Thursday, July 28, 2005

Italy: Tuscany is possible al-Qaeda target


Blair's preferred holiday spot - the Italian region of Tuscany - may be an al-Qaeda target in the month of August, when the British prime minister and his family are due to spend time at friend's Tuscan country house, according to the Italian newspaper Il Giornale. The newspaper referred to information gathered by German intelligence that spoke of Tuscany as a possible al-Qaeda target by the end of August.

The information was picked up by an undercover agent in an al-Qaeda cell. During a religious celebration the agent heard people suspected of being linked to a German Salafist group tell another Muslim "brother" not to go to Tuscany in July and August. "Go where you want to, but don't go to Tuscany. Take heed from us, stay well away from that region until the end of August," the agent is said to have heard them warn.

The choice of Tuscany as a terrorist target can be explained by Blair's 10 year-long habit of spending his summer holidays in the region. Il Giornale also indicated the historic Tuscan cities of Siena and Florence as symbolically and politically valuable terrorism targets.

The information leaked from German intelligence is now being analised by Italian anti-terrorism analysts.

Norway and Sweden 'safest'

Boy, 4, Found Wandering on D.C. Highway

Associated Press:

Channoah Green

A mother was under arrest Wednesday on child endangerment and other charges after authorities said she abandoned her 4-year-old son on the Capital Beltway, then struck him with her car when he tried to get back in.

The boy was treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises, police said. He later was placed in the custody of a child protective services agency.

Police picked him up after receiving a call late Tuesday night from motorist who said she had found a child wandering along Interstate 495.

"I said, 'Why are you out here?' And he said, 'My mommy left me. She was angry and she pushed me out of the car,'" the driver, who asked not to be identified, told WJLA-TV.

Virginia State Police said an investigation determined that Channoah Alece Green, 22, of Newport News, Va., abandoned the boy along the busy highway after she became upset with him.

"As she attempted to drive off, the child was trying to get back in the vehicle and was knocked down," said Sgt. J.L. Doss. That led to a hit and run charge.

State police said they found Green and were able to figure out that she was the child's mother after she was involved in a two-car accident on Interstate 95 north of Richmond, Va., later Tuesday night.

Mother Of Beltway Boy Due In Court Friday

Mother accused of abandoning child on Beltway, faces charges

The desire for highly-paid jobs and the demands of overbearing parents has caused a suicide epidemic among students in India

Peter Foster:

Adolescent girls are up to 70 times more likely to kill themselves than in Britain, research has shown.

The figures have led to calls for a radical overhaul of India's equivalent of the A-level, the CBSE.

The exam, which comes at the end of 13 years of intensive schooling, offers a lucky few the chance to take the opportunities thrown up by India's position as a rapidly emerging economic power.

But for those missing out on a "golden ticket" to a better life there are heavy costs, both financial and emotional.

Almost daily, there are reports of suicide by youngsters unable to bear the shame, or the fear, of failing to get to university.

Conversely, students who go to India's leading institutions, which rival Harvard and Oxbridge for excellence, are lauded as high achievers who command enormous salaries when they land jobs with multinationals.

The stories are as commonplace as they are heartbreaking. That of Sudhanshu Pandey, a 17-year-old from New Delhi stood out when his suicide note was published in Indian Today.

"Bye everybody, I am committing suicide," he wrote before hanging himself from a ceiling fan by his mother's saree. "I have decided to end my life because the pressure has started to get to me and I cannot take it any longer.

"I love my family and I hope they will understand."

A study in Vellore, south India, published in The Lancet last year showed suicides among young women (15 to 19) running at 148 per 100,000 population, against 58 per 100,000 for young men.

In Britain, the rate for young women is 2.1 per 100,000, against a world average among all age groups of 14.5 per 100,000. Young Indian men are almost 30 times more likely to commit suicide than their British counterparts.

The figures have caused alarm at the intolerable burden imposed by the hothouse approach to schooling.

Misguided parents are at the heart of the problem, said P V Sankaranarayanan, of Sneha, a charity that runs a helpline for students in Madras.

They are often so desperate for their children to succeed that they take time off work to "actively manage" their child's study while other family members take on extra jobs to pay for private tuition.

"The pressures are manifold," Mr Sankaranarayanan said. "Will I gain my required marks? Will I satisfy my parents? Will I get on my preferred course? And if they don't, often the feeling is of overwhelming shame and guilt."

For girls, that pressure to succeed is even greater than for boys, a factor that explains the huge discrepancy in suicides between boys and girls, says Dr Anuradha Bose, a paediatrician who contributed to the Lancet report.

"The girls feel extra pressure because at the first hint of failure they are removed from school, while boys will receive any spare resources a family might have for extra help and tuition.

"The girls meanwhile, have few options except marriage - often at a young age - and domestic service. Suicide is one way out. If this was an infectious disease, we would be looking for a vaccine".

South India suicide is world high

Indian teens have world's highest suicide rate

Muslim nations throttle U.N. terror resolution


Islamic United Nations representatives blocked an attempt to have the world body condemn killing in the name of religion.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union said it submitted the request to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva in response to moves by Islamic clerics to legitimize the current wave of terror attacks.

IHEU representative David Littman tried to deliver a prepared text in the names of three international NGOs – the Association for World Education, the Association of World Citizens and the IHEU – but was blocked by the "heavy-handed intervention" of Islamic representatives of the panel.

Littman said that after repeated interruptions, he was unable to complete his speech.

The Muslims members said they saw the text as an attack on Islam.

The IHEU argued Littman's speech was a report on recent critical comment on Islamist extremism by a number of notable Muslim writers.

The intent was for the U.N. Human Rights Commission "to condemn calls to kill, to terrorize or to use violence in the name of God or any religion."

The text referred to recent decisions by high-ranking Muslim clerics to confirm that those who carry out suicide bombings remain Muslims and cannot be treated as apostates.

A Saudi cleric, for example, issued a fatwa saying that innocent Britons were a legitimate target for terrorist action. Also, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University, who has visited Britain, said terror attacks are permissible.

Roy Brown, president of IHEU, said the censorship is "part and parcel of the refusal by the Islamic representatives at the U.N. to condemn the suicide bombers, or to accept any criticism of those who kill innocent people in the name of God."

Profile: Yusuf al Qaradawi

Tread more carefully

Beards and scarves aren't Muslim. They're simply adverts for al-Qaeda

Criticism of Suicide Bombers Censored at the UN

Study: California will need 40 percent more water in 25 years

Don Thompson:

California's thirst for water will jump by 40 percent over the next 25 years at current rates, with much of the water going for landscaping in the hot, dry inland valleys that will see the bulk of the population growth, warns a study being released Wednesday.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California plotted future use from current water consumption, population growth estimates and demographic projections. Fourteen million more people will each be using 232 gallons each day by 2030, at the current pace.

But the institute says conservation, water planning and recycling can help meet the demand as the West struggles with continuous water shortages.

The institute found that a 2001 state law is working well, requiring that housing developers demonstrate in advance that they have lined up enough water for new residents before they start building homes.

Yet one-sixth of large municipal water utilities failed to submit water plans when last required five years ago, and other plans lacked adequate supply and demand projections. A Senate-approved bill pending in the Assembly would increase reporting requirements.

California already has made strides in cutting indoor water use with more stringent plumbing codes and requiring water-efficient appliances.

Outside, however, a lot of water goes to keep suburban lawns green.

And with half of all the state's projected new residents moving to Sacramento, San Joaquin and western San Bernardino and Riverside counties east of Los Angeles, that use will increase dramatically.

Of course, the most effective way to deal with the water situation is to limit population growth and the most effective way of doing that is by limiting immigration.

A Bowman police officer was arrested and charged with kidnapping and committing a lewd act on a minor

Van O'Cain:

Harry Lee Tucker

According to warrants from the State Law Enforcement Division, 38-year-old Harry Lee Tucker of Branchville was charged with two counts each of misconduct in office and kidnapping and one count each of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct and committing a lewd act on a minor.

According to arrest warrants, Tucker took a 14-year-old girl to the Bowman Police Department and held her there against her will. The warrants also say he touched the girl inappropriately and assaulted her after taking her to a remote location.

Tucker was on duty at the time of the incidents.

Bowman officer facing charge of sexual assault on 14-year-old

Some Asian American women spend thousands pursuing the traditional ideal of whiter skin

Jia-Rui Chong:

For many Southern Californians, summer is the season for beaches, chaise longues and the quest for the perfect tan.

Not for Margaret Qiu. She and thousands of other Asian American women are going to great lengths to avoid the sun — fighting to preserve or enhance their pale complexions with expensive creams, masks, gloves, professional face scrubs and medical procedures.

For these women, a porcelain-like white face is the feminine ideal, reflecting a long-held belief that pale skin represents a comfortable life. They also believe it can hide physical imperfections.

"There's a saying, 'If you have white skin, you can cover 1,000 uglinesses,' " said Qiu, a 36-year-old Chinese immigrant who lives in Alhambra.

Qiu goes through a regimen of skin-whitening products twice a day. She is one of many customers who have turned Asian whitening creams and lotions into a multimillion-dollar industry in the United States.

But that's just the beginning.

Take a daylight drive through Asian immigrant enclaves like Monterey Park and Irvine, and you'll see women trying to shield themselves with umbrellas — even for the short dash from a parking lot into a supermarket. While driving, many wear special "UV gloves" — which look like the long gloves worn with ball gowns — to protect their forearms, and don wraparound visors that resemble welder's masks.

At beauty salons, women huddle around cosmetics counters asking about the latest cleansers and lotions that claim to control melanin production in skin cells, often dropping more than $100 for a set. Beauticians do a brisk business with $65 whitening therapies. Women dab faces with fruit acid, which is supposed to remove the old skin cells that dull the skin, and glop on masks with pearl powder or other ingredients that they believe lighten the skin.

There are doctors who, for about $1,000, will use an electrical field to deliver vitamins, moisturizers and bleaching agents to a woman's face in a procedure known as a "mesofacial."

Whitening products have been a mainstay in Asia for decades, but cosmetics industry officials said they have emerged as a hot seller in the United States only in the last four years. Whitening products now rack up $10 million in sales a year, according to the market research firm Euromonitor.

The Emerging Skin-Whitening Industry

A Lexington County teenager has been sentenced to ten years in prison after admitting to stabbing his adoptive mother to death

Van O'Cain:

Sixteen-year-old Hugo Clayton pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on Monday. Debra Clayton was stabbed in her home in Red Bank in 2003. Investigators say the knife was found under the boy's bed.

Hugo Clayton will be kept in a juvenile facility until he turns 17 in May and then will be transferred to an adult prison.

The boy was adopted from Guatemala.

Prosecutor Dayton Riddle says the boy killed his mother after being required to speak only English on the day of her death. Riddle says the boy had also been punished for --not-- getting up to go to work with his father.

Father Says Faith Helps Him Forgive Son for Murder

Teen gets 10 years in mother’s killing

South American drug cartels have started to use West Africa as a hub for smuggling operations

BBC News:

The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in West and Central Africa told the BBC that some 40 tonnes of cocaine had recently been seized in the region.

Antonio Mazzitelli said lax policing in some West African nations was the main attraction for traffickers.

He said cartels mostly targeted Europe, but some drugs were being turned into crack for local consumption.

"It is a trend that we have already noticed in the last 24 months," Mr Mazzitelli told the BBC's World Today programme.

"They [the cartels] have already moved into West Africa," he said.

"In the last 18 months alone, recorded seizures in the Atlantic Ocean for cocaine - mostly in ships coming from West Africa - account for something in the range of 40 tonnes."

The UNODC chief said that logistically the region was a very "attractive transit point" for major cartels.

"Drug traffickers realise that if they ship drugs directly from Latin America on ships... towards Europe they risk seizures".

"So they prefer to unload their shipments somewhere on the midway and load it on other ships that are coming from non-suspicious locations like West African ports," Mr Mazzitelli said.

U.N.: Drug cartels using African connections

British doctors face unemployment

BBC News:

Unemployment has become a serious threat to junior doctors, the British Medical Association has warned.

It said intense competition for posts had left many without jobs to go to when their contracts end next week.

In a letter to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, the BMA said many junior doctors were considering leaving the country or quitting medicine.

The Department of Health admitted competition for posts was fierce, and said it was reviewing the situation.

The BMA said the number of places at medical school had increased and applications from overseas were rising - but the number of postgraduate training posts had not increased at the same rate.

At the same time, many jobs have been phased out as a result of the introduction of a new training structure.

And things are probably going to get even worse for British doctors:

But Andrew Lansley, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, said: "It is crazy for hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of recently qualified doctors from overseas to come to the UK looking for training posts; with the result that UK qualified doctors may fail to get training posts."

I guess this is what the British government calls one of the "benefits" of immigration.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Immigrants fight for jobs in Norway

Nina Berglund:

Cesar Chavez was a music teacher in Mexico. Now he's washing dishes in Oslo, but glad to have the work

The job market in Norway reportedly has improved, but there's huge demand for jobs that in turn don't demand much in the way of Norwegian qualifications. Warehouse and washing jobs can attract hundreds of applicants.

The vast majority of applicants are immigrants who face the biggest hurdles finding work in Norway, even when they speak fluent Norwegian.

Many of those applying for jobs as dishwashers in restaurants or as cleaning personnel in offices are educated as lawyers, doctors and engineers in their homelands, reports newspaper Aftenposten Aften.

Every cleaning company the newspaper contacted said they had long lists of applicants. At Aftenposten itself, demand is high for jobs delivering the paper.

"There is strong competition for these jobs," said Dyveke Hanza of state employment agency Aetat. "Unskilled workers aren't seeing any upswing in the labour market."

Cesar Chavez, who came to Norway with his Norwegian wife, was a musician and music teacher in Mexico. Now he's thrilled to "finally" have secured a job washing dishes at a restaurant at Oslo's waterfront complex Aker Brygge.

"I feel very lucky to have this job," Chavez told Aftenposten. He beat out 200 other applicants for the job, which had been advertised for just three days on Aetat's web site.

"I have applied for all kinds of jobs, with no luck," Chavez said. "I began to be very depressed because I never got a positive answer."

He's not the only one. Aftenposten's English news service has received many letters from immigrants and would-be immigrants to Norway who describe the difficulties they're having, or had, looking for work.

One software engineer from the US gave up, after more than 60 interviews with Norwegian firms, and moved back to the US with his Norwegian wife. Another man returned to Ontario, Canada with his wife after failing to find any work in Norway as well, and says he's still bitter about the experience.

Why the Norwegians allow immigrants to move to Norway when they apparently don't have enough jobs for them amazes me. I guess Norwegian businessmen feel that this is the best way to keep wages from rising.

Norwegian websites may be of help to terrorists

Rolleiv Solholm:

Norwegian companies and public services are uncritical to what information they publish on the internet.

Much of this information could be misused by terrorists.

This is stated in a new report from the National Security Authority (NSM), which is concerned over much of the information on the web published by by Norwegian industry.

The information may assist terrorists who are planning attacks on Norway, Aftenposten writes.

The NMS is particularly concerned over the spreading of sensitive information about the oil and gas sector, the energy and water supplies, as well as the communication and finance sectors.

The NMS report sites as an example sensitive information and drawings showing details of the construction of the Snoehvit gas project in the north, the newspaper writes.

I would be surprised if this problem was just confined to Norway.

Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who sought to explode a Millennium Eve bomb at Los Angeles International Airport was sentenced to 22 years in prison

Hal Bernton:

Ressam showed no emotion during the hearing, but smiled briefly as it concluded.

Jo Ann Oliver, one of his defense attorneys , said she thought Ressam was relieved to have this over.

In the months before 9/11, Ressam emerged as an important U.S. government informant on the al Qaida network, but later ended his cooperation. In a last ditch effort at an April hearing, Judge John Coughenour failed to persuade Ressam to resume helping the U.S. Justice Department in two significant terrorism cases that prosecutors say may now have to be dismissed. Ressam rejected the judge's request.

Terror suspect likely to go free because Ressam won't testify

Ahmed Ressam: Terrorist Within

Another Lost Opportunity

Ahmed Ressam's Millennium Plot

Illegal entry by non-Mexicans rises

Kris Axtman:

DESPERATE VOYAGE: Migrants float down the polluted New River after illegally crossing into the US near Calexico, Calif

After decades of attempting to dam the flow of Mexican immigrants crossing into the United States illegally, federal agents say a new crisis is emerging along the southern border and they are helpless to stop it.

Non-Mexicans are spilling over the border in record numbers - some from countries with terrorist ties - and most are set free soon after being captured.

Already this year, the number of non-Mexican apprehensions has far outpaced last year's total in just eight months. And while they are still a relatively small percentage compared with the number of illegal Mexicans, critics say the federal government's policy in dealing with them is far more dangerous.

Because OTMs, or "Other Than Mexicans" as the Border Patrol classifies them, must be returned to their country of origin, they cannot be simply sent back across the southern border, as most Mexicans are. Under US law, they must be detained (in the US) pending a deportation hearing. The problem is, immigration detention centers are packed, so most OTMs are given a court summons and told to return in three months. A full 85 percent don't.

According to the Border Patrol, some 465,000 OTMs have taken advantage of this "catch and release" policy to settle here in the US. "It's an insane policy which encourages OTMs to come into the country illegally, and we shouldn't be shocked that they are coming in record numbers," says T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents more than 9,000 agents.

In fact, he says, after crossing the border, many OTMs flag down agents or walk up to them and surrender, knowing they will be released. "The word is out," says Mr. Bonner. "They know that as soon as they are caught, they will be free to roam at will."

Lawmakers Debate Proposals Aimed at Curbing Illegal Immigration to US

Non-Mexicans crowding border

Analysis: Immigration changes vital

'Catch and release' policy lets immigrants roam U.S. freely

OTM solutions sought, proposed

Two men who allegedly drove through Edinburgh city centre wearing masks, alarming passers-by, have appeared at the city's sheriff court

BBC News:

Saudi Arabian student Naif Alotaibi, 17, now living in Midlothian, and Abdullah Ghazali Dawood, 25, from Edinburgh, both denied the offence.

The pair were charged with committing a breach of the peace on 25 July at Waverley Bridge, in Edinburgh.

The two men were released on bail to face trial next month.

It was alleged in court that they conducted themselves in a disorderly manner, drove in a vehicle wearing masks and placed local people in a state of fear and alarm.

Sheriff Isabella McColl was told that Mr Alotaibi is a Saudi Arabian, who was in Edinburgh studying English.

The court was also told that at least one of the accused was due to return to Saudi Arabia and an early trial date was sought for the case.

The trial was set down for next month and the sheriff agreed to their release on bail, which was not opposed by the fiscal.

Waverley security alert over masked pranksters

Security alert at Waverley train station after 'prank'

Jewish extremists opposed to Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip have used an ancient ritual to put an Aramaic death curse on Ariel Sharon


Michael Ben-Horin organized a pulsa denura death curse against the Israeli prime minister

In a ceremony presided over by a rabbi, about 20 radicals held a "pulsa dinura", or rod of fire, imploring God to curse a presumed sinner, said the online edition of the newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

The ancient Jewish rite was led by rabbi Yossef Dayan at dawn last Friday in the ancient cemetery of Rosh Pina, in the northern Galilee region.

Far-Right Israeli activists held a pulsa dinura to pray for the death of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, a few days before he was killed by a Jewish extremist for trying to make peace with the Palestinians.

Rabbi Dayan read out the curse at that ritual, too.

The group urged "the angels of destruction" to kill Mr Sharon, participants said, stressing a human assassination attempt on the Prime Minister was "futile" given his massive security protection.

The ceremony took place near the grave of Shlomo Ben Yossef, a member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish movement Beitar, who was hanged in 1938 in British Palestine for taking part in an attempted attack on an Arab bus.

As befits tradition, only those who are married -- meaning no widowers or divorcees -- people aged over 40 and those with beards were able to attend the event, rabbi Dayan said.

Lashes of fire curse put on Sharon

Peace Now: TV program funding incitement by extreme right wing

'A barbaric pagan ceremony'

Jewish militants put death curse on Sharon--report

‘We prayed for Sharon’s death’

Sharon targeted with 'death curse'

Pulsa D’Nura Prayer Recited Against PM Sharon

Sharon's kabbalistic curse

CAFTA: Ideology vs. national interests

Patrick J. Buchanan:

Using the Clinton playbook for enacting NAFTA in '93, the White House is twisting arms and buying votes to win passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

And the seductive song the White House is singing sounds familiar. It is the NAFTA theme song. CAFTA will ease the social pressures that have produced waves of illegal aliens. CAFTA will increase U.S. exports. CAFTA will not cost U.S. jobs. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

If Tom DeLay's caucus delivers 200 votes for CAFTA, economic patriots will begin to look outside the GOP for leadership.

In 1993, Republicans, by four to one, signed on to NAFTA. They believed the promises that our $5 billion trade surplus with Mexico would grow and illegal immigration would diminish. They were deceived. The NAFTA skeptics were proven right. The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico vanished overnight. Last year, we ran a $50 billion trade deficit. Since 1993, 15 million illegal aliens have been caught breaking into the United States. Five million made it, and their soaring demands for social services have driven California to bankruptcy. As for Mexico's major exports to us, they appear to be two: narcotics and Mexicans.

Hispanic alliance pushes for trade pact

Gutierrez Urges Hispanics to Back CAFTA

On CAFTA, Dems must choose unions or Hispanics

CAFTA's big secret

Does CAFTA include a visa?

Bush's open border policies reduce CAFTA, Patriot Act support

London bomb suspect was convicted robber

Peter Griffiths:

Muktar Said-Ibrahim - on the DOLE

A prime suspect wanted for last week's attempted London bombings had served a jail sentence for knifepoint robberies and grew to hate the British system after his conviction, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said much of the world had dropped its guard after the initial shock of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and vowed to give "not one inch" to terrorists.

"September 11 for me was a wake-up call," Blair told reporters on Tuesday. "A lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again."

The botched bombings on July 21 occurred exactly two weeks after four suicide bombers killed 52 people in a similar attack on London's transport system. Police have linked the bombers to al Qaeda.

Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, whom police say planted a bomb on a bus in last week's attempted attacks, was jailed for 5 years in 1996 for mugging people when he was part of a teenage gang, the Daily Telegraph said.

The Sun tabloid said Ibrahim arrived in Britain from the East African country of Eritrea in 1992.

"He was very bitter about getting five years (in jail)," the Sun quoted an unnamed associate as saying. "He was never the same person after."

Newspapers said Ibrahim and another of the four suspected bombers came to Britain as child refugees from East Africa and had received state welfare payments.

The Times called them "the benefit bombers who repaid help with hatred," while the Daily Mail said Britain had lost control of its borders and was "at the mercy of murderous fanatics."

Ready to strike again

Muktar Said-Ibrahim … London Bomber a Social Security sponger

Extremism learned in jail

The benefit bombers who repaid help with hatred

Life for van Gogh killer fails to ease Dutch fears

David Rennie:

The Islamic extremist who murdered the controversial Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh was jailed for life without hope of parole yesterday.

Mohammed Bouyeri shot Mr van Gogh in the street in daylight then tried to hack off his head with a kitchen knife.

The authorities hope that the end of the trial will draw a line under a crime that shocked the nation. But in the poor west Amsterdam suburb of Slotervaart, where Bouyeri grew up, opinions were sharply divided about whether people could quickly forget the murder.

Several non-Muslim residents insisted that Holland's cosily multi-cultural model remained intact but some young Muslim men offered a bleaker view.

During his trial, Bouyeri, a baby-faced 27-year-old with Moroccan and Dutch nationality, refused to recognise the court, telling judges only that he wanted the maximum sentence and would do "exactly the same again" if freed.

Mr van Gogh caused a storm with a film called Submission, a deliberately provocative work about the abuse of women in Islamic society.

Abdul Hamid, 21, who attended the same school as Bouyeri, said the murder was "terrible but predictable".

He said: "Van Gogh was disrespectful towards Islam and Bouyeri was a very religious guy."

A Dutch gymnasium manager who gave her name only as Annalies said the case had not harmed Slotervaart, an area of ugly 1960s concrete blocks, softened by flower beds, rose bushes, trees and unvandalised playgrounds.

"You can talk about it with Moroccans," she said. "There is no tension."

That optimism was shared by Sgt Rob Reuter, a policeman in the area for 15 years. "This was the act of an individual not a community. Most Muslims want to live in peace; they like it here."

Khalil el-Yobari, 30, a shopkeeper, echoed the sergeant's defence of the Netherlands as a place to build a peaceful life. But he felt there had been a big change for Muslims. "People don't talk to us in the street any more," he said.

His friends yearned to attack Israel or America, he said matter-of-factly, but he condemned terrorism in Europe. He combined praise for the Netherlands with nostalgia for the good life he felt ended with September 11.

"Before that attack, Amsterdam was OK," he said. "Now it is very difficult to find a job as a Moroccan, even with school diplomas."

He condemned Bouyeri's crime, saying that Mr van Gogh had had every right to say what he liked without being attacked. "It's a free country," he said.

But he reported bitter debate among his friends about the case and gave warning that the case had added to Muslim anger about racism at home, as well as the situation in Iraq and the Middle East.

"Dutch people hate Muslims," he said. "One survey said 56 per cent say that. We all feel we are in prison now. I have friends who tell me they want to fight."

He rejected London-style attacks in Holland because innocent people had been killed. But, without any evident pleasure at the thought, he predicted that home-grown terrorism would hit the Netherlands.

"It is going to happen - and it will be from people like me," he said.

I'd do it all again, says film-maker's killer

Contempt and defiance from Muslim accused of murdering film-maker

The Multicultural Society is Dead, Long Live Multiculturalism!

Terrorist motives should be obvious

Dutch extend probe into suspected Islamist group

Europe Questions Multiuculturalism -- Politicians and Media Become Aware

Fortuyn killed 'to protect Muslims'

France may order language tests for migrants

Jon Henley:

Immigrants may have to pass a French language test if they want long-term residence rights in the country, a junior social affairs minister said yesterday.

In a further tightening of already strict immigration laws, Catherine Vautrin, the state secretary for social cohesion and women's rights, said the French government aimed to create "a link" between linguistic competence and the granting of a 10-year residence permit.

"We want to encourage as much as possible the integration of new arrivals," she said. "At present there is no language requirement, and I believe one is necessary. What interests us is successful immigration - and behind language lies employment, accommodation, everything."

Few EU states require immigrants to master their language. Britain, Spain and Italy only demand an ID card and an employment contract before issuing a residence permit. But in Germany, applicants for permanent residence must pass a language and general culture test, and Austria and Denmark have introduced similar measures.
Ms Vautrin was speaking at a centre in the south-western city of Lyon where some of the 110,00 to 120,000 legal immigrants who arrive in France each year - refugees, economic migrants and family members of existing residents - go for basic tuition in the laws and principles of the republic as well as to sign a "Welcome and Integration Contract".

The contract, written in a dozen languages including Arab, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Hindi, was introduced three years ago to remind immigrants that France is an "indivisible, secular and social" state, that religion is a private matter and that men and women are equal.

Officials say about 90% of immigrants who are granted a French residence permit have signed the document, which entitles them to 500 hours of non-compulsory French language teaching and a two-day civic education course.

The programme is supposed to make it easier for immigrants to renew temporary residence permits and, eventually, acquire French nationality. It costs the government €60m (£41.7bn) a year. Some 8,000 immigrants signed the contract in 2003, and 37,000 last year.

"Language is a problem," Ms Vautrin said. "Only 60% of new arrivals take lessons and it's not enough. For married women in particular it's important: to live their lives in France they have to be independent, and the first condition of independence is to be able to speak our language."

The prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, last month asked an inter-ministerial committee to study ways to "ensure immigration is more closely tailored to France's economic needs" - seen by many critics as a hint that France was prepared to introduce quotas for legal immigration.

But Paris also recently unveiled a package of tough new measures aimed at combating illicit immigration. Putting the number of illegal aliens in France at between 200,000 and 400,000, Mr de Villepin said it was "far, far too easy" for people to enter on a tourist visa and then stay on illegally. If caught they could claim to have no papers and to be unaware of their nationality, preventing any expulsion, he said.

France aims to boost expulsions by up to 30% a year, the prime minister said, partly by creating a special 600-strong "immigration police" and an immigration control service to coordinate the activities of the police, gendarmerie, local authorities and government departments.

· The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, said yesterday that in the wake of the second wave of terrorist bomb attacks in London, he was launching a "major operation to track down the radicalising elements" - mainly radical imams - among France's 6 million Muslims .

Mr Sarkozy said France would "substantially increase" the security services' budgets. "Everyone in France has the right to practise his religion," he said. "But when you see the images of the kamikazes in London you see the responsibility of radical preachers for young minds. I do not intend to tolerate it."

Immigrants may have to take language tests

Mexican accused of leading document-fraud ring

Jerry Seper:

The Mexican national indicted by a federal grand jury in a multimillion-dollar scheme to distribute millions of phony identification documents to illegal aliens in the United States is, according to authorities, a leader of a crime syndicate that specializes in document fraud.

Pedro Castorena-Ibarra, 42, is accused of heading a franchise operation that sold bogus but "high quality" Social Security documents, resident alien and Mexican matricula consular ID cards, driver's licenses, birth certificates, marriage licenses, work authorization documents, proof of vehicle insurance cards, temporary vehicle registration documents, and utility bills from both Mexico and the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, who sought the indictment after a lengthy investigation, said millions of phony documents were sent to illegal aliens in the United States in the past five years, including 3 million that were shipped to the Los Angeles area alone. The documents were available on the street for $80 to $300, authorities said.

The indictment was handed up Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver, although an investigation by ICE agents into the conspiracy is continuing. The Justice Department will seek the extradition of Castorena-Ibarra, listed as a federal fugitive.

All 19 of the September 11 terrorists had phony Social Security numbers, state driver's licenses or state identification cards.

Marcy Forman, director of investigations for ICE, called the Castorena family "one of the largest and most sophisticated document fraud rings ever uncovered," adding that fraudulent documents "can be provided to terrorists and other criminals, posing a major homeland security vulnerability."

According to court records, the Castorena family oversees from its base in Guadalajara, Mexico, a large-scale criminal organization with more than 100 members who direct cells of 10 to 20 people located in cities across the United States.

ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said that in the past decade, the family has been managed by six brothers and sisters: Pedro, Alfonso, Jose, Maria, Francisco Javier and Raquel, who have maintained direct involvement in the counterfeiting scheme.

The ICE probe targeted operations in Los Angeles; New York; Chicago; Atlanta; Miami; Dallas; San Antonio; Las Vegas; Albuquerque; Denver; Lincoln, Neb.; and Des Moines, Iowa.

Mr. Boyd said Castorena family leaders charged a "rent" or "franchise" fee of as much as $15,000 per month for cell leaders to operate in the United States -- making millions in return. He said the organization moved its illicit profits through three primary methods: wire transfers, bulk shipments of cash and checks, and couriers who transported U.S. currency across the border and between U.S. cities.

Phony documents supplied by the family, authorities said, have been linked to more than 400 federal investigations and to document seizures in more than 50 cities in 33 states. The American Express Corp. has attributed $2 million in losses to counterfeit documents in Los Angeles alone that authorities have tied to the Castorena family.

More than 50 people have been prosecuted in the probe, Mr. Boyd said, adding that dozens of family members and associates have been deported to Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador. He said ICE agents in Denver also seized 20 computerized laboratories that were used to produce the counterfeit identity documents.

Mr. Fox, nab this kingpin

Counterfeit Immigration ID Ring Busted In Denver

Grand jury targets ring of forgers

Forgery ring drop in bucket

Vitamin D fails to benefit blacks

Joyce Howard Price:

Vitamin D supplementation does not appear to have the same bone-strengthening benefits in post-menopausal black women as it does in older white women, according to a study in yesterday's issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

"To our knowledge, this study is the first clinical trial examining the effect of vitamin D on bone loss in African-American women," bone specialists at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., wrote.

"Our study demonstrated a lack of benefit of vitamin D supplementation in loss of skeletal mass in calcium-sufficient African-American women in midlife."

Dr. John F. Aloia, chief academic officer at Winthrop and the report's first author, said he and his colleagues had assumed that giving black post-menopausal women substantially more vitamin D than is recommended would decrease bone loss in that population. In fact, he said, many scientists hypothesized it would have this effect.

The authors said previous trials that "suggest a benefit of vitamin D supplementation have been conducted with white participants."

"But our study found that giving post-menopausal African-American women much more vitamin D is not beneficial" in preserving bone-mineral density, Dr. Aloia said.

Researchers said further studies are needed to determine if their findings are applicable to women of other ethnic groups.

The study in Archives examined 280 healthy black women, ages 50 to 75, who, daily over a three-year period, received either a placebo or a large supplemental dose of vitamin D. Neither investigators nor study participants knew who received what.

More evidence for the biological existence of race.

Bone Health: Do Vitamin D Pills Help Blacks?

Vitamin D supplements not effective in preserving bone mineral density in black women

Vitamin D May Not Help Black Women's Bones

Vitamin D Fails to Prevent Bone Loss in Black Women

Would it really cost $41 billion a year to remove illegal immigrants?

Steve Sailer:

This is a crucial point because the study claims that apprehension accounts for 73.61% of the total cost of illegal removal. Using a more realistic 250 illegals per agent, per year, reduces the apprehension cost from $17,603 (the number in the "study") down to less than $1000 per deportation (actually $702.8). Of course, this results in an 70.67% reduction in the total cost of illegal expulsion.

If that weren't bad enough... The study also assumes that only 20% of the illegals would remove themselves faced with real law enforcement. Experience in the U.S. and other countries shows that at least 2/3 would get out rather than be arrested and deported. Providing incentives ("leave on your own with no penalty versus a lifetime ban if we have to do it" would be one approach) could raise this fraction materially.

Using a more realistic 66.7% voluntary exit rate yields another 58.34% cost reduction. Combining these two "minor adjustments" reduces that likely cost by 87.78%. What's being wrong by a factor of 10 among friends?

$41 Billion Cost Projected To Remove Illegal Entrants

Deporting the Undocumented: A Cost Assessment

Bush official slammed for stopping illegals sweeps

New Study: Deporting Illegal Aliens Will Cost $41 Billion A Year…Do They Take American Express??

Failed hit in London tied to East Africans

Paul Martin:

Police investigating last week's failed bomb attacks said yesterday the devices were built and laid by a sleeper cell of East Africans and that they believe the men were acting on instructions from al Qaeda.

Authorities are combing through the records of thousands of asylum-seekers and refugees within the Somali, Kenyan, Eritrean and Ethiopian communities in the British capital. It would be the first time Islamic militants from East Africa have played a conspicuous role in terror cells in Europe.

Police on Monday said Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, had tried to detonate a bomb on Thursday on a double-decker bus and that Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, had staged a failed attack on the Underground system's Northern Line.

Yesterday, they identified the two as being from Eritrea and Somalia, respectively, and said both arrived in Britain with their parents in 1992.

Government sources said almost no one seeking asylum from the long-running conflicts in the Horn of Africa had been turned away, even in cases where they were not granted official refugee status. A large refugee community, made up mainly of Somalis, has developed in London.

Ibrahim and Omar are still on the run, along with two other would-be bombers whose pictures were captured on closed-circuit television, and whose names are also known to the police but have not been released. An unknown fifth man is believed to have abandoned a similar explosive device near another train line.

Five others are under arrest on suspicion of being connected to the bomb plot. Four men who killed 52 persons in a similar plot on July 7 died in the explosions.

Thursday's failed bombers were reported to be regular worshippers at a radical mosque in north London.

Two London Suspects Are East Africans

Birmingham and its links to militant Islam

Jihadists groups operate "with impunity" in UK

Thinking About 7/7: Enoch Powell’s Revenge?

The red foam of the River Thames

Abuse stories 'isolating African communities'

An Ethiopian man with 11 wives and 77 children is urging people not to follow his example and is giving advice on family planning and contraception

BBC News:

Ayattu Nure: Do as I say, not as I do

After seeing his fortune disappear under the competing demands of his enormous family, Ayattu Nure, 56, even urges people not to get married.

"I want my children to be farmers but I have no land, I want them to go to school but I have no money," he says.

But his eldest son has not heeded Mr Ayattu's advice and he has three wives.

Seven of Mr Ayattu's wives live in huts around his compound, which are in urgent need of renovation.

Another four live in huts on the other side of the valley in Giwe Abossa village, 300km from the capital, Addis Ababa in Arsi region.

He says he cannot remember all his children's names but tries to work out who they are from their mothers and which huts they live in.

Mr Ayattu says he used to be rich and wanted to share his wealth around, which is why he took so many wives.

But now he struggles to feed them all.

"I feel like killing myself when I see my hungry children whom I cannot help," Mr Ayattu says.

His wives have given birth to more than 100 children but 23 have died.

However, he blames Ethiopia's government for not doing more to help him look after all his children.

"I know I have done wrong by marrying many wives and begetting many children but I think I deserve help from the government."

But his biggest complaint at the moment is with the authorities of the local school which 40 of his children now attend.

They want photographs for each of his children's files, which will further deplete his meagre resources.

He says that he tries to share his time evenly between his wives and children, adding that although quarrels and squabbles are common, they try to solve their problems amicably.

"People see me as a funny man, but there is no fun in my condition. I am a desperate man struggling to survive," he says.

Although Mr Ayattu's eldest son, Dagne Ayattu, does not have a job, at the age of 33, he has seven children and is about to marry his fourth wife.

But he says he will not have as many children or wives as his father.

Emancipation is a thing of the past for Muslim women


Why one species branches into two is a question that has haunted evolutionary biologists since Darwin

BBC News:

Given our planet's rich biodiversity, "speciation" clearly happens regularly, but scientists cannot quite pinpoint the driving forces behind it.

Now, researchers studying a family of butterflies think they have witnessed a subtle process, which could be forcing a wedge between newly formed species.

The team, from Harvard University, US, discovered that closely related species living in the same geographical space displayed unusually distinct wing markings.

These wing colours apparently evolved as a sort of "team strip", allowing butterflies to easily identify the species of a potential mate.

This process, called "reinforcement", prevents closely related species from interbreeding thus driving them further apart genetically and promoting speciation.

Although scientists have speculated about this mechanism for years, it has rarely been witnessed in nature.

"The phenomenon of reinforcement is one of the very few mechanisms that has natural selection playing a role in speciation," said Harvard co-author Nikolai Kandul. "It might be very widespread but it is hard to find good evidence of it."

For speciation to occur, two branches of the same species must stop breeding with one another for long enough to grow apart genetically.

The most obvious way this can happen is through geographical isolation.

If a mountain range or river divides a population of animals for hundreds of generations, they might find that if they meet again they are no longer able to breed.

But geographical isolation is not enough to explain all speciation. Clearly, organisms do sometimes speciate even if there is no clear river or mountain separating them.

The other mechanism that can theoretically divide a species is "reproductive isolation". This occurs when organisms are not separated physically, but "choose" not to breed with each other thereby causing genetic isolation, which amounts to the same thing.

Reproductive isolation is much hazier and more difficult to pin down than geographic isolation, which is why biologists are so excited about this family of butterflies.

The Harvard team made the discovery while studying the butterfly genus Agrodiaetus, which has a wide ranging habitat in Asia.

The females are brown while the males exhibit a variety of wing colours ranging from silver and blue to brown.

Dr Kandul and his colleagues found that if closely related species of Agrodiaetus are geographically separate, they tend to look quite similar. That is to say, they do not display a distinctive "team strip".

But if similarly closely related species are living side-by-side, the researchers noticed, they frequently look strikingly different - their "teams" are clearly advertised.

This has the effect of discouraging inter-species mating, thus encouraging genetic isolation and species divergence.

"This butterfly study presents evidence that the differences in the male's wing colouration is stronger [when the species share a habitat] than [when they do not]," said the speciation expert Axel Meyer, from Konstanz University in Germany.

"This pattern would therefore support the interpretation that it was brought about by reinforcement, hence natural selection."

The reason evolution favours the emergence of a "team strip" in related species, or sub species, living side-by-side is that hybridisation is not usually a desirable thing.

Although many of the Agrodiaetus species are close enough genetically to breed, their hybrid offspring tend to be rather weedy and less likely to thrive.

Therefore natural selection will favour ways of distinguishing the species, which is why the clear markings exist.

"For me, this is a big discovery just because the system is very beautiful," said Dr Kandul. "As much as we can we are showing that [reinforcement] is the most likely mechanism."

Reinforcement probably explains racial hostility in humans. "Racism" may just be nature's way of preventing hybridization in humans that could produce unhealthy offspring.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Only Muslims commit Islamic terrorism

Heather Mac Donald:

Time to get real: Only Muslims commit Islamic terrorism. By definition. Ask Osama bin Laden, who called on Muslims, and Muslims only, to kill Americans wherever they can find us.

Yet the New York Police Department has promised that its new policy of subway bag checks will be scrupulously random. This senseless sacrifice to political correctness will waste precious police resources with little improvement in public safety.

The British police have just released photos of the suspects in the Thursday subway bomb attempts. Did the police look for freckled-face Irish lassies on the subway videotapes? Unlikely. The suspects all appear to be South Asian or North African. The British are indifferent to the civil-libertarian hysterics because they were just attacked and fear they will soon be again. It will apparently take another strike on U. S. soil to wake up NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the rest of the American law-enforcement establishment that public safety comes before political correctness.

To be sure, random checks have a certain logic. There is always a chance that al Qaeda will be able to persuade a Minnesotan grandmother, say, to carry a bomb onto a New York subway. If law enforcement pays extra attention to people of apparent Muslim origin, it risks ignoring the non-conventional Islamic terrorist.

But that risk is far smaller than the risk that while a police officer is inspecting the golf-club bag of a Manhattan banker on his way to Westchester, a Pakistani carrying a bomb will slip onto the Number 4 line. It is unlikely that al Qaeda and other Muslim terror groups have recruited large numbers of Anglo-Europeans to their cause; the vast majority of would-be killers remain al Qaeda’s core constituency: disaffected Middle Easterners, South Asians, and North Africans.

The disconnect between what we know and what we do remains stunning to behold. Public discourse after the 7/7 bombings focused exclusively on Muslim extremism — has it been exacerbated by the Iraq invasion, say, or is it provoked by an abstract ideological hostility to the West? Yet when it comes to taking action, government officials pretend that all groups are equally likely to commit Islamic terrorism and that Muslim identity should play no role in targeting preemptive law-enforcement action.

There’s always a hope that the NYPD is lying through its teeth, and will in fact allow its officers to notice national origin and back them up against the inevitable lawsuits. If Commissioner Kelly means what he says, however, it will be most interesting to observe whether following another New York attack, the NYPD searches for leads among worshippers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral with the same alacrity as it canvasses Brooklyn’s radical mosques.

NYPD Pledges No Racial Profiling As Anti-Terror Searches Begin On Mass Transit

Citizens need to be ready for their closeup

Fernley kidnapper crosses border to Mexico

Teri Vance:

Fernando Peons Aguero, a known sex offender, is suspected in kidnapping Lydia Bethany-Rose Rupp, 8, from her home in Fernley

A convicted sex offender who kidnapped 8-year-old Bethany-Rose Rupp from her Fernley home on Friday, has crossed the border into his native Tijuana, Mexico, officials reported Sunday.

However, he reportedly told his sister in Las Vegas that he has not harmed the girl and is trying to find a "good Christian family" so he can return her to her family

According to Capt. Jeff Page of the Lyon County Sheriff's Department, Fernando Peons Aguero's mother is also working with authorities from her home in Mexico.

"She advised Lyon County detectives that she would try to have Fernando contact them," Page said. "She has been assisting in the investigation to have Lydia returned to her mother."

Rupp's mother met Aguero at a church function in April. He later moved into their home as a roommate.

He dropped the mother off at work Friday around 5:30 a.m., but called at noon to say he could not pick her up.

The mother returned home to find Aguero and her daughter both gone. He had taken with them the child's birth certificate, Social Security card and all photographs from the home, as well as the family's brown cocker spaniel.

A warrant has been issued for Aguero's arrest on charges of first-degree kidnapping and bail is set at $1 million.

Aguero, aka Fernando Ayala, aka Fernando Pons, was convicted in Los Angeles for lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under 14 in 1985, served a year in prison and was released. He is 5-feet 10-inches tall and weighs between 165 to 175 pounds. He has a slim build with dark graying hair, brown eyes and a mustache.

He has a large, 8-inch scar on his lower right leg and foot and noticeable scars on both arms, as well as a surgical scar on his right shoulder. He was driving a bluish-silver 2001 Kia Rio four-door sedan with no plates.

Rupp is 4-feet, 9-inches tall, 85 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes with a medium complexion. She has scars from dog bites on her cheeks.

This is the second Amber Alert to be issued out of Lyon County. The first, in June 2004, resulted in the children being recovered. Across Nevada, 25 Amber Alerts have been issued and 23 of those children were located. The other two were taken to Mexico.

Another Child Abducted To Mexico By Alien Child Molester

Fernley residents search, pray for missing girl

Suspect was not registered as sex offender

Samantha Runnion And The National Question

Judge Lets Mexican Illegals Stay…Because They LOOKED Like Mexicans

Predatory Aliens

Is There a Place Called Londonistan?

Salil Tripathi:

To understand why Britain-born Muslims, educated in local schools and bred on cricket and fish and chips, became suicide bombers, think of two reasons. One, Britain's Faustian bargain with extremist groups; two, Britain's flawed multicultural model.

The bargain first. For decades, Britain allowed its territory to be used as a refuge by dissidents (Karl Marx was here) and national liberation movements (like the anti-apartheid movement). Many movements found home here, carrying on campaigns, making sure they didn't break British laws.

It became different with some Muslims. Once radical preachers seized control of certain British mosques, they wanted to interfere in British policies. In 1989, they sought a ban on Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses. In the 1990s, some preachers encouraged British Muslims to go and fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan. And 12 years later, an organization called Al-Muhajiroun openly celebrated 9/11, calling it a victory for Islam. Its leader Omar Bakri Mohammed told the New Statesman last year: "If an Iraqi Muslim carried out an attack in Britain, it would be justified because Britain has carried out terrorism in Iraq."

Later, it was found that French-Moroccan Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker of 9/11 attended London's Finsbury Park Mosque, where the hook-armed cleric, Abu Hamza Al-Masri, called for jihad. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who tried to blow up a Paris-Miami flight in 2001 was a British Muslim, as was Saajid Badat who pleaded guilty for plotting to use a shoe bomb aboard a trans-Atlantic flight in late 2001. At least 600 British Muslims, mainly of Pakistani origin, joined the Taliban, some fighting British and American forces. British intelligence estimates some one percent of British Muslims may be extremists -- that's 16,000 people. Ahmed Omar Sheikh, who arranged the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, was British. In April 2003, two Pakistani-Britons detonated a bomb at a jazz club near the American Embassy in Israel, killing four people. In 2004 British police arrested 12 suspects, many of them British, who were allegedly plotting attacks in Britain and the United States.

Foreign-born preachers and concepts like alienation explain part of the story, as would poor educational performance of Muslims and lack of job opportunities available to them. Unemployment among British Muslims is 10 percentage points above the national average of 5 percent. In the case of 16- to 24-year-old Muslim men, unemployment is 22 percent. But such problems afflict other groups too, and they haven't turned to terror.

Politicians don't miss an opportunity to pander to the radicals. Under the garb of preventing Islamophobia, Britain is enacting legislation to outlaw speech that "incites racial or religious hatred." Can one debate any faith in such circumstances, without the devout crying foul?

We all just sat back and let Londonistan rise against us

Guardian man fired after blog attack

Rhys Blakely:

The Guardian has terminated a reporter's one-year training contract after a blogger revealed the writer was a member of a extremist Islamist political party and had not declared his interest to the newspaper when he wrote for its comment pages after the July 7 attacks.

The Guardian's move - according to the newspaper, taken after reporter Dilpazier Aslam refused to resign from the party, Hizb ut- Tahrir - echoes recent media oustings in America, but is the first time a British journalist has been forced to step down after coming under fire from bloggers - independent web diarists.

Scott Burgess, who runs the Daily Ablution blog, revealed Mr Aslam’s ties to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which operates legally in Britain but is banned in several other countries.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has courted controversy for campaigning for a global Islamic state under sharia law, with its publication The Inevitability of the Clash of Civilisations.

According to a 2003 BBC report, the Hizb ut-Tahrir's website "promotes racism and anti-Semitic hatred, calls suicide bombers martyrs, and urges Muslims to kill Jewish people".

It is described in an internal Home Office briefing note as a "radical, but to date non-violent Islamist group".

The note described the organisation as "an independent political party that is active in many countries across the world. HT's activities centre on intellectual reasoning, logic arguments and political lobbying. The party adheres to the Islamic sharia law in all aspects of its work."

The note adds: "It probably has a few hundred members in the UK. Its ultimate aim is the establishment of an Islamic state (Caliphate), according to HT via non-violent means. It holds anti-semitic, anti-western and homophobic views."

Aslam Roundup

L'Affaire Aslam: The Ablution Responds

The Independent claims credit for Scott Burgess's work

Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam

Dilpazier Aslam leaves Guardian

The Guardian falls to blogs

'The Guardian' of the Caliphate

Waging the war of words

One of the would-be suicide bombers who tried to blow up a London train had been given thousands of pounds in British taxpayers’ money

Ireland Online:

Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, was given £75 (€108.70) a week in housing benefit to pay for the one-bedroom flat where he has been the registered tenant since February 1999.

His housing benefit stopped in May.

The flat, on the ninth floor of a 12-storey tower block in New Southgate, north London, is believed to have been used as a bomb factory by the suicide team who unsuccessfully targeted the London transport network last Thursday.

Explosives experts were today examining material found inside.

Neighbours said another suspected bomber Muktar Said-Ibrahim, 27, had also been staying at the flat.

They described seeing men lugging boxes into the flat only a few weeks ago. The men said the boxes contained wallpaper stripper.

Police have spoken to Ibrahim’s father, who lives in north-west London, as they look into the backgrounds of the bombers, but he has not been arrested.

UK Home Office officials were today trying to establish the immigration status of Omar and Ibrahim, who are both thought to be of east African origin.

Today the cordon around their tower-block flat was widened and police were searching lock-up garages nearby.

As the hunt for the bombers continued, British Prime Minister Tony Blair met opposition leaders in Downing Street.

Conservative leader Michael Howard called for new anti-terror measures, including allowing electronic intercept evidence to be admissible in court.

But he voiced reservations about a police call to be allowed to hold terrorist suspects for up to three months without charge.

London was on alert and armed police were continuing with a shoot-to-kill policy which involves aiming to hit suspected suicide bombers in the head.

Detectives now fear there were five would-be suicide attackers on July 21.

Devices were found on a number 26 bus and on Tube trains at Warren Street, Shepherd’s Bush and Oval. The fifth bomb was dumped on open ground at Little Wormwood Scrubs, west London, suggesting that the final member of the suicide team may have lost his nerve.

All the devices were placed within the same type of plastic food storage containers, each six-and-a-quarter-litres in size with a white lid, which were then put in dark-coloured rucksacks.

Detectives are focusing on tracing the containers, which are sold by only around 100 outlets in the UK.

There have been no publicly confirmed sightings of the four bombers, who were captured on CCTV, since 1.05pm last Thursday when Ibrahim was seen getting off the 26 bus he had tried to blow up in Hackney Road, east London.

Detectives have no evidence they have left the country and believe they may all be hiding in a safe house in the city.

They believe the bombers could have links with the suicide cell which carried out four bombings on the London transport network on July 7, killing 52 innocent people.

Bomb suspect is UK citizen on benefit

Neighbours describe bomb suspect as devout loner

This man tried to blow up a train

Suicide bomb squad linked to East Africa

Two-thirds of Muslims consider leaving Britain

Vikram Dodd:

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have thought about leaving Britain after the London bombings, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll.

The figure illustrates how widespread fears are of an anti-Muslim backlash following the July 7 bombings which were carried out by British born suicide bombers.

The poll also shows that tens of thousands of Muslims have suffered from increased Islamophobia, with one in five saying they or a family member have faced abuse or hostility since the attacks.

Police have recorded more than 1,200 suspected Islamophobic incidents across the country ranging from verbal abuse to one murder in the past three weeks. The poll suggests the headline figure is a large underestimate.

The poll came as British Islamic leaders and police met to try to boost recruitment of Muslim officers, improve efforts to protect Muslims from a backlash, and improve the flow of information from Muslims to the police about suspected terrorist activity.

Nearly two-thirds of Muslims told pollsters that they had thought about their future in Britain after the attacks, with 63% saying they had considered whether they wanted to remain in the UK. Older Muslims were more uneasy about their future, with 67% of those 35 or over having contemplated their future home country compared to 61% among those 34 or under.

Britain's Muslim population is estimated at 1.6million, with 1.1million over 18, meaning more than half a million may have considered the possibility of leaving.

Three in 10 are pessimistic about their children's future in Britain, while 56% said they were optimistic.

Nearly eight in 10 Muslims believe Britain's participation in invading Iraq was a factor leading to the bombings, compared to nearly two-thirds of all Britons surveyed for the Guardian earlier this month. Tony Blair has repeatedly denied such a link.

Muslim clerics' and leaders' failure to root out extremists is a factor behind the attacks identified by 57% of Muslims, compared to 68% of all Britons, and nearly two-thirds of Muslims identify racist and Islamophobic behaviour as a cause compared to 57% of all Britons.

The general population and Muslims apportion virtually the same amount of blame to the bombers and their handlers, with eight in 10 or more citing these as factors.

The poll finds a huge rejection of violence by Muslims with nine in 10 believing it has no place in a political struggle. Nearly nine out of 10 said they should help the police tackle extremists in the Islamic communities in Britain.

A small rump, potentially running into thousands, told ICM of their support for the attacks on July 7 which killed 56 and left hundreds wounded - and 5% said that more attacks would be justified. Those findings are troubling for those urgently trying to assess the pool of potential suicide bombers.

Muslim Poll - July 2005

ICM Research

British Muslims Review Reasons for Terrorism

Moderate Jihad?

The land that lost its pride

The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies

Kay S. Hymowitz:

Almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. Those mothers are far more likely than married mothers to be poor, even after a post-welfare-reform decline in child poverty. They are also more likely to pass that poverty on to their children. Sophisticates often try to dodge the implications of this bleak reality by shrugging that single motherhood is an inescapable fact of modern life, affecting everyone from the bobo Murphy Browns to the ghetto “baby mamas.” Not so; it is a largely low-income—and disproportionately black—phenomenon. The vast majority of higher-income women wait to have their children until they are married. The truth is that we are now a two-family nation, separate and unequal—one thriving and intact, and the other struggling, broken, and far too often African-American.

What’s Holding Black Kids Back?

The Negro Family: The Case For National Action

Black Illegitimacy Rate Declines

Still Fighting After 40 Years: The War Against Political Correctness

Pat Moynihan’s Legacy

Searching for the white underclass

Remembrance: Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Surprise! Diversity Is Not Strength; etc.

Why the first Bush Administration refused to protect our border with Mexico

Steve Sailer:

A former INS official named Mark Reed testified to Congress in May that back during the Bush the Elder's Administration:

I was present at a high level strategy meeting between representatives of Federal Law Enforcement, DOD [Department of Defense], and the State Department regarding the urgency of sealing the Mexican border to stop drug smuggling. When DOD stated that they were capable of detecting and interdicting any intrusion, but could not distinguish between groups of migrants from drug smugglers until interdiction, the dialogue became difficult. When DOD refused to entertain the idea that they should only detain drug smugglers upon interdiction, the meeting was abruptly terminated. The safety valve that illegal immigration provided toward the stability of Mexico seemed to be a more compelling national security priority than drug smuggling.

That's certainly interesting now that word has come from the LA Times that the latest Bush administration is dunning corporations to build a war chest to "marginalize" conservative talk radio and other pillars of the GOP for opposing the President's amnesty & open borders immigration plan.

Testimony of Mark Reed

Bush announces his Suicide of the GOP initiative

El Andar Probes Bush Family's Mexican Contacts

Shackled to an [ungrateful] corpse



The Bush Betrayal: Maybe He’s Not Thinking But Feeling—Family Feeling, Mexican Style

LA Times exposes new White House Immigration Plot

New Readers (Maybe Juan Mann Fans?) At DHS/ICE

Hiring illegal immigrants instead of American teens

Charles V. Zehren:

The uncomfortable reality, as Andrew Sum sees it, is that there's a direct link between the steep national decline in teen employment rates and the growing practice of businesses hiring illegal immigrants and paying them off the books.

Sum is the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University and lead author of a widely cited nationwide study projecting teen employment will continue to fall, with a drop to 36.7 percent this summer from 45 percent in 2000. That puts it at or near its lowest level since the data series began in 1948, despite a strengthening economy and improving overall labor market.

"The immigrant increase in employment is overwhelming. Every net new job created is taken by an immigrant. I know that's shocking, but that's the truth," Sum said offering his sober assessment. "It happened in Massachusetts and New York in the 1990s, and now its happening in the country as a whole."

Teens finding less summer work

TOUGH MARKET FOR TEENS: Working 9 to 5; Lucky ones find fun summer jobs, but most squeezed out

The Paradox of Rising Teen Joblessness in An Expanding Labor Market

Teens seeking work face fierce competition

Teen Unemployment Rate Higher Due To Immigration

Teen Workers Face Dismal Summer Job Outlook

Crime is up in Minneapolis, thanks to opposition to racial profiling

Scott Johnson:

MINNEAPOLIS'S MURDER RATE peaked in 1995; that year the New York Times dubbed Minneapolis "Murderapolis." Gangs had taken over the city's poorest neighborhoods and gang crime had become highly visible. In 1996 three Minneapolis officers were dispatched to New York City to study the "broken windows" crime-prevention program which had been implemented by Rudy Giuliani and Police Chief William Bratton.

Upon their return to Minneapolis, the officers helped introduce a version of that program they named "CODEFOR." Then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and then-Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson supported the implementation of the program and were delighted to claim credit for its success, which was virtually immediate.

By the fall of 2002, however, two high-profile murders suggested that gangs had retaken the streets and that Murderapolis had returned. In September, 19-year-old University of Minnesota student-athlete Brandon Hall was gunned down by a thug in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Hall had survived the mean streets of Detroit only to lose his life a year after moving to Minneapolis to fulfill his dream of playing Big 10 football. In November, 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards was shot and killed while she studied at home with her younger sister at her side, caught in the crossfire of a shootout among three gang members. Chief Olson memorably commented: "This is just another case of someone who's mad at somebody else getting mad and firing shots."

This year the situation in Minneapolis has continued to deteriorate in remarkable ways. Downtown sidewalks have become daytime hangouts for gang thugs. When Minneapolis businesses desperately sought law enforcement assistance this past spring, they were told to hire private security guards for their customers. In April, a group of nine thugs--six of whom were known gang members--attacked a 15-year-old boy who was dragged from a Metro Transit bus, pummeled, and robbed before he escaped and sought help. (The assault was caught on a chilling videotape, courtesy of the camera installed on the bus.) The 15-year-old victim had boarded the bus at the intersection of 7th Street and the Nicollet Mall--the heart of the shopping area in downtown Minneapolis. Earlier this month the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that murders have increased 55 percent in Minneapolis over the same period last year.

What happened between 2000 and 2005 to cause the sharp deterioration in the progress made in controlling Minneapolis crime? Minneapolis is a case study in the destructive effects of one-party liberal rule and a stultifying political culture.

Dragged, Beaten, and Robbed, Part II

Minneapolis Police Traffic Stops and Driver’s Race

Race to Conclusions

Monday, July 25, 2005

Saddam's men in Norway


Some of the men who worked for Saddam Hussein's regime, and carried out torture for him, are living in Norway under refugee status.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Monday that several of those who tortured Saddam's opponents were granted at least temporary residence permission after arriving in Norway after the invasion of Iraq, to seek asylum.

The men were members of Iraq's Baath Party, and, according to NRK, admitted to Norwegian authorities that they conducted attacks and torture on behalf of Saddam.

Immigration agency UDI declined to comment on NRK's report. Spokesman Geir Løndal said in general terms, however, that temporary residence permission also can be granted to people who carried out torture, if they face torture themselves or the death penalty back in their homeland.

Several Iraqi torturers live in Norway

Immigrants scoff at UDI plan

UDI calls for more immigrants

New terror wave rolls in

Demographic change could turn the heartland of Western culture into an Islamic redoubt

Peter Grier:

Europe today is about five percent Muslim (excluding Turkey), but the Islamic population is growing rapidly. Moreover, Europe’s 23 million Muslims are concentrated in a handful of nations and in a few urban areas within those nations. The number of European Muslims might double by 2015

For well more than half a century, America has enjoyed exceptionally close security ties to Europe. The relationship has been strained at times—recall the Suez Crisis of 1956 and Euro-missile fight of 1983—but common political and cultural values have always helped heal the wounds.

As a result, the Old and New Worlds have stood together when it counted.

However, this Atlantic partnership might not survive a radical change in Europe’s basic nature. Few ever believed such a thing could happen, but, within the next several decades, Europe could well undergo such a change. The Continent’s restive Islamic minority is poised to grow in numbers and hence political power, and it is overwhelmingly anti-American.

Incredible as it might seem, some experts predict that Europe will have an Islamic majority sometime well before the end of this century. Thus, the US may at some point look across the Atlantic and see not the familiar, nominally Christian, and largely secular partner it has known for many decades but something else entirely: an Islamic Europe.

Historian Niall Ferguson of New York University notes, “The whole of Western Europe is entering a new era of demographic transformation without parallel in modern times.”

Some perspective is in order. Fear that a Muslim flood is about to overwhelm the Continent has long been a theme of fringe political activists and polemicists in Europe. It is anything but inevitable; today’s population trends might shift dramatically, and the dire predictions of the death of Western civilization could well prove unfounded.

Even so, many of Europe’s domestic political problems already stem from conflict between resident Muslims and the rest of society. Just look at the rise of far-right, anti-immigrant political parties in such historically tolerant nations as the Netherlands. These cultural tensions often erupt into violence, such as the grisly murder last November of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had directed a movie critical of Islam’s treatment of women. Van Gogh was slain on an Amsterdam street by a self-proclaimed jihadi of Dutch-Moroccan nationality.

These cultural strains have been aggravated by the debate about admitting Islamic Turkey to the European Union. The March 11, 2004, Madrid train bombings, meanwhile, shocked many Europeans into a realization that they are not immune to the threat of Islamist terrorism.

This uneasiness was stoked further last summer by Bernard Lewis of Prince­ton University, the eminent scholar of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. In an interview with Germany’s Die Welt, Lewis predicted, “Europe will be part of the Arabic west, of the Maghreb,” and added that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century “at the very latest.” The furor, at least on European editorial pages, has yet to abate.

Current overall population figures hardly seem indicative of a coming cultural phase shift. According to the State Department, Europe today is home to some 23 million Muslims. That is about five percent of the Continent’s population.

These numbers, however, do not include Turkey, with its 67 million Muslims. Add Turkey to the mix and Islam’s share of the European population bumps up to 15 percent. Furthermore, European Muslims are concentrated mostly in a few nations—France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands—and, within these states, they are further concentrated into a few urban areas. Muslims now make up more than a quarter of the population of Marseilles, for instance. They are 15 percent of Brussels and Paris, and 10 percent of Amsterdam. For the most part, they live in enclaves in poorer sections of town, such as Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.

Recruiters for radical strains of Islam find their work made easy by the poverty and prejudice many young Muslims face.

What is important, say analysts, is not so much the raw population totals but rather the demographic trends. Over the last 30 years, Europe’s Muslim population has more than doubled, and its growth rate continues to accelerate. Current projections hold that the number of Muslims living in Europe might double again by 2015.

One major reason: immigration. Upward of 900,000 legal immigrants enter Europe each year; most of them are Muslim. The same is true of for­eigners immigrating illegally into Europe, estimated to number 500,000 per year.

Immigration is only one factor in the emergence of Islamic Europe, however. In Muslim communities already there, high birth rates are the norm.



Importing hatred

Slaughterers . . .

Expect more bloodshed, says defiant Islamic cleric Bakri

Within the Gates

In the open: rapists' campaign of vicious assaults

Natasha Wallace:

They are probably the most violent, prolific gang rapists Sydney has known, with as many as 18 young victims. But until now the extent of the horrific crimes of four brothers from Pakistan has been kept secret.

Yesterday, more than three years after they went on a six-month rampage, luring girls as young as 13 to their home in Ashfield to rape them, suppression orders forbidding publication of their trial details were lifted.

They still cannot be named because two of the brothers were juveniles, aged 16 and 17, when they committed the first offences. But the crimes of the brothers MSK, MAK, MRK and MMK, and their friend RS, can now be made public.

The brothers, who came to Australia from Pakistan around 2000, had claimed in the face of damning DNA evidence that they were the victims of an anti-Muslim conspiracy.

The eldest brother feigned mental illness, they sacked numerous lawyers and aborted trials to ensure delays as they tried to wear down the victims who had agreed to testify.

Yesterday the Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery, QC, said the brothers took the rules that ensure a fair trial "to their limits" and they "may need to be re-examined to assess whether they are appropriate".

"People from time to time test the operation of these rules. Some people call it game-playing, but if the rules are there to be tested and used, that is a legitimate part of the process," Mr Cowdery said.

"It may be that a view can be taken that the rules are being abused and if that view is being taken it may be time for those rules to be changed."

The rapes of at least eight girls took place mostly in the brothers' Ashfield home between January and July 2002. The girls were invited to a "party", but would arrive at the house, which was strewn with rubbish and plastered with posters of semi-naked girls, to find no other females there.

Some victims were repeatedly raped at knifepoint and told they would be killed if they went to police. The brothers videotaped their rapes, and the tapes show another dozen possible victims. The police have not been able to find them all and some did not want to come forward.

The victims who did make complaints breathed a sigh of relief on Monday, when the oldest brother, MSK, pleaded guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in July 2002. That spared the victim from having to give evidence and brought the series of trials to an end.

The brutality of the crime, the last to go to trial, was typical. Before raping the girl, MSK told her he had strangled a girlfriend and hung her from a balcony in Iraq - though he was from Pakistan.

In June this year MSK was found guilty of four counts of aggravated sexual assault against a 14-year-old. MAK pleaded guilty to one count of the same charge after the trial was aborted due to outbursts by MSK, who shouted details of their previous convictions at the jury. He also jumped the dock and threw broken glass at the victims' mothers.

Under cross-examination, the girl was accused of coaxing MSK to have sex. She told the Herald: "It's always going to be terrible. In your mind you relive the experience over and over again. A smell will set it off or a word … but nothing was as hard as retelling the whole story … in detail while being accused of being a liar."

All five men had already been sentenced in April last year to between 10 and 22 years in jail for gang-raping two other girls, aged 16 and 17. RS hanged himself a week before sentencing.

For the first trial, in 2003, a new law was rushed through to prevent MSK and MAK personally cross-examining their victims. For the next two years MSK and MAK subjected their victims, the police, prosecutors, judges and even their own defence barristers to calculated ploys to avoid justice. An investigating police officer, Detective Leading Senior Constable Tony Adams, told the Herald this meant the victims continued to suffer long after the rapes. "It's been really trying at times but it's satisfying to see the end result and get the guilty verdicts." The victim who was spared giving evidence in the last trial told the Herald this week: "I am still angry but relieved. I was just nervous about everything and to face him - I was glad I didn't have to go through that."

Gang rapist bad, not mad

Rape ringleader admits guilt

Legal delays frustrate rape victims

Anti-dhimmitude in Australia: Rapist brothers did have fair trial, appeal court rules

Record rape sentence rocks Australia

Cracks in the melting pot

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