Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sophia Loren takes action over rape posters

John Hooper:

The posters show Loren in her Oscar-winning role in the wartime drama Two Women, Vittorio De Sica's 1961 film in which the actor and her screen daughter are raped by Moroccan soldiers after taking refuge in a church. The film, and the Alberto Moravia novel La Ciociara on which it was based, reflected events still seared into Italy's folk consciousness.

In 1997 a court decision opened the way for damages to be paid to an estimated 1,000 women raped by allied troops in the Ciociara area south of Rome in the spring of 1944.

The rapes were mostly committed by Moroccan irregulars belonging to an 111,000-strong French expeditionary force.

Blazoned across the posters are the words "mai piu" (never again).

The campaign followed the stabbing of an Italian barman, allegedly by an Albanian, and the rape of two teenagers. The suspects in one of the rapes are Moroccans.

The stabbing led to mob protests by skinheads and rightwing soccer gangs, and an attack on Albanian immigrants.

This month, a minister in Mr Berlusconi's government called for a law to castrate rapists.

Loren's intervention was all the more surprising as her family has always been regarded as close to the neo-fascist movement.

Her sister was married to a son of Benito Mussolini while her niece, Alessandra Mussolini, was formerly a high-profile member of the National Alliance.

But Ms Mussolini resigned from the party two years ago, and National Alliance sources said yesterday they suspected the rift had had an influence on her aunt's decision.

The Northern League, another government party, has presented a draft bill to make rape punishable with chemical or surgical castration and increased jail terms.

12-year old girl abducted, used for sex - repeatedly

Sexism and Rape Culture in Moroccan Social Discourse

Hollandistan Follies : Dutch government financed courses will teach Moroccans how to pick up women

Iraq, Syria, Mexico and dangerous borders

Steve Sailer:

There are four likely reasons the Bush Administration isn't letting the military seal the border in Iraq:

1. Bush wants Al-Qaeda fighters to get into Iraq so he can claim Iraq is part of the 9/11 payback.

2. At least part of the Administration wants to conquer Syria, which is more of a problem for Israel than Iraq was, so they want the border to stay porous as an excuse for invading Syria. As Noah Millman has long pointed out, taking out Saddam was a lower priority for the Likud government compared to the threats posed to Israel by Iran and Syria. But, the Likud fellow travelers in the Bush Administration assumed that getting U.S. troops into Iraq would make it more likely the U.S. would then turn on Syria and/or Iran. Neutralizing Syria by sealing the border would lessen the chance of the U.S. invading Syria, so that's not a popular choice within the Bush Administration.

3. Successfully sealing off the Syrian border would give the lie to the claim that it's impossible to seal off the Mexican border to cut back on illegal immigration, and that's the last thing Mr. Bush wants to do.

4. The Syrian border actually isn't all that important. This is primarily an ethno-nationalist rebellion, and Bush is exaggerating the importance of the foreign element so he can tell people his War in Error is part of the War on Terror. Maybe it would be cost-ineffective to worry about the border. Still, how much time does laying landmines use up?

A Memorial Day Meditation On Mesopotamia, Mexico And The Border Problem

Mr. Bush, put up this wall!

Moroccan Wall

Gideon's Blog

Iraq: Britain is seen as an important link in the Iraqi jihadist networks

Jan Jun:

Terrorism experts say Britain appears to be an important link in an international network that is recruiting suicide bombers and jihadists for Iraq. They say the network has links via Damascus to the Iraqi border.

The problem was brought into focus after British police questioned a man detained in the northern city of Manchester recently. The man allegedly provided shelter to 41-year-old Idris Bazis, a French-Algerian who died as a suicide bomber in Iraq in February.

Bazis came to Britain from France one year ago and was allegedly smuggled through Syria to the Iraqi border province of Anbar.

"The security services in a number of different European countries know individuals that may have traveled out. They have disappeared. They have received information they're crossing into specific countries that are launch pads into Iraq," says Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. "Also, we have investigations from Iraq of individuals, and we can trace back those individuals. They have a sort of potential network in individual countries."

London police have also arrested another man, 32-year-old Racid Belkacem. He is wanted by the Netherlands on charges of terrorist recruitment, possession of firearms, and forgery.

Amer Haykel, a Briton of Lebanese origin, was arrested in Mexico. He is thought to have links to Al-Qaeda and those who plotted the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.

Ranstorp says the terrorist recruitment process is of great concern to the European Union. He says the bloc is working to prevent the next generation from "joining up to radical jihadist ideology."

"I think that Britain has expended a lot of energy in this area," Ranstorp says. "They are particularly working hard on the issue of terrorism finance. And I think this has been very successful in unearthing a number of different networks that have been engaged in the more logistical area or providing the building blocks for terrorism."

But David Carlton, a senior lecturer in international relations and a specialist in terrorism at the University of Warwick in Britain, takes a more critical view.

"There are considerable numbers of people who regard Britain as a relatively safe place in which to operate," Carlton says. "The French security services are very critical of the British. They speak of Britain as the kind of safe haven for people from North Africa who would not be allowed to move around freely in France."

Ranstorp points out, however, that several individuals holding French passports have been identified within the insurgent network in Iraq. He also points to Britain's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which he says is performing "excellent" coordination among different agencies. The task, however, is not easy.

"I think it's very difficult for them. They're expending resources on all sorts of other different threats that are in the vicinity, not just individuals going to Iraq," Ranstorp says. "They have to worry about elements that may pose a real and present danger to British security."

Also, no one knows exactly how many extremists there are. Ranstorp says their numbers, although small, can only be approximated.

"We should also remember that the European dimension is very, very small in comparison to the real bulk of all the foreign jihadists," Ranstorp says. "And most of them come from Saudi Arabia, and also from the Arabian peninsula, as well as, of course, from Syria and from North Africa."

Carlton says a combination of diplomatic pressure and better border controls could be used to close the European link through Syria. This, however, may not solve Iraq's border infiltration by terrorist networks.

"If for some reason the Syrian conduit were closed, maybe there are other conduits that cannot be easily controlled," Carlton says. "After all, Iraq has quite a significant number of neighbors, few of which are reliably pro-Western."

He says closing the North African link through Europe will be much more difficult.

Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11

Jihad Express

Man sentenced to have eyes gouged out in Iran

Amnesty International:

Amnesty International is calling for a sentence of eye gouging against a man in Iran not to be carried out. The 28-year-old man, known only as Vahid, has been sentenced to have his eyes surgically gouged out for a crime committed when he was 16 years old.

The Iranian Supreme Court rejected an appeal earlier this month and ordered that the punishment should be carried out.

It may now be inflicted at any time and Amnesty International has issued an 'Urgent Action' appeal against the sentence and is urging the authorities to abolish punishments such as eye-gouging which constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, amounting to torture.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

"This is a truly shocking case amounting to a sentence of judicial torture.

"We appeal to the Iranian authorities to guarantee that this punishment is not carried out and would further appeal to all medical practitioners in Iran to have nothing to do with this gruesome punishment."

According to Iranian press reports, Vahid was convicted of deliberately pouring acid from a battery on the face of another youth, Gholam-Hossein, blinding him. This took place in 1993, when Vahid had been working as a labourer in the capital, Tehran.

Vahid reportedly maintained throughout his trial that the attack was not intentional and that he had only meant to threaten the youth with the battery during an argument, but the battery?s lid had opened accidentally, causing the injury.

The trial court reportedly ordered that Vahid's eyes be sprayed with acid as retribution (qesas) for his actions. Vahid's lawyer appealed, arguing that the rest of his face would also be damaged from the acid.

The appeal was reportedly rejected by a second court which ruled instead that Vahid's eyes would be surgically gouged out in order not to damage his face.

Vahid's lawyer is reportedly seeking clemency for his client from Gholam-Hossein's family.

Vahid has been asked to pay three billion Rials (approximately £150,000) as diyeh (blood-money) to escape the punishment, but he has reportedly said that he does not have that much money.

Amnesty International's appeal on behalf of Vadim comes the day after International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June) and is part of the organisation?s current campaign against all forms of torture, including torture in the 'war on terror'.

Iran: Man sentenced to have eyes gouged out

IRAN: Gruesome sentence upheld by Supreme Court

Man sentenced to have eyes gouged out in Iran

Black men attacked in Queens, NYC


Three black men who ventured into a historically white neighborhood early Wednesday to steal a car were chased by a man with a baseball bat, police said. One man was beaten and suffered a fractured skull.

The attack happened several hours before dawn in the same section of the borough of Queens as an infamous 1986 beating of three black men whose car had broken down.

In Wednesday's attack, Nicholas Minucci, 21, was being charged with first-degree assault as a hate crime, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference.

The three blacks told investigators they had been looking for a car to steal when they entered the Howard Beach neighborhood. They told police a white man in an SUV passed them in the street, exchanged stares with them and then returned with two friends and a baseball bat before chasing them on foot.

Glen Moore, 20, stumbled to the ground and was beaten, suffering a fractured skull. He was in serious condition. The other two men escaped and summoned police, who scouted the neighborhood with them and spotted the SUV again.

Police stopped the vehicle and found the bat inside. The driver was arrested, and officers were seeking two other suspects.

The hate crime charge is punishable by a minimum of eight years in prison. The district attorney said that he didn't know if Minucci had a lawyer and that he would be arraigned Thursday.

Maybe these sort of "hate crimes" wouldn't take place if black men found better ways of spending their time than stealing cars in white neighborhoods.

Brazilians are streaming into the United States through the Mexican border

Larry Rohter:

Encouraged by highly organized groups of smugglers offering relatively cheap packages, Brazilians recently have been migrating in record numbers to the United States.

With direct entry to the United States tougher than in the past, more often than not their route of choice is through Mexico, which in recent years has stopped requiring entry visas of Brazilians.

During just two days in late April, Border Patrol agents in south Texas detained 232 Brazilians who had entered the United States illegally. All told, more than 12,000 Brazilians have been apprehended trying to cross the United States-Mexican border this year, exceeding the number detained in all of 2004 and pushing Brazilians to the top of the category known as "other than Mexicans."

Mexico, facing growing complaints from Washington, is now contemplating restoring visa formalities for Brazilians. That in turn has led to a fever among potential migrants here in the vast heartland of south-central Brazil to obtain a passport and head for Mexico before the door there starts swinging shut.

At the Federal Police office in Governador Valadares, the main city in this fertile region of rolling hills, the line of people seeking passports each day stretches around the block.

Those waiting one afternoon did not want to talk with a reporter about their travel plans, but the Federal Police delegate for the region, Rui Antônio da Silva, estimated that 90 percent were headed for the United States via the Mexican route. "We believe that just in this region there are about 30 gangs that offer this service to people," he said. "It's a very lucrative business, and a lot of people are involved."

Mr. da Silva said that last year his office issued an average of about 45 passports a day. Since January the number has jumped to a daily average of 140. A few minutes later, an assistant came into his office. "The numbers just don't stop growing," she said. "We hit a new record today, more than 200 passports."

American authorities say that many of the trafficking gangs use travel agencies as fronts. Governador Valadares, a pleasant city of 250,000 in the sprawling inland state of Minas Gerais, which is the source of the majority of the Brazilians apprehended on the Mexican border, now has more than 100 such firms, up from 40 just a couple of years ago.

People here who have been approached by trafficking rings said that the going rate at the moment for door-to-door transport to Boston, the preferred destination of illegal Brazilian immigrants, is about $10,500. That is more than two years' income for the average Brazilian, but effectively 30 percent less than a year ago, because the American dollar is weaker now.

Brazilian officials and residents of this region said that unlike smuggling situations in many places, migrants do not pay in advance and do not pay at all if they fail to reach the United States, which greatly reduces the financial risk to potential migrants.

This is particularly troublesome when you realize that Brazil has the largest Arab population outside the Middle East:

Arabs mix in culture of Brazil

A cult leader has been sentenced to death for killing nine of his children, many of whom he had fathered through incest

BBC News:

Wesson fathered children with two of his daughters

Marcus Wesson, 58, was held after the bodies were found at his home. The victims were aged between one and 25.

His lawyers had said he should get a life sentence, arguing it was his daughter who shot each of the victims in the eye before killing herself.

The killings and the trial have shocked the Californian town of Fresno.

The jury deliberated for two weeks before convicting Wesson on all nine counts of murder earlier this month.

It also found him guilty of 14 counts of raping and molesting seven of his daughters and nieces.

Wesson fathered children with at least four women. Two of them were his daughters.

His trial heard how he exercised a tyrannical control over his family, forbidding the women from contact with the outside world and presenting himself as a divinely-inspired preacher.

He told his family they needed to have "babies for the Lord".

The shoot-out in 2004 appeared to have been sparked when two of Wesson's ex-wives went to his house to collect the children, but he refused to allow them access.

It took investigators hours to establish the exact number of dead because the bodies were piled up and entangled in a pile of clothing.

Officers who had gone to the house were so distressed at the macabre discovery that some needed counselling.

No fingerprints were found on the murder weapon, and it was impossible to determine who had fired the shots.

But the prosecution argued that even if the oldest victim, Sebhrenah, had killed her younger siblings before shooting herself, Wesson was guilty because he had encouraged her.

The court heard evidence from several witnesses that Wesson had repeatedly told his children to be ready to kill each other if the authorities threatened to break up the family.

Wesson Gets Death in 2004 Mass Murder

Mexican police implicated in kidnappings


Mexican police have been implicated in a kidnapping ring operating in the notoriously violent border town of Nuevo Laredo, federal prosecutors said.

Police are suspected of working for the Gulf drug cartel to capture members of the rival Sinaloa cartel, El Universal reported Thursday.

The rival drug cartels have been battling for control of Nuevo Laredo, a known shipping point for drugs to the United States.

Earlier this week, 40 kidnap victims were discovered bound in duct tape in two separate homes.

The discovery came in the wake of the country's "Operation Safe Mexico" program to combat a recent wave of drug-related killings in Nuevo Laredo and other urban locales.

The program also uses federal troops as law enforcement officers in some cities.

Feds say local cops helped kidnappers

Freed captives in Mexico say police abducted them

The "Memin Pinguin" stamp


Memin Pinguin stirs racial controversy

White House: Racist Mexican Stamp 'Offensive'

Mexico stamps prompt new race row

Mexican Postage Stamp Pushes Racial Envelope

New Racial Gaffe in Mexico; This Time It's a Tasteless Stamp Set

Mexico Puts Barack Obama on Stamp

Welcome to the 19th Century, Mexico

Mexican stamp offensive to blacks? Come on people

Two guilty over religion killing

BBC News:

Two men have been jailed for life for killing a man wrongly targeted in a dispute between Sikhs and Muslims.

Shimraz Kahn, 35, got a minimum of 18 years for the murder of Major Singh Gill at his West Midlands shop. Waheed Akhtar, 22, was given 15 years.

The men believed Mr Gill's Sikh son was in a relationship with a young Muslim woman, Stafford Crown Court was told.

Two others were found not guilty. Two further suspects are believed to have fled to Pakistan.

The court heard Mr Gill, 45, a Sikh and father-of-three was attacked in his shop in West Bromwich by six men.

Mr Gill, of Duke Street, Wednesfield, died in hospital of head injuries following the attack at his Costcotter shop in Pemberton Road.

Prosecutor Anthony Barker, QC said Mr Gill was the victim of a deliberate and planned killing.

"Some men had clubs, iron bars and hockey sticks and inside the shopkeeper was clubbed to death," he said.

"Yet the people who killed him had set out to kill someone else.

"They killed a perfectly innocent man who had done absolutely nothing."

He said the story behind the killing was complicated but involved the relationship of a Sikh man and a Muslim woman.

Both families had wanted to put an end to the relationship which went on in secret for about a year.

Father's identity mistaken in killing

Man fled to Pakistan in panic after murder

Up to 570,000 illegal immigrants are living in Britain

BBC News:

It is the first time the government has put a figure on the number of illegal immigrants, something Tony Blair in the past said was impossible.

The Home Office says its best estimate is 430,000 but the number could be between 310,000 and 570,000.

The Tories claim the estimate shows an immigration shambles and say it should have been released during the election.

430,000 illegal immigrants in UK

Illegal Immigrants 'Could Total 570,000'

Female genital mutilation continues

BBC News:

Up to 76,000 women living in Britain may have been circumcised

A little over a year ago a loophole allowing girls to be taken abroad for genital mutilation was finally closed.

Parents who did so were warned they could face 14 years in jail - then Home Secretary David Blunkett calling female circumcision "very harmful".

But figures show that nobody has been prosecuted so far, prompting Labour MP Ann Clwyd to suggest: "Somebody is not taking this seriously."

With an estimated 7,000 girls at risk in the UK, is enough being done?

That female genital mutilation is happening to girls living in Britain is widely accepted by health professionals.

The operation involving the partial or total removal of the external genital organs has been illegal in the UK for almost 20 years, but it is suggested that it has been performed on 76,000 women now living in the country.

While it mainly affects members of the African community, opponents do not see it as a cultural issue but one of child protection.

One of the cases involves Leila, who was eight years old and on her first holiday abroad when her grandmother decided it was time for her to be circumcised.

She has told the BBC that as she was screaming with pain during the procedure, her grandmother said: "What are you screaming for? It's for your own good."

The threat of imprisonment has not eliminated the problem of female circumcision, says Forward - a charity supporting African women and girls.

"We do believe there are some girls being circumcised either here or outside the country," said community officer Enshrah Ahmed.

"But the whole thing is that it's surrounded in secrecy, so it's very difficult to catch people."

No Prosecutions on Female Mutilation, Complains MP

What is female genital mutilation?

British burns unit rebuilds face of Kenyan acid attack victim

Nigel Hawkes:

Raman Malhotra, of the McIndoe Surgical Centre, is helping to treat Sundeep Hunjan, 23, who was horrifically injured in an acid attack

SURGEONS at Britain’s leading burns centre are donating their services to treat a young Kenyan woman horrifically injured in an acid attack.

Sundeep Hunjan, 23, was driving home from work with her father in Nairobi in February when she was attacked. “It was a warm day, and we had the windows open,” she said yesterday. “The next thing, I felt something hot.”

Sundeep and her father were seriously injured in the attack, which has left her with bad scarring on her face, neck and scalp. She was scheduled to be married on April 3.

When surgeons and anaesthetists at the McIndoe Surgical Centre, based at the Queen Victoria NHS Foundation Trust in East Grinstead, West Sussex, heard of her plight, they volunteered to operate free of charge. The first of what may be many operations on Sundeep took place last night, as surgeons replaced her lower eyelids and began to treat heavy scarring on her neck. Raman Malhotra, a consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon at the centre, said that Sundeep had been lucky that her sight was spared — both in the attack and later.

“She cannot close her eyes,” Mr Malhotra said. “It could quite easily have resulted in her becoming blind.” Her sight was saved because she has Bell’s phenomenon, a tendency to rotate the eyeball upwards as she tries to close her eyelids. This has helped to protect her eyes. Replacing the eyelids will require two operations. Last night Mr Malhotra took a skin graft and used it to replace the lower lids. Next Monday he will operate on her upper eyelids.

Sundeep has no idea why she was attacked. But in Bangladesh and other Asian societies where arranged marriages are the norm, acid attacks are often carried out or arranged by disappointed suitors.

Burns girl 'able to blink again'

'Her life was turned upside down'

Fall in Bangladesh acid attacks

Bangladesh: Beena's Story


Baby the latest victim in acid attacks

Pakistan's Acid-Attack Victims Press for Justice

Acid attacks

Women die of acid attacks

Study highlights acid attack violence in Cambodia

Jailed Indian doctor 'may be deported'

BBC News:

A doctor convicted on internet child pornography charges faces being struck off the medical register on his release, a court has heard.

Biju Rama Mohannan Nair Mohan was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court to one year's imprisonment.

Mohan pleaded guilty to downloading 3,000 images of child pornography.

He was arrested last year during a Metropolitan Police investigation into the distribution and movement of indecent internet images of children.

Mohan, a 38-year-old orthopaedic registrar, from Glebe Road West, Newtownabbey, pleaded guilty to 32 sample charges of downloading more than 3,000 images of child pornography between 1999 and 2004.

He also admitted one separate specific charge of distributing images, "with a person of similar interests" between June 1999 and July 2,000.

"Overall, he was involved, on the calculations of police, in the downloading, possession and retention of 3,535 images," said prosecuting lawyer John Creaney.

"It is important that his admissions were made spontaneously and frankly at interview."

Passing sentence, Judge Patrick Lynch said that according to probation and psychological reports, Mohan did not present a danger to children, but some of the images he had downloaded were "so serious that only a custodial sentence was appropriate".

Judge Lynch said Mohan, whose wife and two children have already returned to India, most certainly "will be struck off for life" by the doctors' ruling General Medical Council.

"It is tragic that in this case someone of your capacity to give so much to this community has besmirched that situation to the extent that you will never again be able to practice in this community," the judge said.

Defence lawyer Eilish McDermott said Mohan had committed the offences "at a time when he was facing great stress and anxiety for his future and became depressed".

Ms McDermott said Mohan recognised that what he had done was inexcusable, but instead of seeking help for his condition, he took refuge in the internet, initially accessing adult pornography sites and then child internet sites.

Belfast doctor jailed for a year

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

New law would let U.S. deport foreign gang members

Alan Elsner:

Republicans in the House of Representatives on Tuesday pushed new legislation that would give the Department of Homeland Security new powers to deport immigrants suspected of belonging to a street gang, even if there was no proof they had committed a crime.

Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes told the House subcommittee on immigration, border security and claims that the bill, known as the Alien Gang Removal Act, was necessary to combat the spread of violent street gangs across the country.

"It makes absolutely no sense to allow gang members, many of whom are here illegally, to be free from deportation until they have committed a crime," Forbes told the committee.

His act, which has a dozen Republican co-sponsors, defines a gang as "a formal or informal group or association of three or more members who commit two or more street crimes."

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said: "I certainly hope this legislation will be looked at in light of the problem of people who should be deported, but we have to catch them in a criminal act before we can deport them."

The bill would give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to designate such groups as street gangs. Members would then be subject to mandatory detention and deportation.

Democrats on the subcommittee said the bill was unconstitutional since it created a category of people who would be held guilty by association.

"We are in the process of considering a measure that is replete with constitutional violations. I can't remember scanning quickly a bill that contains so many all at once," said Michigan Rep. John Conyers.

Last month, Forbes successfully steered through the House the so-called "gangbusters bill," which imposed minimum prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life on individuals convicted of gang-related crimes, expanded the death penalty to include gang murders and allowed 16- and 17-year-old gang members to be tried as adults.

The Senate has yet to take up the legislation.

More than 25,000 gangs, comprising 750,000 members, are active across the United States, according to the Justice Department. Lawmakers have been alarmed at the spread of extremely violent Central-American-based gangs such as MS-13, a group now present in 31 U.S. states.

Supporting the bill, Michael Hethmon of the Federation for American Immigration Reform noted that for the first time it would allow the summary removal of foreign gang members who were in the country legally as permanent residents or nonresident visa holders.

New Bill Needs Some Help To Expel Alien Gang Members—We Provide It

H.R. 2933 – Legislative Analysis and Proposed Amendments

Al Jazeera drops plans for broadcast

New York ships 75 parolees for deportation

Passel’s Pattern

Aliens squeeze through porous borders

Political correctness and the crisis of open borders

Erasing America

Group rips Bush gag on border surveys

Billy House:

A White House-approved gag order was imposed on U.S. Border Patrol agents regarding information that President Bush's "temporary guest worker" proposal inspired more illegal border crossings from Mexico, a group charged Tuesday .

The non-profit conservative Judicial Watch said it had acquired and analyzed government documents showing that in the weeks after Bush announced his proposal on Jan. 7, 2004, as many as 45 percent of those caught arriving illegally from Mexico told agents they believed Bush was offering an amnesty program.

But Bush had made no such offer, or fleshed out details of a guest-worker program.

Even so, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said, "On the very day of the president's speech, the Border Patrol initiated a survey of apprehended illegal immigrants to determine if the president's proposal was influencing their decision to cross the border."

Just three weeks after the survey, "the Bush administration abruptly shut it down," Fitton said. No report was ever issued on it, and "the Border Patrol, at the behest of the White House, instructed its agents not to provide public information about the aborted survey or its findings," Fitton said.

White House spokesman Taylor Gross referred questions about Judicial Watch's claims to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Leah Yoon, an agency spokeswoman, said such claims are "absurd."

She acknowledged that Border Patrol agents collected survey data from undocumented immigrants in early 2004. But she said the findings were "inconclusive." The survey was ended when word of it was leaked to a reporter before completion.

Fitton said his group analyzed more than 1,000 documents from the Department of Homeland Security, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, and then a lawsuit in June 2004.

Included in those documents, he said, 850 of a total of 1,700 known immigrant surveys showed that about 45 percent of migrants caught by the Border Patrol said they crossed the border illegally based on rumors of a Bush amnesty program. About 63 percent said they had some Mexican government or media information supporting the notion of such a program.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who appeared with Fitton Tuesday, said the documents show that "the administration is playing politics with border security data." He say he has demanded an investigation.

Bush "Temporary Worker Proposal" Caused Increase in Illegal Immigrant Crossings, New Docs Show

U.S. Border Patrol Survey Analysis

Colon cancer risk in the United States varies by race and ethnicity


In the US population, there is a wide ethnic and racial disparity in the risk of developing advanced-stage colorectal cancer and of dying from the disease, researchers report in the medical journal Cancer.

Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Puerto Ricans are among those with increased risk and Japanese are among those with decreased risk.

Chloe Chien and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, used 11 population-based cancer registries to evaluate disease stage and mortality in relation to 18 racial and ethnic factors. The data covered more than 154,000 subjects who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1988 and 2000.

In comparison with non-Hispanic whites, the team found that blacks, American Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Hawaiians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and South and Central Americans were from 10 to 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer.

Mortality rates from colorectal cancer were also 20 to 30 percent greater in blacks, American Indians, Hawaiian and Mexicans.

Conversely, Japanese had a 20 percent lower risk of advanced-stage disease. Chinese, Japanese, Indians and Pakistanis had a 20 percent to 40 percent lower mortality risk.

Study links race to risk of advanced colorectal cancer, death

Minorities Face Different Colon Cancer Risks

Hispanics, Blacks at Raised Colon Cancer Risk

Jury rejects lawsuit brought by family of woman killed by police during traffic stop

Associated Press:

A federal jury Tuesday rejected a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the relatives of an unarmed black woman killed by a white officer during a traffic stop – a shooting that provoked racial unrest in the city.

The family of Kendra James sought $12 million from Scott McCollister, who fired the fatal shot May 5, 2003.

McCollister's lawyers argued he was reacting to a fast-moving and dangerous situation involving an out-of-control woman high on a near-lethal dose of cocaine.

"People look to jury verdicts as a win or lose situation. But in this case, there are no winners," police Chief Derrick Foxworth said after the verdict. "This was a situation that resulted in a person's death, caused division within the community and pain for all involved."

McCollister testified he acted instinctively to save his life, and shot James while trying to pull her from a moving car.

Jury instructions in the Kendra James wrongful death case

Court master blasts principal's handling of racial attack

Eric Hartley:

Meade High School administrators botched their investigation of a racially motivated attack at the school in January, failing to protect the victim from a severe beating and hampering the prosecution of the lone student charged, a Circuit Court master said yesterday.

Master Erica J. Wolfe, a judicial officer who oversees juvenile and family cases, said she felt bad for the victim but had no choice in issuing an acquittal.

Before announcing the verdict, she criticized Meade Principal Joan A. Valentine and other school officials in a blistering speech, calling their documentation of the fight - including written statements from witnesses that didn't have the witnesses' names - "virtually useless."

The 17-year-old Meade senior, who is white, was ambushed as he walked down a school hallway during a break in exams, prosecutors said. He was beaten badly, suffering 13 knots on his head.

A group of 10 to 15 African-American students surrounded the Meade High School senior, many jumping up and down and chanting, "White boy, white boy, I go!" before several started punching him, a prosecutor said.

The attack appeared to be random.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Bergeson said Principal Valentine refused to give him the names of those witnesses until she was ordered to on Tuesday by Master Wolfe.

Mr. Bergeson, a longtime juvenile court prosecutor, said he'd never before had a school official refuse to give him names of witnesses.

"The investigation conducted in this matter was appalling," Master Wolfe said. "It is inconceivable to me that anybody who has the responsibility for pursuing this would accept a document that's undated, unnamed, unsigned. The lack of common sense is utterly appalling.

"The school fails him in not protecting him from the fight in the first place and fails him again in not pursuing it properly," she said. "That's an indictment of the school."

Ms. Valentine and Assistant Principal Bonita Sims, who conducted the investigation, couldn't be reached for comment.

A reporter asking for Ms. Valentine at the school this morning was told she would have no comment.

A receptionist said school system officials told Meade staff to direct all inquiries to school headquarters.

Schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith said last night he hadn't heard about the case, but will look into it.

"Any time there's a concern raised by the courts, we certainly will take that very seriously," Dr. Smith said. "I have a lot of respect for Joan Valentine. I feel she runs a good school. She's done a good job in moving Meade High School forward."

Ms. Valentine, Ms. Sims and the school system official who signed off on their investigation are all African American, prosecutors noted. Mr. Bergeson said the victim testified racially tinged fights aren't unusual at Meade.

Police to review school fight probe

Our say: Schools must take hard look at Meade principal's actions

Mexican stamp called offensive to blacks

Associated Press:

The Mexican government has issued a postage stamp depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, just weeks after remarks by President Vicente Fox angered U.S. blacks.

The series of five stamps released for general use Wednesday depicts a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s that is still published in Mexico.

The boy, hapless but lovable, is drawn with exaggerated features, thick lips and wide-open eyes. His appearance, speech and mannerisms are the subject of kidding by white characters in the comic book.

Activists said the stamp was offensive, though officials denied it.

"One would hope the Mexican government would be a little more careful and avoid continually opening wounds," said Sergio Penalosa, an activist in Mexico's small black community on the southern Pacific coast.

"But we've learned to expect anything from this government, just anything," Penalosa said. In May, Fox riled many by saying that Mexican migrants take jobs in the United States that "not even blacks" want.

Fox expressed regret for any offense the remarks may have caused, but insisted his comments had been misinterpreted.

Carlos Caballero, assistant marketing director for the Mexican Postal Service, said the stamps are not offensive, nor were they intended to be.

"This is a traditional character that reflects part of Mexico's culture," Caballero said. "His mischievous nature is part of that character."

However, Penalosa said many Mexicans still assume all blacks are foreigners, despite the fact that at one point early in the Spanish colonial era, Africans outnumbered Spanish in Mexico.

"At this point in time, it was probably pretty insensitive" to issue the stamp, said Elisa Velazquez, an anthropologist who studies Mexico's black communities for the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

"This character is a classic, but it's from another era," Velazquez said. "It's a stereotype and you don't want to encourage ignorance or prejudices."

The 6.50-peso (60 cent) stamps -- depicting the character in five poses -- was issued with the domestic market in mind, but Caballero noted it could be used in international postage as well.

A total of 750,000 of the stamps will be issued.

Ben Vinson, a black professor of Latin American history at Penn State University, said he has been called "Memin Pinguin" by some people in Mexico. He also noted that the character's mother is drawn to look like an old version of the U.S. advertising character Aunt Jemima.

Sixto Valencia Burgos

Another 'Super Safe Sunday' ends in violence

Francis McCabe:

Thousands wait to get into the Super Safe Sunday event at the state Fair Grounds on Sunday

Despite pleas from organizers for nonviolence, three people were shot and another stabbed as another Super Safe Sunday event turned bloody.

Local radio personality Jabber Jaws, who is also of Jabbo Productions, the group co-sponsoring the event with the city of Shreveport, asked the crowd to go home after the rap concert, held at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds on Sunday evening.

The Super Safe Sunday series is meant to get youths off the streets and curb black on black violence in Shreveport.

At least 5,000 people attended the concert, police said, though that is not an official count.

Jaws, whose real name is Marvin Williams, told the crowd he wanted everyone to have a good time, but also he didn't want there to be any violence at or after the show.

But about 9:30 p.m., between 30 and 40 shots were fired into a crowd in a parking lot on the north end of the Fair Grounds, Shreveport police said.

Muzzle fire from an unknown gun broke through the night sky, said officers describing the scene.

Some people hit the ground avoiding the bullets. Others ran away from the gunfire.

The three victims were taken by private vehicle to Willis-Knighton Medical Center, police said. Two were transferred to LSU Hospital in Shreveport, police said.

Their conditions were not immediately known.

Soon after the shooting, as the crowd filtered out of the Fair Grounds, people near the intersection of Greenwood Road and Jewella Avenue lighted fire crackers and threw them out of passing cars, causing others to run away fearing more gunshots.

About 10:15 p.m., police were called to the 3500 block of Hardy Street, about half a mile from the Fair Grounds, with a report of a stabbing. It was unclear how serious the stabbing was by press time.

Earlier in the evening, several fights broke out inside the Fair Grounds and at least four people were arrested, police said.

Super Safe Sunday has three scheduled events left this summer, on July 10, July 24, and Aug. 7.

On June 12, the first Super Safe Sunday of the summer, a 14-year-old was intentionally hit by a car after the concert. Police recorded five arrests and issued more than 150 motor vehicle citations at the time.

Officials suspend Super Safe Sunday events

Teen intentionally hit by car after Super Safe Sunday

Arrest in Super Safety Sunday shooting

Terry McMillan divorcing 'Groove' muse

Associated Press:

Terry McMillan

Author Terry McMillan has filed for divorce from the man who inspired the 1996 novel "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," which chronicled the romantic adventures of a 40-something woman who falls for a guy half her age.

In papers filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, McMillan, 53, says she decided to end her 6 1/2-year marriage to Jonathan Plummer, 30, after learning he is gay.

The revelation led her to conclude Plummer married only to get his U.S. citizenship, she said. McMillan met Plummer at a Jamaican resort a decade ago.

"It was devastating to discover that a relationship I had publicized to the world as life-affirming and built on mutual love was actually based on deceit," she said in court papers. "I was humiliated."

In response, Plummer maintained McMillan treated him with "homophobic" scorn bordering on harassment since he came out to her as gay just before Christmas.

Author Terry McMillan files for divorce

Terry McMillan's Epilogue to 'Groove' Affair

China's spies colonizing Australia

Nick Squires:

Australia is being turned into a "political colony" of China, a Chinese defector said yesterday.

Yuan Hongbing, a former law professor at Beijing University who was imprisoned for his pro-democracy views, is the fourth Chinese defector to surface in Australia in the past month.

He backed allegations by a senior Chinese diplomat who has also sought asylum that Beijing has a network of up to 1,000 informants, collaborators and agents in Australia.

The spies were aiming at Chinese dissident groups and were being used to influence political thought "to turn Australia into a political colony of China", Prof Yuan told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

Chinese envoy in hiding as Australia rejects asylum plea

Schizophrenia over China

Defector: China Has U.S. Spy Network

Canberra wakes up to China 'spies'

Ottawa will act against China's spies

China's spies in Canada

China a security threat to US?

US Grapples with Intense Chinese 'Spying'

The Chinese spies among us

Raped Pakistani doctor: I'm still terrified

BBC News:

A Pakistani doctor whose rape in the southern province of Balochistan last year sparked tribal clashes says she is still terrified.

"I was threatened so many times in Pakistan that I still feel scared," Dr Shazia Khalid told the BBC.

She is currently living in London and has spoken about the incident for the first time since leaving Pakistan.

Dr Khalid's rape led to a violent confrontation between Baloch tribals and the security forces.

"I cannot tell you how many times I was threatened. My life was made impossible. I am still terrified," she said in the interview with the BBC Urdu service.

Dr Khalid said she had never been satisfied with the inquiry conducted by the government into the incident.

"Instead of getting justice, I was hounded out of Pakistan," she said.

"I never wanted to leave Pakistan but I had no choice."

Dr Khalid was employed at a hospital managed by Pakistan Petroleum (PPL), the state-owned supplier of natural gas.

The PPL's installations are located near the town of Sui in Balochistan - a province that has seen great tension between Baloch tribals and security forces.

The tribals have been agitating for years for more autonomy and a share in the natural gas reserves.

They also oppose the construction of new military cantonments in the province.

Dr Khalid was raped at the hospital and an army officer was accused of the crime.

But the government declared the officer innocent, leading to violent clashes between tribesmen and the security forces in which eight people died in January.

Tribesmen say dozens of people were killed in sporadic clashes that lasted until March. The government disputes the casualty figures.

"My case led to so much death and destruction in Balochistan. So many children died because the doctors couldn't reach the hospitals during those violent times," Dr Khalid said.

"My whole career was destroyed, as was my husband's. That was why we left our country," she said.

Facing the awkward truth

Nicholas D. Kristof: Pakistan's victims

Pakistan: Fear for Safety: Dr Shazia Khalid (f), medical doctor

In support of Dr. Shazia Khalid

Liberia ritual killings warning

BBC News:

The leader of Liberia's transitional government, Gyude Bryant, has promised to use the death penalty against anyone found guilty of sacrificial killings.

During an address on state radio Mr Bryant said people were killing in the belief it would make them successful, rich, or the next president.

A BBC correspondent in Liberia says the number of ritual murders are growing.

Sacrifices have been reported in three of Liberia's counties - the latest involving beheading and organ removal.

"We'll find you, we'll arrest you, we'll prosecute you and let me say again to everybody, if the judge passes down a ruling to say you must die by hanging, I will hang you," Mr Bryant said. "I will sign the death warrant without batting my eye."

The BBC's Paul Welsh in Monrovia says that almost two years of peace in Liberia have done little to help ease the poverty in what is one of the world's poorest nations.

Elections for the first president since Charles Taylor left the country are due in October, which, our correspondent says, is the likely reason for the increased number of ritual killings.

Human parts such as genital organs are believed to offer supernatural powers, especially by aspiring politicians and so the number of alleged ritual killing rises in the run-up to elections.

According to local media reports the latest such killing, which occurred in the northern Bong County, involved a female who was beheaded and had her genital organs removed.

13 Killed in Ritual Murders in Grand Bassa

Liberian 'ritual killings' alert

Gay slur shelves reggae concert

BBC News:

Sizzla's entry to Britain was barred

A reggae festival in Paris has been cancelled after complaints about the anti-gay lyrics of singer Sizzla.

French gay groups said that some of the Jamaican performer's songs incited violence against homosexuals.

The Garrance Reggae festival featuring Sizzla was called off "because of the risk of public disorder", according to the event's organisers.

France has stringent laws against the defamation of any social groups who have been subject to discrimination.

Sizzla was one of 11 acts who were due to perform at Saturday's festival.

Six of the singer's eight planned concerts in France have so far been cancelled.

The move comes after several performances by another Jamaican reggae star, Capleton, were shelved after complaints about the singer's violently homophobic lyrics.

Music festival cancelled over homophobia

Concert Pulled Over Homophobic Star

Reggae festival pulled over homophobia

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Many immigrant children in Denmark have language problems


Many children with foreign backgrounds stumble during their first days at school, the Danish National Institute of Social Research reported on Tuesday.

More than one out of four children with refugee or immigrant backgrounds speaks little or no Danish when they start school. Just as many feel bad at school and have problems communicating with their classmates and teachers.

'It's a large minority that can't be ignored,' said institute researcher Else Christensen to daily newspaper metroXpress.

She emphasised that a similar-sized group of ethnic Danish children felt bad at school too, but that the immigrant children's language problems were an additional hindrance in their way to a successful education.

'Some of them catch up in Danish, but others find it difficult ever to get a reasonable education,' Christensen said.

Recent international studies have revealed that half of all children of immigrants finish schooling at age 15 with insufficient academic skills to continue their education.

And this isn't just a problem in Denmark:

One Teacher's Classroom Conclusion: Immigrants Just Don’t Want To Assimilate

Turkish immigrant puts out fiancee's one good eye


A court in Germany Tuesday slapped a stiff prison sentence and a fine on a man who put out his fiancee's one good eye because she wanted to call off their engagement.

The 33-year-old Turkish immigrant was slapped with a 10-year prison term and $250,000 in damages to his former fiancee, who is now totally blind.

She was blind in one eye when they met and fell in love, Kleve State Court in Moers was told. Learning that he had a criminal record, her parents objected to the impending marriage.

Enraged, the would-be bridegroom told her: "If you don't marry me, I'll make sure you never look on another man's face as long as you live. My face will be the last thing you ever see."

He tried unsuccessfully to put her eye out once only to have her slip out of his grasp. He ambushed her three weeks later and carried out his threat.

It's amazing that this animal only got 10 years in prison considering that this poor woman will be blind for the rest of her life.

Judge keeps murder charges against Turkish national

Associated Press:

Deniz Aydiner

A judge has kept in place murder charges against a Turkish citizen accused of killing a University of Portland student four years ago.

Attorneys for Deniz Aydiner had contended authorities violated international law and tricked him into returning to the United States.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden said Monday that Portland police and the Multnomah County district attorney did not breach a treaty between the United States and Turkey by working with Homeland Security officials to issue Aydiner a temporary visa.

Turkey prohibits extradition of its citizens for crimes committed in foreign countries.

Bearden said the treaty is not an issue because Aydiner wanted to come to the United States and that the state and federal governments merely made that possible by removing obstacles.

Aydiner's attorney, Stephen Houze, said he plans an appeal with the Oregon Supreme Court.

Aydiner was indicted this year on 20 felony charges, including 11 counts of aggravated murder stemming from the sexual assault and strangulation of Kate Johnson, 21, of Vancouver, Wash. Her body was found May 29, 2001, in her locked second-story dormitory room. Police said Aydiner lived near the campus and knew Johnson.

By March 2003, Aydiner had gone to Turkey to visit his parents. He tried to return to the United States but was rejected because of an expired visa.

Chief deputy district attorney Norm Frink said Aydiner and his American wife sent frequent e-mails to U.S. embassies in Athens and Ankara asking for a visa waiver.

By June 2003, Portland police had linked Aydiner to the Johnson murder through DNA evidence, authorities said. Local and federal officials secured a three-day visa for Aydiner.

When Aydiner arrived in Portland on Jan. 16, 2004, he was arrested.

Houze said police and federal agents worked to get Aydiner back because they knew Turkey would not extradite Aydiner for prosecution and a possible death sentence.

The Boy Next Door

DNA and government planning led to U of P murder arrest

Across the United States, a grassroots backlash against illegal immigration is building

Paul Magnusson:

Hudson (N.H.) police Chief Richard E. Gendron says he has nothing against immigration but warns that "if you want to come to this country, come in the front door." Otherwise, he vows, illegal aliens caught in his town of 25,000 will be charged with criminal trespass.

Gendron's officers have done just that, intercepting three Mexicans and four Brazilians on their way to restaurant and landscaping jobs; during traffic stops, they admitted to being in the U.S. illegally. As Gendron awaits a mid-July court test of his novel legal approach, he's fielding laudatory calls and e-mails, including praise from state legislators.

New Hampshire is part of a fast-spreading grassroots backlash whose message to Washington is simple: Seal the borders from illegal immigration, or we'll take matters into our own hands. The outcry has reached all the way to President George W. Bush, who was warned recently by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to pull back from the Administration's goal of providing guest worker status to undocumented workers in the U.S. Instead, DeLay told reporters after an early June legislative strategy session, "we have to be very clear...about protecting our borders before we start talking about immigration" reform. The White House is now looking to highlight strict enforcement rather than its amnesty plan.

A shift in the rhetoric may not be enough, however. Across the country, local officials are howling over the use of scarce tax dollars to provide health care, education, welfare, and other benefits for illegals. In Danbury, Conn., Mayor Mark Boughton has called for the state police to begin arresting illegal aliens. Immigration foes in Colorado are trying to place a measure on the 2006 ballot similar to Arizona's Proposition 200 in 2004 that cut off some state aid, including welfare benefits, to illegals. In Idaho, Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez proposes to sue local businesses under federal anti-racketeering laws if they hire undocumented workers. And on May 26, Mayor Alan Autry of Fresno, Calif., proposed a two-year moratorium on all immigration, saying: "The jails are overflowing with people we don't even know, and the hospitals are packed with people using the ER as their primary doctor, putting those hospitals near bankruptcy."

Mexican American takes on illegal immigrants

Illegal Immigration Hurts Legal Immigrants

Due to rising unemployment numbers, Israeli government officials call for massive deportation of foreign laborers

Conal Urquhart:

The low rents of Tel Aviv's Neve Shaanan district draw drug dealers, prostitutes and foreign workers, said a man from Nigeria who identified himself only as David, but the foreign workers are the only ones routinely hunted by the police.

Since the early 1990s, when Israel reduced the number of Palestinian workers it would allow in the country, it has relied on large numbers of foreign workers from developing nations and Eastern Europe to do manual jobs. The workers come hoping for relatively high wages, but many say they find their promised land offers little more than exploitation and, according to Israeli human rights activists, "slavery conditions."

And, in response to high unemployment rates in Israel in 2002, the government of Ariel Sharon decided to send home 263,000 foreign workers - 10 percent of Israel's workforce.

David watched nervously from a cafe recently as a van of immigrant police drove past. The two officers normally stop suspicious people and demand their papers and, if not satisfied, put them in the van and drive on until it is full. At the police station, they verify the identity of the detainees and let them go or deport them.

40,000 entering annually

The majority of foreign workers arrived in the years after the first intifada began in 1989, when Palestinians were prevented from entering Israel to work. By last year, with the help of 460 immigration police - acting legally - Israel had repatriated 116,000 people.

Hanan Zohar, director of the foreign workers' pressure group Kav LaOved, said: "In spite of this, there are around 40,000 foreign workers entering the country per year, coming from Eastern Europe, Turkey, Nepal, China, the Philippines and other countries." The foreign workers pay Israeli middlemen, who link them to an employer and provide them with a visa. Zohar said the Chinese pay $10,000 to come to Israel, while the Turks pay only $2,000.

"It is a big business and the immigration police are the servants of this business," she said. "They ensure a constant cycle of workers."

Zohar believes the African community was particularly targeted because they came to Israel independently without paying a fee. This meant they were able to choose where they worked. "Their conditions were better than other workers. Because they were not tied to employers, they were not slaves," she said, referring to the fact that most foreign workers are tied to employers by the fees they have to pay, regardless of how they are treated.

David, 35, says he is one of the few Africans to have avoided detection. His wife and two children were arrested and deported after a raid on their apartment last year. "I will stay here until I have provided for my children's education," he said. "That's why I am here - to sustain my family. I can't sleep easy or walk the streets normally, but what else can I do?"

David, not his real name, has a degree in drama and philosophy from Nigeria but cleans houses in Israel for $6.73 an hour. In a good month, he sends $570 to his family in Nigeria.

Aziz Diouf, 37, a now-legal immigrant from Senegal, said the Neve Shaanan district was once a thriving commercial center that catered to non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, south Asia and Africa. "In this area you could not move for Africans; now there are virtually none. To have avoided detection, you have to be invisible," he said.

The police have targeted Africans, Indians and South Americans because they stand out from the crowd, he said. "There are thousands of new illegal Russian immigrants from the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova. They blend in. With other groups like the Filipinos, if they arrest 20, they might find one who is illegal so they don't bother."

Diouf, who writes about foreign workers for an Israeli weekly newspaper, said the police initially used heavy-handed tactics, which encouraged people to volunteer for deportation. Now, the authorities rely primarily on informers who are themselves illegal immigrants.

New legal status for foreign workers' kids splits students

Cabinet approves residency for children of illegal foreigners

Cabinet to debate immigration revolution

Molecular eyewitness: DNA gets a human face

Carolyn Abraham:

Canadian police have been quietly using a controversial new genetic technology to reveal the racial background and physical appearance of criminals they are hunting, according to the Florida company that sells the test.

Officials with DNAPrint Genomics, a biotech firm in Sarasota that has offered the test since 2002, say four separate forces in Canada -- including the RCMP -- have used the technology to narrow their search for suspects. This spring, two Canadian investigators made the unusual move of hand-delivering a crime-scene DNA sample to the Florida lab.

Unlike the more familiar forensic test that tries to match DNA found at a crime scene with samples from known suspects, this test is based on a single recovered sample and has the potential to tell police if the offender they are looking for is white, black, Asian, native, or of mixed race. The company then supplies photos of people with similar genetic profiles to help complete the portrait.

The company says the so-called DNAWitness test has been used in 80 criminal investigations by law-enforcement organizations worldwide, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Army and Scotland Yard.

"This could be helpful in solving crimes, more helpful than human eyewitnesses," said Anthony Frudakis, the company's chief scientific officer.

"Our technology serves as a potential molecular eyewitness. It's objective."

It's also advancing at a dizzying pace. This spring, the company launched a new DNA test that can discern a person's eye colour with 92-per-cent accuracy. Meanwhile, the prospect of learning other physical -- even psychological -- traits could soon follow.

The new technology seems to be pretty successful:

But as far as the company knows (and police do not generally keep them updated), Dr. Frudakis said, the test has contributed to six arrests internationally. The most prominent example comes from Louisiana where detectives used it to catch a serial killer.

Eyewitness accounts of a white man driving a white pickup truck, as well as an FBI psychological profile, had suggested it was a Caucasian man who was raping and killing women in the Baton Rouge area in 2002.

But crime-scene DNA the Florida company tested indicated the offender was 85 per cent sub-Saharan African and 15 per cent Native American. In short, the test told police they should not be looking for a white man. Two months after the shift in focus, Baton Rouge police arrested Derek Todd Lee, a black man now on death row for the slaying of six women.

New crime-fighting tool made in Sarasota

Author, technology help put face on homicide

Billions stolen by Nigeria's corrupt rulers

David Blair:

Former leader Gen Sani Abacha stole between £1bn and £3bn

The scale of the task facing Tony Blair in his drive to help Africa was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that Nigeria's past rulers stole or misused £220 billion.

That is as much as all the western aid given to Africa in almost four decades. The looting of Africa's most populous country amounted to a sum equivalent to 300 years of British aid for the continent.

The figures, compiled by Nigeria's anti-corruption commission, provide dramatic evidence of the problems facing next month's summit in Gleneagles of the G8 group of wealthy countries which are under pressure to approve a programme of debt relief for Africa.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has spoken of a new Marshall Plan for Africa. But Nigeria's rulers have already pocketed the equivalent of six Marshall Plans. After that mass theft, two thirds of the country's 130 million people - one in seven of the total African population - live in abject poverty, a third is illiterate and 40 per cent have no safe water supply.

With more people and more natural resources than any other African country, Nigeria is the key to the continent's success.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, set up three years ago, said that £220 billion was "squandered" between independence from Britain in 1960 and the return of civilian rule in 1999.

"We cannot be accurate down to the last figure but that is our projection," Osita Nwajah, a commission spokesman, said in the capital, Abuja.

The stolen fortune tallies almost exactly with the £220 billion of western aid given to Africa between 1960 and 1997. That amounted to six times the American help given to post-war Europe under the Marshall Plan.

British aid for Africa totalled £720 million last year. If that sum was spent annually for the next three centuries, it would cover the cost of Nigeria's looting.

Corruption on such a scale was made possible by the country's possession of 35 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. That allowed a succession of military rulers to line their pockets and deposit their gains mainly in western banks.

Gen Sani Abacha, the late military dictator, stole between £1 billion and £3 billion during his five-year rule.

"We are only now beginning to come to grips with some of what he did," Mr Nwajah said.

Nigeria has scoured the world for Abacha's assets but has recovered only about £500 million.

Olusegun Obasanjo, the current president, founded the commission and launched a crackdown on corruption to try to end the country's reputation as Africa's most venal. The figures all apply to the period before he came to power.

The amount of money involved has prompted the Government to seek ways to enhance Britain's ability to help developing countries recover stolen funds. In the autumn the Government will introduce legislation to pave the way for British ratification of the United Nations convention against corruption.

A money laundering directive agreed by EU finance ministers this month will impose new responsibilities on banks, casinos and other establishments to be more alert to signs of corruption. They will be expected to help stamp out financial abuse by high-risk customers in a position to abuse public office for private gain.

Mr Obasanjo will travel to the G8 summit to press the case for debt relief. Nigeria is Africa's biggest debtor, with loans of almost £20 billion, because previous rulers not only looted the country but also borrowed heavily against future oil revenues.

The G8 has refused to cancel Nigeria's loans, despite writing off the debts of 14 other African countries this month.

Prof Pat Utomi, of Lagos Business School, said that was the right decision. "Who is to say you won't see the same behaviour again if it is all written off?" he said.

The vindictive military despot who stole billions

A nation's anger at the politicians who bled Nigeria dry

Al-Jazeera to look at border with Mexico

The Arab TV news network criticized by the new Iraqi government and others for its anti-American bias and willingness to carry the messages of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, is headed for the U.S.-Mexico border to document how easy it is to enter America illegally.

Al-Jazeera has contacted Minuteman Civil Defense Corps leader Chris Simcox to try to arrange interviews. Simcox, who rejected the request for cooperation with the TV network, says al-Jazeera, seen by millions throughout the Arab world and elsewhere, is producing an hour-long documentary news special on lack of security at the U.S. southern border.

Al-Jazeera reporter Naisser Hssaini mentioned the increase in apprehensions of illegal aliens known as OTMs – other than Mexicans. These foreigners increasingly include Arabs, Muslims and others from the Middle East. The reporter also mentioned his familiarity with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement police of catching and releasing OTMS – particularly those not specifically known to be on any terrorist watch list.

"The group has been denied requests for interviews by Minuteman Civil Defense Corps organizers but they still insist on filming the groups’ activities along with the rest of the media during a July 4th weekend mission near Arivaca, Arizona," said Simcox.

Simcox has contacted the offices of Arizona's two Republican U.S. senators – John McCain and Jon Kyl – to invite them to do interviews with al Jazeera, "so perhaps they can explain to the viewers of this news outlet just how secure America's borders really are."

Al-Jazeera to film at Arizona border: Minuteman Simcox says No!

Terrorist Recon


Hate crime attack puts man in a coma

Jesus Lopez walked out to his mailbox on June 22 and ended up in the hospital instead. Now, he's fighting for his life after being beaten by up to 12 African-American men. And it's being called a hate crime.

Police say the 49-year-old man and his nephew were walking to the apartment complex mailbox when he passed a group of young African-American men who made a racial remark to Lopez. A fight ensued, which is when Lopez's nephew ran for help. While police believe up to a dozen men may have been involved in the beating, two were the main instigators, and now your help is needed in finding the suspects.

The Secret Witness program is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to their arrest. Both are believed to be 18-year-old African-American men. The first suspect is described as a 5 feet 8 inches, 150 pounds, with chin whiskers, wearing a black do-rag on his head, white T-shirt, black pants and white shoes. The second is described as 5 feet 5 inches, 100 pounds, black hair worn in shoulder length corn rows, wearing a red T-shirt and white tennis shoes.

If you have any information, please call Bakersfield police at 326-3873 or the Secret Witness Program at 322-4040.

Lopez is in critical condition at Kern Medical Center.

Disabled man in coma following "hate crime"

Monday, June 27, 2005

British police have arrested five Turkish men who are part of a gang that has been terrorizing north London

BBC News:

The gang is alleged to have carried out at least 15 armed robberies this year, using knives, Japanese swords and guns.

The men - three of them aged between 23 and 26 - were arrested in a Thursday night raid on a Hornsey cafe by more than 70 officers.

The gang is believed to have targeted London's 200,000 Turkish community before widening their attacks.

The police raid, at 2345 BST, involved members of the SO19 specialist firearms unit carrying rifles, pistols, stun guns and pyrotechnic grenades, as well as other police units.

The police operation, codenamed Berryville, was part of a month-long investigation.

Commanding officer Det Ch Insp Neil Hibberd said: "Seven men were in the cafe and three were arrested and obviously inquiries will go on in relation to the others but we have immigration colleagues coming in now.

"It is a significant success and obviously we will carry on with our inquiries in respect of other people that may be concerned in the attacks."

Previous prosecutions against the men - whose gang is known as the Tottenham Boys - are believed to have failed because of witness intimidation.

Mr Hibberd said: "These armed robberies involved a group of young Turkish-speaking men in groups of between four to 10 going into a number of premises including cafes, snooker halls and working flats [brothels].

"They were going in, corralling them into one room, beating them, putting guns to their heads and samurai swords to their throats."

Det Sup James Dickie said: "We can link 15 offences at this time. There may be more and from my experience there will be a degree of under-reporting in the Turkish-speaking community because of the threat of intimidation."

The men are being held at a north London police station and have been charged with offences relating to some of the robberies, police said.

A round of ammunition and drugs believed to be herbal cannabis and cannabis resin were also seized.

Swoop on terror gang

Turkish 'gang' arrests

Police Arrest Violent Gangster 'Untouchables'

Scam brought hundreds of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into Britain

Tariq Tahir:

Owners of curry houses have been implicated in a scam in which hundreds of Bangladeshis are hired and and then fired, only to remain in the country as illegal immigrants, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

As the Government was forced to abandon one visa scheme that allowed semi-skilled restaurant workers into the country on a 12-month basis, this newspaper has found a five-year visa scheme covering skilled and professional workers that is also being abused.

The staff pay up to £8,000 to secure their jobs and immigration permits. Once in Britain, however, they are sacked after about five months in the post and replaced by other fee-paying immigrants.

Critics have condemned the racket and blamed lax immigration officers for failing to detect the high staff turnover.

One restaurant owner familiar with, but not involved in, the scam said: "The whole system is a joke. There are no checks done on these people when they come to Britain."

Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of the independent pressure group MigrationWatch, urged the Government to tighten its work permit controls to prevent abuses by unscrupulous employers.

UK visa scheme for Indian restaurant workers ends

Fresh Talent drive 'unjustified'

Islamic Thinkers and gay New Yorkers

Ben Smith:

The dispute between an irascible lesbian conservative from Queens and a militant new group well on the fringes of the city’s Muslim community might appear to be a marginal conflict. But to New York’s gays and to some of its Muslim leaders, the scene in Jackson Heights bears a worrying similarity to communal conflicts that are challenging the idea of tolerance across Europe, with particular flashpoints in Holland and Scandinavia. There, young immigrants and the children of immigrants have been drawn to a more radical Islamic ideology than that of their parents. On the extreme fringes, these young men have committed acts of violence against Jews and gays, and in a case that shocked Europe, one young Dutchman of Moroccan origin murdered the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in an Amsterdam street.

"It’s almost a cliché to define it like this, but in the end it’s a question of whether you can tolerate intolerance," said Leon de Winter, a Dutch novelist who has written on the Van Gogh murder. "We are defending the openness, the diversity of this society against tendencies from other cultures, in which this kind of openness which we celebrate is being regarded as a threat."

In this conflict, gays have become canaries in the ideological coal mine. Western liberals have tended to cut Muslim groups slack on their ideological pronouncements, in part out of sympathy with some of their causes—the insurgencies in Chechnya and the Middle East, for example—and in part out of a sense that anti-Muslim sentiment in the West is a more pressing problem than anything Muslims themselves might do.

But the rise of gay bashing on European streets has pushed the question of tolerance a step further and led some to question their reflexive defense of a put-upon minority. It has also opened up a heated debate within the gay community, and among liberals in general, over whether the proliferation of intolerant strains of Islam requires liberals in the West to take a harder line on issues like immigration and assimilation.

For some conservative intellectuals, rising anti-gay violence on the streets of Amsterdam, for example, comes as a kind of vindication.

"For liberals, the violent anti-gay hostility of their fundamentalist Muslim allies may be the first thing that really makes them realize they’re not on the same page," said the conservative gay writer Bruce Bawer, who lives in Oslo, and who is writing a book entitled While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within.

Islamic Immigration bad for Gays - as well as the rest of us

Indian movement seeks 'to expel white invasion'

Martin Arostegui:

A growing indigenous movement has helped topple successive governments in Bolivia and Ecuador and, angered by the destruction of Andean coca crops, now threatens the stability of other countries where Indians are in the majority.

Drawing support from European leftists and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the long-marginalized Indians are tasting political influence for the first time since the Spanish conquest and beginning to wrest power from South America's white elites.

The leader of Bolivia's Movement to Socialism party (MAS), Evo Morales, talks about "uniting Latin America's 135 Indian nations to expel the white invasion, which began with the landing of Columbus in 1492."

Urbanized Latins ridicule the idea, pointing out that Indians have intermarried with whites and become assimilated into Western culture throughout the continent. In Chile and Argentina, pure Indians make up less than 10 percent of the population.

But with solid support among rural Aymara and Quechuas -- who make up 60 percent of Bolivia's population -- MAS regularly receives 20 percent of the national vote in Bolivia and is the country's strongest political force.

The Wind from the South — Anti-White Populism

This Land Is My Land

Do more abortions mean fewer black criminals?

Michael Duffy:

There is plenty of evidence for the proposition that poor women took particular advantage of the legalisation of abortion. Apart from anything else, it became a lot cheaper (about $US80 compared with $US450 when it was illegal). The birth rate dropped about 5 per cent on average after 1973, but the drop was twice as great for teenage and non-white mothers as it was for others.

Because just 6 per cent of an age group commits about half the crime, such a reduction in the number of children growing up in deprived circumstances could be expected to have a big effect. For example, in the US black youths commit nine times more murders, relative to their population, than white youths. As, after 1973, the black fertility rate fell 12 per cent (it was 4 per cent for whites), this might be expected to reduce the homicide rate.

Legal abortion also enabled more women to choose when they had children, which improved the circumstances in which those babies who were born grew up. This is important because unwanted children are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. It suggests that fewer of those children who were born after 1973 would have become criminals than would have been the case in the past.

So what happened to the US crime rate? It shot up in the 1970s and 1980s, and then dropped dramatically after 1991. Murder fell by 40 per cent and violent and property crime declined by more than 30 per cent. This, of course, was exactly when boys born in the years after 1973 should have been engaged in criminal activities (which peak between the ages of 18 and 24).

Other explanations have been offered for the decline in the US crime rate, particularly the increase in imprisonment rates and the so-called "broken window" policy of tougher policing, in some cases accompanied by more police.

The problem with the first is that the imprisonment rate started to climb in the early 1970s and continued to climb with no effect on crime for 20 years. Why would it have suddenly become a deterrent in the early 1990s? As for more or tougher policing, the problem here is that crime rates have plummeted across the US, even in cities that have not improved their policing. For instance, the "broken window" approach is often credited with New York's fall in crime, but crime also fell dramatically in Los Angeles, where the police force for many years was unreconstructed. Another explanation for falling crime, the booming economy of the 1990s, is dismissed by Levitt and Donohue, who say there is no strong link between economic performance and violent crime.

Something else supports their theory. Five US states legalised or semi-legalised abortion in 1970, three years before everyone else. They were Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York and Washington. Did crime fall in those states before the others? Yes.

I asked Don Weatherburn, director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, about Levitt's hypothesis. He says it's plausible, but there are other plausible hypotheses too. (Some can be found in the book The Crime Drop in America, edited by Alfred Blumstein and Joel Wallman.)

So what about Australia, which Levitt suggests has had a similar experience to America? Abortion was legalised here at about the same time as in the US, but Weatherburn says that most crime increased in Australia during the 1990s. He wonders if Australia's more generous welfare provisions meant that legalised abortion had a different impact here. Whatever the reason, our criminal class has remained free of the (unintended) eugenics Levitt says occurred in the US.

Australian columnist makes explicit the anti-black eugenic basis of Levitt's theory

What Latino Power?

Roberto Suro:

Politicians and the news media seem entranced by Latino voters. The chairmen of both national parties addressed the annual convention of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, which wrapped up its annual convention in Puerto Rico yesterday. President Bush appeared before the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast earlier this month, and much of the buzz about the next Supreme Court nomination centers on whether a name with a lot of vowels will get sent up.

Meanwhile the Democratic National Committee has produced a 60-second radio ad in Spanish trying to mobilize Latino voters against Bush's proposed changes in Social Security. "Call your member of Congress and tell him or her not to privatize Social Security and threaten the future of Hispanic retirees and their families," the ad says. The White House, for its part, has dispatched Anna Escobedo Cabral, a Mexican American who is the treasurer of the United States, to tout the administration's Social Security ideas.

All this public wooing, and a good deal of behind-the-scenes strategizing, stems from a simple fact: The number of Latino votes in last November's election jumped 23 percent over those cast in the 2000 balloting. That was more than twice the growth rate for non-Hispanic whites, even though the election was marked by higher-than-normal turnout in a polarized white electorate. Moreover, all the trend lines point to continued growth in the Latino population in the future.

Normally, in an article of this sort, this would be the place to deploy the "sleeping giant" metaphor, hailing the rise of a powerful new voting bloc that's changing the American political landscape. But the Latino population isn't a cliche; it can't be so easily characterized. The rapid increase in its size has not produced a corresponding growth in its political clout -- and won't for some time to come.

Consider these contrasting pieces of information. The census report that made headlines a few weeks ago showed that Hispanics (that's the Census Bureau's official term) accounted for half of all the population growth in the United States over the past four years. But another, less heralded, census document showed that Hispanics accounted for only one-tenth of the increase in all votes cast in 2004 compared with the 2000 election. The growth of the Latino population as a whole may be gigantic, but only one out of every four Latinos added to the U.S. population is an added voter.

That's why in close elections, politicians tend to focus their ardor on traditional partners -- unions, churches, ethnic groups -- that have shown they can effectively bring voters to the polls. Cultivating a solid Hispanic constituency will require a lengthy courtship.

True, Latinos have made gains in elected positions, but the advances have been relatively modest. Two Hispanic U.S. senators were elected last year, and the number of Hispanics in the House edged up to 27.

But the Latinos who gain national prominence still tend to be the ones who have it bestowed upon them by white political patrons, such as President Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or President Bill Clinton's cabinet officers Henry Cisneros and Bill Richardson.

There are two reasons why Latino population growth hasn't translated directly into political clout, according to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization where I work.

First, a lot of Latinos aren't U.S. citizens. A third of the Latino population increase between 2000 and 2004 came from an influx of adult immigrants who cannot vote here. Under current law, most never will. About two-thirds of the new arrivals have come here illegally. The rest, who are legal immigrants, are facing backlogs and processing delays that have slowed the pace of naturalizations since 9/11.

The other big source of population increases for Latinos comes from new births. Nearly a third of the Hispanic population growth since 2000 consists of people not eligible to vote because they are under 18 years of age. The vast majority of these individuals are native-born U.S. citizens, but it will be a long time before they are old enough to vote. About 80 percent of them will still be too young in 2008.

The impact of these two demographic factors becomes evident when you compare how black and Hispanic population numbers translate into numbers of voters. In 2004, Hispanics outnumbered blacks by nearly 5 million in the population count, but blacks had nearly 7.5 million more eligible voters. To put it another way, eligible voters made up 39 percent of the Hispanic population compared with 64 percent of blacks.

Don’t Worry, Democrats! This Hispanic Hype Is Hogwash

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