, exist in Australia and that they often are asked to perform wedding ceremonies even though the groom already is married. Community leaders say that a small number of Muslim men, mainly from Egypt, Jordan or Sudan, had immigrated with two or more wives, although their multiple marriages are not recognized under Australian law. The clerics now ask whether the laws should be changed to allow polygamist unions on religious or cultural grounds. The Koran allows men to have up to four wives if all can be supported equally. Those pushing for new laws have pointed out that polygamy unofficially exists in traditional Aboriginal communities in Australia's Northern Territory - and that these relationships are recognized when the government grants welfare benefits. Similar arrangements exist in the United Kingdom. Recently the British government said it would grant welfare benefits to all spouses in a polygamous marriage, if the marriages had taken place in countries where the polygamy is legal.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Kayhan Abay attended a German school, drives a German car, and runs a business in the German capital of Berlin, where he has lived all his life. When it comes to soccer, he roots for Turkey. "It's all about heart, blood and passion," Abay, 28, said over a glass of tea in the Internet cafe he co-owns in Kreuzberg, a predominantly Turkish neighborhood. "I'm preparing myself for defeat though, which is kind of symbolic of Turkish life over here." Germany plays Turkey in the first semifinal of the European Championships, the continent's most prestigious soccer tournament. With as many as 3 million ethnic Turks living in Germany, or about 4% of the population, fans' divided loyalties are deepening the divisions in German society.
Hat tip, James Fulford!
Hat tip, James Fulford!
South African police opened fire on each other as national officers tried to break up a strike by local forces in Johannesburg, officials have said
National police intervened to break up a strike by metro officers that was blocking traffic. Seven metro police officers were injured, they said. A union official denied that local police had fired live rounds in response to rubber bullets. The protest was triggered by complaints about salaries and nepotism. South African Police Service (SAPS) Superintendent Eugene Opperman said the confrontation began when metro police who were blocking traffic refused to move. "SAPS then used rubber bullets to disperse them," he said. "They fired back with live bullets... We only used rubber bullets all through." But Vincent Vena of the South African Municipal Workers Union challenged Supt Opperman's account. "If our members had fired live bullets at the SAPS, there would have been a bloodbath," he said. Correspondents say police in South Africa have a reputation for being heavy handed.
Italy's interior minister has sparked criticism with a proposal that would see police fingerprinting all members of the Roma community living in camps
Roberto Maroni, of the anti-immigrant Northern League, said the move would guarantee that those with the right to stay could live in decent conditions. Those without that right, including children, would be sent home, he said. The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) has criticised the proposal, as have opposition MPs. Mr Maroni said the fingerprinting of Roma - or Gypsy - people would include "children too, to avoid phenomena like begging". The Italian government has blamed illegal immigrants, mostly from eastern Europe, for the high crime levels in southern Italy.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
British children from Asian backgrounds are four times more likely to be short-sighted than those of other ethnic groups
Eye experts from Bristol University made the discovery after testing 4,600 children as part of an ongoing developmental study called "Children of the 90s". The team found that children of Asian ancestry (Pakistani, Indian or Chinese) were over four times as likely to be myopic than all other children in the sample - even after accounting for how much reading or schoolwork they did and whether their parents were short-sighted. Myopia (short-sightedness) is one of the world's most common eye problems and costs billions of pounds each year to correct. In some Asian countries the condition has reached epidemic proportions, with over half of the young people affected. It is believed that the intensive schooling children receive in early childhood in some Asian countries may be partly to blame, the university said. The research team performed eye tests on the British group at seven years old and again at 10 years. Lead researcher Cathy Williams said: "Although the amount of reading a child does may have some bearing on whether they become short-sighted, it does not explain why children of Asian descent are more at risk. We therefore need to continue our research and look more widely at genetic and environmental factors that might promote short-sightedness so that we can protect children of all ethnic backgrounds from developing myopia."
The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says
Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest. The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change. Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020.
The MPs said those infected were flouting the public health laws but the call has been criticised by Ugandans. "We are going to arrest people with jiggers for failing to take care of their bodies as per the Public Health Act," MP Aggrey Bagiire said. Jiggers, also known as Tungiasis, is caused by the chigoe or sand flea, which burrows into the skin. The most common area of infestation is the feet. Recently, a family of five suffering from jigger infection was admitted to hospital in Jinja District. John Kapere, 60, and his four children, could hardly walk as jiggers had infected their legs and other parts of their bodies. The Busoga region in western Uganda has a high rate of jigger infestation. "It is total negligence for any sane Ugandan to suffer from jiggers," Mr Bagiire said. But the MPs' suggestion has been criticized - members of the public say those infected with jiggers are often poor and need medical assistance.
Police were investigating the murder of a 19-year-old woman whose body was found in a student housing complex in downtown Oslo. Her husband has been charged in the case. The victim's body was found in one of the apartments in the Anker Studentbolig complex in downtown Oslo, just across the Aker River from the popular Grünerløkka district. Police have charged the victim’s 27-year-old husband, and issued warrants for his arrest both in Norway and internationally. He is a citizen of Ethiopia. The 19-year-old woman was a student. She is a Norwegian citizen but has roots in Ethiopia as well. Police withheld many details of the case, but said they found blood in the apartment that quickly led them to believe the woman was murdered. They were first summoned to the complex shortly after 1am, by an acquaintance of the woman. Another woman living in the complex said that the murder, initially referred to as a "suspicious death," didn't surprise her. She said residents have been robbed in the complex "and it stinks of hash in the corridors. People sell drugs right outside." She said she was planning to move.
British police are to check flights to African states to stop young girls being taken abroad to be mutilated with the consent of their parents
Research commissioned by the Department of Health suggests that more than 20,000 British girls are at risk of being forced into the agonising procedure, where all or part of their external genitals are cut off and stitched up. Officers will question all adults taking girls on certain flights, believing it is their best chance of saving thousands of children from female genital mutilation at the hands of tribal "elders" called in by their own families. Moves to tackle the culturally sensitive issue will come as ministers from several government departments struggle to stamp out the ancient tribal tradition amid evidence that thousands of British girls are at risk from a ritual that is supposed to mark their transition into womanhood. The campaign group the Foundation for Women's Health and Development (Forward UK) estimates that around 11,000 British-based girls aged between nine and 15 have undergone the ritual – in Britain or in their parents' home countries. The study, the first to gauge the prevalence of the practice in Britain, concluded that at least 66,000 women already living in this country are victims of "female circumcision". Hospitals and clinics across the country have reported an increasing number of women showing evidence of the mutilation, which often has a devastating impact on their health and ability to give birth naturally. Children as young as five are held down and cut, sometimes with razor blades or broken glass, in a ritual driven by a range of cultural demands, including a desire to demonstrate a girl's virginity on her wedding night. The practice, which survives mainly in 28 countries in East and West Africa, has been targeted as a fundamental human rights violation in recent years by the United Nations and individual states, including Britain.
17-year-old, Rudy Haddad, has been attacked by a mob in a Jewish neighborhood near the Buttes-Chaumont in Paris. According to Raphael Haddad, President of the National Union of Jewish Students, said "there is no doubt that the nature of this attack was anti-Semitic". "A gang of 15 adolescents attacked the young Jew with metal bars as he was walking down the street wearing a skullcap," Sammy Ghozlan, from the Vigilance Bureau against anti-Semitism, told the JC. "We have issued warnings earlier this month regarding dangerous gangs in this multi-ethnic quarter of Paris." The attackers were reportedly of Black African origin. They smashed his skull near the Beth Haya Mouchka Lubavitch synagogue in Paris' 19th district.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A member of a four-man homegrown terrorist cell that planned to attack Israeli and Jewish targets three years ago in Los Angeles was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. Levar Haney Washington, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to levy war against the United States through terrorism. The prison-hatched conspiracy targeted the Israeli consulate and some of its officials, the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport and two synagogues in the predominantly Orthodox Pico-Robertson neighborhood. Also on the target list were U.S. military recruiting stations. Members of the cell were three American-born converts to Islam - Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson and Kevin Lamar James - and a Pakistani national, Hamad Riaz Samana. According to the indictment, James founded the cell while in California state prison and named it Janiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh (JIS), roughly translated as the Assembly of Authentic Islam, an extremist offshoot of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. The plot was discovered through a lucky break in July 2005, when Torrance police found a mobile phone dropped by Patterson while he and Washington were robbing a gas station to finance their operations. The find led police to Washington's apartment, where they found "jihadist" literature, bulletproof vests, and a list that included the "headquarters of Zion" with the address of the Israeli consulate.
In 2006, blacks, who are less than 13% of the population, were 37.5% of all state and federal prisoners. About one in 33 black men was in prison, compared with one in 79 Hispanic men and one in 205 white men. But Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute cites studies of charging and sentencing that demonstrate that the reason more blacks are disproportionately in prison, and for longer terms, is not racism but racial differences in patterns of criminal offenses: "In 2005 the black homicide rate was over seven times higher than that of whites and Hispanics combined. ... From 1976 to 2005, blacks committed over 52% of all murders." Do police excessively arrest blacks? "The race of criminals reported by crime victims matches arrest data." As for the charge that the incarceration rate of blacks is substantially explained by more severe federal sentences for crack as opposed to powder-cocaine defendants (only 13 states distinguish between the two substances, and these states have small sentence differentials), Mac Donald says: "It's going to take a lot more than 5,000 or so (federal) crack defendants a year to account for the 562,000 black prisoners in state and federal facilities at the end of 2006 -- or the 858,000 black prisoners in custody overall, if one includes the population of county and city jails."
Nearly half of all Americans say race relations in the country are in bad shape and 3 in 10 acknowledge feelings of racial prejudice
Overall, 51% call the current state of race relations "excellent" or "good," about the same as said so five years ago. That is a relative thaw from more negative ratings in the 1990s, but the gap between whites and blacks on the issue is now the widest it has been in polls dating to early 1992. More than six in 10 African Americans now rate race relations as "not so good" or "poor," while 53% of whites hold more positive views. Opinions are also divided along racial lines, though less so, on whether blacks face discrimination. There is more similarity on feelings of personal racial prejudice: 30% of whites and 34% of blacks admit such sentiments.
A group of Indians are planning to present a statue of the revered Indian monkey God, Hanuman, to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama
The group decided to order the idol after they read a magazine report saying that Mr Obama carried a good luck 'monkey king' charm. They say that a Barack Obama victory would be good for India. Hindus revere monkeys which they believe are descendents of the monkey God Hanuman. The two-foot tall, 15kg gold-polished, brass idol has been made as a present for Mr Obama because "he will be good for India if he becomes the next president," according to Brij Mohan Bhama, leader of the group.
US officials have cracked-down on the violent MS-13 gang, arresting 26 people for a range of crimes committed in three US states and El Salvador
The defendants face a variety of charges stemming from crimes committed between 2003 and June 2008 including four murders, narcotics distribution, robberies, illegal firearms possession, extortion, assault, intimidating witnesses and obstruction of justice, the Department of Justice said in a statement. The arrests followed the unsealing of a 55-count indictment from a federal grand jury in Charlotte, he said. A gang leader directed many of the activities from his prison cell in El Salvador, where he received money wired by gang members, the statement said. MS-13 is an extremely violent gang that originated in El Salvador and operates there and in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and throughout the United States. Many of the defendants were in the United States illegally, and two were additionally charged with re-entering the country unlawfully after having been deported.
Monday, June 23, 2008
South Africans that are willing to commit corrupt acts are also against corruption in society, the findings of a survey released on Monday by TNS Research Surveys indicated. 90% of South Africans said they felt corruption had become a way of life in South Africa, and 85% believed there was corruption in senior levels of government. 90% of adults in metro areas also said corruption should be eliminated. However one in five adults said they were happy to buy pirated DVDs and CDS and a quarter knew people who had bought stolen goods. Four out of ten said they would keep the money if a cashier or teller gave them R50 too much.
Some 50 families displaced by post-election violence in Kenya have been turned away by neighbors after trying to return home
The families have been forced back to a camp in the western town of Eldoret. The development is a huge blow to the Kenyan government's plan to resettle thousands of displaced people. Violence following Kenya's disputed presidential elections in December 2007 left some 1,500 dead and 600,000 homeless. Ethnic Kalenjin supporters of Prime Minister Raila Odinga have refused to let members of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu community return home. Samuel Njuguna, one of those forced back to the camp in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, said a district officer had earlier told the families they could move. But when they arrived and started to unload their possessions they were threatened by their former neighbors, he said. "The people were coming close to us and they started screaming, shouting... 'Just go back to where you come from. We are going to kill you.'" A local pastor said his church would be burned down if the families left their possessions there, he said.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Sweden has a long history of welcoming refugees and over the past few decades large immigrant communities have emerged from many of the world’s trouble spots. They now make up 12 per cent of the population. However, there is mounting concern that Sweden is accepting more than its fair share of refugees and that this is proving an impossible burden on towns like Södertälje, the destination of most of the Iraqi Christian asylum-seekers. The country is home to 80,000 Iraqis, making them the third-largest foreign-born community. Since 2005 the pace of the influx has quickened as the security situation inside Iraq worsened and families rejoined those who had already won asylum. Most Muslim Iraqis have congregated in Malmo, Gothenberg, and Stockholm, while Christian Iraqis – the smaller minority – have gone to Södertälje, near Stockholm. “The problem is that only Sweden is open to refugees from Iraq, it is the only country that has a generous system for family reunions,” says Anders Lago, Södertälje’s Social Democrat mayor. “It’s necessary to have a stop,” he adds. As an industrial town of 83,600 people, it has found a home for 6,000 Christian Iraqi immigrants over the past five years. Last year a record 1,200 arrived and another 1,000 are expected this year. Proportionally it accepts more Iraqi immigrants than any other town in Sweden. Södertälje has welcomed Christians fleeing repressive regimes or war in the Middle East since the 1960s. The community numbers some 18,000 – one fifth of the town’s total population. In many respects the integration of Iraqis in Söder?tälje is more successful than elsewhere. Many have set up successful businesses: Mr Lago says 100 restaurants in Stockholm are owned by Södertälje immigrants. Elsewhere in Sweden, Muslim Iraqis have found it more difficult to integrate. Overall almost a third of Iraqi-born immigrants are unemployed. However, the town council is struggling to cope with the recent influx and has appealed to the government for help. It has been forced to increase staff on its immigrant integration programme from eight to 69 in the past two years and cut its duration from 24 to 18 months. Tobias Billstrom, migration minister, argues the European Union needs a common interpretation of asylum rules to avoid burdening countries like Sweden with more than their fair share of immigrants. Moreover, some native Swedes are unhappy about the impact the immigrants are having on their towns. Already 40% of Södertälje’s population are first- or second-generation immigrants; in a few years they will become a majority. There is little interaction between the communities. The 1970s-built housing estates in the Ronna and Housjö suburbs of Södertalje have become virtually immigrant-only areas. Extreme rightwing parties are capitalising on this, having made inroads in town councils in Södertälje and particularly southern Sweden. Several opinion polls have indicated that the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats could pass the 4% threshold to enter parliament at the 2010 election. Courts have started to take a stricter approach to asylum claims, demanding proof that each Iraqi is personally at risk of persecution. This has slowed down the processing of claims and Nader has been waiting eight months to hear if the authorities believe his story that he faced a risk of persecution if he remained there. Tougher measures are currently off the agenda but both the government and the Social Democrats agree that the immigration issue will soon have to be debated. “The risk of a backlash is greater if we don’t have a discussion of the problems,” says Mayor Lago. “As Södertalje is today, Sweden will be in 10-15 years.”
"Who do I call if I want to call Europe?" former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once asked. After the Irish rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum, the question remains unanswered. Rather than being a one-time incident, the Irish plebiscite, which defeated the treaty 53.4% to 46.6%, is the latest evidence that nationalism is alive and kicking in Europe, regardless of repeated attempts by the continent's elites to turn the European Union into an enhanced political body, designed to play a bigger role in world affairs. Europe's citizens favor the free movement of goods, capital and, to a somewhat lesser extent, people throughout the 27- country union. They don't, though, want to surrender their legal traditions, change their tax structures or alter other parts of their national identity. In 2001, Irish voters defeated a proposal relating to the expansion of the then 15-country union into eastern Europe. The accord was later passed in a second referendum after Ireland's neutrality was assured. But it's not just the Irish. A Danish plebiscite in 1992 initially voted down the Maastricht Treaty, which laid out the eligibility criteria for joining the European common currency. Danes said yes the following year, after gaining concessions exempting them from a common legal system, immigration policy, citizenship, defense structure and currency. In 2000, the Danes voted against adopting the euro. The Swedes went the same way in 2003. French voters did say yes to Maastricht, but the 50.5% to 49.5% margin fell far short of an overwhelming endorsement. The German government didn't even give its citizens a chance to choose. If they had, there's no way they would have abandoned the deutsche mark to share a currency with Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Referendums in France and the Netherlands killed the European constitution in 2005. Not willing to risk defeat of its warmed-over Lisbon successor, French and Dutch politicians are leaving ratification to national legislatures. And it's commonly accepted that had Britain given Britons the opportunity to vote on any of these, they would have roundly said no. Put simply, Europeans don't want to be part of a United States of Europe.
A report by the UK charity, ActionAid, says increasing numbers of female foetuses were being aborted and baby girls deliberately neglected and left to die. In one site in the Punjab state, there are just 300 girls to every 1,000 boys among higher caste families, it says. ActionAid says India faces a "bleak" future if it does not end its practice of cultural preference for boys.
A handful of genes could mark the difference between high-strung Chihuahuas and unflappable basset hounds
A comparison of 148 dog breeds has uncovered genes for size, lifespan, and even complex behaviours such as pointing and herding. Geneticists have previously uncovered genes for dog traits such as coat colour and narcolepsy, but these searches tended to focus on a single breed, comparing pooches with variations in a single trait – for example, boxers with and without white spots. This strategy does not work for rooting out the genetic basis of behaviours because certain breeds either display these behaviours or they don't, says Gordon Lark at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, US. So with the help of a dog show judge, Lark's team scored dogs from 148 breeds for traits including herding, pointing, boldness, excitability and trainability. Then they scoured their genomes for similarities and differences. Dogs were also scored for size, body proportions and longevity. The search implicated several genes in stereotypical dog behaviours. For example, herding behaviour typical of collies and shepherds may be linked to a gene that is similar to one associated with schizophrenia in humans. Also, a gene involved in processing the neurotransmitter dopamine may explain both the boldness of rottweilers and the timidity of pugs, while a gene for brain development appears linked to pointing in dogs such as Irish setters. And though dogs both large and small showed a genetic basis for boldness, only the little dogs possess the genetic markers associated with excitability. Lark's approach worked even better for less subjective qualities, such as size and longevity. His team confirmed a smattering of genes linked with size that had been revealed by previous studies.
The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the "dark triad" persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs. The traits are the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behaviour of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism. At their extreme, these traits would be highly detrimental for life in traditional human societies. People with these personalities risk being shunned by others and shut out of relationships, leaving them without a mate, hungry and vulnerable to predators. But being just slightly evil could have an upside: a prolific sex life, says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. "We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy." Jonason and his colleagues subjected 200 college students to personality tests designed to rank them for each of the dark triad traits. They also asked about their attitudes to sexual relationships and about their sex lives, including how many partners they'd had and whether they were seeking brief affairs. The study found that those who scored higher on the dark triad personality traits tended to have more partners and more desire for short-term relationships, Jonason reported at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society meeting in Kyoto, Japan. But the correlation only held in males. James Bond epitomises this set of traits, Jonason says. "He's clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things - killing people, new women." Just as Bond seduces woman after woman, people with dark triad traits may be more successful with a quantity-style or shotgun approach to reproduction, even if they don't stick around for parenting. "The strategy seems to have worked. We still have these traits," Jonason says. This observation seems to hold across cultures. David Schmitt of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, presented preliminary results at the same meeting from a survey of more than 35,000 people in 57 countries. He found a similar link between the dark triad and reproductive success in men. "It is universal across cultures for high dark triad scorers to be more active in short-term mating," Schmitt says. "They are more likely to try and poach other people's partners for a brief affair." Barbara Oakley of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, says that the studies "verify something a lot of people have conjectured about". Christopher von Rueden of the University of California at Santa Barbara says that the studies are important because they confirm that personality variation has direct fitness consequences.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Your risk of developing metabolic syndrome - a group of factors linked to heart disease and diabetes - increases if you have five common gene variations, researchers say. But one additional variant may still protect you from the condition, they add. People with metabolic syndrome run four times the risk of heart disease and seven times the risk of diabetes as those without the condition. Metabolic syndrome is usually found in people with three of these symptoms: abdominal obesity, high blood triglyceride levels, lower levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and elevated fasting blood glucose. According to the June issue of Human Molecular Genetics, nutrition researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found the variations on the CD36 gene, located in a part of chromosome 7 previously associated with metabolic syndrome in other studies. This linkage is important, because as the population of obese adults continues to grow in the United States, they become susceptible to problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Better understanding of associations between obesity, the CD36 gene and disease risk may led to earlier identification and intervention for people susceptible to metabolic syndrome, the team said. The DNA studied came from more than 2,000 African-Americans because variations in the gene are more common in these individuals; however, the researchers expect their discovery will apply to other populations.
Scientists in Aberdeen have found that people who carry a variation of a gene linked to increased obesity eat more food than those without it. They studied 150 people in the north-east of Scotland, aged 21 to 60, and monitored their food intake over seven days. They also took blood samples and other measurements of physical fitness and calculated the amount of energy burned while they were resting. The results showed that people with the variant gene ate between 120 and 290 calories per day more than those who did not have the "at risk" variant. The link between obesity and the gene was discovered last year by another group of British scientists. Subsequent studies in mice have shown that the gene is found in areas of the brain that are associated with the regulation of food intake.
Women and men may genuinely think in different ways, according to research that has found subtle genetic variations between their brains
Hundreds of genes that are switched on and off differently in the male and female brain have been identified, suggesting that many patterns of behaviour regarded widely as typical of each sex could be founded on nature as well as nurture. Dozens of mental traits and skills are said to differ between men and women. They include empathy, aggression, risk-taking, navigation and the qualities that are valued most in a sexual partner. The existence of such differences is now widely accepted, but natural and social scientists have long disagreed about the extent to which they are rooted in our underlying biology, or are learnt through male and female social roles. Women are generally more accomplished than men at empathising with other people, and usually score as more compassionate on standard personality tests. Men are more prone to aggression and risk-taking behaviour, and tend to be proficient at understanding and devising systems, from car engines to the offside law. While there are no sex differences in general intelligence, women tend to have stronger visual memories, while men are more proficient at visualising objects when rotated in space. It has been suggested that this may reflect the way most men like to navigate by reading maps, while many women prefer to remember landmarks.
Even as gang-related homicides have been dropping in the last several years, the proportion of such killings in which race was a factor has increased, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's officials. Sheriff's homicide investigators reported that race "played a role" in 16% of the 207 gang-related killings in 2005, rising to 19% of 133 gang slayings last year, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. In the first six months of 2008, 25% of the 56 gang-related slayings involved either blacks killing Latinos or vice versa. That compares with 13% for the same period last year. Whitmore said officials examined all gang-related homicides over the last three years, in jurisdictions where the department investigates those crimes, to determine what role, if any, racial hatred played. Whitmore said it is as much an element in the slayings as such other factors as gang clashes, drugs and turf. Whitmore said the numbers appeared to back Sheriff Lee Baca's argument for a broader discussion about the role race plays in gang killings. "Critics have said race is a major factor in the violence in county and state prisons, and is a problem on school campuses. But they say, 'Baca was wrong to say those factors are at play with gangs on the streets,' " Whitmore said. "The numbers lend credibility to the argument that the racial component be examined along with other factors, including drugs, territory and money, in these crimes."
Thursday, June 19, 2008
White teenagers are less likely to go to university than school-leavers from other ethnic groups - even with the same A-level results, according to official figures. The gap is widest among male teenagers from poor backgrounds, raising fresh fears that working class boys are becoming the education "underclass" in England. According to a Government report, just over one-in-20 white boys from poor homes goes on to university. This compares to 66% of Indian girls and 65% of young women from Chinese families. An analysis published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said the rise in the number of women going to university over the last 10 or 20 years "had made the performance of males look relatively dismal". The report said many working class white boys dropped out of education at the earliest opportunity, aged 16. Young white men from poor homes were eight and a half times less likely to go to university than ethnic minority women from middle-class families. Among some ethnic groups, university participation rates were even higher. Overall, 58% of men from Indian backgrounds and 66% of women go on to university. Among Chinese families, 60% of boys and 65% of women go to university. Black Caribbean boys were the only group less likely to go to university than white boys. The Conservatives said the disclosure proved that Labour was failing pupils from poor homes.
Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking, east London, is one of eight men who deny devising the plot in 2006. But prosecutors told Woolwich Crown Court that a series of mid-air explosions were only part of Mr Gulzar's terrorist plans. Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said his account of his actions while under surveillance was "entirely a fraud". The defendants in the case are accused of planning to make hydrogen peroxide bombs disguised as soft drinks which would then be detonated on at least seven planes flying out of London's Heathrow airport.
Immigration officers in Sierra Leone have started a manhunt for illegal immigrants living in the country
Chief immigration officer Alpha Kolifa Koroma said the illegal immigrants were committing crimes such as drug dealing and people trafficking. Several hundred have been arrested and four deported. It is believed there are tens of thousands of foreigners, mainly from Nigeria, living in Sierra Leone without records. The number of Nigerians has soared dramatically since the mid 1990s because of the presence of Nigerian peacekeepers in Sierra Leone. Nigeria led a West African force that intervened during Sierra Leone's brutal civil war. The Nigerian soldiers later joined the UN peace mission, which withdrew in 2005 - three years after the conflict officially ended. The news of the crackdown has prompted fear among the large Nigerian community - many fearing it may prompt xenophobic attacks.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Thousands of Somali refugees are still flowing into Kenya despite the formal closure of their shared border
Kenya closed the border to its northern neighbour in January 2007 to block fleeing fighters after Somali and Ethiopian government troops ousted Islamists who had ruled the capital Mogadishu and swathes of southern Somalia for six months. At least a million people have been uprooted by fighting between Somali-Ethiopian forces and Islamist insurgents since. "The border closure has not achieved what it was intended for. Last month, over 3,500 refugees came through the porous borders," Kenyan Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang said. Kajwang was speaking at the remote Dadaab camp in arid north Kenya during a visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, on World Refugee Day. The U.N. says 4,000 Somalis a month are crossing the long border, swelling Dadaab's total by 20,000 this year to 200,000.
Abu Qatada, the radical Islamic cleric described as Osama bin Laden’s “right-hand man in Europe”, has been released from jail after a judge ruled that there were no grounds to keep him in prison. The decision to allow him to return to his home in London – where he will receive around £1,000 per month in state benefits – made a mockery of the government’s promise to crack down on terror suspects, and embarrassed the Home Office, which had pledged to deport Qatada to Jordan to face terror charges. The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said she was “extremely disappointed” at the court’s decision to bail Qatada, while the Conservatives branded the decision “offensive”.
A wave of burglaries is spreading across the Washington area, and police say illegal immigrants are likely playing a key role. In the first five months of 2008, burglaries climbed 10% to 20% in many jurisdictions. The District of Columbia had the greatest increase, jumping 20% from 1,370 in the first five months of 2007 to 1,638 for the same period this year.
Hat tip, Brenda Walker!
Hat tip, Brenda Walker!
The High Court in South Africa has ruled that Chinese South Africans are to be reclassified as black people
It made the order so that ethnic Chinese could benefit from affirmative action policies, aimed at improving living standards for black people. The Chinese Association of South Africa took the government to court, saying its members had been discriminated against. An estimated 200,000 ethnic Chinese live in South Africa.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Norway is going to need nearly 4,000 more police officers over the next decade, to keep up with population growth and a rising crime rate
Police Director Ingelin Killengreen was due to deliver a report on staffing needs to the Justice Ministry on Monday. In it, she notes that Norway's population is expected to grow not least through immigration, and that poses new challenges. There are now 460,000 immigrants living in Norway. The total number of immigrants in Norway is expected to rise to 1,050,000 by 2020. Since the police handle immigration cases on behalf of the immigration agency, more staffing will be needed. It also will be needed to tackle a rising crime rate. "We must be prepared to receive immigrants in a way that also will help prevent crime better than we manage today," Killengreen said.
Textbooks at a private Islamic school in Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam
Other passages in the school's textbooks state that "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people" and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed "polytheists." The passages were found in selected textbooks used during the 2007-08 school year by the Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches 900 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax and receives much of its funding from the Saudi government.
Report accuses social workers of ignoring family violence for fear of upsetting ethnic minorities in Britain
Political correctness is putting children's lives at risk as authorities turn a blind eye to domestic violence for fear of antagonising ethnic minority communities, says the NSPCC. The charity warns that Asian victims of domestic violence are being failed by those working in child protection because of 'cultural sensitivities'. The report finds that 'police, health, education and social services did not feel qualified to deal with Asian victims. This sometimes led them to take the wrong action or no action at all on the grounds of respecting Asian culture.' A 105-page report by the NSPCC says 750,000 children are affected by domestic violence in their homes - either as witnesses or victims. Social workers said they had come across examples where some violent Asians used their culture and religion to justify their abusive domestic violence. As Asian adults and children are brought up to believe the public image of the family is more important than individual safety, problems are kept secret, the report warns. 'Asian children and their mothers suffer the double injustice of a community that would rather save face than deal with domestic violence and a system that lacks cultural understanding so hides behind political correctness,' said Saleha Islam, the NSPCC's Asian helpline manager.
Black-on-black crime: Two men have been found guilty of murdering a 15-year-old boy who was shot dead as he slept at his home in south-east London
Michael Dosunmu was shot four times when gunmen burst into the family home in Peckham in February 2007. The Old Bailey heard that Michael was mistaken for his older brother who was to be killed in revenge for a murder. Mohammed Sannoh, 19, from Peckham, and Abdi Omar Noor, 22, from Camberwell, south-east London, had denied murder. They were remanded in custody for sentencing. Michael was asleep in the bedroom he shared with his brother Hakeem, when Sanoh and Noor burst in and fired a MAC-10 machine pistol. He was hit by four bullets - one of them piercing his heart and killing him.
The European Parliament is preparing to vote on a set of common EU rules that would allow the detention of illegal immigrants for up to 18 months
The return directive was agreed by EU interior ministers on 5 June and it is backed by conservative and liberal MEPs. Socialists, Greens and several human rights groups oppose the legislation. The length of time an immigrant can be held before expulsion varies greatly across the 27-nation European Union. In France the detention limit is 32 days, in Hungary it is a year, in Latvia it is 20 months and in seven countries there is no time limit. The new rules would not automatically apply in Denmark, Ireland and the UK because they have negotiated opt-outs.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has exposed torture and appalling levels of sexual violence in a conflict in western Kenya
It says people there are caught up in fighting which it claims is being ignored by the international community. A major military operation to neutralize a militia group called the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) has left thousands of civilians trapped. The militia took up arms over a land allocation scheme it considers unfair. MSF says there are victims of "indiscriminate violence" on both sides. The SLDF says it is fighting for ancestral land in the fertile Mount Elgon region belonging to the Sabaot community, but has been accused of killing members of rival ethnic groups. Correspondents say much of the chaos witnessed in Kenya after the country's presidential election in December 2007 was sparked by long-running disputes over land.
The Swedish study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, compared the size of the brain's halves in 90 adults. Gay men and heterosexual women had halves of a similar size, while the right side was bigger in lesbian women and heterosexual men. A British scientist said this was evidence sexual orientation was set in the womb. Scientists have noticed for some time that homosexual people of both sexes have differences in certain cognitive abilities, suggesting there may be subtle differences in their brain structure. This is the first time, however, that scientists have used brain scanners to try to look for the source of those differences. A group of 90 healthy gay and heterosexual adults, men and women, were scanned by the Karolinska Institute scientists to measure the volume of both sides, or hemispheres, of their brain. When these results were collected, it was found that lesbians and heterosexual men shared a particular "asymmetry" in their hemisphere size, while heterosexual women and gay men had no difference between the size of the different halves of their brain. In other words, structurally, at least, the brains of gay men were more like heterosexual women, and gay women more like heterosexual men.
[Joe Walker's view: My take is that gay men have damaged Y-chromosomes while lesbians have damaged X-chromosomes which means that homosexuals are just defective versions of heterosexuals.]
[Joe Walker's view: My take is that gay men have damaged Y-chromosomes while lesbians have damaged X-chromosomes which means that homosexuals are just defective versions of heterosexuals.]
Monday, June 16, 2008
Spain will offer unemployed immigrant workers financial incentives to return to their countries of origin
A slowing economy has halted Spain's construction boom and building sites are laying off workers, including many from Latin America, North Africa and Eastern Europe. Labor and immigration minister Celestino Corbacho said workers who agree to return will be entitled to receive accumulated unemployment benefits in two lump sums, provided they take their families with them and commit not to return to Spain for at least three years. Corbacho estimated the incentives to be offered as of would affect 1 million workers and their families. Immigrants account for about 10% of Spain's population, up from nominal levels in the early 1990s.
In Chinese restaurants, roast duck meat may hang from a hook to dry for more than four hours, creating a tasty entree that inspectors consider a virtual petri dish for bacteria.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Egypt has deported 400 Eritrean asylum seekers back to Asmara and plans to forcibly return 1,200 more who are being held in detention in Egypt
Egypt, already home to tens of thousands of African migrants, has seen a surge of Eritreans arrive in 2008, including Pentecostal Christians fleeing religious persecution and others trying to avoid military conscription, activists say. The surge comes as Egypt faces pressure to block the flow of mostly African migrants over its Sinai border into Israel. Egyptian police have shot dead at least 13 migrants at the Israel border in 2008 and detained scores more.
Radical Muslims in Britain have formed chat rooms to discuss adopting orphans and bringing up children to be Islamic fighters
Discussions on a number of radical websites have asked how children should be brought up to be "mujahideen" and whether they should be pulled out of mainstream schools. Other participants boast of how their children threaten to kill "kuffar" [non-believers]. The Centre for Social Cohesion says radical Muslims are using the Internet to create a "virtual Islamic caliphate" and calls on the government to launch a crack down. According to the Centre for Social Cohesion, a think tank which has been monitoring radical websites, users of a site called www.islambase.co.uk discussed the possibility of adopting children and bringing them up on May 3, 2008. The site, which is based at a post office box in Glasgow and protected by a password, is used by the followers of the radical preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed, who lived in North London until he fled to the Lebanon in 2005. "Hamza", one visitor to the site on 23 March 2008, wrote about a friend's account of what his nine-year-old son, Rashid, had told him he would say if his father was killed by the kuffar [non-believers]. He said the boy told him: "I don't care if you kill me cause I'm not afraid of you or to die for Allah, and I'll have a lot of wives in jennah [heaven] insha allah and I'll be with my dad in jennah too and we will have fun doing what we want there if Allah lets us. Don't kill my dad or you will be in trouble with me, I swear by Allah."
While only 6% of the state's population is black, about 28% of people living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts are non-Hispanic blacks
HIV/AIDS has largely slipped beneath the public's radar, but it continues to exact a heavy toll among African-Americans, say health authorities who are launching education and testing campaigns in five Massachusetts cities, including Lynn, where rates of new infections are among the state's highest. The North Shore's largest city has seen an influx of immigrants and refugees in recent years from many African countries, where infection rates among young adults can approach 40%. Education in some of their homelands about HIV/AIDS transmission and treatment is minimal. Lynn has the fifth highest rate of new HIV infections among African-Americans and other black residents, according to the state's latest data. Boston recorded the highest, followed by Springfield, Brockton, and Worcester. Especially troubling to public health authorities are numbers indicating that 36% of black immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts from sub-Saharan African and Caribbean Basin countries who test positive for the blood-borne virus are diagnosed with full-blown AIDS within two months, which means they've lived with - and likely transmitted - the virus for several years, said disease trackers.
An official from South Africa's ruling African National Congress has been stabbed in neck during a party meeting
Western Cape Provincial Secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha was reported to be in a stable condition in hospital after the attack in the Boland region. Police in Western Cape said a 30-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident.
Danish police have arrested a couple of Sudanese origin suspected of taking their two young daughters to Sudan to be circumcised
Female circumcision usually involves the partial removal of the woman's genitals. It is outlawed in Denmark but remains a widespread practice in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. Police said the girls, now aged nine and 11, were circumcised in 2003 during a trip to the east African nation. The 49-year-old husband and his 40-year-old wife were arrested after Danish social services alerted police to the fact that medical examinations showed the two girls had been circumcised. The couple, who deny all wrong-doing, were also accused of having planned to take their third daughter, aged five, to Sudan to be circumcised. A Danish judge remanded them in custody for eight days, pending further investigation. If found guilty, they could face up to six years in prison. Female circumcision can cause death through hemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth. It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma. Some 100 to 140 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital mutilation, including 6.5 million in Western countries, according to a study by the French National Institute for Demographic Research published last year.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Scientists found that people with the gene were not only brighter, but also more likely to live past the age of 85. The gene produces an enzyme, or biological catalyst, that "detoxifies" the brain by removing excess acid and destructive molecules called free-radicals. It also acts against a natural biochemical that dampens brain activity and causes drowsiness. The gene comes in two common forms - a "C" version and a "T" type that is 20% less efficient. Genes are normally in pairs. Previous research has shown that young people with two copies of the T gene perform less well in IQ tests than those with C genes. Because of what it does in the brain, scientists suspected that the gene might also affect aging.To investigate this, Italian researchers from the University of Calabria looked at the genes carried by 514 volunteers aged between 18 and 107. They also carried out a standard IQ test on 115 members of the group aged 65 to 85. As expected, those with two copies of the T gene performed significantly worse in the tests. The scientists then looked into the survival prospects of the participants. They found that people carrying two T genes were unlikely to live past the age of 85. Those with at least one C copy, on the other hand, had a chance of seeing their 100th birthday. Study leader Giuseppe Passarino stressed that even though having two T genes might make a person decline faster in old age, it was not an early death sentence.
An alleged leader of a Mexican crime ring wanted on gang, drugs and weapons charges has been taken into custody
Jose Manuel Garibay Felix was arrested at a California Department of Motor Vehicle office in Riverside, FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter said. The 24-year-old is accused of leading "Los Garibay," a criminal organization suspected of trafficking drugs and committing kidnaps and murder in Mexico, according to an arrest warrant filed in U.S. District Court. A Mexican criminal complaint alleges that he directed the abduction and murder of a police officer in retaliation for his investigation of the Garibay organization. The suspect is being held in a Los Angeles detention center while awaiting extradition to Mexico.
Gangs of attackers mistook them for people from other parts of Africa. Twenty-one South Africans died in the riots. About 20,000 displaced people were still living in fields and halls. The violence, blamed on unemployment and scarce resources, was the worst since the end of apartheid in 1994. Non-governmental organisations estimate that about 85,000 people were uprooted in the violence - many thousands fled to their countries of origin.
Footage from a video camera handed out by an Israeli human rights group appears to show Jewish settlers beating up Palestinians in the West Bank
An elderly shepherd, his wife and a nephew said they were attacked by four masked men for allowing their animals to graze near the settlement of Susia. The rights group, B'Tselem, said the cameras were provided to enable Palestinians to get proof of attacks. A spokesman for the Israeli police said that an investigation was under way. So far, no-one has been arrested.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A man wanted for allegedly touching a girl inappropriately and giving a female family member pornographic material was captured in New Jersey
Jose Ortiz Hernandez, 46, was arrested June 1, 2008 after being stopped for a traffic violation, according to police. Hernandez has been sought since Jan. 11, 2007, when a 14-year old female family member reported that he gave her explicit adult materials. Hernandez is suspected of touching the girl's 14-year old female friend inappropriately during a sleep over and exposing himself in front of both girls. Hernandez fled by the time police arrived to the scene. On June 1, Hernandez was stopped in Raritan, New Jersey after failing to stop at a stop sign. Hernandez provided the officer with his California Driver's License, which showed an arrest warrant in Gilroy. Hernandez was taken into custody, agreed to extradition and is awaiting transport back to California by the U.S Marshal's Office, according to police.
They are using websites which carry messages of hate from terror suspects, according to the respected Civitas think-tank. The study, by its Centre for Social Cohesion, reveals how fanatics are using the Web to bypass the anti-terror laws passed in the wake of the 2005 London bombings. Extremists are no longer delivering hate-filled sermons and distributing propaganda on street corners, but instead use pro-jihadist websites. Some of these carry calls for the flag of Islam to 'fly over Downing Street', and urge militants to attack Jews and Christians. Most worrying are sections of the sites dedicated to the radicalization of children. One message from controversial preacher Omar Bakri - now exiled to Lebanon - says children should be brought up to spread Islam through jihad.
Muslim parents in Britain are to blame for leaving their children open to the lure of Islamic extremism
Dr Farhan Nizami CBE, a key adviser on Islam to the Prince of Wales, accused British Muslims of failing to make sure their children learn to speak English or supporting them in their education. He said this leaves them alienated from mainstream society and exposed to being groomed by radical Islamic groups. It is the first time Dr Nizami, the director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which has links with Oxford University, has spoken out about the failure of Muslims to integrate with British society. His comments come just weeks after the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that radical Islam is filling the "moral vacuum" created by the decline of Christian values in Britain.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Musse Said Yusuf, 31, of Higgs Close, Leicester, is accused of owning terrorist videos and running a website which published terrorist literature. Ahmed Said Mohammed, 32, of Devons Road, east London, was charged with having money for terrorist purposes. The men were arrested in May 2008 and are due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court. The arrests took place in dawn raids in a joint operation between the Metropolitan Police and Leicestershire Constabulary.
Thousands of South Africans have marched through the capital, Pretoria, to protest against the high crime rate
The protesters handed over a memorandum calling for urgent government action. The minister who accepted it on President Thabo Mbeki's behalf was drowned out in the chorus of boos as he tried to respond to their concerns. Popular actor and comedian Desmond Dube said he was inspired to organise the event, called the "Million Man March", after a neighbor was shot dead. The march comes a day after local reggae singer Tiny Motho Siluma was shot dead outside his home. His is the latest in a number of high-profile murders. In October 2007, there was outrage when the famous reggae artist Lucky Dube was also shot dead in Johannesburg. He was attacked by armed robbers in a suburb of the city.
Monday, June 9, 2008
The working classes are less intelligent than those from wealthier backgrounds and therefore less likely to be trained as doctors
Professor Chris McManus, of University College London, said it is not surprising that most British medical students are middle-class because intellectual ability is linked to social standing. He referred to one of his own research papers to support the claim, in an editorial for a leading medical journal. Prof McManus, a professor of psychology, made his claims as he criticized a "politically correct" Government scheme to help more working-class pupils become doctors.
A "campaign of violence" in Zimbabwe has extinguished any hope of free and fair run-off presidential elections, Human Rights Watch has warned
In a new report, the New-York-based group says it has extensive evidence linking senior officials loyal to Robert Mugabe with violent incidents. The report says torture camps have been run by President Mugabe's governing Zanu-PF party and its allies. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces Mr Mugabe in the 27 June 2008 vote. The Human Rights Watch report says violence against supporters of Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has worsened in the lead up to the run-off. "Zimbabweans can't vote freely if they fear their vote may get them killed," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Somalis displaced by attacks against foreigners in South Africa have been threatening to drown themselves
The migrants were reportedly seeking to be resettled from a camp outside Cape Town that had been set up after the recent violence. A wave of anti-foreigner violence broke out in May 2008 north of Johannesburg and spread across the country. At least 70,000 people fled the attacks and more than 50 people were killed. Many foreigners took refuge in makeshift camps where conditions were poor, while others fled back to their home countries. The Red Cross said 36,000 people have returned to Mozambique from South Africa, while an estimated 1,900 people had fled to Malawi.
A city Health Department study finds that more than a fourth of adult New Yorkers are infected with the virus that causes genital herpes. The study, released Monday, says about 26% of New York City adults have genital herpes, compared to about 19% nationwide. The department says genital herpes can double a person's risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.
A quarter of a century after the outbreak of HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared. In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO's department of HIV/AIDS said there will be no generalised epidemic of AIDS in the heterosexual population outside Africa. Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.
The Associated Press says Lord Hanuman has "an incense-filled office, a desk and a laptop computer" at Sardar Bhagat Singh College of Technology and Management in Lucknow. Vivek Kangri, a vice chairman, tells Press Trust of India that Hanuman delegated his powers to two high-level school officials. "All correspondence and paper work in the name of Lord Hanuman is being done by the two and during the meetings the chairman's chair is left empty with both occupying the adjacent seats as a mark of respect," the news agency says.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The mother and father of five daughters born and reared in Norway have been charged in what's considered the first enforcement and test of the country's new law against genital mutilation. The couple is originally from Gambia but both partners are now Norwegian citizens. They have a total of six daughters, and five of the six have been subjected to genital mutilation, according to Hanne Kristin Rohde of the Oslo Police District. Rohde told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the parents were charged because they allegedly contributed to the genital mutilation of their daughters. The father is being held in police custody, while the mother is ill and pregnant with their seventh child and considered too weak to be held by police. Only the couple's youngest daughter, a three-year-old who lives with them in Oslo, has so far escaped genital mutilation, according to doctors who examined the girls. Her five-year-old sister had not, and both girls have been placed in the care of Norway's child protective services (Barnevernet). The six daughters range in age from three to 14 years. The four eldest live in Gambia with one of their father's other wives, according to police. Efforts were being made to bring the girls, who all have Norwegian passports, back to Norway, where they once went to school.
Arizona had a higher share of illegal immigrants than any other state, says a report from the Public Policy Institute of California
The institute estimates that in 2006, 8.3% of Arizona's population consisted of illegal migrants, followed by California with 7.8%; Texas, 7.1%; and Florida, 5.5%. About 3.9% of the country's population, or 11.5 million people, were illegal immigrants, the group estimates. California had the highest number of illegal immigrants, with 2.8 million, while Arizona had an estimated 500,000.
Britain should set an example to the world by reversing its steeply-rising population growth and allowing no more people into the country than leave
Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, said it was entirely possible to be "very progressive" on immigration while still having a policy of "zero net immigration" and no further population growth. Porritt told an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival, he would like to see Britain's population on a declining trend, instead of increasing to 65 million in ten years and to 70 million by 2031. Porritt, who is a patron of the charity, the Optimum Population Trust, warned that globally spending on family planning was "massively" lower than the £8 billion spent on HIV/AIDS. Yet it should be around £12.5 billion to £15 billion if the world was to avoid a population of more than 9 billion or more by 2050. Porritt warned that in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, population trends were increasing "disastrously" because of low spending on family planning. In Kenya and Ethiopia, spending on family planning was now running at 2% of spending on HIV/AIDS. As a result the population of Kenya, which had been thought to be around 40 million by the mid-century was now expected to be 80 million. "We are guaranteeing an unstoppable flow of problems like HIV and AIDS into the future," he said.
A judge has sparked outrage by ruling that an illegal immigrant from India who sexually abused a young girl will be allowed to stay in Britain
Nurul Islam will cost taxpayers more than £200,000 after being jailed for 5½ years. Indian-born Islam, 35, of Oxford, began preying on the victim when she was 12. He admitted ten counts of sex acts on a child. But Judge Julian Hall told him at Oxford Crown Court: “I do not make a recommendation for deportation and I do not find you are dangerous. This is not a man who is going to go out on to the street looking to cause harm.” The Home Office says criminals from outside Europe should be deported if jailed for more than 12 months. The judge’s decision was slammed as “outrageous” by UKIP MP Bob Spink. He said: “This man has broken the law to get into the country, then broken the law while he is here.” Mark Wallace, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, added: “This sends out an awful message.” Judge Hall previously jailed a rapist for only two years, saying his ten-year-old victim was dressed provocatively.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Hispanic high school students use drugs and attempt suicide at higher rates than their black or white classmates
The study is the latest in a series of surveys of U.S. high school students every two years. The new report noted that black and white students are reporting less sexual activity than in years past, but there was no decline among Hispanics. In addition, Hispanic students were more likely than either blacks or whites to attempt suicide, ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, or use cocaine, heroin or ecstasy. Hispanics also most often drank alcohol on school property, were offered or sold illegal drugs, and occasionally skipped school because they feared for their safety, according to the 2007 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An Indian court has ruled that state-owned airline Air India has the right to prevent its air hostesses from flying for being overweight
The Delhi high court was responding to a case filed by five air hostesses who had been grounded by the airline for being too fat to fly. The air hostesses are expected to appeal against the decision. The judges agreed with the airline's view that overweight crew present a safety and health hazard. They also said that, in the highly competitive airline industry, an air hostess's physical condition and appearance played an important role in her overall personality. Air India, whose air hostesses wear traditional Indian saris, is facing a stiff challenge from a number of private airlines with younger flight crew typically dressed in skirts or Western suits. A few years ago, during a recruitment drive for new crew, the airline said that it would not consider applicants with acne or bad teeth.
The unemployment rate among Latinos is rising faster than the rate for non-Hispanic workers in the United States
Latino workers have lost nearly 250,000 jobs in the construction industry over the past year, with the foreign-born hit hardest, the report by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center said. The unemployment rate for Latino workers was 7.3% for the first quarter of 2008, compared with 6.1% for the same period last year. The rate for all other workers was 5%, up from 4.6%. For the first time since 2003, the unemployment rate for Latinos not born in the United States was higher, at 7.5%, than the rate for native-born Latinos, at 6.9%, the report found.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Hispanic workers face a greater risk of dying from work-related injuries, with one in three deaths occurring in the construction industry
Between 1992 and 2006, 11,303 Hispanic workers died from work-related injuries. This represents approximately 13% of all work-related deaths in the United States during that time, a higher rate than for white or black workers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Work-related fatalities are going down for the workforce in general, but the disparity between Hispanic and non-Hispanic is persistent and not going away," Dr. Sherry Baron, coordinator of the Occupational Health Disparities Program at the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said during a teleconference. "In 2006, the rate was 25% higher in Hispanics compared to all workers," Baron said. "Most striking is the especially high rate for foreign-born Hispanic workers. Foreign-born Hispanic workers had a 70% higher rate of work-related injury deaths compared to native-born Hispanic workers," she said.
The Michigan Education Association says the number of African-American and Hispanic students dropping out of school is staggering
A report released by Education Week magazine shows only a third of young black men in Michigan graduated in 2005.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
"The girl was left alone with the relative, 48, after he and other family members had been staying with her mother, after the child's father passed away," said Police Inspector Kay Makhuvele. He said that it was not clear how many times the girl had been raped, or over what period of time. "She may have been raped over a number of days, and we are still trying to find out where her mother and the rest of the relatives went when the rape was happening," he said.
A black man who told police he was nearly lynched by a group of white men actually ran into a clothesline after arguing with his wife
The man whose name was not immediately available, called the sheriff and said a group of men tried to hang him in rural Carter County after he stopped to help an elderly farmer round up straying cattle. Sheriff Ken Grace said deputies and FBI agents investigated the case, and the man told officers that he made up the false claim. "He said they accused him of stealing cattle, wrapped a rope around his neck and dragged him around and beat him," Grace said. "Later, he admitted that he was arguing with his wife at an apartment complex and went running through the yard and ran into a clothesline and got the burn on his neck. His wife confirmed that.
A Sri Lankan mother suspected of stabbing two of her children to death was lonely and depressed by her life in Britain
Police have detained Sasikala Navaneethan, 35, under the Mental Health Act over the deaths of her son, 5, and his sister, 4. Their six-month-old sister remains in a critical condition after all three children were stabbed at their home in Carshalton, South London. Police have refused to give details of the incident but sources suggested that the throats of the older children had been cut.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
This is how Christians are treated in a predominantly Islamic country.
Two Spanish men have been arrested in Gambia accused of making homosexual advances to taxi drivers, police say
Recently, President Yahya Jammeh threatened to behead gay people at a political rally and said they had 24 hours to leave the country. He promised "stricter laws than Iran" on homosexuality and said he would "cut off the head" of any gay person. Gambia is predominantly Muslim and President Jammeh cultivates an image of being a devout Muslim. Homosexual sex is illegal in Gambia where those convicted of consensual homosexual acts face jail terms of up to 14 years.
Prehistoric man may have executed rivals from neighbouring tribes to steal their women, research has found
A study of 7,000-year-old skeletons, led by Durham University scientists, found that one of the burial groups consisted only of men and children. This indicated that the women were spared and their capture could have been the motive for the attack. The findings, from a burial pit in Talheim, Germany, are published in the journal Antiquity. The 34 skeletons were discovered in the 1980s, but new studies of different types (isotopes) of atoms in their teeth show that they came from three groups - locals, cattle-herders and a "family" of a man, woman and two children. All the skeletons bore marks to the left side of the skull showing that they were hit in the head with an axe, indicating they were executed while bound. The scientists concluded the absence of local females meant they were captured instead. Dr Alex Bentley, from Durham University's Anthropology Department, said: "It seems this community was specifically targeted, as could happen in a cycle of revenge between rival groups. Although resources and population were undoubtedly factors in central Europe around that time, women appear to be the immediate reason for the attack. Our analysis points to the local women being regarded as somehow special and were therefore kept alive." Dr Bentley added: "It looks like tribal warfare on a small scale. It's crucial for a group which has a very small population to have access to mates."
A police officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham, England
The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned. The incident will fuel fears that "no-go areas" for Christians are emerging in British towns and cities, as the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in The Sunday Telegraph. Arthur Cunningham, 48, and Joseph Abraham, 65, both full-time evangelical ministers, have launched legal action against West Midlands Police, claiming the officer infringed their right to profess their religion. Mr Abraham said: "I couldn't believe this was happening in Britain. The Bishop of Rochester was criticised by the Church of England recently when he said there were no-go areas in Britain but he was right; there are certainly no-go areas for Christians who want to share the gospel."
Nearly three decades after Seattle Public Schools integrated almost all its schools through busing, that racial balance is long gone
Leschi Elementary, about evenly divided between white and minority students in 1980, has a nearly all-minority population once again. The same is true for Brighton Elementary, Dunlap Elementary, Van Asselt Elementary — and all but two of the 26 schools that, the year before busing started, were considered racially imbalanced. Today, a total of 30 schools — close to a third of the district's buildings — have nonwhite populations that far exceed the district's average of 58 percent. In 20 of them, nonwhite enrollment is 90 percent or more. Seattle schools don't look exactly like they did before district wide busing began in 1978. There are fewer nearly all-white schools. Minority students are not as concentrated as they once were in the central part of the city. But Seattle Public Schools, like many districts across the nation, has slowly, steadily resegregated. "We like to think of ourselves as these enlightened, liberal folks," says School Board member Harium Martin-Morris. "But the fact is our schools aren't the way that people really think they are."
Monday, June 2, 2008
More than two million foreign nationals have moved to Britain in recent years and nine in 10 of them came from outside Europe
MigrationwatchUK has calculated that a net 2.3 million immigrants arrived in Britain between 1991 and 2006, the majority of them from developing economies in Africa and Asia. Only 205,000 came from the East European nations that have joined the European Union since 2004, according to Migrationwatch's analysis of official population statistics.
Immigrant leaders in South Africa have said that thousands of refugees frustrated at miserable living conditions were on the point of retaliating against a wave of xenophobic attacks. Tens of thousands of immigrants have been forced to take refuge at temporary shelters around the country after mobs began attacking migrants in squatter camps three weeks ago, killing at least 62 people. "The tension is there, already, for a war," Deo Kabemba Bin Ngulu, a refugee leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo, told reporters.
A mass study found that deaths of children fathered by over-45s occurred at almost twice the rate of those fathered by men aged between 25 and 30
Scientists believe that children of older fathers are more likely to suffer particular congenital defects as well as autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy. The study was the first of its kind of such magnitude in the West, and researchers believe the findings are linked to the declining quality of sperm as men age. A total of 100,000 children born between 1980 and 1996 were examined, of whom 830 have so far died before they reached 18, the majority when they were less than a year old. The deaths of many of the children of the older fathers were related to congenital defects such as problems of the heart and spine, which increase the risk of infant mortality. But there were also higher rates of accidental death, which the researchers believe might be explained by the increased likelihood of suffering from autism, epilepsy or schizophrenia.
Steve Sailer blogs about the sad reality that despite 60 years of political and legal battles to improve the education of Mexican Americans, they continue to have the lowest average education levels and the highest high school dropout rates among major ethnic and racial groups in the United States.
Islamic terrorists may be targeting mentally disturbed or disabled people in Britain in a bid to form a new brigade of home-grown suicide bombers
MI5 and police say the case of Nicky Reilly, who is being held over a nailbomb attack in Exeter, may indicate a new strategy of targeting vulnerable people with mental health problems to carry out attacks. A counterterrorism official said MI5 was investigating the extent to which Reilly had been manipulated by a “charismatic” Al-Qaeda recruiter. “It is a grotesque concept but they are using people who are clearly mentally subnormal,” the official said. “We know they have clever radicalisers who will take advantage of anyone they think they can manipulate, whether they have an IQ of 60 or 140,” he said. Reilly, 22, is a Muslim convert who has spent time detained in a mental health hospital. He has been described as a shambling introvert with the mental age of a 10-year-old. He is believed to have Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and may also suffer from schizophrenia. Security officials say Al-Qaeda appears to have exported the tactic from Iraq, where disabled “foot soldiers” have been used to devastating effect. They point to a case in February when a suicide bomber in a wheelchair killed an Iraqi general in Samarra, north of Baghdad. Earlier, two women, initially thought to have Down’s syndrome, acted as couriers for a bomb in Baghdad, killing almost 100 people.