Thursday, June 28, 2007

Denmark: Children's language abilities are hampered while in the care of au pairs who often speak little or no Danish

Copenhagen Post:

Working parents who hire au pairs to take care of their children during the day are helping to create an entire group of young people whose Danish language abilities are severely limited by the time they reach nursery school, reported 24timer newspaper Wednesday.

Existence of the phenomenon is supported by several language experts including Ulla Lahti Falkenberg, language acquisition expert at the University of Copenhagen, who said she encounters the problem regularly.

‘We meet children that speak Danish with Thai or Latvian accents – Danish children with severe accents primarily because of contact with their foreign au pairs,’ said Falkenberg, who is also president of the Danish Speech Language Hearing Association. ‘It’s a problem that parents are so busy with their own lives and spend so little time with their children that they don’t even realise the child speaks bad Danish.’

The problem is most common among affluent parents that can afford au pairs and who themselves are well-educated and generally live in upper or upper-middle class neighbourhoods. Au pairs – especially those from Asia and Eastern Europe - rarely master the difficult Danish tongue and often only learn a few Danish phrases and speak limited English.

Lone Andersen, a speech and hearing consultant, has also encountered the problem in several areas in northern Zealand, where families are generally well-to-do.

‘It’s of course practical to have an au pair, but when they often come from abroad it means that the children hear very little Danish in their most important learning years, and that is detrimental to their language abilities,’ said Andersen.

I wouldn't be surprised if a similar situation was happening in the United States with so many children being raised by Hispanic housekeepers.

Norway: African Muslim women seek help for female genital mutilation

Nina Berglund:

More than 250 girls and women have sought help from Oslo's largest hospital in recent years, because of physical problems resulting from female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The mutilation, which many of the female patients were subjected to as young girls in several Muslim African countries and Northern Iraq, has left the women with severe urinary dysfunction, infections and problems after their vaginal openings were sewn shut.

Sarah Kahsay, a midwife at Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo, told newspaper Aftenposten that she and her colleagues have tried to help around 260 girls and women during the past three years.

Kahsay, of the National Competence Center for Minorities' Health at Ullevål, said that 90 percent of the girls and women are ethnic Somalians. Female genital mutilation has also been found, she said, among female patients from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Gambia and Senegal.

The mutilation also seems to have spread to the Kurdish community, with Kahsay mentioning that Norwegian Church Aid has claimed it's a problem for females from Northern Iraq. "Reports we've had from our health stations (in the Oslo area) involve Kurdish girls as young as 11 and 12, who've been circumcised," Kahsay said.

The girls and women have almost always said the circumcision, which is illegal in Norway, occurred before they emigrated. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported over the weekend, however, that an alarming number of young girls born or living in Norway have been taken back to Somalia during school holiday periods and subjected to circumcision.

The agonized screams of one young girl being forcibly held down while her genitals were being cut shook Norwegian viewers and has led to a political outcry on the issue. There have been calls for increased enforcement of the law prohibiting female circumciscion, a fatwa against the practice, and regular medical checks of young girls believed to be at risk.

Renewed uproar over female circumcision

Norway will reopen case of Nigerian immigrant's death


State officials have ordered a special agency to reopen a probe of alleged police brutality, and investigate more thoroughly the death of immigrant Eugene Obiora.

The original police investigation of Eugene Obiora's death has prompted widespread protests, as did the death itself.

Obiora was a 48-year-old native of Nigeria who died after police in Trondheim used a special maneuver to subdue him, after he'd created a disturbance in a social welfare office.

An internal affairs division within the police (Spesialenheten for politisaker) investigated the death, which has prompted public protests and charges of police brutality. The probe concluded that the officers involved hadn't intentionally carried out any measures that would have stopped or hindered Obiora from breathing. No case was brought against the officers.

Now the state's Director General of Public Prosecutions (Riksadvokaten) has said it needs more information on the case, and wants more thorough questioning of witnesses, the police officers involved and what the police knew about the risks of using a controversial grip around his throat that led to his suffocation.

"The goal is to gather more information... to evaluate whether any offenses have been committed on the part of the police," said state prosecutor Tor-Aksel Busch on Thursday afternoon.

Of course, if the Nigerian knew how to behave himself in public he would still be alive today but no one seems to be interested in that fact.

Foods of the kind that were consumed during human evolution may be the best choice to control diabetes type 2

Anna Johansson:

A study from Lund University, Sweden, found markedly improved capacity to handle carbohydrate after eating such foods for three months.

During 2.5 million years of human evolution, before the advent of agriculture, our ancestors were consuming fruit, vegetables, nuts, lean meat and fish. In contrast, cereals, dairy products, refined fat and sugar, which now provide most of the calories for modern humans, have been staple foods for a relatively short time.

Staffan Lindeberg at the Department of Medicine, Lund University, has been studying health effects of the original human diet for many years. In earlier studies his research team have noted a remarkable absence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes among the traditional population of Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, where modern agrarian-based food is unavailable.

In a clinical study in Sweden, the research group has now compared 14 patients who were advised to consume an ‘ancient’ (Paleolithic, ‘Old stone Age’) diet for three months with 15 patients who were recommended to follow a Mediterranean-like prudent diet with whole-grain cereals, low-fat dairy products, fruit, vegetables and refined fats generally considered healthy.

All patients had increased blood sugar after carbohydrate intake (glucose intolerance), and most of them had overt diabetes type 2. In addition, all had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Patients in the Paleolithic group were recommended to eat lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, root vegetables and nuts, and to avoid grains, dairy foods and salt.

The main result was that the blood sugar rise in response to carbohydrate intake was markedly lower after 12 weeks in the Paleolithic group (–26%), while it barely changed in the Mediterranean group (–7%). At the end of the study, all patients in the Paleolithic group had normal blood glucose.

The improved glucose tolerance in the Paleolithic group was unrelated to changes in weight or waist circumference, although waist decreased slightly more in that group. Hence, the research group concludes that something more than caloric intake and weight loss was responsible for the improved handling of dietary carbohydrate. The main difference between the groups was a much lower intake of grains and dairy products and a higher fruit intake in the Paleolithic group. Substances in grains and dairy products have been shown to interfere with the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat in various studies.

–If you want to prevent or treat diabetes type 2, it may be more efficient to avoid some of our modern foods than to count calories or carbohydrate, says Staffan Lindeberg.

This is the first controlled study of a Paleolithic diet in humans.

Even a caveman could eat it

No Grain, No Pain: Stone-Age Diet Is Best to Cut Sugar in Blood

Red deer study: Macho fathers can be confident that their sons will take after them, but their daughters are likely to be weaklings

Lewis Smith:

Research into the benefits of genes passed on by fathers has shown that what is good for sons may be detrimental to the development of daughters.

Red deer were chosen for the study but a similar genetic disadvantage is likely to be passed on by human fathers to daughters.

The findings show for the first time in animals that some genes are designed to benefit just one gender and can handicap the other sex.

It was found that the female offspring of the biggest and strongest stags were less successful at breeding and had fewer fawns during their lives than daughters of weedy males.

Professor Josephine Pemberton, of the University of Edinburgh, said it appeared that evolution was having a hard time finding a balance between serving the interests of both male and female offspring.

“Evolution can’t find an optimum for both sexes,” she said. “Males need to be big and burly with antlers and be really quite aggressive. Females don’t have to be so big, they don’t need to be aggressive and the ideal characteristics are different.”

To reach their conclusions, published in the journal Nature, researchers analysed the red deer population on the island of Rum, off the West Coast of Scotland.

Deer were introduced to the island in the mid-19th century and there is now a population of about 1,000, of which 300 are closely observed by scientists. Research data has been recorded on the deer since 1972 and last year the animals were some of the stars of the BBC Autumnwatch programme.

The red deer, Cervus elaphus, was considered ideal for the gene study because of the large difference in size and behav-iour between the sexes.

Success among stags was judged on the basis of how many fawns they sired. The biggest and strongest males, with the largest antlers, fight other stags during the rutting season to control large harems.

The findings are thought to explain why there is such a wide genetic diversity in animal populations despite the process of natural selection, by which all but the most successful genes should be weeded out.

Loeske Kruuk, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Natural selection means the most successful individuals pass on their genes more frequently than the losers, so more individuals should be carrying those good genes.

“As time goes on we should expect the low-quality genes to be lost, causing less variation between individuals. But we still see huge differences.

“This effect of the best males not producing the best daughters is possibly an important reason why differences remain. Maybe the idea that some genes are better than others is too simplistic: it depends on the sex of the individual.”

In the mating season, Dr Kruuk said, stags competed to gain control of harems of females: “Only the biggest and strongest males, with the largest antlers, will win the battle.”

Katharina Foerster, of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh, led the study and said the results showed that “good genes” for males were not necessarily good for females.

Gender-specific fitness?

Sexual dimorphism with no costs takes some time

ADL Director Abraham Foxman: The United Methodist Church's call to divest from companies linked to Israel is bordering on anti-Semitism

Yaakov Lappin:

Foxman furiously condemned recommendations made by the New England branch of the Methodist Church for its members to divest "from twenty companies identified as supporting the Israeli occupation in Palestine."

The recommendations were made by a "task force" of clergy and church members set up to implement a "resolution to end the Israeli occupation," a statement by the Church added.

Foxman, who is currently in Israel, said it was "sad that a religious institution whose job should be to reconcile continues to be biased and bigoted."

He added that in the past two years, "there has been a war perpetrated by Hizbullah, katyushas rockets, and terrorist acts. Now Hamas, that does not recognize Israel's right to exist and perpetrated violence, has gotten itself elected, and is in control of a million and a half Palestinians. And the Methodists are still there to teach Israel a lesson."

"My reaction is one of outrage to this biased decision, which borders on anti-Semitism. The facts show that any decent fair-minded, spiritual, godly person would not come to a conclusion to boycott the victim, the one that has been praying for peace, suing for peace, hoping for peace. To make Israel the target is just outrageous," Foxman added.

In the Church's statement, William P. Aldrich, chairperson of the 'Divestment Task Force,' was quoted as saying: "Selective divestment is consistent with the United Methodist commitment to a just and sustainable peace for all the people of the Middle East." He added that the divestment campaign "offers a tangible way of working toward this goal."

In its press release, the Church said it knew its actions would not have an impact on Israel's economy, adding that "this is not the goal."

"The goal is to make all United Methodists and other Americans aware of their relationship to companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation," the statement added.

"The urgency of the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories cannot be overstated," the United Methodist Church declared on its website.


Australia: A Sudanese-born HIV/AIDS immigrant is out on bail despite sex risk

Jamie Berry:

Lam Kuoth, who is accused of deliberately spreading HIV

A MAGISTRATE has granted bail to an HIV-positive man accused of spreading the deadly virus despite one of Victoria's top health officials saying he remained a public health risk.

Sudanese-born Lam Kuoth was arrested earlier this week near his home in the Geelong suburb of Norlane. Detectives from the sexual crimes squad charged Kuoth, 28, with recklessly endangering serious injury after it was alleged he knowingly had unprotected sex on April 22 with a 24-year-old woman who was unaware he carried the virus.

She was the only woman to make a statement to police, who allege that Kuoth had sex with other women, including two 16-year-old girls, since he became HIV-positive. Police said one 26-year-old woman, Kuoth's current partner, was infected and is pregnant to him.

Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said Kuoth came to the attention of the Department of Human Services late last year, and was being monitored by health authorities.

Kuoth arrived in Australia in July and was diagnosed HIV-positive in October. He was placed at Thomas Embling Hospital in isolation by the department on April 27.

Detective Senior Constable Greg Nunn told the Geelong Magistrates Court that DHS served Kuoth with a health order on April 4 signed by then chief health officer Robert Hall ordering Kuoth to use condoms, disclose his HIV status and attend counselling.

"We had evidence he wasn't complying with a public health order," DHS assistant director of public health, Chrissie Pickin, told the court yesterday.

But Dr Pickin said Kuoth was "making progress" and was now complying. "He will be actively monitored and managed in the community," she said. "He remains a public health risk."

Magistrate Jon Klestadt said he was satisfied that Kuoth had changed "very considerably" after receiving counselling with the help of an interpreter during his time in isolation.

"I'm satisfied on the evidence before me that there is reason to believe the attitude of the applicant (Kuoth) to both his own disease and his responsibility to the health of others has changed considerably during the period of the isolation order," Mr Klestadt said.

"Of course, if there is any suggestion or any allegation that he has returned to his previous alleged conduct, I would expect an application for the revocation of bail to be made immediately."

Kuoth must report to police every Monday and surrender his travel documents. He will reappear in court on July 6.

Defending the handling of the case by DHS, Ms Pike said the police were notified as soon as the department became aware of any potential illegal activity.

The case puts renewed pressure on Ms Pike who, earlier this year, resisted calls for her resignation following the mishandling of the case of Melbourne man Michael John Neal, who was committed to stand trial for deliberately spreading HIV. Ms Pike sacked chief health officer Dr Robert Hall over the issue.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said the state's public health system had failed Victorians over infection control, food poisoning and the management of high-risk HIV carriers.

He said Kuoth was known to DHS, known to be a high-risk HIV carrier and had continued to put Victorians at risk. "At the very time these matters were getting such a public airing just a few months ago, at the very time that Bronwyn Pike was giving assurances that the system had been reviewed and everything was going well, we have had a dramatic failure again," he said.

Mr Baillieu said it was extraordinary that Kuoth was released from the hospital, saying "these are life and death issues and we have to take them very seriously". But Ms Pike said the alleged offence occurred before Kuoth was detained and isolated.

Man on HIV sex charge

HIV-positive man had sex with girls, court hears

Women tell of HIV sex risk

Warning: African disease factory at large

Germany: Violence at schools in immigrant-dominated districts of Berlin has soared in recent months


The violence reached a peak recently when two masked youths burst into a classroom at the Dag Hammerskjoeld School in the city's Tempelhof district to attack a 58-year-old woman teacher.

One beat the terrified teacher about the head and body with a steel rod, while the other tried to make off with her handbag. Pupils intervened, driving the intruders from the classroom. Curiously, the teacher was discussing the great late Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi's political philosophy of "non-violence" at the time.

Later it transpired that a girl in the class, who had learned she was to be kept down a class, had urged the youths to carry out the attack.

In another act of violence, a 54-year-old male teacher at the Roentgen Secondary School in the city's Neukoelln district was beaten up by a 17-year-old Serbian-born youth who surfaced at the school, demanding to see his ex-girlfriend.

Ordered to leave the premises, the youngster went berserk, punching and kicking the teacher to the ground in the school yard, before fleeing, pursued by several school pupils.

Three other bouts of school violence have occurred in Berlin in the past few days, two of them at schools in the city's "problem" districts of Neukoelln and Wedding. A 10-year-old boy of Palestinian descent called Abdul, was set upon by a group of older pupils at the Kurt Tucholsky School.

Singled out for "mobbing" by older pupils on previous occasions according to witnesses, he was slapped and kicked as he lay on the ground while an 11-year-old boy filmed the events on a mobile phone camera, intending to show it on the internet.

The school's deputy director Gerd Combecher said the filmed sequences had since been studied by the police. Iris Pakulat, the school's headmistress, claimed those who had seized the boy in what started as a prank, but got wildly out of control, had now been identified.

The boy's mother says the incident was no surprise. "Our boy has been attacked by pupils in the past," she said, adding "there's no point in sending him to another school now because in the coming months we must return to Palestine."

Her husband said he'd visited the school several times to protest his son's treatment. "He (Abdul) is a very shy boy so perhaps he became an easy target," he said.

Despite his son's experiences in Berlin, Abdul's father said it would be difficult for the family going back to the Palestinian territories. "We will be strangers there, having lived in Berlin for 20 years, and Abdul being born here."

Two years ago a puerile "game" dubbed "Happy Slapping," which became popular in some English schools, spread to Germany. This involved older pupils grabbing a younger child for so-called "slapping" sessions - with the scenes captured in mobile camera phone sequences.

Reports of "mobbing" of teachers and pupils by students became widespread as a result, with bullying sequences appearing on the internet. In one film extract in England, a pupil was seen to approach a teacher from the rear, to yank down his trousers.

In subsequent sequences in England and Germany, teachers were made to look ridiculous by the antics of out-of-control students.

In another recent Berlin incident, a 19-year-old pupil at the Mildred Harnack Comprehensive School in Berlin-Lichtenberg, threatened a teacher who had repeatedly ordered him to put away his mobile phone by screaming, "you will be dead by this evening!"

Even Berlin's renowned Humboldt University has not escaped violence. A 34-year-old former student recently assaulted a 40-year- old woman professor and Harvard graduate, thrusting her to the ground and spitting in her face. He'd allegedly harboured a two-year grudge against the lecturer for her "low" assessment of his doctoral thesis.

In March last year the city's Ruetli School, dominated by Arab and Turkish youths in the tough Neukoelln district, made international headlines when a teacher published a letter claiming conditions at the school had become so bad that it should be closed down.

She felt teachers had lost all authority and were now so afraid that they only entered classrooms with a mobile phone so they could call for help in an emergency. As a result of her plea for help, city authorities installed a new rector who made sweeping changes.

School psychologists were called in "help" problem pupils, especially Arab male students, some of whom refused to respect the authority of women teachers. Today, the Ruetli School no longer makes negative headlines, with pupils evidently happy in the "new" environment.

Surprising progress has been made here," claims a member of the school staff. Berlin's education senator, Juergen Zoellner does not see a serious situation developing but concedes violence prevention programmes at city schools will have to be expanded.

CDU politicians, on the other hand, claim he is not doing enough to stem school violence. Whereas, in the year 2001 to 2002, there were 250 cases of school-related violence, the figure leapt to 1,500 in 2005 to 2006, they say.

City prosecutors confirm they have files on 342 youths, aged between 14 and 20, who have been involved in recent criminal activity. In ten cases, serious crimes were committed, such as robbery or causing serious bodily harm. Of those apprehended, 144 remain in youth custody.

I guess this is another one of those "benefits" of diversity that pro-immigration types are always going on about.

Scotland: A sheriff has criticized the Home Office for not deporting an Iranian asylum seeker later caught handling a record haul of raw opium

Frank Urquhart:

Fatholla Abedi, 40, an Iranian who has been living illegally in Britain for the past four years, and Ali Abed, 34, an Iraqi, were arrested in a major operation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).

Customs officers seized a metal cylinder disguised as a machine tool containing the opium, which is used to manufacture heroin. The 5.5kg of the drug seized had a street value of £54,000 and was the largest haul so far seized in Scotland.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told that Abedi, who is facing deportation following his criminal conviction, had been refused political asylum four years ago by the Home Office and had since been living illegally in Britain.

Sheriff Alexander Jessop said: "I find that a very disturbing state of affairs. He would not, after all, have been here to commit this crime."

He added: "Why should I recommend it [deportation] when the Home Office has done nothing about it for four years?"

Abedi's defence agent, George Mathers, had earlier told the court that Abedi was "terrified" of being deported back to Iran as news of the offence in which he had been involved had reached his home village near Teheran.

He feared being arrested and imprisoned or "even worse" if he was deported back to his native country.

Both men were convicted of being concerned in the supply of the class-A drug last August, after trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Abed was also found guilty of trying to import opium into East Midlands Airport and Aberdeen, but the jury returned a verdict of not proven against Abedi on the same charge.

The drug was discovered after Customs officers at the airport, near Nottingham, became suspicious about the "machine tool", which had arrived on a flight from Istanbul in Turkey.

The drug package was about the size of a box of chocolates and the operation was appropriately named "Operation Gump."

The opium was removed and the package delivered to the Milano pizza parlour in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, by an SCDEA officer posing as a courier.

Yesterday both HM Customs and the SCDEA were praised by Mr Jessop as he jailed Abed for five years and Abedi for four years.

Three weeks ago, in his closing speech to the jury, Brian Bell, the depute fiscal, compared the opium smuggling scheme to the plot of a James Bond movie.

One of the defence witnesses at the trial claimed to be a former Iranian spy and gave evidence in a 9/11 trial in Germany.

Hamid Reza Zakeri, an alleged intelligence ministry agent in Iran, explained that the authorities there had previously sent drugs to opponents of the Iranian regime to "set them up".

Abedi's wife, Rezvaneh Jouzy, also claimed in court that her husband had been set up by the Iranian government because he was a "freedom fighter" who had opposed the authorities.

Abed, of Dubford Avenue, and Abedi, of Overhill Gardens, both Bridge of Don, are brothers-in-law.

A spokesman for the Home Office said last night: "We do not comment on individual cases.

"Irrespective of whether a court recommends deportation or not, the Secretary of State has the power to make deportation orders against those whose presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good."

He added: "Foreign nationals must obey the laws of this country in the same way as everybody else and those who have committed criminal offences here are subject to the same legal processes as anyone else in the UK.

"We have made it perfectly clear that our objective is that foreign national prisoners should face deportation; and that deportation should happen as early as possible."

Damien Green, the shadow immigration minister, backed Mr Jessop's remarks. He said: "The sheriff is quite right. It is outrageous that people who should not be here are being left here and are going on to commit crimes."

Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Ward of the SCDEA said: "This dangerous class A drug, opium, is not often found being smuggled into Scotland, but [our] officers will work tirelessly with police to tackle drug trafficking in all its forms."

Two men jailed for opium supply

Britain: The son of millionaire Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar has begun a three-year jail term for laundering nearly £850,000

Daily Mail:

Athif Sarwar was given a three year sentence

Athif Sarwar, 28, was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after being convicted last month of processing VAT frauds worth £845,137.

Judge Lord Carloway told the married father of two that his type of crime did "considerable" damage to the UK Treasury and any punishment required a deterrent element.

Sarwar, from Mearnskirk, on the outskirts of Glasgow, had denied laundering the money from his wholesale business more than four years ago but was found guilty after a six-week trial in Glasgow.

The court heard that he, or his business, was in line to benefit from a 10 per cent commission for processing the sum, described in court as criminal property.

Smartly-dressed Sarwar - whose father and extended family were in court - bowed his head as the verdict was read out.

Lord Carloway told him: "It's clear from the evidence which I heard that the type of fraud involved is one which is prevalent throughout the UK and does considerable damage to Treasury finances.

"For that reason the court must do what it reasonably can to discourage those involved in these frauds.

"The deliberate nature of the offence and the amount involved means that only a custodial sentence can be considered."

Several members of the businessman's family started crying as the three-year term was read out.

Sarwar was convicted of laundering the money from six companies into United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd, at Maxwell Road in Glasgow, between February 24 and April 25 2003.

He was United Wholesale's managing director.

The case followed an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which found that although £845,137 was paid into United Wholesale's account, there was no evidence of large-scale purchases made from the company.

HMRC said the largest average daily transaction during the three-month period in 2003 was £2,000.

The agency said subsequent inquiries showed that the £845,137 came mainly from mobile phone companies that dealt with missing traders, or firms that disappear owing VAT.

Outside the court, father-of-four Mohammad Sarwar - who last week announced he would be stepping down as MP for Glasgow Central at the next election - gave an impassioned defence of his son, saying that an appeal would be launched.

The 54-year-old said: "I believe that my son is innocent. There's no shred of evidence against him.

"We are going to launch an appeal, I am certain about that.

"He will be exonerated - justice will win and prejudice will fail."

Athif Sarwar's lawyer, Michael Jones QC, said the family had received death and kidnap threats linked to his MP father's involvement in bringing three notorious killers to justice.

In 2005, Mohammad Sarwar was instrumental in arranging the extradition of the murderers of Glasgow teenager Kriss Donald from Pakistan to Britain.

Mr Jones said that as a result of the fraud case and the death threats, Athif Sarwar had suffered depression, weight loss and panic attacks and had to take tranquillisers.

He also had to have extra security measures installed at his house, the QC said.

Sarwar has been married for five years and has two sons, aged three and one.

The court also heard that he has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for charitable causes in Pakistan and Glasgow.

The MP's son was accused along with Mansoor Khan, of Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, who was assistant manager of United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd.

Khan, 43, was found not guilty of the money laundering charges.

Anne-Marie Gordon, assistant director of Investigation for HMRC Scotland, said Sarwar's sentence sent out a warning to fraudsters.

She said: "Sarwar pretended that the money going in and out of the business had come from a customer who wanted to buy large amounts of cigarettes.

"In reality, he was using his cash and carry as a front to launder the proceeds of VAT fraud built around the stolen identities of innocent or fictitious individuals and companies."

MP's son given jail for cash scam

Mohammed Sarwar and his sons

Immigration bill is once again pulled from the Senate floor

Jonathan Weisman:

The most dramatic overhaul of the nation's immigration laws in a generation was trounced this morning by a bipartisan filibuster, with the political right and left overwhelming a coalition of Republicans and Democrats who had been seeking compromise on one of the most difficult social and economic issues facing the country.

The 46-53 tally fell dramatically short of the 60 votes needed to overcome opponents' dilatory tactics and parliamentary maneuvers that have dogged the bill for weeks.

The failure marked the second time in a month the bill was pulled from the Senate floor, and this time, Democratic leaders of the Senate indicated it would not be back.

The vote was a major defeat for President Bush, dealt largely by members of his own party. The president made a last-ditch round of phone calls this morning to senators in an attempt to rescue the bill, but with his poll numbers at record lows, his appeals proved fruitless. Bush has now lost what is likely to be the last, best chance at a major domestic accomplishment for his second term.

Both of Maryland's Democratic senators voted to keep the bill alive, while Virginia's Democrat, Jim Webb, and its Republican, John Warner, voted to kill it.

A flood of angry phone calls from reform opponents shut down the Capitol switchboard ahead of the vote, overwhelming the message of a small klatch of immigrant-rights demonstrators urging passage outside the Capitol. Latino lawmakers from the House flooded onto the Senate floor to encourage the Senate to keep the legislation alive and let the House have a turn. But it was not even close.

Opponents of the bill painted the fight as a battle between the people of the United States against a government that has grown insensitive to an illegal immigrant invasion that threatens the fabric of the nation. Proponents said the Senate had succumbed to the angry voices of hate, venom and racism.

"This immigration debate has become a war between the American people and their government," proclaimed Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who led a small group of Republican senators who used every parliamentary maneuver they could find to stymie progress on the bill over the past month. "It transcends anything about immigration. It has become a crisis of confidence."

"We know what they're against. We just don't know what they're for," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), one of the bill's main architects, thundered about his opponents. "Are we going to respond to the voices of fear? That is the issue."

The bill would have coupled tough border enforcement measures and a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants with a pathway to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants, a new guest worker system for foreigners seeking entry and dramatic changes to the system of legal migration.

But in crafting a delicate compromise, the bill's 12 architects created a measure that was reviled by foes of illegal immigration, opposed by most labor unions and unloved by immigration advocates. Opposition came not only from talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, but from the American Civil Liberties Union and the AFL-CIO.

Conservatives saw the measure as amnesty for law breakers who had sneaked into the country. The ACLU objected to provisions that denied immigrants many legal rights. And labor unions saw its guest worker program as a license for big business to import cheap labor and drive down wages.

Even Latino organizations were split, with the League of United Latin American Citizens saying the guest worker program and new green card system were too punitive to support, while the National Council of La Raza pleaded with lawmakers to keep the legislation alive while its lobbyists sought changes.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), one of the bill's authors, mustered only a tepid defense when he called the legislation "the very best that can be done as of this moment."

"This is an accommodation," he said. "And the art of politics is to compromise and accommodate."

Against that was the rhetoric of opponents, such as Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who declared: "Americans feel they are losing their country."

Immigration Bill zombie can’t find enough brains to eat

Passing Senate Immigration Bill Would Be Unconscionable (Rep. Ken Calvert)

Dole helps block immigration bill in Senate

Immigration bill dead in Senate

Nasty Immigration Bill Gone! Catch Phrase For 2008: Who’s John McCain?

Senate Immigration Expansion Setback

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the race of a child cannot be used to determine where he or she will be sent to school

BBC News:

The decision, one of the most important civil rights rulings in years, may affect millions of children in the US.

The court's conservative majority struck down the voluntary programmes adopted by many schools.

The judges rejected affirmative action plans which aim to ensure racially mixed classrooms.

Such programmes were introduced during the civil rights era as a means of de-segregating the US's racially divided school system.

Although they are no longer compulsory, hundreds of school districts have kept them in place on a voluntary basis.

But the court voted 5-4 against the voluntary programmes of Seattle and Louisville, Kentucky.

The BBC's James Coomarasamy, in Washington, says that in both cases the judges ruled in favour of white parents who had argued their children were unfairly denied entry to the schools of their choice because they would have exceeded a quota of non-black pupils

In the legal opinion, Justice John Roberts asked: "What do the racial classifications do in these cases if not determine admission to a public school on a racial bias?"

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," he added.

Supreme Court strikes down school integration

Court Limits Use of Race to Achieve Diversity in Schools

Clashes between police and drug traffickers in a slum in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro left 19 people dead

BBC News:

Guns and grenades were used in the fighting, with armoured vehicles and helicopters backing police units.

The violence began when more than 1,000 policemen advanced on Alemao, the slum stronghold of a drug-dealing gang.

Rio de Janeiro officials are trying to make the city safer before it hosts the Pan-American games on 13 July.

Some 5,500 athletes and around 800,000 tourists are expected to visit the city for the games.

The city is also one of the host venues for the global series of Live Earth rock concerts on 7 July.

More than 30 people had been killed and 80 injured since the police first surrounded the slums in northern Rio known as the German Complex on 2 May.

But Wednesday's police operation was the biggest to date, triggering fierce fighting for several hours in the slums which are home to some 100,000 people.

There were conflicting reports of how many people had died, but police said 19 had been killed in the fighting by early on Thursday.

Several people were also reported to have been injured by stray bullets.

"This is a war. My granddaughter was hit by a bullet in her home," a resident told Brazil's Agencia Estado news agency.

The authorities have defended the operation and say all those killed were suspected drug dealers.

"We must retake control of the slums and instil public order. The goal is to put an end to the traffickers' arsenals," state public safety secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame said.

Up to 1,300 officers were involved in Wednesday's raid, the majority heavily armed and wearing flak jackets and some driving in reinforced vehicles.

Gang members set up barricades and created oil slicks to slow down the police assault.

The BBC's Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says the police face a formidable opposition as many members of the drug gangs have high-calibre weapons.

In a recent exchange of gunfire a man was killed at a petrol station up to 2km (1.2 miles) from where the shot was originally fired.

The operation has been criticised by local community groups and human rights organisations and it is clear local people have been suffering considerably, our correspondent says.

Police were patrolling the streets and controlling all access points to the slums on Thursday, officials said.

Several schools were closed.

Brazil Police Kill 19 in Rio Slum Siege

Robert Putnam’s sobering new research on ethnic diversity scares its author

John Leo:

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.

Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”

In the 41 sites Putnam studied in the U.S., he found that the more diverse the neighborhood, the less residents trust neighbors. This proved true in communities large and small, from big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Boston to tiny Yakima, Washington, rural South Dakota, and the mountains of West Virginia. In diverse San Francisco and Los Angeles, about 30 percent of people say that they trust neighbors a lot. In ethnically homogeneous communities in the Dakotas, the figure is 70 percent to 80 percent.

Diversity does not produce “bad race relations,” Putnam says. Rather, people in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.” Putnam adds a crushing footnote: his findings “may underestimate the real effect of diversity on social withdrawal.”

Neither age nor disparities of wealth explain this result. “Americans raised in the 1970s,” he writes, “seem fully as unnerved by diversity as those raised in the 1920s.” And the “hunkering down” occurred no matter whether the communities were relatively egalitarian or showed great differences in personal income. Even when communities are equally poor or rich, equally safe or crime-ridden, diversity correlates with less trust of neighbors, lower confidence in local politicians and news media, less charitable giving and volunteering, fewer close friends, and less happiness.

Putnam has long been aware that his findings could have a big effect on the immigration debate. Last October, he told the Financial Times that “he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity.” He said it “would have been irresponsible to publish without that,” a quote that should raise eyebrows. Academics aren’t supposed to withhold negative data until they can suggest antidotes to their findings.

Nor has Putnam made details of his study available for examination by peers and the public. So far, he has published only an initial summary of his findings, from a speech he gave after winning an award in Sweden, in the June issue of Scandinavian Political Studies. His office said Putnam is in Britain, working on a religion project at the University of Manchester, and is currently too busy to grant an interview.


Iraq: Islamic leaders put fatwa on carp caught in Tigris

Richard Beeston:

For centuries Iraqi fishermen have plied the waters of the Tigris, netting giant freshwater fish and preparing them for the traditional masgouf dinner, served on Baghdad’s palm-fringed river banks.

But in a gruesome twist to the war, the country’s national dish is under threat because even the most devoted fish-lovers are concerned about what else lurks beneath the green waters of the ancient river.

Abu Ayyad, 55, comes from a family of Tigris fishermen. His father fished the waters in Baghdad, as did his grandfather and, he believes, generations before that. Now, though, he is reduced to preparing and serving farmed carp because the public refuses to eat fish taken from the river.

“Personally, I still think the river fish is the best, but because of the situation few of my customers will touch it,” said the masgouf seller, who runs a grotty roadside stall in the Jadriyeh neighbourhood of Baghdad.

By the “situation” he means that so many bodies have been dumped in the river during the sectarian bloodletting that has divided the capital that residents do not go near the water. They would certainly not consume what comes out of it, particularly the large fish that feed off the Tigris riverbed.

Some Islamic religious leaders have even issued fatwas, declaring that fish caught in the river are unclean and unfit for human consumption.

“I still like to eat fish once a week, but it is not quite the same as before,” said Ali, a regular customer, who stopped by Abu Ayyad’s stall yesterday to select a fish for cooking and then returned later to pick it up for his family’s lunch. “We have only been eating farmed fish for the past year.”

The traditional recipe has been prepared in Baghdad for centuries. In happier times the fishermen would bring their boats up along the banks and prepare brushwood fires. The fish would be cleaned, gutted and cut down the back to form a circle and then grilled upright against an open fire.

Whole families would sit out in the cool of the evening and consume masgouf with bread and salads. To this day masgouf is still prepared by Iraqi exiles, including members of the once-vibrant Jewish community, who were forced out of the country half a century ago.

But, like in so many parts of modern Iraq, the conflict has destroyed the old traditions. The once-popular stretch of river, known as Abu Nawas, where masgouf restaurants were open late into the night is a no-go area these days for vehicles and most pedestrians.

Located directly opposite Baghdad’s heavily protected green zone, where the American and British embassies are, it is a dangerous place to visit, particularly after dark, when insurgents have been known to use the area as a firing point for mortars and rockets.

Instead, masgouf lovers have to resort to buying their fish on the grubby roadside amid swarms of flies and car exhaust fumes. A good-sized fish can still feed a family, but the magic of the meal has been lost.

Surging toward disaster in Iraq

Republicans break ranks with Bush over Iraq

GOP support for Iraq fraying

Armed gangs are seizing children for ransom payments in the lawless north of the Central African Republic

BBC News:

Some parents have paid up to $4,000 for their children to be freed - other minors have been killed, Amnesty says.

The region is a "free-for-all" for rebels, soldiers and armed bandits, a researcher who has just returned says.

CAR has accused neighbouring Sudan of backing the rebels, with attacks coming from Darfur. Sudan denies the charges.

Some families have had their children kidnapped seven times, says Amnesty researcher Godfrey Byaruhanga.

"News is clearly spreading to criminal elements throughout the region that they can have free rein in northern CAR, as there is an almost total absence of any authority," he said.

Civilians were fleeing "from the frying pan into the fire" by heading to Chad and Sudan, he said.

More than 280,000 people have fled their homes in the past year.

Rebels killed anyone who refused to fight with them, while government soldiers killed suspected rebel sympathisers, he said.

Presidential spokesman Cyriaque Gonda denied that the army was killing civilians.

"This is not true, this is a ridiculous accusation and those accusations not founded at all," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"What the government troops are doing is first of all to protect themselves when they are being attacked and to go after the rebels who are keeping the population under terror."

Mr Byaruhanga said the government was failing to protect the population and only controlled the capital, Bangui.

Mr Gonda renewed a call for the UN to send peacekeepers - an idea also supported by Mr Byaruhanga.

"This situation is too dangerous and simply cannot wait," he said.

Desperate Villagers Flee Central African Republic

England: A former Nottinghamshire woman has married a death row prisoner at a ceremony in a US jail

BBC News:

Tracy Cope, 44, married James Lewis Morgan, 52, at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, last week.

Their four-and-a-half-year relationship began when Ms Cope sent the inmate a love poem through a pen pal programme. She has since moved to North Carolina.

Morgan was convicted of killing Patrina Lynette King, 34, in November 1997 and was sentenced to death.

Prison officials allowed the couple to hold hands, hug and kiss during the wedding ceremony, but visits will now be through a glass partition and will be limited to one-and-a-half hours per week.

Tracy told WRAL TV in North Carolina Morgan's crime was no longer a concern to her once she found out all the details.

She added that she was optimistic they would both be together outside prison walls one day.

"We never give up hope. We say that with God, all things are possible."

The North Carolina Department of Correction said Morgan is one of only two prisoners to get married at Central Prison in the past five years.

British woman weds death row man

Nationwide, African-Americans produced about one passing Advanced Placement test for every 100 students

Daniel de Vise:

Black students in Montgomery and Fairfax high schools are far more successful in Advanced Placement testing than their peers in nine of the 10 school systems in the nation with the largest black populations, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Participation in the AP program has more than doubled in 10 years. But this surge in college-preparatory testing has not reached most African American students, according to a review of 2006 exam results in 30 school systems with about 5,000 or more black high school students.

Still, black students in both Montgomery and Fairfax counties passed AP tests in spring 2006 at the rate of more than eight tests for every 100 black students enrolled in the high school grades, the analysis found.

That is far greater than the success rate of African Americans nationwide, who produced about one passing AP test for every 100 students. None of the other school systems studied produced successful AP tests at even half the rate of Maryland's and Virginia's largest school systems.

Jerry D. Weast, Montgomery's superintendent, said that the county's black students generated a larger number of passing AP tests last year -- 851 exams from 10,326 students -- than any other school system in the nation except New York City, although they trail whites and Asians in Montgomery.

AP experts believe Weast, although the claim is difficult to prove, because each system's scores are proprietary. School districts provided their AP data to The Post.

"Eight years ago, we started knocking down barriers and eliminating prerequisites so more African American students could enroll in rigorous AP courses," Weast said, "because the bottom line is that AP is the way to go. It is the best way to prepare kids for success in college."

Fairfax, with 5,771 black high school students, had 494 passing tests from African Americans.

The AP program began in 1955 as a means for top high school students to take college courses. A national surge in AP testing began in the late 1990s as a quest for greater rigor for a broader spectrum of high school students. Participation among black students has tripled in 10 years. But the numbers were so low 10 years ago that by 2006, none of the largest school systems in the country could meet the goal of having 1,000 passing tests from black students.

Low Numbers of Black Students Enroll and Advance in AP

Living in an African-American neighborhood has turned a white woman into a racist

Rodney Thrash:

As she wrote, she realized that the journey from tolerance to prejudice began two years ago when she moved to St. Petersburg's Bartlett Park. Her Realtor, her parents, even her black friends told her that moving there was a mistake.

She didn't listen. One of her white friends lived nearby and had no problems. She figured her experience would be no different. She took all the precautions Realtors suggest. She researched the neighborhood. Most of the crimes there were minor. She drove through at night and never saw any strange activity.

It was affordable; she could pay the mortgage with her income as a freelance writer. After multiple visits to the 1925 bungalow, she paid $72, 500. She closed June 10, 2005.

The first six months, things were good.

Early on, she befriended Gail Fisher-Lee, a black woman across the street. Fisher-Lee invited Salustri over for New Orleans-style crawfish dinners. On their off days, they'd sit on the porch and talk.

"I'm going to be fine here, " Salustri said.

The thefts started in December 2005. First a ladder. Then, a folding chair, a weed whacker, a Volkswagen carburetor. This past April, a scooter. When a suspect - who is black - was found with the scooter, something in Salustri switched.

Stereotypes ricocheted through her head.

He'll be dead before he's 30.

The slur she won't say out loud blared in her brain.

Salustri found out his name and went to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Web site to view his booking report. There was his mug shot - he was 19 and black - and his address, a few blocks away.

Last month, she went to court, where the scooter suspect appeared on drug charges. She needed to see his face, she said. "If I saw him on the street, I wanted to know the guy who stole my scooter." In court, he smiled and waved at the people sitting on the right side of the gallery. Most of them were black.

That's when Salustri lost it.

It was bigger than the suspect. She was disgusted with every black person in the courtroom. She didn't know their stories and didn't care.

F- - - - - - lowlifes.

In early 2007, Ken Reichart, publisher of the 13, 000-circulation Gulfport Gabber, was brainstorming ways to beef up the paper's coverage of Midtown. He assigned Salustri to the beat.

A couple of sluggish months passed, and Salustri confessed to Reichart that she was biased. Two years in Bartlett Park, she said, had turned her into someone she didn't recognize. As long as she revealed those biases, Reichart told her, he didn't object to her covering the area.

Her first assignment was a three-part series on crime. The last story was a shorter version of the rant she had typed out that night in her living room and posted on her personal blog. Reichart never considered not running it.

"Everything written about this area is about the good things that are happening, " he said. "She wanted to give her viewpoint."

Salustri figured if nothing else, it would start a dialogue.

"There's this gray area no one wants to talk about, " Salustri said. "Maybe I'm not this white-sheet-wearing, cross-burning skinhead, but I clearly do have some issues that need to be addressed."

She told only her parents what was coming.

"Are you crazy?" her mother asked. "Aren't you afraid that when somebody reads it there will be retaliation?"

The story ran on the front page on May 10 under the headline, "I Had A Dream."


Most of the reaction to the story has been less hostile than she expected.

The Gabber received fewer than a dozen letters, evenly split in their opinion, but nothing dripping with hate. Salustri even spoke to a local meeting of black journalists. But she hasn't changed her mind about her neighborhood.

A red and white "FOR SALE" sign sits in her front yard.

She put her house on the market after the scooter was stolen. So far, there are no takers, and her Realtor recommended she drop the asking price to $99, 000.

If that's what she has to do, so be it.

"I don't want to live somewhere where everything gets stolen, " Salustri said. "I don't want to work that hard to feel safe."

A White Liberal’s Lament: My Neighbors Made Me a Racist

A liberal’s agony

The police officer accused of killing his girlfriend and her unborn child was given consideration to be hired because he was African-American

Ed Balint:

Bobby L. Cutts Jr. scored 70th out of 98 applicants who passed the civil service exam for police officer in March 2000. Cutts, however, was interviewed and ultimately hired over about 40 other candidates, the vast majority of whom were white men. The reason is a city law that required black candidates be considered if less than roughly 18 percent of the police force was black, said Samuel Sliman, civil service director.

“It gets you skipped up (the eligibility list) in consideration,” said Police Chief Dean McKimm. “It brings you to the forefront of other candidates who actually scored higher than you; whether you think it’s fair or not, that’s the net effect of the (city) ordinance.”

Cutts, 30, of Plain Township, is accused of killing Jessie M. Davis, 26, in her Lake Township duplex June 14, according to court papers. Cutts is charged with two counts of murder, including the death of Davis’ unborn baby girl, which Davis’ family members contend Cutts fathered. Davis was 9 months pregnant and due July 3.

The city hiring law, which sets goals but not mandates, is still in effect, but was modified recently after the Ohio Civil Rights Commission reviewed the law’s constitutionality. Under a conciliation agreement and consent order with the commission, the city aspires to hire a sufficient number of blacks and women in the safety forces to avoid a pattern or practice of discrimination, reflecting the number of blacks in the city population — currently 18.26 percent.

In the 1980s, the Stark County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sued the city to force the hiring of minorities in the police and fire departments. City officials settled the lawsuit, agreeing to hire one black for every white, or one black for two whites, as the 10-year court-supervised consent decree progressed.

The order expired in 1992; in 1994, City Council approved a law that included goals, not requirements, of at least 18 percent blacks and 5 percent women in the police and fire departments.

When Cutts took the exam in 2000, the Police Department was below the minimum percentage of blacks, meaning Cutts, based on his race, got consideration over about 40 other candidates who scored higher on the civil service test, which includes written and physical agility portions and an interview with the civil service director, Sliman said, plus bonus points awarded for college degrees, city residency, military experience and certification as a peace officer.

Under the city law, consideration means the minority candidate receives a background check and interview before a five-member interview committee, Sliman said.

From the spring 2000 eligibility list, the city hired two applicants who scored the highest, then hired candidates at the 12th, 13th, 15th, 17th and 23rd slots — all white men — before leaping to Cutts, who scored 70th out of 98. Within that gap, one black man was passed over because he would exceed the maximum age by the hiring date; a black woman was pregnant and not interested in the job any longer; and the city apparently was unable to contact another black man, Sliman said. Test-takers who scored 75th and 79th also were hired — a black man and white woman, respectively, according to civil service records.

Diversity and its Prospects

Canton officer accused of killing woman and fetus faced past troubles

Affirmative Action Quota Cop

IQ, race and Hispanic immigration

Steve Sailer:

The point is, however, that it's exactly backward for the media to get all worked up over one study reporting a 3 point difference between demographic groups (older and younger siblings) while ignoring the dozens of studies reporting much larger differences between demographic groups, such as between whites and Hispanics -- especially because the Senate is voting on an immigration bill right now!

The best estimate I've yet seen of Hispanic-American IQs is the 2001 meta-analysis by Roth of 39 studies covering a total 5,696,519 individuals in America (aged 14 and above). It came up with an overall difference of 0.72 standard deviations in g (the "general factor" in cognitive ability) between "Anglo" whites and Hispanics. The 95% confidence range of the studies ran from .60 to .88 standard deviations, so there's not a huge amount of disagreement among the studies.

One standard deviation equals 15 IQ points, so that's a gap of 10.8 IQ points, or an IQ of 89 on the Lynn-Vanhanen scale where white Americans equal 100. That would imply the average Hispanic would fall at the 24th percentile of the white IQ distribution. This inequality gets worse at higher IQs Assuming a normal distribution, 4.8% of whites would fall above 125 IQ versus only 0.9% of Hispanics, which explains why Hispanics are given ethnic preferences in prestige college admissions.

In contrast, 105 studies of 6,246,729 individuals found an overall average white-black gap of 1.10 standard deviations, or 16.5 points. (I typically round this down to 1.0 standard deviation and 15 points). So, the white-Hispanic gap appears to be about 65% as large as the notoriously depressing white-black gap.

So, the white-Hispanic IQ gap is about what you'd guess from observing life around you with your lying eyes: not as big and deleterious as the white-black gap, but not trivial either.

If a 3 point IQ difference between brothers is worth three articles in the New York Times, you might think that an eleven point gap between whites and Hispanics would be worth, oh, say, eleven articles, especially when the immigration bill is up for debate in the Senate. But almost nobody has ever mentioned Roth's finding in the press.

IQ, birth order, and conscientiousness

Relative Intelligence

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A 7-year-old boy fatally shot an 8-year-old cousin while they were playing with an illegal, unregistered gun at home

Erin Conroy:

In this undated photo released by the Jefferson family via the Boston Police, shown is LaQuarrie Jefferson. Jefferson was shot dead in his home in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Sunday night, June 24, 2007.

Police were still searching for the child and his mother following the Sunday night shooting of LaQuarrie Jefferson, officials said.

"This is a case with two victims , you have a victim who was shot and you have a 7-year-old who has to live with the fact that this happened for the rest of his life," police commissioner Davis told reporters. "So it is hard to call anybody a suspect in this case, except for that person who brought that gun into the house."

A family friend said the child and his mother were not in hiding and were cooperating with investigators. Denise Watts said LaQuarrie's relatives are struggling to come to terms with the shooting.

"I don't have a clue where he got this gun, but just I hope that this is a wake-up call to all the young mothers in Boston: Guns and babies do not mix," Watts said.

At the John P. Holland Elementary School in Dorchester, where LaQuarrie had just finished first grade, teachers burst into tears when they heard the news Monday, said Principal Michele O'Connell.

"When he'd see you, he'd want to give you a hug," said Jo-Ann Penn, director of instruction at the school. "If he knew he did something wrong, he would want to apologize. He was just innocent."

Police Commissioner Edward Davis said the boy was shot once in the abdomen and was pronounced dead several hours later at Boston Medical Center.

Davis said the boy's mother was in the apartment, in a four-story brick building on Seaver Street across the street from Franklin Park, when he was shot. He added that there were people who lived in the boy's apartment who were "related to gangs."

Reporters could not reach members of the family for comment after police restricted access to the building to residents. LaQuarrie's mother could not be reached by telephone.

Grieving mother ‘sorry’ for lying to cops about son’s shooting death

A child’s murder must fuel uprising

Young African-American women and aggressive breast cancer

Rob Stein:

Lorie Williams thought for months that she might have a lump in her breast. But when the doctor said it was cancer, she was still stunned. After all, she was just 29 years old, no one in her family had ever had breast cancer, and she had never heard of anyone getting the disease so young.

"I was just numb," said Williams, who lives in Holly Springs, N.C. "I couldn't believe it was really happening. Then I just became hysterical."

Women such as Williams are the focus of an intense effort to solve one of the most pressing mysteries about breast cancer: Why are black women, who are less likely to get the disease than white women, more likely to get it when they are young -- and much more likely to die?

Now, researchers have uncovered a crucial clue: Black women, particularly young ones, get hit much more often by an aggressive form of breast cancer that is invulnerable to many of the latest treatments. The same deadly form of breast cancer turns out to be extremely common in parts of Africa where the slave trade was centered, indicating that genes play a role.


Researchers using the latest molecular tools have discovered that breast cancer comes in at least five variations. One, called "triple-negative" because it lacks three key markers that distinguish tumors, grows quickly, recurs more often and kills more frequently. It is much harder to prevent and treat because it does not respond to the newest drugs.

A key insight came last year when a detailed genetic analysis of 496 breast tumors showed that a "basal-like" form of triple-negative cancer was startlingly more common among young black women, accounting for 39 percent of their cancers, compared with 16 percent of white women's.

"We found an important piece of the puzzle," said Lisa Carey of the University of North Carolina, who led the study. "This indicates that biology is important."

Other studies subsequently confirmed the findings, including one involving more than 50,000 California women published last month that found triple-negative tumors about twice as often among black women as among white women. It also found that triple-negative is also more frequent in Hispanics than in whites, though still less common than in blacks.

Some researchers, suspecting that the higher rate among African-Americans might stem from a genetic predisposition, have begun studying women in parts of Africa. They discovered that triple-negative is extremely common, accounting for some 70 percent of breast cancers in women tested in Nigeria and Senegal, for example.

"This suggests that there may be a genetic contribution," said Olufunmilayo Olopade of the University of Chicago, who is leading the research. "Is it because of genes common to African-Ancestry? Maybe there's a genetic contribution that we didn't appreciate."

Why Black Women Have Higher Rates Of Aggressive Breast Cancer?

Israel: Ethiopian immigrant murders wife at absorption center

Ayanawo Farada Sanbatu:

Aschalen Abebe, a 36 year-old Ethiopian immigrant, was arrested Monday morning on suspicion that he stabbed his separated wife, 27-year-old Yeshie-Mebrete Abebe to death at the "Haruv" absorption center in Be'er Sheva.

The couple immigrated to Israel ten months ago with their two children, aged eight and seven.

Police said the man was still carrying the alleged murder weapon when he was arrested. The couple had been separated for some time and was in the midst of a divorce.

Despite the fact that the women told absorption center employees that her husband was threatening to hurt her, the matter was not reported to police.

The husband's threats were reported to a social worker and the head of Ethiopian Jews at the Jewish Agency, Moshe Bahata. The Jewish Agency decided to transfer Abebe to the "Klisher" absorption center which is also in Be'er Sheva. Yeshie-Mebrete Abebe remained at the "Haruv" center with her children.

"After checking out their mutual complaints, we hoped the situation would cool down but the man arrived this morning to the absorption center and killed his wife. We continuously tried to bring peace to their household," Bahata told Haaretz Monday.

Abraharm Nagosa, Chairman of an umbrella group of Ethiopian immigrant organizations, said that the Jewish Agency has rejected recurring offers that they arrange workshops on marriage in the western world, which could have, in Nagosa's opinion, prevented the murder. An offer to organize courses on Israeli lifestyle was also nixed, Nagosa said.

In 2006, there was an attempted murder at a Be'er Sheva absorption center. In May 2006 a Ethiopian immigrant stabbed his wife, injuring her severely, and then tried to kill himself as he thought his wife was having an affair with another man.

The children of the couple will be temporarily taken care of by absorption center workers until a long-term solution is found. After the seven days of mourning, the Jewish Agency and Welfare Ministry will begin checking the transfer of the children to foster parents.

Yeshie-Mebrete Abebe will not be buried in a Jewish cemetery as she has yet to complete her conversion to Judaism.

Ethiopian youths march for right to complete Jewish conversion

Ethiopian convert candidates protest limbo

Latinos have the lowest levels of education of any racial or ethnic group in California

Tyche Hendricks:

San Leandro High School senior Veronica Santana strode across the stage in a scarlet cap and gown to receive her high school diploma at a graduation ceremony earlier this month on the hillside campus of Cal State East Bay.

Come September, Veronica, 17, will join her older sister Erika at the Hayward campus overlooking San Francisco Bay and become part of the first generation of college students in her family. It's a point of pride for the girls' parents, a retired factory worker and a hair stylist, both Mexican immigrants who studied no further than middle school.

Attending college sets Veronica and her 20-year-old sister apart from most of the state's Latinos, who are expected to become a majority of California's population in another generation, according to state estimates, but who currently have the lowest levels of education of any racial or ethnic group in California.

Veronica is among just 1 in 7 California Latinos who graduated from high school after four years and completed the courses required to enroll in a four-year college, according to the California Department of Education. If she completes college, she will be among only 13 percent of U.S.-born Latinos in California with a bachelor's degree, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found.

The statistics for African Americans are similar to those of Latino students, but the societal impact is less broad. Blacks make up 8 percent of the state's public school students, while Latinos represent 48 percent.

Poverty, Ignorance, and College

Bush On Immigration Undermines Bush On Iraq

Steve Sailer On Why Our Elites Wrong On Immigration

Hispanics Displacing Black Workers In Georgia

Immigration Bill Not Tough On Law Enforcement

The Axis Of Amnesty’s Ideology Of Cheap Labor

Can’t Learn Or Won’t Learn? Either Way, Aliens Won’t Be Speaking English

(Old) News You Can Use, II: The Gifts Illegal Aliens Bear

Hispanic Congressman boasts: Illegals undercut American wages

Whites prefer Facebook while Latinos prefer MySpace

BBC News:

A six-month research project has revealed a sharp division along class lines among the American teenagers flocking to the social network sites.

The research suggests those using Facebook come from wealthier homes and are more likely to attend college.

By contrast, MySpace users tend to get a job after finishing high school rather than continue their education.

The conclusions are based on interviews with many teenage users of the social networking sites by PhD student Danah Boyd from the School of Information Sciences at UC Berkeley.

In a preliminary draft of the research, Ms Boyd said defining "class" in the US was difficult because, unlike many other nations, it did not map directly to income.

Instead, she said, class in the US was more about social life and networks - how people define themselves and who they define themselves with.

"Social networks are strongly connected to geography, race, and religion; these are also huge factors in lifestyle divisions and thus 'class'," she wrote.

Broadly, Ms Boyd found Facebook users tend to be white and come from families who are keen for children to get the most out of school and go on to college.

Characterising Facebook users she said: "They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities."

By contrast, the average MySpace teenager tends to come from families where parents did not go to college, she said.

Ms Boyd also found far more teens from immigrant, Latino and Hispanic families on MySpace as well as many others who are not part of the "dominant high school popularity paradigm".

Social websites expose class divide

Police in southern India have arrested the doctor parents of a 15-year-old boy after they allegedly allowed him to perform surgery on a pregnant woman

BBC News:

Reports said Dileepan Raj carried out a caesarean section to get into the Guinness Book of Records as the world's youngest surgeon.

Officials in the state of Tamil Nadu said the parents, both doctors, had been charged with endangering life.

Family members are reported to have said that the boy was only helping out.

Several doctors said the parents showed them a recording of the surgery, which was carried out on a 20-year-old woman at the Mathi Surgical and Maternity Hospital, in Manaparai town.

The baby was reportedly born with a birth defect unrelated to the surgery. Officials say they are still looking for the baby's mother.

The health authorities in Tamil Nadu state have ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Police trying to arrest alleged teen surgeon in southern India

The sacred bullock Shambo which tested positive for bovine TB is likely to be slaughtered, despite a campaign by Hindus to keep him alive

BBC News:

On Tuesday, rural affairs minister, Jane Davidson said she was minded to proceed with an order to put him down.

A slaughter order in May, caused outcry among Hindus and others at the multi-faith Skanda Vale community.

The Many Names of God is a monastic centre which embraces all faiths and includes three Hindu shrines.

The six-year-old black Friesian tested positive for bovine TB during a routine screening on 27 April.

But Hindu monks at the temple in Llanpumpsaint, launched a worldwide campaign to save the animal, saying it was contrary to their faith and its killing would desecrate the temple.

Brother Alex from Skanda Vale, said they were disappointed with the decision.

"People should not be deceived. This is not really about animal welfare or human health. It's about money, it's about politics," he added.

"It should be based on actual risk, not some hypothetical scaremongering."

He said he is not yet convinced Shambo has bovine TB and maintains he could be treated with antibiotics.

Speaking on behalf of the community, Sanjay Mistray said they expect Shambo to be slaughtered next Monday and would seek a court injunction in the meantime.

"What is disappointing is that they have refused to allow anyone else to examine Shambo.

"There are still tests he can undergo that would indicate whether he actually has TB, that is not conclusive. At the moment he is in perfect health and shows no sign of illness."

He added that Ms Davidson had "decided not to exercise her right of discretion to save the Shambo".

Ms Davidson said that to protect public and animal health the normal policy for controlling bovine TB was slaughter.

"There are no antibiotics licensed in the UK for treating bovine TB in cattle," she said.

"This means that if Shambo were given antibiotics experimentally, there would be no way of testing whether they had cured him."

"I am acutely aware of the distress that this will cause not only to the community, but also to many in the wider Hindu community," she said.

"We have considered long and hard the case that the community (at Skanda Vale) has made, and officials met representatives of the community and members of the wider Hindu community last week to discuss matters."

Campaigners at Skanda Vale, have warned that they will try and save the animal by forming a human chain around the site where it was kept in isolation.

Sacred cow with bovine TB 'to be put down'

Almost 300 high-ranking federal police officers in Mexico have been temporarily suspended in a bid to tackle corruption within the force

BBC News:

Officers will face a "trust test" which will include drug checks, a lie detector and psychological tests.

Mexico's president has made the fight against drug traffickers one of his key priorities since coming to office.

The move is one of the most radical measures yet undertaken by authorities to stamp out corruption.

Mexico's public safety secretary said that the friends and families of officers may also be investigated and officer's bank records checked.

"There are mafias that don't want the situation to change so they can continue to enrich themselves under the protection of corruption and crime," said Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna.

Dozens of federal officers have been found to be working for the country's drug cartels over recent years.

Those who fail the tests will lose their jobs but those who get the highest marks will be promoted to regional federal police chiefs.

Mexico Demotes Senior Police Officials in Graft Crackdown

Aboriginal elders are threatening to ban tourists from one of Australia's landmarks over a plan to curb child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities

BBC News:

The threat to close Uluru, or Ayers Rock, comes amid growing alarm.

Some 50 community, church and indigenous groups are meeting in Canberra to discuss the situation.

The government's measures include a six-month ban on pornography and alcohol in the Northern Territory, where evidence of sex abuse was found.

It also includes compulsory medical checks for Aboriginal children.

The Aboriginal backlash is growing in ferocity against what are increasingly being described as John Howard's shock-and-awe proposals, says the BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney.

Although some Aboriginal leaders have welcomed the proposals, many call the prime minister's plan unnecessarily authoritarian and overbearing.

"What the prime minister and his minister, Mal Brough, are proposing is in the view of the combined Aboriginal organisations in Alice Springs totally unworkable," said their spokesman Pat Turner.

"We believe that this government is using child sexual abuse as the Trojan horse to resume total control of our lands."

Some of the fiercest criticism has come from Mutitjulu, a township in the shadow of Uluru, the iconic red rock in central Australia visited by some half a million people each year.

Mutitjulu leader Vince Forrester said Uluru's traditional owners are considering a civil disobedience campaign that would include a ban on climbing the rock.

"The tourist industry brings a lot of dollars into the territory and tourists all come to Uluru," he told Australian radio.

"Obviously, civil disobedience can come in protest form."

Painful memories of the infamous stolen generation have been revived - dating back to discredited assimilation policies under which generations of Aboriginal children were forcibly sent to live with white Australian families, correspondents say.

There have been reports from some Aboriginal communities that mothers are fleeing with their children, fearful they are going to be taken into care.

But many Aboriginal leaders and academics have been supportive of the proposals, believing the scale of the child abuse problem justifies such radical action, our correspondent adds.

The government has said there is no need for women and children to flee Aboriginal townships, for they have nothing to fear from the federal authorities.

Mr Howard continues to defend his proposals, likening Australia's failure on indigenous child abuse to the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005.

Australians had been aghast at the crisis in New Orleans, but a similar kind of lawlessness had taken hold at home, he said.

"We should have been more humble. We have our Katrina here and now.

"That it has unfolded more slowly and absent the hand of God should make us humbler still," Mr Howard said.

The prime minister has also been accused of politicising the issue in an election year, especially since his proposed ban on alcohol and pornography lasts only six months, our correspondent adds.

Many in the opposition Labor party have said his programme is a short-term political gesture rather than offering a long-term solution to the problem.

Opposition to intervention plan 'indulgent'

WA failing Indigenous children: task force chief

No place for grubby politics

Any look at the life of Bobby Cutts Jr. has to include the women and children in it

Associated Press:

Policeman Bobby Lee Cutts Jr. got $5 million bond for allegedly killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Jesse Marie Davis

His oldest daughter, Taylor, was born out of wedlock to a girlfriend in 1997. A younger daughter, Breonna, was born to another woman in 2001, shortly before Cutts married her.

His son, 2-year-old Blake, was born to girlfriend Jessie Davis while Cutts was separated from his wife. Relatives say Cutts and Davis were due to have another daughter, Chloe, early next month.

But now Cutts is accused of murdering Davis and the unborn girl.

"There's a lot of little children being absolutely devastated over this," Davis' mother, Patricia Porter, said Monday outside Canton Municipal Court. "We can't forget them."

Cutts, 30, a Canton police officer, had earlier Monday been ordered held on $5 million bond.

Cutts' former high school classmate, Myisha Ferrell, 29, was accused of lying to investigators and ordered held on $500,000 bond. Her attorney declined comment.

Davis, 26, was missing for about a week before her body was found in a northeast Ohio park Saturday, still carrying the unborn baby she was due to deliver July 3.

Cutts is accused of killing Davis and the fetus June 14 at her home in nearby Lake Township. Ohio law allows a murder charge against someone accused of killing a fetus that would have been able to live outside the womb.

Cutts' attorney, Bradley Iams, declined to discuss details of the charges against his client or anything Cutts said to him during the brief court appearance.

Cutts' stepmother, Barbara Cutts, on Monday called her stepson a generous man who was good with kids and coached youth soccer, basketball and football. She said she and Cutts' father last saw him Saturday at his house in Plain Township outside North Canton, where he appeared drained and exhausted.

"It's very hard to accept," said Barbara Cutts, 46, a nurse's aide. "A lot of people are looking at him like a bad person, but he's not, he really isn't."

Cutts and Nikki Giavasis, Taylor's mother, met while attending nearby Walsh University. Taylor has lived with Giavasis for most of her life in California, but Cutts challenged the custody arrangement in 2005.

Hours before Cutts' arraignment, Stark County Family Court Judge David Stucki dismissed a custody case here, citing the charges against Cutts as one factor in his decision, said Jeffrey Jakmides, a lawyer representing Giavasis. Another custody dispute over Taylor is ongoing in a California court, Jakmides said.

"The family has deliberately tried not to burden her [Taylor] with this," Jakmides said, referring to the murder case. "They've tried as much as possible to keep her from the media storm."

Susan Hulit Burns, Taylor's court-appointed guardian, said she was bothered by how often Giavasis switched apartments and daycare providers, questioning the effect on Taylor. She said she was also bothered that Cutts "conceived a child during his separation" from his wife, according to a June 2006 court filing.

In 1998, Cutts was accused of breaking into Giavasis' home while she was inside with former NBA player Shawn Kemp of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cutts pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge and was sentenced to three years' probation.

Cutts married his wife, Kelly, in July 2001, two months after Breonna was born. They separated in 2003 while Cutts faced criminal charges after his police supervisors alleged he had given his gun to a drug-dealing cousin. Cutts was acquitted and an arbitrator ordered Canton to rehire him with back pay.

During the separation, he and Jessie Davis conceived Blake, born in December 2004. On Monday, Porter was granted temporary custody of the boy in Stark County Family Court.

It was Blake who provided investigators searching for Davis their first clues earlier this month, saying: "Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in rug." Porter found the boy home alone on June 15, with Davis missing, furniture toppled in the bedroom and a pool of bleach on the floor.

Family members have told Blake that his mother is in heaven, Porter said.

"He has an old cell phone and he calls her and talks to her," she said.

Porter said Monday she's not sure who Cutts is anymore.

"We knew Bobby Cutts up to a certain day in this and from that day on we did not know him at all," she said. "I don't think my daughter ever knew him either."

Myisha Ferrell: Jail is Her Only Home After Eviction

Jessie Davis' family on Cutts: 'Disgusted with him'

Bobby Cutts Jr. Watched Jessie Davis Die, Panicked & Dumped Her Body?

California: Over the last five years, African-American suspects accounted for 65% of Oakland’s killings

Solomon Moore:

Junious Williams, the chief executive of the Urban Strategies Council, a group in Oakland that studies urban poverty and crime, said the increase in homicides was prevalent in many predominantly African-American cities. Over the last five years, African-American suspects accounted for 65 percent of Oakland’s killings, according to a study by the council, and 77 percent of victims.

“Most of the cities experiencing increases in homicides have black pluralities, if not majority black populations,” Mr. Williams said. “Here in Oakland, the majority of the crimes are being committed by young brothers.”

Poor educational opportunities, high unemployment and a criminal justice system that reinforces criminal behavior have led to an “honorific culture” akin to that of the Wild West for many inner city black communities, said a Harvard sociologist, Orlando Patterson.

Respect for traditional social norms was on the decline, Mr. Patterson said, in the face of a growing hip-hop culture that puts an emphasis on street credibility for respect.

Some criminologists argued that the recent increases signified that the historic declines in crime in the late 1980s and 1990s had bottomed out after abnormally high levels in the wake of the crack cocaine epidemic. Tougher sentencing guidelines, widespread incarceration and the subsiding crack trade have run their course, these criminologists say, and without those overriding factors, crime rates are returning to more natural, regional levels.

“Even the kind of crime we’re seeing now is nowhere near what we were seeing in the early 1990s,” said Jack Riley, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a research organization in Santa Monica, Calif.

Whatever the debate nationally about a crime trend, many people who live and work in Oakland are seeing more death at their doorsteps.

Thought Police Arises In Oakland, Bolstered By The 9th Circuit

Hospital in African-American area is one of the worst in the nation

Charles Ornstein:

Founded in a largely African American area in the wake of the Watts riots, the medical center was seen as a symbol of hope, a testament to racial justice in healthcare and a jobs engine for a struggling region.

But soon after it opened in 1972, the hospital became mired in problems, and it eventually gained the moniker "Killer King." Over the years, it attracted publicity for patient care failures, some of which resulted in deaths.

The latest problems began in 2003, and within months the hospital was found to be out of compliance with minimum federal standards for patient care.

It has failed a dozen inspections since.

A series of articles in The Times in December 2004 found that, by many measures, the hospital was one of the worst in the nation.

The newspaper also found that the medical center was protected by a Board of Supervisors that ducked responsibility for making changes in part because members were afraid of being branded racist.

Since 2004, the supervisors and the county health department have tried various reforms: closing the hospital's busy trauma center to take pressure off the hospital; spending more than $20 million on outside consultants; disciplining hundreds of staffers; and, most recently, slashing services and putting the medical center under the oversight of Harbor-UCLA, a sister public hospital with a better reputation.

Family of woman who died at L.A. hospital to file claim

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