Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A woman in Somalia has been stoned to death after an Islamic Sharia law court found her guilty of adultery
The woman was buried up to her neck and then pelted to death with stones in front of a large crowd in Kismayo. It was the first such execution in the southern port city since Islamist insurgents captured it from government-allied forces in August 2008. A local Islamist leader said the woman, Aisho Ibrahim Dhuhulow, had pleaded guilty to committing adultery. "She was asked several times to review her confession but she stressed that she wanted Sharia law and the deserved punishment to apply," said Sheikh Hayakallah. A group of men performed the execution in one of the city's main squares in front of thousands of people.
An African has been jailed for 30 years for murdering British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Italy
Rudy Hermann Guede, originally from the Ivory Coast, was found guilty after a trial behind closed doors. Miss Kercher, 21, from south London, was found dead at a house she shared in Perugia on 2 November 2007. Her throat had been cut. Judge Paolo Micheli also ruled that Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and Amanda Knox, 21, should face a murder trial. Leeds University student Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, had been in the Umbrian town as part of her European Studies degree. Prosecutors claimed she was killed as part of a bungled sex game involving Guede, her housemate Miss Knox, from Seattle, and the American's ex-boyfriend Mr Sollecito, from Bari, southern Italy.
A Nigerian-born businessman convicted of smuggling a 14-year-old girl into the United States and forcing her to work as an unpaid servant at his home in Germantown has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison. George Udeozor, who was extradited from Nigeria in February 2008 after almost four years as a fugitive, pleaded guilty in July to holding the victim in involuntary servitude. He admitted having sex with the girl, abuse that prosecutors said began when she was 15.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Decisions made under Islamic sharia law can be accepted by English and Welsh family courts, a British government minister has confirmed
Sharia, a set of principles governing the way many Muslims believe they should live, is not legally binding. But rulings passed on separating couples by a sharia council can be rubber stamped by the courts, said justice minister Bridget Prentice. Conservatives argue that parallel legal systems have no place in Britain. Critics fear women could be disadvantaged by sharia processes, which they say traditionally favor men. Shadow justice secretary Nick Herbert said: "There can be no place for parallel legal systems in our country. It is right that agreements decided privately in family cases must be authorised by a judge applying English law if they are to have any legal effect. It is vital that in matrimonial disputes where a sharia council is involved, women's rights are protected and judgments are non-binding." Controversy over sharia law flared in February 2008 when the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed the adoption of some aspects of Islamic sharia law in Britain seemed unavoidable.
West Bend’s chief of police said they conducted an exhaustive investigation, over 100 hours, to try to figure out what was true and what was not true in Darshane Morgan’s story. Morgan claims she has been the target of racism at West Bend East High School. The 15-year-old said she’s been pushed down the stairs, had eggs thrown at her and has been called racial slurs. Police arrested Morgan at her grandmother’s home afternoon. They later booked her at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center. Police want the district attorney to charge her with obstructing an officer for lying to investigators. The police chief said the investigation proves Morgan made the whole story up. Chief Ken Meuler said none of it is true, and as proof, Meuler said they have surveillance video from inside the school, and they also conducted interviews with other students and teachers at the school. Meuler said Morgan’s story never added up. “I do not believe that any of the accusations that she made on the five dates that she complained to us that we have any supporting evidence, and, on the contrary, we have evidence to show that things didn’t happen, and so, yes, I believe that it’s one lie, and then she continued to lie after that” Meular said. Meuler said charges are necessary to prove to others that lying to police is against the law.
Gang membership among Orange County children jumped by nearly 50 percent in 2007, according to an annual county report on conditions for children. The rise is mostly in Hispanic gangs. In 1998, three-fourths of juvenile gang members were Latino; in the new report, that number was 93%. And 14% of all gang members are 17 years old or younger – up from 11% in 2006, and up from 10% in 1998.
Steve Sailer links to a news story about Colin Powell singing a song in praise of Nigeria's most infamous export, advance-fee email fraud (sometimes called 419 fraud, after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code).
Also: Why Powell's endorsement is worthless.
Also: Why Powell's endorsement is worthless.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Police commander of Kahama district Shaibu Mohamed said the attackers broke down the door to her home and dragged her outside and cut her throat. They chopped off her lower legs and some hair which they made off with. About 30 albinos have been killed in Tanzania in 2008, their parts wanted by witchdoctors for "get rich" potions.
Somali refugees living in Nepal have been demonstrating in the capital Kathmandu to gain official recognition by the government
They say their lives are miserable because they are not allowed to work and are threatened with heavy fines if they try to leave the country. Many of the Somalis say they were tricked into coming to Nepal by people traffickers in Mogadishu. Some say they were told they were being flown to the Italian city of Naples.
The severed heads of four men have been delivered by a courier service to a police station in northern Mexico
The heads, all of men believed aged between 25-35, arrived in an icebox marked as containing vaccines. Police thought the package was meant for a local hospital, but when they opened it they found four heads. Police are investigating if the heads belong to any of the 10 local people who were recently kidnapped by gunmen. The gruesome delivery was made in the town of Ascension, not far from Ciudad Juarez, close to the US border. Ciudad Juarez has a reputation as one of Mexico's most violent cities, with more than a quarter of the country's 3,800 drugs-related murders reported to have taken place there since the start of 2008.
A one-time top lieutenant to Martin Luther King Jr. was sentenced to 15 years in prison for having sex with his teenage daughter
The Rev. James L. Bevel, 71, a key architect of the 1963 Children's Crusade in Birmingham, Ala., and other pivotal moments of the civil rights movement, was convicted earlier in 2008 of incest. The assault occurred in the early 1990s in Loudoun County, when Bevel was working closely with the Virginia-based organization led by political extremist Lyndon LaRouche. The 15-year sentence imposed by Circuit Judge Burke McCahill was the most severe allowed.
Studies suggest that many Hispanics may have more risk factors for developing dementia than other groups, and a significant number appear to be getting Alzheimer’s earlier. The fact that Hispanics have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke and possibly hypertension may be increasing their risk for dementia. Less education may also make Hispanic immigrants more vulnerable to these medical conditions and to dementia because scientists say education may increase the brain’s plasticity or ability to compensate for symptoms. And some researchers cite as risk factors stress from financial hardship or cultural adjustment. The Alzheimer’s Association says that about 200,000 Latinos in the United States have Alzheimer’s, but that, by 2050, based on Census Bureau figures and a study of Alzheimer’s prevalence, the number could reach 1.3 million. The Latino population may have the highest amount of risk factors and prevalence, in comparison to other ethnic groups.
Stanley Kurtz reveals that Barack Obama knowingly and persistently funded an educational project that shared the extremist and anti-American philosophy of Jeremiah Wright.
Machete-wielding gangs in South Africa are mutilating young people to provide body parts for the traditional medicine market
The practice has brought terror to parts of South Africa, where it is estimated that at least 300 people are killed each year for the medicine, known as muti. One victim was Fortune Khumalo, a boy of nine, who was attacked as he relieved himself in bushes. His attacker sliced off his penis and testicles to sell to a traditional healer in Johannesburg, where body parts can fetch £250 and a human head up to £500, according to the research for Channel 4's Unreported World. Fortune survived the attack but is in constant pain because his family cannot afford the reconstructive surgery he needs. His assailant was caught with the boy's genitalia wrapped in a towel in his pocket. Thomas Khumalo, Fortune's father, said: "The killings are driven by greed. People believe using human body parts in medicine can make them rich." Special superintendent Gerard Labuschagne, an expert on ritual killings, said traditional healers are behind the killings, prescribing body parts to patients and hiring men to go out and find them. Human genitals are the most prized parts and can be used to attract wealth and increase fertility. They are cooked and ground down for use with herbs and other ingredients. Children's body parts are thought to be the most potent and victims are often tortured first as the pain is believed to add to the power.
The Immigration Department has admitted tertiary enrolments are failing to meet state and territory demands for graduates in mining, construction and nursing, despite an overhaul of the skilled migration system to meet the labor shortage. The surge in vocational education and training and intensive English-language courses for overseas students was in areas "which appear to be outside those demanded", senior Immigration official Peter Speldewinde told a Brisbane conference. The skilled immigration category was revamped in 2007 to give greater emphasis to speaking English and developing skills among the tens of thousands of overseas students who now go on to form a key plank of the permanent skilled migration program every year. Registered nurses, dentists, engineers, radiographers, urban planners, occupational therapists, electricians, bakers, bricklayers, mechanics, carpenters and chefs are among the top 20 occupational shortage areas identified by the states and territories. But Immigration Department data shows overseas students under the skilled immigration category are flocking instead into hospitality management, welfare studies, hairdressing, accounting, cookery and computing. There were almost 11,000 course commencements in hospitality, almost 2000 in welfare studies and almost 1500 in hairdressing, all winning valuable points towards permanent residency.
Britain is going to restrict immigration to preserve jobs for its citizens, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has said
“If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny … It’s been too easy to get into this country in the past and it’s going to get harder,” the Labor government minister told the Times of London. Britain's unemployment rate rose sharply, to 5.7%, in the last quarter. Britain, which admits about 200,000 immigrants a year, adopted a tougher points-based immigration system in February. "Only those with skills the country needs can come," Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said at the time. Woolas said the government should train British citizens for those jobs. The opposition Conservatives have been pushing to cut immigration substantially below the 200,000 figure. Labor MP and former minister Frank Field welcomed the policy change. "We shouldn't grow the population by immigration," he said.
Madison's Memorial High School was on edge the day after a racially tinged fight and amid rumors of a possible gun at school. Students were sent home just before 1 p.m. Police set up a command post and five detectives were brought in to help more than 10 officers determine if a safety threat existed. The police intervention — which also included officers who followed school buses and monitored West Towne Mall and Metro Transit transfer points — came after a fight between black and Latino students at the school. Several students were arrested, and the fight sparked rumors of retaliation, including reports that a gun might have been brought to school the next day, police and school district officials said. No gun was found, said Luis Yudice, the district's security coordinator, but officials decided that closing the school "was simply the safest thing to do." One student was arrested for possessing a sharp, pointed homemade object. Officer Shannon Blackamore, Memorial's educational resource officer, said the student, who is Latino, had not been involved in the previous racial incident.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Police called to the Pappu Sweet Centre in Wolverhampton in August discovered the man's body on a sofa near the kitchen, magistrates in the city heard. The business, owned by Jaswinder Singh, 45, was shut down immediately. The council said it was one of the worst cases environmental health officers had seen. Singh has been banned from running any food business.
Twelve Indian states have alarming levels of hunger while the situation is extremely alarming in the state of Madhya Pradesh, says a new report
Madhya Pradesh's nutrition problems are comparable to the African countries of Ethiopia and Chad. India has more people suffering hunger - a figure above 200 million - than any other country in the world. The report, released as part of the 2008 Global Hunger Index, ranks India at 66 out 88 countries.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
According to a Zogby poll conducted in July 2008, more than 20% of U.S. adults - one in five, about the same number of American Colonists who supported revolt against England in 1775 - agreed that "any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic." Some 18% "would support a secessionist effort in my state." The motivation of these quiet revolutionaries? As many as 44% of those polled agreed that "the United States' system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections." Put this in stark terms: In a scientific, random sample poll of all Americans, almost half considered the current political system to be in terminal disorder. One-fifth would countenance a dissolution of the bond. This is not a hiccup of opinion. In an October 2006 poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corp. and broadcast on CNN, 71% of Americans agreed that "our system of government is broken and cannot be fixed." No surprise that the disquiet finds a voice in popular movements. In 2007, a small group of delegates to the second North American secessionist convention - the first was in Burlington, Vt., in 2006 - met in Chattanooga, Tenn., to discuss how to foment the collapse and destruction of the United States of America. They came representing 11 rebel groups in 36 states, under banners such as the Republic of Cascadia (wedding Oregon and Washington), Independent California (forging the world's fifth-largest economy), the United Republic of Texas (returning the Lone Star State to its aloneness), the League of the South (uniting the secesh states of old Dixie) and the Second Vermont Republic (separating the Green Mountain State from the United States). The dominant idea among the delegates was that the U.S. experiment had failed; it had become impractical, tragically ridiculous, its leaders and institutions bought off, whored out, unaccountable and unanswerable to the needs of citizens. The United States would have to be reborn smaller - our loyalties realigned to the needs of localities - if the American dream was to survive. The convention presented, in effect, a marriage of progressives, paleo-conservatives, libertarians, Christian separatists, Southern nationalists, all united "to put an end to the American empire and reestablish freedom and democracy on the state and regional level," as organizer Kirkpatrick Sale put it. The delegates settled on a list of principles they called the Chattanooga Declaration. "The deepest questions of human liberty and government facing our time go beyond right and left, and in fact have made the old left-right split meaningless and dead," the declaration read. "The privileges, monopolies and powers that private corporations have won from government threaten ... health, prosperity and liberty, and have already killed American self-government by the people." The answer, it went on, was that the American states "ought to be free and self-governing." The Declaration of Independence 250 years earlier asked for a similar dedication to self-governance: "[W]henever any form of government becomes destructive ... " wrote Thomas Jefferson, "it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.... " It could be argued that secession is the primal American act, as old as the concept of the states themselves. What else did our founders accomplish in 1776 but secession from the tyranny of England? In other words, what the secessionists would argue is that although they are anti-United States, they are most certainly pro-American.
Most Japanese inns and hotels that didn’t have foreign guests last year don’t want any in the future, according to a government survey
While the majority of such establishments do accept foreigners, the survey showed the country’s more traditional inns are not as hospitable, even as the government mounts a major campaign to draw more tourists from abroad. Japan’s countryside is dotted with thousands of small, old-fashioned lodgings called “ryokans.” Many are family run and offer only traditional Japanese food and board, such as raw seafood delicacies, simple straw-mat floors and communal hot spring baths. Some such establishments have barred foreign guests in the past, leading to lawsuits and government fines for discrimination. The survey carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs shows that 72% of establishments that didn’t have foreign customers in 2007 don’t want any, and the majority are ryokans and hotels with fewer than 30 rooms. Such businesses said they are unable to support foreign languages and that their facilities are not suited to foreigners. While more than 60% of the country’s inns and hotels hosted foreign guests last year, the results indicate it may be hard to expand this number.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations involving a Cobb County commissioner and voodoo
A woman who practices voodoo in South Carolina claims commissioner Annette Kesting wanted her to put a curse on the opponent who defeated Kesting in August 2008. The voodoo priestess, George Ann Mills of Blythewood, S.C., filed a report with Cobb County police claiming Kesting's checks for the ceremony bounced. Kesting was soundly defeated in mid-August, and according to the voodoo priestess she wanted challenger Woody Thompson to either develop cancer or be involved in a car wreck. The woman claims Kesting gave her pictures of Thompson and wrote her $3,000 worth of checks, but those checks bounced. The voodoo rituals were apparently never performed. Kesting said her bank book had been stolen and that she had never visited a voodoo high priestess in South Carolina. Thompson won the August primary with 69% of the vote.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Today’s Macedonians are descendants of the Antic Macedonians, says research results from the Swiss Genealogy Institute iGENEA. For a second time an independent research institution confirms what Oxford and Madrid University confirmed a decade ago. iGENEA is the most famous global Genealogy institute who once again frustrated the Greek government by confirming the direct connection between the Macedonians today and in Antic times. The question came from a Greek citizen who asked iGENEA the following question: "What are the roots of today SlavMacedonians". The Institute responded: "Before all, they are Macedonians, not slavMacedonias as you referred to them for political reasons. The largest part of the Macedonians are direct descendants of the Antic Macedonians. Only a minor portion have a Slavic connection". iGENEA backed up their findings with hard numbers. However, tying the today's Macedonians with Antic Macedonians is not the only disappointing information for Greece. According to iGENEA, only 32% of Greek citizens have Macedonian, Hellenic and even Arab origin. iGENEA further explains that 31% of Greek citizens have Celtic roots, 12% Germanic and Slavic origin, while 11% have Illyrian roots. iGENEA also negated the Illyrians roots of the Albanians. In stark contrast to Albanian beliefs, IGENEA says the Albanians have the least Illyrian roots. Only 20% of the Albanians have Illyrian roots, while 40% of today’s Bosnians have Illyrian roots. In the past several months, the iGENEA Genealogy Institute had been flooded with requests by Greek Citizens who, ironically, did not care for their own origin, but all questions were aimed at the Macedonians' origin. iGENEA in its research uses DNA analysis, historical, archeological, and anthropological sources.
An estranged couple in Cambodia have sawed their house in half to avoid the country's convoluted divorce process
Moeun Rim and his wife, Nhanh, who have been married nearly 40 years, split the building following an argument, local officials said. Mr Rim has removed his share of the property and the couple have also divided their land into four parts; two for their children, and two for them. Divorce cases in Cambodia can be costly and may take a long time to settle. The house - or one half of the house - is located in Prey Veng province, about 90km (56 miles) from the capital, Phnom Penh.
When a group is without a leader, you can often count on a narcissist to take charge, a new study suggests
Researchers found that people who score high in narcissism tend to take control of leaderless groups. Narcissism is a trait in which people are self-centered, exaggerate their talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others. “Not only did narcissists rate themselves as leaders, which you would expect, but other group members also saw them as the people who really run the group,” said Amy Brunell, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University at Newark.
Hat tip, Randall Parker!
Hat tip, Randall Parker!
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate - already the world's highest - has soared to 231,000,000%, official figures for July 2008 show
The rise - from 11,200,000% in June - was largely due to increases in the prices of bread and cereals. A landmark power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has failed to ease the country's economic crisis.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Asthma patients who are black tend to have more severe disease than asthma patients who are white, leading to more asthma control problems, higher rates of emergency department visits, and overall worse quality of life. These findings point to genetic differences that lead to poor responses to drug therapy as the source of these racial disparities. Based data obtained from The Epidemiology and Natural History of Asthma: Outcomes and Treatment Regimens (TENOR) study, Dr. Tmirah Haselkorn and colleagues undertook an in-depth analysis in an attempt to explain the differences between black and white adults with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma. Their analysis included 1,885 white patients and 243 black patients who were treated by more than 400 specialists in lung diseases and allergies at 283 study sites across the United States. Blacks were more likely to have asthma that was classified as severe by their physicians and to be treated with three or more long-term controller drugs, Haselkorn, of Genentech Inc., in South San Francisco, California, and her associates report in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. However, the researchers found no differences in access to treatment between the two racial groups and no evidence of differences in asthma-related knowledge or behavior in the patients. Socioeconomic status, adherence to drug therapy, treatment setting, the presence of other diseases and various allergy measures also did not explain the differences in asthma-related illness and severity between the two races. The researchers conclude that the TENOR study data support the idea of a genetic component that causes a poor response to asthma treatment in blacks. The investigators urge that these findings be used to develop more effective asthma treatments and educational strategies for black patients who are having problems controlling their disease. In addition, future clinical trials evaluating new therapies should be designed to also examine the potential impact of race and ethnicity on treatment response.
The Latin Kings are the best-known among the Hispanic youth gangs that have formed in Spain among the immigrants from its former colonies. Gradually, Spanish police experts are beginning to understand the mentality of the street gangs born or based on models in poor and crime-infested neighbourhoods in the Americas. The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation was initially formed to help and defend Latin American immigrants in the Chicago area of the United States in the 1940s. Its members later became involved in violent crimes. The Spanish branch of the Latin Kings was launched in 2000 by the young Ecuadorian Eric Velastegui, known as King Wolverine, who is now serving a prison sentence for rape. The Latin Kings' big rival in Spain are the Netas, a gang founded in the prisons of Puerto Rico in the 1970s. Other gangs include Dominican Don't Play (DDP), many of whose members come from the Dominican Republic. The Madrid DDP has begun to sell drugs and acquired firearms, according to the daily El Pais. Recently, evidence has even emerged of the presence in Catalonia of the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18, Central American groups known for their extreme violence. In the Madrid region alone, the number of gang members tripled in three years to about 1,300 by 2007, police estimated. Nearly 300 of them were regarded as violent. The main gangs, which are present in several cities across Spain, are hierarchically structured, tribe-like organizations. The gangs tend to place women in a secondary role, with the Latin Kings as the only one to have a female section. Many of the gangs have a double nature, with leisure activities such as football alternating with robberies or extortion which new members can be ordered to commit as a kind of initiation rite. Dozens of gang members have been detained on charges ranging from kidnappings and threats to attacks and killings. Most of the violence takes place between rival gangs, but former members have also told courts about the beatings faced by those who break the internal rules. 'We were told to pay 1,200 euros (1,700 dollars), or we'd be burned alive,' two girls who had tried to leave the Latin Kings told a Madrid judge. The growth of the gangs is based on the rapid increase of Latin American immigration to Spain. The overall number of immigrants has soared from 1.8% of the Spanish population in 1990 to more than 10%. The largest groups include 420,000 Ecuadorians and 260,000 Colombians.
Knife crime is being partly fuelled by a brutalized generation of refugee children who have come to Britain from vicious war-torn regions of Africa. Recent figures revealed that one person is the victim of knife crime every four minutes. In 2007, teenage Angolan refugee Roberto Malasi was jailed for 30 years after he admitted stabbing to death an 18-year-old student and shooting dead a woman cradling a baby at a christening in a two week period. The Old Bailey heard that the killings were the culmination of his horrific upbringing of pitiless persecution in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sir John Nutting QC, his defense lawyer, said that Malasi was influenced by witnessing scenes of daily violence in his early teens, including people being hanged, shot and burned to death. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch, pointed out: "The black African community now numbers 694,000 and has overtaken the black Caribbean group as a result of high net migration in recent years. This is a further consequence of our failure to control immigration."
There are both genetic and moral reasons that children of the professional classes come out on top academically
Charles Murray writes about how many children are just not gifted enough to learn to do academic tasks at more than a rudimentary level, and schools can tweak their performance only at the margins.
South Sudan's government has expressed outrage after police in the capital, Juba, arrested over 30 women for wearing tight trousers or short skirts
Police said local officials had issued an order banning "bad behavior and the importation of illicit cultures". Gender Minister Mary Kinden Kimbo said police had exceeded their authority and violated the women's human rights. Some of the women were beaten after they were arrested outside church and bundled into trucks.
Police have raided a private hospital in Nigeria where they suspect new-born babies were being sold to traffickers
Police found the hospital in the south-eastern town of Enugu, when a 17-year-old girl escaped. Four people - two nurses and the hospital's owners - have been arrested in connection with the "baby farm", police said. Seven pregnant young women discovered in the hospital during the raid are now in the care of the state government. State police commissioner Sani Magaji said that a 17-year-old who was days away from giving birth had escaped from the hospital. The women, according to the police, had spent up to six months in the hospital, waiting to give birth. Their babies would be sold for as little as 15,000 naira ($127, £72), the police said. It is suspected the babies were to be sold to traffickers who sell children into forced labour or prostitution. Several similar cases have been discovered in Nigeria in recent years. Poor, unmarried women face tough choices if they get pregnant in Nigeria. Unmarried mothers face exclusion from society. In May 2008, a Nigerian woman was jailed in Britain for trying to smuggle a baby into the country in order to get on the list for a council flat. Police have not been able to trace the child's real parents.
Joerg Haider has set up a holding facility in the remote mountains of southern Austria for asylum seekers suspected as criminals, saying they need to be isolated to protect the people in the area. Haider gained international prominence in 1999 when the Freedom Party, which he then headed, took 27% of the vote in Austria's parliamentary elections. The party's subsequent inclusion in the government led to months of European Union sanctions over Haider's statements, which were seen as anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and sympathetic to Adolf Hitler's labor policies. Haider is now governor of Carinthia province and his regional government set up the facility for asylum seekers, which sits in a secluded pasture in the mountains of southern Austria at an altitude of about 3,900 feet. "With this security precaution, we are protecting the Carinthian population," Haider told a news conference. He said the number of criminal asylum seekers was on the rise.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Small bleeds within the brain, appear to be more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, increasing the likelihood of having a stroke
Cerebral microbleeds, which are small bleeds within the brain, appear to be more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, increasing the likelihood of having a stroke, according to a study published in the October 7, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. These types of brain lesions can be an important indicator for stroke. For the study, 87 people from the Washington, DC, area who had suffered a certain type of stroke, called an intracerebral hemorrhage, underwent brain scans. This kind of stroke involves bleeding in the brain and makes up 10 to 15 percent of all strokes. Researchers also determined the group's risk factors for stroke such as age, hypertension and alcohol use. Forty-two of the people were African-American while 45 were Caucasian. The study found that African-Americans had 32% more microbleeds than Caucasians. African-Americans were also more likely to have these types of lesions in several different areas of the brain. While African-Americans had more lesions in the lower and middle parts of the brain, Caucasians had them most frequently near the surface of the brain. "Finding racial differences that could be linked with a higher prevalence for these brain lesions may lead to new methods for testing and treating people to prevent stroke," said study author Chelsea Kidwell, MD, with Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. Hemorrhagic stroke is two to three times more common in minority populations, including African-Americans. Microbleeds are found in 50 to 80 percent of this type of stroke.
Children of Chinese and South Asian immigrants to Canada do dramatically better over time than the offspring of blacks, Filipinos and Latin Americans
The findings, released quietly by Statistics Canada, suggest a new paradigm for understanding immigrants' integration and success. The old vertical mosaic – with whites from Britain and Europe at the top and visible minorities underneath – is no longer valid. Instead, second- and third-generation Chinese and Japanese surpass all other groups of newcomers, including whites, while for blacks and other groups, there is little or no economic mobility across generations. “You can no longer make broad generalizations about how badly visible minorities are doing. Some groups are doing really well, and others are not,” said Jack Jedwab, a historian and head of the Association for Canadian Studies, who wrote a report on the findings. “We need to rethink the vertical mosaic and look at why mobility is weak among certain ethnic groups.” The 2006 census data show that first-generation white immigrants with university degrees, aged 25-44, earned $68,036 a year on average – just above the Canadian-born baseline of $65,000. Those from Japan earned $58,294 and those from China $55,270, while black immigrants earned $51,317 a year. The below-average incomes relate to immigrants' language barriers, lack of Canadian job experience, and difficulties getting their credentials recognized. The balance shifts, however, with the second and third generation. The Chinese catapulted ahead, with the grandchildren of immigrants earning an average of $79,022 a year. Incomes for South Asians also increased substantially by the third generation. In contrast, blacks languished, with third-generation immigrants earning less than newcomers. The incomes of Latin Americans also fell across the generations.
Immigration authorities in Kenya say they will deport the American author of a highly critical book about US presidential candidate Barack Obama
The author, Jerome Corsi, was in Kenya to launch his book which accuses Obama of supporting an alleged plot to turn Kenya into an Islamic state. Officials said that Corsi did not have the right visa. Obama's father was from Kenya, where the US Democratic contender is a highly popular figure. Corsi - author of The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality - has been accused of a smear campaign against Obama. In a recent press release, Corsi said he would expose deep secret ties between US Democratic presidential candidate Sen Barack Obama and a section of the Kenyan government leaders.
South Africa is not the harmonious “rainbow nation” so celebrated by Nelson Mandela on his inauguration day
Two weeks ago, a vicious power struggle culminated in something like regicide, with the governing African National Congress deposing one of its own, President Thabo Mbeki, and replacing him with a stand-in for Mr. Mbeki’s archrival, Jacob Zuma. The actual changing of the guard was orderly enough, but months of behind-the-scenes back-stabbing have made many South Africans long for days more abundant with moral clarity, including those fretful about a figure as polarizing as Zuma. The past year has been especially unnerving, with one bleak event after another, and it is more than acidic politics that have soured the national mood. Economic growth slowed; prices shot up. Xenophobic riots broke out in several cities, with mobs killing dozens of impoverished foreigners and chasing thousands more from their tumbledown homes. The country’s power company unfathomably ran out of electricity and rationed supply. Gone was the conceit that South Africa was the one place on the continent immune to such incompetence. The rich purchased generators; the poor muddled through with kerosene and paraffin. Other grievances were ruefully familiar. South Africa has one of the worst crime rates. But more alarming than the quantity of lawbreaking is the cruelty. Robberies are often accompanied by appalling violence, and people here one-up each other with tales of scalding and shooting and slicing and garroting. The poor apply padlocks in defense. The rich surround their homes with concrete and barbed wire — and there are suggestions that more are simply fleeing the country. “On our street alone, just that one small street, three of the husbands in families were killed in carjackings or robberies,” said Antony McKechnie, an electrical engineer who a month ago moved to New Zealand. “If we had stayed and something had happened to any of our three children, we would never be able to forgive ourselves.” Rich and poor, black, white and mixed race: their complaints may differ, but the discontent is shared. Polls show a pervasive distrust of government, political parties and the police.
Hat tip, Half Sigma!
Hat tip, Half Sigma!
Monday, October 6, 2008
People who believe in God tend to be more helpful, honest and generous individuals, new research suggests
Scientists say that those who frequently pray and attend religious services report more charitable donations and volunteer work. However the review, published in the journal Science, does suggest that believers acting for the greater good may be doing so to enhance their own reputation among friends and acquaintances. In one experiment, volunteers who had been told that a dead student's ghost had been seen in the experiment room cheated less on a test than those who had not. In another, children who were told that a fictional character called Princess Alice was watching them were less likely to disobey their instructions. In Science, the authors wrote: "These findings are consistent with the idea that outward evidence of religious devotion may engender more trust." The evidence also suggests that trust in other members of a religious group is higher when those groups involve a greater degree of commitment, for example in stricter forms of religious belief, such as Mormonism. The authors say that the research supports the idea that in early societies religion helped to foster social cohesion by encouraging cooperation.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Dave Gibson explains how boneheaded policies such as Bank of America offering credit cards to illegal aliens without Social Security numbers in Los Angeles helped cause our current economic problems.
Illegal immigrants account for one-third of the drug convictions; 44% of forgery convictions and 20% of the felony DUI convictions in the Phoenix area, according to a study by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Thomas said that illegal immigrants make up 19% of those convicted of crimes in Maricopa County and 21% of those in county jails. There are an estimated 579,000 illegal immigrants in the state, making up 9% of Arizona’s population, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. Illegals accounted for 10% of sex crimes, 11% of murders and 13% of stolen cars, according to Thomas’ office, which looked at 2007 sentencing and jail statistics.
British cabinet papers, kept secret until now, reveal the deep pessimism felt by ministers over the future of Ghana as an independent state
According to the 1950s' documents, doubts were expressed about whether the country could be viable state. One politician said Ghanaians had every qualification for democratic government as they appeared to be "incompetent, cruel, divided and corrupt". Ghana was Britain's first African colony to win independence. Back in the 1950s, Britain was feeling the heat from calls to set free its African territories and ministers were in a hurry to do something about it. But even though the Gold Coast, as it then was, had been promised independence, ministers doubted that that Ghana would be a democratic and viable unitary state. Experts reported problems of corruption and hostility between the three main communities - Muslims in the north, tribal African communities in the interior and then the peoples of the better-off coastal strip. Ministers told the Colonial Secretary, Alan Lennox Boyd, that Ghana should instead be a federation. He said it was too late for that. Then, Harold Macmillan, the chancellor, startled the Cabinet by declaring harshly that "these people", as he put it, seemed to have "every qualification for democratic government. They appear to be incompetent, cruel, divided and corrupt" he said. He wished them "a happy future".
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says South Africa has halted aid for some foreigners displaced during the xenophobic violence of May 2008
According to MSF, some 700 migrants in a camp near Pretoria have been left without security or food. "This is an attempt to push people out and is completely unacceptable," an MSF spokesman said. The authorities want to close all camps hosting the thousands of displaced in the attacks in May by 4 October 2008. "The authorities at the Acasia camp have stopped providing food and there is no longer any management in the camp," said Jonathan Whittall, programmes director for MSF. "This is once again an attempt to push people out of the camp and is completely unacceptable." The United Nations says that around 80,000 were driven from their homes during May's attacks in which 62 people were killed. Most of the people in the Acasia camp are from Somalia, Ethiopia and Burundi and MSF says many have refugee status. The violence - which caused the worst bloodshed in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994 - began in a township north of Johannesburg before spreading to other parts of the country.
According to Government estimates, the established white population of England dropped by nearly 250,000 between 2002 and 2006. Official figures have previously indicated that about 50,000 Britons head for Australia each year and about 30,000 for New Zealand. In 2007, a record 400,000 left the country to live abroad for at least 12 months. The new estimates, which show how each ethnic group grew or diminished between 2005 and 2006, provide further evidence of so-called white flight. The white British population went down by 70,400 over the year through emigration. And the white Irish population fell by 4,600 because of emigration, bringing the total decline in the existing white population to 75,000. The figures have been calculated for every year back to 2002 - and this was the biggest decline yet. In the previous year, there had been a drop of just 42,300. In 2004, there was a fall of 74,100. Even though there were more births than deaths, the white British and Irish population still fell by almost 15,000 in 2006. The estimates were greeted with alarm by the immigration think-tank Migration Watch. Its chairman Sir Andrew Green said: 'The unavoidable conclusion is that the whole nature of our society will change very rapidly unless the Government moves from spin to serious action, which the vast majority of the public want to see.' Previous surveys by officials have shown that most of those who emigrate go to Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain or the U.S. The most popular is Australia. About 220,000 more Britons have gone to Australia than vice versa between 1996 and 2006. And 40,000 more Britons than Canadians have switched between the two countries.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Albinos in Burundi have been taking refuge after three of them were killed by gangs apparently seeking to sell body parts in neighbouring Tanzania
Four albinos have been moved to a provincial center in Ruyigi, Burundi, where police were protecting them. Authorities have arrested six people in connection with the murder of an albino teenage girl in August 2008. The attacks follow the killing of 26 Tanzanian albinos in less than a year. An investigation revealed that witchdoctors were behind the killings. They sought albino body parts for potions that they claimed could make people rich. Two of the albinos killed in Burundi - a man and a teenage girl - were reportedly found dead with their legs and arms missing. Police said the tip of the girl's tongue was also removed. Neighbors of another teenage albino girl killed in Ruyigi in August chased away her attackers, six of whom were later apprehended as they came to retrieve her body parts. They are said to have told police that they were planning to sell the body parts in Tanzania. Albinos in Burundi - estimated to number around 200 - are now living in fear for their lives.
Pregnant women who are part of an Asian-white couple face an increased risk of gestational diabetes as compared with couples in which both partners are white, according to a new study from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine. The researchers also found that Asian women whose partners are white are more likely than white women with Asian or white partners to have a cesarean delivery, as part of a broad analysis of perinatal outcomes among Asian, white and Asian-white couples. The study will be published in the October 2008 issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The findings, the authors say, could benefit clinicians working with an increasingly diverse patient population. "There's great heterogeneity in our country; there are people of many different races and backgrounds," said co-author Yasser El-Sayed, MD, a Packard Children's Hospital obstetrician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the medical school. "Gaining better insight into the risks facing specific populations provides for better counseling and better prenatal care." It's difficult to estimate the prevalence of Asian-white couples, but 14.3% of Americans reporting Asian race in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 survey also reported being of mixed Asian-white ancestry. Although past studies have looked at ethnic differences in perinatal outcomes, the majority of research has focused on white- African-American couples. Few studies have focused specifically on Asian-white couples, said El-Sayed, who is also associate chief of maternal-fetal medicine. To learn more about outcomes and risks in this population, the researchers looked at data from white, Asian and Asian-white couples who delivered at the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services at Packard Children's from 2000 through 2005. (During that time period, 5,575 white, 3,226 Asian and 868 Asian-white couples delivered babies at the hospital.) The team recorded the type of delivery - cesarean vs. vaginal - and examined perinatal outcomes including gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preterm delivery and birth weight. El-Sayed and his colleagues found, as noted in their paper, that Asian- white couples "represent a population with distinct perinatal risks that differ depending upon which parent is of Asian race." More specifically, the researchers found that white mother/Asian father couples had the lowest rate (23%) of cesarean delivery, while Asian mother/white father couples had the highest rate (33.2%). Because birth weights between these two groups were similar, the researchers say the findings suggest that the average Asian woman's pelvis may be smaller than the average white woman's and less able to accommodate babies of a certain size. (Asian couples had babies with the lowest median birth weight, so cesarean delivery was less common among those women.) It's important for clinicians to know which women may have an increased risk of cesarean delivery, so they can conduct proper counseling prior to childbirth, El-Sayed said. El-Sayed and his colleagues also found that the incidence of gestational diabetes was lowest among white couples at 1.61% and highest among Asian couples at 5.73% - and just under 4% for Asian-white couples. These findings weren't altogether surprising: past studies have shown an increased risk of diabetes among Asian couples, which researchers attribute to an underlying genetic predisposition. But the interesting finding, El-Sayed said, was that the risk for interracial couples was about the same regardless of which parent was Asian. Based on their findings, El-Sayed said clinicians should consider both maternal and paternal race when determining a patient's risk for perinatal complications. "One has to factor in as many relevant variables as possible when you counsel a patient about pregnancy," he said. "We've shown in this paper that if you have an interracial couple, depending on which parent is of which race, there may be different relative risks of certain outcomes that could inform and enhance clinical management." Noting the growing number of interracial couples in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, El-Sayed said he expects to see more outcomes research like this in the future. "These kinds of studies will become increasingly common," he said.
Blacks make up 12% of the overall population but accounted for 46% of those infected with HIV (510,100 people). About 35% of those with HIV were white and 18% were Hispanic, according to the CDC. Black women were nearly 18 times more likely than white women to be infected with HIV, while black men were six times more likely than white men, the CDC said. Hispanics were 2.6 times more likely than whites to be infected.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Low levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been linked to antisocial behaviour in adolescent boys
Cortisol levels in the body usually surge in stressful situations, thought to help people regulate emotions. But a Cambridge university study found this did not happen in boys with a history of severe antisocial behavior. The Biological Psychiatry study suggests some bad behavior may be a form of mental illness linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain. An increase in cortisol levels is thought to make people behave more cautiously, and help them to regulate their emotions, particularly their temper and violent impulses. The Cambridge team recruited participants for the study from schools, pupil referral units and the Youth Offending Service. Samples of saliva were collected over several days from the subjects in a non-stressful environment to measure levels of the hormone under resting conditions. The young men then took part in a stressful experiment that was designed to induce frustration. Samples of saliva were taken immediately before, during and after the experiment to track how cortisol changed during stress. While the average adolescents showed large increases in the amount of cortisol during the frustrating situation, cortisol levels actually went down in those with histories of severe antisocial behaviour. The researchers said the results suggest that antisocial behavior may be more biologically-based than previously considered, just as some individuals are more vulnerable to depression or anxiety due to their biological make-up.
The arrival of colonial cities in sub-Saharan Africa at the dawn of the 20th Century may have sparked the spread of HIV
US experts analyzed one of the earliest samples of the virus ever found, in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1959. The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests the virus may have crossed from apes to humans between 1884 and 1924. They believe newly-built cities may have allowed the virus to thrive. AIDS, the illness caused by HIV, was first reported by doctors in 1981, but the virus had been around for many decades before that. HIV is not a single virus - there are a number of different strains and subtypes of strains, some sharing the same founder event in history, in which a single human was infected. Scientists believe that these founder events may have involved eating monkeys infected with a similar virus. Research published in 2007 found the viral ancestor of a subtype of HIV responsible for most modern cases in the US and Europe in a blood sample taken in Leopoldville, the capital of Belgian Congo - now Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now the same team, from the University of Arizona at Tucson, has found another sample containing a different subtype in a 1960 sample from a different patient in the same city. By analysing the genetic differences between the two viruses, and calculating the amount of time these differences would take to evolve, they now say that the two probably have a common ancestor dating from at least 50 years earlier. Dr Michael Worobey, who led the research, said: "Now, for the first time, we have been able to compare two relatively ancient HIV strains. That helped us to calibrate how quickly the virus evolved and make some really robust inferences about when it crossed into humans, how the epidemic grew from that time, and what factors allowed the virus to enter and become a successful human pathogen." HIV was and remains a relatively poorly transmitted virus, he said, so the key to the success of the virus was possibly the development of cities such as Leopoldville in the early 1900s. The large numbers of people living in close proximity would have allowed more opportunity for new infections. "I think the picture that has emerged here, is that changes the human population experienced may have opened to the door to the spread of HIV," he said. Professor Paul Clark, a researcher into evolutionary history at the University of Edinburgh, said that while the finding was mainly of historical interest, it might provide more clues about how the virus changed over time. He suggested that it was likely that all of the early cases of group M HIV-1 - the strain causing 19 out of 20 modern infections - happened in the Leopoldville area. He said: "We can now paint a remarkably detailed picture of the time and place of origin of HIV-1 group M viruses and their early diversification, and thus of the prehistory of the AIDS pandemic."
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has sharply criticized the forced closure of South African migrant camps
The camps, holding 1,200 foreigners driven from their homes by May 2008's xenophobic violence, are being shut around the city of Johannesburg. This is despite a ruling from the Constitutional Court to keep them open. In September, it ruled a full hearing should decide if it was legal to shut them. The provincial government in Gauteng argues it is now safe for the foreigners to return to their homes. The camps were set up following attacks in which 62 people were killed and thousands displaced. The camps that are being closed are those at Glenanda, on Rifle Range road, south of Johannesburg and Boksburg, east of the city and a third at Rand airport. According to MSF, which has been working in the camps, around 1,200 people have been forced out. "We are very worried," said Alexis Moens, project co-ordinator for MSF. "When people go back to their homes they have been attacked," he said.