Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Jersey: A Muslim who co-founded a radical Islamic website has pleaded guilty to using the Internet to make threats against Jewish groups

Yousef Mohamid al-Khattab, 45, of Atlantic City started the now-defunct Revolution Muslim website in 2007 with partner Jesse Curtis Morton. Al-Khattab, who converted from Judaism and was previously known as Joseph Cohen, is the third person connected with Revolution Muslim to be convicted in federal court in Alexandria. Morton and another man, Zachary Chesser, admitted using the site to deliver thinly veiled threats against the creators of the “South Park” television show for perceived insults to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Al-Khattab’s guilty plea does not mention the “South Park” threats. In court documents, al-Khattab admits encouraging readers to take unspecified action against Jewish leaders. In some postings, he provided names and addresses of Jewish leaders and synagogues and urged Muslims angered by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to “deal with them directly at their homes.” In another posting he praised Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan for “13 knockouts,” a reference to the 13 people Hasan shot and killed in the 2009 attacks. Al-Khattab faces up to five years in prison at a sentencing scheduled for February 7, 2014. His lawyer, Alan Yamamoto, said that it is not yet clear what length of term will be recommended under the federal sentencing guidelines.

Jewish group is opposed to free speech on the Internet

The Simon Wiesenthal Center believes that Twitter is not doing enough to restrict the free speech rights of "racists" and "anti-Semites".

Obama's America: While 20.5% of white and 27.9% of Asian households receive some form of means-tested benefits, 50.9% of black households and 53.3% of Hispanic households receive welfare assistance

The figure for Hispanic households should dispel any notions that the Republican Party will gain any advantage from immigration reforms that increase the size of this voting bloc. Communities with a high dependence on welfare will vote for the party that promises to keep the benefits flowing. There is a reason every Democrat in Congress supports comprehensive immigration reform that would open a path to the voting booth to those who came into the country illegally. And for those in the business world (or who look to the business world for guidance) who think "cheap labor" is truly inexpensive, the Census figures show again that taxpayers subsidize the "working poor" who do not earn subsistence incomes. Research done at the Heritage Foundation, particularly by Robert Rector, successfully countered the propaganda of the Chamber of Commerce on this point the last time immigration reform was pending, and should do so again.

Latin American crime: Former Brazilian footballer's head left on his doorstep

João Rodrigo Silva Santos didn't come home one night recently. When the former professional footballer's wife opened the door on her way to work the next morning, she found his severed head on their front step. The head was inside a backpack, police said. Santos' eyes and tongue had been gouged out. Now police in Rio de Janeiro are investigating the grisly killing, though they haven't said who they believe is behind it. Santos, 35, was a forward for a number of mostly second-tier Rio de Janeiro football teams before retiring and opening a health foods store. His death comes at a time when football fans worldwide are shifting their focus toward Brazil, which will host the World Cup in 2014. Late in 2012, the country announced it was pumping $900 million dollars into its security budget to make the competition "one of the most protected sports events in history." World football's ruling body FIFA had expressed concern about Brazil's increasing crime rate, particularly in Sao Paulo. One police official said that authorities are investigating whether a recent post on the store's Facebook page could be connected to the crime. The post showed surveillance footage and asked for help catching shoplifters. Police plan to compare the images to surveillance footage taken at the shop the night of the murder, chief homicide investigator Rafael Rangel said. The former football player was last seen the night he was murdered, when two suspects entered his vehicle. Police said that they found parts of a man's body in a river outside the city and were testing the DNA to see whether the remains belong to Santos. Authorities have interviewed 10 witnesses so far in the case, police said. Santos' wife, Geisa Silva, worked for the police in one of Rio's shantytowns, but as a social worker giving swimming lessons to children, not as a policewoman.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

African-American and Puerto Rican women who have low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are more likely to go into labor early and give birth to preterm babies, research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health reveals

"Vitamin D is unique in that while we get it from our diets, our primary source is our body making it from sunlight," said Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor in Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology. "Previous studies using conservative definitions for vitamin D deficiency have found that nearly half of black women and about 5% of white women in the United States have vitamin D concentrations that are too low." Among non-white mothers, the incidence of spontaneous, preterm birth - naturally going into labor two or more weeks before the 37 weeks of pregnancy considered full-term - decreased by as much as 30% as vitamin D levels in the blood increased. Dr. Bodnar and her co-authors, whose work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, did not find a similar relationship between maternal vitamin D levels and preterm birth in white women. "We were concerned that finding this association only in non-white women meant that other factors we did not measure accounted for the link between low vitamin D levels and spontaneous preterm birth in black and Puerto Rican mothers," said Dr. Bodnar. She and her co-authors used methods to account for the expected influence of discrimination and socioeconomic position, as well as fish intake and physical activity. "Even after applying these methods, vitamin D deficiency remained associated with spontaneous preterm birth."

A rabbi wanted for abusing several boys in New York has been arrested in Beverly Hills, police said

Menachem Tavel, 30, worked in his native New York with suicide prevention in children and teens, and taught religion to adults. For the past year, he has divided his time between Brooklyn and the Jem Center in Beverly Hills. The center’s director is Tavel’s father-in-law, who says that his relative is “innocent and a fantastic person.” Allegations that Tavel abused boys date back to the 1990s. They were revealed for the first time on August 6, 2013 when a website called Jewish Community Watch warned parents about claims by more than one young boy who had encountered the rabbi in Brooklyn. “He was checked here in the U.S. at the time, and had a clean record,” said Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, the suspect’s father-in-law. The Jem Center’s attorney said that Beverly Hills police – the same agency that arrested Tavel – cleared the rabbi to work in LA, but police deny that claim. “That’s not accurate at all,” said Lt. Lincoln Hoshino, with the Beverly Hills Police Department. "We don't conduct personnel investigations or clearance checks on anybody's employees, other than our own," Hoshino added. Tavel is expected to be extradited to Brooklyn to face the charges.

In New York City, blacks commit nearly 80% of all shootings, though they are only 23% of the city's population, while whites - 34% of New York City residents - commit around 2% of all shootings

Heather Mac Donald writes about race and crime in New York City.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Young, black women have the highest rate of developing lupus and are most likely to be diagnosed at a younger age than whites and during childbearing years, according to a new University of Michigan study of lupus in Southeastern Michigan

In Michigan, lupus prevalence was three times higher than previous estimates, reaching one in 537 black female Michiganders in the region, compared to one in 1,153 white women. In addition to experiencing the disease earlier in life - which can mean living with the condition over more years - black females with lupus also faced a higher degree of serious health complications, such as kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant. The findings, which are based on data collected as part of a public health initiative in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Community Health, dovetail with a sister project from Emory University in Atlanta that found that the incidence rate for lupus was three times higher for black women than for white women in Georgia.

Two subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV) prevented by vaccines are half as likely to be found in African-American women as in white women with precancerous cervical lesions, according to researchers at Duke Medicine

The findings suggest that African-American women may be less likely to benefit from available HPV vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. "Screening programs for cervical cancer are known to work well, with around 90% of sexually active women getting screened through Pap tests," said Cathrine Hoyo, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine. "The question is, if screening rates are comparable in African-American and white women, why are the rates of cervical cancer and mortality higher among African-American women when we have a program that works so well?" Hoyo and her colleagues sought to better understand these disparities by determining if African-American and white women in the United States are infected with the same sub-types of HPV. When the researchers looked at the specific strains of HPV, they found that white women and African-American women were often infected with different sub-types. "Compared with white women, we saw that African-American women had about half as many infections with HPV 16 and 18, the subtypes that are covered by HPV vaccines," said Adriana Vidal, Ph.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine. "Since African-American women don't seem to be getting the same sub-types of HPV with the same frequency, the vaccines aren't helping all women equally."

People are actually biologically responsive to taking pleasure in the pain of others, a reaction known as Schadenfreude

Researchers found that people smile more when someone they envy experiences misfortune or discomfort.

Asians are imitating Jews

Asians are demanding that white Christians start obeying them.

Immigration, George Soros the Jewish atheist and Evangelical Christians

Why are Evangelical Christians working with the enemies of America?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Adult literacy: Black and Hispanic adults in the United States are three to four times more likely to have poor skills than white adults, according to an OECD analysis

About 35% of black adults and 43% of Hispanic adults score low in literacy, compared to 10% of white adults. In numeracy, 59% of black adults and 56% of Hispanic adults score low, compared to 19% of white adults.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Black women under 40 who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have a poorer overall survival rate than white women of the same age, a study has shown

Researchers from the University of Southampton found that survival rates were lower, despite having the same access to healthcare. The study shows that this group are more likely to have larger tumors and higher rates of triple negative breast cancer – a type which does not respond to hormone therapies. However, this does not fully explain why black women have poorer outcomes, especially for those with cancers which are sensitive to hormones. The study authors, who were sponsored by charity Cancer Research UK, said that unidentified biological factors could be to blame.

A North Carolina county precinct Republican chair has resigned after being honest about blacks

Don Yelton has resigned after pointing out that lazy black people want the government to give them everything.

Latin American family values: A mother of 14 in Colombia tried to make ends meet, police say, by pushing her daughters into hell and selling their virginity for a couple hundred dollars

Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno, 45, has been arrested along with a 51-year-old contractor who police believe impregnated one of the young daughters. She broke down in tears when she stood in front of the cameras after being arrested in Bogota, the Colombian capital. The Bogota Metropolitan Police say that Zapata sold the virginity of 12 daughters to much older men seeking to have sex with young virgins. Authorities also say that the suspect would begin selling her daughters to men as soon as the girls turned 12 years old. She charged anywhere between 300,000 and 400,000 Colombian Pesos ($160 to $212) for a virgin. Colombian police learned of this case of abuse because one of the victims stepped forward. One of the suspect's daughters forced into prostitution gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14. She had refused her mother's orders to have an abortion. Colonel Carlos Melendez, a Bogota Metropolitan Police spokesman, said that the young girl described to investigators the hell in which she lived when she was still a prepubescent girl, about being forced to have sex with much older men in her home and about a life of abuse and neglect. "She was a minor and she still had the courage to report the abuse and also to refuse to have an abortion. That's when this investigation started, from the threats of her own mother," Melendez said. The investigation took more than a year to complete because the only witness willing to testify, the 14-year-old girl, now 16, disappeared, apparently because she feared her mother would kill her for going to the police. After she reappeared, she also told authorities about a man who had sex with her and got her pregnant. Police arrested a 51-year-old man who investigators say fathered the son of the girl who was 14 years old when the baby was born. Police investigators say that Zapata also forced her older daughters to drink alcohol and do drugs. Some ended up working as prostitutes and are missing, police said. Police say that those two arrests are only the beginning. Investigators say that they will also build cases against the men who were having sex with these minors. According to authorities, only two of Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno's 14 children were not forced into prostitution. They were the two youngest - an 11-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl - and they have been placed in the custody of a Colombian government child protection agency.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Once again predominantly-black Detroit tops the Forbes list of the Most Dangerous Cities for the fifth year in a row

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s crime database reports that Detroit had 386 murders in 2012, up from 344 in 2011 and essentially unchanged from 2000 – when the city had 200,000 more residents. The steady outflow of residents has driven Detroit’s murder rate up to 54.6 per 100,000, more than 10 times the national average and the highest in the country among large cities.

The bacteria in the human mouth – particularly those nestled under the gums – are as powerful as a fingerprint at identifying a person's ethnicity, new research shows

Scientists identified a total of almost 400 different species of microbes in the mouths of 100 study participants belonging to four ethnic affiliations: non-Hispanic blacks, whites, Chinese and Latinos. Only 2% of bacterial species were present in all individuals – but in different concentrations according to ethnicity – and 8% were detected in 90% of the participants. Beyond that, researchers found that each ethnic group in the study was represented by a "signature" of shared microbial communities. "This is the first time it has been shown that ethnicity is a huge component in determining what you carry in your mouth. We know that our food and oral hygiene habits determine what bacteria can survive and thrive in our mouths, which is why your dentist stresses brushing and flossing. Can your genetic makeup play a similar role? The answer seems to be yes, it can," said Purnima Kumar, associate professor of periodontology at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study. "No two people were exactly alike. That's truly a fingerprint." Kumar used a DNA deep sequencing methodology to obtain an unprecedented in-depth view of these microbial communities in their natural setting. When the scientists trained a machine to classify each assortment of microbes from under the gums according to ethnicity, a given bacterial community predicted an individual's ethnicity with 62% accuracy. The classifier identified African Americans according to their microbial signature correctly 100% of the time. The findings could help explain why people in some ethnic groups, especially African Americans and Latinos, are more susceptible than others to develop gum disease. The research also confirms that one type of dental treatment is not appropriate for all, and could contribute to a more personalized approach to care of the mouth. "The most important point of this paper is discovering that ethnicity-specific oral microbial communities may predispose individuals to future disease," Kumar said. Though it's too soon to change dental practice based on this work, she said the findings show that "there is huge potential to develop chair-side tools to determine a patient's susceptibility to disease." Using only the bacteria found under the gums – which are called subgingival microbes – the classifying machine performed best at positively identifying African Americans according to their microbial communities, followed by positive identifications of Latinos at 67% and whites at 50% – but with 91% specificity, meaning the classifier determined how often a sample did not come from a white person 91% of the time. Kumar and colleagues then expanded the selection of total microbes in all areas of the mouth, and identified surrogate communities of bacteria that were present in at least 80% of participants of each ethnic group. These communities showed a prediction likelihood of 65% for African Americans, 45% for whites, 33% for Chinese and 47% for Latinos. "Nature appears to win over nurture in shaping these communities," Kumar noted, because African Americans and whites had distinct microbial signatures despite sharing environmental exposures to nutrition and lifestyle over several generations.

Black teenager murders white school teacher

I wonder if the white teacher voted for Obama?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In September 2013, U.S.-born employment fell by 73,000

Foreign-born employment rose by 206,000. September 2013 was the second successive month in which U.S.-born workers actually held fewer jobs in absolute terms, while foreign-born workers enjoyed robust job growth. From January 2009 to September 2013, foreign-born employment has increased by 2.336 million. During that same time period, U.S.-born employment declined by 254,000.

A report, which uses data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and state assessments, shows that while the percentage of white students scoring at the advanced level in Grade 4 mathematics increased from 2.9% to 9% between 1996 and 2011, the percentage of high-scoring black students barely budged, reaching 1.1% in 2011

Whites continue to beat blacks academically.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Young black women in Britain are more likely than their white counterparts to develop worse breast cancer with a poorer prognosis

This group has larger, more aggressive tumors with a higher risk of recurrence. This is despite having the same access to treatment. As yet unidentified biological factors may be to blame, say the Cancer Research UK investigators. Such women might respond less well to breast cancer drugs like tamoxifen because of the genetic make-up of their tumor, they say. The research team, based at the University of Southampton, looked at data from nearly 3,000 women in Britain - of whom 118 were black - who were younger than 40 when they were diagnosed with breast cancer. Even when individual differences such as body weight and treatment variations such as availability of chemotherapy were taken into account, black ethnicity remained an independent indicator of poor prognosis. Dr Ellen Copson and colleagues say that there have been similar findings in the United States, suggesting this could be an international trend, but further research is needed to try to pin down the exact cause or causes.

Friday, October 18, 2013

China: An unemployed couple will stand trial in Shanghai for selling their baby and using the proceeds to bankroll an online shopping spree, including the purchase of an iPhone

The couple, named only as Mr Teng and Ms Zhang, began posting online adverts for the child in June 2013. The adverts suggested that they would be willing to part with their unborn baby in exchange for up to 50,000 yuan (£5,070). After a home birth, designed to cover-up the crime, they handed over the baby girl and received a large cash payment into their bank account on the very same day. In 2012, seven people were jailed in China’s Hunan province for involvement in the purchase of a kidney from a 17-year-old boy who used the money to buy and iPhone and an iPad. The teenager confessed to his mother when suffering from renal failure after the surgery.

A rabbi has been accused of sexually abusing a student at a religious school on Long Island

Gary Lieberman, 56, of Far Rockaway has pleaded not guilty on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse in First District Court in Hempstead. He was freed on $100,000 bond and ordered to stay away from his accuser. Lieberman repeatedly abused the student between November 2009 and May 2010 at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in West Hempstead, where he was a teacher, police said. The student was 10 years old when the abuse began, investigators said. Lieberman molested the student in a learning resource room and a school bathroom. “Lieberman told the victim that if he tells anyone about this they would not believe him because he’s a rabbi,” Det. Lt. Kenneth Lack said. Lieberman was terminated from his job at the Hebrew Academy in August 2010, but police say that he may have continued teaching at other private religious schools. He was let go for inappropriate touching that didn’t rise to the level of a crime. Parents said that they were told he was massaging students’ necks. Lieberman faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted of each charge and the sentences run consecutively.

Children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65% as likely to graduate from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples

Girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates. The children of lesbians are the least likely to graduate.

Nearly 30 million people around the world are slaves with India, China and Pakistan being among the worst offenders

Ten countries accounted for 76% of the 29.8 million people living in slavery. Those countries are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Mauritania in West Africa has the highest number of slaves proportionately, with up to 160,000 enslaved in a population of 3.8 million. The highest absolute numbers are almost 14 million slaves in India and 3 million in China. In China there is forced labor of men, women and children, including domestic servitude and forced begging, sexual exploitation of women and children and forced marriage. The lowest levels of slavery are in Iceland, Ireland and Britain. Up to 4,400 people are estimated to be enslaved in Britain, the victims mainly from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. They are forced into sex work, domestic servitude, or low-paid jobs in agriculture, construction, restaurants and nail salons.

Black Africans and breast-ironing

Blacks are very good at coming up with sick ways to abuse women.

United States: 56.6% of black women are obese compared with 37.1% of black men

Blacks have the highest obesity rate (47.8%), followed by Hispanics (42.5%) and whites (32.6%). Asians have the lowest obesity rate (10.8%).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The leader of the African National Congress in South Africa's Western Cape Province has claimed that 98% of landowners in the city of Cape Town are white and people in the Jewish community

Ninety-eight percent of land and property owners in Cape Town are white and Jewish, Marius Fransman, the Western Cape provincial leader of the African National Congress, claimed in an address to the Cape Town Press Club recently. Fransman made similar remarks during a radio interview in February 2013, claiming that the opposition Democratic Alliance - the dominant political party in the Western Cape - had given Jewish businessmen building contracts previously held by Muslims in two Cape Town suburbs. In the wake of Fransman's most recent comments, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Britain: One in four black men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime - double the figure for all men

Prostate Cancer UK said that the calculation was based on genetic risk and the fact that black men did not always approach their doctors with symptoms. The chance of developing prostate cancer in a lifetime is one in eight for all men, rising to one in four for black men.

The first court-ordered class of FDNY trainees — the oldest and most diverse in history — is flaming out

Halfway through the 18-week Fire Academy course, the dropout rate has hit a sky-high 15% and could climb to a third of the 318 who started on July 29, 2013 according to insiders. So far, 48 have dropped out. They include 23 of 123 court-ordered “priority hires,” mainly blacks and Latinos in their 30s and early 40s who took the FDNY entrance exam in 1999 or 2000 but were passed over. The dropouts also include 23 of 176 FDNY paramedics seeking promotion and two of 20 “open competitive” candidates. Four of eight women have also bailed. The eight were hailed as the most in an academy class since 1982, when a lawsuit forced the FDNY to bring on the first female firefighters. In addition, an alarming number of “probies” have been injured — suffering sprains, fractures and other ailments — and put on medical leave, insiders say. Others teeter on the cusp of flunking out because they can’t handle the physical or academic demands. Dropouts have been pushed to resign, rather than face termination, so they can “recycle” and join the next academy class. “I’m good at the physical stuff — that wasn’t a problem for me,” said a near-40-year-old who first took the FDNY entrance test in 1999 and jumped at the chance to try again. But the exams, on topics from building construction to hazardous ­materials, tripped him up. “The only thing was academic. I wanted to stay with it, but the people who run the academy felt my GPA was too low,” he said, adding that he could have improved his grades if given more time. “I think I could have pulled it off. I left my job to try something new, and they kicked me to the curb.” An FDNY insider called the 15% attrition at the halfway point “huge, an amazing difference from a normal probie class.” Traditionally, an FDNY academy class loses about 10% over the entire training period. In May 2013, 285 of 318 probies graduated from the academy, with a 10.3% dropout rate. Under orders by Manhattan federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in March 2012, the FDNY altered the composition of its academy classes, taking many candidates from a list of people who he ruled had been unfairly denied. The result: a class with 66% minorities. The FDNY also launched a program to prevent these new probies from failing, assigning lieutenants to each mentor trainees, giving them pep talks and tips on getting through the course. Rank-and-file members call it coddling. “Do we have to wipe their noses too?” a veteran grumbled. “But it’s not working,” an FDNY source said. “A lot of people on the judge’s list are heavier and older. You can’t expect them not to fall out. They’ve been in other lifestyles and careers for years, so it’s hard to stay in top shape.” The high dropout rate angers the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of black firefighters whose lawsuit charging the city with hiring bias led to the court-ordered reforms. Vulcan Society president John Coombs questioned the FDNY’s commitment to helping minorities succeed. “Some of those instructors are out to break them,” Coombs said. “It’s psychological warfare.” He said that physical demands, such as running a mile and a half in 12 minutes, are too strictly enforced and said probies who show steady improvement are still being weeded out. “We’ve never had so many injuries at the academy,” he said. “Are they over-training the candidates?” Paul Mannix, president of Merit Matters, a group of firefighters opposed to quota hiring, said trainers should not go easy. “They’re sticking to the standards and not letting people get through who can’t do the job, no matter what their color or gender,” he said.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A genetic mutation tied to risk of developing testicular cancer may be more prevalent in white men because it also confers a reduced risk of developing skin cancer

Evolution may have favored a particular genetic change as humans migrated out of Africa that led to the prevalence of testicular cancer in white men compared to black men, according to researchers in Britain. Gareth Bond, a molecular biologist at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Oxford, and colleagues found that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in a protein acted upon by the p53 gene, mutations in which cause a variety of cancers, can lead to increased melanocyte production when UV light damages cells, thereby protecting skin from further sun damage. But the same mutation also leads to the uncontrolled proliferation of other cells in the body. They reported their findings in Cell. The suspect protein, called KIT ligand (KITLG), is mutated in 80% of white Europeans but only 24% of people of African descent. Testicular cancer is 4–5 times more prevalent in white men than black men, and skin cancers are far more common in people with fairer skin as well. Previous research had identified SNPs in KITLG as major contributors to testicular cancer, and Bond and his colleagues found one such SNP in KITLG that interacted with p53 to regulate cell division. When the team exposed p53 knockout mice to UV radiation, the rodents could not produce any KITLG. But in wild-type mice, KITLG production doubled upon UV exposure, triggering melanocyte production. This could mean that the deleterious SNP in KITLG was allowed to persist in populations moving out of Africa because it conferred an advantage by producing more melanocytes and protecting their paler skin from sun damage. An unintended consequence, however, could have been the propensity for unchecked cell growth elsewhere in the body — e.g., in the testicles. “As early humans migrated northward out of Africa, losing skin pigmentation allowed them to retain more vitamin D in the dimly lit terrain,” Douglas Bell, a molecular biologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said. “But those who were better able to repair UV damage had an advantage.” The paper is the first to link p53, KITLG, UV radiation, and increased cell production in a cohesive process.

A Catholic newspaper in Malaysia is no longer allowed to use the word "Allah" when referring to God, a court has ruled in a unanimous decision that overturns a 2009 ruling, with the court finding that the publisher's constitutional rights were not infringed

The government had argued that the word is specific to Muslims, and the appeals court agreed that public disorder could result if the word is not exclusive to Islam. "The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity," said the chief judge. "The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community." The issue has been a source of religious and ethnic tension as Malaysia struggles with issues related to minority rights. The decision was greeted with cries of "Allahu Akbar" from around 200 gathered Muslims. But supporters of the newspaper say that the word "Allah" predates Islam and Christians in Malaysia have used it for centuries; lawyers plan to appeal the decision to the country's highest court.

Moscow saw its worst race-related violence in years when thousands stormed a suburban shopping mall to protest an ethnically-charged murder

The violence broke out after Russian nationalists called for a people’s meeting to protest the murder of 25-year-old Egor Shcherbakov. Shcherbakov had been returning home with his girlfriend when he got into an altercation with a man from Russia’s troubled, mostly Muslim provinces in the North Caucasus. The man argued with Shcherbakov about his girlfriend, stabbed him with a knife, and ran away. Police said that the suspect is a shawarma vendor and not a Russian citizen. Ethnic tensions have been an increasing headache for Russian authorities in recent years. Russia has the world’s second-highest number of immigrants after the United States, according to the U.N., consisting predominantly of Muslims from its Caucasus provinces and the impoverished former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which have visa-free regimes with Russia.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A national survey has found that uterine fibroids have a disproportionate impact on African American women, causing more severe symptoms, interfering with their daily life, and causing them to miss work

African American women have a 3-fold higher incidence of uterine fibroids and tend to have them at an earlier age.

When the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category

Tavis Smiley says that Obama has been bad for blacks.

Hispanic crime: The little girl known only as "Baby Hope," whose abused and decomposed body was found in an ice chest by the side of a New York roadway in 1991, is 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, New York police have announced

Police also announced the arrest of the man who killed Anjelica and dumped her body along the Henry Hudson Parkway. The man, Conrado Juarez, 52, is the girl's cousin. He has been charged with murder. Juarez, who was 30 at the time of the crime, went to an apartment in Queens shared by seven of his relatives and saw Anjelica in the hallway. Juarez smothered her with a pillow while raping her. When the girl went motionless, Juarez summoned his sister from another room. It was the sister who told Juarez to get rid of the body and who provided the cooler. He then "folded the girl in half," tied her, placed her in a garbage bag inside the cooler and placed soda cans on top of her body, said New York Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges during Juaraez's arraignment. Juarez and his sister hailed a cab to Manhattan, dropped the cooler off in a wooded area near the parkway, and then went their separate ways. The sister, Balvena Juarez Ramirez, is deceased.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Three black bikers have been indicted in connection with a well-publicized clash with a New York SUV driver, the Manhattan District Attorney's office has said

Craig Wright, 29, and Reginald Chance, 37, have been indicted, according to the district attorney's office. A third man, Robert Sims, 35, has also been indicted, it said. Alexander Lien was chased by bikers after he initially bumped one during a biker rally on September 29, 2013. When his SUV was surrounded by several bikers, Lien called 9-1-1, told police that he feared for his life and drove off, running over bikers and critically injuring one. Lien's wife and 2-year-old daughter were in the vehicle with him. Lien's windows were smashed; he was dragged out of the SUV and beaten.

Campaigners from South Asia have welcomed an EU resolution against caste-based discrimination, which they hope will help to push the issue on to the agenda at trade talks between the EU and countries like Nepal, India and Sri Lanka

The International Labor Organization estimates that the overwhelming majority of bonded labor victims in South Asia are from lower castes, with forced and bonded labor particularly widespread in the agriculture, mining and garment production sectors. Some of the companies involved in these sectors supply products to multinationals. Campaigner Manjula Pradeep, from the Indian rights organisation Navsarjan, says that, after working hard to raise awareness of discrimination against low-caste Hindus known as Dalits, finally seeing the issue discussed at such a high level feels like a reward. "When we started the process of lobbying the European parliament in 2007 we had to explain what [caste discrimination] was. Now we don't have to say what it means to be a Dalit, so it's a reward, but we still have to do a lot of work. When we were listening to the statements of the European parliament, I thought about my own members of parliament and I wonder if they are ready to speak on this issue. Very few are ready … they don't want to address it at a larger level, most often these issues related to caste have never been addressed at a national level in our country." Caste systems are common in much of South Asia. Campaigners estimate that 260 million people around the world are affected. Castes divide people into social groupings; those in the lowest castes are regarded as unclean and are often forced into unpleasant and dangerous work. The conditions people are forced to work in can amount to slavery, Pradeep says. "You are born as a sub-caste within the Dalits, given a caste identity and an occupation linked to that caste. If I belong to this caste, the first work that is forced upon me is cleaning human excrement with my hands. People are not able to get out of this slavery. India is seen as a large democracy, but it won't address this issue; even politicians still believe these people should do this work; it's a mind set." Pradeep says that the EU result is the beginning of recognition that caste-based discrimination can be tackled at international as well as domestic level. "Non-recognition of Dalits and their rights is a challenge to all of us. The Indian government has failed to protect the rights of people who have been living in a situation that is like an apartheid. That process has to happen in our own country, ultimately, it has to happen on the ground. But when you don't get support from your own government, you need to address it internationally. It's not a local issue, it's a global issue."

Los Angeles police dogs accused of being racist

A new report focusing on the Canine Special Detail of the LA Sherriff’s Department (LASD) has uncovered a vast increase in the number of minority individuals bitten by police dogs since 2004. And in the first six months of 2013, every single victim of a bite by a LASD dog was African-American or Latino. The data was published in a new report by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC), a Los Angeles-based non-profit organisation, devoted to “advancing effective and accountable policing”. According to PARC records, the number of Latino individuals bitten by LASD canines went up 30% between 2004 and 2012, from 30 to 39 bites. The number of African-Americans bitten increased by 33% over the same period. Maybe the reason why blacks and Hispanics are the ones being bitten is because they are the ones committing the crimes?

Many women in Nigeria make this clear: they want to have lighter-colored skin

The business of beauty is booming in Lagos, Nigeria. In fact, the World Health Organization says that 77% of Nigerian women use skin bleaching cosmetics.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One reason that Detroit is such a mess: lousy black leaders

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for a slew of corruption charges stemming from his tenure from 2002 into 2008. The 43-year-old black politician appeared stunned at the severity of the sentence, but the judge said that it was necessary to send a message about politicians getting rich on the public dime. "A man with the charisma and ability of Mr. Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city," declared Judge Nancy Edmunds. Kilpatrick has a long history of trouble, including a sexting scandal that led to his resignation from office.

A Jewish husband won't agree to a divorce, so a couple of rabbis make him an offer he can't refuse

FBI agents have arrested two rabbis and accused them of plotting to kidnap and torture a man in order to force him to agree to a religious divorce. Trouble is, their female client was actually an undercover agent. “Basically what we are going to be doing is kidnapping a guy for a couple of hours and beating him up and torturing him, and then getting him to" agree to the divorce, one of the men says on tape. The fee of about $60,000 included the use of electric cattle prods and other techniques that wouldn't leave marks. It's not clear whether the men have actually carried out any such kidnappings, though they boasted to their would-be client that they did so about every 18 months. Why would their services be necessary? Because in many Orthodox Jewish communities, a divorce can take place only when the husband agrees. In addition to rabbis Martin Wolmark and Mendel Epstein, at least eight others have been arrested in New York and New Jersey in the sting operation. Wolmark's lawyer calls it a "complex case" and says that the use of coercion against reluctant husbands is an "old tradition."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Among those at the lowest level of literacy in the United States, 53% are Hispanic and 20.9% are black

Among those at the lowest level of numeracy, 37.3% are Hispanic and 31.5% are black. While one in ten (10%) white adults scores below Level 2 in literacy, more than one in three (35%) black adults do so, and nearly one in two (43%) Hispanics do. Similar patterns are observed in numeracy: 59% of black and 56% of Hispanic adults score below Level 2, compared to 19% of white adults. Given that blacks and Hispanics are three to four times more likely to have poor skills than whites, these groups are substantially over-represented in the low-skilled population. Half of those with the lowest level of literacy (below Level 1) are Hispanic, and a further one in five are black. Among those with Level 1 literacy skills, about one in four are black and a little over one in four are Hispanic. Among those scoring at the lowest level of numeracy (below Level 1), 31% are black and 37% are Hispanic, while 22% of adults scoring at Level 1 are black and Hispanic.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from Italian women?

Over the years geneticists have identified links between the world’s Jewish communities that point to a common ancestry as well as a common religion. Still, the origin of one of the most important Jewish populations, the Ashkenazim of Central and Eastern Europe, has remained a mystery. A new genetic analysis claims to have filled in another piece of the origins puzzle, pointing to European women as the principal female founders, and to the Jewish community of the early Roman empire as the possible source of the Ashkenazi ancestors. The finding establishes that the women who founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe were not from the Near East, as previously supposed, and reinforces the idea that many Jewish communities outside Israel were founded by single men who married and converted local women. The study is based on a genetic analysis of maternal lineages. A team led by Martin B. Richards of the University of Huddersfield in England took a fresh look at Ashkenazi lineages by decoding the entire mitochondrial genomes of people from Europe and the Near East. Earlier DNA studies showed that Jewish communities around the world had been founded by men whose Y chromosomes bore DNA patterns typically found in the Near East. But there was a surprise when geneticists turned to examine the women founders by analyzing mitochondrial DNA, a genetic element that is separate from the main human genome and inherited just through the female line. Unlike the Y chromosomes, the mitochondrial DNA showed no common pattern. In several of the smaller Jewish communities it clearly resembled that of the surrounding population, suggesting a migration pattern in which the men had arrived single, perhaps as traders, and taken local wives who then converted to Judaism. But it wasn’t clear whether or not this was true of the Ashkenazim. Mitochondrial DNA tends to change quite rapidly, or to drift, as geneticists say, and the Ashkenazi DNA has drifted so far it was hard to pinpoint its origin. This uncertainty seemed to be resolved by a survey published in 2006. Its authors reported that the four most common mitochondrial DNA lineages among Ashkenazis came from the Near East, implying that just four Jewish women were the ancestresses of nearly half of today’s Ashkenazim. Under this scenario, it seemed more likely that the Ashkenazim were the result of a migration of whole communities of men and women together. But decoding DNA was still quite expensive at that time and the authors of the 2006 survey analyzed only a short length of the mitochondrial DNA, containing just 1,000 or so of its 16,600 DNA units, in all their subjects. The four mitochondrial lineages common among Ashkenazis are now very rare elsewhere in the Near East and Europe, making it hard to identify with certainty the lineages from which they originated. With the entire mitochondrial genome in hand, Dr. Richards could draw up family trees with a much finer resolution than before. His trees show that the four major Ashkenazi lineages in fact form clusters within descent lines that were established in Europe some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The same is true of most of the minor lineages. “Thus the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages were not brought from the Levant, as commonly supposed,” Dr. Richards and colleagues conclude in their paper. Overall, at least 80% of Ashkenazi maternal ancestry comes from women indigenous to Europe, and 8% from the Near East, with the rest uncertain, the researchers estimate. Dr. Richards estimates that the four major lineages became incorporated into the Ashkenazi community at least 2,000 years ago. A large Jewish community flourished in Rome at this time and included many converts. This community could have been the source of both the Ashkenazim of Europe and the Sephardim of Spain and Portugal, given that the two groups have considerable genetic commonality, Dr. Richards said. Doron M. Behar, of the Gene by Gene company in Houston and a co-author of the 2006 survey, said that he disagreed with Dr. Richards’ conclusions but declined to explain his reasons, saying that they had to appear first in a scientific journal. David B. Goldstein, a geneticist at Duke University who first detected the similarity between the founding mothers of Jewish communities and their host populations, said that the new analysis was well done but that the estimate of 80% European origin for the Ashkenazi maternal lineages was not statistically justified, given that mitochondrial DNA lineages rise and fall in a random way. A recent analysis based on the whole genomes, not just mitochondrial DNA, of Jewish communities around the world noted that almost all overlap with non-Jewish populations of the Levant, “consistent with an ancestral Levantine contribution to much of contemporary Jewry.” Dr. Richards said that the finding was compatible with his own, given that the Levantine contribution was not that great. Another recent study, also based on whole genomes, found that a mixture of European ancestries ranged from 30% to 60% among Ashkenazi and Sephardi populations, with Northern Italians showing the greatest proximity to Jews of any Europeans. The authors of this study, led by Gil Atzmon of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, noted that there had been mass conversions to Judaism in the early Roman empire, resulting in some 6 million citizens, or 10% of the population, practicing Judaism. Dr. Richards sees this as a possible time and place at which the four European lineages could have entered the Jewish community, becoming very numerous much later as the Ashkenazi population in northern Europe expanded from around 25,000 in 1300 A.D., to more than 8.5 million at the beginning of the 20th century.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Asian tech executive who was brutally beaten by black bikers in front of his wife and daughter was attacked by a gang six men who stomped on his head and body as he tried to crawl away

More non-white violence in New York City. Even the Hells Angels don't like what the black bikers did. And one of the bikers even tried to grab the Asian guy's wife. Just one more reason to avoid blacks and other violent minorities.

A 20-year-old white soldier has been stabbed to death in what authorities believe could be a hate crime

After a desperate 911 call, officers discovered Tevin A. Geike, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, in a parking lot in Lakewood, Washington suffering multiple stab wounds. He died at the scene. The victim's two friends, also soldiers and also white, told police that they were walking south on Pacific Highway when a vehicle approached them and someone inside called out a racial slur. One of the soldiers yelled back something about those in the car treating combat soldiers with disrespect, Lawler said. The car then turned around, stopped next to the soldiers and five black males piled out of the vehicle. A verbal confrontation started, Lawler said, but the driver called his friends off when he learned some of the soldiers were actually combat veterans. As the group returned to the car, one of the suspects appeared to bump into Geike, Lawler said. The two soldiers then saw their friend fall to the ground as the car sped away. That's when they discovered Geike had been stabbed and was bleeding profusely.

By some estimates, California’s level of inequality compares with that of such global models as the Dominican Republic, Gambia and the Republic of the Congo

At the same time, the Golden State now suffers the highest level of poverty in the country — 23.5% compared to 16% nationally — worse than long-term hard luck cases like Mississippi. It is also now home to roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, almost three times its proportion of the nation’s population. Like medieval serfs, increasing numbers of Californians are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents: native born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to one recent report. Nor are things expected to get better any time soon. According to a recent Hoover Institution survey, most Californians expect their incomes to stagnate in the coming six months, a sense widely shared among the young, whites, Latinos, females and the less educated.

Foreigners will have to prove that they are entitled to be in Britain before they are given access to doctors and hospitals, while foreign students will have to make a “contribution” to the British health service

The measure will form the centerpiece of tough new legislation designed to reduce numbers entering the country and put pressure on illegal immigrants to leave. A senior government source said that it was an attempt to target people who have no right to be in Britain. Restricting access to the National Health Service (NHS) is highly contentious politically. Doctors will be told they have to check that people seeking to register with them are in Britain legally and issue only time-limited “NHS numbers” — the proof of entitlement to free care — to those who do not have a permanent right to be in the country. Separately, students from outside Europe will have to pay a £200 levy before they can access the NHS. Hospitals will be told to step up attempts to pursue “health tourists” for the cost of treatments they receive. The measures will be outlined in the Immigration Bill, which is due to be put before the British Parliament soon. It represents one of the most wide-ranging and ambitious pieces of legislation since the Coalition took office, spanning six Whitehall departments: health, local government, business, and transport, as well as the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. Other elements of the Bill include a ban on councils giving social housing to individuals with no connection to an area, with “penalties” if the rules are not followed; fines of up to £3,000 if landlords do not conduct thorough background checks on their tenants to ensure they have a legal right to live in Britain, and fines of up to £20,000 for every illegal worker employed by unscrupulous businesses; and an end to the farce that sees foreign criminals dodging deportation by appealing using the Human Rights Act. Instead the law will allow immediate deportation and appeals from outside the country unless criminals can show that they face “serious and irreversible harm” in their home countries. The plans are intended to address public concern over the impact of the migration policies of the last Labor government. The Bill is the Coalition’s flagship legislation for 2013 and Conservatives hope that the package of measures will allow them to win back voters who have been tempted to support the UK Independence Party. The foreign students levy will end the current situation which allows free access to the NHS for all students in Britain for more than six months. Currently 300,000 students from outside Europe are studying at British universities. Official projections have suggested that this number will rise to more than 480,000 by 2025.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What made Albert Einstein's brain so special?

Weiwei Men of East China Normal University’s Department of Physics and his colleagues explained that the left and right hemispheres of the Jewish theoretical physicist’s brain were exceptionally well connected to one another. That connection could have played a vital role in his intelligence. “This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the ‘inside’ of Einstein’s brain. It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein’s brain,” Florida State University (FSU) evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Dean Falk explained in a statement. The researchers developed a new technique to conduct their research, which they claim is the first to analyze Einstein’s corpus callosum (the largest bundle of fibers in the brain, and the part of the brain that that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and facilitates inter-hemispheric communication) in detail. Falk said that their method “should be of interest to other researchers who study the brain’s all-important internal connectivity.” According to FSU, the technique developed by Men’s team “measures and color-codes the varying thicknesses of subdivisions of the corpus callosum along its length, where nerves cross from one side of the brain to the other. These thicknesses indicate the number of nerves that cross and therefore how ‘connected’ the two sides of the brain are in particular regions, which facilitate different functions depending on where the fibers cross along the length.” This technique allowed the scientists to register and compare the measurements of Einstein’s brain with those of two existing samples, one belonging to 15 elderly men and the other from 52 men who were Einstein’s age in 1905. During that year, the then-26-year-old physicist published four articles that would be essential to the foundations of modern physics, and helped alter the scientific community’s views of space, time, mass and energy. Men started work analyzing Einstein’s corpus callosum by requesting high-resolution photographs of the two halves of the genius’s brain that had been published by Falk and other researchers in 2012. Their findings demonstrate that the man behind the general theory of relativity had more extensive connections between specific regions of his cerebral hemispheres than either the younger or older control groups.

Mannequins were stripped clean, jewelry cases smashed, racks of expensive suits carted off, dozens of cash registers cracked open and at least one member of the Kenyan security services arrested, caught with a bloody wallet

The looting of the Westgate mall, the scene of a siege in which scores of people were killed in September 2013, appeared to have the scope and organization of a large-scale military operation, and many Kenyans are asking if that is what it was. From the first hours after Islamist militants burst into the mall on September 21, 2013 killing men, women and children, until a week later when shopkeepers were let back in to sweep up the broken glass, very few people were allowed inside the mall except the Kenyan security forces, mainly the army. More and more Kenyans believe that those soldiers methodically cleaned out the mall, and that the barrages of gunfire ringing out for days were being directed not at the last of the militants but at safes and padlocks to blast them open. Some business leaders even question whether the Kenyan Army deliberately prolonged the crisis by saying that shooters were still in the building when they were actually dead, to give themselves extra time to steal. Witnesses said that the most they saw militants loot was a couple of cans of soda, and shopkeepers cited no instances of panicked shoppers helping themselves to merchandise as they ran for their lives, leading to the widespread conclusion that the security forces must have been involved. Kenyans are accustomed to corruption — their country is consistently rated as one of the most corrupt in the world — but the evidence of looting amid a national tragedy has been too much for many to take. “It’s disgraceful,” said Maina Kiai, one of Kenya’s best-known human rights defenders. “It’s part of a nasty culture where power means everything, where you take what you can, you do whatever you want, and there’s no accountability.” The Kenyan military said that it was “committed to get to the bottom of this” and appealed to the public for any information about soldiers who might have looted. President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced an official inquiry into the security services’ response, which has been roundly criticized as slow and bungled. But official inquiries often do not amount to much, many Kenyans say. The other night on a Kenyan news broadcast, a camera panned across a shelf of previous inquiries — thick, bound tomes that went nowhere. In a question put to viewers, 77% said they believed that the Kenyan Army was responsible for the plundering of Westgate. “Four-day siege or four-day shopping spree?” said one Western official working in Kenya. Many questions are still swirling. The Shabab, a Somali Islamist group, has claimed responsibility for killing more than 60 people at the mall, but the number of militants who stormed in — and who they were — remain unknown. At the Westgate entrance, vans usually used for taking tourists on safari disgorged a platoon of Western investigators wearing zip-off nylon pants and handguns on their hips. The mall reeked of rotten meat. Kenyan soldiers in hazardous-material suits and gas masks leaned over piles of debris, collecting evidence. There were still pools of blood on the floor, bits of flesh sticking to the tiles. Several more bodies have been unearthed from a pile of rubble. The mall’s electricity remained shut off, and inside Sir Henry’s, a men’s store on the ground floor, clerks took inventory by lantern light. Fazal Virani, one of Sir Henry’s owners, shook his head in disbelief. He pointed out that the cheaper suits in the front of the store had not been stolen, while dozens of his most expensive suits, hanging in the back and costing almost $2,000 each, were gone. “These guys had time, man, these guys had time,” he said. Virani then trudged upstairs to commiserate with other shopkeepers. “You get hit, too?” he asked a group of men standing ankle deep in crushed glass. “Dumb question,” replied Michael Waweru, the owner of a small boutique. “Everyone got hit.” Laptops, smartphones, Swiss watches, cameras, underwear, perfume and stereo speakers were all carried out of the mall, which was supposed to be tightly guarded by the military, owners said. At the checkout booths in the Nakumatt supermarket, thieves left behind hundreds of coins on conveyor belts covered in ash. Wallets were snatched from the bodies of victims, shopkeepers said, complicating the process of identification. In one women’s boutique, blouses, jewelry and purses were snatched, leaving naked plastic mannequins. Even the little wooden carts that sold chocolates on Westgate’s ground floor had been broken into. “Who did this?” said Atul Shah, Nakumatt’s managing director. “The people inside. Who was inside? The defense forces.” A cleanup crew at one restaurant said that when the soldiers allowed them back in, the crew found hundreds of bottles of gin, brandy, rum, vodka and beer sitting on the bar. It looked like the scene of a fraternity party, one Western official said. “I don’t know if they are deprived of these things or they felt they deserved them,” said Zahir Manji, who owns four shops in Westgate. Inside the mall, the evidence of widespread theft is all around. Parking machines and cash registers were pried open and emptied. A huge, mounted flat-screen television had been lifted off the wall. Doors were wrenched open, and in several stores that showed no obvious signs of having been caught up in the fighting, display cases were ransacked. Witness accounts have not suggested that the attackers broke into safes or stole anything of value. The mall’s surveillance cameras may have captured some of the looting, but Kenyan intelligence agents have taken the footage. “A committee of inquiry will be formed,” Shah said, sighing, “and nothing will happen.” Of Kenya’s security services, the military had been considered the most professional, and the police force the most corrupt. But in the aftermath of the mall attack, it is the police officers who are being hailed as heroes because dozens of lightly armed off-duty officers were among the first responders at the mall, and they saved hundreds of lives. Within hours, the Kenyan military ordered the police out. Then the army took over. Scores of soldiers poured into the mall while several assailants holed up in the Nakumatt store. The standoff ended three days later after soldiers fired an antitank missile into the store, leaving it in flames and opening an enormous crater in the flagship of one of Kenya’s most important companies. Four days after that, the first shopkeepers were allowed back in to survey the wreckage. Millions of dollars of property had been destroyed, and businesses said that at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise were missing. The talk among a group of forlorn shopkeepers was of “terrorism insurance.” Nobody there had it. But Manji hoped that would not matter. “This was not terrorism; this was looting,” he said. “It’s sad that the people who were supposed to protect us have robbed us.”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Israeli court rejects Israeli nationality, saying that it could undermine the nation's Jewish character

Israel’s population registry lists a slew of “nationalities” and ethnic groups, among them Jew, Arab, Druse and more. But one word is conspicuously absent from the list: Israeli. Residents cannot identify themselves as Israelis in the national registry because the move could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s Jewish character, the Israeli Supreme Court has written. The ruling was a response to a demand by 21 Israelis, most of whom are officially registered as Jews, that the court decide whether they can be listed as Israeli in the registry. The group had argued that without a secular Israeli identity, Israeli policies will favor Jews and discriminate against minorities. In its 26-page ruling, the court explained that doing so would have “weighty implications” on the state of Israel and could pose a danger to Israel’s founding principle: to be a Jewish state for the Jewish people. The decision touches on a central debate in Israel, which considers itself both Jewish and democratic yet has struggled to balance both. The country has not officially recognized an Israeli nationality. National and ethnic loyalties are often layered in Israel, a country founded on the heels of the British colonial mandate and initially populated by Jewish immigrants along with a small indigenous Jewish population and a larger Arab community. There are Jews and Arabs. But the Jewish majority distinguishes itself between those from eastern Europe and those whose families originated in Arab countries. These communities are further divided based on the country, or even the village, their ancestors came from. The 20% Arab minority also has Israeli citizenship, and many identify themselves as either Christian or Muslim. Israel is also home to a smattering of other minorities. The national population registry lists a person’s religion and nationality or ethnicity, among other details. Any Jew, no matter what his country of origin, is listed as a Jew. Arabs are marked as such and other minorities, such as Druse, are listed by their ethnicity. Judaism plays a central role in Israel. Religious holidays are also national holidays, and religious authorities oversee many ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals. Yet since Israel’s establishment in 1948, a distinct Israeli nationality has emerged, including foods, music and culture, and for most Jews, compulsory military service. While roughly half of Israel’s Jewish population define themselves first and foremost as Jewish, 41% of Israelis identify themselves as Israeli, according to the Israel Democracy Institute, a think-tank. In the Supreme Court case, the 21 petitioners argued that Israel is not democratic because it is Jewish. They say that the country’s Arab minority faces discrimination because certain policies favor Jews and that a shared Israeli nationality could bring an end to such prejudice and unite all of Israel’s citizens. “The Jewish identity is anti-democratic,” said Uzzi Ornan, the main petitioner who runs “I am Israeli,” a small organization devoted to having the Israeli nationality officially recognized. “With an Israeli identity, we can be secure in our democracy, secure in equality between all citizens,” said Ornan, a 90-year-old professor of computational linguistics at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Israeli Arabs have long contended that, despite their citizenship, they are victims of official discrimination, with their communities receiving fewer resources than Jewish towns. While some Arabs have made strides in recent years in entering the Israeli mainstream, they are on average poorer and less educated than their Jewish counterparts. The court’s deliberation focused mainly on how an officially recognized Israeli identity could pose a threat to Israel’s founding ideals and cause disunity. The court said that it was not casting doubt on the existence of an Israeli nation. Anita Shapira, a professor emeritus of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, said that Judaism and Jewish nationalism go hand in hand and that if nationalism develops into an Israeli one, the Jewish essence will be lost. She also said that it could estrange Jews from other countries whose connection to Israel is through religion. “The attempt to claim that there is a Jewish nationality in the state of Israel that is separate from the Jewish religion is something very revolutionary,” she said. Ornan also appealed to Israel’s interior minister in 2000 and took the matter to court in 2003 in a failed attempt to identify as Israeli. He vowed to continue his campaign. Others have also tried to tackle the population registry. The late Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk persuaded a court in 2011 to have him listed as being “without religion,” though his ethnicity remained “Jewish.” Secularists considered the change a coup.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blacks are 5.5 times more likely than whites to be unemployed in Dane County, Wisconsin

Three-quarters of the county’s African-American children live in poverty, compared to 5% of white children. Half of all black high school students don’t graduate on time, compared to 16% of white children. African-American children are 15 times more likely than their white counterparts to land in foster care. And black juveniles are six times more likely to be arrested than white juveniles. Those are some of the findings released in a report, “Race to Equity,” by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. The report compared 40 indicators of well-being for Dane County residents, mostly between 2007 and 2011. In nearly every category, the study found, blacks, who make up 6.5% of the county’s population, fare much worse than whites. Disparities are common across the United States, the report said, but the gap between the quality of life for whites and blacks is much worse in Dane County, the epicenter for progressive politics in Wisconsin and often ranked among one of the best places in America to live.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hispanic voters backed Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney 71% to 27% in 2012

About 61% of Hispanics approve of the health-care law known as Obamacare, compared with 29% of whites and 91% of blacks, according to a Pew Research Center and USA Today survey. Hispanics are not natural Republican voters so why does the GOP want more Hispanic immigrants?