Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Frustration over the disappearance of three university students in Mexico has turned to outrage as authorities revealed that the men were tortured and killed by cartel members who wrongly suspected them of belonging to a rival gang

Enrolled at Guadalajara's University of Audiovisual Media, Javier Salomon Aceves Gastelum, 25; Marco Avalos, 20; and Jesus Daniel Diaz, 20, were filming a school project at the Tonala home of one of their aunts when they were abducted by armed men dressed as police officers on March 19, 2018. The home had previously been used as a safe house by a rival gang of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which had been keeping an eye on it. When car trouble left the students stranded, the cartel apparently saw an opportunity. Though Gastelum, Avalos, and Diaz had no known connection to criminal gangs, authorities believe they were taken to another home to be interrogated. One of the three was beaten to death before the others were executed, authorities say. Their bodies — and possibly others — were then dissolved at a separate location where 46 barrels of sulfuric acid were found, police add. Students who recently took to the streets to demand the men's safe return in a country that saw its deadliest year with more than 25,000 homicides in 2017 were outraged by the news, even as authorities said that two of eight suspects were in custody. "They murdered the film students and dissolved their bodies in acid for doing homework," reads one tweet. "This country is hell."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In the generation since apartheid ended in 1994, tens of billions of dollars in public funds — intended to develop the economy and improve the lives of black South Africans — have been siphoned off by leaders of the A.N.C., the very organization that had promised them a new, equal and just nation

Corruption has enriched A.N.C. leaders and their business allies — black and white South Africans, as well as foreigners. But the supposed beneficiaries of many government projects, in whose names the money was spent, have been left with little but seething anger and deepening disillusionment with the state of post-apartheid South Africa. While poverty has declined since the end of apartheid, inequality has risen in a society that was already one of the world’s most unequal, according to a recent report by the World Bank and the South African government. South Africa has a large, advanced economy, an aggressively free press and a wealth of independent organizations and scholars who keep a close watch on government malfeasance. But even with its vibrant democracy, in which the details of corruption schemes are routinely aired and condemned by the news media and opposition politicians, graft has engulfed the country. The nation was governed for nine years by the scandal-plagued President Jacob Zuma, whose close ties with the Gupta family — three Indian brothers at the helm of a sprawling business empire built on government contracts, including the dairy farm — outraged voters. Their cozy relationship contributed to the A.N.C.’s recent electoral losses and helped lead to Zuma’s ouster. Promising a “new dawn,” Zuma’s replacement, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that he would make fighting corruption a priority as the nation’s new president. But he is also a veteran A.N.C. insider, and the early signs have not been encouraging. Having become party leader by a razor-thin margin, Ramaphosa has tried to keep together a fractured A.N.C. by moving cautiously. He formed his first cabinet by appointing some well-respected officials, but also included allies — his own and Zuma’s — who have been accused of corruption by the Public Protector’s office and good governance groups. Beyond that, politicians who long oversaw provinces rife with public corruption now sit at the top of the A.N.C.’s hierarchy. National prosecutors, often criticized for being servile to the sitting president, say that they are trying to recover more than $4 billion lost to corruption related to the Gupta family’s undue influence on Zuma’s administration. And that is just a small measure of the corruption that has whittled away at virtually every institution in the country, including schools, public housing, the police, the power utility, South African Airways and state enterprises overseeing everything from rail service to the defense industry.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gang rape continues in India

The victim was an 8-year-old girl in Kashmir who belonged to a nomadic Muslim tribe, and the details are rough. Police say that she was lured away from the horses she was grazing, sedated, and raped multiple times by men in a Hindu temple over the course of at least three days. At that point, police say the men killed the girl by hitting her head with a stone, and her body was found in a nearby forest a week after she disappeared. Authorities say that Muslim-Hindu tensions are behind the murder of the girl, known as Asifa. The custodian of the local Hindu temple wanted to frighten away her Bakarwals tribe from the area and saw the girl as a "soft target," say police. The custodian, Sanji Ram, is among eight Hindu men charged in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Two of the eight are police officers accused of taking bribes in their investigation. The murder happened in January 2018, but new court proceedings have inflamed tensions. Thousands of members of a Hindu group linked to the ruling BJP party have marched to demand the release of the suspects, and a large group of Hindu lawyers tried to block the filing of charges at the local court. They claim the men are innocent but will not get a fair trial because the investigating officers are Muslim. Protests and counter-protests are now spreading.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Crime in New York City: Despite being only about 22% of the city’s population, blacks comprised a majority — 52.4% — of murder and non-negligent manslaughter arrests

Hispanics also exceeded their population share, accounting for 35.9% of arrests for these crimes even though they are only 29.1% of the city's population. Despite being almost a third of the city’s population, white suspects accounted for less than 7% of the share. Blacks are a staggering 67.5%t of shooting arrests in New York City, while Hispanics accounted for 29.2% of arrests. Whites were only 2.3% of shooting arrests. In 2016, 88.3% of those arrested for murder or non-negligent manslaughter and 96.7% of those arrested for shootings were black or Hispanic in New York City. Statistics from Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago show a similar story regarding black and Hispanic crime.