Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rape-case police chief suspended in Pakistan

BBC News:

Authorities in Pakistan have suspended a police chief accused of ordering the rape of a married woman who was seeking the release of her detained husband.

Faisalabad police chief Khalid Abdullah was removed from his post after PM Shaukat Aziz ordered an inquiry into allegations against his department.

Mr Abdullah has denied any wrongdoing, accusing the woman of lying.

Hundreds of women are raped in Pakistan every year but only a fraction of the cases are reported.

The chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry, has asked for a full report from the provincial authorities to be given to him in 10 days.

The 23-year-old woman said she was kept in illegal confinement for 15 days and raped by a police officer as "punishment" for seeking to publicise the detention of her husband.

The officer accused of the crime was suspended on Tuesday.

The woman said Mr Abdullah had ordered her rape.

Pakistani woman says raped after parliament arrest

Laws punish conversion from Islam

Julia Duin:

A court case involving three Indonesian housewives who have been jailed for offering Sunday school lessons to Muslim children of prostitutes in west Java has global significance for anyone who wishes to convert.

Shariah, or Islamic law, demands the death penalty on those who do, based on a saying of Muhammad: "Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him."

Enforcement of this rule varies widely. A few Islamic societies merely shun the convert; others remove all civil liberties from the apostates; their children are taken away, their marriages dissolved, their family inheritance lost and their right to burial in a Muslim graveyard removed.

In Iran, Hamid Pourmand, a lay leader in the Assemblies of God church and an Iranian army colonel, was imprisoned in February for having converted to Christianity 25 years ago. One son has since fled the country; his wife and younger son have been evicted from their home and both are destitute in Tehran while Mr. Pourmand serves out a three-year sentence.

Hindus in India have passed anti-conversion laws in response to conversions to Christianity and other religions by untouchables. The state of Gujarat threatens to fine and/or imprison anyone who intentionally or unintentionally converts another.

The parliament in Sri Lanka, which is 69 percent Buddhist, is considering an anti-conversion bill that carries a 5-to-7-year sentence for those whose actions, whether intentional or unintentional, influence a religious conversion.

When three Christian housewives living in a fundamentalist Islamic area about a three-hour drive west of Jakarta were accused of indoctrinating Muslim children, the community erupted in rage.

Their court case has been in process since June, simultaneous with the forced closings of 60 churches in central and west Java in the past year by radical Muslim groups. Thirty churches were closed in the past month.

Petition to Muslims: Stop killing converts

A Christian Boom

The chimpanzee genome is unveiled

Robin Orwant:

In keeping with previous studies comparing much smaller portions of the chimp and human genomes, the new comparison shows incredible similarity between the genomes. The average number of protein-changing mutations per gene is just two, and 29% of human genes are absolutely identical. What is more, only a handful of genes present in humans are absent or partially deleted in chimps.

But the degree of genome similarity alone is far from the whole story. For example, the mouse species Mus musculus and Mus spretus have genomes that differ from each other to a similar degree and yet they appear far more similar than chimps and humans.

Domestic dogs, however, vary wildly in appearance as a result of selective breeding and yet their genome sequences are 99.85% similar. So most of the differences between chimp and human genomes will turn out to be neither beneficial nor detrimental, in evolutionary terms.

The real challenge then will be finding the changes that played a major role in the evolution of chimps and humans since the two lineages split, 5 to 8 million years ago. Nothing obvious has leapt out of the initial analysis. “From this study, there’s no silver bullet of what makes chimps chimps and humans humans,” says Evan Eichler of the University of Washington at Seattle, US.

And yet no sane person believes that humans and chimps belong to the same species. On the other hand, liberals love to proclaim that there is "no genetic basis for race". What this research shows is that very small genetic differences can have a major impact in determining the attributes of closely-related races and species.

On Dawkins on Race

Medicine’s Race Problem

Race Does Exist--New York Times

Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy

Pattern Classification in Population Genetics, Pt. 1

New genome comparison finds chimps, humans very similar at DNA level

Tougher expulsion rules on the way in Denmark

Miles Alexander:

Integration Minister, Rikke Hvilshøj, has announced plans to introduce much tougher rules for the deportation of criminal immigrants from Denmark.

She said a yellow card would be given to any foreigner who commits a first criminal act. Any subsequent crime would mean automatic expulsion from the country. Exactly which offences could lead to expulsion have yet to be defined.

The Minister has rejected a proposal from Liberal candidate for the post of Mayor of Copenhagen, Søren Pind, to withhold social benefits after a second offence and deport after a third.

Arson highlights Danish tensions

Jyske Bank considers Sharia-loans in Denmark

Copenhagen Post:

The country's Muslim may soon be able to take bank loans that do not offend their religious beliefs

Jyske Bank is considering offering the country's 200,000 Muslims special interest-free 'sharia' loans.

Orthodox Muslims believe that the Koran forbids them to pay rents, imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen told daily newspaper Politiken.

'That means we can't go into a Danish bank and take a loan to buy a house or a car,' he said.

In fact, a 'sharia' loan costs customers the same as a regular loan, but instead of interests, clients pay additional fees to cover the costs.

Jyske Bank district director Hans Barth said the bank was considering the option.

'I would like to consider offering interest-free loans,' he said. 'One year ago we discussed it openly, and we found it just fine to recalculate our interest rate income as a fee.'

The country's biggest banks, however, Danske Bank and Nordea, rejected the idea.

'We don't like to discriminate between our customers,' said Christian Bagger, Danske Bank spokesman. 'Our products should appeal to the broad population. Otherwise, we would be forced to offer special products to scores of groups.'

In Britain, sharia loans have become common after the country's first Muslim bank opened in 2004, prompting more traditional banks to offer loans without interest rates.

Bank expert Bjarne Jensen said he found it likely that the development would spread to Denmark, too.

'If the demand is there, somebody will be there to supply it,' he said. 'It could be something to do good business on.'

Jyske Bank considers Sharia-loans

Camel Economics

Asian Islamic Militants Sharing Bomb Designs

Jim Gomez:

Al-Qaida's Southeast Asian ally is sharing bomb-making expertise with Muslim militants in the Philippines, providing at least nine explosive designs and eight chemical recipes to help ragtag insurgents become more lethal, according to government reports.

The results: 116 people killed in the country's worst terror attack, a series of high-tech explosions and close cooperation among local and foreign militants using the southern Philippines as a training ground following the loss of al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan.

While U.S.-backed offensives have overrun established camps in the Mindanao region in the last couple of years, training by al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah's Indonesian operatives has continued on a limited basis with militants setting up classes and plotting attacks, police and military intelligence officers told The Associated Press.

One Philippine security official said Mindanao in the southern part of the country "is like a terrorist academy" with trainees taught how to make bombs, plant them, then set them off in test missions designed to help militants perfect their techniques to complete the course.

Jemaah Islamiyah militants appear to be continuously testing new designs and explosives mixtures, said officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secretive nature of the information. Previously, many Philippine militants, especially Abu Sayyaf rebels, had relied on simple hand and rocket-propelled grenades to attack civilian targets.

Investigators looking into Sunday's bombing of a passenger ferry while it was boarding on Basilan island, injuring 30 people, said it appeared to be designed more to sow panic than kill, but that it was too early to speculate on the design.

A number of recent bombs -- pieced together from fragments found at attack sites or recovered from Philippine rebel hideouts -- carry Jemaah Islamiyah's signature: the use of electronics, including Indonesian-designed integrated circuit boards, and cell phones that allow more efficiency and flexibility as triggers, according to several investigation reports seen by AP.

Making detection difficult, the attackers use mundane items -- a TV set, egg cartons, a tin of cookies, even a tube of toothpaste, a roll-on deodorant or shampoo bottle -- to hide the bombs and their components.

More powerful chemical mixtures not used before by local militants also have been detected at bombing scenes in recent years, the reports said.

The new mixtures give the militants more leeway in attaining a particular effect. Some spark fires to scare extortion targets; others are designed to kill and destroy.

Authorities said they have detected evidence of al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah "training and technology transfer" in bomb devices for the past four or five years.

Such international cooperation and terror technology exchanges is not entirely new.

When police in 1995 raided the Manila apartment of Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, they found several juice bottles filled with the same powerful explosives used in that attack and a brand of quartz alarm clock later used in a bombing in Iraq.

Most of the bombs used in attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia are believed to have been designed by Jemaah Islamiyah's top experts, including Pitono, a Bali bombing suspect and electronics expert also known as Dulmatin, the reports said.

The army has been hunting for Dulmatin, along with at least nine other Indonesian militants, in the region of Mindanao, where he it thought to have joined the group of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khaddafy Janjalani, the military said.

Philippine authorities have detected mostly cell phone-triggered explosives while poring over bloody scenes of attacks by the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the last five years, according to investigation reports.

List of Key Terror Attacks in Philippines

Official warns of attack in Philippines

Philippines warns of more attacks after ferry bomb

The gangstas in my neighborhood

Michelle Malkin:

The peaceful suburbs of Washington, D.C., are beginning to look and feel like East Los Angeles. The violent illegal alien gang Mara Salvatrucha (or MS-13) has thoroughly penetrated the region – and its murderous members continue to be aided and abetted by reckless government officials at every level who refuse to enforce our immigration laws.

As I've reported over the past year, MS-13 is the most notorious criminal alien gang enterprise on the American landscape. The Justice Department's (belated) summer crackdown on the crime racket has resulted in the arrest of 515 MS-13 gang members who will be prosecuted for criminal cases and/or deported (many after having re-entered the country illegally despite multiple convictions and deportations).

At the local malls in Montgomery County, Md., where I live, gang stabbings are increasingly common. Earlier this summer, a spate of knifing attacks involving reputed MS-13 gangsters took place at a nearby Target store. Yes, Target – where the only fights that shoppers should have to worry about are the tug-of-war spats between soccer moms battling over Sonia Kashuk makeup bags on sale in Aisle 2.

MS-13 thugs are packing weapons far more lethal than blush brushes. The El Salvador-based syndicate has a special love affair with machetes. Earlier this month, a jury convicted one MS-13 member for a machete attack at a Fairfax County, Va., movie theater. The brutal crime left a rival gang member with three severed fingers. If MS-13 limited its violence to killing off its competitors, maybe the rest of us could afford to shrug off the illegal alien gang takeover of the mid-Atlantic corridor. But innocents from Boston to Raleigh have been caught up in the violence, and cops are in the crosshairs as well.

Impeach Bush

L.A. Home Turf for Hundreds of Neighborhood Criminal Groups

Gangs of Long Island

Gangs Of America—Central America, That Is

Remarks by Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff at a Joint Press Conference on Community Shield

Stabbing Suspects Ordered Held Without Bond

Suspects Denied Bail In Md. Stabbings

Montgomery Police Charge Five More In Stabbings

Lessons from the 'gang battlefront'

The Ugly American (And Her Even Uglier Salvadoran Friends)

The Year In Review: America’s Borders Still Open

In N.Va. Gang, A Brutal Sense Of Belonging

MS-13 Member Found Guilty in Fairfax Machete Attack

Latino gang crackdown focuses on MS-13

Nationwide Gang Sweep Comes Through Raleigh


Burglary Suspect Charged with Animal Cruelty

Nicole Teigen:

Two people are in jail after being found with goods stolen from a Southside Savannah woman's home.

Police say the crime committed inside the home was unimaginable.

"It's bad enough too be burglarized," said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Bucky Burnsed. "You feel violated, your things have been gone through, you're missing stuff. But to have the burglar kill your family pet, leave water running in the house to do further damage, is just disgusting."

Investigators say the woman who lived there walked inside her home and not only noticed items missing, but she also noticed her oven was on, with a strong stench coming from inside.

"The officer came in, did a further search," said Burnsed. "It was the officers who found the dog in the oven."

After receiving an anonymous tip from a watchful neighbor, police arrested 19-year-old Alexander Davis and 24-year-old Evelyn Williams, who was found with Davis at a pawn shop trying to sell items stolen from the house. While investigators continue their investigation, they say what was found in the home was one of the most disturbing discoveries they've ever made.

"It was a particularly disgusting event," said Burnsed.

Davis faces several felony counts including cruelty to animals. Evelyn Williams has been charged with theft by receiving stolen property. Both have been arraigned on those charges and remain behind bars.

Two arrested after dog burned to death in oven

More Taiwan women choosing to give birth in the United States

China Post:

More and more Taiwan people, especially the social elite, choose to give birth to their children in America in order to secure U.S. citizenship for their family. A book, to be published by the end of this month, will give advise on how to achieve this goal and spend less than NT$180,000.

The book, authored by Chen Wan-chien, a senior reporter in the financial field, described the process of acquiring U.S. citizenship as easy. Chen pointed out that, in recent years, the people high up in the social echelon, namely doctors, lawyers, entertainers, and politicians, have become the largest groups of people giving birth to children in the U.S. Although the procedure is incredibly easy, Chen stated that not a lot of people know about it. In her book, titled "NT$18,000 for U.S. citizenship," Chen stated that the key is success is to locate a good medical institution for the would-be mothers while they await birth.

Chen stated that NT$180,000 is the minimal, while NT$300,000 reasonable. However, people rarely need to put out more than NT$500,000. Several tips have been included in Chen's book when it comes to obtaining a visa to the U.S. Never use work as your reason to visit the U.S., said Chen. Reasons for visits, such as sightseeing, visiting relatives, and attending a graduation ceremony are all better choices.

Looks like it isn't just the Hispanics who are willing to exploit the Bush administration's unwillingness to enforce our immigration laws.

Sending Somalis here was ill-advised

Tom Dwyer:

I am not a racist, nor do I possess a prejudiced thought. However, after twice reading your cover story dated Aug. 26 on how Somali Bantu immigrants are finding life in the Concord community overwhelming and not tenable, I didn't know whether to laugh or puke.

After already providing them with interpreters, front-loaded government aid, food stamps, resettlers, furnished apartments, case workers, job placement assistance, eight months of federal funding, English courses, cash assistance, bill negotiation, transitional aid, referral services, welfare medical appointments, community support, free rides and entertainment, safe street crossing skills and even toilet training, to hear they are now seeking more public immigrant aid from Maine sickens me.

This is no emergency; this is blood-sucking.

Understanding that Lutheran Social Services has imported more than 350 refugees all to the rather small city of Concord, I'm thankful our generous offerings do have limits. The Brady Bunch era is over, and few average American families have more than three children these days because the cost of living is high. Depending on two incomes to make ends meet is not uncommon here.

Who's the brilliant one giving these individuals the impression that coming to our country with not only seven children but also absolutely zero dollars or education would be an appropriate plan of action?

About the only service not mentioned in this article was birth control, and now they are expecting yet another child they cannot support. Might this have been a strategy to open even more doors of opportunities?

A big thank you to Nasir Arush, an obvious social service vacuum, for all of your skilled training on how to consume every possible offering we have.

When the state of Maine is also sucked dry, will they be hitting Vermont?

Very likely.

Tensions mount over Hispanics

Victor Manuel Ramos:

Hispanics who don't speak English should be deported. They're taking jobs from Americans. Their children are burdening our schools.

They should all get back on their boats and go back to wherever they came from.

Those are not the words of Jan P. Hall, the fifth-grade Sadler Elementary schoolteacher accused of belittling Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Haitians, Middle Easterners and others in a letter to members of Congress.

The comments come from Central Florida residents who have bombarded the Sentinel with several hundred calls, e-mails, letters and online postings since the Orange County School Board suspended Hall last week.

The letter became the latest flash point to divide Central Florida as demographic changes have created a vibrant Hispanic market whose visibility has taken many older residents by surprise. From the cultural to the political, the changes seem to be happening quickly.

Earlier this year, oldies fans were incensed when one Clear Channel Communications radio station switched to Puerto Rican salsa.

Last month, the federal government filed a lawsuit against Osceola County, where Hispanics make up more than a third of the population, charging that the county's at-large election system discriminates against Hispanics. A group of mostly Hispanic residents also has sued Kissimmee on similar grounds.

The letter attributed to Hall seemed to open the floodgates of discontent. Hispanics were horrified at the letter's hurtful words, while non-Hispanic voices rose not only to support the First Amendment right of free speech but also, in many cases, to agree with the letter's divisive contents.

"If a person of color says bad things about white people, it is opinion," noted one posting signed "Learn English" at an bulletin board last week. "If a white person [says] something bad about a person of color it is 'racism.' We WHITE people are the MINORITY in Florida. Where are our groups to fight for OUR rights?"

The majority of Floridians are non-Hispanic whites, but Hispanics are now Florida's largest minority group.

The backlash to diversity is typical of times and places in which people work their way through significant demographic changes. Some historians and social scientists hold that nativist views -- often based on real issues as well as imagined fears -- are not any different from attitudes held against Italian, Polish, Irish and German Catholic immigrants of past centuries or the anti-Asian sentiments of the late 1800s and the early 1900s.

"This is a process in which groups are seeking power and control over their lives," said Robert Adelman, a sociology professor at Georgia State University. "And, because there is a perception that many immigrants, particularly Latino immigrants, have entered the U.S. illegally, many Americans complain about, and fight against, immigrants entering the education or health-care systems."

Yet Central Florida's predominant Hispanic group consists of Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens at birth. The letter's call to close the borders on immigrants would not apply to Puerto Ricans in any case.

The battle about language, however, drives much of the debate.

Diana Andrews, a 32-year-old office worker from Kissimmee, was among those who wrote to support the teacher. America should wake up, she stated, because tensions will escalate, and "we'll end up having a war within this country."

Andrews said she is not speaking out of hatred.

"I've noticed a lot of other cultures that talk down about Americans and can't stand white people, but yet they are here working, taking jobs and getting a better life for themselves," Andrews said. "I can't get certain jobs because I am not bilingual. That's discriminatory to me."

Teacher quits; wrote anti-Hispanic letter

What police presence there is in New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi, isn't slowing down looters

Associated Press:

A police spokesman in New Orleans says a police officer was shot in the head by a looter, but he's expected to recover.

Dozens of looters on historic Canal Street have ripped open steel gates to stores. Some filled plastic garbage cans to carry or float stolen goods.

In Biloxi, looters picked through slot machines of damaged casinos to see if they still have coins inside.

One motel owner says people are just "filling up garbage bags and walking off like they're Santa Claus."

Some who stayed put may not live to regret it

Katrina could turn New Orleans into a giant cesspool

Looters Attempt To Break Into Children's Hospital

Governor: Everyone Must Leave New Orleans

Hurricane likely to leave deep mark on U.S. economy

Katrina Death Toll May Be in the Hundreds as Looting Breaks out

New Orleans plunges deeper into chaos and despair

Storm-hit New Orleans in turmoil

Looters seize opportunity in devastation

Looters turn New Orleans into 'downtown Baghdad'

Official: Prisoners Riot, Take Hostages In New Orleans




Crime wave strikes in hurricane's wake

Hurricane Katrina: Is Looting a Question of Skin Color?

Looters must get harsh treatment

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More hospitals going multilingual

Anne Geggis:

Between her husband's limited English and the hospital nurses' grasp of a little Spanish, Rosalba Hernandez of DeLand was able to get the message earlier this month: "Empuje" or "Push."

Six-pound, 9-ounce Daniel Melendez was born at 11:30 p.m. Aug. 2 and now the push is on at Florida Hospital West Volusia Division to increase the focus on diversity at the division's two hospitals, Florida Hospital DeLand -- where Daniel was born-- and Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City.

For the first time, the hospitals' 1,600 employees are being offered free, formal Spanish lessons that focus on medical terminology. And videotape illustrating medical scenarios in which culture plays a role has been shown to all current employees and to all new employees in the last six months.

It's all part of a multipronged effort to address a reality that's becoming more apparent around Flagler and Volusia counties: Increasingly patients are less likely to be native speakers of English.

Clinics and hospitals are concerned they could be overwhelmed with people needing translation services -- which can present a financial burden for those managing their operations on a string. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says medical facilities receiving federal funds must provide interpreter services.

Another case of the natives being forced to assimilate to the culture of the immigrants.

N.Y. shuts down illegal LiveStrong bracelet operation

Business Review:

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said his office shut down an illegal New York City operation that imported and sold counterfeit LiveStrong bracelets.

Spitzer said the defendants in the case pleaded guilty and turned over $111,830 to the Austin, Texas, Lance Armstrong Foundation, which benefits from the popular bracelets.

"This was a cynical scheme to profit from the public's strong support for the Lance Armstrong Foundation's work," Spitzer said.

"The sale of each counterfeit bracelet deprived the charity of money that could further its work in cancer treatment and research."

The attorney general's Office secured guilty pleas in the case after shutting down the counterfeiting ring in April when investigators from Spitzer's office and the New York state police raided two distribution operations in Queens and Manhattan.

During the raids, authorities seized more than 80,000 counterfeit bracelets and over $100,000 in cash.

"Stealing money from cancer survivors and their families is despicable. These arrests have stopped a criminal enterprise that, in reality, had multiple victims: the individual consumers who were defrauded, whose intentions to contribute to cancer survivors were thwarted; and a legitimate charity and its deserving beneficiaries," New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said.

Spitzer said the counterfeiting operation was run by Li Ping Liang Chen, who operated Eastlink International Inc., an import-export company, from her home in Queens.

Chen arranged to have the counterfeit LiveStrong bracelets produced in China, and imported into the United States through John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to law enforcement officials.

Undercover investigators working on the case purchased a box containing more than 1,000 counterfeit wristbands at a store in Manhattan operated by some of the defendants in this case.

According to U.S. Customs agents, the airbill number on this box of counterfeit bracelets established that it was imported by Eastlink International.

Founded in 1997, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is a charitable organization that finances cancer care and research programs.

The foundation sells distinctive bright yellow wristbands engraved with the term "LiveStrong" for $1 each. According to the foundation, its has sold more than 50 million of the ubiquitous little yellow wristbands worldwide -- that's almost 20 percent of the U.S. population and 1 percent of the world's.

Six plead guilty to selling fake Lance Armstrong wristbands for cancer


Iran's Growing Sway in Iraq Defies Neocons' Logic

Jim Lobe:

Anyone who still believes that the U.S. neoconservatives who led the drive to war in Iraq are diabolically clever geo-strategic masterminds should now consider Iran's vastly improved position vis-à-vis its U.S.-occupied neighbor.

Not only did Washington knock off Tehran's arch-foe, Saddam Hussein, as well as the anti-Iranian Taliban in Afghanistan, but, with this week's completion of a new constitution that would guarantee a weak central government and substantial autonomy to much of the Shi'ite south, it also appears that Iran's influence in Iraq – already on the rise after last spring's inauguration of a pro-Iranian interim government – is set to grow further.

"The new constitution will strengthen the hand of the provincial forces in the South, which are pro-Iranian," according to University of Michigan Iraq expert Juan Cole, who notes that the state structure authorized by the draft charter would amount more to a confederation than a federal system.

Moreover, Cole told IPS, the constitutional ban on any law that contravenes Islamic law will likely give Shi'ite clerics significant power over the state, moving Iraq much closer to the Iranian model.

"While there's no clerical dictator at the head of government as in Iran, if you had five ayatollahs on the Supreme Court who were striking down laws because they contravened Islam, that's pretty close to the Iranian system," he said.

In a recent colloquium for The Nation magazine, Shibley Telhami, a Middle East specialist at the Brookings Institution, noted that, "No one in Washington would have imagined that with all the human and financial costs of the war, the United States would find itself supporting a government … [with] close ties to Iran and that would conclude a military agreement with Tehran for the training of Iraq forces, even as nearly 140,000 U.S. troops remained on Iraq soil."

This indeed was not how it was supposed to turn out for neoconservatives, who had argued that the gratitude of Iraqis for their "liberation" from Saddam would result in the installation of a secular, pro-Western government that would permit its territory to be used for U.S. military bases as yet another pressure point – or possible launching pad – against an increasingly beleaguered and unpopular Islamic Republic (and Syria, too) next door.

When U.S. troops, however, were not in fact greeted in Iraq with the "flowers and sweets" that they predicted, and an unexpected Sunni insurgency began to seriously challenge the occupation, neoconservatives were unfazed.

By empowering the majority Shi'ites through elections, they argued, the United States would create a democratic model that would prove irresistible for the increasingly disillusioned Iranian masses who – with political and possibly paramilitary support from the United States – would rise up and overthrow the theocracy.

"Such a government supported by Iraq's Shi'ite establishment is a dagger aimed at Tehran's clerical dictatorship," argued the neoconservatives' top Iran expert, Reuel Marc Gerecht of the American Enterprise Institute, in a Wall Street Journal column last December before the Jan. 30 elections brought to power the Jaafari government.

But while Gerecht was confidently predicting that a Shia government in Baghdad and Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf would ring the death knell of the mullahs in Tehran, other analysts saw an altogether different scenario.

"The real long-term geopolitical winner of the 'War on Terror' could be Iran," concluded a September 2004 report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Britain's most influential foreign policy think tank.

"The Iranians have so much control over what happens in Iraq," one of the authors, Gareth Stansfield, told USA Today at the time. "The United States is only beginning to realize this."

Contrary to Gerecht's predictions, that influence, if not control, has only strengthened since the January elections, which were won by the Shi'ite coalition headed by Ibrahim's Da'wa party and, most especially, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). In addition to getting the most votes in the federal election, it swept nine out of the 11 provinces, including Baghdad province, where there are substantial Shi'ite populations.

The War on Iraq: a Historical Middle East Perspective

Does Anyone Know What We're Doing in Iraq?

No Sympathy for the Neocons

Thinking About Neoconservatism

Virginia SAT scores rise, but racial gap remains

Associated Press:

Virginia's high school students improved their scorres on the verbal and math S-A-T in 2005.

The College Board said today that the average verbal score was 516 out of a possible 800 points, up a point from 515 last year. The average math score was 514, up from 509 the previous year.

Virginia's cumulative score was 1030, compared to the national average of 1028, according to the College Board, which owns and administers the Scholastic Assessment Test. Virginia's average verbal score was higher than last year's national average of 508, but math scores were lower than the national average of 520.

The math and verbal sections are each graded on a 200-point to 800-point scale.

Composite scores for Virginia students describing themselves as black rose eleven points to 865, up from 854 in 2004. But a racial gap remains. White students' scores rose to 1070, up from 1058; while students describing themselves as of Asian or Pacific Islander descent had an average composite score of 1071, up from 1063.

JoLynne DeMary, the state's superintendent of public instruction, says there's still work to be done to boost black students' scores. But she said the state continues see improves in "all subgroups."

SAT Scores Show Slight Increase

SAT Scores Show Student Gains in Math

“Stereotype Threat” a.k.a. Occam's Butterknife

Why Dropping The SAT Is Bad For Blacks

SAT Gap - African-Americans and Latinos falling further behind on SAT scores

A new SAT? Why fix what works?

Massacre of football fans raises state terror fears in Haiti

Reed Lindsay:

AT LEAST eight people were shot or hacked to death when police and machete-wielding civilians went on the rampage among spectators at a "Play for Peace" football match in Haiti.

The game, in Port-au-Prince's hillside slum of Martissant, was funded by the United States government as part of a drive to steer young people away from gang violence, and what took place has fuelled fears of state-sponsored terrorism in the run-up to elections later this year.

Hooded police first went into the ground and ordered the 6,000 spectators to leave. Suddenly, gunshots rang out and people began to run for the walled ground's only exit.

Witnesses claim the police began firing wantonly.

Outside, more police and civilians armed with machetes - said by local people to be paid police informants known as "attaches" - attacked people trying to flee.

"They came to massacre us," said Nesly Devla, 20, who was struck with a machete. "Everyone was on top of each other. There was nowhere to run. God saved me."

One community leader claimed that at least 30 people were killed, some of them shot by the police. The killings come less than a month after two other machete attacks that also appeared to take place with police complicity.

The incidents all occurred in poor areas of Port-au-Prince considered bastions of support for Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the exiled former president.

Anne Sosin, of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, who criticised UN peacekeepers for not intervening, said she had confirmed the deaths of at least eight people but expected the death toll to be much higher.

"How can you explain police accompanied by individuals armed with machetes massacring spectators at a soccer match in broad daylight with UN troops standing by literally across the street?

"This event needs to serve as a wake-up call for the international community, which for more than a year has failed to respond to grave violations of human rights in Haiti."

The head of the international police force in the area, Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Espie, of France, said the incident was being investigated, and suggested local people had decided to attack gang members attracted to the game.

5000 soccer fans in Haiti witness machete and hatchet massacre by police and death squads

More machete lynchings in Haiti: 7-20 hacked to death in Grande Ravine district

U.N. condemns 'lynching' in Haiti

New massacre in Haiti; Dominican Republic steps up deportations

The low percentage of young black males with jobs can be attributed to high incarceration numbers, child-support demands and immigration

Charles Stein:

It has been a tough job market for young people over the past few years. For young black men -- especially those with limited education -- it has been a brutal job market.

In 2004, fewer than 39 percent of black men between the ages of 16 and 24 had a job. The comparable national numbers for Hispanics and whites were 60 percent and 59 percent. All three groups lost ground between 2000 and 2004. Blacks started from a lower point and fell further.

Georgetown University public policy professor Harry Holzer supplies some answers in a recently published paper called "What Explains the Continuing Decline in Labor Force Activity Among Young Black Men?" His paper makes for depressing reading.

According to Holzer, about 5 percent of all black men are incarcerated. For black men between 16 and 34, the percentage rises to 12 percent. Prisoners don't need to find jobs. Former prisoners do.

Holzer estimates that 30 percent of young black men have criminal records. You don't need a doctorate in economics to figure out that criminal records are a huge handicap in the job market. But it gets worse.

"In the absence of explicit information about criminal backgrounds," writes Holzer, employers "tend to avoid young black men in general."

The legal system poses yet another problem for the same young men in the form of child support orders. Most states today track down and garnish the wages of fathers who don't support their children. Holzer says a significant fraction of young black men -- perhaps 25 percent -- have fathered children they don't live with. Among black men 25 to 34, the percentage may be as high as 50 percent.

For these men, child support orders have the same effect as a steep tax: They create a huge disincentive to work -- at least in the traditional economy.

In an interview, Holzer said that many men fall behind in their child support payments while in prison and then get hit with court orders when they come out. "All the incentives are to go underground," he said.

Young black men have another issue: intensified competition in the labor market. In a series of reports they have written, Northeastern University economists Andrew Sum and Paul Harrington have documented the success new immigrants have had in landing jobs. Since 2000, 3.7 million new immigrants -- those who arrived in the past five years -- have found employment. In low-wage jobs, immigrants have displaced young people of all races.

But young black men have been hit hardest, Sum said, because they compete most directly with immigrants for jobs at stores and fast-food restaurants, especially in urban areas.

Harrington saw that rivalry up close on a recent visit to Philadelphia where he conducted a focus group with employers. Philadelphia is a city with a large black population and a growing number of immigrants. The employers at the meeting didn't say anything disparaging about black workers. In fact, some of the employers themselves were black. But to a person they were effusive in their praise for immigrants.

"All they could talk about was the work ethic of their foreign-born employees," Harrington said. Work ethic seems to be a term that covers a lot of ground -- everything from showing up on time, to treating customers well, to willingness to learn new skills.

Racism may be a factor, but probably not a big one. Harrington and Sum's research shows that black male immigrants without a high school diploma are twice as likely to hold a job than their native-born counterparts.

Jobs and Jails

The Paradox of Rising Teen Joblessness in An Expanding Labor Market

Nation's immigrants account for bulk of labor force growth since 2000

U.S. poverty rate rises; ranks of poor whites expand


The U.S. poverty rate rose in 2004, driven by an increase in the number of poor non-Hispanic whites, while the median income for Americans as a whole remained stable, the government said on Tuesday.

The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty rose to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent in 2003, as 1.1 million more people slipped into poverty last year, the Census Bureau said in its annual poverty report.

The ranks of the poor rose to 37.0 million, up from 35.9 million the previous year, the report said.

The poverty rate rose for only one group -- non-Hispanic whites -- which had an 8.6 percent poverty rate for 2004 compared with 8.2 percent in 2003. The poverty rate declined for Asians and remained unchanged for blacks and Hispanics, the report showed.

The real median household income in 2004 totaled $44,389, flat from 2003 and marking the second consecutive year in which income showed no change.

Black households had the lowest median income among race groups, at $30,134, while Asian households had the highest, at $57,518. The median-income for non-Hispanic white households was $48,977 and was $34,241 for Hispanic households.

Income was unchanged in each census region except the U.S. Midwest, where it declined 2.8 percent to $44,657, the report said.

US poverty rate continues to rise

U.S. incomes treading water

Illegal alien accused of triple homicide


An illegal alien previously arrested on a domestic dispute but not deported is accused of shooting dead three men outside a bar in Altoona, Pa., after telling police he had been experiencing blackouts.

Miguell A. Padilla, 25, called police after the shooting and said he "believed he had hurt somebody but had been having blackouts," the Blair Country district attorney said yesterday.

He was caught shortly after Sunday's shooting and charged with three counts each of criminal homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person, as well as one count of illegal possession of a handgun. He was ordered held without bail.

Police and city officials in Altoona believe the case may be the first-ever triple homicide in the central Pennsylvania town of 50,000, located about 85 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The shooting occurred just before 2 a.m. Sunday after Padilla and two companions tried to enter the bar in the United Veterans Association Club in downtown Altoona, a 69-year-old institution known as a regular site for wedding receptions and reunions.

After Padilla was told the bar was members-only – a sign saying just that was posted in the window – he got into an argument, first, with the club's doorman, Frederick Rickabaugh, 58, and then with the club's owner, Alfred Mignogna, 61, both of Altoona. Padilla returned to his car, came back with a handgun and shot Rickabaugh and then Mignogna, police said.

Another shot hit Stephen Heiss, 28, a bar patron and state prison guard, who was entering the club with a female friend when he saw Padilla shooting and pushed his friend out of the way.

Mignogna, a longtime Altoona High School math teacher who also owned another bar in town, died at the scene. Rickabaugh and Heiss died later at Altoona Regional Health Systems hospital.

After he fled the scene to a home in Altoona, Padilla called 911 and said he knew police were looking for him, authorities said.

"He said he believed he had hurt somebody but had been having blackouts and maybe had some flashbacks about it," said Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman.

A year ago, Altoona Police arrested Padilla during a domestic dispute and Cooper said the department discovered that he was an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Cooper said he didn't know why Padilla wasn't deported after that.

"For the answer to that question, you'll have to call" U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles illegal immigration deportation, Cooper told the local paper. "They were notified."

Gun used in triple slaying found, police say

Immigrant database lacks foreign criminal histories

ID card gives immigrants more opportunity

Will Femicide Stop At The Mexican Border?

Guard The Border But Don't Forget Deportation Enforcement!

Suspected member of ‘cannibal gang’ yields, confirms reports on cannibalism

Bong Reblando:

One of the suspects in the grisly murder of a villager in Glan, Sarangani whose flesh was eaten and his blood drank by a "cannibal gang," was taken into custody, police said.

Senior Supt. Efren Valeriano, Sarangani police director, said Ruben Latang Jr., brother of Sabino and Angelito Latang, who were earlier captured by the police, surrendered to the police station in Glan with the help of Barangay Captain Boy Roque of Laguimit.

Before his surrender, another suspect, Enrique Dundan, yielded to the police in Glan, Valeriano stated in a report to Chief Supt. Danilo Mangila, Central Mindanao police chief.

Operatives of the police in nearby Jose Abad Santos town, Davao del Sur, backed up by Glan policemen, arrested Sabino and Angelito Latang for the killing of Celso Lamitod, barangay tanod of Riod del Pilar, Glan.

Mangila had ordered Valeriano to conduct a hunt for the "cannibal gang," which has sown terror in the far-flung villages at the borders of Glan, Sarangani and Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur.

In the 70s to 80s, the first "cannibalism" pratice was attributed to the group of "Kumander Bucay," whose members were reported to have eaten the flesh of their Muslim victims during the "Ilaga" and Moro rebel fighting.

Norberto Manero Jr., chieftain of the dreaded "Ilaga," a para-military group, was even convicted of slaying of Italian priest Fr. Tulio Favalli in Tulunan, North Cotabato, where, he and his brother allegedly tasted the brain of the slain priest.

In a press conference, Ruben Latang admitted that he took part in the killing of Lamitod last month but said, unlike his brothers Sabino and Angelito and the other gang members, he "did not eat the victim’s flesh nor drink his blood."

Ruben said his conscience was bothering him everyday and has no peace of mind so he decided to surrender with the help of his friend, Barangay Captain Roque.

Also, the suspect confessed that the "cannibal gang" killed Lamitod for his unpaid debt of only R40.

He confirmed that the "cannibal gang" did eat the "human heart and liver" of their victims and drink their blood, believing that it is an effective "amulet" to protect them from bullets and bladed weapons.

"It’s true that my brothers Sabino and Angelito and the rest of the gang, except me, took part in eating the flesh and drinking the blood of our victims as part of a ritual to acquired an amulet," Ruben Latang told reporters.

Filipino Cannibal Gang

Egyptian presidential candidate: “The whole world should convert to Islam. Now.”


Osama Shaltut claims to descend from the Prophet Mohammed and the centrepiece of his campaign for the Egyptian presidency is a promise to convert the entire world to Islam.

The 66-year-old leader of the Solidarity Party, who wears a broad smile and a neatly-trimmed beard, does not like wasting time.

"Why wait?" he asks. "The whole world should convert to Islam. Now."

Shaltut, the only Islamist candidate in Egypt's September 7 presidential election, nevertheless knows he will have to wait before he can unseat President Hosni Mubarak, who is widely expected to be re-elected.

When he introduces himself, Shaltut requests he be addressed as "Sharif" due to his holy ancestry or "Doctor" owing to his PhD in accounting.

His programme, he says, is threefold.

"First, let's gather the leaders of all religions. Then, let's apply their principles and assess the results... Finally, let's proclaim the victory of Islam."

But Shaltut admits such a process "would take around 10 years", so he advocates a universal conversion to Islam to speed things up and "for the good of humanity".

Egypt is a 90% Muslim country where radical views are widespread and, to convince recalcitrant voters, Shaltut has also launched a mass SMS campaign, using mobile phone text messaging to spread his views.

Egypt releases senior member of Muslim Brotherhood

Inside the Asian Pressure Cooker

Pueng Vongs:

Experts are beginning to take greater notice of the impact of intense academic pressure and strict parenting on Asian youths, and they say these factors contribute to high rates of depression among young Asians. Chinese, Filipino and other Pacific Islander youths topped the charts of groups reporting symptoms of depression in a survey of middle school kids taken by the San Francisco Unified School District in 2001, in numbers disproportionate to their population.

In the worst cases, Asian youths see no way out. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 24, but second among young Asian and Pacific Islanders (unintentional injuries rank first), according to the Centers for Disease Control in 2000. Asian American girls have the highest rates of depressive symptoms of all racial groups and the highest rate of suicide among all women age 15 to 24, according to an American Psychological Association study in 2003.

Coleman Wong says pressures facing Asian kids have changed little in the 30 years he has counseled students in San Francisco schools. "For the bulk of Asian parents it is all about succeeding, and there is no middle ground."

Wong mentions two recent suicide attempts, one successful, by Chinese students in San Francisco as examples of how the enormous pressure to succeed may contribute to suicide. An American-born Chinese captain of Lowell High School's football team, who maintained a high GPA in the district's most competitive high school, killed himself in 2002. "A bad grade on a test or a fight with a girlfriend or boyfriend can be devastating to a kid if they don't know how to reach out," Wong says. In 2004, a student from Balboa High who ranked high in student government survived a suicide attempt.

Wong says often Asian immigrant parents don't know how to give positive reinforcement or show their kids that it is OK to make mistakes. "In Chinese there is a word for making a mistake, 'chuo,' and a word for being bad, 'huai.' Parents confuse them both. It is a shame-based society. You do well for your family's sake, not your own."

Asian girls are especially at risk. When he walks into a classroom and asks how many students are depressed and how many have thought about suicide, Wong says it is consistently Asian girls, often the oldest in their families, who raise their hands. "They often have the most pressure because they also have to look after the other kids."

Asians, Depression, and Suicide, and the Death of Iris Chang

Sex Differences in Adolescent Depression: An Overview of Current Research

Bitter Asian Men

Court-ordered desegregation opened a virtually all-white school to blacks. Fear, anger and resentment followed.

Sandy Banks:

The graduates of Inglewood High's Class of 1975 assembled on the football field and applauded Scott Mosko as he took the podium. "Congratulations," the valedictorian said, "for surviving the utter hell we've been through at Inglewood High."

The school's "forced integration" had failed, he continued. The proof was right before their eyes: Two groups of graduates — one black, one white — sitting on separate sides of the field.

"The theme of my speech was: Look at how well this idea of integration has worked," Mosko recalled. "You can force us all to go to the same school and sit in class together, but when you give us a choice, the students choose individually to sit with their own racial kind."

They were Inglewood High's second integrated graduating class, a product of the district's court-ordered desegregation in 1970 that delivered hundreds of black students to a campus that had been virtually all white for half a century.

The transition was abrupt and rocky. Some students rolled through their four years at Inglewood High unscathed. But for others, the resulting racial tumult stoked prejudices, fueled fears and brewed resentment that has lingered for 30 years.

This summer, a round of class reunions brought their adolescent struggles back into focus. Even now, graduates look back through a haze colored by race, economics and culture.

"When you talk to people from my class, they'll say high school was one of the worst times of their lives," said Norm Drexel, class of 1975. "What's stayed with me, with many of us, is anger, that I didn't enjoy high school."

Drexel is a product of old Inglewood, which for generations was proudly, and stubbornly, white. His father grew up in Inglewood, and his grandparents worked for the family of the city's founder, Daniel Freeman.

In 1960, the census counted only 29 "Negroes" among Inglewood's 63,390 residents. Not a single black child attended the city's schools. Real estate agents refused to show homes to blacks. A rumored curfew kept blacks off the streets at night.

The Watts riots in 1965 spurred white residents to flee and opened the city's doors to minorities. By 1970, Inglewood had more than 10,000 blacks among its 90,000 citizens.

Virtually overnight, Drexel recalled, his neighborhood became "an area where nobody wanted to be out front anymore. And when we did, there were always fights."

Desperate for Change, but What Kind?

Racial Tensions Flare in L.A. Area's Changing Neighborhoods

Immigration and National Security - Two New Reports Highlight Connection

WASHINGTON (August 30, 2005) -- Two new reports released today by the Center for Immigration Studies examine the role of immigration control in our efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks on American soil. Both point to the profound security challenges posed by a federal government policy of mass immigration and lax enforcement of the law.

The first paper, "Immigration and Terrorism: Moving Beyond the 9/11 Staff Report on Terrorist Travel," illustrates how 94 Islamist terrorists used the immigration system to infiltrate and embed in the United States. The author is Janice L. Kephart, counsel for the 9/11 Commission and an author of the Commission staff’s report on terrorist travel. The report is on line at

Other than the 9/11 hijackers included in the study, almost all of the terrorists examined have been indicted or convicted for their crimes. The report builds on prior work done by 9/11 Commission and the Center for Immigration Studies, providing more information than has been previously been made public.

The report highlights the danger of our lax immigration system, not just in terms of who is allowed in, but also how terrorists, once in the country, used weaknesses in the system to remain here. It makes clear that strict enforcement of immigration law -- at American consulates overseas, at ports of entry, and within the United States -- must be an integral part of our efforts to prevent future attacks on U.S. soil.

Among the findings:

* Of the 94 foreign-born terrorists who operated in the United States, the study found that about two-thirds (59) committed immigration fraud prior to or in conjunction with taking part in terrorist activity.

* Of the 59 terrorists who violated the law, many committed multiple immigration violations -- 79 instances in all.

* Temporary visas were a common means of entering; 18 terrorists had student visas and another four had applications approved to study in the United States. At least 17 terrorists used a visitor visa -- either tourist (B2) or business (B1).

* There were 11 instances of passport fraud and 10 instances of visa fraud; in total 34 individuals were charged with making false statements to an immigration official.

* In at least 13 instances, terrorists overstayed their temporary visas.

* In 17 instances, terrorists claimed to lack proper travel documents and applied for asylum, often at a port of entry.

* Fraud was used not only to gain entry into the United States, but also to remain, or "embed," in the country.

* Seven terrorists were indicted for acquiring or using various forms of fake identification, including driver's licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and immigration arrival records.

* Once in the United States, 23 terrorists became legal permanent residents, often by marrying an American. There were at least nine sham marriages.

* In total, 21 foreign terrorists became naturalized U.S. citizens.

The second paper is "Keeping Extremists Out: The History of Ideological Exclusion, and the Need for Its Revival," by James R. Edwards, Jr., an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute and Principal at Olive, Edwards, & Brinkmann, L.L.C. It is on line at

This paper describes the contribution immigration law has made and can make again in barring and removing ideological enemies from our shores. America has often faced the threat of foreigners promoting radical ideologies, including Jacobinism, anarchism, communism, fascism, and now Islamism. It is an unavoidable consequence of mass immigration; the higher the level of immigration, the more likely it is that individuals espousing hatred and violence toward America will gain entry.

But whatever the level of immigration, excluding or removing noncitizens from the United States based on their promotion of radical beliefs (''ideological exclusion'') can help to protect the country. Historically such efforts have played this role, especially during the 20th century. With the end of the Cold War, Congress effectively repealed ideological exclusion, meaning that only active terrorists on watch lists could be barred, while those promoting the ideologies of such terrorists would have to be admitted.

To end this vulnerability, Dr. Edwards argues that ideological exclusion should be restored, allowing aliens to be excluded or deported not only for overt acts but also for radical affiliations or advocacy. Such grounds for exclusion and removal should be based on characteristics common to the many varieties of extremism, rather than target a specific ideology.

Study: Terrorists Exploit Immigration Laws

Polygamy is a valuable way of saving women from becoming "aged virgins", according to Malaysia's leading Islamist politician

Sebastien Berger:

Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of the PAS Party, called on Muslim wives not to react violently if their husbands tell them that they want to take a second wife.

They should consider the plight of other women "who would become aged virgins until they die because the men who want them are blocked from marrying them".

Mr Nik Abdul Aziz is the chief minister of the northeastern state of Kelantan, which the PAS has ruled for 15 years. One of his sons is detained under Malaysia's internal security act as a suspected Islamic radical.

Under Malaysian law, polygamy is legal for Muslims, who make up a little over half of the population. But they must fulfil various conditions before being allowed to take extra wives, up to a maximum of four.

This month, after two Malaysian wives allegedly attacked their husbands with acid when they said that they wanted to marry again, Mr Nik Abdul Aziz said: "A man who wants to take a second wife must be sensitive to his first wife's feelings.

"He must be tender in his approach. A woman's heart is like a glass, very fragile and easily shattered. Husbands must learn how to take care of them."

He has also called for men to be whipped if they desert their wives without paying maintenance.

Similar punishment should apply to those who abused Islam's polygamous provisions: "In addition to being fined, these irresponsible men should be caned, preferably until they become impotent."

Wife 'mown down' over polygamy row

Malaysian Muslim fundamentalist leader says polygamy will help 'aged virgins'

Polygamy and the hidden wives of Turkey

Nick Read:

The villages of south-east Anatolia, in the corner of Turkey that borders Iraq and Syria, are bleak, hauntingly beautiful places that do not give up their secrets lightly.

It is part of what Kurds claim as their homeland, where years of violent struggle between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish government have left more than 30,000 killed.

The government outlawed the practice of polygamy nearly a century ago. But Islamic custom can allow men to take up to four wives.

In this devoutly Muslim region, it is estimated that nearly a quarter of all marriages are polygamous.

Men like 32-year-old Resat Yagdi regard it as their birthright. He is a part-time electrician and onion farmer, with a beautiful wife and three children, one just a week old.

But despite these blessings, he is determined to take a second wife to enhance his prosperity and prestige in the village.

He has chosen a girl who lives virtually next door - Ayse Aymaz - who is eight years his junior.

But while preparing to marry Ayse, he soon learned that love comes at a price.

To win Ayse's hand, first Resat must build her a new home, and pay her parents a substantial bride price. By the time he marries, he will be £18,000 out of pocket.

But after what Resat considered to be an unhappy first marriage, it is a price worth paying. He says: "Ayse is so feminine. She is everything I've ever dreamt of. She's my perfect type."

For Resat's 22-year-old sister, Melihat, the clock is ticking.

Her marriage will soon be arranged by her father, who has three wives himself, and her price negotiated with the groom's family.

Melihat knows she is regarded purely as an economic asset: "They sell girls like animals; we're not treated as human beings."

Some are sold into marriage as young as 12 years old. Girls who run away are simply killed, in what are euphemistically called "honour" killings.

Polygamy in Turkey: Slow Evolutionary Change

Kurdish hinterland hopes to add spice to Europe

Immigrants die in new Paris fire

BBC News:

A fire has killed seven people - including four children - in a building housing African immigrants in Paris, just days after a similar lethal blaze.

Officials say about 12 families from Ivory Coast were living there in deplorable conditions. The blaze happened in the central Marais area.

On Friday, 17 West Africans died in another Paris apartment block fire, and a similar blaze killed 24 in April.

The government has now ordered a review of housing policy for immigrants.

President Jacques Chirac expressed sadness at the latest fire and ordered an inquiry.

It broke out at 2200 (2000 GMT) on Monday and firefighters took 90 minutes to control it.

A child who jumped from a window in the building died in hospital. Six other bodies were found in the ruins.

Friday's deadly fire - also in a building used by African immigrants - provoked street protests in Paris.

Fourteen of the 17 who died in that blaze were children.

Members of the African community took to the streets over the weekend, urging the authorities to provide better housing for immigrants.

They were joined by left-wing activists and pressure groups who accused French leaders of neglect.

Why on earth are the French allowing so many African immigrants into their country when they obviously have no place to put them?

Deadly Paris fires highlight housing crisis

Paris Fire Kills Seven African Immigrants

Monday, August 29, 2005

Is the Church of England racist?

Jonathan Petre:

Dr John Sentamu

The Church of England is infected with institutional racism and is still a place of "pain" for many black Anglicans, according to its first black archbishop.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop-designate of York, has used the foreword of a new book implicitly to criticise fellow Church leaders for failing to deal properly with discrimination in the organisation.

Though a long-term critic of the Church's "monochrome" white culture, his comments will now carry far more weight as he is soon to be enthroned as the second most senior cleric in the hierarchy.

They signal his intention to place racism at the heart of his agenda in office and will reopen soul-searching over one of the Church's most sensitive issues.

Another black bishop, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, complained of racism when an unnamed cleric dubbed him a "Paki papist" while the Church was selecting a successor to Dr George Carey at Canterbury in 2002.

The book to which Dr Sentamu has contributed, Rejection, Resistance and Resurrection, Speaking out on racism in the Church, is a hard-hitting account of the rejection felt by many black Anglicans.

Written by Mukti Barton, the adviser on black and Asian ministries to the Bishop of Birmingham, Dr Sentamu's present post, it describes racism as a "deadly poison" often unconsciously spread by white Christians.

It also claims that black people are significantly under represented in the clergy, even in the diocese of Birmingham.

Dr Sentamu, who is to launch the book in Birmingham cathedral next month, said in the foreword: "The stories in this book speak of the pain of what it is to undergo institutional racism.

"The cost is in terms of the lives of people who are hampered in their growth into the image of God created in them."

He referred to his role as a member of the Macpherson Inquiry into the death of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, which branded the Metropolitan police as "institutionally racist."

Quoting the inquiry report, he said that institutional racism persisted in organisations because of their failure "openly and adequately to recognise and address its existence and causes by policy, example and leadership". The archbishop-elect, whose promotion was announced in June, said that institutional racism was found in all the Churches to some degree.

He added, however, that there were signs of encouragement for the future, and various anti-racism programmes had been effective.

The former Ugandan high court judge who fled the regime of Idi Amin to become Bishop of Birmingham has been an outspoken scourge of racism for decades.

In 2000, while Bishop of Stepney, he complained bitterly of being stopped and searched outside St Paul's cathedral by a police officer who did not spot his clerical collar under his scarf.

He first accused the Church of institutional racism the previous year, when he said in a General Synod on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report that the Church suffered from many of the same sins as the police.

The then Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr George and Dr David Hope respectively, subsequently attended a "racism-awareness course".

The way to empty pews

Sentamu becomes Britain's first black archbishop

Racism row mars battle to succeed Archbishop Carey

African becomes first senior black Bishop

Stopped, searched and spat on

Muslim Britain: More people attend mosques than Church of England

Immigration and national security panel discussion

WASHINGTON (August 2005) -- Two new reports from the Center for Immigration Studies examine the role of immigration control in our efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks on American soil. They will be released at a panel discussion on Tuesday, August 30.

The first paper, 'Immigration and Terrorism: Moving Beyond the 9/11 Staff Report on Terrorist Travel,' illustrates how 94 Islamist terrorists used the immigration system to infiltrate and embed in the United States. The author is Janice L. Kephart, counsel for the 9/11 Commission and an author of the Commission staff's report on terrorist travel.

The second paper, 'Keeping Extremists Out: The History of Ideological Exclusion, and the Need for Its Revival,' is by James R,. Edwards, Jr., an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute and Principal at Olive, Edwards, & Brinkmann, L.L.C. It describes the contribution immigration law has made and can make again in barring and removing ideological enemies from our shores.

These papers will be released at a panel discussion at the National Press Club's Zenger Room on Tuesday, August 30, at 9:30 a.m. The panel will include:

* Frank Gaffney, Jr., President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy
* Janice Kephart, counsel to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
* James R. Edwards, Adjunct Fellow, Hudson Institute, and Principal, Olive, Edwards, & Brinkmann, L.L.C.
* moderator: Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. The papers and the discussion transcript will be posted later at the Center's web site, .

For more information, contact John Keeley at (202) 466-8185 or

Topless virgins vie for king in AIDS-hit Swaziland

Rebecca Harrison:

More than 50,000 bare-breasted virgins vied to become the King of Swaziland's 13th wife on Monday in a ceremony which critics say ill befits a country with the world's highest HIV/AIDS rate.

King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, arrived dressed in a leopard-skin loincloth to watch the Reed Dance ceremony, which he has used since 1999 to pluck new brides from the girls dressed in little more than beaded mini-skirts.

Wielding machetes and singing tributes to the king and queen mother, also known as the Great She-Elephant, the girls danced around the royal stadium in the hope of catching the eye of the 37-year-old monarch.

"I want to live a nice life, have money, be rich, have a BMW and cellphone," said one dancer, 16-year-old Zodwa Mamba, who wore a traditional brightly colored tasseled scarf.

Critics say Mswati, who has courted controversy for his lavish lifestyle while two thirds of his subjects live in abject poverty, sets a bad example by encouraging polygamy and teenage sex in a country where 40 percent of adults live with HIV.

Some say the Reed Dance, traditionally meant to celebrate womanhood and virginity, has become little more than a showcase for the king's young would-be brides.

"The Reed Dance has been abused for one man's personal satisfaction," Mario Masuku, leader of the banned opposition party, told Reuters. "The king has a passion for young women and opulence."

But many Swazis say the young monarch has a right to do as he pleases, defending his penchant for young brides as Swazi tradition and arguing that ceremonies like the Reed Dance, which this year drew a record 50,000 maidens, cement national identity.

"The king takes a wife whenever he wants and that's the way it is. This is our culture and we will never change," said Tsandzile Ndluva, 21, another dancer.

Many maidens, who come from villages across the country, dream of joining the king's wives who each have their own palace and BMW car. But others were scared catching the royal eye could curtail their freedom and force them into a polygamous marriage.

"Marriage is about love, not money," said trainee police officer Patience Dlamini, who jazzed up her traditional outfit with a fake diamond necklace. "This thing of many wives is not good, how does he satisfy them all?"

The king has also drawn censure from rights groups and the international community for entrenching a ban on political parties in the nation of 1 million people squashed between South Africa and Mozambique.

But despite criticism of Mswati abroad, Masuku's outlawed People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) has failed to muster much support at home, partly because many ordinary people back the king and ceremonies like the Reed Dance as symbols of national identity.

Monday's ceremony was the culmination of a week of preparations, which included the lifting of a royal ban on sex with virgins, decreed in 2001 to help rein in HIV.

Days after reviving the ancient ban, Mswati in 2001, married a virgin and fined himself one cow. Last week he lifted the five-year ban a year early, ordering thousands of maidens to throw off chastity scarves worn to ward of preying men.

"What the king did by taking another wife was not good, because he was meant to keep virginity," said 20-year-old Zanele Dlamini, a health worker who chose not to join in the dance. "He is not a good leader because multiple wives can spread HIV."

Swazis irritated by foreign ridicule

I beat princess out of anger, says official

Black women are being murdered across Britain as gangland criminals adopt callous Mafia tactics

The Observer:

There were more than 100 people at the party, yet no one saw it happen. One minute Natasha Derby was dancing alongside a friend, the next she was bleeding to death on the floor, shot in the head at close range. Dwane Haughton, 29, was acquitted earlier this month of 23-year-old Natasha's murder. The Jamaican had pleaded guilty at Reading Crown Court in Berkshire to handling the bullet that killed her - his fingerprint was on a cartridge case found at the scene - but he denied pulling the trigger.

The week Haughton was cleared, three other women were shot, two fatally. Sisters Connie and Lorna Morrison were tied up in their flat in Harlesden, north-west London, and shot in the head at point-blank range. Their mother's boyfriend, Noel Patterson, 62, was killed, but Lorna's nine-month-old son was spared.

The shootings are part of a brutal trend. An investigation by The Observer has found that black women are almost 50 times more likely than white women to be victims of gun crime. Although women make up less than 2 per cent of gunshot cases, 95 per cent of female victims are black. This includes women deliberately targeted by gunmen as well as bystanders.

Experts say they are victims of a black gang culture that no longer sees women or children as beyond limits. Mafia-style tactics which call for every witness to a crime to be executed have been adopted with relish.

Woman shot dead while holding baby at family christening

Another black on black murder

Four held in christening party murder inquiry

Three questioned over christening murder

Shot dead holding baby

Peace in Northern Ireland has had one unforeseen consequence: a rising suicide rate

Jan Battles:

Health experts now believe the Troubles kept suicide levels in the province down for more than 30 years.

The authors of a new study say the civil unrest may have strengthened social bonds within communities and “buffered” individuals from thoughts of taking their own lives.

The research, by the University of Ulster and the department of psychiatry at the Mater Hospital Trust in Belfast, discovered an inverse relationship between suicide and terrorist- related deaths. The numbers taking their own lives fell during the worst years of violence, according to the study which is published in the Journal of Mental Health. Now that there is relative peace in the province, suicide is on the rise.

The highest annual suicide tolls since 1966 were recorded in 2000 when 163 people took their lives, and in 2002 when there were 162 suicides.

The study’s authors say that when people come together to confront a general threat they tend to think less about themselves as individuals and more of the common cause and so suicidal thoughts may be pushed to the back of their minds.

The finding in Northern Ireland mirrors other research which has discovered falling suicide rates in areas of conflict around the world. A 2002 study found there were reduced suicide rates during both world wars and even as far back as the French revolution sociologists were linking social integration and suicide.

The thesis may explain why Northern Ireland has a significantly lower suicide rate than the republic — with only 8.5 per 100,000 of the population compared with 12.5 per 100,000 in the republic, according to 2003 figures presented at a conference on suicide prevention last week.

“Where you have areas of civil conflict the rate of suicide tends to drop during that period,” said Iain McGowan, a lecturer in nursing at the University of Ulster, Coleraine and one of the authors of the study. McGowan examined trends in suicide rates and terrorist-related deaths in the North from 1966 to 1999.

In the 34-year period, more than 7,000 people died — almost evenly divided between those who took their own lives and those slaughtered in terrorist-related incidents. Of the 3,413 suicides, 2,376 were male and the overall prevalence of suicide over the 34-year period was 6.4 per 100,000 population. There were 3,638 terrorist-related deaths in that time — or almost seven per 100,000. Men were more than six times more likely to die in a terrorist-related incident than women.

McGowan found a direct relationship between the two — when terrorism increased, suicide fell and vice versa. The lowest year for suicide deaths was 1972 when 47 people took their own lives. This coincided with the highest homicide toll when 497 people were killed as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The following year the deaths from the Troubles dropped to 263, while the number of suicides rose to 70.

Between 1971 and 1982 more people died as a result of terrorism but since then, apart from a brief period in 1988, suicide deaths have outnumbered those killed in the Troubles.

Now if we take suicide as an indicator of general mental illness it should follow that a high rate of suicide in a population indicates a high level of general mental illness and a low rate of suicide indicates a low level of severe psychological problems. The fact that Irish Catholics and British Protestants in Northern Ireland are less likely to commit suicide when they are busy killing each other is evidence of humanity's tribal nature. When two tribes are living in the same area it is natural for both groups to fight until one group has achieved dominance over the disputed territory. Modern society's demand that different groups live peacefully together goes against human nature which leads to an increased level of mental illness and so to an increase in the suicide rate.

Suicide Rates Up After the Troubles – UU Research

The Liberal Party's mayoral candidate in Copenhagen wants to turn voters' attention to immigrant criminality

Copenhagen Post:

Foreigners who commit three criminal offences are to be deported from Denmark, if Liberal candidate Søren Pind becomes mayor of Copenhagen.

Pind, who currently serves as head of the city’s construction and technical committee, said immigrant criminality should be the main focus of the municipal elections in November, daily newspaper Politiken reported.

Pind said his election campaign proposal included a stricter line on ethnic ghettoes, foreign criminals, and immigrants who passively accepted benefit cheques without bothering to look for a job.

‘We must take action against an increasing lack of safety in Copenhagen, and what I like to refer to as the clammy palms people get when they walk the streets without feeling safe. The only thing that works is a straightforward zero-tolerance policy,’ Pind said.

He suggested a ‘three strikes and you’re out’, a strategy based on a US model, where offenders in many places get long prison sentences after their third run-in with criminal law. In Pind’s version, foreign citizens should be deported after their third offence.

Upon a foreigner’s second offence, the Liberal Party wants his social benefits cut. If he or she is a minor, the family will suffer the consequences and see their benefit cheques cut.

Young Muslim immigrant killers deported from Denmark, leftists mourn

The demographics of radical Islam


Islam has enough young men - the pool of unemployed Arabs is expected to reach 25 million by 2010 - to fight a war during the next 30 years. Because of mass migration to Western Europe, the worst of the war might be fought on European soil.

Although the Muslim birth rate today is the world’s second highest (after sub-Saharan Africa), it is falling faster than the birth rate of any other culture. By 2050, according to the latest UN projections, the population growth rate of the Muslim world will converge on that of the United States (although it will be much higher than Europe's or China's).

Falling fertility measures the growing influence of modernity upon the Muslim world. Literacy rates, especially female literacy, best explain the difference between the very high fertility rates of pre-modern society and the moderate fertility rates of industrial countries, as I showed in a recent study (Death by secularism: The statistical evidence, August 1, 2005).

This is clearly the case in the Muslim world where the lowest rates of adult literacy correspond to the highest population growth rate. Literacy alone explains 58% of the variation in birth rates among Muslim countries.

Death by secularism: Some statistical evidence

Muslim anguish and Western hypocrisy

Spengler On Achilles Heels Of the West And Islam

SPENGLER: Why Islam baffles America

Immigrant crime can lead to 'mafias'

Jonathan Tisdall:

A Norwegian researcher warns that ethnic gangs can give Norway the kind of immigrant-related organized crime that accompanied waves of migration to the USA. Dr. Inger-Lise Lien has just finished a report commissioned by the Department of Local Government and concludes that the ethnic groups themselves are worried.

"Ethnic-based gang crime can give Norway the same problems that the USA has had with the Mafia. Society, and most of all the immigrants themselves, will be hit hard," said Lien, researcher at NIBR (Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research).

"If we look at youth under the age of 19 charged with crimes in Oslo, immigrants are unfortunately largely overrepresented. In certain Oslo districts - Furuset, Stovner and Gamle Oslo - gang criminality has a grip. Criminal gangs becoming solid organizations is a sign in international research of an incipient mafia structure being built," Lien said.

Lien said that while the reporting of this type of ethnically based crime increases Norwegian skepticism towards immigrants, gang crimes tend to be inwardly focused, with violence taking place within the ethnic community.

Lien said that there is already great concern about the problem within the respective immigrant communities and that authorities should hurry to create constructive cooperation.

"My suggestions for action are to aim crime fighting work more directly at the target group, that is, those who have already started on the path of a criminal career. Furthermore, it is important that recruits meet reaction at once and not after they have carried out a series of crimes," Lien said.

"Last, but absolutely not least, it is important that immigrants' sense of belonging and trust in Norwegian society is strengthened. If the parallel and separate societal development of Norwegian and foreign culture continues I believe this will only strengthen the worrying development," Lien said.

Statute First Used Against Mafia Now Is Key in Fighting Gangs

Striking Back at MS-13

19 alleged gang members charged under RICO

Steve Sailer on "The Inequality Taboo"

Steve Sailer:

Murray is too honest, however, to skip over the other, more disturbing, possibility: that the greater fertility of lower IQ women has had a dysgenic and/or "dyscultural" effect. Murray has calculated that 60% of the babies born to black women who began participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth in 1979 were born to women with IQs below the black female average of 85.7. Only 7% were born to black women with IQs over 100.

I hope that the improved nutrition, health care, and other environmental enhancements that have allowed African-Americans to come to dominate basketball, football, and sprinting in recent decades have also driven up black IQ scores more than the tendency of intelligent black women to remain childless has driven them down.

But the overall situation remains murky. It needs more research than is currently being funded.

Charles Murray Re-enters Great American Inequality Debate

No Excuse For No Excuses

Does Abortion Prevent Crime?

“You Have To Tell The Truth”—The Bell Curve After Ten Years

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