Thursday, May 31, 2007

One in four Swedes would be prepared to vote for a party that was in favor of restricting the rights of immigrants

The Local:

And the number of people who strongly agree that they could envisage voting for such a party has risen from 5.7 to 7.3 percent, according to a survey carried out by the Swedish Integration Board.

"The recent media debate on the Sweden Democrats has probably made it more acceptable for people to express these sorts of party preferences,"José Alberto Diaz from the Integration Board told Dagens Nyheter.

Also, the proportion of those who strongly agreed with the statement that 'native Swedes should take precedence over immigrants when it comes to jobs, housing and benefits' has increased from 12 to 14 percent.

Attitudes towards Sweden's Muslims and Jewish communities have hardened somewhat since 2006.

In 2007, 58 percent rejected the idea of limiting Muslim immigration, compared to 61 percent last year.

There were also fewer respondents who strongly disagreed that 'Jews have too much influence in Sweden', down from 67 percent last year to 64 percent in 2007.

Asking Immigrants to Live Elsewhere

Rise in Support to Limit Immigrant Rights

Destroying Our Culture

Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland and Japan are the most peaceful countries in the world

Jonathan Tisdall:

The Intelligence Unit of the Economist magazine has named Norway the most peaceful country in the world.

The survey of 121 nations is backed by high profile names such as the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy Carter.

New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland and Japan occupy the spots just back Norway. Lowest in the survey are Nigeria, Russia, Israel, Sudan and Iraq. The USA is remarkably low on the Global Peace Index, at 96th.

An assessment of 24 different factors is behind the rating list, from the number of killings per capita, number of weapons, military spending, to the amount of organized crime and violent crime.

On the basis of their study, researchers reached the following conclusions; small, stable democracies that are part of a larger regional group, such as the European Union, score well; and economic living standards, education levels and regional integration are important.

Ireland is 'fourth most peaceful nation'

SA 99th most-peaceful country

Norway: A 30-year-old immigrant from Somalia has admitted to the rape of a 48-year-old woman in Oslo's Grünerløkka district


The rape was characterized as especially brutal, and it left the victim badly beaten.

Police arrested the 30-year-old suspect about a week after the rape occurred, and also have tied him to a series of other rapes in Oslo during the past several months.

Pål-Fredrik Hjort Kraby of the Oslo Police District said the suspect, originally from Somalia, has admitted to the charges that he beat and raped the woman in Nordre Gate.

The suspect still hasn't been charged with at least two other rapes that were similar in nature to the one on May 4th.

Oslo Peace Process For Europe? Muslim Crime Wars Against Europe

Ireland: A Liberian asylum seeker has pleaded guilty to raping a 20 year-old woman

Derry Journal:

A Liberian asylum seeker with an address in Co. Donegal has pleaded guilty at the Crown Court in Derry to raping a 20 years-old woman last year.

Henry Ojaiko, whose address was given as the Cliff View Hostel in Donegal Town, admitted committing the offence in a flat in Derry on June 16 last year.

The 19 years-old defendant was remanded in custody for sentencing on June 22, pending the preparation of a probation report and a victim impact report.

Judge Corinne Philpott Q.C. ruled that a second charge against the defendant, one of indecently assaulting his victim, should not be proceeded with without the leave of the Crown Court or the High Court.

They should send the rapist back to Liberia where he belongs.

A teenager accused of sexually assaulting girls won't have to serve prison time if he undergoes a sex offender treatment program

Adam Hudson:

Michael Smith

A Frederick County teenager accused of sexually assaulting girls in high school bathrooms won't have to serve prison time if he undergoes a sex offender treatment program, a judge ruled Wednesday.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Michael Smith, 17, pleaded guilty to attempted rape. If he successfully goes through the sex offender treatment program in Baltimore, his 20-year sentence will be suspended.

Four girls say Smith sexually assaulted them in or near bathrooms at Tuscarora High School. Some of the victims were in court today.

When the judge asked Smith if he had anything to say, he replied: "No, sir." His attorney, Jack Blomquist, released a statement saying that he is "confident that Michael will successfully complete his probation and, more importantly, that he will be an exemplary adult citizen."

A rape charge against Smith was dropped for lack of evidence.

Smith also pleaded guilty to a lesser sex assault charge, and filed an Alford plea for a fourth charge. An Alford plea means he does not admit he is guilty, but he understands the state has evidence to convict him.

Frederick Teen Pleads Guilty To Sex Assaults

A Brazilian illegal immigrant is accused of causing a power outage after he struck a pedestrian and then crashed into a utility pole

Kristen Senz:

Willian Jose De Sousa, 27, who was living on Main Street in West Lebanon, has been jailed after striking a man who was walking in the parking lot at Sandri Stop Smart Sunoco on South Main Street in West Lebanon around 1 a.m. on May 22, police said. The pedestrian suffered minor injuries.

De Sousa, whose blood-alcohol level was "clearly over" .16 percent, or twice the legal limit, sped away from the accident but was spotted by officers who responded to the call, Police Chief Jim Alexander said.

By the time police caught up to De Sousa, his vehicle had slammed into a telephone pole on South Main Street, breaking it in half. De Sousa was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Electrical power went out across most of the village of West Lebanon until around 7 a.m., Alexander said. Police shut down South Main Street from 1:15 a.m. until about 9:45 a.m.

De Sousa was later released to police, who determined he was an undocumented immigrant. He was arraigned in Lebanon District Court late last week on charges of felony-level reckless conduct, conduct after an accident, aggravated driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. He was taken to the Grafton County House of Correction in North Haverhill for lack of $5,000 cash bail.

If De Sousa makes bail, Immigration and Customs Enforcement could initiate deportation proceedings. Alexander said he'd rather see De Sousa face the Lebanon charges first.

Drunken driving big problem among Hispanics, statistics show

Hispanics in crashes lead DWI stats

A troubling trend: Hispanics and DWI

Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also…Drunk Driving

A 48-year-old man will be deported to Mexico after being arrested and convicted on four counts of indecency with a child

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents arrested Antonio Trujillo-Serna on May 11.

The permanent U.S. resident had been living in El Paso.

The conviction earlier this month has made him eligible for deportation.

Agents say court records show Trujillo-Serna has a past of improper conduct with young girls, citing three separate incidents of touching or exposure.

ICE agents have arrested more than 9,800 people since July 2003.

That's when a nationwide ICE initiative began to protect children from sexual predators.

Of the 9,800 people arrested, 900 were from Texas.

Texas Child Sex Offender on Thin ICE

Britain: Lecturers have voted unanimously to oppose government plans urging them to fight against Islamic extremism on campuses

Hannah Goff:

They had been asked to monitor and report suspicious behaviour amongst Muslim students.

But at the University and Colleges Union annual conference in Bournemouth, delegates rejected the demands, saying they amounted to spying on students.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said student trust would be undermined by fears of a "quasi-secret service".

In November, the government warned of what it described as the serious threat posed by radical Muslims and issued guidance to colleges and universities calling on them to monitor student activity.

Lecturers refuse to spy on Muslim students

British Academics’ Union Endorses Israel Boycott

Netherlands: Immigrant children of Turkish and Moroccan background struggle with Dutch

Expatica News:

Almost one in five students in groups 1 and 2 at primary school has great difficulty with the Dutch language. They understand little or no Dutch and speak in two-word sentences.

Many of the children in question have not attended any pre-school programme and most are of Turkish or Moroccan background. Researchers from the national educational advisory centre KPC Group concluded this on Wednesday, the Volkskrant reports.

The researchers surveyed more than 2,800 children. Teachers, school directors and educational coordinators at 43 primary schools filled in a questionnaire.

The researchers attribute the language difficulties to "poor participation in pre-school education" and the insufficient practice in Dutch at home.

The toddlers' mothers in particular have poor mastery of Dutch. The children are spoken to little at home and when they are addressed it is often in the language of the family's country of origin.

More evidence that many immigrant groups are unwilling to assimilate.

British schools are being stretched to breaking point by immigrant children

James Slack:

Schools are being forced to take up to 65 new Eastern European children every day after the numbers arriving in the UK increased by 40 per cent, it has emerged.

Experts said the youngsters, who have little or no English, were placing enormous strain on the already stretched education system.

Figures compiled by the Home Office reveal 4,200 children were brought from the former Eastern Bloc to Britain by their parents in the first three months of this year, or 65 every school day.

It takes the total number of dependent children known by the Government to be living here to 30,000, although huge deficiencies in Government data mean the figure is likely to be an underestimate.

Schools have no option but to devote thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours trying to bring the newcomers up to the same standard as British youngsters.

David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, said last night: "We do not have the capacity to cope with these numbers, but it is not possible to stop people from coming, so schools have to do the best they can.

"This must be having a detrimental effect on schools. We have seen in London that, where there are a lot of non-English speakers, the standards are very low.

"When a large number of children go into schools, it is very hard for the staff to accommodate them because they are effectively starting from first base and specialist teachers have to be brought in."

The figures are deficient because ministers collect no data on how many self-employed workers have brought youngsters with them.

And the controversial worker registration scheme does not record whether children have been brought to the UK after their parents have been settled here for a few months and secured jobs.

Instead, it lists only the under-17s who were with their parents on the day they signed-up to the voluntary scheme.

But these numbers by themselves are startling, analysts said. The 4,200 arrivals in January, February and March compares to 3,060 in the same period last year – an increase of 37 per cent.

This has taken place despite the number of adult migrants registering to work here remaining the same at 47,000 in the first three months of both 2006 and 2007. It suggests the pattern of migration from Eastern Europe is changing dramatically.

The first of the 630,000 Poles and other Eastern Europeans to arrive largely came alone, or with friends. But, now it has been established that free education – as well as generous child tax credits – are on offer, significant numbers of young children are now arriving for the first time.

Local authorities said they had not been prepared for the influx, and are not receiving the funding they need to cope with large numbers of additional children.

They require intensive tuition to bring their English up to scratch, as well as careful integration into mainstream classes. The Local Government Association is seeking extra funding.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "The Government originally estimated that no more than 15,000 would come from the new Eastern European members of the EU. At least 600,000 came.

"Britain benefits economically from immigration, but not all or any immigration. There must be a limit to the amount of people who can come here, bearing in mind the ability of our public services and infrastructure to cope with new arrivals."

The truth about immigrants and housing queues

Check Your GOP History: Governor Bush and Ken Mehlman get it wrong about Hispanics

Heather Mac Donald:

Proposition 187 drove Hispanics from California’s Republican party! So argue Jeb Bush and Ken Mehlman in today’s Wall Street Journal, recycling one of the most cherished myths of the open-borders lobby. According to this nostrum, had Californians, fed up with the costs of providing free public services to illegal aliens, not voted to require legal residency to receive those services, California would today, in Bush and Mehlman’s phrase, still be “Reagan country,” its burgeoning Hispanic population reliably pulling the lever for Republicans.

Too bad they didn’t read their own op-ed. No Republican presidential nominee has won California since 1988, they report. Prop. 187 must be one powerful toxin, if it can alienate Hispanics six years before it even exists.

In fact, California’s transformation from “Reagan country” to labor-union country is the far more likely consequence of the growing Hispanic population per se and the corresponding outflow of white Republicans to other states. In 1990, California was one-quarter Latino and 57-percent white; in 2000, it was 32-percent Latino and 47-percent white; in 2005, Latinos constituted 35 percent, and whites 43 percent, of the population. Those shifting demographics have been accompanied by the growing clout of the Democratic party, and of California's public-service unions, not because of some vestigial memory of 187, but because they appeal to low-wage, low-skilled Hispanics. Los Angeles politics are now closely intertwined with the unionized Left, now that Latinos in 2005 made up 47 percent of the population and whites, 30 percent. The idea that Prop. 187, now 12 years old, is driving this massive shift is fanciful. California provides a glimpse of the likely political future if poor Hispanics continue to be the fastest-growing demographic in the country.

A Reader on Mehlman/Bush

Filipino nurse's aide sentenced to 25 years in rape of patient

Associated Press:

Reynaldo Brucal Jr

A DuPage County judge sentenced a former nurse's aide to 25 years in prison today for raping and impregnating a severely disabled woman at a nursing home in the Chicago suburb of Bloomingdale.

The sexual attack only came to light when the woman, who cannot walk, talk or feed herself, was dicovered to be pregnant in June of 2005. She later gave birth to a daughter.

Twenty-year-old Reynaldo Brucal (brew-CALL') of Schaumburg pleaded guilty last year to aggravated criminal sexual attack after DNA evidence showed him to be the baby's father.

In passing sentence, Circuit Court Judge George Bakalis called the crime "beyond outrageous."

Bakalis said that upon his release from prison, Brucal will be deported to his native Philippines.

Ex-nurse's aide admits to raping disabled woman

Ex-nurse's aide gets 25-year prison term for impregnating patient during rape

Nine Muslim men arrested in Australia's largest counter-terrorism operation have pleaded not guilty to charges of plotting an attack in Sydney

BBC News:

The men, who are all Muslims, are accused of allegedly planning an attack to advance a "political, religious or ideological cause".

Their lawyers insist they are innocent, and that chemicals found at their homes were for household or industrial use.

Their trial is set to begin in February 2008.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison.

Some of the men wore Islamic dress in court.

They smiled and waved to supporters amid tight security at New South Wales Supreme Court, in Sydney, but refused to stand to enter their pleas for religious reasons.

Earlier this year, prosecutors accused the men of stockpiling chemicals that can be used to make bombs and downloading bomb-making instructions from the internet.

The suspects were allegedly devotees of radical Muslim cleric, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, also known as Abu Bakr, who is sympathetic to Osama bin Laden.

The nine - Mohammed Ali Elomar, Mazen Touma, Abdul Rakib Hasan, Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Khaled Sharrouf, Mirsad Mulahalilovic, Omar Baladjam and Mohammed Jamal - were arrested in a series of pre-dawn raids in Sydney and Melbourne in November 2005.

Police have accused them of trying to inflict maximum damage in Australia as part of a holy war because they believed their religion was under attack.

Among the alleged targets was Australia's only nuclear research reactor, on the outskirts of Sydney.

The men were detained after the Australian government passed new anti-terrorism legislation that making it easier to prosecute suspects allegedly involved in the early stages of planning an attack.

Some Aussie Muslim leaders bristle at Hirsi Ali’s visit

Netherlands: Trade union confederation FNV wants people of minority background to be given preference for jobs over native Dutch

Expatica News:

This kind of "affirmative action" – the preference given to a minority candidate if both the minority and the native Dutch have the same qualifications – should increase the chance of minority candidates finding jobs and combat discrimination, FNV chairperson Agnes Jongerius said in an interview with weekly supplement Volkskrant Banen today.

The unemployment rate among minorities is twice that among native Dutch. Minorities are also strongly underrepresented in management positions, a study by Volkskrant Banen shows.

The most likely reason why the unemployment rate amongst minorities is higher than that of the native Dutch is differences in intelligence between the two groups. This likely also explains why minorities are "underrepresented" in management positions.

Human remains found in a 1,400-year-old Chinese tomb belonged to a man of European origin, DNA evidence shows

Stefan Lovgren:

Chinese scientists who analyzed the DNA of the remains say the man, named Yu Hong, belonged to one of the oldest genetic groups from western Eurasia.

The tomb, in Taiyuan in central China, marks the easternmost spot where the ancient European lineage has been found (see China map).

"The [genetic group] to which Yu Hong belongs is the first west Eurasian special lineage that has been found in the central part of ancient China," said Zhou Hui, head of the DNA laboratory of the College of Life Science at Jilin University in Changchun, China.

Hui led the research, which will be published in the July 7 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The tomb containing Yu Hong's remains has been undergoing excavation since 1999.

It also contains the remains of a woman of East Asian descent.

The burial style and multicolor reliefs found in the tomb are characteristic of Central Asia at the time, experts say.

The people pictured in the reliefs, however, have European traits, such as straight noses and deep-set eyes.

"The mixture of different cultures made it difficult to confirm the origin of this couple, and the anthropologists also could not determine the race of these remains, owing to the partial missing skulls," Hui said.

To learn more about the history of the couple, Hui's team studied their mitochondrial DNA, a type of DNA inherited exclusively from the mother that can be analyzed to track human evolution.

The research shows that Yu Hong arrived in Taiyuan approximately 1,400 years ago and most probably married a local woman.

Carvings found in the tomb depict scenes from his life, showing him to have been a chieftain of the Central Asian people who had settled in China during the Sui dynasty (A.D. 580 to 618).

The carvings suggest that his grandfather and father lived in northwest China's Xinjiang region and were nobles of the Yu country for which he is named.

Yu Hong died in A.D. 592, at the age of 59. His wife, who died in A.D. 598, was buried in the same grave.

Scientists are using DNA to reconstruct ancient population movements in Asia and to determine when Europeans arrived there.

"The existence of European lineages in China was already known to us, but these lineages are mainly concentrated in Xinjiang province," Hui said.

"In the central part of China, west-Eurasian lineages are seldom found in modern populations and have never been found in an ancient individual."

Austin Hughes is an expert in molecular evolution at the University of South Carolina.

The discovery in China, he said, "shows that there has always been gene flow between human populations."

"I think it's possible that these types of genetic studies can give a clearer picture of human movements and human gene flow," Hughes added.

The DNA studies can also shed light on marriage patterns, said Frederika Kaestle of the Indiana Molecular Biology Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington.

"In many cases there are no other methods that allow us to gain access to information on geographic origin or relatedness of individuals in archaeological contexts," Kaestle said.

However, she added, it is impossible to draw conclusions about population movement into the region based on this one DNA sample.

"Was it just this one man [who moved into the area], or was it a large family including this man, or was it an even larger group of people from his ancestral population?" she asked.

Overall, she said, "the study of ancient mitochondrial DNA, as well as other genomic variations, holds great promise for enhancing our understanding of human prehistory."

"This is a nice example of how genetic and archaeological approaches can be combined fruitfully."

Caucasians preceded East Asians in basin

Polygamous marriage is flourishing as the Government admits that many Muslim men are living legally with multiple wives in Britain

Dominic Kennedy:

Although the families are entitled to claim social security for each wife, no one has counted how many of them are on benefits.

Ministers appear to be ignoring the separate practice of unauthorised polygamy, which is said to have become commonplace in some Muslim communities. The Ministry of Justice admits that it has no estimates of numbers for these unions, which are often presided over by an Islamic cleric.

A senior Conservative MP and immigration expert called for action last night to end the scandal of women being pressured into entering unrecognised marriages with no rights.

“The Government has no grip on the situation,” said Humphrey Malins, the former Shadow Home Affairs Minister and founder of the Immigration Advisory Service. “This is quite clearly exploitation of women.”

MPs and peers have struggled for years to extract figures from ministers about the extent of polygamy. The first official estimate was made in response to a freedom of information request by The Times asking for statistics on benefits that are paid to wives who share a husband.

“It is estimated that there are fewer than 1,000 valid polygamous marriages in the UK, few of whom are claiming a state benefit,” the Department for Work and Pensions said. “Because of the small numbers concerned, our IT systems do not specifically record such information.”

The Government has long reassured Parliament that its policy is to prevent the formation of multiple marriages by refusing to allow second wives entry into the country. Under British law, husbands and wives can have only one spouse at a time. Multiple simultaneous marriages constitute bigamy, a criminal offence.

Britain does recognise polygamous marriages that have taken place in countries where the custom is legal, such as Pakistan, Nigeria and India. The Home Office said that multiple wives in polygamous marriages may be allowed into the country as students or tourists.

Officials are advised to let extra wives into Britain even if they suspect that a husband is trying to cheat the system by getting bogus divorces.

“Entry clearance may not be withheld from a second wife where the husband has divorced his previous wife and the divorce is thought to be one of convenience,” an immigration rulebook advises.

“This is so, even if the husband is still living with the previous wife and to issue the entry clearance would lead to the formation of a polygamous household.”

Opposition politicians are concerned about the burden being placed by polygamy on the social security and tax systems.

A husband may claim housing benefit for each wife even if she is abroad, for up to 52 weeks, as long as the absence is temporary and for pressing reasons. In a draft Commons reply released under the Freedom of Information Act, officials explained another way in which the system made it easy to receive handouts.

“A polygamous marriage is the only circumstance in which an adult dependency increase is payable in income-related benefits,” it stated. “In any other circumstances an adult ‘dependent’ would have to make a separate claim.”

To calculate the amount of income support that is payable to an extra wife, officials subtract the rate paid to an individual from that paid to a couple. This produces the amount that a cohabiting spouse is deemed to need in social security benefits. If a man lives with two valid wives, his household is paid the rate for a couple, plus an amount for the extra spouse, the documents show.

Women who enter unrecog-nised multiple marriages in Britain are far more vulnerable. They can end up being dumped by their “husbands” with no safeguards.

Mr Malins asked the Government three years ago to reveal how many unregistered polygamous weddings took place in Britain, but he did not receive an answer. Now officials admit that they do not know.

“I’ve not been able to find out from the Government what the extent of the problem is,” Mr Malins said. “It’s a very serious issue.”

The practice is said to have become commonplace, at least among Kashmiris, a group that accounts for most of the 747,000 Pakistanis in Britain.

Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad practised polygamy. One of his motiva-tions was thought to have been charity, taking on widows in time of war.

In contemporary Muslim countries, patriarchal attitudes may leave a woman and children defenceless if they do not have a man to protect them.

Asian republics that were part of the former Soviet Union have debated the legalisation of polygamy to save war widows from being forced into prostitution and human trafficking. Tajikistan has an estimated 25,000 widows. Kyrgyzstan rejected an attempt to legalise polygamy this March.

Islam, Euro Bureaucracy & Rule of Law

UK: Taxes Fund Muslim Polygamy

Polygamous Islamic husbands settling in Britain with multiple wives can claim extra benefits for their harems even though bigamy is a crime

The wife of an Islamic religious leader actively encouraged him to become a terrorist

Daily Mail:

Bouchra El-Hor, 24, even told him she hoped their baby son would follow him into "martyrdom", the Old Bailey was told.

She and her husband, 28-year-old Yassin Nassari, were arrested after they flew into the UK allegedly carrying blueprints for missiles and bombs to be used against the West.

The instructions included how to built the long-range Al Qassam rockets used by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. There was also a chilling library of extreme Islamic documents, jurors heard.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee said: "It is the prosecution's case that they are not merely radicalised Muslims but that Nassari was going to engage in what he and others like him would call a 'jihad', but what the law describes as terrorism.

"He possessed both the ideology and the technology with which that could be achieved, either by him or other like-minded people.

"His wife was not only aware of his intention, but positively encouraged it - despite that fact that his actions would almost certainly result in his death and in their son being without a father.

"These are mindsets which are beyond ordinary understanding and which possess a chilling resilience."

British-born Nassari and his Dutch wife, who have a home in Ealing, West London, were stopped after they arrived at Luton airport on an easyJet flight from Amsterdam in May last year.

A hard drive belonging to Nassari was seized and police found it contained detailed instructions to build the rockets and explosives.

Video footage of beheadings, suicide bombs and executions was also found on the hard drive, along with articles entitled "Virtues of martyrdom in the path of Allah," and "Islamic Ruling on the Permissibility of Self-Sacrificial Operation - Suicide or Martyrdom?"

Nassari had material on fitness training, martial arts and hand to hand combat, said Mr Jafferjee.

The prosecutor added: "He was clearly going either to create or to enter a conflict zone. The technology was in place, the ideology was in place."

The court heard that Nassari was born in London in 1979 and lived in Ealing. In 2001 he enrolled on a cognitive science course at the University of Westminster.

But he disappeared between 2002 and 2003 and, although previously described as "friendly, thoughtful and wearing western clothes", returned to the university a changed man.

Mr Jafferjee said: "He was now sporting long robes and headwear. He claimed he was the leader of the Islamic Society at the campus in Harrow.

"To put it bluntly he was radicalised. Attention to his academic obligations was intermittent and he did not achieve his degree."

UK: Woman Urged Husband To Die As Islamic Martyr

A motel in northern Mexico is putting steel doors on its rooms to protect guests from kidnappings and shootings in a war between rival drug cartels

Robin Emmott:

Owners of the Rancho El Trueno, or Thunder Ranch, began fortifying the highway motel near Monterrey a year ago but have decided to shield all 35 rooms as drug killings have worsened in the area in recent months.

Complete with hot tubs, red imitation-leather beds, mirrored walls and striptease poles, the rooms are shuttered behind steel gates about 4cm thick and some already have steel doors.

"We want people to have fun and be able to feel safe. Lovers come, big groups come, we are full on weekends," said Emilio Massa, the motel manager.

He said the owners came up with the idea after guests in nearby motels were shot and kidnapped.

"Do drug gangs come? Well you never know, do you?" Massa said to the grating sound of machines cutting steel doors to put on the rooms.

Thunder Ranch charges 150 pesos ($17) for three hours or 400 pesos a night for a room. It also boasts a huge suite with a swimming pool, palm trees, a water slide, a sauna, pool tables and video screens.

"Our suite is booked up weeks ahead of time," Massa said.

In most roadside motels in northern Mexico, guests drive into a covered parking space and close a plastic curtain behind their car before entering their room.

But Massa says guests need more security than that.

"The violence is terrible," he said. "We found a dead body just a few metres away the other day."

At least 70 people have been killed in drug violence this year in Monterrey as a coalition of cartels run by Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, vies for control of smuggling routes run by the Gulf Cartel near Texas.

Nationwide, some 1,000 people have died in drug-related killings this year and a military-backed assault on the gangs that smuggle narcotics into the United States has so far been unable to stop the violence.

Drug Gang in Mexico Kills Four Policemen as a Warning to Stay Away

Overall, not relative, brain size predicts intelligence

Mary Pirkola:

When it comes to estimating the intelligence of various animal species, it may be as simple measuring overall brain size. In fact, making corrections for a species' body size may be a mistake. The findings were reported by researchers at Grand Valley State University and the Anthropological Institute and Museum at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. The study has now been published online in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Evolution.

"It's long been known that species with larger body sizes generally have larger brains," said Robert Deaner, assistant professor of psychology at Grand Valley and the first author on the study. "Scientists have generally assumed that this pattern occurs because larger animals require larger nervous systems to coordinate their larger bodies. But our results suggest a simpler reason: larger species are typically smarter."

Deaner said the findings imply that a re-evaluation may be in order for many previous studies that have compared brain size across different animal species, including ancestral hominids.

The new results build on a paper by the same researchers, published in the online journal Evolutionary Psychology, in July 2006, which showed that some primate species consistently outperform others across a broad range of cognitive tasks. That finding provided evidence for species differences in intelligence or "domain-general cognition," in the parlance of the field. This intelligence allows an animal to tackle new and unpredictable situations. Domain-general cognitive ability stands in contrast to domain-specific skills that are suited to particular environment challenges, such as a bird remembering where it cached food.

The new study compared how well eight different brain size measures predicted the domain-general cognition variable generated in the earlier study. To the researchers' surprise, overall brain size and overall neocortex size proved to be good predictors, but the various measures that controlled for body size did not. The results did not change even when various statistical assumptions were altered.

Another unexpected finding was that the overall size of the whole brain proved to be just as good a predictor of intelligence as was the overall size of the neocortex. Scientists making cross-species comparisons have often assumed that the neocortex would be more closely linked to intelligence, since it is considered the "thinking part" of the brain.

The findings raise the question of why larger animals should generally be smarter. "That's now the $64,000 question," said Carel van Schaik, Ph.D., a co-author on the study and the director of the Anthropological Institute and Museum at the University of Zurich. "We have some ideas. Larger animals may be better able to control aspects of their environment and therefore have more to gain from being more intelligent. But perhaps more important is that larger animals tend to live longer, and can therefore benefit longer from being flexible and adaptable, and perhaps may also need it more because the environment is more likely to change during their lifetime. The challenge is to test these ideas."

The authors warned that the study's primary implication-that body size need not be considered when comparing brain size-shouldn't be taken too literally. Deaner noted, "We believe that most of the relationship between brain size and body size is due to larger animals being smarter, but it's certainly possible-even likely-that some part of the relationship is due to larger animals needing to maintain greater neural traffic. Our point is that completely controlling for body size is almost certainly a mistake."

"We didn't have data on enough species to address this question conclusively," Deaner said. "But the human brain imaging data indicate that some correction for 'neural traffic maintenance' is probably needed. If it wasn't needed, then we would be stuck with some real puzzles, such as the fact that there are no consistent sex differences in IQ, yet men generally have larger brains. And, of course, elephants and whales possess larger brains than we do, yet it's hard for us to imagine that they are smarter than we are."

Absolute brain size: Did we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Genes and Tones

Genes May Influence Language Learning, Study Suggests

ASPM & Microcephalin & tonal languages?

Only 16% of American voters believe illegal immigration will decline if the Senate bill is passed

Rasmussen Reports:

There’s a simple reason the immigration bill being debated by the U.S. Senate is unpopular with voters—the general public doesn’t believe it will reduce illegal immigration. And, in the minds of most voters, that’s what immigration reform is all about.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 16% of American voters believe illegal immigration will decline if the Senate bill is passed. Seventy-four percent (74%) disagree. That figure includes 41% who believe the Senate bill will actually lead to an increase in illegal immigration.

If voters had a chance to improve the legislation, 75% would “make changes to increase border security measures and reduce illegal immigration.” Just 29% would” make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the country and eventually become citizens.”

Voters who believe that the current bill will succeed in reducing illegal immigration favor its passage by a 51% to 31% margin. Those who believe the bill will lead to even more illegal immigration oppose its passage by a 70% to 12% margin.

Overall, despite a major push by the President and others over the past week, support for the Senate bill has not increased at all. In polling conducted last night (Tuesday, May 29), 26% of voters favor passage of the bill. That’s unchanged from the 26% support found in polling conducted the previous Monday and Tuesday. Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters remain opposed.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of American voters are closely following news stories about the issue, including 37% who are following it Very Closely. Those with the highest interest in the issue oppose the legislation by a 3-to-1 margin (69% to 23%). By a 55% to 15% margin, those following the story Very Closely believe the bill will lead to increased levels of illegal immigration.

Unaffiliated voters are now more opposed to the bill than either Republicans or Democrats. Among those who don’t identify with either of the major parties, 22% support the Senate bill while 57% are opposed.

Some supporters of the bill have tried to suggest it is politically popular by citing polling data for selected features of the bill. However, President Bush yesterday implicitly acknowledged the strong public opposition to the bill by stating that elected officials will need political “courage” to pass the measure. Senator Jon Kyl (R), a major supporter of the legislation, acknowledged in interviews that the lack of support measured by Rasmussen Reports is an accurate reflection of the public mood.

Rasmussen Reports polling, like that of other firms, has found that Americans may be willing to accept a compromise proposal that includes legalizing the status of the 12 million illegal aliens already living in the United States. Sixty-five percent (65%) said they would accept such a compromise provided that it accomplished the primary goal of reducing illegal immigration. However, arguing about the nuances of amnesty, guest-worker programs and other provisions will do nothing to build popular support without proof that the government is serious about controlling the border.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters believe it is Very Important for “the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration.”

Many times, voters doubt that reasonable alternatives exist. But, 68% of Americans believe it is possible to reduce illegal immigration while just 20% disagree. A New York Times/CBS News poll found a similar result--82% believe the federal government could do more to reduce illegal immigration.

The belief that the issue could be addressed adds to the frustration of those who oppose the Senate bill. Sixty-six percent (66%) believe it doesn't make sense to debate new immigration laws until we can first control our borders and enforce existing laws.

Other recent surveys have found that Senator John McCain (R), a strong proponent of the Senate bill, has slipped to third place in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination. President Bush’s Job Approval ratings have fallen to the lowest levels of his Administration since the immigration debate began dominating the news.

Bill Richardson, a.k.a., Bill Richardson Lopez, a.k.a. William Blaine Richardson III

"You mean there's a NEW Mexico?" - C. Montgomery Burns

The results of 159 years of Hispanic assimilation in New Mexico

Bush to his conservative immigration critics: Bring It On!

Immigration Inanity

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In the 2004-05 school year, only 64.4% of African-American males graduated from high school in Ohio, compared to white males at 88.2%

Keith Dailey:

Governor Ted Strickland and former state Sen. C.J. Prentiss, the Governor's Special Representative for Closing the Achievement Gap, will host a conference tomorrow, May 30, in Columbus focused on increasing the graduation rate of African American males.

"The low graduation rate of African American males is a problem with widespread implications for our state," Strickland said. "We need to work to keep these young people in school -- for the benefit of themselves, our communities and the economic strength of the state."

In the 2004-05 school year, only 64.4 percent of black males graduated from high school in Ohio, compared to white males at 88.2 percent. Overall in the 2004-05 school year, 68.4 percent of black students graduated from high school in Ohio, while 89.8 percent of white students graduated.

"We all know that many high schools in urban Ohio graduate only half their students," Prentiss said. "That's not a problem -- that's a crisis."

In addition, black males score consistently lower than both white and Hispanic males on the Ohio Graduation Test, which is required for graduation.

Prentiss has spent the past month meeting with mayors, superintendents, ministers and community leaders across Ohio to increase awareness of the issue and encourage collective efforts to increase the African American male graduation rate.

Just 60% of Ohio's black urban males graduate

Turkish marriages in Germany

Christopher Caldwell:

Exact statistics are hard to come by, but it is possible that as many as 50 percent of Turks (a word that in common parlance often includes even those with German citizenship) seek their spouses abroad, according to Schäuble, the interior minister. For most of the past decade, according to the ministry, between 21,000 and 27,000 people a year have successfully applied at German consulates in Turkey to form families in Germany. (Just under two-thirds of the newcomers are women.) That means roughly half a million spouses since the mid-1980s, which in turn means hundreds of thousands of new families in which the children’s first language is as likely to be Turkish as German.

Binational marriage alarms many Germans for two reasons. First, it allows the Turkish community to grow fast at a time when support for immigration is low. The Turkish population in Germany multiplies not once in a life cycle but twice — at childbirth and at marriage. Second, such marriages retard assimilation even for those Turks long established in Germany. You frequently hear stories from schoolteachers about a child of guest workers who was a star pupil three decades ago but whose own children, although born in Germany, struggle to learn German in grade school. After half a century of immigration, every new generation of Turks is still, to a large extent, a first generation.

Turkish marriages are seldom Western-style love matches. They are often arranged by parents. A 2003 study by the Federal Ministry of Family found that a quarter of Turkish women in Germany hadn’t even known their partners before they married. The rural Anatolian practice of marrying relatives, usually first cousins, is frequent. It accounts, according to the Center for Turkey Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, for between a sixth and a quarter of binational pairings. These marriages bring certain Anatolian problems into the heart of Germany. Domestic violence is high. The causes of wife-beating among families of immigrant background can be debated, but not the numbers. Gulgun Teyhani, who works at a battered-women’s shelter in Duisburg, reckoned that of the 86 women her house took in last year, 60 had a migrant background, and 51 of them spoke Turkish. Last year, the Federal Criminal Investigation Agency found that in the preceding five years, 45 “honor killings” were carried out by Turkish or Kurdish families in Germany against women deemed to have “strayed,” generally by dating Europeans or adopting Western fashions.

Barack Obama Favors Chain Migration

Mice genetically engineered to lack a single enzyme in their brains are more adept at learning than their normal cousins

Aline McKenzie:

Mice genetically engineered to lack a single enzyme in their brains are more adept at learning than their normal cousins, and are quicker to figure out that their environment has changed, a team led by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center has found.

The results, appearing today in the online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, reveal a new mechanism of learning in the brain, which might serve in humans as a target for treating disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease or drug addiction, the researchers said.

"It’s pretty rare that you make mice ‘smarter,’ so there are a lot of cognitive implications," said Dr. James Bibb, assistant professor of psychiatry and the study’s senior author.

"Everything is more meaningful to these mice," he said. "The increase in sensitivity to their surroundings seems to have made them smarter."

The engineered mice were more adept at learning to navigate a water maze and remembering that being in a certain box involves a mild shock. Equally important, Dr. Bibb said, when a situtation changed, such as the water maze being rearranged, the engineered mice were much faster to realize that things were different and work out the new route.

Dr. Bibb cautioned that while the mice learn faster, studies on the long-term effects of deleting the enzyme, called Cdk5, from the brain are continuing.

The group is also beginning a search for drugs that might create the same effects without genetic manipulation and monitoring the animals’ health and behavior over time.

The findings may have applications in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, where getting a patient to learn that a once-threatening situation no longer poses a danger is a major goal.

In addition, Cdk5 is heavily implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and addiction to drugs of abuse, so understanding how the enzyme affects the brain and behavior might aid in the development of new treatments for these and other conditions, Dr. Bibb said.

The key in this study was being able to "knock out" the gene for Cdk5 only in the brain, and only when the mice were adults. This technique, only recently developed and called conditional knockout, allows much more sophisticated experiments than traditional knockout, which entirely eliminates the gene.

"Being able to turn a gene off throughout a brain is a really advanced thing to do," Dr. Bibb said. "It’s been shown that it can be done, but we put the system together and actually applied it."

Normally, Cdk5 works with another enzyme to break up a molecule called NR2B, which is found in nerve-cell membranes and stimulates the cell to fire when a nerve-cell-signaling molecule, or neurotransmitter, binds to it. NR2B previously has been implicated in the early stages of learning.

The new research showed that when Cdk5 is removed from the brain, the levels of NR2B significantly increase, and the mice are primed to learn, Dr. Bibb said.

"We made the animals ‘smarter,’ but in doing so and applying this technology, we also found biochemical targets that hold promise for future treatments of a variety of cognitive disorders," he said.

The researchers also recorded nerve-cell firings in the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with learning. Hippocampus slices from the knock-out mice responded much more strongly to an electrical stimulation, supporting the finding that the mice were more prepared to learn.

Turning Off Suspect Gene Makes Mice Smarter

'Brainy' mice may hold key to Alzheimer's

Memory and Learning: Cdk5 tells a tail to remember

Hostility towards academic achievement is higher among Hispanics than among African-Americans

Heather Mac Donald:

Far from being “focused on education,” Hispanics have the highest drop-out rate in the country — 47 percent nationally, and far worse in heavily Hispanic areas. Schools in illegal-immigrant-saturated southern California spend enormous sums trying to persuade Latino students to stay in school and study, without avail. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, just 40 percent of Hispanics graduate, and those students who do finish school come out with abysmal skills. A controversial high school exit exam in California would require seniors to correctly answer just 51 percent of questions testing eighth-grade-level math and ninth-grade-level English in order to receive a diploma. Naturally, immigrant advocates have fiercely opposed this all-too-meager measure for school and student accountability. The California Research Bureau predicts that the exam will result in a Hispanic graduation rate of below 30 percent.

Behind Hispanic educational failure rate lies an apathy towards learning, as the Manhattan Institute’s Herman Badillo argues in One Nation, One Standard. Hostility towards academic achievement is higher among Hispanics than among blacks. Factor in gang involvement and teenage pregnancy, and the Hispanic drop-out rate looks almost inevitable. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that a whopping 15 percent to 20 percent of illegal immigrants may not qualify for the proposed amnesty because of their criminal records, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Seeing Today’s Immigrants Straight

Stalled in America

One Nation, One Standard

American success story

Hispanic Family Values?

How Unskilled Immigrants Hurt Our Economy

The Congressional Black Caucus has not been an effective voice for working-class Americans on the issue of immigration reform

Carol M. Swain:

African Americans should expect and demand more from the CBC, because its members have elected to organize as a racial caucus. By doing so, CBC members have placed upon themselves the obligation to represent the interests of the millions of black constituents who have faithfully and repeatedly sent them to Washington.

Instead, CBC members have ignored social-science studies, congressional testimony and census data documenting the harm that high levels of immigration have caused and are continuing to have on low-wage, low-skill workers. Intervention is needed. African Americans and their allies should hold CBC members and other Democrats accountable for failing to represent the interests of their constituents.

It was Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, who chaired the Senate committee that held hearings on black male unemployment in spring of 2007. James Wright, a journalist writing for Afro-American News, reported that Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, chose not to sit on Mr. Schumer's committee. At the time that Mr. Wright's newspaper went to press in March, no CBC representatives were seated on the bicameral committee of House and Senate members.

Given their past stances, CBC members can be expected to support amnesty for illegal immigrants and the proposed new guest-worker program that will further disadvantage working-class Americans and those who will compete with the new immigrants for housing, health care, education and other benefits provided to low- and moderate-income Americans.

We need only focus on unemployment to get an idea of how African Americans and other historically disadvantaged groups are adversely affected by high levels of immigration. Consider that black unemployment rates are usually double the rate of whites and are higher than the rates of Hispanics. For example, in April 2007, the national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. The black unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, with the rate for black males at 9.7 percent. The rate for Hispanics was 5.4 percent. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor statistics has forecast that in the next seven years the Hispanic labor force will be 6.3 million workers greater than the black workforce. As well, by 2014, the black workforce will lag behind the Hispanics, Asians and white non-Hispanics in labor-force participation.

Employed African Americans include a disproportionate percentage of high-school dropouts and graduates who compete directly with legal and illegal immigrants for low-wage, low-skill jobs.

New immigrants arriving since 1990 have increased the supply of labor by 25 percent for the kinds of jobs traditionally taken by poorly educated Americans. Using data from 2000-2004, Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies has found that while immigrant workers constituted 15 percent of the U.S. labor force, they were a whopping 40 percent of workers without high-school diplomas. Only 12 percent had greater than a high school diploma.

The greatest competition for low-skill jobs is now occurring among people at the margins of society, a multiracial group that includes poorly educated blacks, whites and Hispanics. It is no wonder members of the working-class are the ones most upset about high levels of immigration.

Whether the topic is education, poverty, housing, health care or unemployment, blacks remain clustered at the bottom of the ladder in a most desperate situation. Therefore, their need for representation in Congress is ongoing — the more vigorous, the better.

The interests of American citizens should trump any obligations to illegal immigrants who have willfully broken the nation's laws and demanded rights and privileges not guaranteed by the Constitution. Often these immigrants show open hostility and disdain for African Americans, the very group whose civil-rights movement has benefitted them enormously.

CBC members should be expected to bring more to their districts than descriptive representation and loud rhetoric about race and rights. Effectively representing their constituents should trump symbolism and the Caucus's tendency to pursue abstract rights for imagined coalition partners. If the CBC is to fulfill its goals and obligations to America, it must be actively involved in shaping immigration legislation to take into consideration the needs of the most vulnerable Americans.

Why Should Immigrants (And Amnestied Illegals) Benefit From Affirmative Action Quotas?

Professor Carol Swain On Immigration’s Harmful Effects

Pakistani Muslim charged with hate crime against Sikh schoolmate

Cara Buckley:

A teenager was charged with felony hate crimes yesterday, a day after he forced a 15-year-old Sikh schoolmate into a boys’ bathroom in Queens, tore off his turban and sheared his hair, the authorities said.

According to the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, the teenager, Umair Ahmed, 17, walked up to the Sikh, Vacher Harpal, in a hallway at Newtown High School in Elmhurst shortly after noon on Thursday and said, “I have to cut your hair.” Mr. Ahmed was holding a pair of scissors, Mr. Brown said.

Vacher replied: “For what? It is against my religion,” according to Mr. Brown. Mr. Ahmed, who is of Pakistani descent, then displayed a ring inscribed with Arabic words, and said: “This ring is Allah. If you don’t let me cut your hair, I will punch you with this ring,” Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Ahmed then forced Vacher into a boys’ bathroom, and Vacher began crying as he removed his turban, begging Mr. Ahmed not to cut his waist-length hair, which, in accordance with the Sikh religion, had never been cut, Mr. Brown said.

But Mr. Ahmed cut Vacher’s hair to the neckline, then threw the hair into a toilet and onto the floor, Mr. Brown said. One student, who was not charged, stood at the bathroom door and acted as a lookout, the police said. Another student, a friend of Vacher’s, saw the attack, they said. The police said a teacher’s aide notified a school safety officer after being alerted by a student.

The police and students said that Mr. Ahmed and Vacher had had an argument and that Vacher had made derogatory comments about Mr. Ahmed’s mother. Vacher had apologized, but Mr. Ahmed did not accept it, according to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. Mr. Ahmed was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment and menacing as hate crimes, as well as criminal possession of a weapon and aggravated harassment, the police said.


Cops: Sikh Student Victim Of Hate Crime

Residents of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa are up in arms because of a newly-revamped camp for illegal immigrants

Daily Mail:

Newly-elected deputy mayor Angela Maraventan is leading the campaign against the camp which critics say is as good as a 'luxury hotel - while facilities for local residents in the rest of the town suffer.

Two years ago the island, a major transit point for thousands of boat people seeking a better life in Europe, drew scathing criticism for the squalor and abuse of its overcrowded camp.

That has now been revamped and will soon be replaced by a more spacious, air-conditioned site as Italy pledges a more humane approach in its fight against illegal immigration.

But the plan has not gone down well with Lampedusa's residents, who echo complaints heard elsewhere in Europe that their political leaders are doing more for illegal immigrants than for their own citizens.

This month they sent a clear message to Romano Prodi's centre-left government by voting en masse for a right-wing coalition - including the Northern League party that long dismissed Italy's impoverished south as beyond hope - to run the island.

"Lampedusa doesn't have a proper hospital, and its schools are literally falling to pieces. And now they want to open a luxury hotel for immigrants? No way," said Maraventano.

Lampedusa - Italy's southernmost point just 113 km (70 miles) off Africa's coast - is emblematic of the dilemmas faced by European governments wrestling with illegal immigration.

Tougher laws under Italy's previous centre-right administration earned it international condemnation and did not stop 74,000 immigrants reaching the island in the past five years - more than 12 times the population of around 6,000.

The softer stance taken by Prodi, which includes a proposal to give "clandestini" money to return to their homeland, is in turn triggering a popular backlash in a country where 43 percent see immigrants as a threat to public security, according to a recent poll.

Preferred Client Class

Mosques and Islamic terrorism in Europe

Associated Press:

Security officials from Europe's largest countries have thrown their weight behind the EU Commission's plans to map out mosques on the continent to identify imams who preach radical Islam that raises the threat of homegrown terrorism.

The project, to be finished by the fall, will focus on the roles of imams, their training, their ability to speak in the local language and their source of funding, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini told a news conference.

Europe had ample experience with the "misuse of mosques, which instead of being places of worship are used for other ends, Italian Interior Minister Guiliano Amato said Saturday.

"This is bringing about a situation that involves all of our countries and involves the possibility of attacks and developing of networks that use one country to prepare an attack in another," Amato said, after a meeting in Venice of interior ministers and security officials from six European countries and the United States.

Frattini also emphasized the need of strengthened dialogue with the Islamic communities "to avoid sending messages that incite hate and violence."

Security officials from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland also expressed concern about drug-trafficking, and said they would work with African nations to interrupt a new cocaine route from Colombia across Africa into Europe.

"They have created bases in Europe and we need to have our counter-bases," Amato said, noting that the Spaniards have seen an influx of cocaine in the south and east of their country beyond the traditional Atlantic route.

The officials proposed setting up drug-fighting bases in Lisbon to monitor sea traffic and Gibraltar to monitor land.

Waiting for Churchill or Godot?

Spain arrests 16 North Africans accused of recruiting Islamic militants

Victoria Burnett:

The police on Monday arrested 16 men, most of them Moroccans, suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight in Iraq and other countries and spreading propaganda calling for Islamic jihad.

Most of the men were arrested in the northeastern region of Catalonia, which has a large concentration of immigrants from Morocco and elsewhere.

Thirteen of the arrests were made in predawn raids in Barcelona, the regional capital, and other Catalonian cities and towns. Two suspects were arrested in the town of Aranjuez, in central Spain south of Madrid, and one in the southern port of Málaga, the Interior Ministry said.

Two of the men were Algerian and the rest Moroccan.

The 16 men, who were arrested on the orders of Baltasar Garzón, a top investigative judge, are suspected of recruiting and sending volunteers to fight in Muslim militant groups based in North Africa and Iraq, and of disseminating propaganda calling for jihad, or holy war.

The Interior Ministry said the police had seized computer material, Islamist propaganda and cellphones, but no weapons or explosives, during the raids.

The Spanish police have arrested hundreds of suspected Islamic militants in the last few years, many in Catalonia and many in connection with the bombings of commuter trains in Madrid on March 11, 2004, which killed 191 people.

Terrorism experts are concerned that Spain’s fast-growing Moroccan population, which numbers more than half a million, is a recruitment pool for militant groups and that Spain has become a financing hub for such groups.

Spanish security officials say videos made by militant groups linked to or inspired by Al Qaeda indicate that Spain continues to be a target of Islamic extremists who cleave to a nostalgic claim over Al Andalus, as the country was called in Arabic when it was the site of a thriving Muslim civilization from the 8th to the 15th century.

Twenty-nine suspects are on trial in Madrid in connection with the train bombings. A Moroccan accused of being one of the bombers, who fled Spain, is believed to have died in a suicide attack in Iraq.

The Muslim rule of Spain

Terrorism and Immigration

At least seven people have been killed in violent clashes in India's Rajasthan state over the government's affirmative action plans

BBC News:

Police fired on protesters from the nomadic Gujjar tribe who had blocked a key national highway near Delhi.

At least one of those killed is believed to be a policeman.

The Gujjars are demanding that they be included in an affirmative action quota which would give them access to government jobs and other benefits.

Police say they opened fire after tens of thousands of Gujjar protesters turned violent. Protesters said police shot at unarmed crowds.

Protesters began their action on Monday night, blocking a key highway which connects the city of Jaipur with the tourist destination of Agra where the Taj Mahal is located.

Police have confirmed only three deaths, including one of a policeman.

But witnesses and local officials in Dausa district where the violence took place say more than double than that number were killed.

A senior police officer told the BBC he suspected that at least half a dozen more people had been killed in the clashes and that protesters were holding six bodies, including those of two policemen.

"The police first tried to negotiate with the protesters," HK Dahmor, chief of administration of Dausa district, told the AFP news agency.

"When the protesters did not budge, the police tried to physically move them from the spot which sparked the clashes."

A Gujjar community leader, Avinash Badana, told India's state-run Doordarshan channel that the police had fired on "unarmed people".

Correspondents say the situation is still very tense and extra police have been rushed to the area.

The state administration is holding an emergency meeting and soldiers are being sent to the area to try to keep the peace.

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says the Gujjars are a large and politically-influential nomadic tribe spread across north India.

They are demanding that they be categorised as an official tribe so that they may benefit from affirmative action quotas which will give them access to government jobs as well as places in state-supported schools and colleges, he says.

Our correspondent says the issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India with many poor communities arguing that it is the only way millions of under-privileged people can benefit from India's economic boom.

But those opposed to it say it is a cynical move by politicians to gain more votes from politically influential communities who make up a large percentage of the country's population.

Nine killed in Indian riots over tribal quotas

Britain: Government figures reveal that many towns are developing schools that are overwhelmingly white, Asian or black

Nicholas Watt:

A remarkable picture of how Britain is 'sleepwalking' towards US-style segregation of schools along racial lines is highlighted today by government figures that reveal many towns are developing schools that are overwhelmingly white, Asian or black.

A majority of pupils in many areas of the country - particularly in deprived former mill towns in the north of England - have little contact with children from different ethnic backgrounds, even though they live in close proximity.

The figures are bound to raise fresh concerns about the phenomenon of 'white flight', where some families move area to remove their children from schools where there is an intake is predominantly Asian children. The split in communities can also lead to increased racial tensions.

According to the Department for Education and Skills, Blackburn with Darwen council, recently the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary on the parallel lives led by different communities, is one of the most divided boroughs. Four secondary schools out of nine there attract more than 90 per cent of their pupils from just one community.

The Tories last night outlined a dramatic plan to reverse the segregation - setting targets to ensure white and Asian pupils are educated together at any academies set up in northern towns such as Blackburn.

David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, told The Observer: 'There are towns which have been divided into two where social, ethnic and religious divisions are all aligned and create enormous tensions. Schools in these towns are becoming more and more segregated. One way to tackle them is, if you're creating an academy, you set a target that it should take its students from both communities.'

His remarks came after new government figures illustrate the recent warning by Jack Straw, the Commons leader and MP for Blackburn, that people are 'breathing the same air but walking past each other'.

In Straw's borough, there are three overwhelmingly white schools - Darwen Vale High (95.5 per cent white), Darwen Moorland High (91.6 per cent white) and St Bede's Roman Catholic High (96.3 per cent white). The segregation is matched on the other side of the racial divide. At Beardwood High, 94.5 per cent of pupils are Asian. Just 2.5 per cent of the school's pupils are white. Only one school in the borough reflects the ethnic breakdown of a community whose population is 70.5 per cent white and 26.5 per cent Asian. Of the pupils who go to Witton Park High, 71.7 per cent are white and 26.6 per cent are Asian.

The position in Bradford, scene of race riots in 2001, is not much better. Of 28 secondary schools, 10 have 90 per cent or more pupils from one community.

Bradford's population is 62.8 per cent white and 32.7 per cent Asian. At Ilkley Grammar School, 93.8 per cent of pupils are white, with just 2.3 per cent from the city's Asian community. Of the pupils attending Belle Vue Boys' School, 95.6 per cent are Asian and just 1.2 per cent are white.

Stephen Byers, a former schools minister, told The Observer: 'These figures show that in parts of the country we are sleepwalking towards the segregation of schools on racial grounds. With no public debate, we are enshrining division and discrimination at an early age. Separate communities are growing up alongside each other with little or any common point of reference.

'As a result people, living in neighbouring communities could for all intents and purposes be on a different planet from each other. If we want to see the development of an inclusive and healthy society, this is an issue that needs to be addressed and not simply ignored.'

Experts say there are many reasons why pupils tend to flock to schools dominated by their own community. Faith schools, for instance, are unlikely to attract many pupils from across the ethnic divide.

Ted Cantle, who wrote the landmark 'parallel lives' report following the 2001 riots in Burnley, Oldham and Bradford, told The Observer: 'There is some evidence that once a school starts to divide it does reach a tipping point where one side or the other feels this school is no longer for them.'

Simon Burgess, professor of economics at Bristol University, said: 'If you compare segregation in schools with the ethnic segregation in the neighbourhoods around that school then the segregation in schools is higher than that in the surrounding neighbourhoods.'

Tory bid to select pupils by race

Cameron faces fresh grammar school challenge from his own frontbench

Schools in the East End dividing by race

Senior Tory who spoke up for grammars is facing the sack

Disillusionment and the Iraq war

Michael Kamber:

Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.

“In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place,” he said. “There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome.”

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought: ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”

His views are echoed by most of his fellow soldiers in Delta Company, renowned for its aggressiveness.

A small minority of Delta Company soldiers — the younger, more recent enlistees in particular — seem to still wholeheartedly support the war. Others are ambivalent, torn between fear of losing more friends in battle, longing for their families and a desire to complete their mission.

With few reliable surveys of soldiers’ attitudes, it is impossible to simply extrapolate from the small number of soldiers in the company. But in interviews with more than a dozen soldiers in this 83-man unit over a one-week period, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop.

They had seen shadowy militia commanders installed as Iraqi Army officers, they said, had come under increasing attack from roadside bombs — planted within sight of Iraqi Army checkpoints — and had fought against Iraqi soldiers whom they thought were their allies.

“In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war,” said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described “conservative Texas Republican” and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. “Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.”

It is not a question of loyalty, the soldiers insist. Sergeant Safstrom, for example, comes from a thoroughly military family. His mother and father have served in the armed forces, as have his three sisters, one brother and several uncles. One week after the Sept. 11 attacks, he walked into a recruiter’s office and joined the Army.

“You guys want to start a fight in my backyard, I got something for you,” he recalls thinking at the time.

But in Sergeant Safstrom’s view, the American presence is futile. “If we stayed here for 5, even 10 more years, the day we leave here these guys will go crazy,” he said. “It would go straight into a civil war. That’s how it feels, like we’re putting a Band-Aid on this country until we leave here.”

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.

Asian immigrants are causing language problems in Flushing, Queens

Ellen Barry:

Something extraordinary happened to Maria Farren of Flushing, Queens, on a recent trip to the grocery store. From the familiar background chatter of people speaking Chinese, a syllable leapt out from nowhere. It was not that she understood the word — she didn’t — but the sound was familiar. That was enough of a surprise that she paused in mid-aisle.

“It’s just a din of noise,” Ms. Farren said, “and all of a sudden you recognize something.”

So on a rainy Wednesday evening, she was back in the basement room of the Queens housing project where two dozen adults gather every week to learn Mandarin. The free classes at the James A. Bland Houses draw a motley assortment of students; the current session includes an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, a black woman who grew up in the housing project and the practical-minded daughter of Hungarian immigrants.

They have in common these two attributes: They have lived in Flushing since before it was Asian, and they have decided that the time has come to adapt.

“Kind of like, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,’ ” said Ms. Farren, whose Italian-American relatives cannot fathom why she hasn’t left for New Jersey.

Pitched battles have been fought over language in Flushing, whose white ethnic population has receded as Korean and Chinese immigrants have arrived. In the late 1980s, when City Councilwoman Julia Harrison proposed a bill requiring businesses to post signs in English, a public divide seemed to open: On one side were the waves of Asian newcomers; on the other, longtime residents who felt displaced and alienated.

And it isn't just whites who are having problems:

The Mandarin classes, now in their second 10-week session, were the brainchild of Donald Henton, 73, a retired city bus driver who has lived in Flushing since 1968.

Mr. Henton asked Councilman Liu to sponsor the lessons last year during a community meeting at which most of the comments were made in Mandarin. He feels a responsibility for the classes’ success; on Tuesday nights, he calls 40 people just to remind them to come.

There have been moments of disappointment for Mr. Henton, who expected the classes to be standing-room-only. He has met cold shoulders among his own neighbors in the Bland Houses, where 78 percent of the tenants are black or Hispanic. On a sunny afternoon in the housing project’s courtyard, Robert Winston, whose family moved to New York from Jamaica, responded to the idea of studying Mandarin with a long belly laugh. Anita Garcia, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico, practically spat.

“I was born here,” said Ms. Garcia, who is 44. “Why should I learn their language?”

For years, tenants in the Bland Houses have worried that they would be priced out of an increasingly crowded and prosperous neighborhood. From the bench where he sits with his friends, Mr. Winston said, he can see both the Asian-dominated playgrounds and the basketball court used by the Bland Houses’ old guard.

Mr. Henton, a longtime supporter of Councilman Liu, agreed that big changes are coming. It’s time to adjust, he tells people at Bland Houses. But only one of his neighbors is attending the second session of Mandarin classes, he said, even after he slipped 400 fliers advertising the lessons under tenants’ doors.

“You know what they say? They didn’t get it,” he said.

And Asians are supposed to be the "good" immigrants!

The 3 most homogeneous states - Maine, Vermont, and West Virginia - spent the highest proportion of their gross state product on public education

John Derbyshire:

This reinforces a number of findings from recent years suggesting that people are much more willing to be taxed for the benefit of people like themselves than for the benefit of the Other. Old people already grumble about paying taxes to support extravagant educational establishments. As the racial generation gap opens up, with the oldsters being noticeably more white and Anglo than the kids being educated, the grumbling will escalate into action — most likely, the simple action of yet further residential segregation, the old and white-Anglo living here, the young and dark Hispanic living there.

Though, of course, the unwillingness to be taxed to support the Other cuts both ways. How will a majority nonwhite young workforce feel about paying out income and Social Security taxes for the sustenance of old, white Anglos? I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I, at least, have looked forward glumly to my last days, most likely spent stuck, incapable, in some cruddy nursing home with a bunch of other helpless white geezers, my daily needs in the hands of resentful black and brown orderlies whose educations featured long catalogs of the wrongs done to Them by Us.

Back of all that is the question: As white Anglos decline into a minority, will we see the rise of white-Anglo race consciousness? The common understanding at present is that open expressions of race consciousness are taboo for white-Anglo Americans, but just fine for everyone else. A leading black presidential candidate subtitles his best-selling biography “A Story of Race and Inheritance”; the main lobbying organization for Hispanics carries the proud title “National Council of the Race”; and so on. This word is, however, not available to white-Anglo Americans in reference to themselves, and white-Anglo Americans are indoctrinated from childhood to believe, or to pretend to believe, that race is an empty category.

This taboo is left over from the old pre-1960s order of unassailable (as it then seemed) white-Anglo supremacy. It was really just a form of noblesse oblige, a patronizing courtesy from the vast-majority race, who owned and ran pretty much everything in the U.S. up to about 40 years ago, to minorities about whom they nursed a mildly guilty conscience.

Noblesse oblige is a wonderfully satisfying, self-flattering attitude: “Look at me — not only powerful and rich, but gracious and kind, too!” Whether it can survive as white Anglos dwindle to minority status is not clear to me. It might: it runs strong today among the white-Anglo inhabitants of Washington, D.C., even though they are (see above) only 32 percent of the population there. I suppose it depends how the economics shakes down.

Hispanics accounted for almost half (1.4 million) of the national population growth of 2.9 million between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006... The Hispanic population in 2006 was much younger, with a median age of 27.4 compared with the population as a whole at 36.4.

It is quite possible that Americans alive today will live to see the nation become majority Hispanic. Did anyone ever think this would happen, prior to a few short years ago? Well into the 1960s, Mexico was an inconsequential place, a joke place, while the other Central American nations simply did not register at all. You went to Acapulco for an exotic vacation, got a nasty case of Montezuma’s revenge, and came home with some colorful handicraft trinkets to put on your mantel shelf. That aside, you never thought about Central America from one year’s end to the next. The highest level that Mexicans rose to in the American imagination was the vaguely sentimental portrayals in the works of southwestern writers like Willa Cather.

The inconsequentiality was numerical, too. In midcentury there was one Mexican per four or five Americans. The place was underpopulated. The few thousand Mexicans who drifted across the border looking for work could easily be rounded up and deported if they became an inconvenience, as in Eisenhower’s famous “Operation Wetback.” There were no limits at all on legal immigration from the Western hemisphere until the 1965 Immigration Act, none being thought necessary. An annual quota of 120,000 was imposed by that act; but this was just a low-value bone thrown to key members of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Everett Dirksen and Sam Ervin) by Teddy Kennedy to get the bill through. Nobody cared about Hispanic immigration; no-one thought it consequential.

Now there are 110 million Mexicans to the U.S.’s 300 million, with corresponding numbers of Hispanics further south. If you count the 20 or 30 million Mexicans actually living here, legally or illegally, the Mexican-American ratio must actually be about one to two. Unfortunately Mexico’s great late-20th-century population boom was boomier, and longer-lasting, than that nation’s economic boom, which fizzled out around 1980. Not only were mid-20th-century Central American populations numerically insignificant until recently; the economic gap between their sleepy, stagnant economies and our vibrant one was less then that it is today, after several more decades of sleepy stagnation on their part, vibrancy on ours.

And so white-Anglo America slips into minority status. Probably we never wanted it to happen. Probably, if asked around 1970 whether it ought to happen, most of us would have said no. The topic never rose to the status of a major political issue among the mass of Americans, though. The coming presidential election will be the first in my lifetime to have immigration as a major theme.

If Americans minded what was happening, they didn’t mind enough to stop it. To be sure, their indifference was aided and abetted by the late 20th-century browbeating campaigns by cultural elites on behalf of “diversity,” “political correctness,” and racial guilt; but Americans didn’t seem to mind those much, either — not enough to rebel against them in any significant way.

If there is any large general historical lesson to be taken from all this, it is that a population as prosperous, secure, well-employed, and well-entertained as the white Anglos of late 20th-century America, and as confident of its own cultural superiority, cannot be made to care much about matters of ethnic identity, and may altogether lose the habit of thinking in such terms.

Whether this ethnic insouciance will survive the coming great demographic changes, I don’t know. Things have gone so far now that there is very little we can do but wait and see.

New Demographic Racial Gap Emerges

Many immigrants who came to Britain intending to stay for just a short visit have changed their minds and stayed

Stephanie Condron:

A study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examined the lives of a group of Eastern Europeans who came to the UK before European Union enlargement.

Researchers said those coming to the UK should be integrated into the British way of life as soon as they arrive, even if they do not intend to settle.

Immigrants from the so-called A8 nations - Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta - won the right to live, work and remain permanently in the UK after EU enlargement on May 1, 2004.

Researchers from Oxford and Sussex Universities questioned 333 immigrants from Ukraine and Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania a month before enlargement.

Most had already been in the country for 18 months. But they were asked to recall whether they had intended to settle in Britain on arriving.

Of the 307 who responded, just 18 (six per cent) said they had.

The migrants were also asked if it was now their intention to settle and 76 (24 per cent) said it was. Eight months later - and after enlargement - the researchers tried to find the same group to find out how many had decided to settle.

They could only trace 109 of them but by then 62 (29 per cent) said that staying was their intention.

'More immigrants are deciding to stay'

Migrants 'want to settle in UK'

Australia: Muslim taxi drivers refuse to take blind customers

Heath Aston:

TAXI drivers regularly refuse to carry blind passengers with guide dogs - including Australia's Human Rights Commissioner - with many citing religious reasons, or other excuses like allergies.

Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who is blind and reliant on his guide dog Jordie, is a regular Sydney cab user and said he was refused service on average once a month, including twice in two days recently.

He has been told on a number of occasions that it would be against a driver's religion to allow a dog in the cab.

Mr Innes has also been refused by drivers claiming to be allergic to dogs - or afraid of them - and was even left clutching at air on busy Market St by one belligerent driver who told him he had to take the non-existent cab in front.

Mr Innes yesterday received the backing of Vision Australia (VA), which said taxi drivers refusing to carry blind passengers with guide dogs happened with "too much regularity".

VA policy and advocacy head Michael Simpson said that the problem was worse in the Sydney metropolitan area where there were more drivers unwilling to carry dogs based on Muslim objections.

"It is fair to say that the (Islamic) religion has made the problem worse in the metropolitan areas than regional areas, where I've found taxi drivers are generally excellent," he said.

Mr Simpson, who has been blind for 30 years but uses a cane instead of a guide dog, said he was refused service at the airport because his two companions had dogs.

"We asked the driver for his accreditation number and he gave us the wrong one," he said.

"It was only because an airline staff member had accompanied us that we got the right number and could properly complain about being refused."

Police renew focus on Muslim cabbies

Beheading Nations: The Islamization of Europe’s Cities

Oslo: Blind people with guide dogs denied access to taxis - again

Norway: Blind People Rejected by Muslim Taxi Drivers

Muslim Taxi Drivers vs. Seeing-Eye Dogs

A new study shows that immigration has tended to lower wages in both Canada and the United States

Canadian Press:

In 2001, about four in 10 people with more than an undergraduate degree were immigrants in Canada compared to about one in five in the United States.

That's curtailed the earnings growth of the most-educated Canadians relative to the least-educated, while the opposite has happened in the United States.

A significantly higher proportion of immigrants to the United States have been much less skilled so these newcomers have depressed the earnings of low-paid Americans and increased the gap relative to the highest paid.

In Canada, immigration has tempered the gap between rich and poor but in the United States, it has exacerbated it.

Between 1980 and 2000, immigration increased the male labour force by 13.2 per cent in Canada and 11.1 per cent in the United States, while in Mexico the male workforce shrunk by 14.6 per cent.

Lies, Damned Lies, And "Pollaganda"

Do neoclassical free market economists comprise a mafia within academia?

Of Course H1-B Visas are About Lowering Wages

Official Canadian study: Mass immigration lowers real wages

Canadian Study: Immigrants Lower Wages

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