Wednesday, September 29, 2010
For the past century, black students have consistently lagged behind white students in academic achievement
Despite national and statewide efforts, the achievement gap between white and black students in public schools has actually widened at some grade levels in reading and math in places such as Oklahoma. A higher percentage of black students live in poverty, which is one of the strongest indicators of academic performance. Black students are also more likely to come from single-parent households, have grandparents as guardians, be in foster care, have undereducated parents, be affected by crime and attend historically under-performing schools. Between 1990 and 2010 scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that nationally, the gap has remained stagnant, despite aggressive laws, drastic interventions and in some cases great monetary investments. In 2009, for example, the average score of black Oklahoma fourth-graders on the reading exam was 26 points lower than that of white students. In 1992 they scored an average of 22 points lower.
Nigerian girls are being forced to work as prostitutes in Mali slave camps, say officials in Nigeria
The girls, many of them under age, have often been promised jobs in Europe but ended up in brothels, said the government's anti-trafficking agency. The brothels are run by older Nigerian women who prevent them from leaving and take all their earnings. The agency said it was working with Malian police to free the girls and help them return to Nigeria. There has been no official comment from the Mali authorities. Nigeria's National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (Naptip) said officials visited Mali to follow up horrendous reports from victims, aid workers and clergy in Mali. They said there were hundreds of brothels, each housing up to 200 girls, run by Nigerian madams who force them to work against their will and take their earnings. The trade is centered around the capital Bamako and large cities, but the most notorious brothels are in the mining towns of Kayes and Mopti, where the sex workers live in near slavery condition, said Naptip. Many of the brothels there also had abortion clinics where fetuses were removed by traditional healers for use in rituals.
Joel Kotkin on the resurgence of tribalism:
Joel Kotkin's Next Hundred Million: Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Or At Least Ignorant)
For centuries we have used maps to delineate borders that have been defined by politics. But it may be time to chuck many of our notions about how humanity organizes itself. Across the world a resurgence of tribal ties is creating more complex global alliances. Where once diplomacy defined borders, now history, race, ethnicity, religion, and culture are dividing humanity into dynamic new groupings.
Broad concepts—green, socialist, or market-capitalist ideology—may animate cosmopolitan elites, but they generally do not motivate most people. Instead, the “tribe” is valued far more than any universal ideology. As the great Arab historian Ibn Khaldun observed: “Only Tribes held together by a group feeling can survive in a desert.”
Joel Kotkin's Next Hundred Million: Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Or At Least Ignorant)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
An Austrian court has convicted six Indian men in connection with a gun attack in a temple in Vienna in which a visiting preacher was killed
Indian preacher Sant Ramanand, 57, was shot dead and more than a dozen others wounded, including another preacher. The attack sparked violent protests in the state of Punjab in India. The main suspect, 35, was sentenced to life in prison for murder and two counts of attempted murder. Four other men, who had been charged with being accomplices in attempted murder and with attempted severe assault on the worshipers, received 17- to 18-year prison sentences. A sixth man received six months in prison for attempted coercion. Prosecutors say the men had planned the attack on the visiting preacher because of a religious dispute. The men went on the rampage wielding a gun and knives during a temple service attended by about 150 people. The attack sparked riots in several Indian cities in 2009 where thousands took to the streets, clashing with police and setting fire to buildings, vehicles and a train. Several people died in the clashes. Both preachers were from a breakaway Sikh sect which has a large following in parts of Punjab, northern India, and had traveled to Vienna to conduct a special service.
The bodies of Gustavo Sanchez, mayor of Tancitaro in Michoacan state, and an aide were found and appear to have been stoned to death. There was no immediate indication whether the killings were related to drug violence. More than 29,000 people have been killed in violence between rival drug cartels and between cartels and state security forces since 2006. Recently, a mayor-elect in northern Chihuahua state was shot in the head and chest by suspected drug hitmen, leaving him in critical condition and armed men killed the mayor of a town outside Mexico's northern business city of Monterrey.
Monday, September 27, 2010
A poll published in five major Texas newspapers shows that more than half of the registered voters surveyed support legislation similar to a new Arizona law that cracks down on illegal immigrants. According to the poll, 53% of 1,072 registered Texas voters said they supported passage of such legislation in Texas. Thirty-eight percent were opposed to such legislation, while 8% were uncertain and 1% refused to answer. The poll said that 78% of voters who described themselves as Republicans said they supported the Arizona-style bill, while 71% who described themselves as Democrats opposed it. About two-thirds of the white respondents supported such legislation, even if it involved racial profiling, while about 75% of the Hispanic respondents and 60% of the black respondents opposed it.
Only 38% say that Obama deserves to be reelected, even though a majority of voters hold a favorable view of him on a personal level. Forty-four percent said they will vote to oust him, and 13% said they will consider voting for someone else. It’s Obama’s policies that are hurting him right now. By a 13-point margin, voters are down on the health care law. In an especially troubling sign, more than half of self-identified independents - 54% - have an unfavorable opinion of the law, compared with just 38% who have a favorable opinion. And by an 11-point margin, voters trust congressional Republicans to create jobs more than Obama.
Here is some very useful information on how you can use the Internet to protect yourself from crime.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Among HIV-infected kidney disease patients, African Americans are more likely to develop kidney failure and die prematurely
Among African Americans, HIV infection is increasingly recognized as an important risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease. African American men and women are more likely to die from the complications of HIV infection compared with Caucasian men and women. To see if racial disparities also exist in the rates of kidney disease progression and death among HIV-infected individuals, researchers studied the health of 2468 HIV-infected patients cared for at the Comprehensive Care Center in Nashville from 1998 through 2005. Rates of kidney function decline were similar in African American and non-African American HIV-infected individuals, but African Americans were more likely to develop kidney failure or end-stage renal disease and had a higher risk of dying during the study period.
African-American victims of motorcycle crashes were 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than similarly injured whites, even though many more of the African-American victims were wearing helmets at the time of injury, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers. In the study, researchers reviewed National Trauma Data Bank information on 68,840 people involved in motorcycle crashes between 2002 and 2006. Along with the finding that even after controlling for factors such as insurance status, gender and injury severity, black crash victims were 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than similarly injured white victims. This was so despite the fact that black motorcycle crash victims were 30% more likely to be wearing helmets when injured than were white crash victims. The research also found that whites who were not wearing helmets were less likely to die than African-Americans who were wearing helmets, and that the highest mortality rates were among African-American motorcyclists without helmets.
Five teenagers in the Dominican Republic have been jailed for three to five years for murdering seven taxi drivers and injuring two more
The youngsters, who are 15 to 17 years old, carried out a string of taxi robberies in April 2010, police said. During the assaults, they shot two of the drivers and killed five others by forcing them to drink drain cleaner. They also doused the bodies with drain cleaner to prevent them from being identified, police said. The victims' relatives had demanded that the teenagers, three boys and two girls, be treated as adults and serve up to 30 years in prison, the maximum penalty for murder in the Dominican Republic. The sentencing came a day after the government of the Caribbean nation banned the sale of several drain cleaners because they have increasingly been used in violent assaults. In August 2010, an eight-month-old baby and its mother died after the woman's partner doused both with drain cleaner, police said.
Prisciliano Rodriguez was the mayor of Doctor Gonzalez, a town 30 miles east of Monterrey. Monterrey was once considered one of the safest and richest places in Mexico but it has seen an upsurge in violence recently, blamed on gang warfare between drug cartels. In August 2010, the mayor of nearby Santiago was also killed. Edelmiro Cavazos was abducted from his house by armed men. His body, showing signs of torture, was found three days later. The killings are raising concerns about the security of public officials. The cartels appear to be targeting the mayors of small and medium-sized towns in the areas of Mexico most ravaged by drug-related violence. The Mexican Senate has asked the federal government to help mayors step up their personal security.
Researchers looked at how many people carried a specific gene variant known to give them resistance to TB and leprosy. It was more common in those from areas with a longer history of urbanization, where the diseases were more likely to have been rife at one point. The phenomenon is suggested as an example of selective pressure in relation to disease resistance. It happens because, when a population is exposed to a killer illness, the people who are best placed to pass on their genes to the next generation are those whose genetic make-up helps them fight the infection. In towns and cities, where people intermingle far more closely, the likelihood of being exposed to infectious disease is theoretically higher. So, over the centuries, the greater the level of historical exposure, the more likely it is that these resistance genes will be spread widely among the population. The scientists tested this by analyzing DNA samples drawn from 17 different human populations living across Europe, Asia and Africa. The results were cross checked against historical and archaeological data about the date of the first city or urban settlement in each region. The protective gene variant was found in nearly everyone from the Middle East to India and in parts of Europe where cities have been established for thousands of years, but was less frequent in regions with a shorter history of urbanization, such as Africa.
The UN's human rights chief has said the scale and viciousness of mass rapes in DR Congo defy belief
Navi Pillay said that, even for the region, the incident stood out because of the extraordinarily cold-blooded and systematic way it was carried out. Some 300 people were raped by armed militia in an attack in August 2010. A preliminary report, issued by the UN Joint Human Rights Office, said that three groups of armed militia raped 235 women, 52 girls, 13 men and three boys - many multiple times - looted more than 900 houses, and abducted 116 people. Armed groups entered villages, told local people they were there to protect them, before cutting off phone lines and proceeding to attack people. The UN says the assault was carried out by a coalition of around 200 members of three armed groups - the Mai-Mai Cheka, the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), and elements close to Colonel Emmanuel Nsengiyumva. Nsengiyumva is an army deserter who has also been involved with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) rebel group in the past. Victims interviewed said they believed the purpose of the attacks was to intimidate local people seen by the rebels as government supporters. Figures could rise further as the investigating team have not yet completed their work in six of 13 villages due to serious security problems, said UN spokesperson Rupert Colville. He said that attacks were still going on in some regions. Colville said that prosecutions would be extremely difficult. He said they hoped the report would lead to people being arrested and prosecuted, but that it was not easy in this environment. DR Congo has a shocking reputation for sexual violence, and rape is commonly used as a weapon of war by a number of armed groups who continue to operate. The UN says at least 8,300 rapes were reported in 2009 and it is believed that many more attacks go unreported.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Researchers discovered men determine whether a woman is a potential short-term physical partner or a long-term mate simply by examining her features. A research team interviewed 375 men and women and concluded that men categorize women with attractive, curvy bodies as short-term partners, whereas a woman with a pretty face would more likely be considered for a long-term relationship. While men favored an attractive face specifically in long-term relationships, women preferred attractive faces in both cases. Women made judgments based on the face 69% of the time for both short- and long-term relationships in the study, but men based their choice on the face 75% of the time only for long-term mates. Some indication as to why a woman’s body is more appealing to men for physical relations has to do with her body’s indication of fertility. Studies show that a woman’s waist-to-hip ratio is a cue to her current fertility levels, so a higher waist-to-hip ratio would mean higher fertility rates. Cues that are associated with high fertility are not a conscious mechanism. It is a subconscious method of attraction.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, says that Obama weakened the economy of the United States by seeking to foster growth instead of paying down the federal debt which is the exact opposite of what should have been done. Thanks to Obama, total debt is higher than it was in 2008 and unemployment is worse. The U.S. government’s total outstanding debt is about $13.5 trillion and the unemployment rate is 9.6%.
Peter Frost explains why Richard Lewontin was wrong when he said that there is more genetic variation within races than between races:
Genes vary much more within than between human populations only if we take one gene at a time. This pattern reverses if we aggregate variation at several gene loci. The more we aggregate, the more this genetic variation will exist between populations and not within them.
This fact was known to Cavalli-Sforza back in 1966 when he was constructing his first phylogenies of human populations: “it is desired that the number of genes considered be as high as possible in order to increase the reliability of the conclusions.” (Cavalli-Sforza 1966). When he and another colleague later aggregated data from 75 gene loci of 144 individuals belonging to 12 human groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania, he found very little genetic overlap among the groups. Most individuals clustered with other members of their regional group (Mountain & Cavalli-Sforza 1997). This point has also been made by Mitton (1977, 1978), Edwards (2003), and Sesardic (2010).
Clearly, two groups are easier to tell apart with several criteria than with one. With enough criteria, any overlap will shrink to zero and all individuals can be unambiguously assigned to either group.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Researchers have shown conclusively that high estrogen levels inhibit the cognitive ability in female rodents. Human females have high estrogen levels while they are ovulating. These high levels have also been shown to interfere with women's ability to pay attention.
Barack Obama is contending with the lowest approval rating of his 20-month presidency, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds
Obama's approval rating now stands at 42% – an all time low in CNN polling and 8 points lower than where Obama was only three weeks ago. Moreover, 56% of all Americans think he has fallen short of their expectations.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
She returned later to find her 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter dead inside. An Indianapolis police report said 28-year-old Edyan Farah allegedly put her five children in an upstairs closet, approximately 6 feet long and 18 inches deep, and barricaded the door with a large bed so the children could not escape. When Farah returned home about 10 1/2 hours later and opened the closet she found her 5-year-old daughter, Zuhur, and 3-year-old son, Zakariya, stiff and unresponsive, according to the report. But according to Lt. Jeff Duhmaell it's possible the children could have been left in the closet longer than the 10 hour time span indicated in Farah's report.
Authorities are looking for suspects and potential victims in a Minnesota-based prostitution ring allegedly linked to Somali gangs that stretches to Tennessee, according to a search warrant affidavit briefly unsealed in state court in St. Paul. The document alleges a 15-year-old girl was being controlled by Somali gangs and promoted into prostitution. The document describes the sex ring as large scale. According to the affidavit, the girl had a long history as a runaway and was being victimized by a group of Somali men who were prostituting her. It suggested she was also forced to engage in other illegal activity.
Black children do not do badly at school because of racism but because they do not pay attention and have little support from parents
Tony Sewell, a black former teacher and consultant at Reading University, said such youngsters fail their exams because they do not do their homework and are disrespectful to teachers. Figures from the Department for Education show that, in 2008, just 27% of black boys achieved five or more GCSEs graded A-star to C. They are also three times more likely to be excluded from school than any other group.
Nearly one in five gay and bisexual men are infected with HIV, and nearly half of them do not know it
Young men, and especially young black men, are least likely to know if they are infected with HIV, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at the CDC studied 8,153 men who have sex with men in 21 U.S. cities. The men were taking part in the 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, which looked at prevalence and awareness of the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Overall, they found that 19% of gay men are infected with HIV. The study found that 28% of gay black men were infected with HIV, compared with 18% of Hispanic men and 16% of white men. Black men in the study were also least likely to be aware of their infection, with 59% unaware of their infection compared with 46% of Hispanic men and 26% of white men.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
A new report lists Somalia, Eritrea and Haiti among the world's worst places to be a school child because of poor access to education
The report listed 10 countries at the bottom of the education list, all but Haiti are in Africa. In addition to Somalia, the others are Eritrea, Comoros, Ethiopia, Chad, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Liberia. It based the rankings on access to basic education, teacher-student ratio and educational provisions for girls. Even Kenya, considered successful compared to its East African neighbors, had to delay free education to 9.7 million children due to budgetary constraints, the report said.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Eating family meals may help fight obesity in white children, but it doesn't seem to benefit black children much, and could even raise Hispanic boys' obesity risk. In a study, researchers looked at data from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health. The study included 16,770 boys and girls 6 to 11 years old, 72% of whom were non-Hispanic whites. Forty-three percent of the white children were overweight or obese, compared to 60% of Hispanic children and 63% of non-Hispanic black children. White and black children ate about five meals a week with their families, on average, while Hispanic children averaged six family meals a week. Non-Hispanic white kids who ate family meals every day were one-third less likely to be obese than white children who ate family meals twice a week or less. But there was no relationship between family meal frequency and overweight or obesity among black girls. For black boys, the risk of being overweight or obese decreased "marginally" as family meals per week increased. For Hispanic boys who either lived in a single parent household or lived in less educated households (meaning the most-educated family member had either finished high school or completed fewer years of school), eating more family meals actually increased the risk of being overweight or obese.
A Mexican newspaper in the heartland of the country's drug war has asked cartels for guidance on whether it should publish stories on the conflict
El Diario de Juarez has become known for its strong reporting from the deadly streets of Ciudad Juarez. But the killing of a 21-year-old photographer prompted the newspaper to run a front-page editorial asking: "What do you want from us?" Rights groups say journalists are regularly being targeted by drug gangs. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a US-based advocacy group, says more than 30 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2006. Many of those killed were reporting on crime or corruption, the group says, adding that the climate of fear has led to a widespread culture of self-censorship among fearful media workers. El Diario's editorial was its second since Luis Carlos Santiago, 21, was shot in Ciudad Juarez on 17 September 2010. He later died of his injuries, although an intern who was also shot, Carlos Sanchez, survived the attack. Describing the drug lords as the "de facto authorities" within Ciudad Juarez, the newspaper asked the cartels: "We ask you to explain what you want from us, what we should try to publish or not publish, so we know what to expect." It highlighted the lack of progress in the investigation into the 2008 death of Armando Rodriguez, shot dead outside his home in view of his family. But the editorial insisted it was not "a surrender", saying instead that it had simply become "impossible to do our job in these conditions". An editor at El Diario, Herardo Rodriguez, said there was a war going on in Mexico that the journalists did not ask for. He expressed anger at the lack of progress in the official investigation into Rodriguez's death and criticized the government as well as the cartels. The newspaper had not decided to stop publishing stories on the drug war, Rodriguez said, but would consider doing so if the answer that came from the cartels indicated that was their wish. Carlos Lauria, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said El Diario's decision was a cause for regret. "Even in one of the places where violence is worst... El Diario was still doing a lot of good reporting on crime," he told the Associated Press, describing the paper's move as "an indication that the situation is out of control". Ciudad Juarez is one of the deadliest flashpoints in Mexico's drug battles, which have seen violence rise sharply in the country's north in recent weeks. More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon deployed the army against the cartels in 2006. The violence has spilled over into Central America.
Deleting a certain gene in mice can make them smarter by unlocking a mysterious region of the brain considered to be relatively inflexible
Mice with a disabled RGS14 gene are able to remember objects they'd explored and learn to navigate mazes better than regular mice, suggesting that RGS14's presence limits some forms of learning and memory. RGS14 is primarily turned on in one particular part - called CA2 - of the hippocampus, a region of the brain known for decades to be involved in consolidating new learning and forming new memories.
Scientists have identified more than 200 genes potentially associated with academic performance in schoolchildren
Those schoolchildren possessing the right combinations achieved significantly better results in numeracy, literacy and science. The finding emerged from a study of more than 4000 British children to pinpoint the genes and genetic combinations that influence reasoning skills and general intelligence. One of its main conclusions is that intelligence is controlled by a network of thousands of genes with each making just a small contribution to overall intelligence, rather than the handful of powerful genes that scientists once predicted. The researchers believe their work could eventually lead to genetic tests to predict babies' academic potential.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Police in Mexico say eight officers who were abducted by gunmen in the southern state of Guerrero have been found shot dead
A ninth member of the unit has been found alive with wounds to his head. The bodies of some of the dead officers are reported to have been mutilated. The police patrol was investigating a murder when it was ambushed. Guerrero state has been a focus of the drugs-related violence that has killed more than 28,000 Mexicans since 2006. The nine agents from the federal investigative police had traveled to the Teloloapan district after a man was reported shot dead. As they went in pursuit of the suspected killers they were stopped by a large group of gunmen. Two officers were found shot dead close to where they were abducted. The other six bodies were found about 15 kilometers away after a search by police and troops. Teloloapan is close to the mining town of Taxco where 55 bodies were recovered from an abandoned silver mine that drug gangs are thought to have been using as a mass grave. Guerrero state is Mexico's main opium producing region.
Even fewer voters (40%) approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 56% disapprove.
Witnesses said the bar had been surrounded by a group of about 40 gunmen before the shooting took place. It was the second time the bar had been targeted. In July 2010,two people died in a shooting there. Police said the attack was probably linked to organized crime. Ciudad Juarez has been the scene of frequent violence between rival drug cartels. The latest attack occurred in the Pronaf neighborhood. It came hours after a Mexican newspaper photographer was killed and another injured in a gun attack in the city. Both men worked for the local paper, Diario de Juarez, police said. The newspaper's editor said he did not know why they had been targeted. Authorities in north-eastern Mexico are battling a recent upsurge in violence as rival drugs gangs fight for control of lucrative smuggling routes.
The director of a prison in Paraguay has been suspended after child pornography believed to have been shot there was found on a computer in the jail
Prosecutors say a room featured in the videos was inside the prison. They believe underage girls in the videos were befriended by convicts over the Internet and then blackmailed into visiting them in jail. Prison director Julio Acevedo denied any knowledge of the videos. He also said underage girls were not allowed to visit prisoners without adult supervision. But prosecutor Teresa Martinez said controls in Tacumbu prison were clearly non-existent or deficient. Tacumbu, in the capital Asuncion, houses about 3,000 inmates. Recently, the justice minister said he wanted to close the jail and move the prisoners to facilities outside the capital.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Five doctors from South Africa's health group Netcare have been charged for allegedly participating in an international kidney trading syndicate
Netcare's hospital in Durban allegedly conducted more than 100 operations in 2001-03 in which poor Brazilians and Romanians were paid to donate kidneys to wealthy Israelis. Netcare is accused of making large profits from the operations. As well as the five doctors, charges were also issued against two transplant unit staff, Netcare group, Netcare's chief executive officer, and the Durban hospital where the operations are alleged to have taken place. An Israeli interpreter was also charged. The charges against the various suspects include fraud, forgery, serious assault, and contravening South Africa's human tissues and prevention of organized crime acts. The alleged scam was initially uncovered in 2003. This charges follow a state investigation that enlisted the help of an Israeli "organ broker" who became a state witness and is expected to testify about his role in the alleged syndicate. The kidneys were initially sourced from Israeli citizens, but later Romanian and Brazilian citizens were recruited as their kidneys were obtainable at a much lower cost than those of the Israeli suppliers. More doctors are expected to be charged, with the suspects due to appear in court in Durban in November 2010.
Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent
Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft: From Moldova to Palestine
Butchers: The hidden truth about Israel's kidney theft ring
Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent
Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft: From Moldova to Palestine
Butchers: The hidden truth about Israel's kidney theft ring
A team of scientists analyzed hormone levels in young men and showed pictures to a group of women. They found a strong link between low levels of the stress hormone cortisol in men and how attractive they were to the opposite sex. The research also discovered no link between high levels of the sex hormone testosterone and sex appeal. The team also showed that female attraction to men with low stress levels was at its highest during the fertile phase of their cycle. The survey also showed increased attractiveness for men with consistent hormone levels.
Why Women Prefer 'Chill' Guys
High Stress and Cortisol Linked to Cardiovascular Mortality
Why Women Prefer 'Chill' Guys
High Stress and Cortisol Linked to Cardiovascular Mortality
One in seven Americans is living in poverty, the highest number in the half-century that the government has kept such statistics
Asians were the only ethnic group whose poverty rate did not change substantially; every other race and Hispanics experienced increases in poverty rates. In addition, 51 million Americans were uninsured, as the number of people with health insurance dropped from 255 million to less than 254 million -- the first decrease since the government started keeping track in 1987. The number would have been worse because 6.5 million fewer people got insurance through their jobs, but it was offset by a leap in government-backed health insurance. More than 30% of Americans now get coverage from the government.
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex. The genitalia-washing program is part of a larger $12-million UCLA study examining how to better encourage Africans to undergo voluntary HIV testing and counseling – however, only the penis-washing study received money from the 2009 economic stimulus law. The washing portion of the study is set to end in 2011.
Two thirds of those are concentrated in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. More than 40% live in China and India alone. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of hunger, with 30% of the population undernourished.
Indian children still underweight – after 20 years of interventions
Indian children still underweight – after 20 years of interventions
A hate-crime indictment against a black teenager accused of beating and racially abusing a Mexican student was dropped by a Supreme Court judge after a request by the Staten Island district attorney. The case was among a rash of alleged bias incidents that increased the police presence in the borough as well as concerns about racial tensions. District Attorney Daniel Donovan said the victim withheld information from investigators that conflicted with an initial determination that he was targeted for the beating and robbery simply because he was Mexican. During the course of the investigation, Christian Vazquez, 18 years old, admitted he had fought with the group of African-American men after he felt they cheated him on a marijuana sale. He omitted that fact in testimony in front of the grand jury, which eventually voted to indict the suspect on hate-crime charges. The attack on Vazquez was the 11th of 12 incidents in the Port Richmond neighborhood that were being investigated as possible bias crimes against Mexican residents. Donovan said eight arrests were made in five incidents. In two cases, the grand jury declined to bring a hate-crimes indictment and in one case the district attorney declined hate-crimes charges pending further investigation. The rash of alleged incidents resulted in a stepped-up NYPD enforcement and appeals from activists and city officials for a calming of racial tensions in Port Richmond.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
John Hawks wonders about the traits that Europeans and Asians may have inherited from their Neanderthal ancestors. Personally I want to know if Neanderthal DNA had anything to do with the fact that Europeans and Asians are, on average, more intelligent than Africans.
An Iranian sex-trafficking gang in London has admitted attempting to sell underage girls’ virginity for over $200,000
Three women and a man pleaded guilty to coercing a group of teenagers into offering their sexual services to clients, and bragging to men they could provide virgins as young as 13. The group was busted in 2009 after a sting operation by London's Scotland Yard.
Immigration issues, including questions about who should have U.S. citizenship, have hurt Obama’s standing with voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac University national poll. The poll, carried out during the first week in September 2010, found that respondents had a strong anti-immigrant tilt, favoring, by 68% to 24%, stricter enforcement of immigration laws rather than integrating illegal immigrants into society and, by 48% to 45%, an end to the constitutionally guaranteed practice of granting U.S. citizenship to children born of illegal immigrants. Democratic respondents favored granting citizenship by 62% to 31%, while Republican and independent respondents oppose it by 67% to 27% and 51% to 42%, respectively.
SAT scores: Asian Americans now outscore African Americans by 90 points on reading, 163 points on math, and 106 points on writing
Asian Americans score better than all other groups on all parts of the test - except that the white average exceeds the Asian American average on the reading portion.
A new study also shows that black girls are suspended at four times the rate of white girls. Hispanic and Native American Indian middle school students are suspended at higher rates than white students, though not at such disproportionate rates as for black children, while Asian students are less likely to be suspended than whites. Another study of 400 incarcerated high school freshmen in Baltimore found that two-thirds had been suspended at least once in middle school.
Monday, September 13, 2010
A report from the Massachusetts-based Schott Foundation paints a bleak picture of how young black men fare in school: fewer than half graduate from high school. And in some states, like New York, the graduation rate is as low as one in four. Only 47% of black male students entering high school in 2003 graduated in 2008. For white males, the graduation rate was 78%. Detroit had one of the worst black male graduation rates for any city: 27%. Low graduation rates are connected to high unemployment and incarceration rates among black men. Black males make up 40% of the U.S. prison population, but only 6% of the country's overall population.
Those with low-grade inflammation performed more poorly on standardized intelligence tests, even after excluding those with signs of current illness. Inflammation also predicted an increased risk of premature death.
David Dinkins encouraged his fellow blacks to vote for a Hispanic candidate because he looked more like them than the Jewish one
David Dinkins, New York City's first and only black mayor, called on African-Americans to vote for Latino candidate Adriano Espaillat instead of Jewish politician Mark Levine because he looked more like them. Espaillat and Levine are both front runners in the race to fill Attorney General hopeful state Senator Eric Schneiderman's seat. The district includes the diverse population of the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, and Inwood, in Manhattan and Riverdale, in the Bronx. Levine called on Espaillat to denounce Dinkins' comment, but Espaillat did not repudiate the former mayor's words.
White women with muscular dystrophy had a median death age of 63, versus 51 for African American women. For white men, their median age at death was 33, versus 23 for African American males. Men tend to die younger, because the vast majority of patients who die have Duchenne muscular dystrophy - a particular type of the disorder that rarely affects females. In addition, cardiomyopathy, which is weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure, was more often reported in black men (20.9%) than white men (11.8%).
Sunday, September 12, 2010
A Congolese asylum seeker, who was being deported from Dublin to Kinshasa, created a riot on a plane in Paris and had to be escorted back to Ireland. He has been in Ireland for years and is understood to have criminal convictions for shoplifting and public order offenses. It is now likely that he will be deported on a specially chartered flight.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
A black man is under arrest after claiming he fathered 55 African babies so as to allow their mothers to move to France on full benefits
The scam is said to have cost the country more than a million pounds in fraudulent social security payments. It involved a 54-year-old "Frenchman" who cannot be named for legal reasons but who has a Senegalese background. He faces up to 10 years in prison and five figure fines after being charged with making false paternity declarations and aiding and abetting the filing of false administrative documents. However, he claims that the children are in fact his, and has agreed to DNA tests. The man’s allegedly extraordinary love life saw him registering the 55 women and their children at his two bedroom flat near the Gare du Nord Eurostar terminal in Paris.
Poll shows that only 23% of the nation's voters strongly approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president
Forty-seven percent (47%) strongly disapprove of his performance as president. Overall, 41% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's performance. Fifty-eight percent (58%) disapprove. Obama continues to earn approval from 74% of Democrats. However, 88% of Republicans disapprove as do 63% of those not affiliated with either major political party. Sixty-two percent (62%) believe that no matter how bad things are, Congress can always make it worse. Just 29% believe the nation is generally heading in the right direction. Most say Congress should wait until after Election Day - and after the lame duck session - to consider major legislation.
Honduran police have blamed street gangs linked to Mexican drug cartels for the killing of at least 18 people in a shoe factory
The massacre in the city of San Pedro Sula was connected to a dispute over territory between groups of drug traffickers, officials said. Up to four men armed with assault rifles burst into the factory and opened fire. All the victims were said to be young men. Several others were wounded. San Pedro Sula's police chief, Hector Mejia, said the attack was part of an escalating dispute between the rival Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 gangs. The most famous groups - the Mara 18 (M18) and Mara Salvatrucha (MS) - count tens of thousands of members in Central America. Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said police believe the shoe factory attack was a settling of scores. Mexican cartels use Central America as a smuggling route. Local gangs receive drugs in return for helping transport narcotics, officials say.
Drug-related violence in Mexico increasingly has the hallmarks of an insurgency, Hillary Clinton has said
The recent use of car bombs by drug cartels was one indication, she said, adding, "It's looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago." Her comments were made following a major speech to US foreign policy experts in Washington.
The authorities in Mexico say they believe they have found the bodies of two officials investigating the killing of 72 foreign migrants
Prosecutor Roberto Suarez Vazquez and Juan Carlos Suarez Sanchez, a top security official, went missing recently in the state of Tamaulipas. Identification documents found with the bodies near the town of San Fernando matched those of the two men. The massacre of the migrants has been blamed on a powerful drug cartel. One of two confirmed survivors has said members of the Los Zetas cartel opened fire when they refused to carry out assassinations for them. The 58 men and 14 women were from South and Central America and had been trying to reach the United States. Suarez Vazquez was one of the first people to find the migrants' bullet-ridden bodies at an abandoned ranch near San Fernando. Both he and Suarez Sanchez, the head of the local Public Security department, were investigating the killings, but disappeared the following day. Officials feared that they had been abducted. Then a couple of weeks later, two bodies were found in a field about 30 miles north-east of San Fernando. The Tamaulipas state attorney-general's office said identification documents found on the bodies matched those of the missing officials, but that it was conducting DNA tests to confirm the identities.
The mayor of El Naranjo, Mexico, in the central state of San Luis Potosi was gunned down and killed inside his office
Witnesses say that four armed and hooded men stepped out of a white truck at city hall, the San Luis Potosi government said in a statement. Two of the men posted themselves outside, and two went inside and to the top floor of the building, where they entered the mayor's office and shot him. At least seven mayors in various Mexican states have been assassinated in 2010. Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the criminal and cowardly killing of the mayor. Alexander Lopez Garcia assumed office in October 2009 as a candidate for an alliance between the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), and the Ecologist Green Party.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Men with excess body fat develop more female sex hormones that influence their sexual performance. Men with high fat levels have higher levels of the female sex hormone estradiol, which disrupts the chemical balance in their body, making them last longer during sex. Fat men can last an average of 7.3 minutes during love making, while others only last 1.8 minutes. Men needing treatment for premature ejaculation have lower body mass index scores, meaning they are fitter.
The ten most generous nations are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, USA, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and Austria. As you can see, nine of these countries have predominantly white populations. So much for the greedy white man myth!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Researchers say that movements associated with good dancing may be indicative of good health and reproductive potential. They took blood samples from male dance volunteers and early indications from biochemical tests suggest that the men who were better dancers were also more healthy.
Atul Khare, a senior UN official, told the Security Council that the scale of systematic rape by armed rebels was far worse than feared. He said that up to 500 women and children were now believed raped in recent weeks - more than double the previously reported figure. He called for the prosecution of Rwandan and Congolese rebels who are blamed for many of the attacks. Khare, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, was sent to DR Congo by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the attacks in July and August 2010. He reported to the Security Council that although 242 rapes had earlier been reported in and around Luvungi, a village not far from a UN peacekeepers' camp, 260 more rapes had come to light in the Uvira area and other regions of North and South Kivu. Khare said he had learned of 74 attacks in a village called Miki, in South Kivu. The victims included 21 children - all girls aged between seven and 15 - and six men. All the women in another village, Kiluma, may have been systematically raped, he said. DR Congo has a shocking reputation for sexual violence, and rape is commonly used as a weapon of war. The UN says at least 8,300 rapes were reported in 2009 and it is believed that many more attacks go unreported.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Belgians must begin preparing for their country to be broken up and abolished, one of their top politicians has warned
Leading socialist MP Laurette Onkelinx spoke as King Albert II struggled frantically to kick-start coalition talks between feuding French and Flemish political parties. She issued her doom-laden prediction after negotiations with Flemish separatist leaders collapsed. King Albert II attempted to re-launch talks between Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia and Dutch-speaking Flanders state parliaments to secure a more stable government than the current fragile day-to-day coalition. Belgium, which also holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of 2010, has not had a stable government since June 2007. The stark comments from Onkelinx followed those of another leading francophone Socialist, Philippe Moureaux, who has said Belgium was on the verge of a 'progressive organization of separation'.
Prison Planet.com explains why no white person should trust Rupert Murdoch:
Keep in mind that Fox 20th Century films, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp empire financed ‘Machete.’ Its news division pulled a story criticizing the film’s violent ‘war on immigration.’ At the same time mid-east warhawks at Fox News fumed over the Ground Zero mosque controversy, it has been revealed that the Imam is fianced by Rupert Murdoch and the Ford Foundation, among others. Meanwhile Fox also funds diversity filmmaking programs.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Brazil’s students have scored among the lowest of any country’s students taking international exams for basic skills like reading, mathematics and science, trailing fellow Latin American nations like Chile, Uruguay and Mexico. Brazilian 15-year-olds tied for 49th out of 56 countries on the reading exam of the Program for International Student Assessment, with more than half scoring in the test’s bottom reading level in 2006, the most recent year available. In math and science, they fared even worse. This means that 15-year-olds in Brazil are mastering more or less the same skills as 9-year-olds or 10-year-olds in countries such as Denmark or Finland. More than 22% of the roughly 25 million workers available to join Brazil’s work force this year were not considered qualified to meet the demands of the labor market, according to a government report in March 2010. Brazil’s first-grade repetition rate is 28%, among the highest in the world, according to the World Bank. Secondary schools contain many older students because of the high rate of failing students in earlier grades, and many of the frustrated simply drop out.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Researchers discovered that the love of wanting to keep fit is in your genes and can be passed on from generation to generation. Conversely, the same is true about being a couch potato. In the future, people who suffer from laziness could be treated with medicine that targets the genes that specifically promote activity.
South Africa's polygamous president, Jacob Zuma, is to become a father for the 22nd time following news that his fiancee is pregnant
Bongiwe Gloria Ngema is expecting a child early in 2010. The pair already have one child and are due to marry in December 2010, which will bring to four the number of South Africa's First Ladies. Reports of the pregnancy comes only a couple of weeks after the arrival of Zuma's 21st child, which was born to the second of his current wives. The boy, named Manqoba Kholwani which means "believe it", arrived amid claims that he could be the result of an affair between his mother and her bodyguard. Now aged 68, Zuma has faced repeated calls to live a quieter life and devote more of his energies to leading his country out of the grinding poverty which confronts the majority of the population. Zuma's advisers insist that, as a proud Zulu, his culture permits him to have as many children as he wants with as many partners as he likes. However, the president was forced to make a humiliating apology following the birth, out of wedlock, of his 20th child to the daughter of a family friend. While polygamy is accepted in South Africa, the spiraling cost to the taxpayers of Zuma's cultural observance has led to bitter clashes between the president's ruling African National Congress and the leading opposition party. News of yet another child and another marriage is bound to reignite the debate. Taxpayers are already spending more than £1.3m a year to support Zuma's current wives and some of his children.
An Iranian woman who'd already been condemned to death faces another sentence of 99 lashes because of a case of mistaken identity in a photograph, according to opponents of the execution. Iranian authorities imposed the sentence after they saw the photo of a woman without a head scarf in a newspaper, the International Committee Against Stoning, a human rights group, said. In an apology, The Times of London, which ran the photo on its front page on August 28 2010, said the woman was wrongly identified as Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had previously been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The Times said the photo actually is of Susan Hejrat, a political activist living in Sweden. Iranian law requires all women, regardless of their faith, to wear garments that cover their hair and bodies. Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning after she was convicted of adultery. Ashtiani, who is being held in Tabriz, Iran, no longer has visitation rights. The Committee Against Stoning has said that Iran announced she will not be executed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends around September 9. Iran's judiciary could reinstate her sentence of death by stoning, execute her by other means, or possibly grant her a reprieve, according to human rights groups.
Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 24-year-old Latino with rape and sexual assault in an attack that was believed to be connected to a series of robberies in which two men posing as police targeted fast food managers after they closed their restaurants. Samuel Oscar Gonzalez of Lakewood pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree robbery and first-degree criminal impersonation. Superior Court Judge Brian Tollefson ordered him held in jail in lieu of $2 million bail. Prosecutors noted in charging documents that police were investigating several other robberies that are similar to the attack linked to Gonzalez.
A malicious hate crime against an Asian-American family that moved into Happy Valley was actually a hoax perpetrated by one of the couple's teenagers
The story about words like "Gook" and "Chink" being spray painted on the family's home, and a note reading "Last warning - we will burn your house down if we have to" left on the property, sent shock waves throughout the community. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and the Happy Valley Police Department immediately opened a case and even consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation since the incident could have encompassed civil rights violations. But investigators discovered that the acts were actually done by the family's 16-year-old. Police say there will be no criminal charges.
Happy Valley "Hate Crime" - Wasn't
Racial slurs, threats in Happy Valley actually planted by family's oldest son, police say
Happy Valley "Hate Crime" - Wasn't
Racial slurs, threats in Happy Valley actually planted by family's oldest son, police say
Six recruiters were accused of luring 400 laborers from Thailand to the United States and forcing them to work, according to a federal indictment that the FBI called the largest human-trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history. The indictment alleges that the scheme was orchestrated by four employees of labor recruiting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc. and two Thailand-based recruiters. It said the recruiters lured the workers with false promises of lucrative jobs, then confiscated their passports, failed to honor their employment contracts and threatened to deport them. Israeli national and Global Horizons CEO Mordechai Orian, 45, has been charged with leading the conspiracy.
The academic performance of adolescents will suffer in at least one of four key subjects - English, math, science, history - if their DNA contains one or more of three specific dopamine gene variations. The research sheds new light on the genetic components of academic performance, and on the interplay of specific genes and environmental factors. Dopaminergic genes affect grades because they have previously been linked to factors associated with academic performance, including adolescent delinquency, working memory, intelligence and cognitive abilities, and ADHD, among others. Students with lower grades are generally more likely to participate in antisocial or criminal activities, and less likely to attend college and earn comparatively higher salaries as a result.
Friday, September 3, 2010
A well-known Australian Muslim cleric has called for the beheading of Dutch politician Geert Wilders
Wilders' Freedom Party scored the biggest gains in June 9 2010 polls and is currently negotiating to form a new minority government with the Liberals and Christian Democrats. Polls show Wilders would win a new election if one were called now. Wilders demanded to know why he had learned about the threat from a newspaper and not from Dutch authorities who are guarding him after remarks he made about Islam angered Muslims around the world. De Telegraaf, the Netherlands' largest newspaper, led its front page with a story on the speech by Feiz Muhammad. The Sydney-born Muhammad has gained notoriety for, among other things, calling on young children to be radicalized and blaming rape victims for their own attacks. The paper posted an English-language audio clip in which he refers to Wilders as "this Satan, this devil, this politician in Holland" and explains that anyone who talks about Islam like Wilders does should be executed by beheading. Wilders said it was "really terrible news" and that he was taking it seriously. Wilders is currently on trial in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. The Freedom Party leader made a film in 2008 which accused the Koran of inciting violence and mixed images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Islamic holy book. Wilders was also charged because of outspoken remarks in the media, such as an opinion piece in a Dutch daily in which he compared Islam to fascism and the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf." Of late he has been in the news for plans to speak out against a planned mosque in New York City on September 11 2010, the ninth anniversary of the Islamist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. But his views have also made him extremely popular with people uneasy about the Netherlands' commitment to multiculturalism.
Across Africa, black people often lay snare traps to catch bush meat, killing or injuring chimps and other wildlife. But a few chimps living in the rain forests of Guinea have learned to recognize these snare traps laid by black hunters, researchers have found. More astonishing, the chimps actively seek out and intentionally deactivate the traps, setting them off without being harmed. The discovery was serendipitously made by primatologists Gaku Ohashi and Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa who were following chimps living in Bossou, Guinea to study the apes' social behavior. Snare injuries to chimps are reported at many sites across east and west Africa where chimps are studied, with many animals dying in the traps. However, very few snares injuries have been reported among chimps studied at Bossou, which is unusual as the chimps live close to human settlements and snares are commonly laid in the area. Now primatologists know why. While researching the chimps, Ohashi and Prof Matsuzawa, of the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University, Japan, observed five male chimps, both juvenile and adult, attempting to break and deactivate snares. On two occasions witnessed, the chimps successfully deactivated the traps set for them. A typical snare, for example one made by the Manon people of Bossou, consists of a loop of iron wire connected by a vine rope to an arched stick, often a sapling. The sapling puts tension into the rope and once an animal passes through the wire loop, the trap is sprung and the sapling pulls it tight, around the neck or leg of an animal. Such traps cause indiscriminate damage, ensnaring any and all animals that come into contact with them. But male Bossou chimps have worked out how to outwit the black hunters and deactivate the traps. "They seemed to know which parts of the snares are dangerous and which are not," Ohashi said.
Some 240 women, girls and babies may have been raped after rebels recently seized a town in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN says
Officials had previously said they had received reports of 150 rapes in and around the town of Luvungi. The UN mission has been heavily criticized for not doing more to protect the local population as it had peacekeepers based nearby. But it says it was only told of the rapes after the rebels had left. The incident prompted an emergency session of the UN Security Council, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has sent a senior envoy to find out what happened after rebels moved into Luvungi on 30 July 2010, staying for four days. The council also said peacekeepers in the area should have done more to protect local people from the Congolese Mai Mai and Rwandan FDLR armed groups. The peacekeepers say they were not told about the attacks until 10 days later, even though they have a base 20 miles away. They say local people may have been afraid of rebel reprisals or ashamed by the rapes. The UN mission in DR Congo, known as Monusco - until recently the world's largest peacekeeping mission - says it has stepped up patrols in the area "to reassure the local population". Some of the women report being abused by several men in front of their husbands and children. The DR Congo conflict has become notorious for the sexual abuse of women and girls - one UN envoy called it the "rape capital of the world". Eastern DR Congo is still plagued by army and militia violence despite the end of the country's five-year war in 2003. UN peacekeeping troops have been backing efforts to defeat the FDLR, whose leaders are linked to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and who are operating in eastern DR Congo.
South Africa is to start expelling Zimbabweans again, from 31 December 2010, the government has announced, ending their special status
The deportations were halted in April 2009 following an influx of those fleeing political instability and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe. An estimated two million Zimbabweans are thought to be in South Africa. Their presence is one reason cited for outbreaks of xenophobic attacks in recent years. Sixty-two people were killed in such attacks in 2008 and there were fears of renewed violence after the end of the football World Cup in July 2010. Zimbabwe exile groups fear that anyone forced to return could still face persecution. Zimbabwe's power-sharing government has stabilized the situation to some extent, however, the vast majority of people continue to live in extreme poverty.
In addition, blacks, Hispanics and Amerindians have the highest rates of children born to unwed mothers while whites and Asians have the lowest.
Hispanic middle-school students are more likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana than other kids their age
About one in four Hispanic seventh- and eighth-graders said they'd consumed alcohol, compared to 21% of blacks, 18% of whites and just below 10% of Asians. The higher rates for Hispanics and lower rates for Asians held up even when researchers adjusted their figures for factors such as gender.