Thursday, February 26, 2009

A 14-year-old Israeli girl has got a divorce from her 17-year-old husband, making her what media are describing as the country's youngest divorcee

The divorce came after a rabbinical court ruled that their wedding met the major requirements of Jewish law. The two sweethearts had exchanged vows in front of friends, exchanged a ring, and the union had been consummated. When her parents found out what had occurred, they insisted on a religious divorce, which she initially refused. Both partners come from traditionally religious Jewish families. The young couple are said to have recited their marriage vows in front of a group of friends and the husband give his wife a ring. The girl is said to have initially refused her parents' demand for the divorce, saying she wanted to live with the boy. She said she wanted to marry him officially when she was old enough. The Israeli press says she only changed her mind when the boy's parents offered her money. The religious court in Jerusalem then held the divorce proceeding. The divorce will go on the girl's legal file, meaning that when she is 16, her identity card will say she is divorced. One consequence of this is that - if she follows Jewish religious law - she will not be able to marry anyone with the name of Cohen, who are traditionally the Jewish priestly caste.

Violence, males and evolution

Kevin MacDonald:

Male aggression against other males is a common theme of human history. In the US, around 90% of violent crime is committed by males and the vast majority is against other males; the same pattern can be seen around the world. Warfare has always been a male enterprise, and it is easy to see why. Consider Genghis Khan. As the victorious Mongol armies spread throughout Asia, he and his descendants established harems of women and sired large numbers of children. Recent genetic research shows that he now has around 16 million male descendants scattered throughout Asia. Like the invading lion coalition, there was a huge payoff for the winners of war throughout human history.

In northern Burundi, unidentified assailants have killed a 6-year-old albino boy, hacking off his arms and legs in front of his parents

The killers then made off with the body parts. Police say the body parts will probably be sold in Tanzania, where they can fetch large amounts of money for use by witch doctors. The killing is the eighth murder of an albino in Burundi in recent months.

Related:

Tanzanian albinos targeted for their body parts

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

State support of polygamy in Britain

A review by four Government departments - the Treasury, the Work and Pensions Department, the Inland Revenue and the Home Office - has concluded that 1,000 men in Britain are now polygamists, although some say the figure is higher. What is more, the review found, a Muslim man can claim state support of more than £10,000 a year to keep his wives, if the wedding took place in one of those countries where polygamy is commonplace, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and across huge tracts of Africa. For example, a man can receive £92.80 a week in income support for wife number one, and a further £33.65 for each of his subsequent spouses. Therefore, if he has four wives - the maximum permitted under Islamic teachings - he can claim nearly £800 a month from the British taxpayer. Controversially, a polygamist is also entitled to more generous housing benefits and bigger council houses to reflect the large size of his family. He is also able to claim £1,000 a year in child benefit for each of his growing brood. Supporters of polygamy claim the Koran states unequivocally that a Muslim man can marry up to four women so long as he treats them equally. But the Taxpayers' Alliance, a lobby group, has complained: 'Polygamy is not officially condoned here, so why should British taxpayers have to pay for extra benefits for men to have two, three or four wives?'

Related:

Mosques 'fail to tackle radicals'

Richard Perle and the Neocons

Richard Perle has been trying to downplay the role of the neocons in the Iraq war.

Related:

Richard Perle Tries To Distance Himself From Iraq Debacle

Minority officials and the Democratic Party

The challenge of dealing with minority officials who run afoul of the law is a preeminently Democratic problem and will certainly arise again when the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct makes its report on some questionable activities by Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Rangel is accused of failure to report income, circumventing New York City’s rent-control laws by occupying four of the cut-rate units, not the allowable one, and using official House stationery to raise money for a school of public affairs at the City College of New York that is named for him. In light of the reluctance of Democratic leaders to stand up to the chorus of support for Burris, they could find themselves accused of dealing less aggressively with minority corruption than with malfeasance by whites. This would be difficult enough given the importance of minorities to the Democratic coalition. What compounds the situation is the readiness of African-American politicians to make the accused into racial martyrs.

Chess, science and male superiority

More political incorrectness from the world of science.

Boy, 16, arrested in gangland killing as friends of second knife victim warn of a race war between Somalis and Afghans in London

More evidence of the failure of diversity and multiculturalism.

Related:

One in nine people living in Britain now born overseas as 300,000 more foreigners settle in the UK

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scientists have warned of the possibility of an outbreak of bubonic plague in south-east Bangladesh because of the growing population of rats

The rat population has soared as they feed off the region's bamboo forests, which are blossoming for the first time in decades. Neighboring regions in India and Burma have suffered from the same problem. Bubonic plague, carried by rats, killed millions of Europeans during the Black Death of the 14th Century. Swarms of rats have been terrorizing the Chittagong Hill Tracts since they crossed over the border from India in 2007. They have destroyed the crops of about 130,000 tribal people living in this remote and impoverished region in the far south-east of Bangladesh. A panel of scientists, sponsored by the United Nations Development Program, now warns that what is known in Bangladesh as the rat-flood could also result in an outbreak of bubonic plague, unless the rapidly growing rat population is brought under control. Their report states that there is already an increasing incidence of disease and fever.

When it comes to appreciating art, men and women really do think differently, research shows

While women use both sides of their brain, men only use the right half to judge if a piece of work is beautiful, a team of scientists discovered. This may reflect the different ways men and women's minds have evolved - men tend to focus on the big picture while women take in "local" details too. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports the findings. Professor Francisco Ayala, from the University of California Irvine, and colleagues asked 10 men and 10 women to judge the beauty of artists paintings and photographs of urban and rural landscapes. At the same time, the researchers measured the magnetic fields produced by electrical activity in the brains of the volunteers. This revealed that both men and women were using a part of the brain associated with spatial awareness, called the parietal lobe. However, while women used both right and left sides, men used only the right parietal lobe. The researchers suggest that this is because women are contextualizing the information and thinking more about the details of what they are seeing, assessing the position of objects according broad categories, such as "above" or "below", or "left" or "right". The men, they say, are focusing on the overall image using a more precise form of mental mapping. And they say the differences may have evolved millions of years ago when early humans became hunter gatherers. Hunting, traditionally done by men, required a "co-ordinating" ability to track animals accurately while on the move. A "categorical" spatial awareness was better suited to foraging for fruit, roots or berries, a job mainly carried out by women. "Women tend to be more aware than men of objects around them, including those that seem irrelevant to the current task, whereas men out-perform women in navigation tasks," the scientists told PNAS. "Men tend to solve navigation tasks by using orientation-based strategies involving distance concepts and cardinal directions, whereas women tend to base their activities on remembering the location of landmarks and relative directions, such as 'left from', or 'to the right of'." The different ways men and women mapped the world appeared to influence their perception of beauty, they believe. Professor Friedermann Pulvermuller, an expert in brain studies at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, said: "This is an interesting study. We know for sure that there are differences between the male and female brain. The connections between the two hemispheres is better developed in females generally. So the findings are in agreement with what we know, but we would need more work before we could make any firm conclusions."

Student was raped, strangled and then set on fire by Mexican immigrant

A University of North Texas sophomore was raped before she was strangled and set on fire, a Dallas County prosecutor said during opening statements in her accused killer's trial. Prosecutor Andrea Handley told jurors that after Ernesto Reyes raped Melanie Goodwin, a 19-year-old Arlington native, he put his knee on her chest and strangled her before burning her body. Reyes faces a capital murder charge in the Sept. 25, 2007, slaying. "Melanie Goodwin never had an enemy in her life until she came into contact with the defendant in this case," Handley said. Goodwin was killed after she gave Reyes a ride from a Denton convenience store, prosecutors say. She did not know Reyes, who was unemployed at the time and did not have a place to live since his girlfriend had ended their relationship. Goodwin had been working until nearly 1 a.m. handing out free Red Bull at a late-night game release at Dallas GameStops. She stopped at the convenience store to buy snacks on the way to her boyfriend's house. Surveillance video, prosecutors say, show them leaving the store together. Hours later, video from a Carrollton office building also shows Reyes burning Goodwin's body. Goodwin had just been accepted into the broadcast program at UNT when she was killed. She was active in choir, theater and her church. Reyes, who legally immigrated from Mexico, faces an automatic life sentence if the jury convicts him.

Related:

Police: ‘Brazen’ suspect returned to scene of Midtown slaying

Blacks, Hispanics and illegal aliens

Pat Buchanan:

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, among African-Americans 18 to 29 with only a high-school degree, unemployment is now 20 percent. Among black adults who do not have a high-school diploma, it is 24 percent. Among teenagers under 18, black unemployment is 30 percent.

Among native-born Hispanics with only a high-school diploma, the unemployment rate is 13.6 percent. Among high-school dropouts, 16 percent. Among Hispanic 16- and 17-year-olds, the jobless figure is 40 percent.

As these figures were compiled in December, before the last two months of sweeping layoffs, they surely understate the situation. And with both black and Hispanic dropout rates now reaching 50 percent in major cities, the social dynamite is piling up.

Last month, USA Today reported that the FBI estimates there are now 1 million gang members in the United States -- up 200,000 from 2005 -- and these gangs are responsible for 80 percent of all U.S. crimes. From other studies, young Hispanics are 19 times as likely as white youth to join gangs, while African-Americans are 15 times.

These millions of teenagers, and unskilled and less-educated young adults with no jobs and little prospect of finding them, are recruiting pools for criminal gangs.

Who is getting the jobs for which these native-born black and Hispanic young could quality? Illegal aliens hold literally millions of them.

Last week, the CIS reported, "An estimated 6 to 7 million illegal immigrants are currently holding jobs. Prior research indicates they are overwhelmingly employed in lower-skilled and lower-paid jobs."

Exactly what sort of jobs?

"Illegals are primarily employed in construction, building cleaning and maintenance, food preparation, service and processing, transportation and moving occupations and agriculture."

With the exception of agriculture, a majority of the workers in these occupations are native-born Americans. Thus, illegal aliens are taking jobs Americans are not only willing to do, but are doing, and taking 7 million of these jobs from young Americans now out of work.

By failing to enforce U.S. immigration laws, the government of the United States is selling America's working class down the river.

In addition to the 7 million illegals holding jobs, legal immigrants have another 15 million. In 2008, when Americans lost 3.5 million jobs, 144,000 immigrants were admitted every month.

Why do we have an open-borders immigration policy that annually allows in millions, legal and illegal, to compete for jobs, when 10 million Americans are out of work and half a million are losing their jobs every month? The political correctness and moral cowardice of our Lords Temporal, who refuse to call a time-out on immigration until our own people go back to work, is killing the American dream for millions.

According to the census, as reported in The New York Times on Saturday, 97 percent of immigrants from Mexico do not speak English at home. They are less skilled and less educated than the average American.

Says demographer William Frey, "The new immigration magnets especially in the Southwest are disproportionately attracting young Mexican men who are willing to accept low wages."

What further proof is needed that mass immigration from the Third World is taking jobs from Americans and driving down their wages when they do find work?

Related:

Memo To AG Holder: Maybe Americans Are “Cowards” About Race For A Reason

Monday, February 23, 2009

Abuse in early childhood permanently alters how the brain reacts to stress, a Canadian study suggests

Analysis of brain tissue from adults who had committed suicide found key genetic changes in those who had suffered abuse as a child. It affects the production of a receptor known to be involved in stress responses, the researchers said. The Nature Neuroscience study underpins the impact of stress on early brain development, experts said. Previous research has shown that abuse in childhood is associated with an increased reaction to stressful circumstances. But exactly how environmental factors interact with genes and contribute to depression or other mental disorders in adulthood is not well understood. A research team led by McGill University, in Montreal, examined the gene for the glucocorticoid receptor - which helps control the response to stress - in a specific brain region of 12 suicide victims with a history of child abuse and 12 suicide victims who did not suffer abuse when younger. They found chemical changes which reduced the activity of the gene in those who suffered child abuse. And they showed this reduced activity leads to fewer glucocorticoid receptors. Those affected would have had an abnormally heightened response to stress, the researchers said. It suggests that experience in childhood when the brain is developing, can have a long-term impact on how someone responds to stressful situations. But study leader Professor Michael Meaney said they believe these biochemical effects could also occur later in life. "If you're a public health individual or a child psychologist you could say this shows you nothing you didn't already know. But until you show the biological process, many people in government and policy-makers are reluctant to believe it's real. Beyond that, you could ask whether a drug could reverse these effects and that's a possibility." Dr Jonathan Mill, from the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London said the research added to growing evidence that environmental factors can alter the expression of genes - a process known as epigenetics. "Whilst these results obviously need to be replicated, they provide a mechanism by which experiences early in life can have an effect on behaviour later in adulthood. The exciting thing about epigenetic alterations is that they are potentially reversible, and thus perhaps a future target for therapeutic intervention."

Three traditional healers in northern Tanzania have been arrested for defying a government ban issued in January 2009

It was meant to stop killings of people with albinism for ritual medicine. Their arrest follows charges against a pastor, who was allegedly found in south-western Tanzania in possession of the body parts of an albino. This case is a blow to people with albinism, some of whom have been seeking refugee in churches. The pastor - Cosmas Mwasenga - was arrested in the Mbeya region and faces the death penalty if found guilty. The three traditional healers had been travelling around the northern district of Serengeti in a car using a public address system to let their clients know that they were still open for business. Their arrests come days after the murder of a 14-year-old albino girl in the northern Mwanza region, bringing the national death toll to 45 since mid-2007. The killers reportedly sell albino body parts - including limbs, hair, skin and genitals - to witchdoctors to make potions that purport to make people wealthy. More than 200 people - including witchdoctors, their clients, hired killers and some of the victims' relatives - have been arrested in connection with the killings in the last year. No-one has so far been convicted, she says. There are thought to be more than 200,000 albinos in the country, which has a total population of 40 million.

Scores of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe have been invaded since the country's national unity government took office

Commercial Farmers Union President Trevor Gifford said 77 properties had been occupied in the last few weeks. MPs, police, the military and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials had taken part in the invasions, he said. Many of the farmers targeted recently mounted a successful legal challenge to government land reforms, he added. The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal ruled in November 2008 the Zimbabwe government's program of seizing white-owned property for redistribution to landless black farmers was discriminatory and illegal. The government said at the time that it would not comply with the ruling. The power-sharing deal between Zanu-PF and the MDC was eventually agreed after disputed elections and months of talks, during which the economy slid into a deepening crisis. Mr Gifford said that the recent spate of invasions was focused on the provinces of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Midlands. The CFU president blamed the invasions on a minority of figures close to Zanu-PF who were "using their offices to ensure ethnic cleansing can take place before the prime minister is able to stabilise the country". "This is being led by members of the old regime in Zanu-PF who are not willing to see the transition take place to a new unity government," Mr Gifford added. "Zimbabwe is facing a severe food crisis and we're in the midst of the agricultural season so the impact of this will worsen the catastrophe." More than half Zimbabwe's population is in need of food aid and inflation - estimated by some economists at 10 sextillion per cent - has left its currency almost worthless. Mr Gifford said there were about 400 functioning white-owned farms left in Zimbabwe.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"British" Muslims are providing the Taliban with electronic devices to make roadside bombs for use against British forces serving in Afghanistan

The devices, which enable Taliban fighters to detonate roadside bombs by remote control, are either sent to sympathizers in the region, or carried by volunteers who fly to Pakistan and then make their way across the border. Details of how British electronic components have been found in roadside bombs were given to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, when he visited British troops at their military compound at Lashkagar in Helmand province. In a briefing on British operations in southern Afghanistan by Brigadier Gordon Messenger, the Royal Marine commander of the British battlegroup, Mr Miliband was shown examples of the crude, home-made devices that are being used in attacks against British patrols. They included mobile phones filled with explosives, which could kill or seriously injure British soldiers patrolling on foot, and more sophisticated devices that can be used against military vehicles. Explosives experts who have examined the devices say they have found British-made electronic components that enable Taliban insurgents to detonate their home-made, road-side bombs by remote control. The electronic devices smuggled into Afghanistan from Britain range from basic remote control units that are normally used to fly model airplanes to more advanced components that enable insurgents to conduct attacks from up to a mile away from British patrols. "We have found electronic components in devices used to target British troops that originally come from Britain," a British explosives officer told Mr Miliband during a detailed briefing on the type of improvised explosive device (IED) used against British forces. When asked how the components had reached Afghanistan, the officer explained that they had either been sent from Britain, or physically brought to Afghanistan by British Muslims who had flown over. The disclosure is the latest in a string of suggestions from British commanders about the connections between British Muslims and violence in Afghanistan.

A former minister has warned that Britain's main parties are complacent about the British National Party, after the BNP won a local election victory

Labour MP Peter Hain said that Labour's own supporters were being targeted by the far-right. He said the government needed to make sure local, rather than foreign, workers were prioritized for jobs. A BNP leader said the recession had helped the party win because potential supporters were being hit hardest. Mr Hain was speaking after the BNP won a seat at a by-election for Sevenoaks Council in Kent.

Chandra Levy and the Salvadoran immigrant

Washington police expect to make an arrest soon in the 2001 murder of a former U.S. government intern, a case that helped end a California congressman's career, authorities have said. The killing of 24-year-old Chandra Levy had been one of the U.S. capital's most sensational unsolved crimes. At first, it received worldwide attention, but interest faded after the September 11, 2001, attacks and after it became a cold case. Gary Condit, a Democratic congressman from California who was married, came under scrutiny amid the media storm that followed the May 2001 disappearance of Levy, whose remains were later found in Washington's Rock Creek Park. Condit had admitted having a "close relationship" with Levy but maintained he had nothing to do with her disappearance or death. He eventually lost the Democratic primary when he sought re-election and left office by 2003. Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the suspect as Ingmar Guandique, 27, a Salvadoran immigrant who is in prison. He has denied any involvement in Levy's disappearance and killing. Guandique pleaded guilty to assault in 2002 in two cases involving attacks on women in Rock Creek Park in May and July 2001. He is serving a 10-year sentence at a federal prison in California. Police came under criticism for initially focusing on Condit rather than Guandique. The officials said his arrest and charges in the Levy case could occur soon.

Temperature, novelty and intelligence

Satoshi Kanazawa has done some interesting research into the factors influencing human intelligence.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Integration has not substantially reduced the achievement gap between African Americans and other races

New book on segregation and integration in schools shows some interesting facts:

Whites moved from Wilmington and a growing number of African Americans from the South and also Puerto Ricans moved to the city, and from a middle class city, Wilmington became the home of many impoverished people.

In 1954, Wilmington schools went from 72.9 percent white to 9.7 percent in 1976, and students' academic performance went down and disciplinary problems went up.

There are many factors in educating children and youths, Wolters said -- including ability and IQ, family support, cultural values and teachers -- and when any are lacking in the equation, the result is lower achievement. “There are no simple panaceas for solving these problems,” Wolters pointed out.

Eric Holder and racial dishonesty

Some unpleasant truths from Heather Mac Donald:

Crime
For instance, the homicide rate for black men between the ages of 18 and 24 is well over ten times that of whites. And disparities in other violent-crime rates are just as startling. In New York City, one of the nation’s safest large cities, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black during the first six months of 2008, according to victims and witnesses, though blacks make up only 24 percent of the city’s population. Add Hispanic perps, and you account for 98 percent of all shootings in New York City. The face of violent crime in cities is almost exclusively black or brown. That explains why someone might feel a sense of trepidation when approached by a group of black youths. That’s not racism; it’s the reality of crime. And it’s that reality that determines whom the police stop, frisk, and arrest.

Education

The black high school drop-out rate approaches 50 percent. On the 2006 SAT, the average score in the critical-reading section was 434 for blacks, 527 for whites, and 510 for Asians; in the math section, 429 for blacks, 536 for whites, and 587 for Asians; and in the writing section, 428 for blacks, 519 for whites, and 512 for Asians. America’s lousy showing in international math, science, and reading tests compared with Japan and Western Europe is influenced in large part by the low scores of blacks and Hispanics. If blacks and Hispanics performed at the level that whites do, the U.S. would lead all industrialized nations in reading and would lead Europe in math and science, according to a study published in the Phi Delta Kappan in 2005.

Family

Closing the educational achievement gap will be difficult as long as the black illegitimacy rate is nearly 71 percent, compared with a white rate of 26 percent. Taxpayers foot the bill for this family breakdown—when fatherless children who never learned self-control and self-discipline disrupt classrooms and prevent other children from learning, and when the same fatherless children get sucked up into gang life and fail to connect with the world of work and responsibility.

Related:

The Old Mulatto Elite

America's Top Cop says: "Ve haf vays of making you talk about race!"

A Conversation About Race

It's Eric Holder and his fellow travelers who are the cowards

New York Post caves to racialists. Apologizes for chimp cartoon that had nothing to do with race

Do Irish people come from northern Spain?

The closest relatives of the Irish are found in various parts of Galicia and the Basque country according to genetic studies led by Prof Dan Bradley of Trinity College Dublin’s Smurfit Institute of Genetics. He has presented his research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago. He was joined by Queen’s University Belfast archaeologist and linguist Prof James Mallory who talked about efforts to link these DNA studies with the transmission of languages across western Europe. The chair of the session was the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Prof Patrick Cunningham. Prof Bradley and colleagues have done extensive genetic analysis into where the Irish came from and how they got to Ireland. He studies genes associated with the Y chromosome, a genetic inheritance that comes via the father. By tracking the presence of certain Y chromosome markers he can travel back in time to map Irish peoples' relatedness to others across Europe. He explained how he had also done this with the two main species of cattle, the familiar flat-backed cattle and the hump-backed cattle seen in India and Africa. The human data definitively showed that Ireland's strongest relatedness was with the northern Iberian peninsula, with this genetic signal strongest for the Irish living in the west of Ireland. These in turn were likely the closest relatives of the migrants who originally settled in Ireland. Genetic studies of Irish fauna also showed this distinctive signal, he said. “The Irish badgers are Spanish, but the British badgers are not. The fauna of Ireland seems to be divergent. How does one explain this,” he asked. The most likely explanation was that the island was settled by migrants from northern Spain as the glaciers that covered Ireland from the last ice age melted away. “It seems to me that most animals in Ireland came by boat. There seems to have been some communication with southern Europe.” The Book of Invasions from the 8th century talked about an invasion by the Spanish king Milesius, he said. His group also looked for genetic linkages between people sharing a common surname, something passed along from the male lineage like the Y chromosome. They found linkages that traced back, to the famous Ui Neill kindred, from whom Niall Noigiallagh, Niall of the nine hostages was descended. Prof Mallory described attempts to match up the transmission of languages with the dispersal of DNA as people migrated across Europe. It was extremely difficult however due to confounding influences including language transmission via “elite dominance”. Settled areas with a unique language later taken over by invaders would see language displacement, with the newcomers imposing their own language. However, the local gene pool would remain and would dilute the genetic influence of the newcomers. This was possibly the reason why when one looked for genetic evidence of the Celts in Ireland these Celtic genes could not be found. Studies of this dynamic has occurred in what is now Hungary showed a mismatch between the dominant language and the dominant genetic influence. “Modern DNA is no predictor of the modern Hungarian language,” Prof Mallory said.

Italy's government has rushed through a decree to crack down on sexual violence and illegal immigration after a spate of rapes by foreigners

The decree sets a mandatory life sentence for the rape of minors or attacks where the victim is killed. It also establishes rules for citizen street patrols to be conducted by unarmed and unpaid volunteers. Three recent high-profile rapes have sparked national outrage. These included the rape of 14-year-old girl in a park in Rome, by two men from Eastern Europe. A Bolivian woman was raped in Milan by a man described as North African, while in Bologna, a Tunisian who had just been released from prison was re-arrested for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl. Many recent rapes have been committed by foreigners, especially Roma Gypsies. The government has pointed to official statistics showing that immigrants committed as many as 35% of crimes in Italy in 2007.

Britons flee French island of Guadeloupe as rioters turn on white families

Britons are among thousands of tourists fleeing Guadeloupe after full scale urban warfare erupted on the French Caribbean island. Trouble broke out on the island in January 2009 after protesters began rioting over high prices and low wages. But the situation escalated after protesters began turning on rich white families as they demanded an end to colonial control of the economy. The troubles come at the height of the holiday season, with thousands of mainly British, French and American tourists on the paradise tropical island. Protesters were now targeting 'all white people', with the media in mainland France describing the situation as virtual civil war'. Guadeloupe is a French overseas department ruled directly from Paris, and authorities in France have sent 300 extra riot police to the island in a bid to quell the violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters are roaming the streets of the capital Point-a-Pitre, looting shops and restaurants, burning cars and vandalising public buildings. Holiday resorts along the coast have hired extra security to protect tourists, while the airport is jammed with visitors now trying to get out of the country.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Latino convicts now represent the largest ethnic population in the federal prison system

Latino convicts now represent the largest ethnic population in the federal prison system, accounting for 40% of those convicted of federal crimes, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research organization. Latinos made up only 13% of the United States adult population in 2007, but they accounted for one third of federal prison inmates that year. As the annual number of federal offenders more than doubled from 1991 to 2007, the number of Latino offenders sentenced in a given year nearly quadrupled, to 29,281 from 7,924. Of Latino federal offenders, 72% are not United States citizens and most were sentenced in courts from one of the four states that border Mexico.

Related:

Non-Criminal “Violator” or Felon?

Germs and homosexuality

Can germs make you gay?

The Dow Jones industrial average slumped to a more than 6-year low on 2/19/09

Fears of a prolonged recession sent stock investors heading for the exits. Treasury prices slid, boosting the corresponding yields, as investors sought safety in government debt. The dollar was mixed versus other major currencies. Oil prices spiked 14%, while gold prices dipped. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) slid 88 points, or 1.6%, according to early tallies, closing at the lowest point since Oct. 9, 2002, the low of the last bear market. The Dow had dropped as low as 7,447.55 during the session.

The shrinking Hispanic population?

Michael Barone:

I've written a column and blog posts on what seems to me a decline in, and perhaps a reversal of, Latino immigration. Here's some more anecdotal evidence of this, an article on the growing number of vacant apartments on Tucson. The housing bubble was especially large in Arizona, and so has been the decline over the past several years in housing values. In addition, the state has passed some tough laws targeting employers of illegal immigrants. The Tucson Citizen article notes that vacancy rates aren't very high around the University of Arizona (where the market is presumably students) but reach 25 percent on the heavily Hispanic south and west sides of town. If this trend is real and continues, I think there will be a lot fewer Hispanics found in the 2010 census enumeration than 2000-07 demographic trends would lead Hispanic leaders and others to expect. They're going to charge that there has been a huge undercount and will press hard for the enumeration to be altered by statistical sampling.

It may seem obvious that men perceive women in sexy bathing suits as objects, but now there's science to back it up

New research shows that, in men, the brain areas associated with handling tools and the intention to perform actions light up when viewing images of women in bikinis. The research has been presented by Susan Fiske, professor of psychology at Princeton University, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "This is just the first study which was focused on the idea that men of a certain age view sex as a highly desirable goal, and if you present them with a provocative woman, then that will tend to prime goal-related responses," she said. Although consistent with conventional wisdom, the way that men may depersonalize sexual images of women is not entirely something they control. In fact, it's a byproduct of human evolution, experts say. The first male humans had an incentive to seek fertile women as the means of spreading their genes. "They're not fully conscious responses, and so people don't know the extent to which they're being influenced," Fiske said. "It's important to recognize the effects." The participants, 21 heterosexual male undergraduates at Princeton, took questionnaires to determine whether they harbor "benevolent" sexism, which includes the belief that a woman's place is in the home, or hostile sexism, a more adversarial viewpoint which includes the belief that women attempt to dominate men. In the men who scored highest on hostile sexism, the part of the brain associated with analyzing another person's thoughts, feelings and intentions was inactive while viewing scantily clad women, Fiske said. Men also remember these women's bodies better than those of fully-clothed women, Fiske said. Each image was shown for only a fraction of a second. This study looked specifically at men, and did not test women's responses to similar images. A supplementary study on both male and female undergraduates found that men tend to associate bikini-clad women with first-person action verbs such as I "push," "handle" and "grab" instead of the third-person forms such as she "pushes," "handles" and "grabs." They associated fully clothed women, on the other hand, with the third-person forms, indicating these women were perceived as in control of their own actions. The females who took the test did not show this effect, Fiske said. That goes along with the idea that the man looking at a woman in a bikini sees her as the object of action, Fiske said. The findings are consistent with previous work in the field, and resonate, for example, with the abundance of female strip clubs in comparison to male strip clubs, said Dr. Charles Raison, psychiatrist and director of the Mind/Body Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Raison was not involved in the study. Previous research found that people tend to similarly dehumanize those who are homeless or drug addicts, although the phenomenon in this case is somewhat different, Fiske said. People have reactions of avoidance toward the homeless and drug addicts, and the opposite for scantily clad women. The broader purpose of the research was to explore circumstances under which people treat one another as the means to an end, Fiske said. Past studies have also shown that when men view images of highly sexualized women, and then interact with a woman in a separate setting, they are more likely to have sexual words on their minds, she said. They are also more likely to remember the woman's physical appearance, and sit closer to her - for instance, at a job interview. Women may also depersonalize men in certain situations, but published research on the subject has not been done, experts say. Evolutionary psychology would theorize that men view women as objects in terms of their youth and apparent fertility, while women might view men as instrumental in terms of their status and resources, Fiske said.

Iranian woman blinded by acid wants same fate for attacker

Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she'll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won't see her eyes, and she won't see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor. If she gets her way, her attacker will suffer the same fate. The 31-year-old Iranian is demanding the ancient punishment of "an eye for an eye," and, in accordance with Islamic law, she wants to blind Majid Movahedi, the man who blinded her. "I don't want to blind him for revenge," Bahrami said in her parents' Tehran apartment. "I'm doing this to prevent it from happening to someone else." Bahrami says she first crossed paths with Movahedi in 2002, when they attended the same university. She was a 24-year-old electronics student. He was 19. She never noticed him until they shared a class. He sat next to her one day and brushed up against her. Bahrami says she knew it wasn't an accident. "I moved away from him," she said, "but he brushed up against me again." When Bahrami stood up in class and screamed for him to stop, Movahedi just looked at her in stunned silence. He wouldn't stay silent for long. Bahrami said that over the next two years, Movahedi kept harassing her and making threats, even as he asked her to marry him. "He told me he would kill me. He said, 'You have to say yes.'" On a November afternoon in 2004, Movahedi's threats turned to violence. That day at 4:30 p.m., Bahrami left the medical engineering company where she worked. As she walked to the bus stop, she remembers sensing someone behind her. She turned around and was startled to see Movahedi. A moment later came the agonizing pain. Movahedi had thrown something over her. What felt like fire on her face was acid searing through her skin. "I was just yelling, 'I'm burning! I'm burning! For God's sake, somebody help me!'" The acid seeped into Bahrami's eyes and streamed down her face and into her mouth. When she covered her face with her hands, streaks of acid ran down her fingers and onto her forearms. Two weeks after the attack, Movahedi turned himself in to police and confessed in court. He was convicted in 2005 and has been behind bars all along. Bahrami's lawyer, Ali Sarrafi, said Movahedi had never shown any remorse. "He says he did it because he loved her," Sarrafi said. Attack victims in Iran usually accept "blood money": a fine in lieu of harsh punishment. With no insurance and mounting medical bills, Bahrami could've used the cash, but she said no. "I told the judge I want an eye for an eye," Bahrami said. "People like him should be made to feel my suffering." Bahrami's demand has outraged some human rights activists. Criticizing acid-attack victims is almost unheard of, but some Internet bloggers have condemned Bahrami's decision. "We cannot condone such cruel punishment," wrote one blogger. "To willingly inflict the same treatment on a person under court order is a violation of human rights." Late in 2008, an Iranian court gave Bahrami what she asked for. It sentenced Movahedi to be blinded with drops of acid in each eye. In February 2009, the courts rejected Movahedi's appeal. Bahrami's lawyer, Sarrafi, said the sentencing might be carried out in a matter of weeks. He said he doesn't think Bahrami will change her mind. Neither does Bahrami. "If I don't do this and there is another acid attack, I will never forgive myself for as long as I live," she said. Bahrami is largely self-sufficient despite not being able to see. She can make a salad, prepare tea and walk up the five flights of stairs that lead to her parents' apartment. She has undergone more than a dozen surgeries on her badly scarred face, but she says there are many more to come. She can't afford to pay for her medical care, so she's using the Internet to raise money. She's lost her big brown eyes, but she likes to smile, especially when she imagines her wedding day. "I always see myself as someone who can see and sometimes see myself in a beautiful wedding gown, and why not?"

A two-year-old boy has been married to a dog in eastern India to ward off evil spirits and bad luck

The marriage took place in a village in Jajpur district. The groom, Sagula Munda, was taken to the house of the dog, called Jyoti, in a highly decorated rickshaw and priests solemnized the ceremony. The boy's father said such marriages were a tradition and would help ease the bad omen of the tooth rooted in Sagula's upper gum. The marriage was in the tribal-dominated Patarpur village. Like in every Hindu marriage, the priests chanted Sankrit prayers and hymns and there was an accompanying feast. The boy's father, Sanrumula Munda, said of the wedding: "Tribals not only in this state but also in neighboring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, observe such practices to keep the evil spirits away." Arranging marriages with dogs kept children protected from ghosts and bad luck, he said. The parents of Sagula and other local people consider the biological tooth defect a bad omen both for the family and neighbors. The bride's father, Parakrama Munda, said: "This is just a ceremony to please the tribal deity - in the great epic Mahabharat a dog helped the Pandavas reach heaven." He said it was a superstition, like wearing a stone or a talisman. One attending resident, Dushmant Rout, said the bride had spent a few hours at the groom's house "but not inside the room... she stayed on the verandah".

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Race, gender and intelligence

Razib explains why Steve Rose is wrong regarding race and IQ.

AIDS was top killer disease in China in 2008

The AIDS virus became the top deadly infectious disease in China in 2008 for the first time, killing 6,897 people in the first nine months of 2008, the official news agency Xinhua has said. The number of people infected with the HIV/AIDS virus doubled during that period, Xinhua said, citing a report posted on the Ministry of Health website. Xinhua said there were a total of 264,302 HIV/AIDS cases by the end of September 2008 and 34,864 people have died of the disease so far. United Nations figures estimate that 700,000 people in China were HIV positive by the end of 2007. Xinhua said tuberculosis was the second biggest killer in the first nine months of 2008, while rabies ranked third followed by hepatitis and infant tetanus. The country reported a one-fifth rise in syphilis in 2008, with a total of 257,474 cases, while gonorrhea cases dropped by a tenth, China's health ministry said.

Jews, Hollywood and mass murder

Henry Makow writes about a movie concerning Jews and mass murder in which Hollywood showed little interest.

Harvard and white gentiles

Edmund Connelly points out that Jews and Asians constitute approximately half of Harvard's student body, leaving the other half for the remaining 95% of America.

Forensic experts will soon be able to reconstruct facial features and skin just by reading DNA, scientists say

Forensic molecular photofitting maps the genes that are linked to skin pigmentation and facial structure which means a person's face could emerge from the analysis, Dr Mark Shriver from Pennsylvania State University said. The process has already been used to help identify and convict serial killer Derek Todd Lee who murdered seven women in Louisiana. Witness statements said the offender was white but genetic testing of DNA at the crime scenes showed he was African American - which helped lead to his arrest. He was convicted in 2004. Dr Shriver said he has now linked DNA that mark a person's ethnic origin with the gene mix of fixed points on the face, e.g. corners of the mouth and tip of the nose. This allows the computer to build up an image of a face based on the gene mix found in the DNA. Speaking to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago at the weekend, Dr Shriver said 'maybe 500 facial markers and 500 ancestry markers' would be enough to build an accurate and complete face.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Black students are half as likely to get into Cambridge University than white candidates, according to figures

Just 14% of the 202 hopefuls from black and dual heritage backgrounds were admitted in 2008. The success rate for white applicants in the same period was 31%, the university said.

Marking Christian holidays is banned in Saudi Arabia where non-Muslims are banned from openly practicing their religion

Just days before Valentine's Day, a young Saudi woman desperately searched for a red teddy bear to buy for her boyfriend. But all Nof Faisal could find were blue and white ones, minus the "I love you" she wanted hers to declare. It's not because the store couldn't keep up with demand. It is because fear of the religious police forced the store's owner to strip the shelves of all red items, including the hottest-selling item: heart-festooned red plastic handcuffs inscribed, "Take me, I'm yours." As Feb. 14 2009 approaches, the police begin inspecting gift shops for items that are red or are intended as gifts to mark the holiday — a celebration of St. Valentine, a 3rd century Christian martyr — which is banned in Saudi Arabia. Such items are legal at other times of the year, but as Valentine's Day nears they become contraband. At best, shops caught selling Valentine's gifts are ordered to get rid of them. Some salesmen have been detained for days. The Valentine's Day prohibition is in line with the ascetic Wahhabi school of Islam that the kingdom follows. Marking Christian holidays is banned in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and a country where non-Muslims are banned from openly practicing their religion. Celebrating any holidays but the two most important for Muslims — Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr_ is taboo because they are considered "religious innovations" that Islam does not sanction. Even birthdays and Mother's Day are frowned on by the religious establishment. As Valentine's Day approaches, newspapers reprint a fatwa or religious edict issued by scholars a few years ago, declaring "eid al-hob," Arabic for the feast of love, a "Christian, pagan feast" that Muslims should not celebrate. Teachers remind students they must not mark the festival, and girls are warned against wearing anything red.

Related:

Valentine attackers held in India

There is a strong relationship between genetic ancestry and facial traits

For example, in general, West Africans have wider faces than Europeans and Europeans have longer faces than West Africans. Researchers have used these facts to help determine the admixture percentages of a combined sample of African Americans with West African and European ancestry whose genetic makeup was known through DNA testing. The scientists found that there was a very strong statistical correlation between the amounts of admixture and the facial traits.

Related:

Genes predict the ancestry of African-Americans

Am I that predictable? Genetic variation and Jewish ancestry

Darwin and the Right

Matthew Roberts points out that Darwinism is unfriendly to Leftist ideology. For example, Darwin's theory helps to explain why people tend to favor members of their own ethnic group.

Related:

Still going ape over Darwin

A Brazilian woman who said she miscarried twins after an alleged racist attack in Zurich was not pregnant, investigators have said

Paula Oliveira, a 26-year-old lawyer, had said she was attacked by three knife-wielding skinheads. However, medical experts said she was not pregnant, and that it was possible the numerous wounds on her torso and legs were self-inflicted. Photos of Ms Oliveira showed her stomach and legs with some 100 cuts from a carpet knife, and the initials of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) carved into her body. Inquiries are continuing, but Zurich University forensic medicine chief Walter Baer said "any experienced forensic doctor would not hesitate to assume that this was a case of self-infliction". All of the wounds were reachable by hand, and none were severe, he said.

Muslim beheads wife

A prominent Buffalo area businessman who founded the BridgesTV network to improve the image of Muslims in the U.S. has been arrested and charged with murdering his estranged wife – by beheading her at his company’s office in Orchard Park, New York. Police have charged the husband, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder in the death of Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37. In its logo, BridgesTV boasts of “connecting people through understanding” via its dish network available in several states. Its Web site quotes comments about the company by Jay Leno, Brian Williams and others, plus a screen shot of a CNBC interview with Hassan conducted by Maria Bartiromo. The site also shows a picture of Hassan with his slain wife, described as playing “an instrumental role in the creation of Bridges TV since she came up with the idea for the network.” The alleged killer is called “Mo S. Hassan” at the web site. NPR's "All Things Considered" profiled the Hassans in 2004. The segment opened, "A new cable network for Muslim-Americans is up and running in Detroit. Bridges TV says it wants to inform and entertain Muslims and, at the same time, give viewers who aren't Muslims a glimpse into their culture ... Mo Hassan was traveling from Buffalo to Detroit a few weeks after the September 11th terrorist attacks when his wife came up with the idea for the new network. They were in the car listening to the radio when they heard some derogatory remarks about Muslims." Programs include kids shows, "American Muslim Teen Talk," Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" and an interview show with James Zogby. Its news program "brings you balanced coverage from around the world. News you can trust." He is CEO of the company after stints as a sales rep at Proctor & Gamble and as a banker in Buffalo. He got his MBA at the University of Rochester. The bio concludes: “Mr. Hassan brings to Bridges TV vision, persistence, data-based decision making and financial discipline.” Police say the wife had an order of protection from the man.

Related:

NY Honor Killer's Muslim Sympathy Site Yanked

Pakistani Immigrant Reverts to Tradition

Friday, February 13, 2009

British jobs for foreign workers

Apparently, British ministers don't like the truth.

The Tanzania Teachers' Union is taking legal action after 19 primary school teachers were given the cane

The teachers were caned by a police officer in front of their pupils after an investigation into poor exam results at three schools. The report blamed teachers for being late or not showing up for work and not teaching the official syllabus. One of the caned teachers, Ativus Leonard, 33, said he was now too ashamed to meet his pupils. The deputy education minister has said those responsible for the caning "should have their heads examined".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Five people have been convicted of forcing Guatemalan women and girls into prostitution in Los Angeles

The defendants, including 4 Guatemalans and 1 Mexican, were found guilty in U.S. District Court of conspiracy and sex trafficking. Prosecutors say the five targeted young, uneducated, poor women with promises of good jobs in the United States. During the six-week trial, all but one of the 10 victims testified that they didn't know they were being smuggled across the border to work as prostitutes around MacArthur Park. Prosecutors say the defendants lied and threatened the women with rape, beatings, witchcraft and violence against their families in Guatemala.

A man in Kenya was lynched by relatives on suspicion that he practises witchcraft

The man’s family in Kibao Cha Fundisa in Malindi beat him to death a few minutes after the burial of his son, John Karisa Baya, who is said to have died following a mysterious illness. Recently, the assistant chief of Gongoni was killed by unknown people for allegedly practising witchcraft. Malindi OCPD Peter Kattam said the relatives and the public accosted the man at his home after the funeral. Mr Kattam said the body was taken to the Malindi District Hospital mortuary for post-mortem examination. He said three relatives of the deceased have been arrested and are helping with investigation. The police chief said they have launched a crackdown on those targeting old people on suspicion of witchcraft. He asked locals not to take the law into their hands, but instead report suspected witches to the police. Kattam said they had launched a manhunt for a famous Coast ghost buster, Beba Beba alias Ali Rajabu, whom he accused of engineering the ‘elimination’ of alleged witches. This recent incident brings to 15 the number of suspected witches killed in Magarini in the last six months. Meanwhile, a middle-aged man was brutally killed and his body dumped at a shopping centre in Kiritu village, Vihiga District. Vihiga OCPD Gideon Kibunja said Kennedy Odanga, 46, is suspected to have been killed elsewhere. "We are yet to arrest the culprits, but we have launched investigation into the killing," he said. In the same district, a man 40-year-old man drank poison and died, following domestic wrangles at Chamasirhia village.

Dozens of people have been brutally murdered in Papua New Guinea over allegations of witchcraft and sorcery, Amnesty International UK has said

The human rights group is calling on authorities to investigate up to 50 killings, the most recent of which took place at a village close to the base of Mount Hagen. According to Amnesty International, local men shot 60-year-old Plak Mel Doa and threw his body on to a fire before dragging his son Anis Dua out of his house and burning him alive. Both men had reportedly been suspected of causing the death of a member of the community through witchcraft. "When dozens of people have been killed after literal witch hunts, it's clear that the government is not doing enough to protect its own citizens and maintain the rule of law," said Amnesty International's Pacific Islands research Apolosi Bose. "The police and judicial authorities have to step in immediately before another person faces this kind of vigilante violence." Police on the island, home to 6.3 million people, are frequently prevented from accessing crime scenes because of heavily-armed locals. "People often don't trust the police or the judiciary and instead blame events on supernatural causes and punish suspected sorcerers," Abolosi Bose added. "The constabulary, the public prosecution office and other relevant authorities should step up efforts to curb vigilante violence and raise awareness in communities about ways in which people can legitimately seek justice."

Being Jewish and gentile in Israel

Russian Jewish immigrants in Israel are often not accepted as Jews by Israelis because they are of mixed Jewish-gentile ancestry. This rejection has led many to embrace neo-Nazism:

Most of the young people involved are recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union who possess only a small amount of Jewish ancestry. They are often rejected by other Israelis due to their predominantly non-Jewish blood as well as their inability to speak Hebrew. Focusing their rage on the ultra-conservative Hasidic Jews who they feel are most representative of their persecution, these pseudo-Nazis vandalize Jewish houses of worship and cemeteries, as well as run anti-Semitic websites. They members of this neo-Nazi underground obviously view Judaism to be a religion and a culture rather than an ethnic group, and so do not see themselves as being truly Jewish just because they have perhaps a single Jewish grandparent.

So much for the belief that intermarriage reduces ethnic conflict.

World stocks sag on February 12, 2009 over concerns about Obama plans

World stock markets fell amid pessimism about the Obama administration's plans to fix the U.S. banking system and restore the overall health of the world's largest economy. European stocks were also undermined by a raft of disappointing earnings. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 58.82 points, or 1.4%, to 4,175.44, while Germany's DAX declined 96.81 points, or 2.1%, to 4,433.28. The CAC-40 in France was 45.08 points, or 1.5%, lower at 2,982.64. The raft of grim corporate news in Europe comes as the markets have largely given the thumbs-down to the passing of a $789 billion stimulus bill in Congress and U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's bank rescue plan, which could cost up to $2 trillion. On the Geithner plan, investors worried about the lack of detail, specifically the absence of any indications about how the banks' toxic assets would be bought. That risk aversion was certainly evident in Asia earlier, where Japan's Nikkei stock average tumbled 240.58 points, or 3%, to 7,705.36 - the lowest in nearly three months. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 310.91 points, or 2.3%, to 13,228.30, while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.9% despite another rate cut from the country's central bank. Shanghai's main index was off 0.6% and Taiwan's benchmark retreated 2.4%.

3 black men who raped a teenager and then threw caustic soda on her are to have their jail terms reviewed after claims the sentences were too lenient

The girl, with a mental age of eight, was repeatedly raped in a flat in Tottenham, north London. Rogel McMorris, 18, from Tottenham, was jailed for nine years. Jason Brew, 19, from Tottenham, and Hector Muaimba, 20, from Walthamstow, east London, were jailed for six years each for rape. Disability charities said the sentences were unduly lenient and sent out the "wrong message". The cases of the three men have been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland. "It will now be for the Court of Appeal, at a future hearing, to review the sentences to determine whether they are unduly lenient," said her spokesman. "If the Court of Appeal decides that the sentences are unduly lenient they have the power to increase the length of the sentences." The girl, who has learning difficulties, was in a coma following the attack. She has been left with burns to more than 50% of her body and is undergoing treatment, including surgery and skin grafts. Her relatives said the hopelessness of the case had been "too difficult to bear".

Scientists studying the DNA of Neanderthals say they can find no evidence that this ancient species ever interbred with modern humans

But our closest relatives may well have been able to speak as well as us, said Prof Svante Paabo from Germany's Max Planck Institute. The genetics information has been gleaned from fossils found in Croatia. Prof Svante Paabo confirmed that Neanderthals shared the FOXP2 gene associated with speech and language in modern humans. A total of three billion "letters", covering 60% of the Neanderthal genome, have been sequenced by scientists from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and 454 Life Sciences Corporation, in Branford, Connecticut. The draft genome can give us clues to the genetic regions which make us "uniquely human", Prof Paabo said. Neanderthals lived in Europe and parts of Asia until they became extinct about 30,000 years ago. They were the closest relatives of currently living humans, sharing between 99.5% to 99.9% of our DNA sequence. Pinpointing the differences may reveal the crucial evolutionary changes that that enabled modern humans to leave Africa and rapidly spread around the world, starting around 100,000 years ago. Accordingly, Prof Paabo and his team have focused on genes of special interest in recent human evolution, such as FOXP2, which is involved in speech and language. Humans differ from chimpanzees at two key points in the FOXP2 gene. But the preliminary results suggest that Neanderthals shared these same variations. Since Neanderthals lived side by side with modern humans in Europe for many thousands of years, it has been speculated that we may have inherited some Neanderthal DNA in our genome today, thanks to interbreeding. But Professor Paabo's team have found no evidence for this. They focused on a gene implicated in brain development - microcephalin-1 - which shows significant variation among present day humans. It has been suggested that a particular variant of the gene, found commonly in Europeans, was contributed by Neanderthals. But the Croatian Neanderthal fossils harbored an ancestral form of the microcephalin-1 gene, which today is also found among Africans. Overall, it seems that Neanderthals have contributed, at most, a "very limited" fraction of the variation found in contemporary human populations, said Prof Paabo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An anti-gang program may be used on Glasgow's South Side to tackle violence among young South Asian men

The move comes as three white men recover in hospital after an attack by four armed South Asian men, who struck as a seemingly innocent snowball fight in Pollokshields escalated out of control. Community activists expressed concern at the violence and antisocial behavior from young Asian men in the area. The police Violence Reduction Unit has told 55 gangs in the East End to engage in a more positive lifestyle or face the full weight of the law. A spokeswoman said: "We do not have any specific knowledge on Asian gangs, but if the program proves successful it will potentially be rolled out." The attack is being treated as racially motivated because of language used. Osama Saeed, the prospective SNP parliamentary candidate for the area, said research was needed to find out why Asian men are getting involved in gang culture. He said: "There was a feeling gang culture wouldn't affect the Asian community due to family values but this is no longer the case."

The rate of illegitimate births in the British population is much lower than many people believe, a study says

It suggests an oft-quoted figure of one in 10 for the number of children fathered illegitimately is a myth. The real number is more likely to be less than one in 25, researchers say. The analysis looked at the connection between surnames and unique signatures on the male, or Y, chromosome in a sample of 1,678 British men. The study by Mark Jobling and Turi King at the University of Leicester, UK, was funded by the Wellcome Trust and is published in the journal Molecular Biology & Evolution. Referring to the one in 10 figure, Professor Jobling said: "I think it is an urban myth. But it is very often said." He said he often asked audiences what they thought the real figure was when he gave talks, and the rate of one in 10 came up again and again. "What we show is that it is likely to be much lower than that. If you look directly at families without any prior suspicion of non-paternity, then you find a value of about 1% or 2%." Hereditary surnames were introduced to Britain by the Normans at the time of the conquest. The Y chromosome is a package of genetic material that, like a surname, is inherited from father to son more or less unchanged. But over time, this chromosome accumulates small changes in its DNA sequence, allowing scientists to study the relationships between different male lineages. It follows that men with the same surname might have very similar Y chromosomes. But adoptions, infidelity, name changes and multiple founders for one surname can cloud the picture. However, for the 40 surnames included in the sample, the results show a strong relationship between a man's surname and the characteristic markers carried on his Y chromosome. This suggested many British men who share a surname also share a common male ancestor in the last few hundred years. Further, the relationship gets stronger the rarer the surname is. This fact allowed the researchers to estimate the probability of "non-paternity", or illegitimacy, among men who share a particular surname. Men with common surnames, such as Smith, were no more likely to have such a common ancestor than men chosen at random from the general population. But men with rare surnames such as Attenborough, Haythornthwaite, Herrick, Stribling and Swindlehurst tended to have Y chromosomes that were very similar, suggesting a common ancestor within the past 700 years. "Attenboroughs essentially form one big family of distant relatives," said Dr King. "The Y chromosome type was the same even across spelling variants, which confirms that the spellings of names were formalised only relatively recently." When they compared these patterns with data from Ireland, they found a higher proportion of men with common surnames, such as Ryan, O'Sullivan and O'Neill, showed common ancestry.

Limiting egg consumption has little effect on cholesterol levels, research has confirmed

A University of Surrey team said their work suggested most people could eat as many eggs as they wanted without damaging their health. The researchers, who analysed several studies of egg nutrition, said the idea that eating more than three eggs a week was bad for you was still widespread. But they said that was a misconception based on out-of-date evidence. Writing in the British Nutrition Foundation's Nutrition Bulletin, they said eating saturated fats was far more likely to cause health problems. Researcher Professor Bruce Griffin said eggs were actually a key part of a healthy diet, as they were particularly packed full of nutrients. He said: "The ingrained misconception linking egg consumption to high blood cholesterol and heart disease must be corrected. The amount of saturated fat in our diet exerts an effect on blood cholesterol that is several times greater than the relatively small amounts of dietary cholesterol. The UK public do not need to be limiting the number of eggs they eat - indeed they can be encouraged to include them in a healthy diet as they are one of nature's most nutritionally dense foods." While elevated blood cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease, only around a third of the cholesterol in the body comes from the diet. Other factors such as smoking, being overweight and physical activity can influence blood fat and cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) dropped its advice to limit egg consumption to three a week in 2007 in light of new evidence. However, research by the British Egg Information Service suggests 45% of consumers still believe it was sensible to limit consumption. Victoria Taylor, a senior BHF dietician, said: "We recommend that eggs can be eaten as part of a balanced diet. There is cholesterol present in eggs but this does not usually make a great contribution to your level of blood cholesterol. If you need to reduce your cholesterol level it is more important that you cut down on the amount of saturated fat in your diet from foods like fatty meat, full fat dairy products and cakes, biscuits and pastries."

Related:

Eating his way to a six-pack with 16 eggs a day

India's Hindu nationalist movement wants to launch a new soft drink made from cow urine

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it. Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called "gau jal", or "cow water" – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched "very soon, maybe by the end of this year". The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS – which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members – to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness. Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in most of India. Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to "purify" those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system. In 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – began promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer. The movement has often been accused of using more violent methods, such as killing 67 Christians in the eastern state of Orissa in 2008, and assaulting women in a pub in Mangalore in January 2009. It also has a history of targeting foreign business in India, as in 1994, when it organised a nationwide boycott of multinational consumer goods, including Pepsi and Coca Cola.

Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?

Martin Wolf explains why Obama’s new Tarp will fail to rescue the banks.

A survey of black men who tested HIV positive found that most had engaged in risky sexual behaviors but thought it unlikely they would be infected

A small survey of young black men from the South who tested positive for H.I.V. in their teens and early 20s found that most had engaged in risky sexual behaviors but thought it unlikely they would be infected, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of the 29 gay or bisexual men surveyed said they had engaged in unprotected anal sex in the year before they were infected and had had sex with slightly older men, the survey found. Both are risky behaviors, yet the vast majority of the young men said they had not thought that they would ever be infected. Young black gay and bisexual men are becoming infected with H.I.V. at alarming rates, particularly in the South, and health officials are trying to analyze their risk factors in order to refine education and intervention strategies. “We need to make sure that H.I.V. infection does not become a rite of passage for young black men who have sex with men,” said Dr. Alexandra Oster, one of the authors of the survey published last week in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. After the Mississippi State Department of Health notified the C.D.C. in late 2007 that the number of new H.I.V. diagnoses had spiked at a sexually transmitted disease clinic serving Jackson, Miss., the agencies teamed up to do the survey. The number of newly diagnosed H.I.V. cases among all black men in the Jackson area had increased 20% between 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, but infections among those ages 17 to 25 had jumped 45%. The agencies surveyed 29 black men ages 17 to 25 who had tested positive for H.I.V. between 2006 and 2008 and who reported having sex with other men. Twenty reported having unprotected anal intercourse with a man during the year before their positive H.I.V. tests, and 16 reported having male sex partners who were 26 or older. Having older sex partners increases the risk of infection because older men are more likely than younger men to be infected. Only three of the 29 men thought it likely they would acquire H.I.V. during their lifetime. More than half thought it unlikely or very unlikely, the survey found. Health officials were particularly concerned about the lack of routine H.I.V. testing in this group of young men. Six of the men had not had a single H.I.V. test in the two years prior to testing positive, and five had had only one test in the two years before the positive result, the survey found. “These men may have taken what they believed were reasonable steps to reduce their risk, but unfortunately the rates of H.I.V. infection are so high in this population that sometimes people have partners who are H.I.V. positive and do not know it,” said Richard Wolitski, director of the C.D.C.’s division of H.I.V./AIDS Prevention. Sexually active men who have sex with men should be tested at least once a year, C.D.C. officials say.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Santiago Meza Lopez, known as El Pozolero (the Stew Maker), says he stuffed bodies into barrels of lye for drug cartels

Fernando Ocegueda hasn't seen his son since gunmen dragged the college student from the family's house three years ago. Alma Diaz wonders what happened to her son, Eric, a Mexicali police officer who left a party in 1995 and never returned. Arturo Davila still pounds on police doors looking for answers 11 years after his daughter and a girlfriend were kidnapped in downtown Ensenada. For the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families of people who have vanished amid Baja California's drug wars, the search for justice has been lonely and fruitless. But their hopes have been buoyed recently by the Jan. 22 2009 arrest of a man Mexican authorities believe is behind the gruesome disposal of bodies in vats of industrial chemicals. Santiago Meza Lopez, a stocky 45-year-old taken into custody after a raid near Ensenada, was identified as the pozolero who liquefied the bodies of victims for lieutenants of the Arellano Felix drug cartel. Authorities say he laid claim to stuffing 300 bodies into barrels of lye, then dumping some of the liquefied remains in a pit in a hillside compound in eastern Tijuana. His capture riveted Mexico with sickening details behind drug violence that has left more than 8,000 dead in two years.

Related:

The American media is concerned about violent illegal immigrants' impact ... on Mexico!

Talking with the Jews

Kevin MacDonald suggests that if the Jews really want to fight racism and ethnic nationalism then they should start in their own backyard.

Frequent or long-term marijuana use may raise a man's risk of testicular cancer

The study of 369 men, published in the journal Cancer, found being a regular marijuana user doubled the risk compared to those who never smoked it. The results suggest that it may be linked to the most aggressive form of the cancer.

Police in Uganda have arrested seven suspected witchdoctors after the headless body of a woman was found in a bush in the capital Kampala

A police spokeswoman said that shrines and fetishes had been destroyed in the operation. The spokeswoman said a special unit had been set up to deal with ritual murders and dissuade both traditional healers and the public from the practice. Some people believe potions made from human body parts will bring them luck. In neighboring Tanzania, people with albinism have been targeted for such ritual killings. But the body found in the Kampala suburb of Bwaise was not believed to have been an albino. Spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba also said that the police had had to protect the suspected leading witchdoctor after a lynch mob formed to kill him. The headless body was found near his residence, she said. She said that the police had been tipped off after two legs had been found in a pit latrine. Ms Nabakooba said ritual murders had become a problem in Uganda in recent months.

Immigration and overcrowding in California prisons

Federal judges tentatively ruled that California must reduce the number of inmates in its overcrowded prison system by up to 40%. One of the reasons why these prisons are so overcrowded is because of the high number of Latino and other immigrant criminals in California.

A new study suggests schizophrenia is in part caused by large, rare structural changes in DNA commonly called copy number variants

A new study conducted at the Duke Institute for Genome and Sciences Policy suggests schizophrenia is in part caused by large, rare structural changes in DNA commonly called copy number variants, or CNVs. These new findings dismiss two decades of research that pointed to single letter alterations in DNA (SNPs) as possible candidates. Researchers at Duke scanned the genome of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls for SNPs and CNVs. None of the SNPs appeared significant, but several CNVs did emerge as potential causes. “What this means is that if we are going to make real headway in assessing genetic links to schizophrenia, we will have to sequence the entire genome of each schizophrenia patient,” senior study author David Goldstein, Ph.D., of the Center for Human Genome Variation at Duke University in Durham, N.C., was quoted as saying. “That is a tremendous amount of work, but it is the only way we will be able to find these extremely rare variations.”

Buying American

Pat Buchanan points out that economic nationalism is the only hope for the future of the U.S. economy.

Related:

Ed Balls: minister fears rise of fascism amid economic gloom

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sugar and depression

Research suggests that there is a highly significant correlation between sugar consumption and the annual rate of depression.

There's a new time zone in the nation's capital: Obama Time

Barely two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama has made a clean break from George W. Bush in several high-profile moves, including reversing a number of the 43rd president's policies. He's also reversed an unwritten but much-noticed Bush policy: Be on time, all the time. Obama has been routinely late to events and news conferences, including the ones at which he reversed Bush's orders. This has led to an already familiar refrain from the Obama camp: "He's running late." The president was 45 minutes late for a ceremony in which he introduced a team of outside economic advisers. He was 10 minutes late to a memo signing at the Energy Department. He was nearly 30 minutes late for the ceremony at which he signed a bill to expand children's health care. Even before the inauguration, Obama wasn't a punctual sort; he arrived late to a Jan. 8 2009 news conference on the economy that was aired live by broadcast and cable networks.

This is the sub-prime house that Barack Obama built

As a young but influential Chicago politician, Obama helped to create the housing bubble.

Race and student loan default rates

Black students who graduated in 1992–93 school year had an overall default rate that was over five times higher than white students and over nine times higher than Asian students. The differences for Hispanic students are not as large, but are still substantial. Hispanic students' overall default rate was over twice that of white students and four times higher than Asian students.

Related:

Student loan default by ethnicity

British teenagers have lower IQs than their counterparts did 30 years ago

Teenagers in Britain have lower IQ scores than their counterparts did a generation ago, according to a study by a leading expert.

Hat tip, Steve Sailer!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just 28% of African-American and 26% of Latino students earned a Regents degree in 2008

Tough new requirements for high school diplomas could send city graduation rates plummeting, especially among poor and minority students, advocates have said. Starting with 2009's ninth graders, general education students will have to earn a Regents diploma to graduate, not the current less rigorous local degree. Those requirements would have left nearly 10,000 of 2008's graduates without a diploma, severely limiting their college and career options, according to a study by the Coalition for Educational Justice. While graduation rates have risen in the past decade, only 37% of students earn a Regents degree, which requires passing five subject-specific exams with a score of 65 or higher. Just 28% of African-American and 26% of Latino students earned that degree in 2008, while more than half of white students did. Only a third of students at high-poverty schools were awarded a Regents degree, the CEJ study showed.

Related:

AP Results Improve for Other Minority Students, Though Blacks Still Lag Behind

More blacks, Latinos took AP exams, but more failed them, too

Interactions between HERC2, OCA2 and MC1R may influence human pigmentation phenotype

Human pigmentation is a polygenic trait which may be shaped by different kinds of gene–gene interactions. Recent studies have revealed that interactive effects between HERC2 and OCA2 may be responsible for blue eye colour determination in humans. Here researchers performed a population association study, examining important polymorphisms within the HERC2 and OCA2 genes. Furthermore, pooling these results with genotyping data for MC1R, ASIP and SLC45A2 obtained for the same population sample the researchers also analysed potential genetic interactions affecting variation in eye, hair and skin colour. Their results confirmed the association of HERC2 rs12913832 with eye color and showed that this SNP is also significantly associated with skin and hair coloration. It is also concluded that OCA2 rs1800407 is independently associated with eye color. Finally, using various approaches the researchers were able to show that there is an interaction between MC1R and HERC2 in determination of skin and hair color in the studied population sample.

Related:

A transracial identity

The arrival of the "swinging 60s" may have heralded a rise in sexually-transmitted cancers, say researchers

Rates of anal, vulval and vaginal cancers rose for "baby boomers" born in the decades after the Second World War. The culprit is the human papillomavirus (HPV), acquired during sex, said the King's College London study. Up to three out of four people will be infected, it estimates. The British Journal of Cancer report says changes in sexual habits may be the cause. HPV has been implicated in a number of cancers, including cervical, anal, vulval, vaginal and penile - although the diseases can be caused by other factors too. Some estimates suggest that up to three out of four people will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives, although the immune system is normally able to destroy it. However, if an infection is persistent, it may cause cells to become cancerous. The King's College London study, using figures from a cancer database, suggests that rates of some of these cancers rose quickly for the generations born in the 1950s and 1960s. There has been a steady rise in anal cancer rates over that period in both men and women, but with women born in the 1960s three times more likely to develop it than those born 20 years earlier. Although vaginal and vulval cancer rates have fallen away in modern generations, they are higher in the 1960s generation of women compared with those born in the first half of the 1940s. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer linked to HPV. The researchers said they believed that both changes in sexual practices, and a greater exposure to HPV were the likely cause for those increased rates. Separate studies have suggested a rise in female anal intercourse involving the 1960s generation.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Three men have denied at the high court in Johannesburg murdering the internationally-acclaimed South African reggae star Lucky Dube

Julius Xowa, Sfiso Mhlanga and Thabiso Maroping also deny unlawful possession of firearms and attempted hijacking. The shooting of the 43-year-old musician outside his brother's house in Johannesburg in October 2007 shocked the country. Lucky Dube's family and friends were in court for the opening of the trial. The accused - all in their early 30s - were denied bail when they appeared in court in November 2008. It emerged at the time that one of the suspects had been out on bail on a separate charge when he allegedly took part in the murder of the reggae star. This angered opposition parties and members of the public who questioned the country's judicial system. But police were praised for making quick arrests. Four suspects were initially taken into custody, but one was later released under the instruction of the directorate of public prosecutions. Lucky Dube was shot dead in front of his son and daughter in Rosettenville, a southern suburb of downtown Johannesburg. The killing led to renewed domestic calls for the restoration of the death penalty in a bid to stem one of the world's highest murder rates. South Africa's international image has been tarnished by its alarming crime levels. Nearly 19,000 people were murdered in 2008, according to official statistics.