Friday, May 25, 2018

A black former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than $2,000 in restitution

Eddie Curlin, 29, has been sentenced after earlier pleading guilty to malicious destruction of property. He also pleaded no contest to unrelated counts of identity theft and must serve two-to-five years in prison on those charges. He was granted credit for 220 days served. Curlin, who was an EMU student from 2014 to early 2016, was accused of scrawling messages of hate on three separate occasions between the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017. The first incident took place in September 2016 when the letters "KKK" - a reference to the Ku Klux Klan - and underneath in bold black "leave n*****s" was spray-painted on an exterior wall. The letters "KKK" were painted in red, white and blue. An October 2016 incident had the message "leave n*****s" again scrawled outside of a building, this one right next to the campus's monument to Martin Luther King. The third incident took place during Spring 2017 in which a racist message was found in a men's restroom stall in Sherzer Hall. University officials say that Curlin vandalized the buildings then acted as a police informant. Officials say that it was a pretense to help solve the case, have previous charges of receiving stolen property against him dropped and return to the school in Ypsilanti. After he was unmasked as the author of the racist graffiti, Curlin publicly admitted his guilt.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thousands of women and girls who survived Boko Haram's brutal rule while kept captive by the militant Islamist group have been raped by Nigerian soldiers who claim to be rescuing them, Amnesty International has revealed

The human rights organization has urged Nigeria to act on claims that soldiers and members of the civilian militia have raped women and girls in remote camps for people displaced by Boko Haram. Amnesty said that it had gathered multiple testimonies about alleged abuse by the security forces, including claims that soldiers coerced vulnerable survivors into having sex in exchange for food. Nearly 1.8 million people have been displaced within Nigeria by the Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000 since 2009, according to the latest available figures. When including statistics from neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, the number of people forced to flee their homes by the violence reaches nearly 2.25 million, says the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Health workers fighting Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo have run into an invisible but powerful hurdle — a belief system that deems the disease to be a curse or the result of evil spirits

Some people are refusing medical care and turn instead to preachers and prayers to chase away the threat. The pastor of an evangelical church died several days after he “prayed” for an Ebola victim who went to him for help, a doctor said. “Some sick people believe that the Ebola epidemic comes from sorcery — they refuse to be treated and prefer to pray,” said Julie Lobali, a nurse on the front line against the DRC’s ninth Ebola outbreak. She is working in a hospital in Mbandaka, a port city on the Congo River in northwest DRC where the first urban case was reported. Since the outbreak was declared in the remote area of Bikoro on May 8th, 2018 fifty-one cases of Ebola have been reported with 27 deaths. One superstition that has become prevalent in the city, she says, is believing that Ebola began in Bikoro as “a curse on those who ate stolen meat” — a wild animal hunted in the countryside. Blandine Mboyo, who lives in Mbandaka’s district of Bongondjo, said that a hunter put a curse on the village because his big game was stolen. “This curse is so powerful because it hits those who ate this meat, having heard about the theft or having seen the stolen animal,” added Nicole Batoa, a local vendor. Another resident, Guy Ingila, observed that officials have said on the radio “this disease is incurable... It’s because it’s about witchcraft.”. For doctors and health officials these beliefs raise serious concerns, complicating efforts to contain and roll back the deadly Ebola virus. In Geneva, African health officials said that they were preparing to send anthropologists to the DRC to help with an Ebola vaccination campaign. A prototype vaccine will first be given to frontline health workers and then to people who have been in contact with Ebola cases. “If we do not handle communication well, the vaccination program may suffer,” John Nkengasong, head of Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC), said in Geneva. “So we are also assessing how in the next two weeks or so to deploy anthropologists to support the vaccine efforts.” In DR Congo, as elsewhere in Africa, disease and death are often not looked on as natural phenomena. “So many deaths is a sign of a curse and can only have been provoked by a bad spirit,” said Zacharie Bababaswe, a Congolese specialist in cultural history, explaining people’s perceptions of Ebola. Before the expansion of evangelical churches in the country, Bababaswe says that many Congolese would go see the witch doctor or village healer for treatment. Today there is still widespread superstition — but, since the 1980s, it has taken a different form, with some people turning for help to a church or a pastor who claims to have healing powers. Two people infected with Ebola from Bikoro went to the churches rather than a medical center for help. Another patient, who had been hospitalized in Mbandaka, left the medical center to seek out a local healer. To brake the spread of Ebola, “we have to convince villagers that the disease is not a curse,” said Bavon N’Sa Mputu, an elected official from Bikoro, pointing to the key role that churches can play.

Monday, May 21, 2018

African American children are taking their lives at roughly twice the rate of their white counterparts, according to a new study that shows a widening gap between the two groups

The 2001-2015 data confirm a pattern first identified several years ago when researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio found that the rate of suicides for black children ages 5 to 12 exceeded that of young whites. The results were seen in both boys and girls. Although suicide is rare among young children, the latest findings reinforce the need for better research into the racial disparities, lead author Jeffrey Bridge said. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for older children and adolescents in the United States. “We can’t assume any longer that suicide rates are uniformly higher in white individuals than black,” said Bridge, an epidemiologist who directs the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Columbus hospital. “There is this age-related disparity, and now we have to understand the underlying reasons. Most of the previous research has largely concerned white suicide. So we don’t even know if the same risk and protective factors apply to black youth.” Historically, suicide rates in the United States have been higher for whites than blacks across all age groups. That remains the case for adolescents, ages 13 to 17, according to the new study. White teens continue to have a 50% higher rate of suicide than black teens. Overall between 1999 and 2015, more than 1,300 children ages 5 to 12 took their own lives in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers translate into an average of one child 12 or younger dying by suicide every five days. The pace has actually accelerated in recent years, CDC statistics indicate. The researchers based their latest analysis on the CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, which does not include geographical or socioeconomic data. Previous studies have looked at some of the characteristics and circumstances surrounding children's suicides. In 2017, research by Bridge and colleagues found that among children, ages 5 to 11, and young adolescents, ages 12 to 14, those who took their own lives were more likely to be male, African American and dealing with stressful relationships at home or with friends. Children who had a mental health problem at the time of death were more likely than young adolescents to have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Young adolescents who killed themselves were more likely to have had relationship problems with a boyfriend or girlfriend. They also had higher rates of depression. More than a third of elementary school-aged suicides involved black children compared to just 11.6% of early adolescent suicides.

Over 40% of all the rapes in South Africa are committed against children

Of the 124,526 total rape cases reported in the last 3 financial years, children were the victims in 41% of these cases. In the same time period, 2,600 children were also murdered. That amounts to 5% of the total murder numbers across South Africa. This also means that at least 46 children are raped every day and at least two children are murdered every single day in South Africa. Only 21% of child rapes cases and only one in three murder cases resulted in successful convictions. The numbers become even more frightening when you realize that the number of child rapes has continually increased over the years. In 2014-15, there were 15,520 child rapes reported. Only 1,799 ended up in successful convictions. In 2015-16, 16,389 were reported. Just 2,488 were convicted. In 2016-17, the numbers rose even further to 19 071. There was a small improvement in convictions; 6,366 were convicted. The horrific brutality with which these children were murdered is also frightening. Weapons used, include firearms, axes, spades, pangas (African machetes), hammers, belts and poison – many of these children were practically butchered to death.

A new poll has revealed that Scots are far less royalist than other Britons

In the run-up to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, just 41% of people in Scotland said that they backed the monarchy. However, only 28% said that they were opposed to the institution with 27% describing themselves as ambivalent. This compared with clear majority backing for the monarchy in England where 55% were for and just 14% against. Delta Poll surveyed around 500 people in each of the four nations of the United Kingdom on behalf of the center-right think-tank Policy Exchange. Support for the monarchy was 49% in Wales and 52% in Northern Ireland. Royal Wedding fever appeared much less intense in Scotland than elsewhere. Only two street parties were organized in the country. Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said: “Given the challenges we need to tackle in our society - including inequalities in income, health and education - it’s no surprise that Scots are least likely to support the anachronism that is the monarchy. It serves only as a distraction from those important issues and a reminder of the social inequality that the UK class system is based on.” Scotland was the only nation of the UK where a majority did not see the monarchy as a unifying force after Brexit, the poll found.