Friday, September 29, 2006

Newborn males and females have very different brain circuitry

Elizabeth Vargas:

Most people think that the brains of baby boys and girls are blank slates at the beginning of life. But according to new scientific evidence, they're not.

Recent reports show that newborn males and females have very different brain circuitry, and hormones dramatically shape their future thoughts, feelings and behavior in the first years of life.

"The day they're born their circuitry is already pretty much wired," says Dr. LouAnn Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist and author of the new book "The Female Brain." "They're either formed as a male brain or a female brain."

Brizendine says that after eight weeks in utero all children's brains appear exactly the same: female. Female is nature's default setting. It is only after a surge of testosterone that boys' brains begin to look male.

Recent studies reveal that after birth girls are already better at reading faces and hearing human vocal tones. Incredibly, during the first two years of life a baby girl's ovaries will pump adult levels of estrogen. From six to nine months, a boy's testicles are flooded with adult levels of testosterone.

While the behavioral effect of all of this remains a mystery, conjectures have been made.

"The studies that were done with children around 12 months old where their moms went in a room with them and they were told not to touch an object," recounts Dr. Brizendine. "The boys would just go right for the object and touch it. The girls would hear their mom's voice, turn around, look at their mom's face, and stop. Boys don't hear the complete tones in the female voice."

"The reason little girls may play better together is brain wiring — verbal ability at a younger age," she continued. "And they may just be able to negotiate the sharing better than boys. Of course, little boys and little girls act differently. Adult men and adult women act differently, too. But it has really been ignored until probably the middle '90s."

Thinking about sex: Who does it more?


Unisex brain a feminist myth

Gender? It's A Gray Area.

More black-on-black crime in Britain

Life Style Extra:

Two teenagers were shot in front of dozens of screaming young children as they queued inside a McDonald's restaurant.

Dozens of terrified youngsters and their parents ran for cover inside the crowded eaterie in Brixton, south London, as a gunman opened fire at 5.30pm.

The two 17-year-old pals had been queuing for food when one of them was shot in the chest and the other in the arm. The gunman - described as a black man, just over six foot tall - fled on foot.

The youth shot in the chest was fighting for his life while his pal was described as "stable" in hospital.

Detectives from the Met's Operation Trident, which investigates black-on-black gun crime, are probing the incident.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

Det Con Luis Martinez said: "The venue was very busy at the time of the shooting and those present - including families with young children - were shocked and terrified by this violent attack.

"We have only a brief description of the gunman at present - he was black and approximately 6ft 1in tall - but if anyone saw the incident or the suspect making off, we need to hear from you.

"It is believed the weapon was a handgun. The suspect made off on foot down Rushcroft Road and into Saltoun Road, heading towards Railton Road."

Boys 'stable' after McDonald's shooting

McDonald's shooting victim stable

Woman testifies to being gang raped in MS-13 trial

Keyonna Summers:

A teenager testifying yesterday in the case of two men accused of racketeering while involved with the MS-13 gang said one of the defendants put a gun to her head and ordered at least 10 other gang members to rape her.

The 19-year-old woman said during graphic testimony in a Greenbelt court that defendant Oscar "Casper" Velasquez, 21, ordered the 2003 "ritual rape" after she refused to have sex with him at a party.

"I told him I wasn't going to do anything, that I didn't come to the party for someone to take advantage of me," she said. "He told me if I didn't do it to him that he would tell the other men to do it to me."

The woman, then 16, said the incident began when she and two friends walked out of morning classes at Laurel High School to attend a "skipping party."

She said Velasquez, a friend of one of the girls, picked up the young women, then drove them to a Hyattsville apartment where he briefly danced with her to reggae music.

But a small gathering of about six soon turned into a large party of about a dozen men after one of the young women called her boyfriend, a suspected gang member.

The young woman testified that Velasquez led her to a bedroom, where he kissed her and laid her down on the bed.

She said Velasquez then brandished a gun and threatened to shoot her if she yelled, while another man entered the room and began choking her and a third waved a stick as if he were going to hit her.

An hours-long struggled ensued, she said, with as many as 15 men, including her friend's boyfriend, entering the room every five minutes, each closing the door behind him.

However, she said Velasquez did not rape her.

The woman also did not name Velasquez's co-defendant, Edgar "Pony" Ayala, 28, in the rape. The men face life in prison for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with killings, kidnappings, robberies and rapes since 2001. Testimony continues today.

The young woman's testimony yesterday also included her 10-minute 911 call to the Prince George's County Police Department in which she and her friends can be heard crying hysterically.

One of her friends was also gang raped in a separate room.

"I thought they were my friends," one of the young women can be heard saying. "Why would they do this to me?"

The woman who testified said each time the door opened she could see "Oscar standing outside the door looking."

"I was crying," she said. "I was terrified."

Midway through the ordeal, the young woman said, Velasquez entered the room, had her sit on his lap and asked whether any of the men had asked for oral sex before he kissed her and said, "Now you are my woman."

Richard Bittner, Velasquez's attorney, said his client is innocent.

"The prosecutors' allegation is that it was a ritual rape -- part of the culture of MS-13," Mr. Bittner said. But, "he's not a member and he didn't do it."

During cross-examination, Mr. Bittner asked the woman why it took more than a month after the rape to mention the gun to police, rather than the day after "when it was fresh in [her] mind."

Mr. Bittner also asked the woman why, before the rape, she went to the apartment, went for food at McDonald's and then returned if she became "afraid" upon seeing Velasquez flash gang signs as he drove the girls to the apartment.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greenbelt said Ayala's last known address was in Suitland and Velasquez's was in Baltimore.

Velasquez and his family, who were in court yesterday, are permanent legal residents from El Salvador, his attorney said.

Witness Tells Court About Gang Rape in MS-13 Trial

MS-13 leader convicted in Va. murder

A man suspected of killing a sheriff's deputy has been fatally shot

Stephen Majors:

Eswardo Ramclaim

SWAT team members on Friday fatally shot a man suspected of killing a sheriff's deputy a day earlier, ending an intensive manhunt that had gripped this rural area, officials said.

The suspect was shot numerous times after he was found in thick brush, just 100 yards away from where Deputy Vernon Matthew Williams was killed in Thursday's burst of gunfire, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The suspect refused to show both of his hands when officers commanded him to, Judd said. He said the officers opened fire after seeing that he appeared to have Williams' .45-caliber weapon, Judd said. It was unclear if the man also fired the gun.

Judd still did not know the man's name, but said it was the same person whose photo was released Thursday.

"I trust God to be the judge and jury better than anyone on earth," Judd said.

Hundreds of officers had used night-vision scopes, tracking dogs, helicopters and door-to-door searches to try to locate the man, who fled from Williams after another deputy had stopped him for speeding.

His face was identified by that deputy, Douglas Speirs, who was shot in the leg moments after Williams was killed. Williams, 39, probably died instantly, Judd said.

"He was shot multiple times. I don't believe he felt a thing," he said.

Williams' family had been told of the suspect's death, Judd said.

Speirs, 39, was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and released Thursday evening, Judd said. Williams' police dog, Diogi, was also killed.

Speirs had stopped the gunman for speeding in north Lakeland near Interstate 4 and became suspicious of the man's identification. The gunman got nervous and bolted into the woods, Judd said.

Speirs pursued him and called for backup. Williams arrived and they began working their way into the woods, Judd said.

As the officers tracked him, there was a "burst of gunfire" that is believed to have killed Williams and his police dog, Judd said. Speirs returned fire and was shot.

The suspect later exchanged gunfire with a Lakeland police detective who was at a home warning residents to stay inside. No one was hit.

Some officers who helped with the search had driven for hours to get to the scene, about 35 miles east of Tampa.

Judd said 10,000 to 15,000 people live in the area. Officers had gone house to house Thursday in some areas asking people to lock themselves inside. Three schools were locked down for hours, and two had remained closed Friday so officers could continue to search the area.

Williams had been with the sheriff's office since 1994. He had a wife and three children.

Killer hunted after Florida officer, dog slain

Civil rights groups said they will push for new legislation limiting when Rhode Island police can enforce federal immigration law

Associated Press:

The move comes after state police exonerated Trooper Thomas Chabot of any wrongdoing for stopping a van full of illegal immigrants, then referring them to federal immigration authorities.

Fourteen people in that van now face deportation orders.

State police said an internal probe shows Chabot stopped the van for a traffic infraction, then realized that all but two passengers couldn't produce ID documents. Police escorted the van to federal immigration authorities.

The men facing deportation claim Chabot threatened to shoot them if they tried to flee. State Police officials call those complaints unfounded.

Immigrants Detained During Traffic Stop Face Deportation

Advocacy groups protest state police traffic stop of Guatemalans

Terror suspect Saleh Jamal says that Australia is an illegitimate state that should be ruled by Muslims

AUSTRALIAN terror suspect Saleh Jamal has warned that Australia "will suffer" if he is deported.

Lebanese security sources said Jamal could be extradited as soon as today.

He is wanted in New South Wales after Lakemba police station was shot up in 1998.

Speaking from a Beirut jail, Jamal told newspapers Australia was an illegitimate state that should be ruled by Muslims.

NSW police officers had been preparing to collect him from Beirut - where he had served a jail sentence for a terrorism-related offence - in July when Israeli military aircraft bombed Beirut's international airport.

With the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict over and the airport open, NSW police say they will go ahead with the extradition.

It is understood Jamal will be handed to Australian police at the prison where he is held and taken to the airport. He will be put on a flight to Dubai, from where he will be flown to Australia.

The Lebanese prosecutor's office said that “in principle” he would be deported within 10 days, once Australian security officials arrived to collect him from Roumieh prison, near Beirut.

Let him starve

Extradited Jamal 'in coke gang'

Jamal back to face shooting charges

Prisoner on hunger strike after extradition from Lebanon to Australia, lawyer says

A 33-year-old Iranian who hijacked a jet to Oslo in 1993 and later won asylum in Norway has now been arrested on drug smuggling charges

Nina Berglund:

Fahrad Mohammed Injeh is back in jail, after police in Follo, south of Oslo, arrested him and four others on charges of smuggling amphetamines into Norway.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Friday that police had trailed suspected drug couriers from the Swedish border at Svinesund to a garage in Ås, which was then raided by armed police. Among the five men nabbed on the scene was Fahrad Mohammed Injeh.

Two of those arrested had driven the car from Svinesund, in which police found more than five kilos of amphetamines concealed in its framework. A third man owned the garage and the two others, one of whom was Injeh, are believed to have been the intended recipients of the drugs.

Injeh's defense attorney said his client was baffled by the charges. "This is probably a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said attorney Petter Sørensen.

Injeh, meanwhile, remained in solitary confinement Friday. He also had been arrested and charged in another drugs case in the autumn of last year, but those charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence.

Injeh and his brother first landed in Norway when they hijacked an Aeroflot flight from Baku in Azerbaijan to Oslo. The brothers were later deported, jailed in Russia and released in 1997. They managed to return to Norway via Denmark and ultimately sought asylum.

Their case sparked widespread public debate in Norway and government ministers opposed their plea, but asylum was later granted on the grounds the brothers would be hanged if sent back to Iran. Norway won't deport anyone if they face a death penalty in their homeland.

They ended up receiving residence permission in Norway in 2002. A potential drug conviction likely won't revoke that, because Injeh could still argue the need for protection from the death penalty back home in Iran. His brother hasn't been involved in any criminal offenses since returning to Norway.

The Norwegians are fools if they don't deport this criminal back to Iran.

A gay Iranian is to be deported from Sweden back to his homeland

James Savage:

Gay rights group RFSL has condemned the decision, saying that the man could be executed on his return.

"They're choosing to send people back and just hope that things go well, and that they're not executed," said RFSL's chairman Sören Andersson to The Local.

The man had appealed a decision from the Swedish Board of Migration to deport him. He told the court that he had been harassed, assaulted and imprisoned because of his sexual orientation. He also said that he had been arrested by Iranian police and raped at the police station.

But the court said that the man faced no concrete and individual risk if he were to return to Iran.

The court referred to a 2005 report from the Swedish foreign ministry, which said that Islamic law as applied in Iran prescribed "terrible penalties" for homosexual acts. Men who are found to have had penetrative sex can face the death penalty.

But the report also said that most gay people in Iran managed to avoid danger by living "discrete and withdrawn" lives.

Sören Andersson said it was unreasonable for Sweden to demand that gay people live "hidden lives."

"We are very critical of the Foreign Ministry's reporting," he said.

He also pointed to a report from the United Nations' Philip Alston, in which he detailed a number of cases in which men were sentenced to death for "private, consensual sexual conduct."

Alston also described a Special Protection Division, which empowers police officers to conduct surveillance of citizens' private sexual behaviour.

"There's a certain cynicism in the foreign ministry, in the Migration Board and in courts - they don't care whether people live or die," said Andersson.

RFSL has also raised the case of a lesbian from Pakistan, who also faces deportation to her homeland. Andersson says she was raped by police with the aim of "rehabilitating" her.

Sweden Renews Expulsion of Gay Refugees to Iran

Finger length may be a simple way to tell if a woman has the potential to be a tennis star like Serena Williams or a top runner like Paula Radcliffe

BBC News:

A King's College London team found women whose ring finger is longer than their index finger are more likely to achieve higher levels in sport.

The ratio between the fingers has already been linked to traits in men like cognitive ability and sperm count.

The study appears online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The researchers, from King's Twin Research Unit, examined hand X-ray images of 607 female twins aged 25-79 from the UK.

In each case they measured the lengths of the second and fourth fingers of each hand.

The volunteers also ranked their highest level of achievement in a list of 12 sports on a questionnaire.

The researchers found women with longer fourth fingers were significantly more likely to be among the top achievers in all the sports listed.

In particular, they were likely to excel at running, and sports such as football and tennis, which require running prowess.

Lead researcher Professor Tim Spector said: "The reasons for these findings are unclear.

"Previous studies have suggested the change in finger length was due to changes in testosterone levels in the womb but we also found that finger length was 70% heritable with little influence of the womb environment.

"This suggests that genes are the main factor and that finger length is a marker of your genes."

The ratio between the two fingers is fixed before birth and remains constant during life.

As this is the case, the researchers suggest that examining finger length may help to identify talented individuals at an early, pre-competitive stage.

No specific genes have yet been identified that control finger length.

Experts believe it is likely that multiple genes are responsible.

The fingers that point the way to a woman's sporting potential

To See How She Runs, Look at Her Fingers

Finger length ratio may predict women's sporting prowess

A terminally ill woman in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan has died after fasting for 14 days in keeping with a religious custom

Narayan Bareth:

Vimla Devi, from Jaipur, observed Santhara, a centuries-old Jain practice where one starves to spiritually prepare for death.

Her fast led to a petition in the state's high court by critics who say the practice is similar to suicide.

Vimla Devi was terminally ill and suffering from cancer.

The petition is due to come up for hearing on 5 October.

Her family says that her decision to observe Santhara was sanctioned by a Jain cleric and her family members.

"She had expressed her wish to adopt Santhara and give up her life and for 14 days she did not eat or drink," her husband, Sohan Lal Bhansali, said.

Vimla Devi's family did not mourn or cry at her funeral.

Instead a large number of people from the community took out a procession and chanted prayers along the way.

Nikhil Soni, who filed the court petition, says he tried to break her fast and had even informed the local police asking them to take action.

But police told him they were seeking legal opinion on the issue.

Defending the custom, a female Jain priest, Sadhvi Shubhankar, said, Santhara is centuries-old and cannot be compared to suicide.

"It is not an act of suicide, it is an act of rational thinking and courage."

In the last few years there have been nearly a dozen cases of Santhara, including one some months ago when a Jain cleric starved to death in Sriganganagar.

A Jain lawyer, Rajiv Surana says Santhara should not be perceived as a religious aberration like Sati.

"It is an old tradition and has religious sanction, it is similar to a Sikh carrying a kirpan [dagger]."

2nd Jain woman on fast unto death

Cancer victim revered for fasting to death

Jain fast unto death spiritual feat

Jain 'mercy killing' sparks row

African immigrants cause problems in an Italian town

Christian Fraser:

The Anelli estate in Padua is a cluster of crumbling high-rise flats.

It was built in the 1980s to house the city's considerable student population.

These days it is home to several hundred African immigrants.

It has a reputation for crime, drugs and prostitution, and is a constant source of angry complaints from local Italian residents.

This summer, after riots between opposing gangs, the left-leaning mayor of Padua took a drastic decision to seal off the estate - with a metal wall.

It is 85m (290ft) long, 3m (10ft) high and it stretches along one side of the estate.

"It's not an instrument of segregation," said Mayor Flavio Zanonato.

"We just want to limit the activity of the drug pushers here. This isn't a wall in Palestine. It's just something that's harder for drug dealers to jump over."

But those who live behind the wall say they feel like they have been imprisoned.

"The people on the other side of this wall don't want to know the people in here," said Ibude Agboneta, a Nigerian immigrant.

In Italy, a barrier to crime and integration

Papua New Guinea and its population of just under six million is in the grip of an HIV/AIDS epidemic

Penny Spiller:

The Health Minister Peter Barter shocked a recent meeting of world health officials by saying that infection rates had reached double digits in some remote parts of the country.

With nearly 2% of the population now believed to be living with HIV and Aids, experts fear Papua New Guinea is heading for a crisis similar to that in sub-Saharan Africa.

The country's government was for a long time accused of lacking the political will to do anything about infection rates that were rising at an alarming 30% a year.

But now it is "taking the bull by the horns", Secretary for Health, Dr Nicholas Mann, told the BBC.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has brought the issue under his remit and the government is working with agencies in the country on a coordinated approach to tackle the crisis, he said.

But tackling the problem in a country such as PNG is "very difficult", he admitted.

"We have about 800 different cultures and languages, and trying to translate the message in a society that is only 34% literate is a monumental task."

HIV is spread largely through heterosexual sex in Papua New Guinea, one of Asia's poorest countries. Unprotected sex, both paid-for and casual, is reported to be widespread.

The problem is particularly prevalent around the capital Port Moresby and other towns, major transport routes as well as mines and plantations.

But aid agencies point to a high level of violence towards women in the country as fuelling the epidemic.

"Women at most risk - those whose partners have multiple wives or who travel a lot - often say they have no control over the use of condoms and cannot refuse sex," Amnesty International recently said.

Deep-seated traditional and cultural belief systems are another factor, Dr Mann says.

"Firstly, people blamed it on witchcraft and sorcery," he said, admitting: "It will take some time and, unfortunately, loss of life before the message catches on."

On a practical level, experts say the country's health care infrastructure and resources are not adequate to cope with such an epidemic.

HIV/AIDS – a time-bomb waiting to explode

Papua New Guinea: Culture and resources no excuse for violence against women

Health minister: Up to 30 percent have HIV infection in remote Papua-New Guinea

The new attorney-general of the Solomon Islands has been arrested in Papua New Guinea and faces extradition to Australia on a child-sex charge

BBC News:

Julian Moti, an Australian citizen of Fijian descent, was appointed to his new post just last week.

Correspondents say the arrest is likely to further strain already poor ties between Australia and the Solomons.

Solomons' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare recently expelled Australia's most senior diplomat.

Mr Sogavare came to power after riots in the Solomon Islands earlier this year.

He recently accused Australia of "heavy-handed" interference in the Solomons' domestic affairs.

Australia has deployed security forces in the Solomons since 2003, when it was invited there by the government to restore order after the country came close to collapse.

Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison said Canberra would "seek Mr Moti's extradition from Papua New Guinea to face prosecution in Australia for an alleged child-sex offence".

"The Australian government attaches the utmost importance to ensure that persons facing such allegations are brought to trial in Australia," he said.

Mr Moti is thought by Canberra to have encouraged Mr Sogavare to set up an inquiry into April's riots, the Australian Associated Press news agency reports.

Critics accuse the prime minister of initiating the police investigation to clear two lawmaker allies who were charged with inciting the riots.

Mr Sogavare expelled Australia's chief envoy over Canberra's accusations.

Solomons A-G to face sex charges

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has called for EU nations to adopt a common, tough standard in dealing with illegal immigration

BBC News:

"We can't all continue to have our own immigration policies," Mr Sarkozy said, ahead of talks in Madrid with EU members from southern Europe.

Mr Sarkozy has accused Spain of causing a surge in illegal immigration by offering migrants an amnesty.

Thousands of Africans have been held trying to reach Europe this year.

The number of migrants making the illegal sea crossing to Spain and Italy has rocketed recently, with some 24,000 Africans having arrived in the Spanish Canary Islands this year alone.

EU member nations have failed to agree a common policy on immigration, with disputes focusing on how much control countries should retain over their borders.

Mr Sarkozy says he will put the case for an EU-wide policy on illegal immigration when he meets ministers at eight-country talks on the issue in Madrid.

"We can only solve the problems of immigration through perfect coordination with our European partners," Mr Sarkozy said.

He is expected to call for the EU's Frontex border agency, charged with patrolling the African coast, to be bolstered by military and police forces "in case of massive influx".

Mr Sarkozy is to argue for the creation of a single European asylum agency that would decide whether to award individuals refugee status on a European, rather than national, level.

In remarks quoted by AFP news agency, Mr Sarkozy also favours an EU ban on member states offering amnesties to illegal immigrants.

He plans to argue for "the prohibition in future of any mass regularisation measures", AFP says.

Mr Sarkozy has accused Spain of encouraging illegal immigration by offering an amnesty to some 600,000 unregistered migrants last year.

Spain to launch campaign in Senegal outlining dangers of illegal immigration

Spain insists immigration is a joint EU problem

EU Ministers to Discuss Illegal Immigration Solution

French interior minister to propose common European immigration policy

EU Parliament speaks against mass regularization of illegal immigrants

EU urges members to help curb flow of illegal migrants in southern Europe

Europe's glitter turns to dust for African migrants

Illegal immigration - the EU is divided

Malta faces African emigrant flood

Une chance pour la France

About half of the inmates in Ohio’s juvenile prisons are black, even though blacks account for only 14% of Ohio’s population of males ages 14 to 20

Alayna DeMartini:

The disparity between white and black is even wider in the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center, a jail for youths awaiting trial on serious violent crimes. On an average day, the ratio of black to white is 3-to-1. The gap has grown since last year, when the ratio was 2-to-1 on average.

Ohio and other states are looking at the racial makeup of young people who are arrested and locked up. The review is required by the federal government for states to continue receiving a grant for delinquency programs. Ohio will receive $2 million this year.

Part of the effort is to try to figure out what’s happening in neighborhoods such as Linden and the Near East Side. Since 2003, more youths in the detention center have been from Linden than any other neighborhood. Linden also ranked first in minority youths in the center last year, and the Near East Side was second.

Residents of Linden — north of Downtown and east of the University District — and the Near East Side are predominantly poor and black. Last month, a group of Linden residents began a neighborhood survey to document problems, such as drug houses, and assets, such as after-school programs.

The survey will help pinpoint what leads young people from those neighborhoods into trouble, said Yeura Venters, director of the Franklin County public defender’s office.

"It seems like the only time we are responsive to the needs of families and youths are when they are in crisis," Venters said. "We can constantly lock up people. We can constantly arrest them, but we’re not changing behaviors."

So many young people were sent to juvenile prisons last year that Franklin County lost more than a third of its annual state funding for programs that are alternatives to confinement. State statistics show that nearly 25 percent of the young offenders in Franklin County were sent to juvenile prisons last year, the highest rate among the 10 counties with the largest caseloads. And the county’s detention center was so overcrowded last year that Juvenile Court judges limited confinement to those charged with felonies or who were at high risk of fleeing or hurting someone.

A stay in the detention center didn’t change Dominic, said his mother, Elsie McCall, who adopted him five years ago. His childhood was unstable, which she blames in part on both his biological mother and his grandmother being in foster care when they were young. One reason so many young black males end up in trouble is they come from homes where "children are raising children," she said. "They don’t have a chance."

Concerns about gangs unite Northland area

Mixed Report on Black Males' Progress

Prison's hidden cost

Black American men hardest hit by dysfunctional US inner cities

Can young black men be saved? Our Board of Economists examines the lost potential of African American males and develops a prescription to improve their fortunes

Inmate population rises 2.6% from previous year

Muslim judge in sex scandal in Britain

Steve Bird:

Mohammed Ilyas Khan

The disgraced judge at the centre of the Brazilian cleaner blackmail plot was left isolated today as his wife shunned him.

Amtul Khan said that she no longer had any contact with Mohammed Ilyas Khan, her estranged husband.

She said revelations that he had been sleeping with an illegal immigrant and made a series of home made sex videos came as no surprise to her. The Khans had two children.

Mr Khan’s career as an immigration and Crown Court Recorder is on the line after it emerged Roselane Driza, his live-in-lover and former cleaner, had stolen videos of him having sex with a blonde woman and a female judge, named only as Miss J, who was said to have been snorting cocaine.

Speaking from her home in Birmingham, Mrs Khan said: “None of the family have anything to do with him. His parents are both deceased and I doubt his siblings have anything to do with him.

“The court revelations are no surprise to me.”

One friend of the couple, who did not want to be named, said: “Amtul was absolutely devastated when she found out what he had been up to. They were such a lovely couple.

“Mr Khan is a weak man who seems quite easily led. This whole thing is very embarrassing for them all and I feel so sorry for Amtul and the kids.

"He should have behaved more responsibly and thought about them instead of himself.”

Mrs Khan’s comments add to speculation about Mr Khan’s womanising.

Earlier Miss J had told the Old Bailey that Mr Khan, a Muslim, was also sleeping with a number of women while living with Driza.

Driza is facing a lengthy jail sentence after being found guilty of trying to blackmail 20,000 from Miss J.

The 37-year-old Brazilian had worked illegally for both Mr Khan and Miss J for up to five years despite not having a work permit.

UK: The Muslim Judge, And His Sex, Lies & Videotape

She started by marrying a serial killer

Radical Muslim who made death threats against Pope escapes prosecution in Britain

Daily Mail:

A furious row has erupted after it emerged that a notorious preacher will not be prosecuted for issuing a death threat to Pope Benedict over his remarks about Islam.

During an organised demonstration, Muslim radical Anjem Choudary said that anyone who insulted Prophet Mohammed would be 'subject to capital punishment'.

He made his remarks in a TV interview while protesting at the rally.

The protest took place outside the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral at the height of the furore over the Pope's quoting of a 14th century emperor who said the Prophet brought 'things only evil and inhuman'.

Police received about 25 complaints about the protest which left members of the central London Cathedral's congregation 'upset' and 'intimidated'.

But Scotland Yard has concluded that 'no substantive offences' were committed on September 17.

The force has also decided that lawyer Choudary's comments, which actually came in a media interview rather, did not constitute an offence.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair told the Metropolitan Police Authority his officers were trying to 'hold the line of free speech' in an 'angry time'.

"The Met can only police the law as it stands," he said.

"No substantive offences were discovered during that demonstration.

"The remarks by one person that were widely printed in the media did not take place at the demonstration."

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, who demanded action against Choudary, said: "My reaction is that it is quite disgraceful that Sir Ian Blair is not taking action over this.

"It sends out a message to Muslim extremists across the world that we, as a country, do not have the moral courage to stand up to them.

"They are likely to become more and more outspoken because it is apparent that we do not have the courage to stand up to them."

Rachel Whittaker, a Tory member of the MPA, had earlier described in the meeting how members of the congregation 'felt intimidated' and 'were upset' by the protest.

Others even felt 'threatened' she said, describing the demonstration as: "An appalling misuse of the freedom of speech".

However, Sir Ian said: "The Cathedral authorities expressed complete satisfaction with the police operation.

"We are living in an angry time. It is the job of the Metropolitan Police to hold the line of free speech and it is a difficult line to hold.

"But in this particular case I am satisfied there were no offences committed by anybody.' However Sir Ian's comments have sparked further confusion.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said that its lawyers were still reviewing TV footage from the day of the demo - leaving the door open for a prosecution.

About 100 Muslim demonstrators took part in the protest . Slogans on display included 'Pope go to hell' and 'May Allah Curse The Pope'.

In the wake of the protest, Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, announced that officers would look to see if any criminal offences had been committed.

Scotland Yard officers also carried out an investigation after a demonstration outside the Danish embassy earlier this year over the controversial Muslim cartoons.

On that occasion, Choudary was fined £500 for failing to give police proper notice before the protest march in February. Other participants are awaiting trial.

No action against Pope protesters

UK: Islamist Who Wants Pope Dead Will Not Face Charges

An Iraqi asylum seeker rapist used 7 different aliases to stay in Britain

John Askill:

Khatan Ali Omar, 28, twice raped the 58-year-old at knifepoint after bursting into her Leicester home. He put the blade to her throat, bound and gagged her, Leicester Crown Court heard.

He was given an indeterminate sentence and must serve at least five years. A judge recommended he be deported when released.

He was jailed for three months in 2003 for lying to immigration chiefs then stayed on in Britain using different identities.

His victim said the ordeal had tainted her view of immigrants. She said: “He’s betrayed the hospitality of my country.”

Jobless Omar, from Leicester, who said his relatives were killed in Iraq, was found guilty of rape and aggravated burglary.

Man sentenced to 10 years for rape and aggravated burglary


The mother of a man killed in a triple homicide by an illegal alien plans to sue the federal government for $100 million

Phil Ray:

Sandra Miller of Altoona is the mother of Stephen Heiss, who died Aug. 28, 2005.

Miguel Padilla was convicted and received death sentences this month for killing Alfred Mignogna, owner of the United Veterans Association building; Fredrick Rickabaugh Sr., UVA doorman; and Heiss, a patron.

The jury wasn’t told that Padilla is an illegal alien.

The civil lawsuit notice, filed by attorney Art Cohen of Hollidaysburg, blames the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for allowing Padilla to remain in the United States.

Padilla, 27, came to America as a young boy with his mother and brothers to escape an alcoholic father.

He graduated from Penn Cambria High School but never became a U.S. citizen.

He was involved in a stabbing incident in which the victim was his then-father-in-law.

ICE never took Padilla into custody or attempted to deport him.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, spoke of the case on the House floor, saying ICE did nothing about Padilla.

Most of the money sought is for punitive damages because the government did not take any action that could have prevented the homicides.

An attorney with ICE declined comment Wednesday. ICE has asked Cohen to provide it with more details concerning the Padilla case.

Murder Victim's Family Sues Feds For $100 million

Altoona latest to approve illegal immigrant crackdown

Padilla handed death sentence


Illegal Alien on Trial for Murder in Pa.

America's open house

An illegal immigrant is in jail after being accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl several months ago in a park bathroom

Jannise Johnson:

David Torres Fuentes

David Torres Fuentes, 19, of Ontario, was arrested at his home Friday, according to a statement from Ontario police Detective Diane Galindo.

A school resource officer and Ontario police officers arrested Fuentes at 4:15 p.m. Friday in front of his home, according to the statement.

He was arraigned in Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court on Wednesday on one count of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, Galindo said.

Fuentes is accused of coercing a 13-year-old acquaintance into his car May 22 about 7:10 a.m., according to the statement.

The girl was a student at De Anza Middle School.

She reported Fuentes drove her to Sam Alba Park in Ontario, where he forced her into the men's room. Police believe that he then attempted to rape the girl, but she fought him off, Galindo said.

She immediately went to police to report the incident, Galindo said.

During an interview with investigators, Fuentes admitted to having sexual intercourse with the victim, according to the statement. He denied kidnapping and raping the girl, according to the statement.

Galindo said Fuentes is an undocumented immigrant, which made it more difficult to track him down.

"Because of his undocumented status, he immediately moved from his residence and we had trouble tracking him," she said. "His actions showed consciousness of guilt."

If convicted, Fuentes will be deported after he serves his time, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In fact, ICE routinely screens foreign-born inmates in state and federal facilities to determine who is "deportable" upon release, Kice said.

"We have the opportunity not only to get these people off the streets but to get them out of the country as well," Kice said.

It would be nice if the government could do a better job in keeping scum like this creep from entering the country in the first place.

Police in Lexington, Kentucky have identified a man they say killed three women and raped another

Steve Lannen:

Robert Franklin Smallwood Jr.

Robert Franklin Smallwood Jr., 32, is charged with crimes spanning 13 years and linked by DNA. Smallwood has been in prison on another charge since July. Police announced in August that they had linked the three slayings but said they had not linked the DNA evidence to a specific killer. Police would not specify yesterday how they linked Smallwood's DNA to the crimes, but indicated it happened in the past few days.

The victims -- Doris Ann Roberts, Sonora Lynn Allen and Erica C. Butler -- were killed over a span of seven years, beginning with Roberts in 1999. Butler was slain in April.

Police also announced yesterday that DNA linked Smallwood to the previously unsolved 1993 rape of Viola J. Greene, 83, a retired schoolteacher who died in 1998 of natural causes.

Smallwood is in state prison in La Grange after violating probation this summer from a drug conviction.

Any connection among the victims remains unclear.

Roberts was found dead in her East Fourth Street apartment, apparently from strangulation and suffocation, according to the Fayette County coroner's office. Allen also died of strangulation and was found dumped in a Fortune Drive parking lot. Butler appeared to die of injuries caused by blunt trauma; she was found inside her home on Kenton Street.

Previously, authorities had said the three murder victims led "a high-risk lifestyle" but declined to elaborate then and again yesterday. The women accrued a mix of drug and alcohol charges, and Butler had prostitution charges, according to court records and interviews.

However, that wasn't the case with Greene, Lt. James Curless said.

Greene's home was broken into early one morning in 1993 and she was raped and sodomized, Curless said.

Smallwood was later indicted for the 1998 rape and sodomy of another Lexington woman, but was found not guilty by a jury, according to court records.

The only thing that connected the other four cases was matching DNA, Curless said.

"Evidence collected from each of these crimes linked him to these four cases," he said.

A month ago, police announced that DNA evidence found at the crime scene of the three homicides pointed to the same man, possibly Lexington's first serial killer. However, at the time, they did not know that person's identity. Police had sought profiler assistance from the FBI. Authorities distributed a composite sketch and held a press conference.

Smallwood had been in prison since July.

Police Identify Suspect In Serial Killer Investigation

About a hundred youths of North African origin rioted in central Brussels following the death of an inmate in jail


Violence broke out on Monday evening in the working class Marolles district of Brussels after news that a 25-year-old inmate of North African origin died on Sunday, the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

The inmate was given a product to help him calm down, the official said. An investigation has been launched.

On Tuesday, the youths torched a youth center, attacked police cars and shops.

All the rioters on Tuesday were of North African origin, the official said, adding that 30 people were arrested.

The rioting was the worst since youths set fire to 15 vehicles across Belgium last year in violence which authorities said imitated unrest then going on in France.

Brussels riots continue after unexplained death of prisoner

Ramadan Rioting in Brussels

Third Night of Ramadan Rioting in Capital of Europe

Death Threats in Brussels, France (Robert Redeker)

Belgium: Muslims Riot In Brussels

France: Philosophy Teacher Receives Muslim Death Threats For Islam Article

Islam: The Increase In Muslim Intolerance Of Western Culture

Wife and illegal Mexican immigrant lover found guilty of husband's murder

Emanuella Grinberg:

A jury took less than two hours Thursday to convict a woman and the lover she was hiding in her closet of first-degree murder for beating and strangling her husband.

Martha Freeman, 41, bowed her head at the defense table as the jury foreman read aloud the verdict for the death of her husband, Jeffrey Freeman, whose body was discovered in the bathroom of their home on April 11, 2005.

Co-defendant Rafael Rocha-Perez remained stoic even as Judge Randall Wyatt handed down mandatory life sentences for their roles in the 44-year-old victim's death.

Davidson County prosecutors said the speed of the verdict reaffirmed the strength of their case, which defense attorneys criticized for its lack of direct evidence.

"This verdict is a rejection of the defense attacks on the police and on an innocent man who died in an awfully brutal manner," said deputy assistant attorney general Tom Thurman.

Prosecutors conceded in closing arguments Thursday that they could not pin down the exact time Jeffrey Freeman died or the specific role either defendant played in his death.

Even so, they insisted that evidence of a relationship between Martha Freeman and Rocha-Perez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, coupled with their behavior after the murder, proved their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Pair guilty of killing wife's mate

Strangled husband didn't die instantly

Prosecutors say woman and lover in closet planned to kill husband

The Mexican drug cartel enforcers known as the Zetas are growing in strength

Alfredo Corchado:

For all the beefed-up enforcement along the border, the militialike group of drug cartel enforcers known as the Zetas appears stronger than ever, a result of better training, successful recruiting in Central America and continued desertions from the Mexican military, U.S. intelligence officials say.

The Zetas have again become entrenched in Nuevo Laredo, and they practically control the movement of people through an intricate web of spies, checkpoints and skillful use of technology, provoking an extraordinary cross-border human exodus, U.S. and Mexican authorities say.

Last year, U.S. and Mexican authorities reported that the number of Zetas was falling rapidly, the result of both government pressure and ongoing warfare with rival cartels. But the shadowy group of elite former military officers, soldiers and others has now grown to more than 500 nationwide, with hundreds more in a support network throughout the country, U.S. officials said. Some of those networks are deepening their ties to Texas cities, including Houston and Dallas, with the help of Texas gang members.

A shootout late Friday between Zetas and members of the Mexican military - reportedly acting on tips from the Sinaloa cartel - involved grenades and bazookas in a residential neighborhood of Nuevo Laredo, U.S. authorities said. The firefight killed four people suspected of drug trafficking - believed to be Zetas - and injured at least four others, authorities said.

The report could not be independently confirmed.

The Zetas, enforcers of the gulf cartel, are battling rival members of the Sinaloa cartel for drug distribution routes, including the Interstate 35 corridor into Texas.

U.S. authorities said the gulf cartel has established training camps in the states of Tamaulipas - its base of operations - and Nuevo Leon, both of which border Texas, and in the central state of Michoacan. The organization is recruiting former Guatemalan special forces military personnel known as Kaibiles and members of the notorious cross border gangs known as Maras, including the violent Mara Salvatruchas with ties to El Salvador.

"The resiliency and determination of these criminals are beyond anything I have seen in my years in U.S. law enforcement," said one U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They're tough, and they won't break easily. They pose a serious threat to Mexico and to security along the border."

U.S. and Mexican authorities met in Laredo last week to discuss what one official described as Mexico's "grave" security situation, including the killing of a judge and three senior law enforcement officials in recent weeks. In the meeting, U.S. law enforcement authorities pressed Mexico to return a large number of federal troops to Nuevo Laredo.

Federal troops occupied the city for several months last year when the entire police force was suspended in an effort to rid the department of corrupt officers working on behalf of the drug cartels. But the program, dubbed "Secure Mexico," was considered a failure and scrapped, Mexican authorities concede.

"We also offered every possible support to Mexico to help apprehend those who murder law enforcement, judicial or investigative officers here because of their efforts to enforce the law in Mexico," U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza said of the Laredo meeting. "Uniting forces between our two countries is crucial if we are to send a clear message to all criminals ... that we will not tolerate violence on either side of our border."

A senior U.S. official described the meeting as positive. "This was the first time I saw our Mexican counterparts sincerely worried about the situation," the official said. "The usual pride and nationalism wasn't there."

The Mexican government has not issued a statement, and authorities wouldn't discuss the meeting, although Mexico's top organized crime investigator, Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, said last week, "We know what the situation is, and we don't need anyone else to tell us what it is."

U.S. intelligence officials along the U.S.-Mexico border say the resurgence of the Zetas has to do in part with the desertion of soldiers from the Mexican military.

In a hearing before Mexico's Senate in July, Gen. Gerardo Clemente Vega Garcia said that more than 100,000 soldiers have deserted over the past six years, although he said he didn't know how many may have defected to the Zetas or other cartels. He listed, among other factors, "money, the lifestyle and women" as reasons for desertion to organized crime.

The Zetas are now getting "bigger and bigger," with a growing presence not just in their base of Tamaulipas, along the Texas-Mexico border, but also in the states of Nuevo Leon, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Guerrero, Veracruz, Michoacan and Jalisco, the U.S. intelligence official said.

The Zetas even have a Cuban spiritual leader who performs Santeria rituals, U.S. authorities said, and they invest about 50 percent of their earnings in training, recruiting, intelligence-gathering and computer software.

"They have the Texas-Mexico border wired," the U.S. intelligence official said, and they use Web logs as tools for recruiting - "although there's nothing more effective than personal recommendations."

The rival Sinaloa cartel also trains and recruits Central Americans, "although they generally depend more on the corruption within the government for help. This includes federal agents and members of the military," the official said.

Nowhere is the Zetas' presence more deeply felt than in Nuevo Laredo. The number of drug-related killings in the border city across from Laredo, Texas, has surpassed 160 this year, compared with 182 for all of 2005.

About 200 Zetas operate in the city, with a support system of about 300 people, including lookout guides known as halcones, the officials said. Additionally, they depend on members of the municipal police, who earn about $500 every two weeks, U.S. authorities say.

The city is still without a police chief. Police Chief Omar Pimentel resigned in February after serving six months in the job, during which he pledged not to confront the cartels. His predecessor, Alejandro Dominguez, was gunned down just hours after being sworn in.

A self-imposed local media blackout continues on issues related to the drug battle. No news outlet here reported Friday night's shootout.

Tourism continues to suffer, as Texans stay away. Military checkpoints around the city choke off incoming and outgoing traffic, slowing trade and commerce. On Thursday, the line to get into the city from Mexico's interior was backed up for more than two miles, forcing angry motorists to take dirt roads. Others simply drove into incoming traffic, forcing cars to the side of the road.

At nighttime, members of the Zetas set up checkpoints inside the city and search motorists, looking for rival Sinaloa cartel members, authorities say.

The number of halcones employed by the cartels has also increased and has penetrated deep inside Nuevo Laredo society. The cartels use technology to tap into driver's license records and even hotel check-in lists, officials said, citing U.S. intelligence.

Two weeks ago, 25 campesinos, or farm workers, on their way to work in Texas with temporary job permits were abducted from their hotel and taken to a warehouse to be shot, authorities said. They were released when cartel leaders realized they had the wrong people. But American authorities said no Mexican law enforcement agencies would take their call for help.

Meanwhile, the exodus to Laredo continues. Last week, the opening of a tony new bar there, Las Cananas, long a mainstay in Nuevo Laredo, attracted a crowd of high-society exiles. The event turned into a bittersweet reunion of the two Laredos, as self-described refugees from crime planted air kisses on the cheeks of friends and family from across the river whom they hadn't seen for some time.

"There's so much nostalgia," remarked businessman Eduardo "Guayo" Gutierrez, 50, as he surveyed the crowd. "The sad thing is, they all like living here and bad-mouthing Nuevo Laredo, which tells me they have no plans to return."

By the end of the night, Gutierrez, too, was talking about moving his business, which includes a mattress company, and relocating to Laredo.

"They say on this side people sleep more tranquilly," he said. "There's no gunfire to wake you up."

Recent killings may be caused by drug cartel

Mexican drug cartels' new scare tactic: beheadings

Calderon says drug violence has overwhelmed the capital, key states

Nuevo Laredo media go silent on violence

Mexico Decaying As Drug Cartels Grow In Power

South Africans are killing relatives and acquaintances at an alarming rate

Celean Jacobson:

According to an annual police report on crime, nearly 50 people killed every day across the country - a figure that will likely add to South Africa's reputation as a violent society.

The government is desperate to counter the country's violent image, especially in the run-up to the soccer World Cup in 2010, and point out that murder is at its lowest level for five years.

Yet, the report said the number of murders over the year totaled 18,528, and four of every five victims knew their attackers.

Rapes totaled a staggering 54,926. There was little decrease in the number of murder and rapes.

"These crimes are committed behind closed doors, in secluded spots," said Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula.

Chief police statistician Chris de Kock said these crimes are often exacerbated by alcohol and drug abuse, making them difficult to combat with conventional policing methods. "You would have to have a policeman in every house."

Overall, large robberies showed the largest increase, up 74.1 percent from 220 to 383. the report said.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has raised concern about an increasing sense of lawlessness in South Africa.

"What has happened to us? It seems as if we have perverted our freedom, our rights into license, into being irresponsible. Rights go hand in hand with responsibility, with dignity, with respect for oneself and the other," Tutu said in a lecture Tuesday night.

Tutu, a leader in the anti-apartheid movement, decried the rape of children, some as young as nine months, and South Africa's staggering murder rate.

SA crime 'deters foreign firms'

'Vigilantes' nail doors shut

South Africa: 150 Rapes a Day in SA

Drumsticks roll asunder

Good and bad news as crime stats released

Crime stats show spike in heists

Which province has the highest crime rate?

Targets for violent crime reduction not reached

Figures reveal SA's grim gamble

Crime statistics miss target

Businesses sound alarm over crime problem

SA crime - more violence

S.Africa's war on crime produces mixed results

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chargers strong safety Terrence Kiel has been arrested on drug charges

Kevin Acee:

Terrence Kiel

The four-year veteran out of Texas A&M was summoned from the practice field after the squad finished its individual drills and before its team period, about a half-hour into practice, sources close to the team said.

He was arrested after that, but no one saw Kiel actually taken into custody., citing law enforcement sources, reported last night that plainclothes federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrived at the facility with an arrest warrant, searched Kiel's locker and car and left with the player.

Kiel was charged with possession, possession for sale and transportation of a controlled substance, according to's sources.

Kiel returned to the facility last night after posting bail and spoke with head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

However, neither Schottenheimer nor General Manager A.J. Smith returned phone messages last night.

The team did release this statement:

“We're aware of an off-the-field situation involving Terrence Kiel and we're monitoring the situation. Due to the personal nature of the ongoing legal investigation, the Chargers are withholding further comment until the matter is resolved legally.”

The incident is the second involving a Chargers player and law enforcement this month.

Linebacker Steve Foley was shot three times by an off-duty Coronado policeman on Sept. 3. Foley was placed on the reserve nonfootball injury list and will miss this season.

It is unclear what, if any, action the Chargers or the NFL will take against Kiel.

Kiel was a second-round draft pick in 2003 and has started 38 games for the Chargers. He was expected to start as a rookie in 2003, but he was shot three times by would-be carjackers in Houston in July and did not start until the last six games of the season. He played well enough this summer to retain his starting job after finishing last season on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Kiel was playing better this season, making a couple of big hits against Oakland and showing improved skills in coverage.

He is tied for fourth on the team with nine tackles this season for the 2-0 Chargers. Despite missing four games with the ankle injury, he fin ished fourth on the team with 59 tackles last season.

If Kiel doesn't play Sunday against Baltimore, the most likely scenario is that the Chargers would play Bhawoh Jue at free safety and move starting free safety Marlon McCree to strong safety.

Chargers safety Kiel admits to drug charges

The sale of organs taken from executed prisoners appears to be thriving in China

BBC News:

Organs from death row inmates are sold to foreigners who need transplants.

One hospital said it could provide a liver at a cost of £50,000 ($94,400), with the chief surgeon confirming an executed prisoner could be the donor.

China's health ministry did not deny the practice, but said it was reviewing the system and regulations.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes visited No 1 Central Hospital in Tianjin, ostensibly seeking a liver for his sick father.

Officials there told him that a matching liver could be available in three weeks.

One official said that the prisoners volunteered to give their organs as a "present to society".

He said there was currently an organ surplus because of an increase in executions ahead of the 1 October National Day.

China executes more prisoners than any other country in the world. In 2005, at least 1,770 people were executed, although true figures were believed to be much higher, a report by human rights group Amnesty International said.

In March, China's foreign ministry admitted that organs from prisoners were used, but said that it was only in "a very few cases".

Spokesman Qin Gang said that the organs were not taken forcibly, but only with the express permission of the convict.

But whether prisoners really are free to make up their own minds on organ donation just before they are executed is not at all clear, our correspondent says.

In April 2006, top British transplant surgeons condemned the practice as unacceptable and a breach of human rights.

But the No 1 Central Hospital carried out 600 liver transplants last year, our correspondent says, and the organ transplant industry has become big business.

China to 'tidy up' trade in executed prisoners' organs

Ailing Americans seek Chinese organs

Organs for Sale

A global body parts bazaar

China faces suspicions about organ harvesting

China's Grim Harvest

Organ harvesting and China's openness

China makes ultimate punishment mobile

The costs and benefits of low-skilled immigration

Steve Malanga:

The issue of immigration has prompted great soul-searching and re-evaluation among economists across the political spectrum. For years, mainstream thought in the field held that benefits outweighed problems. But over the last 30 years, as the nature of immigration has shifted to include more low-wage, low-skilled workers, opinion within the field has slowly changed, too, based on mounting evidence that the benefits of such immigration are small, while the costs are growing.

It was the weight of this evidence and the shift in thinking that I chronicled in a piece that appeared in the summer issue of City Journal magazine (“How Unskilled Immigrants Hurt Our Economy”). Needless to say, I was surprised to read at the end of The New York Sun’s critique of that piece (“The Case for Immigration,” September 22) that the author, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, placed me within the line of a group of “small but influential thinkers” whose ideas on immigration have, over the years, spawned such disreputable movements in American society as the Know-Nothing party. In my nearly 20 years of engaging in public policy debates, I’ve always felt a great satisfaction when my opponents resorted to implying that my arguments help underpin racism or nativism or some other despicable “ism.” It’s generally a sign that they are unconvinced of the weight of their own arguments.

The irony is that it is Ms. Furchtgott-Roth, not I,who stands in the midst of a small (and shrinking) but influential circle of thinkers — that is, open-borders advocates who have clung tenaciously to the notion that all immigration is ultimately good for our economy, despite growing evidence to the contrary, and despite a significant shift of opinion within academic circles. After being presented with a series of studies on modern immigration by the most authoritative economists in the field, a congressional bipartisan commission on immigration reform wrote in the mid-1990s, “It is not in the national interest to admit unskilled workers.”

In my piece, I recounted a series of studies which explained that the first great immigration, from 1880 to the mid-1920s, brought economic benefits to the country largely because the immigrants of that era carried skills with them that weren’t in great supply.

Today’s immigration, the so-called second great wave, began roughly 50 years ago and has come increasingly to feature low-skilled, uneducated workers and their families at a time when succeeding in our economy demands ever-more education and skills. Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, illegal immigrants alone — consisting almost entirely of unskilled workers — have crossed our borders at the rate of between 225,000 and 300,000 a year. At the same time, legal immigration has also turned sharply toward low-skilled workers, thanks to 1965 legislation that changed our national quota system in such a way that today the vast majority of legal immigration hails from poorer countries.

Not surprisingly, as low-skilled workers have arrived in ever-greater numbers, their fortunes have fallen: Today, for instance, Mexican immigrants, who increasingly dominate the ranks of our low-skilled migrants, typically begin work here in America with a 40% wage gap compared to native-born workers, and rather than disappearing over time, that wage gap persists and may even be growing larger, according to work by the Harvard economist George Borjas. Equally unsurprisingly, the impact of such low-wage immigration on America’s broader economy is limited. An authoritative study by the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 found that immigration contributed a mere $10 billion to our (at the time) $8 trillion economy, an inconsequential amount at a time when the cost of immigration was increasing.

Ms. Furchtgott-Roth begins responding to my piece with a singularly inappropriate anecdote about the supposed benefits of low wage immigration, that is, the example of immigrant entrepreneurs plying the streets of Washington, D.C., during a rainstorm to sell umbrellas to stranded pedestrians. She fails to note that such “entrepreneurs” rarely pay taxes and business fees, and that legitimate retailers often have complained that these street-corner merchants undercut their prices precisely because they don’t play by the rules.

From this anecdote Ms. Furchtgott-Roth proceeds to the old saw that immigrants are here to work (though the percentage of nonworking women, children, and the elderly among immigrants is much higher than in previous waves of immigration) and that they do jobs that Americans don’t want. To buttress this claim, she cites unemployment rates among high-school dropouts, noting approvingly that among immigrants, the rate is only 5.7%, while among the native born, it is 9.1% (or double the nation’s overall unemployment rate). But rather than a cause to celebrate the work ethic of immigrants, the gap in the unemployment rate among high school dropouts is more likely evidence that native-born workers are being crowded out of labor markets by immigrants taking jobs for lower pay and fewer benefits, one reason why wages at the low end of the economic spectrum are declining in real terms.

Indeed, the most important study of immigration’s effect on native-born workers, published in April 2005 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is that of Mr. Borjas and his colleague Lawrence Katz, who found that immigrants depress the wages of low-skilled native workers by 5%, even when we adjust for the additional investment that businesses make when they have access to a large pool of cheap labor. Moreover, two new papers, one by Mr.Borjas and two colleagues, published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and another by researchers from Northeastern University, published this month by the Center for Immigration Studies, show that the impact of low-wage immigration falls especially heavily on native-born blacks and Hispanics, not merely depressing wages but adding to unemployment levels.

It’s Official: Immigration Causing Income Inequality

A Paris judge has ordered the leader of a banned extremist black power group to shut down his internet website because of its anti-Semitic content

European Jewish Press:

Monday’s decision concerning the group Tribu Ka comes came after a lawsuit brought by several French Jewish groups.

The group will be forced to pay a fine if it does not shut down its site within 48 hours, the judge said.

If he doesn’t comply with the decision, he will have to pay 1,500 euros per day of delay. The Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) was one of the organizations that had called for Kemi Seba’s personal website -- which the group’s lawyer said was "marked with the hatred of Jews on every page" -- to be banned.

Keba, who is the leader of Tribu Ka, had appeared last week before a French court to defend himself against charges of anti-Semitism over the contents of his website. Tribu Ka, a black identity group, was outlawed last July by the French authorities after its members descended in May on a Paris Jewish quarter, wielding baseball bats and shouting anti-Semitic slogans.

More than 20 members of the group walked up and down the crowded Rue des Rosiers, performing Nazi salutes, looking for a fight with the neighborhood’s Jews, threatening and intimidating them.

The Paris judge, Emmanuel Binoche, said that Seba “has obviously gone beyond the necessary limits of freedom of expression by stigmatizing the Jews as the responsible for the trade of blacks in order to create troubles and violence”.

The website in question refers repeatedly to the "Zionist AIDS" and evokes the necessity “to eradicate the Zionist mafia”.

Tribu Ka, which was created in December 2004, advocates the separation of the races and a return to Africa for black people.

The Union of French Jewish Students welcomed the judge’s decision.

"We will not let those who are inciting to hatred and encourage the opposition between two communities which have everything to hold a dialogue,” Benjamin Abtan, the UEJF chairman said in a communique.

"Kemi Seba and Tribu Ka are threats to the Republic and to democracy,” he added.

Kemi Seba was present on Monday at the Paris court with a group of supporters. Speaking to the press, he reiterated its attacks against the “Zionists which control the world bodies”. He said he would open a new internet site.

Jewish students take on racist group

Paris: Riots In Suburbs, Threats By Black Muslim Group, Tribu KA

France: Black Muslim Influenced Group "Tribu Ka" Is Banned

More than 150 Brazilians were murdered each day last year on average, putting Brazil on a par with some war zones in terms of its homicide rate


Some 55,000 Brazilians died of homicide in 2005 -- a few thousand more civilians than in three years of war in Iraq, according to leading estimates.

Brazil, a continent-sized nation of 185 million people starkly divided into rich and poor, has had notoriously high crime rates for years. Millions of poor live in urban slums and unpoliced rural areas where guns are easy to come by.

Though the murder rate is high, Marcelo Durante, coordinator of the Justice Ministry's report, said homicides have fallen slowly in recent years thanks in part to an initiative to collect guns from the streets.

Citizens have voluntarily turned in thousands of weapons in places like Rio de Janeiro, the famous beachside city whose urban slums have some of the highest crime rates in Brazil.

A referendum in 2005 to ban gun sales failed, in part because some voters had lost faith in police.

"It was the states that collected the most guns that saw crime rates fall most," said Durante, "but we have to remember it's not just about guns."

Other kinds of violent crime in Brazil are far more common than statistics show, Durante said, adding that urban surveys suggest only a quarter of all robberies and 15 percent of all rapes are reported nationwide.

"At least with homicide, we can be a little more confident most of the crimes are getting reported," he said.

Murders also declined in Brazil's largest city of Sao Paulo in recent years, Durante said. Earlier this year, however, a gang known as First Command of the Capital launched a series of attacks on police, banks and buses in which about 200 police, gangsters and innocent civilians were killed.

Brazil’s Powerful Prison Gang

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Was Malcolm X gay?

Peter Tatchell:

Some black activists are enraged by suggestions that their hero might have been gay - or at least bisexual. The controversy has been stirring since the publication of Bruce Perry's acclaimed biography, Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America (Station Hill, New York) in 1991. Based on interviews with Malcolm's closest boyhood and adult friends, Perry suggests that the US black nationalist leader was not as robustly heterosexual as his Nation of Islam (NoI) colleagues have always insisted.

Malcolm X, real name Malcolm Little, joined the militant Muslim NoI in 1949, attracted by its teaching that Allah would deliver black people from white bondage. By the 1960s, Malcolm had developed NoI ideology in new directions, becoming America's leading spokesperson for black consciousness, pride and self-help. Sexual freedom was not, however, part of his agenda.

Yet Perry's book documents Malcolm X's many gay experiences. A schoolmate, Bob Bebee, recalls the day they stumbled on a local boy jerking off. Malcolm, Bebee recalled, ordered the youth to masturbate him, and subsequently boasted he had given him oral sex. Later, from the age of 20, Malcolm had sex with men for money - as hinted at in Spike Lee's 1992 biopic - and he had at least one sustained sexual liaison with a man. While living in Flint, Michigan, his roommate noticed that instead of sleeping in the room they were sharing, Malcolm sneaked down the hall to spend the night with a gay transvestite named Willie Mae.

In New York, two of Malcolm's friends from Michigan remember bumping into him at the YMCA, where Malcolm bragged he earned money servicing "queers". Later, Malcolm worked as a butler to a wealthy Boston bachelor, William Paul Lennon. According to Malcolm's sidekick Malcolm Jarvis, he was paid to sprinkle Lennon with talcum powder and bring him to orgasm. Perry suggests that Malcolm's gay encounters may not have been entirely financially motivated. His masculine insecurities and ambivalence towards women fit the archetype of a repressed gay man and point to latent homosexuality.

After the death of his father, when Malcolm was six, he lacked male role models and was dominated by strong women - in particular, his tyrannical mother. He feared women and his early sexual experiences with girls were mostly unsatisfactory. Far from macho, Malcolm hated fighting and got beaten by other men. His passionate assertion that the need to feel masculine is a man's "greatest urge" indicates someone doubtful of his own manliness.

As for his sporadic gay hustling, as Perry notes, "there were other ways he could have earned money". Dope-dealing, thieving and pimping were sources of income he had pursued with success. There was no imperative to sell his body. Why, then, did he prostitute himself? Misogyny and repressed homosexuality might be the answer. According to Perry: "His male-to-male encounters, which rendered it unnecessary for him to compete for women, afforded him an opportunity for sexual release without the attendant risk of dependence on women."

Was Malcolm X gay? Bisexual? In his schooldays, he was apparently a passive participant. Others masturbated or fellated him. Later, while working as a male prostitute, he took a more hands-on role in sex, especially with Lennon. This part-time whoring may have been pecuniary. There is, however, plentiful research suggesting that many guys who have sex with men for payment are in denial about their homosexuality. They tell themselves they are doing it for the money. This is their way of coping with same-sex desires that they are unable to accept. Was this Malcolm's excuse? Surely there must have been some degree of queer desire to enable Malcolm to sustain his sexual experiences with men over a period of 10 years? If this desire was within him from adolescence to early adulthood, could he have erased it completely in later life?

Sexuality is not like a newspaper - read today and discarded tomorrow. Established desires can be sublimated or repressed, but never eliminated. If people have a homosexual capacity, it stays with them for life - even if they never act on it. Was Malcolm an exception? There is no evidence that his same-sex dalliances continued once he joined the NoI; he married and had children, and, with all the fervour of a zealous convert, he embraced the NoI's fiercely puritanical Muslim sexual morality.

Had he not been assassinated in 1965, almost certainly at the hands of NoI rivals, Malcolm might have eventually, like Huey Newton of the Black Panthers, welcomed the gay liberation movement as part of the struggle for human emancipation. Instead, to serve its homophobic political agenda, for 50 years the NoI has suppressed knowledge of Malcolm's gay past.

Malcolm X insulted

One of Britain’s most infamous Islamist extremists is seeking three more wives through the internet

Daily Mail:

Abu Izzadeen

Omar Brooks, who described the 7/7 suicide bombers as "completely praiseworthy" and heckled Home Secretary John Reid in a high-profile confrontation last week, has signed up to a Muslim marriage website.

Although already married with three children and reportedly living off £700 a month in state benefits, the 31-year-old is seeking more wives, with the intention of fathering more than nine children.

On the site, Brooks — using his Muslim name Abu Izzadeen — describes himself as the "life of thee party" and admits to watching "a lot" of Al-Jazeera TV, the satellite network which has broadcast video messages from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

He says he is looking for a "second, third or fourth wife" and does not care about their ages as long as they are older than 16 and younger than 40.

Under the category "My Personality", Brooks boasts that he is "passionate, bold, protective, witty and sensitive". He says the "best aspect" of his personality is that he is "very funny loving [sic] and humble towards the believers inshallah [if Allah wills it]".

He prays, he says, more than five times a day, fasts at Ramadan and has performed hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Born Trevor Brooks to a Jamaican family in Hackney, he adds that there is "nothing except Islam".

Brooks says his most attractive physical feature is his long beard — although he adds that it "doesn’t grow beyond a certain limit". He describes himself as "muscular", 5ft 11in tall, with hazel eyes.

He enjoys kung fu, going to the gym and studying in the local mosque. When contacted by the Evening Standard, Brooks refused to discuss the website.

He said he now only gives live interviews to radio or television because he does not trust any other form of media. Asked about the website, he put the telephone down. It is thought his current wife is of Arabic origin.

Brooks’s appearance on the website has become the subject of some ridicule in internet chatrooms. Last week, the BBC was criticised for allowing him "to rant for a rage-filled 12 minutes" on Radio 4’s Today programme.

One blogger suggested interviewer John Humphrys could have better used the time by questioning him about his quest for more wives.

The radio interview followed a confrontation with Mr Reid, in which the Home Secretary was shouted down by Brooks and his supporters at the launch of a government drive to warn Muslim parents to check their children were not falling under the influence of fanatics.

Brooks, who lives in a council house in Leyton, was leader of extremist group al-Ghurabaa until it was outlawed this year.

He has been closely linked to Omar Bakri Mohammed, the radical cleric now living in Beirut. Since Bakri’s decision to go to Lebanon and the jailing of hate preacher Abu Hamza, Brooks is arguably Britain’s most prominent Islamist extremist.

Last year he provoked protests when he praised the 7/7 bombers. He told BBC2’s Newsnight: "What I would say about those who do suicide operations or martyrdom operations is they’re completely praiseworthy. I have no allegiance to the Queen whatsoever or to British society, in fact if I see mujahideen attack the UK, I am always standing with the Muslims, never against the Muslims.

"I would never denounce the bombings, even if my own family was to suffer, because we always stand with the Muslims regardless of the consequences."

Brooks, a trained electrician, converted to Islam at the age of 17. He is thought to have become radicalised after meeting Bakri and Hamza at the Finsbury Park Mosque in the mid to late Nineties.

He speaks fluent Arabic and once claimed he had attended terror training camps in Afghanistan., whose tagline is "Muslim matrimonial introduction made easy", said the website has about 14,000 members worldwide and it is not uncommon for subscribers to seek more wives.

"Traditionally many Muslim men have one, two, three or four wives," said founder Mandar Maratha. "We have many women who want to be a second or third wife. They couldn’t get married under UK law but they could get married under Islamic law."

UK: Islamist Abu Izzadeen Seeking Internet Wives

Gene may make Indians more susceptible to HIV/AIDS

Times of India:

It is not just promiscuity, infected syringe or blood that makes a person vulnerable to HIV/ Aids. The genetic make up of an individual could very well decide his vulnerability to contract the infectious disease.

Scientists at the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) say that there could be a gene that makes Indians more susceptible to the virus — more so people from the South. India has over 6 million people infected with the virus.

After extensive research, CCMB has identified five such genes out of which two are widely prevalent among people from the South.

Close to 75 per cent of HIV/Aids cases are from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In the South, Andhra Pradesh is most vulnerable, with Guntur topping the list of HIV/Aids cases.

"The genetic make up of Caucasians make them more resistant to the virus as against Indians,"says Shailendra Saxena, CCMB scientist leading the research on infectious diseases.

"There is a high probability that the genetic structure of people from the South makes them more prone to HIV/Aids. These genes have been identified and we will be adopting a molecular approach to see the effect of HIV on these genes,"Saxena says.

This experiment will be performed in the centre's newly-acquired Bio-Safety Lab, Level III (BSL III).

"As per World Health Organisation norms research on infectious diseases can be done only in BSLs. BSL III, which though functional, is undergoing the validation process which would declare it ready for work,"CCMB director Lalji Singh points out.

HIV/ Aids is considered the most serious public health challenge in India. Till now places which send the maximum number of workers abroad and areas that fall on the main truck routes have been touted as the main centres in India that see incidence of HIV/ Aids.

"The fact that we are more vulnerable means that as a community we must be more energetic in promoting values of morality and safe sex. Also we have to eradicate drug abuse,"an analyst says.

As per international estimates, India could have 20 - 25 million HIV cases by 2010. UN studies predict that over 12 million people in India could die in the country between 2000-15 from Aids.

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