Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A woman and her lover were murdered after they were discovered having sex in a field near a village in southern Pakistan

Associated Press:

Three men shot the couple after spotting them in an "objectionable condition" before dawn on Sunday near Mewa Khan Sunhari village, about 340 miles northeast of Karachi.

The man, 33, and the woman, 25, were both married. "This is a case of karo-kari," a police spokesman said, referring to the custom of killing adulterers.

Many men in Pakistan consider it an insult to family honour if female relatives have relations with men outside marriage.

Karo-kari: man kills wife, four others

5 girls will be given to rivals over karo-kari

Pakistanis try confronting shame of honor killing

Pakistan rejects pro-women bill

A respected college lecturer has been jailed for 11 years for her major role in a scheme to smuggle cocaine into Britain from Panama

Andrew Clunis:

Juliet Stephenson-Blake

Juliet Stephenson-Blake, 38, was teaching pupils social studies by day while turning her hand to major crime at night.

But cops were able to smash the plot after a tip-off from their counterparts in Panama, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Stephenson-Blake, of High Street, Penge, south east London, Andrew ‘Wayne' Stephenson 33, of the same address, Denton Crooks 42, of Woodmansterne Road, Streatham, south-west London, and James Ogwang 25, of Marden Square, Drummond Road, Rotherhithe, were all convicted on one count of being knowingly concerned in the keeping, harbouring or dealing of 2.07kgs of cocaine between April 11 and April 24, 2004.

Stephenson-Blake helped plan the international operation with drugs baron Crooks and two illegal immigrants - one her husband.

The gang had hoped to avoid arousing suspicion by having a parcel of cocaine worth at least £120,000 on the streets addressed to a bank in the City of London.

Just an hour before the package was due to arrive at Le Grand Japanese Bank, the teacher arranged to have it diverted to a private address in Rotherhithe, south-east London. She had tracked the package on the Fed-Ex website using the computers at Croydon College, where she worked.

But customs officers at Heathrow Airport had already intercepted the parcel, removed its contents and arranged for an undercover officer to smash the plot.

Posing as a Fed-Ex courier, the City of London police officer followed the package to its new destination to snare Stephenson-Blake and her overstayer husband, Stephenson.

The couple, along with Crooks and illegal immigrant Ogwang, were unanimously convicted of knowingly being involved in the importation of more than 2kg of cocaine after a three-week trial.

Judge Rodney McKinnon sentenced Crooks to 12 years and Stephenson and Ogwang to 10 years each at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Jailing Stephenson-Blake for 11 years, the judge said: “You are clearly an intelligent woman who was holding down a good and important job as a teacher. But I am satisfied that you played an important role in this conspiracy. This is clear from the conversations you had with Fed-Ex and then with the undercover officer known as ‘Billy'.

“You copied down delivery reference codes and tracked the journey of the drugs so that you could divert it to its final destination - Mr Ogwang's flat.”

The judge told Crooks that he had attempted to stay in the background while the operation was being carried out. “But I am satisfied that you played an organisational role of no little importance.”

The judge told the gang: “Those who concern themselves in the importation of class A drugs must realise that they are taking a very great risk with their liberty.

“Drugs are the major contributor to crime and misery in this country and around the world and those people who bring the drugs into the country must take a good deal of the blame.”

Michael Shaw, prosecuting, had earlier told jurors: “This case involves an operation to import cocaine into Britain. The tricky bit is getting the cocaine from South America to London without getting caught, but when you have managed it, the value of the drug goes through the roof.

“Two kilos of the drug is not going to cost you much in Panama, but get it onto the streets of London and the value will skyrocket.

“To do this the gang hit upon the idea of using a courier company to get the cocaine through customs. They got caught because the package was intercepted by customs in Panama and delivered to the UK authorities.

“The City of London police opened the parcel, took out the drugs and launched an operation to catch those at the end of it.

“Having first arrested Mr Ogwang whose contact details emerged when they opened the package, they removed the drugs and followed the journey of the package. The officer dressed in Fed-Ex uniform was sent to drop off the delivery which had by this time been diverted to 96 Market Square, Rotherhithe.”

Following a series of calls between the officer and the Stephensons, and a number of failed attempts to deliver the package, Ogwang arrived at the address to accept the drugs.

He told the undercover officer he had been given permission to accept the delivery on behalf of the Stephensons and was immediately arrested.

Officers then tracked Stephenson-Blake to her Croydon classroom where she was arrested and led detectives to her husband and Crooks.

Crooks had been deported to Britain from Jamaica after being caught smuggling 16kg of cannabis into the Caribbean in 2004.

Detective Inspector Dave Clark, based with the City of London Police, said: “This was a swift and successful operation.

“Specialist officers from the City of London Police worked very closely with both the Panamanian authorities and Federal Express to bring this investigation to a satisfactory conclusion.”

The judge is set to rule on whether or not Stephenson and Ogwang should be deported at a later date.

Police intercept drugs package destined for City bank

Somalian rapist can't be deported from Britain

Daily Mail:

Yonis Dirie

A frustrated judge has admitted he was unable to order the deportation of a brutal rapist because the foreign criminal had been granted leave in Britain indefinitely.

The Somalian drug addict was allowed to remain in the country indefinitely while serving a jail sentence for attempted armed robbery, the Old Bailey heard today.

Unknown to immigration authorities at the time, Yonis Dirie had also raped a woman waiting at a bus stop four years earlier.

Justice caught up with Dirie today when he was jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to raping his victim, now 37, as she was returning from a night out with friends.

But Dirie is not expected to face deportation at the end of his sentence because he was granted indefinite leave to remain here in 1994.

Judge Gerald Gordon QC, had asked whether he could recommend the 40-year-old be deported for what he described as "a truly horrendous crime".

However, he was told Dirie could not be sent home unless the Home Secretary intervenes.

Speaking of Dirie's sanctuary in Britain he described it as "a humanitarian gesture that you grossly abused by your conduct".

Dirie was arrested last year after a cold case rape investigation by the Metropolitan Police linked him to the attack by advances in DNA science.

His DNA was taken after he was arrested for possession of a bladed article. It linked him to the rape in Stratford, east London in January 1990.

Dirie from West Kensington, west London, has accumulated a string of convictions since his arrival in Britain in 1984 at the age of 18, the court was told.

After he was led to cells, Dirie's victim said she was shocked to hear of his history. "He is here with the blessing of the authorities. Today it would not be surprising but this was over 20 years ago."

She had heard Judge Gerald Gordon describe the attack on her a "a truly horrendous crime."

Dirie had raped her with another, unknown man. Afterwards they tossed her over a wall in panic - knowing there was a canal below where she could easily have drowned, said the judge.

"She describes the attack as ruining the whole period of her 20s and 30s. She feels now she has finally come to terms - but what happened to her that night she feels, understandably, has devastated her life and that of her family and friends."

As she left court, Miss A said: "Now I just want to get on with my life."

His previous convictions and immigration history was read out in court by prosecutor Alan Kent.

Dirie arrived in the UK in October 1984 from Somalia. He was given leave to enter as a visitor for one month.

The Home Office then received a letter asking leave to remain. He was interviewed, but in February 1986, his application was refused. His appeal was also refused.

But Dirie was then given a year to remain. A year later he was allowed another year and in 1988, granted a further "exceptional" year leave to remain.

In February 1994 he was given the indefinite status.

In 1991 he had been put on two years probation for burglary. A month later he was ordered to do 200 hours community service for another burglary offence.

In March the following year, Dirie was fined £250 for possessing an offensive weapon. The following month he was put on probation for 18 months for obstructing police.

The next month he received a suspended 15 month jail sentence for burglary - with a supervision order.

The next year he was given four and a half years for the attempted robbery with a shotgun.

In February 1997, Dirie was fined for theft. In May that year he was put on probation for two years - again for theft.

That July he was jailed for six months for deception. Then came the arrest for possession of a blade which led to his DNA match.

Judge Gordon said that if drugs or drink had played a part in the rape it was no mitigation. He had heard that Dirie had been accepted for in-patient treatment for drug abuse shortly before his arrest.

Somalis' struggle in the UK

DNA snares rapist after 16 years

Violent Pakistani immigrants are still at large in Manchester, England

John Scheerhout:

FOUR violent criminals from Greater Manchester who should have been deported at the end of their prison sentences remain at large.

Police have been unable to trace the men despite a thorough investigation.

The Home Office provided Greater Manchester Police with a list of five criminals the department ruled should have been deported following their sentences but were not. One has been traced and is being deported. The remaining four have not been found.

Three of them - believed to be from Pakistan - were arrested in Bolton on suspicion of violent disorder in 2002 following an incident in a curry house in Rusholme.

The fourth was arrested in Cheetham Hill and a fifth was stopped in Wigan for separate, violent incidents.

All of them were released from prison last summer. But instead of being deported they were allowed to stay in Britain.

A police source said: "One of them was found but the rest have not resurfaced in Manchester. They haven't been arrested.

"They haven't claimed benefits. They haven't come to the notice of the police in Manchester. They could be anywhere."

Police are now attempting to trace a second list of criminals convicted of non-violent offences.

It is understood detectives hunting the "missing" offenders are not looking for anyone convicted of the most serious offences - such as murder or rape – in Greater Manchester.

More than 200 of the original 1,019 foreign prisoners released in Britain have reoffended.

Court that could have deported him 25 years ago

Hamza 'lied about fathering child' to stay in UK

Bigamy, fraud, deceit: how Abu Hamza became a British citizen

Black militants preaching dependency want guilt-ridden whites to feel obligated to deliver black advancement

George F. Will:

The unbearable boredom occasioned by most of today's talk about race is alleviated by a slender, stunning new book. In "White Guilt," Shelby Steele, America's most discerning black writer, casts a cool eye on yet another soft bigotry of low expectations—the ruinous "compassion" of a theory of social determinism that reduces blacks to, in Steele's word, "non-individuated" creatures.

That reduction is the basis of identity politics—you are your (racial, ethnic, sexual) group. A pioneer of this politics, which is now considered "progressive," was, Steele says, George Wallace. He, too, insisted that race is destiny.

The dehumanizing denial that blacks have sovereignty over their lives became national policy in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson said: "You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'You are free to compete with all the others'." This, Steele writes, enunciated a new social morality: No black problem could be defined as largely a black responsibility. If you were black, you could not be expected to carry responsibilities equal to others'.

So, being black conferred "an almost reckless moral authority," a "power of racial privilege." The "power to shame, silence and muscle concessions from the larger society" was black power. The demand for equal rights became a demand for "the redistribution of responsibility for black advancement from black to white America, from the 'victims' to the 'guilty'."

Hence the black militancy's proclaiming "black power" was really an exercise in the power of helplessness. It was an assertion of white power—white society's power to "take" (LBJ's telling word) blacks to social equality. Hence "black power" was actually a denial of the power of blacks to manage their own escape from an intractable inferiority.

"By the mid-sixties," Steele writes, "white guilt was eliciting an entirely new kind of black leadership, not selfless men like King who appealed to the nation's moral character but smaller men, bargainers, bluffers and haranguers—not moralists but specialists in moral indignation—who could set up a trade with white guilt." The big invention by these small men was what Steele calls "globalized racism." That idea presumes that "racism is not so much an event in black lives as a condition of black life," a product of "impersonal" and "structural" forces. The very invisibility of those forces proved their sinister pervasiveness.

The theory of "structural" or "institutional" racism postulates a social determinism that makes all whites and American institutions complicit in a vicious cultural pattern. The theory makes the absence of identifiable adverse events in the lives of individual blacks irrelevant to blacks' claims to victimhood. Victim status is a source of endless, sometimes lucrative and always guilt-free leverage over a guilt-ridden society.

Black students who have never suffered discrimination can, Steele says, enjoy affirmative action "with a new sense of entitlement." As a result, Steele says, "We blacks always experience white guilt as an incentive, almost a command, to somehow exhibit racial woundedness and animus." The result for blacks is "a political identity with no real purpose beyond the manipulation of white guilt."

Black "militants" are actually preaching militant dependency. They have defined justice as making whites feel so guilty that they will take responsibility for black advancement. One casualty of this, Steele says, has been education: "We got remedies pitched at injustices rather than at black academic excellence—school busing, black role models as teachers, black history courses, 'diverse' reading lists, 'Ebonics,' multiculturalism, culturally 'inclusive' classes, standardized tests corrected for racial bias, and so on." Reading, writing and arithmetic? Later. Maybe.

Maybe not. Not if classrooms are suffused with "a foggy academic relativism in which scholastic excellence is associated with elitism, and rote development with repression." Steele, a former professor of English, notes that "inner-city black English diverges more from standard English today than it did in the fifties."

White guilt, Steele says, is a form of self-congratulation, whereby whites devise "compassionate" policies, the real purpose of which is to show that whites are kind and innocent of racism. The "spiritually withering interventions of needy, morally selfish white people" comfortable with "the cliché of black inferiority" have a price. It is paid by blacks, who are "Sambo-ized."

Strong stuff from a fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford who last week received a Bradley Prize, for which this columnist voted. You can read "White Guilt" in two hours. For years it will be a clarifying lens through which to view the lonely struggle of clear sighted black intellectuals to rescue blacks from a degrading temptation. It is the temptation to profit from the condescension toward blacks that is the core of today's white guilt.

Preserving a vision

India now has more people living with HIV than any other country

BBC News:

The report shows that India now accounts for two-thirds of HIV cases in the whole of Asia.

An estimated 5.7 million Indians were infected by the end of 2005, overtaking the 5.5 million cases estimated in South Africa.

However, while 18.8% of South African adults were living with HIV, the figure in India was 0.9%.

Estimates of total deaths in India since Aids was first identified in 1981 range from 270,000 to 680,000.

Most of the infections there were caused by unprotected heterosexual intercourse, according to UNAIDS.

States in southern India have traditionally been the hardest hit by the disease.

A study of prostitutes in Tamil Nadu found 50% had been infected with HIV.

However, UNAIDS said these regions had made progress in combating the spread of infection.

In contrast, little or no progress had been made in cutting infection rates in the north of the country, where injecting drug use is thought to be the main driver of infection.

The UN agency estimates that only 7% of Indians who needed antiretroviral drug therapy actually received it last year.

In addition, only 1.6% of pregnant women who needed treatment to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission were receiving it.

UNAIDS also sounded a warning about neighbouring Pakistan, where around 85,000 people were estimated to be infected with HIV by the end of 2005.

It said the country would have to improve its prevention efforts if it is to avoid a more serious situation.

Once mystery illness, AIDS now a top global threat

Africa's leaders failing on AIDS - U.N.

Bucking worldwide trend, AIDS not letting up in southern Africa

Report: More Than 2 Million Kids Have HIV

Why a Zimbabwean abstains from sex

Afghan hunger strikers in Ireland

Kildare Nationalist:

THE dramatic events in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin last weekend provided a snapshot of our changing country. Surely no Irish person could ever have foreseen the day when immigrants to this country would have used the weapon of hunger strike to make their point. Hunger strike carries a uniquely emotional connotation in Ireland, which, presumably, is why the 41Afghan men and assorted minors chose to employ it. Of course, they also chose to put nooses round their own necks and threatened to throw themselves of a 40-foot high balcony, but that’s neither here nor there.

We are all grateful that the protest ended peacefully and without loss of life, but the whole affair raises some unsettling questions. For a start, whatever the rights and wrongs of the men’s cases - and there was very little right with it, if truth be told - there are ways of doing things. Occupying the host country’s major centre of worship is certainly not the way to do it. Few other countries would have shown the degree of patience and forbearance exhibited by the authorities here. In France, for example, the Afghans might well have counted their stay in St Patrick’s in minutes not days.

Likewise, the personal circumstances of the Afghan asylum-seek-ers is somewhat bewildering. Their precise reasons for deciding to stage this stunt are unclear. It appears that there were no imminent threats of deportation against any of them, two of them had already been given leave to stay in the country, and others were wending their way through the various stages of our extensive asylum process. So why the sudden need to take this frankly outrageous action? Some have pointed to a similar protest by Afghan asylum-seekers in Belgium, which resulted in the protestors successfully securing permission to stay in that country. Like its Belgian counterpart, the Irish protest was well organised and far from spontaneous. The apparent orchestration behind both actions should ring alarm bells across the EU.

The government was right to face down the Afghans and to refuse to accept the deal being brokered by Church of Ireland negotiators. It had no other choice: it cannot negotiate on a collective basis with refugees and asylum-seekers. To do so would be to invite a spate of similar collective actions, which might eventually escalate until lives are lost, and nobody wants that.

Every nation on earth has an immigration procedure. No sane country believes in throwing open its borders to all who want to enter. This is not “racist”; it is merely common sense. As long as that procedure is fair and transparent, it should enjoy the support of the vast majority of this country’s citizens. The UN High Commission on Refugees has looked at the Irish system and found it fair, fast and well resourced.

One final point, though: one of the men involved in the Afghans’ protest apparently freely confesses to his part in several killings and the rape of at least five women as a member of the Taliban. Several others claim to have been Taliban commanders who engaged in the torture of prisoners. Are these real-ly the kind of people we want to let stay in this country? Didn’t the world reject the Nuremberg defence from war criminals a long time ago?

Rejected refugees expand hunger strike

An illegal immigrant from Jamaica murdered his girlfriend after discovering she was on the Pill

Court Reporter:

Twisted Kirk Reid, 28, desperately wanted 27-year-old Michelle Napier to have his baby - but strangled her with a phone chord when he discovered she was using contraception.

Jurors trying the case at Southwark Crown Court heard a taped 999 call in which Ms Napier could be heard spluttering for breath as the brute wrapped the cord around her throat.

The mother-of-two was heard pleading "Get off me... get off me" before letting out a piercing screaming seconds before the phone went dead.

Jamaican Reid showed no reaction as a jury convicted him of murder on Friday.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told him: "It will be a life sentence - it's just a question of the minimum term."

Reid - whose IQ is just 69 - murdered Ms Napier at her flat in Lynton Road, Bermondsey, in the early hours of last August 31.

The phone cord and a razor blade was found beside her semi-naked body.

In the weeks before the killing he had confessed to a relative: "I am planning to kill Michelle and have warned my mum not to get upset if I get charged with murder."

Ms Napier met Reid through colleagues and the pair had begun dating in the summer of 2004.

Five months before he killed her, Reid had began telling people his girlfriend was pregnant.

The claim was rubbished by his cousin Lisa, who told him she had seen Ms Napier taking the contraceptive pill.

Prosecutor Sallie Bennett-Jenkins told jurors: "After a time a number of people began joking with the defendant about how long the pregnancy was taking.

"It was after this that Reid made threats about killing his partner."

Reid phoned police on September 1 saying he had discovered Ms Napier's lifeless body.

He was arrested initially as a witness and the following day as a suspect.

The trial heard that Ms Napier had lied to Reid about being pregnant and let him buy baby clothes and a bath.

His father had died and the birth meant a lot to him.

Reid, of Honor Oak Road, Forest Hill, claimed he had no memory of the killing.

Judge Loraine-Smith adjourned sentencing until June 30 for psychiatric reports.

Strangled mum's last call

Immigration and married cousins in Australia

Erin O'Dwyer:

DOCTORS working with immigrant communities in Sydney's western suburbs hope human genome mapping will address high rates of infant death and birth defects in children born to first cousins.

A study at Auburn Hospital found almost 20 per cent of pregnant women admitted to the maternity ward in one year were married to their first or second cousins.

The research found babies were three times more likely to be born with birth defects and six times more likely to die in the womb or in infancy than babies in the general population.

But despite the alarming findings, published in 2001, there has been little research in the field since.

Westmead Children's Hospital geneticist David Sillence said the issue of marriage between blood relatives was extremely sensitive in communities in which it was practised, including Lebanese, Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian and Pakistani.

But Professor Sillence said a gene chip test - to identify whether couples carried the same faulty gene - could easily be developed in Australia because similar tests had been developed overseas.

Immigrant cousin marriage in Australia

In Toronto, handgun murders and injuries have doubled between 2004 and 2005 largely due to young black males

Josie Newman:

In Canada, guns and gangs are a relatively new phenomenon, particularly in Toronto, known as "Toronto the Good" for its traditionally safe streets and low homicide rates. There were 52 deadly handgun shootings in the city in 2005, compared with 12 in 1995. Police and social workers alike attribute the acts largely to young black males - many of whom are the children of West Indian immigrants - who feel marginalized and drop out of school early to join the "gangsta" culture where they make quick money through drugs, guns, or prostitution.

The Ontario provincial government has earmarked $51 million Canadian ($46 million US) to spend on crime deterrence and new social programs related to education, employment, and skills training - C$5 million of that has already been spent on forming a 24-hour police street squad who ferret out drug dealers, illegal guns, and people breaking parole or on warrants for crimes in Toronto's most violent neighborhoods.

Provincial money has also been designated for a $26-million Operations Centre for the Guns and Gangs Task Force, as well as for 31 prosecutors, three judges, and several high-tech courtrooms specifically designed to try gun- and gang-related crimes.

In addition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's new Conservative government recently introduced tough new legislation designed to curb handgun deaths, reduce the trafficking in illegal weapons, and shut down growing inner-city gangs. Coupled with other new legislation for "lesser" offenses like trying to steal a weapon, the initiatives will cost Canadian taxpayers an additional C$220 to C$240 million annually for extra prison facilities alone.

Stop black youths at random, Toronto councillor suggests

Police are searching for a 21-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico accused of raping a 10-year-old family member and leaving her pregnant

James Osborne:

Pedro Guzman Muñoz

Authorities were alerted to the case by a local doctor, who discovered the girl's pregnancy during a routine medical exam last Friday, Pharr police Lt. Guadalupe Salinas said.

The girl was subsequently taken to the Children's Advocacy Center in Edinburg where she told staff that her 21-year-old relative, Pedro Guzman Muñoz, had raped her, police said. It is the Valley Morning Star's policy to not identify victims of sexual assault, or their exact relationship to the suspect if the relationship can be used to identify the victim.

"We assume (the abuse had) been going on for some time," Salinas said. "We don't know for sure, but at least six months."

The girl is three-months pregnant and remains in her parents' home.

Child Protective Services social workers are investigating the home to determine whether the parents knew their daughter was being raped, authorities said. However, Salinas said there was no indication the parents were aware of the sexual assault before the doctor's examination.

Police continued to search for Guzman on Thursday but said they did not have any leads on his whereabouts.

"We think he went back to Mexico because he's an undocumented immigrant, but we don't know," Salinas said.

Search continues for man accused of impregnating a 10-year-old girl

Man Accused of Raping 10-Year old Girl Who is Now Pregnant

Rape and Murder in Mexico

Group of men repeatedly rape teen in Mexican border city infamous for killings of women

Mexico police accused of raping women

Immigrant from El Salvador dumps her baby to keep boyfriend

Jamie Stockwell:

After secretly giving birth inside a bathroom, Maria Aguirre had two options, she later told detectives: Dispose of her newborn daughter or risk losing her boyfriend of seven months.

"She was afraid to lose her boyfriend because the child wasn't his," said Arlington County Detective Rosa Ortiz, who testified at a preliminary hearing yesterday for Aguirre, who is charged with first-degree murder.

So Aguirre threw the baby away.

Aguirre, 20, was arrested after police found the infant's body in a trash heap April 1 outside the Arlington house where she and her boyfriend rented a room. After the hearing in Arlington's Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Judge George D. Varoutsos agreed that there was enough evidence against Aguirre to send the case to a grand jury next month.

Aguirre repeatedly wiped her eyes and covered her mouth during the hour-long hearing.

The boyfriend, Melvin Portillo, testified in Spanish through an interpreter that he noticed Aguirre gaining weight but that every time he asked her about it, she insisted she wasn't pregnant.

"I believed her," Portillo said.

On March 31, hours before police received a report about a dead infant, Portillo said, he grew increasingly concerned about his girlfriend after she complained of a severe backache.

After they rested for a bit, Portillo went outside the house in the 3700 block of South 16th Street to work on some blueprints with his cousin, and Aguirre locked herself in a bathroom. At one point, Portillo knocked on the door and asked how she was feeling, and she told him she was going to take a bath to alleviate the back pain, he testified.

About 45 minutes later, after his cousin had gone home, he knocked again on the bathroom door. There was no answer, and he testified that there was only silence. So he knocked again and again and called out her name until she unlocked the door, he said.

"She looked very different, almost as if she were about to pass out," he testified.

Splashed on the edges of the bathtub and on the floor was blood, and wads and wads of tissue paper were stuffed into a trash bag, Portillo said. He asked her what had happened and she said that "she was hemorrhaging but that she would be fine," he testified.

While he began to clean up the blood, Aguirre took the trash bag into the kitchen. In the bathtub, he found the placenta and wrapped it in two trash bags, although he said he had no idea what it was.

Realizing that something wasn't right, he insisted that the couple go to a hospital, Portillo testified. After a while, Aguirre agreed. There, it was determined that she had just given birth.

Aguirre, who moved to the area from El Salvador last September, leaving a 3-year-old daughter behind, told no one about the pregnancy, she told police. After feeling ill, she delivered the baby and tore the umbilical cord herself.

The infant "gasped for air . . . but didn't cry," Ortiz testified Aguirre told her. Seconds later, Ortiz said, Aguirre put the baby in the trash bag and closed it, knowing the girl was still breathing.

"She said she knew it would eventually die," Ortiz said.

At the autopsy the next day, a gruesome discovery was made, another detective testified. A mass of tissue paper, two inches long and an inch in diameter, was found deep in the baby's throat.

Aguirre's attorneys, father-and-son team Denman and Jason Rucker, said after the hearing that they are awaiting the results of the autopsy. They said they don't know whether the baby was delivered full-term or how exactly she died.

Hispanic Family Values?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Europe rethinks its immigration policies

Sarah Wildman:

The night air in Vienna has finally turned warm, filling the city's trams with visitors. On the Ringstrasse, tourists take in the city, pointing out the City Hall and the parliament.

"Did you see that one girl - so young! And wearing a veil," a woman clucks in lightly accented English, staring out the window of tram D. "They will form a separate culture."

The sentiment isn't isolated. Earlier this month, Austria's Interior Minister Liese Prokop announced that 45 percent of Muslim immigrants were "unintegratable," and suggested that those people should "choose another country."

In the Netherlands, one of Europe's most integrated refugees and a critic of radical Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, resigned her seat in parliament in the wake of criticism that she faked details on her asylum application to the Netherlands in 1992. And France's lower house of parliament last week passed a strict new immigration law, now awaiting Senate approval.

Indeed, recent rumblings from the top echelons of governments across Europe suggest that the continent is rethinking its once-vaunted status as a haven for refugees as it becomes more suspicious that many immigrants are coming to exploit its social benefits and democratic principles.

"The trend today more and more in Europe is to try to control immigration flow," says Philippe De Bruycker, founder of the Odysseus Network, an academic consortium on immigration and asylum in Europe. "At the same time we still say we want to respect the right of asylum and the possibility of applying for asylum. But of course along the way we create obstacles for asylum seekers," he acknowledges.

A day after Ms. Prokop made her controversial statement on May 15, Ms. Hirsi Ali - a Somalian immigrant elected to parliament in 2003 - was informed by her own political party that her Dutch citizenship was in question. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, a former prison warden dubbed "Iron Rita" who has long promised a tough stance on immigration, said "the preliminary assumption must be that - in line with case law of the Dutch Supreme Court - [Hirsi Ali] is considered not to have obtained Dutch nationality."

At issue were inconsistencies in Hirsi Ali's application for asylum in 1992 - giving a false name and age, and saying she was fleeing from Somalia's civil war, not a forced marriage. Though she had publically admitted to the falsities in 2002, a recent TV documentary heightened public scrutiny of the controversial parliamentarian, who has been under 24-hour protection from death threats since the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the director of a film she wrote. Hirsi Ali's case, heatedly debated across Europe in the days since Ms. Verdonk's announcement, was seen as particularly ironic. But it also highlights the dramatic change in Europe since the turn of this century.

In the years following the World War II, a chagrined US and Europe vowed to follow the Geneva Conventions and create safe havens for refugees. Yet such lofty ideals were hard to uphold after massive influxes of workers in the 1960s and early 1970s were halted during an economic downturn.

Those immigrant populations - often Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East - swelled with family reunification, yet often remained economically and socially distinct from the societies that had adopted. The image of the immigrant began to change, and distinctions between those who came for work and those who came for safety began to blur.

Now, says Jean-Pierre Cassarino, a researcher at the European-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration in Florence, Italy, "asylum seekers are viewed as potential cheaters."

Today, in once-homogenous Europe, tensions between immigrants and native Europeans appear to be increasing. The perception that an ever increasing number of newcomers - who neither speak the language of their adopted country nor accept its cultural mores - are changing the culture has increased support for ideas once only advanced by far-right political parties.

"France, Austria, and the Netherlands all have had very significant electoral success of the far-right parties," says Michael Collyer, a research fellow in European migration policy at the University of Sussex.

Collier points to the success in France - also this past week - of a strict new immigration law proposed by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy's proposal would institutionalize "selective" immigration, giving an advantage to privileged immigrants of better economic and education status who are more "integratable."

It would also change the rights of family reunification for workers already in the country; speed up the expulsion of undocumented immigrants who are discovered or whose applications for asylum are rejected; lengthen the amount of time it takes to apply for permanent residency status for married couples; and toughen visa requirements. Most controversial, Sarkozy announced deportations for undocumented immigrant school children.

Britain’s Tariq TV

Feminists' Shameful Silence On Islamic Fundamentalism


UK: Muslims Planned Suicide Attacks

2-year-old dies after being hit by driver outside McDonald's

Charles Odum:

Lanny Barnes

A man accused of driving a car that struck two sisters and their three small children outside a McDonald's restaurant hit them intentionally, authorities said Wednesday. One of the children died later Wednesday at a hospital, a relative said.

"There was clear intent to injure the people. It was obvious," Police Chief Stacey Cotton said. "This was absolutely not an accident."

The car on Tuesday struck the five, hit the restaurant, then backed up and hit them, police said. All five were hospitalized.

Avery Nicole King, 2, who had been in critical condition, died Wednesday afternoon at an Atlanta hospital, said her uncle, Paul Casola.

Lanny Barnes, 46, appeared in court Wednesday. He faces five felony charges of aggravated assault and was ordered held without bail pending a mental health evaluation. Cotton said Wednesday night that Barnes faces additional charges because of the toddler's death, including murder.

Barnes' mother, Mary Barnes, said her son has suffered depression for years.

Public defender Anthony Carter, who represented Barnes at Wednesday's hearing, indicated his mental health could be a factor in the case.

"We are beginning a full investigation into all aspects of this case, including Mr. Barnes' mental capacity at the time of the incident, as well as past mental health treatment," Carter said.

McDonald's worker Ryan Boldman-Snyder was outside on a break when the attack happened and said the driver was "smiling the whole time."

There was no apparent connection between the victims and Barnes, and authorities have no motive, Cotton said.

"I've seen some pretty heinous things occur, but nothing like this with no explanation," Cotton said. "That's the strange thing. That's the big question mark: Why?"

He said blood and urine samples were taken from Barnes and sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab.

Cotton declined to comment on eyewitness reports that Barnes was smiling and laughing in the car after hitting the victims.

The police chief praised McDonald's employees and customers who tried to apprehend Barnes and assist the victims.

One employee took one of the injured children to a nearby hospital, "possibly saving that child's life," Cotton said.

Anita King, 36, of Asheville, N.C., was treated at a hospital and released Tuesday but was readmitted on Wednesday, Casola said. Stephanie Casola, 33, of Covington, was hospitalized in fair condition Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Her children, Jacob, 4, and Isaac 3, were hospitalized in serious condition.

Death of Weaverville toddler mourned following bizarre attack at Georgia McDonald's

Survivor Struck by Car Improves

Murder Charge Follows Toddler's Death

Stereotypically black-looking criminals are more likely to get death sentences

Lisa Trei:

Male murderers with stereotypically "black-looking" features are more than twice as likely to get the death sentence than lighter-skinned African American defendants found guilty of killing a white person, Stanford researchers have found. The relationship between physical appearance and the death sentence disappears, however, when both murderers and their victims are black.

"Race clearly matters in criminal justice in ways in which people may or may not be consciously aware," said Jennifer Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology. "When black defendants are accused of killing whites, perhaps jurors use the degree to which these defendants appear stereotypically black as a proxy for criminality, and then punish accordingly."

Eberhardt's findings are published in the May issue of the journal Psychological Science. "Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes" is co-authored with Paul G. Davies, a former Stanford postdoctoral scholar who is now an assistant professor at the University of California-Los Angeles; former Stanford graduate student Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns, now an assistant professor at Yale University; and Cornell University law Professor Sheri Lynn Johnson, an expert on the death penalty.

Extensive studies already have established that murderers of white victims are more likely than murderers of black victims to be sentenced to death, Eberhardt said. In 1990, the General Accounting Office described this race-of-victim effect as "remarkably consistent across data sets, states, data collection methods and analytic techniques."

Eberhardt, who studies race and criminality, said she wanted to find out whether racial stereotypicality involving African Americans might affect sentencing outcomes in capital cases. She also was interested in whether the race of the victim would change the outcome.

"We thought there might be some effect there, but we didn't know how strong it would be," she said. The study found that 57.5 percent of defendants rated to have "stereotypically black" features - broad noses, thick lips, dark skin and hair - were sentenced to death compared with only 24.4 percent of men who were rated as less stereotypically black. This effect completely disappeared, however, in "black-on-black" capital cases: "There was no relationship between defendants' physical appearances and the sentences they received," Eberhardt explained. "These results resonate with previous findings on race and the death penalty, which consistently show that defendants accused of killing white victims are much more likely to be sentenced to death than those accused of killing blacks."

Of course, the easiest way of getting around this problem is to avoid killing people, then it won't matter what you look like.

Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to have at least 1 million to 2 million new HIV infections each year for the next 10 to 20 years

Shashank Bengali:

The factors driving the region’s “hyper-epidemic” included a large population of migrant workers and low levels of male circumcision, which experts believe helps reduce HIV transmission. Sexual mores also played a major role: African men tend to have more long-term, concurrent sexual relationships than do men elsewhere, and they rarely use condoms in those relationships.

But the conditions are different in other regions of the world. In India, closely watched because its HIV-infected population of 5.2 million is by far the largest outside Africa, the virus has spread much more slowly than predicted, in part because Indian women appear to have fewer sex partners.

In China, officials recently revised the estimated number of total HIV infections downward — from 840,000 people to 650,000. The epidemic has stayed mostly confined to intravenous drug users and prostitutes, and United Nations projections from earlier in the decade that as many as 10 million people would be infected by 2010 now seem wildly overstated.

“There were very dramatic words a couple of years ago about India, about China, about what was coming — tremendously alarmist words,” said Stephen Lewis, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. “And it doesn’t seem to have happened.”

While mathematical models suggest that the spread of HIV is slowing, it is impossible to say for sure. AIDS symptoms don’t show up for several years, so the newly HIV-infected often don’t know they have HIV.

Even if HIV has peaked, there is little cause to celebrate, researchers say.

For one, the rates of new infections in some countries remain horrendously high. Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to have at least 1 million to 2 million new infections each year for the next 10 to 20 years, said James Chin, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is the author of a forthcoming book on the AIDS pandemic.

For another, the slowdown may simply mean that in some countries most of the people likely to be infected already are infected, so the pool of at-risk people has shrunk.

HIV origin 'found in wild chimps'

Source of HIV virus traced to chimps from Cameroon

Genes can affect sexual desire

Hebrew University:

New evidence that individual differences in human sexual desire can be attributed to genetic variations has been revealed by a research group headed by a professor of psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The findings are believed to have an impact on people’s understanding of their own sexuality as well as to how sexual disorders may come to be treated in the future.

An article on the topic appears currently in Molecular Psychiatry online. The study represents the combined efforts of researchers directed by Prof. Richard P. Ebstein, of Herzog Hospital and the head of the Scheinfeld Center for Human Genetics in the Social Sciences of the Psychology Department at the Hebrew University, and a research group headed by Prof. Robert H. Belmaker of the Psychiatry Division of Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

The article provides, for the first time, data that common variations in the sequence of DNA impact on sexual desire, arousal and function and lead to differences and diversity of the human sexual phenotype.

The implications of these findings are far-reaching, say the researchers, and represent a revolutionary change in the way society, and especially psychology, may come to regard this central element of human behavior.

Little has been known regarding the biological basis for individual differences in normal, human sexual behavior. Most significant variations in the expression of human sexuality are considered historically to be the result of learned behavior or psychological problems. However, recent advances in molecular genetic studies of human behavior and personality, imaging studies of sexual arousal and performance, and neuroendocrinological investigations suggest that individual variations in many aspects of human sexuality, similar to other human behavior, are likely to rest on a firm foundation in the neurosciences.

This progress in understanding the biological basis of human sexuality provides a new way of viewing variations in sexual norms, without passing moral judgment.

In this latest study, the Israeli investigators examined the DNA of 148 healthy male and female Israeli university students and compared the results with questionnaires asking for the students’ self-descriptions of their sexual desire, arousal and sexual function. The results showed a correlation between variants in the D4 receptor gene – which is responsible for producing the dopamine receptor protein (DRD4) – and the students’ self-reports on sexuality.

Interestingly, some forms of variants in this gene were shown to have a depressing effect on sexual desire, arousal and function, while other common variant had the opposite effect – an increase in the sexual desire score. The latter is believed to be a relatively new mutation, and it is estimated that it appears in Homo sapiens “only” 50,000 years ago at the time of humankind's great exodus from Africa. Approximately 30% of many populations carry the heightened arousal mutations, while around 60% carry the depressant mutation.

The investigators predict that as a result of their work, and other advances in neurosciences focusing on sexual behavior, a conceptual change will result, in which new therapeutic pathways will be developed for treatment of sexual dysfunctions based on a rational pharmacogenetic strategy. Additionally, the investigators note that many variations such as “low sexual desire” may be quite normal and not necessarily a product of dysfunction.

It is possible, therefore, say the researchers, that sexual “problems” will thus be rerouted to a great extent from the classical psychological couch into the realm of 21st century, genomics-based medicine.

Variant Gene Tied to a Love Of New Thrills

In our genes

Kenyan boy was abandoned to dogs and nearly killed

Associated Press:

Daniel Wachira

From the right side, Daniel Wachira looks like any other bubbly 4-year-old, but Daniel was abandoned at birth and left on a trash heap in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was mauled by dogs and nearly killed.

The left side of his face is missing and he is in the United States for surgery to replace the missing jawbone, cheek and ear.

"Three minutes later, it would have been in the jugular," said Larry Jones, who with his wife, Frances, founded the Christian relief organization Feed the Children in 1979. The couple serve as Daniel's legal guardians. "He would have been gone."

The Joneses, of Oklahoma City, will head to Houston for 11 hours of surgery -- the first of several grueling operations Daniel will have over the next 10 years -- on June 1.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Boutros and other doctors at Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital are donating their services, estimated at $1 million in U.S. dollars.

Because of the shape of his mouth, Daniel has trouble forming words. But he is fluent in English and Swahili, and, sitting on the carpet in the Joneses' Midtown hotel, sang "Jesus Loves Me" in both languages.

His life so far is a Bible story -- part Moses among the bullrushes, part Daniel in the lion's den.

And, like the Biblical Adam, he will lose a rib. "They're going to take a rib out of his side and put it in his jaw so that his teeth will grow properly," Larry Jones said.

Doctors also plan to take some muscle from Daniel's shoulder to form a cheek. And in a few years, when his head is more nearly grown, they hope to make an ear out of another rib.

Kenya: Negligent Parents Arrested

Absent fathers

Stray Dog in Kenya Saves Abandoned Baby

Sexual abuse part of life for Kenya's street children

A Jamaican drug dealer facing deportation was sent to an open prison in Britain

David Williams:

Jamaican Ransford James Baker simply walked out and is still free 18 days later.

The case is the latest in the seemingly-endless series of scandals and blunders at the Home Office.

The details emerged alongside startling new figures showing that more than 8,000 prisoners, including murders and rapists, have absconded from open prisons since 1997 and a quarter are still at large.

Another 3,350 never returned after being given 'temporary permission' for outings, usually for a daytime work placement or events such as funerals.

The Parliamentary figures added to the earlier revelation that more than 20 murderers absconded from Leyhill Open prison, near Bristol, in just five years. Six rapists, 41 robbers and 103 burglars were also among the prisoners there who disappeared at a rate of one a week.

New Home Secretary John Reid tried to get a grip on the crisis by removing junior minister Tony McNulty, the man who presided over the failure to deport hundreds of foreign prisoners, from his job.

But Mr McNulty was simply shifted sideways to look after police and anti-terrorism. His immigration brief goes to Liam Byrne, who has been at the Home Office only as long as Mr Reid.

Baker, 51, was arrested at Gatwick in July 2003 as he tried to smuggle cocaine on a flight from the West Indies.

Two months later he was jailed for six and a half years, with Judge William Barnett, QC, recommending that he should be deported at the end of his sentence. Instead, he was sent to spend the final weeks of it in Ford Open jail, West Sussex - and vanished.

Amazingly, there are said to be another 30 foreigners in the same situation at open prisons.

One prison officer said yesterday: "Its a no-brainer. If a prisoner knows he is facing deportation and doesn't want to return to his homeland, he is going to disappear, given the chance. Often, we are giving him the chance despite consistently flagging warnings."

The figures on absconding reveal that 887 prisoners walked out of the UK's 16 open prisons last year alone. Some were missing for only minutes, but others disappeared without trace.

Prison Service chief executive Phil Wheatley said Leyhill was about average for an open prison. He said 'something over three-quarters' of absconders are rearrested but admitted that some will have offended again.

Absconding from an open prison is as simple as walking out of the front gate, as they have little or no security. Offenders are sent there towards the end of their sentence, as they are prepared for release.

Jamaican druggist walks out of open prison in UK

White students continue to perform better than their black and Hispanic peers in Virginia

Olympia Meola:

Black students in eighth grade had an average score that was lower than white students by 33 points, compared to 32 points in 1996. In fourth grade, black students had an average score that was lower than white students by 31 points, compared with 27 points in 2000.

"Certainly, as we take great pride in the gains that we made in 2005 both in aggregate and with our minority groups, we need to accelerate the narrowing of the achievement gap," Wright said. "All of us are struggling with the issue of how do you close the achievement gap, and that's what No Child Left Behind is all about."

The federal legislation, she said, forced states to face a reality that achievement gaps that persist are wider than they probably recognized before.

Virginia school officials hope a student-information system will help them to identify problem areas, especially among subgroups, and target services to those groups.

Hispanic students in fourth grade showed stronger gains but still lag behind their white peers by 20 points on average.

Nationally, black and Hispanic students narrowed the achievement gap with white students in fourth grade. The racial gaps did not change in eighth grade, while the gap between blacks and whites widened in 12th grade.

Mississippi has nation's lowest scores NAEP science tests

New Jersey students outscored the national average on benchmark science exams in 2005 despite large gaps along race and class lines

Kathleen Carroll:

The exams, which measure knowledge in earth, physical and life sciences, were given to a random sample of more than 300,000 students nationwide. It was the first time New Jersey has participated in the national science exam.

Among New Jersey fourth-graders, 33 percent earned scores in the "proficient" or "advanced" categories, compared with 27 percent nationwide. The average test score was 154 compared with 149 nationwide, out of a possible 300.

Among local eighth-graders, 33 percent scored at "proficient" or "advanced" levels, compared with 27 percent nationwide. They earned an average score of 153 compared with 147 nationwide, out of a possible 300.

Statewide, boys earned higher scores than girls. Fourth-grade boys averaged 155, compared with 153 for girls. Eighth-grade boys averaged 157, compared with 150 for girls.

New Jersey's black and Latino students earned lower scores than their white and Asian peers.

On the fourth-grade test, 60 percent of black students earned "below basic" scores, compared with 49 percent of Latino students, 15 percent of white students and 14 percent of Asian students. On the eighth-grade test, 63 percent of black students earned "below basic" scores, compared with 61 percent of Latino students, 20 percent of white students and 17 percent of Asian students.

New Jersey students eligible for free or reduced-cost school lunches earned lower scores than their wealthier peers.

Among fourth-graders, 54 percent of poor students earned "below basic" scores, compared with 18 percent of students who do not qualify for the free lunch program. Among eighth-graders, 62 percent of poor students earned "below basic" scores, compared with 25 percent of wealthier students.

Mixed results for N.J. students in science test

A Pakistani immigrant has been convicted of plotting to blow up one of NYC's busiest subway stations in retaliation for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal

Associated Press:

A federal jury in Brooklyn deliberated two days before convicting Shahawar Matin Siraj of conspiracy and other charges. He faces up to life in prison.

The defense had sought to portray Siraj, 23, as an impressionable simpleton who was lured into a phony plot by a paid informant eager to earn his keep. Prosecutors disputed that claim, arguing that even if it was not the defendant's idea to bomb a subway station, no law-abiding citizen would have gone along with it.

U.S. Attorney Todd Harrison suggested to jurors that "normal people" like them would have responded, "Excuse me, are you crazy? Thanks, but no thanks."

Siraj and another man suspected in the plot, James Elshafay, were arrested on the eve of the 2004 Republican National Convention carrying crude diagrams of their target the subway station in Herald Square, a dense shopping district that includes Macy's flagship department store. Elshafay immediately agreed to cooperate with the government.

Authorities said Siraj had no affiliation with known terrorist organizations. Instead, he caught the attention of the informant, Osama Eldawoody, and an undercover police officer with his anti-American rants at an Islamic bookstore where he worked.

Pakistani Loner Convicted in NYC Bomb Plot

Black leaders speak out against black-on-black crime in Miami-Dade County

Nicole White:

Commissioner Dorrin Rolle and other community leaders

Angered by several teen homicides and sexual assaults on children in Miami-Dade County, a group of local preachers and black community leaders vowed Wednesday to help find the suspects and called on witnesses to step up and turn in the culprits.

"We are really incensed now about these cases of black-on-black crime in our community," said the Rev. Richard Dunn.

"We're making an appeal to no longer tolerate these heinous crimes," said Dunn, who heads People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality.

In recent months three students who had attended Carol City High have been killed by gunfire.

The three: Jeffrey Johnson, an honors student who was set to attend St. Thomas University on a full scholarship, was fatally shot Sunday following an argument about cars; Evan Page, was killed in an apparent robbery in November; Sharika Wilson, was killed in a drive-by shooting outside a convenience store where she went to buy milk for her baby.

Antwan Grace, 21, accused of killing Johnson, turned himself in to police Monday. Miami-Dade police are still investigating the killings of the two other Carol City High students.

The activists were especially incensed by the slaying of 18-month-old Zykarious Cadillon, who was in his home's front yard playing with an adult male, police said, when shots sounded Sunday night. Witness accounts have been murky at best.

"We need to capture the animals in our community. We will get you. You killed an 18-month-old baby," said the Rev. Jerome Starling, who is also the executive director of the Rickia Issac Foundation, named for a 5-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet in 1997 in Liberty City.

The group has collected $3,000 to assist the victims' families and to help boost the funds available to Crimes Stoppers for a reward.

Miami-Dade County Commissioners Dorrin Rolle and Audrey Edmonson and about 30 local clergy and activists held a rally Wednesday to protest the two Sunday shootings.

Edmonson, herself a school teacher, mother and grandmother, said she was troubled by the senseless nature of the homicides -- random in the case of the dead toddler; trivial in the case of the slain honor student.

"This could have been my child, my grandchild. I grieve with these parents," said Edmonson.

She said witnesses in the shootings might fear coming forward. "They think somehow ... that they're going to be retaliated against if they cooperate," said Edmonson. "People are afraid."

A recent rash of sexual assaults against elementary school-age children in north Miami-Dade also has shaken the community after county detectives disclosed Friday that they were investigating a series of recent break-ins in which a man reportedly climbs through windows and sexually assaults young girls.

Anyone with information about the cases can call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Community Leaders Call For End To Gun Violence

Rapper who shot a cop is ordered to pay $10 million


Tab Turk Virgil

A Shelby County Sheriff's deputy shot during a 2004 drug raid has won a $10 million judgment. Wednesday, a judge ordered rapper Tab "Turk" Virgil to pay deputy Chris Harris the money.

Harris was shot four times inside an apartment complex in Hickory Hill. Since then he's undergone three surgeries and could need even more.

Harris is back on the force and hopes his case makes a statement.

"We want to send a strong message. If you're going to shoot the police, shoot at us, not only will we prosecute you, we will also come after you civilly," said Deputy Harris.

Virgil declined our request to speak with him about the multi-million dollar judgement. We are told Virgil, or Turk as he's called, is still putting out albums from behind bars...rapping his lyrics over the phone.

Gunshot victim speaks out

Rapper Beanie Sigel has been shot in a robbery attempt

Shaheem Reid:

Beanie Sigel is in a Philadelphia hospital recuperating from gunshot wounds to the arm after an attempted robbery on Thursday morning.

According to a Philadelphia police spokesperson, Sigel was in his vehicle at the intersection of 22nd and Sigel Streets (the street that inspired his stage moniker) at approximately 7:10 a.m. Thursday when five black males approached him in two separate vehicles, one of which was described as a dark Dodge Mirada with tinted windows.

One of the men — described as a bearded black male in his 30s wearing jeans and Timberland boots — opened fire; one or two bullets struck Sigel in his upper right arm. Sigel was able to flee the scene and drove himself to the University of Pennsylvania hospital.

Police said Sigel is listed in good condition. The rapper's representatives could not be reached for comment.

Sigel (Dwight Grant), was released from prison in August after serving a year on weapons charges (see "Beanie Sigel Released From Prison") and was acquitted of attempted murder the following month (see "Beanie Sigel Acquitted In Attempted-Murder Trial"). In October, his stepfather, Samuel Derry, was murdered in Philadelphia (see "Suspect Charged In Murder Of Beanie Sigel's Stepfather"). Sigel was also briefly jailed in November for failure to pay child support.

Beanie Sigel Shot in Botched Robbery

A bouncer is charged in the shooting death of a man outside a NYC nightclub and there are reports he has confessed to three more murders


Stephen Sakai

Police charged 30-year-old Stephen Sakai with murder and attempted murder. Published reports say police are looking into Sakai's claims that he has killed at least three other people in the past.

Police say Sakai opened fire Tuesday night outside the club Opus 22 after some patrons refused to leave to let in another party. Gustavo Cuadros, 25, was killed. His brother was critically injured.

Bouncers have been in the spotlight in recent months. Three months ago, a bouncer at a Soho bar was accused of murdering patron Imette St. Guillen. The police commissioner says bars and bouncers will be held accountable.

"We're looking at the entire universe of bouncers, you might say, and the city, as you know, the individual accused of killing Imette St. Guillen was in fact employed as a bouncer so we're doing an in-depth investigation of that whole business," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The City Council is pushing for legislation. Speaker Christine Quinn is backing a bill that would make it easier for the city to close clubs whose bouncers do not follow drug and gun laws.

Rage for club-slay bouncer

Bouncer Is Questioned in Chelsea Shooting


African-American and Hispanic students dropped out of school at a higher rate than their white peers in Kentucky

Raviya H. Ismail:

This year, the state's African-American dropout rate jumped from 4.56 to 5.92 and the Hispanic dropout rate increased from 4.77 to 5.24.

Overall, high school dropout rates in the 2004-2005 school year rose slightly from 3.35 to 3.49 percent, and the graduation rate increased from 81.3 to 82.8, the annual report shows.

"There's not one thing we can point to that would explain why the dropout rate went up," said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education. "There could be a lot of factors. It is one of the things that we're looking at carefully."

The report also shows retention and attendance rates and information about what students did after graduation, including whether they attended college or joined the military.

The non-academic data contributes to overall school scores in the statewide testing system, along with the Kentucky Core Content Test and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.

The statewide dropout rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who withdraw or fail to return to school after Oct. 1 into the total number of students who enrolled at the start of the year.

The graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who complete high school within four years with a standard diploma by the number of all students who completed or dropped out of high school in the current year as well as dropouts in the three previous years.

Kentucky searches for answers as dropout rate rises again

High school dropout rate rises slightly in Kentucky

Sex-for-visas chief was an illegal immigrant

Simon Hughes:

Tanya and James Dawute

A SUSPENDED immigration chief facing a sex-for-visas probe was an illegal immigrant himself, The Sun can reveal.

James Dawute, 53, is believed to have arrived from Ghana as a visitor, then stayed on unlawfully when his visa expired.

Last night a senior Whitehall source admitted: “He should have been booted out.”

A second inquiry to establish how Dawute gained the right to remain in Britain is also now underway.

Disclosures about his background add to the scandals already plaguing the Home Office’s beleaguered Immigration and Nationality Directorate.

The crisis has already cost Immigration Minister Tony McNulty his job.

According to a furious whistleblower, Dawute arrived in Britain during the 1980s and remained when he should have left.

The source said: “He was here for two years when he shouldn’t have been and was then somehow given a job by the immigration service.”

Another Whitehall source admitted: “He has a dubious immigration history but apparently is here legally now.

“What appears to have happened is that he arrived here legally, probably from Ghana, and then overstayed.

“As someone here illegally he should of course have been shown the door. It’s all being looked into but I don’t think he should be here at all.”

Ex-Tory Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe said: “There is nothing left to surprise me.

This is a catalogue of scandal and foul-up. It wouldn’t shock me to learn the Home Secretary is an illegal immigrant.”

Dawute’s conduct came under the spotlight following The Sun’s revelations back in JANUARY about a sex-for-visas racket at Britain’s busiest immigration centre, Lunar House, in Croydon, South London.

The father of four is a chief immigration officer at the centre — a post that carries a salary of up to £30,000 a year.

He was taped demanding sex from an 18-year-old asylum seeker called Tanya. He promised to help her after picking her out of a queue at Croydon.

Dawute was recorded telling her: “You are going to have sex. I am going to make love to you.”

He is now suspended while an investigation is carried out into a complaint from the girl.

UK minister loses job over sex-for-asylum scandal

Sex-for-visas chief stayed on illegally

Rape, prostitution and Hmong gangs

Dan Browning:

Deep in a catch-all spending bill awaiting the signature of Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a relatively small item that has the potential to help scores of young Hmong girls who have been raped or forced into prostitution.

The Legislature approved spending $98,000 on a pilot program in Ramsey County called Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth. The program will train police, educators, social workers, court officials, public defenders and others on how to interview and help young victims of sexual exploitation.

Some of the money will be used to change police procedures in cases where runaways are picked up. Before officers can close a case file, they will have to ask certain questions of runaways designed to determine whether they were abused, said Laurel Edinburgh, a nurse practitioner who treats sexual abuse victims at Midwest Children's Resource Center in St. Paul.

Edinburgh said the measure was prompted by a Star Tribune series in October that described how scores of Hmong girls in Minnesota -- many of them runaways and some not yet in their teens -- have been raped or forced into prostitution over the past several years, often by Hmong gang members.

The problem isn't unique to the Hmong community. But professionals who work with sexually abused children noticed a troubling pattern there: Hmong girls were more often preyed upon by multiple assailants, given drugs or alcohol and threatened with serious coercion.

Edinburgh said Tuesday that her center treated 74 Hmong girls for sexual assaults last year. "It really is an issue," she said.

Hmong gang rape suspects to be tried in Detroit

The violence of Hmong gangs and the crime of rape

Hmong girls need protection from gangs

A Righteous Hmong

This Hmong Show Has No Winners —Time To Cancel It

West appointee was accused of rape

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Light-to-moderate drinking while pregnant can have damaging effects on cognitive development, lowering IQ scores in black children at age 10

Jocelyn Uhl Duffy:

While researchers have found that heavy drinking during pregnancy leads to lower intelligence in children, fewer studies have focused on the effects of light-to-moderate levels of alcohol exposure. This study found that in 10-year-old African-Americans, exposure to between two and six drinks per week during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester, was associated with a lower IQ score compared to children who were not exposed to alcohol prenatally. There was no association found in Caucasian children.

"IQ is a measure of the child's potential to learn and survive in his or her environment. It predicts how successful we will be in school, work and life," said Jennifer A. Willford, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. "If light-to-moderate drinking can lower IQ, it suggests that mothers should try to abstain during their pregnancies to prevent their children from having cognitive deficits."

Interestingly, the study also revealed that binge drinking was not the best predictor of future cognitive deficits in children whose mothers drank at light-to-moderate levels of alcohol during pregnancy. The overall level of exposure over time was more important in predicting the effect alcohol would have on the child.

This study used data from the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project, an examination of prenatal substance abuse in women who attended a prenatal clinic from 1983 to 1985 in which women were assessed during each trimester of pregnancy, and again with their children at birth, eight months, 18 months, and at three, six, 10, 14, 16, and 21 years of age. At 10 years of age, the children's cognitive ability was assessed using the Stanford Binet Intelligence Test.

After normalizing the data to account for factors also known to predict cognitive ability, including maternal intellectual ability, maternal drug use, psychosocial characteristics, socioeconomic status and home environment, researchers were able to understand how prenatal alcohol exposure lowered IQ within the context of other risk factors that might lead to cognitive deficits. They found a relationship between low-to-moderate alcohol exposure during the first and second trimester and intelligence at age 10 in African-American children, but no relationship in Caucasian children.

"Our results indicate that the differences in prenatal alcohol effects on the IQ scores of African-American and Caucasian children were not due to the amount or pattern of drinking during pregnancy, their socio-economic status, or the education levels of the parents. We cannot say why this racial difference exists, but other laboratory animal and human studies suggest that genetics may play a role," said Dr. Willford.

Light-to-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to cognitive deficits 10 years later

Saudi Arabia's public school textbooks promote intolerance of Christians and Jews

Hassan Fattah:

A first-grade student is taught that "Every religion other than Islam is false"; the teacher instructed to "Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc." Fifth graders learn "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in God and his prophet, or someone who fights the religion of Islam."

Those lessons are among numerous examples cited in a controversial new study of Saudi Arabia's religious curriculum released Tuesday by the Center for Religious Freedom, part of Freedom House, a nonprofit group in Washington that seeks to encourage democracy. Despite official pronouncements that curriculum change is marching ahead, intolerance continues to pervade religious education in Saudi public schools, the report says.

"It is not hate speech here and there, it is an ideology that runs throughout," Nina Shea, the center's director and principal author of the report, said in a telephone interview from Washington. "It adds up to an argument, an ideology of us versus them."

The report's authors, who worked with the Institute for Gulf Affairs, a research group based in Washington that focuses on the Middle East, obtained 12 history and religion textbooks from parents of Saudi schoolchildren, and translated the texts. The textbooks were used last year in Saudi schools and Saudi-run schools in Washington, London, Paris and several other cities, the report said.

The results, they say, outline a systematic theme of "hatred toward 'unbelievers,' " mainly Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists, but also Shiites and other Muslims who do not ascribe to the country's orthodox Wahhabi teaching of Islam.

How the Saudis teach 'tolerance'

The Roots of Hate Speech

Should House Democrats drop Rep. William Jefferson?

John W. Mashek:

Rep. William Jefferson, D-Louisiana

House Democratic leaders shouldn't wait another day to denounce Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, and call sternly for his resignation. Time is not on their side.

Up to now the Democrats have held the upper hand on the scandal issue leading into the fall elections. The bribes accepted by Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a California Republican, and the corruption of GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies have been golden for the Democrats. The troubles of former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas have taken the issue to the top rungs of the House.

Jefferson is handing the Republicans the obvious response that Republicans are not the only ones using their office for criminal gain. To wait on Jefferson will only add to the inability of Democrats to get on top of this seamy situation.

Jefferson claims there are two sides to every question. We can't wait to hear him explain how $90,000 wound up in his apartment freezer. Or how he happened to be on tape receiving $100,000 in the garage of a hotel in suburban Virginia.

There is a constitutional question about the FBI raid on Jefferson's office last weekend. But politics is a separate issue, and Jefferson is on the hot seat. Yes, Jefferson deserves a trial in our system. But again, politics is a totally different matter.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the party chair of the election committee with hopes of regaining the House majority, should speak out forcefully and quickly.

Democrats were quick to pounce on Republican woes on the important issue of ethics. They should recognize that Jefferson is a pariah and treat him as such.

Where's the Outrage Over William Jefferson?

Pelosi asks Democrat to quit key committee

William Jefferson Update

A woman accused of killing her three young sons by tossing them into frigid San Francisco Bay believed God summoned her to sacrifice her children

Associated Press:

Lashaun Harris

Lashaun Harris, 23, was arrested last October, shortly after authorities said she dropped her children, one by one, over a rail and into the bay.

Taronta Greeley Jr., 2, was buried. The bodies of Treyshun Harris, 6, and Joshoa Greeley, 16 months, were never recovered.

Harris, who faces three counts of murder, has pleaded not guilty. She was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with delusional thought disorder, Caffese said, and was hospitalized once because she said God was telling her to jump out a window.

"Why is the DA prosecuting a pathetically schizophrenic, poor, black woman?" Caffese said during a break in testimony. "She loved her kids."

Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, said it was up to the defense to present prosecutors with a psychiatric evaluation proving that Lashuan Harris' actions were not "willful, deliberate and premeditated," the standard for first-degree murder.

"Until we are presented evidence on her mental state that she could not control herself or something else was driving her, the evidence remains the same," Mesloh said.

When prosecutors presented their case, they showed part of the video footage of the police interview with Harris immediately after the incident.

She sounded groggy, almost drugged and the officers questioned her as if she was a child. Her answers were mumbled, quiet and she seemed confused about where she was and what day it was.

She told the investigators God "said I need to kill my kids," and she took them to the pier for that purpose.

Police officer Thomas Johnson testified that he found Harris at the scene pushing an empty stroller.

"Where did you put the babies?" he asked. Harris replied, "They're OK. They're with their father," Johnson said.

'She was going to feed them to the sharks'

Jamaica continues to suffer from increased levels of violence, with a record 1,674 people murdered in 2005

Petrina Francis:

The damning report, entitled 'The State of the World's Human Rights', said conditions of detention frequently amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Another problem AI highlighted was that police officers often failed to preserve crime scenes, and statements from officers were often taken only after long delays.

It said several policemen charged with unlawful killings fled from justice, including the policeman charged with the murder of 10-year-old Renee Lyons in 2003.

AI further argued that, despite legislation to establish a police civilian oversight authority, that law did not mandate the authority to play any major role in investigating alleged unlawful police killings.

Violence against women was also highlighted in the report. According to AI, in the first eight months of 2005 there were 835 reported cases of sexual assault against women and girls, of which 67 per cent were against girls, and 16 per cent were at gunpoint. Most injuries to women, the report said, were inflicted by an intimate partner.

The report also stated that rates of HIV infection among women and girls were on the rise in Jamaica and that people living with HIV faced systematic discrimination.

According to AI, amendments to reform and update the Offences Against the Person Act and the Incest (Punishment) Act, submitted to Parliament in 1995, were still awaiting approval. It pointed out that marital rape was still not a criminal offence.

AI also said gay men and lesbians continued to face violence and discrimination.

In August, the report said two men were convicted of buggery and sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years. During previous hearings, crowds gathered outside the courthouse had verbally abused the men.

Rights groups say Amnesty report justified

Amnesty International continues to criticise Jamaica

School District seeks to narrow achievement gap between Hispanic and white students

Mike Saccone:

Working with parents, teachers and the students themselves, School District 51 has pushed during the past two years to address the disparity between white and minority students. Standing out among these gaps has been the growing gulf between white and Hispanic graduation rates.

Local Hispanic students finish high school at rates consistently lower than their white peers and district and statewide averages, according to data analysis by The Daily Sentinel. Based on statistics obtained from School District 51 and the Colorado Department of Education, between 2000 and 2004, 85.3 percent of white students graduated, while 64.2 percent of Hispanic students received diplomas.

The “graduation gap” has also steadily increased over the four most recent years surveyed: The gap between white and Hispanic graduation rates grew from an 11.8 percent difference in 2000-2001 school year to a 21 percent difference in the 2003-2004 school year.

At Grand Junction High School, the graduation gap for the class of 2004 was the greatest among district high schools, with nearly 90 percent of white students graduating and 57.1 percent of Hispanic students graduating.

Group targets class gap

New immigration publications, 5/22/06

Amnesty S.O.S.
The masses are revolting.
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, May 15, 2006

EXCERPT: The president will address the nation on immigration tonight and is expected to endorse, among other things, use of the National Guard to help patrol the border.

Why such a dramatic gesture? Is there some new emergency that needs to be addressed with new methods? Has something changed in the situation along the border?

No -- but something has changed in the public mood.

In the wake of illegal aliens massing in the streets, waving Mexican flags, singing ''Nuestro Himno,'' and insisting that Americans comply with their list of demands -- or else -- public attitudes toward immigration are hardening, and beginning to have political consequences. . . .


Best? Brightest?
A Green Card Giveaway for Foreign Grads Would Be Unwarranted
By Norm Matloff
Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder, May 2006

EXCERPT: … Yet in addition, the bill also includes an equally -- perhaps even more -- dangerous threat to the employability of American programmers and engineers, lurking in the arcane language of the bill. The bill would create a new F-4 visa category that would lead to an essentially automatic green card for any foreign student who earns a graduate degree in engineering or the physical sciences at a U.S. university.

Such proposals have been floated via the press during the last few months. Even if the present legislation does not go through, it is highly likely that there will be further attempts in this direction either later this year or next year. Given that it would be a sea change in policy, a careful look at the notion of ''free green cards for foreign students'' is imperative.

Instead of making it easier for foreign tech graduates to be hired in U.S. industry, Congress should make it more difficult. It should enact genuine H-1B reform, addressing both Type I and Type II salary savings. While it should retain the EB-1 category for those of outstanding abilities, Congress should reduce, rather than expand, the total yearly number of employment-based green cards. Congress should also warn the NSF that further undermining of American engineers and scientists may jeopardize the NSF's funding.


Can Attrition Through Enforcement Work?

Panel Discussion Transcript
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Rayburn House Office Building Room 2237

Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims

Jessica Vaughan, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Immigration Studies

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies


Visa Overstays: Can We Bar the Terrorist Door?

Statement of Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
Before a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, May 11, 2006

EXCERPT: … And given the pervasive corruption in Mexico, our southern border is likely to become an increasingly attractive means of entering the United States as other avenues are made more difficult.

But as important as border control is for security, it is not sufficient. It must be supplemented with a tightly run immigration system inside the country as well. This includes addressing problems like the lack of worksite enforcement, the staggering prevalence of fraud in the processing of immigration benefits, and the absurd visa lottery.

But perhaps most important is the issue of visa overstays. (Strictly speaking, it is not the visa itself, issued by the State Department, which expires and turns the foreign visitor into an illegal alien, but rather the length of stay granted the alien by the immigration inspector at the airport or land crossing.) Estimates are that as many as 40 percent of illegal aliens are overstayers, who entered the country legally but did not leave when their time ran out, representing perhaps 4 million or more people. …


A Third Way
By Mark Krikorian
The Palm Beach Post, May 7, 2006

EXCERPT: … This third way might be called ''attrition through enforcement'' - consistent, comprehensive enforcement of the immigration law (something we never have attempted) designed to reduce the number of new illegal arrivals and persuade a large share of illegals already here to give up and deport themselves. The goal would be a steady decline in the total illegal population, shrinking illegal immigration from a crisis to a manageable nuisance. This is the strategy underlying the enforcement bill passed in December by the House of Representatives.

Congress faces a clear choice: a realistic strategy of attrition through enforcement or the fairy tale of legalization. The shape of the final bill (if any) will determine whether we begin to reduce the problem of illegal immigration, or continue to exacerbate it.


New Poll: Americans Prefer House Approach on Immigration
Poll is First to Offer the Public a Choice Between House and Senate Plan

EXCERPT: WASHINGTON (May 3, 2006) -- A new Zogby poll of likely voters, using neutral language (see wording on following pages), finds that Americans prefer the House of Representatives' enforcement-only bill by 2-1 over Senate proposals to legalize illegal immigrants and greatly increase legal immigration. The poll was conducted for the Center for Immigration Studies.

* When given three choices (House approach, Senate approach, or mass deportation), the public tends to reject both the Senate plan and a policy of mass deportations in favor of the House bill; 28 percent want the Senate plan, 12 percent want mass deportations; while 56 percent want the House approach. …


Boycott & Backlash
May Day in New New Mexico.
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, May 1, 2006

EXCERPT: Today's May Day general strike by illegal aliens and their supporters should help clarify the Senate’s immigration deliberations. The question before senators, as they seek to pass an immigration bill before Memorial Day, no longer concerns the specifics of policy -- how much border fencing, the period of work for guestworkers, etc.

The question now is whether the government of the United States will give in to the mob.

France recently answered that question in the affirmative (for the umpteenth time), when Chirac backed down from his comically small employment reforms in the wake of mass protests. In Latin America, street protests have toppled two presidents in Bolivia since 2003 and one in Ecuador last year.

At this point, an immigration vote in the Senate will not, and should not, be about the particulars of policy. Rather, a vote for anything other than an enforcement-only bill would represent a surrender to the mob, a capitulation to the illegal-alien will to power. There will be plenty of time in coming years for Congress to debate the legitimate questions of legalization or guestworker programs -- but now it's time for senators to push back and pass an enforcement-only bill, to make clear that in the United States, laws are made in the Capitol, not in the streets.


Center for Immigration Studies response to Public Notice 5319, regarding the State Department's intention to investigate the possible adoption of a pilot program to enable foreign university students to work and travel in the United States for up to 12 months.
By Jessica Vaughan

EXCERPT: … The Department should proceed very cautiously, if at all, in establishing such a program. While exchange programs in general are a valuable and necessary form of public diplomacy, those exchange programs involving employment have a very mixed track record, and currently the regulation and oversight of these programs is inadequate to ensure that they will not result in the exploitation of participants, that they do not contribute to illegal immigration, that they do not present a national security vulnerability, and that they will not adversely affect employment opportunities for young people in this country. …

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