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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Behind antigay Facebook rant, echoes of civil rights movement -

Behind antigay Facebook rant, echoes of civil rights movement -
his week, Arkansas became ground zero in the cultural clash between fundamentalist Christian beliefs and gay rights.
It began with the publication of angry, anti-gay Facebook posts by Clint McCance, the vice president of Midland School Board, a school district in Arkansas. Infuriated by "spirit day" – a day when people nationwide wear purple as a show of support for victims of antigay bullying – Mr. McCance wrote he would only wear purple if all gays committed suicide, adding that he was gratified that homosexuals "often give each other AIDS and die."
Thursday night, McCance resigned on CNN, acknowledging that his comments were "hateful."
Yet the issue underlying them remains deeply divisive throughout much of the rural South as the push for gay rights takes on some of the aspects of a modern civil rights movement – with small groups attempting to make change on a local level. This week, protesters from Little Rock descended on McCance’s small town, Pleasant Plains, 80 miles away.
“Such movements tend to be grass roots that pop up more or less spontaneously in one community or another and are moved by individual people or groups of people who are deeply burdened by discrimination,” says Harry Watson, director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Conservative pushback
The pushback from conservative Christians, however, remains strong. The protesters were met by local residents who carried American and Christian flags and played Christian music. As one preacher told a local television station, gays and lesbians think “they're all right, and [God is] going to let them think that and go to hell for believing what they're doing is right.”
Some local conservative leaders condemned McCance’s statements and say that the public viewpoint of gays has changed over the years. They stress, however, that the Bible still says homosexuality is a sin.
“There’s a live-and-let-live attitude now among the people I work with,” says Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council, a conservative organization that works with churches in Arkansas. “It’s when homosexuality enters the social and political arena – gay adoption, gay marriage or 'don’t ask, don’t tell' – and a group is trying to change the culture that you get pushback.”
Mr. Cox, who has led efforts against gay marriage and adoption, disagrees with the notion that the push for gay rights has any resemblance to what other minorities have faced in the past. He says that the gay community does not share the same history as blacks in the US.
“They have never been segregated or enslaved,” he says.
The gay-rights community disagrees.
“The same tactics used to disenfranchise blacks in the South through institutional racism – all in an effort to paint them as ‘dangerous others’ – are currently being employed against gays and lesbians,” says Brock Thompson, author of “The Un-Natural State: Arkansas and the Queer South.” “These tactics include bans on gay and lesbian adoption to efforts to bar gays and lesbians from public teaching positions. In a few instances, it is the exact same laws, merely replacing black with gay.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

US judge blocks Mass. Internet obscenity law - The Boston Globe

US judge blocks Mass. Internet obscenity law - The Boston Globe
A federal judge blocked yesterday a new state Internet obscenity law meant to shield children from sexually explicit material, ruling that the statute was written so broadly that it would criminalize legitimate websites and general electronic communication.
The decision was celebrated by civil rights advocates, but it frustrated prosecutors who have encountered difficulty in convicting Internet predators under outdated laws that fail to cover new technologies.
“Due to this preliminary injunction, we are unable to enforce this much needed law,’’ said Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz, whose office prosecuted the online predator case that led to yesterday’s ruling.
In that case, a Beverly man was convicted of sending sexually explicit instant messages to a deputy sheriff posing as a 13-year-old girl. But the convictions were overturned in February by the Supreme Judicial Court, which said Massachusetts law did not cover Internet communication and urged the Legislature to update the statute.
After lawmakers hastily passed new language, a coalition of booksellers and website publishers sued, arguing that the new law would hold criminally liable anyone who operates a website with nudity or sexual material, potentially including a vast range of subjects, from art to health information on pregnancy. They said the law failed to distinguish between open websites and obscene material sent knowingly to a child.
In granting a preliminary injunction against the law yesterday, US District Judge Rya W. Zobel said the plaintiffs demonstrated “without question’’ that the law violated the First Amendment by inhibiting free speech, which civil rights advocates called a clear victory.
“This resolves the cloud that was hanging over Internet communication,’’ said John Reinstein, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “This lifts a substantial burden of self-censorship on Internet users.’’
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, which helped draft the new obscenity law earlier this year, said it was undecided on whether to appeal the judge’s order or change the law. In a statement, Coakley said her office’s goal is “to ensure that our laws keep up with modern technology in order to protect kids from sexual predators on the Internet.’’
The office “will examine whether a legislative change is necessary to ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to protect children online,’’ Coakley said.
Through a spokesman, Coakley declined further comment.
In its case before Zobel, the state argued that the language it added to the obscenity law did not need to specify that it applied only to those who intentionally target minors because a previous SJC ruling had made that clear.
“Both sides agreed the statute would otherwise be unconstitutional,’’ Zobel said.’’
The case dates to February, when the state’s highest court ruled that state law banning people from showing pornography to children and banning bookstores from selling sexually explicit books and magazines to children did not cover “electronically transmitted text’’ or “online conversations.

BBC News - Nigeria rapped for mass evictions

BBC News - Nigeria rapped for mass evictions
The rights group Amnesty International has criticised Nigeria's government over mass evictions in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Plans for urban development and slum demolition have been a violently contested issue in Port Harcourt.
Amnesty is warning that continued development may leave as many as 200,000 people homeless.
Sprawling and chaotic, the city of Port Harcourt is Nigeria's oil capital in the Niger Delta.
Its shanty towns and slums are home to tens of thousands of people all scraping a living in a city pumping billions of dollars worth of oil.
Live rounds
In 2009, the Rivers State government began plans to rebuild parts of the city.
They are demolishing slums on the waterfront as part of the "Greater Port Harcourt master plan".
Forced evictions regularly spark demonstrations there and police have even fired live rounds at protesters. Several civilians have been killed.
The local government hopes to develop the area to create jobs, stimulate the local economy and build better roads - all of it urgently needed.
They hope to build an eight-screen cinema, a shopping mall and hotels.
They are following a buy-out scheme, paying those who own the properties to move.
But most of the residents on the waterfront are poor tenants who get no compensation and have nowhere to go.
Many of them now sleep outdoors under bridges and in the streets.
"These planned demolitions are likely to plunge hundreds of thousands of Nigeria's most vulnerable citizens further into poverty," said the group's Africa deputy programme director, Tawanda Hondora.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AFP: UN rights chief urges US, Iraq to probe WikiLeaks evidence

AFP: UN rights chief urges US, Iraq to probe WikiLeaks evidence
GENEVA — UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Tuesday urged Iraq and the United States to investigate allegations of torture and unlawful killings in the Iraq conflict revealed in documents leaked last week.
"The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses," her office said in a statement.
Pillay said the confidential documents published last Friday by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks added to her concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law had occurred in Iraq.
Those possible breaches included "summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees."
She said the "files reportedly indicate that the US knew, among other things, about widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces, and yet proceeded with the transfer of thousands of persons who had been detained by US forces to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010."
"The files also allegedly include information on many undisclosed instances in which US forces killed civilians at checkpoints and during operations," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights added.
The website released 400,000 classified military documents, which recount widespread torture in Iraqi prisons and purport to show 15,000 more civilian deaths than the previously disclosed figure of about 50,000.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ReliefWeb » Document » Iraq / Wikileaks: statement by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

ReliefWeb » Document » Iraq / Wikileaks: statement by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
GENEVA (26 October 2010)– "The files reportedly indicate that the US knew, among other things, about widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces, and yet proceeded with the transfer of thousands of persons who had been detained by US forces to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010. The files also allegedly include information on many undisclosed instances in which US forces killed civilians at checkpoints and during operations.
The information adds to the High Commissioner Navi Pillay's concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law have occurred in Iraq, including summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees.
The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses, in line with obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both the US and Iraq are parties.
The High Commissioner calls upon Iraq to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol, which gives the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment the right to visit all places of detention and examine the treatment of persons detained.

Fox News editorial: WikiLeaks employees should be declared ‘enemy combatants’ | Raw Story

Fox News editorial: WikiLeaks employees should be declared ‘enemy combatants’ | Raw Story
Leading the attack on whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, Fox News editorialist and former Bush-era US State Department official Christian Whiton said on Monday that the US should classify the proprietors of WikiLeaks as "enemy combatants," opening up the possibility of "non-judicial actions" against them.
"So far, the Obama administration appears to have been asleep at the wheel in responding to this," he wrote for on Monday. "The same is true of the Democratic-controlled Congress, which has no fewer than ten committees of jurisdiction that could be doing something about this—but which are not."
He proposed a number of actions the US could take to shut down the secret-spilling site for good:
1. Indict Mr. Assange and his colleagues for espionage, regardless of whether he is presently in a U.S. jurisdiction, and ask our allies to do the same.
2. Explore opportunities for the president to designate WikiLeaks and its officers as enemy combatants, paving the way for non-judicial actions against them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Civil rights leaders condemn ruling on use of word ‘boy'  |

Civil rights leaders condemn ruling on use of word ‘boy' |

In a certain context – and Southerners know what it is -- the word “boy” is one of the oldest and most demeaning of racial epithets. During the civil rights struggle, black men sometimes wore placards stating simply, “I am a man.”

Now, a black Alabama man is pursuing a discrimination lawsuit against his employer, Tyson Foods, and has offered evidence that the white plant manager who denied him a promotion had once referred to him as “boy.” The man, John Hithon, won the suit and $1.75 million and then saw the verdict overturned by the federal appeals court in Atlanta. So he retried the case, won $1.3 million the next time but lost again in the same court of appeals.

A central issue on appeal is the term “boy” and what it means.

In a ruling in August, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the manager’s alleged use of the word was “conversational” and amounted to “ambiguous stray remarks” that were not made in the context of employment decisions. It was not evidence of racial animosity, the court said in throwing out the most recent verdict.

That’s nonsense, say 11 civil rights pioneers, who assert that there can be no confusion about what a white man means when he calls a black man “boy.” In a recent court filing, they are asking the 11th Circuit to reconsider its decision. The motion is pending.

The court’s reasoning “does not stand the test of history, experience, reality or the common social understanding of race relations in the country, particularly the South,” said their motion, written by lawyers for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. If allowed to stand, the ruling will impede racial discrimination claims that rely, at least in part, on the use of racially coded slurs in the workplace, the motion said.

Among those signing onto the filing: Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor who was executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a founder of the SCLC; Dorothy Cotton, the SCLC’s former educational director; and former SCLC president the Rev. Joseph Lowery.

“It’s ridiculous to think that anyone in the court system, anyone who’s been to law school, would not understand this word -- particularly in the South -- was used to belittle African-Americans,” said the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a former SCLC executive who also signed onto the motion.

“There have been times when white men called each other boy – like a good old boy – and that was friendly to them,” he said. “It was never friendly when it was said to African-Americans. It’s a sad part of Southern history.”

Big Brother Tightens Grip in China | World | Epoch Times

Big Brother Tightens Grip in China | World | Epoch Times
its laws and regulations to control an increasing number of facets of daily life, especially the Internet and cell phones, and in suppressing independent expression of all forms: religious expression, petitioners, and the media.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) has released its 2010 annual report, detailing troubling developments beginning in November 2009. The report notes the increasingly harsh repression of the legal profession that has implications for human rights defenders and those engaged in business in China.
Related Articles
The regime introduced new rhetoric on its compliance with international human rights standards that is likely to impede U.S.-China dialogue. The communist regime has become emboldened, saying that its Internet policies are in line with international law.
China’s regime has developed another tool to control dissent by increasingly threatening to ban human rights defenders and advocates critical of the regime from traveling out of the country. The regime regards such travel as a “state security” threat or would “cause a major loss to national interest.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Many People Are Blind To Juan William's Bigotry. It Is Amazing!

Juan WilliamsImage by Fairfax County Public Library via FlickrThese are the words that Juan Williams uttered which got him into trouble. These are the words which caused NPR to fire him.
"I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

What is wrong with this?  Here is the problem;  "if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims".  This is an incredibly bigoted remark.  This is America.  We are allowed to express our religion in the way we dress.  We supposedly do not judge people by their religious beliefs. This is not France which has outlawed the Muslim burka. Catholic priests and nuns wear distinctive, religious garb, Hassidic Jews wear black coats and hats.  This is America.  If you see something wrong with someone identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims by their dress and you do not see a problem with believers of other faiths identifying themselves first and formost as a Catholic, or a Jew or a Buddhist you are a bigot and your values are contrary to American values.  Don't feel bad if you don't get it.  A lot of people don't get it.  MSNBC's Hardball Host Chris Matthews, who can be often inexplicably obtuse when it comes to issues of ethnicity, gender and race does not get it.  Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post did not get it either in his discussion with Chris Matthews on Hardball.  Thank goodness however NPR got it.  Rachel  Maddow, the incredibly bright MSNBC host of the Rachel Maddow Show gets it.  Fox News got it. That's why they gave Juan Williams a two million dollar new contract the day after his bigoted statement.  Bigotry sells, especially in hard economic times like we are now experiencing.  Fox News sells hate, anger and bigotry, not news.  It's time for America to understand that our country is multi-cultural.  People who claim Islam as their religion do evil things like 9/11.  That does make all Muslims evil.  People who claim Christianity as their religion do evil things like committing mass murder and genocide in Bosnia during the 1990s.  That does not make all Christians evil.  It time for us all to wake up and smell the coffee.  People do both good and evil.  It not a "religion" thing.  It's a "people" thing.

US Forces Turn A Blind Eye To Torture According To Documents Released By Wikileaks

GOP congressional candidate Stephen Broden says violent overthrow of government is 'on the table' | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News

GOP congressional candidate Stephen Broden says violent overthrow of government is 'on the table' | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News
WASHINGTON – Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.
In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."
Broden, a first-time candidate, is challenging veteran incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas' heavily Democratic 30th Congressional District. Johnson's campaign declined to comment on Broden.
In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.
"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."
Watson asked if his definition of revolution included violent overthrow of the government. In a prolonged back-and-forth, Broden at first declined to explicitly address insurrection, saying the first way to deal with a repressive government is to "alter it or abolish it."
"If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary," Broden said, adding the nation was founded on a violent revolt against Britain's King George III.
Watson asked if violence would be in option in 2010, under the current government.
"The option is on the table. I don't think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms," Broden said, without elaborating. "However, it is not the first option."

BBC News - Nigeria court rejects 'forced marriage' case

Map locator of Nigeria.Image via WikipediaBBC News - Nigeria court rejects 'forced marriage' case
A Nigerian high court has dismissed a case brought by a 26-year-old woman who says her father forced her to marry a senator.
The judge said her human rights had not been violated and it was a matrimonial matter for an Islamic court.
Zainab Isa Mayana was married to the senator of Zamfara State, Sahabi Ya'u, 54, in July at a ceremony where she was represented by her father.
She says she has never met him and her father knew she was already engaged.
Sokoto, where the trial took place, was one of several northern states to re-introduce Sharia law after the return to democracy in 1999.
The BBC's Haruna Shehu Tangaza in Sokoto says that these days forced marriages are frowned on in the predominately Muslim north of Nigeria.
People have generally supported Ms Mayana and she has been seen as courageous in bringing the case against her father and Senator Ya'u, he says.
Judge Isiyaku Mohammed said under the constitution, the federal court could not intervene in the affairs of an Islamic court.
Ms Mayana was not in court for the ruling, but her lawyers told the BBC they would not relent in their efforts to dissolve the marriage as she was not married to a man of her choice.
They said they would file a new case at "an appropriate court", which by implication would be an Islamic court, our reporter says.
Ms Mayana, who is studying at Ahmadu Bello University, says she has been engaged to another man for five years.
Senator Ya'u was already married before his wedding to Ms Mayana in July, although it is not known exactly how many wives he has, our correspondent says.
Under Islamic law, a man can take up to four spouses.

The Maddow Blog - This is a president

The Maddow Blog - This is a president

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wrongly Convicted Man Receives $18.6 Million in Lawsuit Against NYC - BV Black Spin

Wrongly Convicted Man Receives $18.6 Million in Lawsuit Against NYC - BV Black Spin
Alan Newton (pictured above), who spent the last 20 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, was awarded $18.6 million yesterday by a New York City federal jury.
He was convicted in 1985, according to a New York Post report, for rape but never gave up on proving his innocence. In 1994, he made his first request to test the victim's rape kit, but the New York Police Department couldn't find it.
It wasn't until 11 years later, in 2005, that officials located the evidence. They tested it the following year and it proved Newton never committed the crime.
So 12 of those 20 years were because of shoddy police work by the NYPD.
Newton filed suit in 2007 after years of legal wrangling with the city.
He now works for the City University of New York and says he'll use part of the money to pay for law school to help people in need in the justice system.
A spokeswoman for the city's law department said: "We are disappointed with the verdict and plan to appeal."
I'm not exactly sure what is disappointing. Is she disappointed that they couldn't keep an innocent man imprisoned for the rest of his life?
A 2002 examination by the Associated Press of 110 inmates whose convictions were overturned by DNA tests showed that even when men (or women) are released from prison after being exonerated for a crime they didn't commit, many of them still have problems re-entering society and often there isn't a happy ending.

U.S. Military Is Forced Finally To Respect Human Rights And Enlist Openly Gay Recruits, At Least Temporarily

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DNA testing: A crucial tool for the justice system

DNA testing: A crucial tool for the justice system
The issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in Skinner v. Switzer might rest on technical legal arguments, as discussed in the Oct. 14 news story "Drama is missing in DNA death row case," but Henry W. Skinner's case raises a much larger concern. Mr. Skinner has fought with state officials for over a decade to obtain DNA testing in his murder case.
As a rape survivor, I know firsthand that DNA testing is one of the most powerful tools at our criminal justice system's disposal.
Twenty-six years ago, my life was forever altered when a man broke into my home and raped me. I was positive that I was able to identify my attacker. I picked Ronald Cotton out of two lineups and twice identified him in court. After being found guilty, Mr. Cotton sought DNA testing. This testing proved that I was wrong, that the criminal justice system was wrong and that Mr. Cotton was innocent. It also identified the true perpetrator.
I spent 11 years believing that an innocent man raped me. Post-conviction DNA testing revealed the truth in my case and enabled me to find closure. I hope that the court will rule in Mr. Skinner's favor so that, whether DNA tests prove him innocent or guilty, there can be closure for all those involved.
Jennifer Thompson, Winston Salem, N.C.
The writer is a member of the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission.

Meghan McCain, whose father, Senator John McCain, has vowed to filibuster the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell," talks with Rachel Maddow about the anti-gay and sometimes homophobic positions of her fellow Republicans.


WASHINGTON — Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.
The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that create technical obstacles to surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.
An Obama administration task force that includes officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the F.B.I. and other agencies recently began working on draft legislation to strengthen and expand a 1994 law requiring carriers to make sure their systems can be wiretapped. There is not yet agreement over the details, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, but they said the administration intends to submit a package to Congress next year.
To bolster their case, security agencies are citing two previously undisclosed episodes in which major carriers were stymied for weeks or even months when they tried to comply with court-approved wiretap orders in criminal or terrorism investigations, the officials said.
Albert Gidari Jr., a lawyer who represents telecommunications firms, said corporations were likely to object to increased government intervention in the design or launch of services. Such a change, he said, could have major repercussions for industry innovation, costs and competitiveness.
“The government’s answer is ‘don’t deploy the new services — wait until the government catches up,’ ” Mr. Gidari said. “But that’s not how it works. Too many services develop too quickly, and there are just too many players in this now.”
Under the 1994 law, the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, telephone and broadband companies are supposed to design their services so that they can begin conducting surveillance of a target immediately after being presented with a court order.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Death To Gang Members: The Feds' New Tactic : NPR

Death To Gang Members: The Feds' New Tactic : NPR

Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana has an unfortunate claim on history. He is the first member of the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang to be sentenced to death under the federal system of capital punishment, according to the Justice Department.
Prosecutors and FBI officials say the Umana investigation, which took them from North Carolina to California to El Salvador, is a model for how federal authorities will attack a growing gang threat that is leaching into smaller cities across America's heartland.
Umana is only 25. But over the course of his relatively short life, he allegedly killed five people in his role as a traveling evangelist for the MS-13 gang.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

BBC News - Iranian chocolate thief faces hand amputation

BBC News - Iranian chocolate thief faces hand amputation
An Iranian judge has sentenced a man convicted of robbing a confectionery shop to have one of his hands cut off, Iranian media report.
The judge also sentenced the man to one year in prison.
Police arrested the man in May after finding $900 (£560), three pairs of gloves and a large amount of chocolate in his car, Fars news agency said.
Under Iran's Islamic law, amputations are usually reserved for habitual thieves.
Last week, authorities cut off the hand of a man convicted of two robberies in the north-eastern city of Mashhad.

Black people are 26 times more likely than whites to face stop and search | UK news | The Observer

Black people are 26 times more likely than whites to face stop and search | UK news | The Observer
Analysis of government data shows shocking discrepancy in stop and search figures for England and Wales
Black people are 26 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police in England and Wales, the most glaring example of "racial profiling" researchers have seen, according to an international report.
The analysis of government data has brought claims of discrimination from campaigners who say the findings corroborate concerns that black and Asian Britons are being unfairly targeted. The US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who arrives in London today to launch a campaign aimed at curbing what he says is stop-and-search discrimination, described the figures as "astonishing".
The figures relate to stop-and-searches under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which was introduced to deal with football hooligans and the threat of serious violence. It allows police to search anyone in a designated area without specific grounds for suspicion.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gay Troops Sit Tight While Courts Debate 'Don't Ask' : NPR

Gay Troops Sit Tight While Courts Debate 'Don't Ask' : NPR

I totally disagree with the Obama administration in this case. The courts should end "don't ask, don't tell on constitutional grounds. The policy as the federal cour ruled violates the freedom of speech guarantees under the 1st Amendment and due process provisions of the 14th Amendment. Freedom from discrimination should be recognized as a fundamental right under the constitution. Racial segregation was ended by congress and the courts never held that African Americans had a fundamental right to be free of discrimination. This was and is both morally and legally wrong. Kentucky senatorial candidate Ran Paul has said that he disagrees with the open accommodation provisions of the 1964 civil Rights Act which ended racial discrimination. Congress could, if a majority thought like Paul, repeal the 1964 Civil Rights Act and we could return to legal segregation in America. I do not expect this to happen but it is possible. If the Supreme Court had found that racial discrimination violates the 14th amendment then congress would not have the power to abridge this right. The 14th Amendment's legislative intent was to end second class citizenship specifically for African Americans but it expressly covered all Americans which includes gay Americans. Congress should not have the power to grant or withhold these fundamental rights of American citizenship.
John H. Armwood

Andean Information Network » Blog Archive » Conflict and Consensus: The Anti-Racism and Discrimination Law in Bolivia; Part I: Content and Justification of the Legislation

Andean Information Network » Blog Archive » Conflict and Consensus: The Anti-Racism and Discrimination Law in Bolivia; Part I: Content and Justification of the Legislation
On October 8, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed the “Law against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination” (O45) into effect. Despite protests from journalists across the country, the Bolivian Legislative Assembly passed the law without modifying contested articles 16 and 23, which outline potential penalties for members of the media who publish racist or discriminatory ideas.
While the majority of national and international criticism has focused on how this law might potentially limit freedom of speech in Bolivia, the measure’s twenty-four articles go far beyond simply regulating the media to combat racism and discrimination in all public and private institutions. International accords on racism and discrimination provide the foundation to address the long history of these problems in Bolivia.
The Bolivian representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR), Denis Racicot, declared support for this new law, but has cautioned the Bolivian government to implement these changes carefully and gradually, and concentrate on resolving the current dispute with the Bolivian press.[i] It remains to be seen how the Morales administration will address the current conflict. Law 045 has the potential to bring much needed change to Bolivia, but its stipulations and penalties must be clearly defined and sensibly executed to quell the current conflict. Furthermore, press protests about the possible prosecution under the law fail to recognize, that, when accused, clauses in Article 23 allow the offender to formally apologize for racist or discriminatory insults to avoid penalties. The media should work with the MAS administration to ensure that penalties for the press are appropriate to the violation (e.g. community service over prison sentences) and do not limit free speech. Furthermore, Bolivian law has placed limits on freedom of the press since the passage of the Press Law in 1925. This new legislation includes racism and discrimination as additional limitations.

U.K. cleric: Rape is impossible within marriage - World news - Europe -

U.K. cleric: Rape is impossible within marriage - World news - Europe -
LONDON — A leading Muslim cleric has sparked controversy in Britain by claiming that it is impossible for men to rape their wives.
Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, who is president of the Islamic Sharia Council, told a website that "sex is part of marriage" and suggested that husbands who commit such acts should not be prosecuted.
"Clearly there cannot be any rape within the marriage," he told The Samosa website. "Maybe aggression, maybe indecent activity... Because when they got married, the understanding was that sexual intercourse was part of the marriage, so there cannot be anything against sex in marriage. Of course, if it happened without her desire, that is no good, that is not desirable."
Sayeed runs Britain's largest network of Islamic sharia courts, The Independent reported.
Rape within marriage has been illegal in Britain since 1991.
Sayeed told The Samosa that if husband "does something against her wish or in a bad time" that he "may be disciplined, and he may be made to ask forgiveness. That should be enough."

China leaders face increased pressure for freedom of speech - Telegraph

China leaders face increased pressure for freedom of speech - Telegraph
China's leaders faced fresh calls for freedom of speech on Friday after group of 100 scholars, journalists and lawyers published an open letter demanding the release of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.
The letter calls for the immediate release of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo
The letter was released as the Communist Party's top leadership gathered in Beijing for its secretive annual meeting to discuss the country's future direction, including a new five-year economic plan for 2011-2015.
The latest open letter is part of renewed turbulent debate in China about whether the current regime of draconian censorship implemented by a ruling party can provide a sustainable future for China.
Earlier this week, following the award of the Nobel peace prize to the dissident Liu Xiaobo, the ruling Communist Party was further embarrassed when a group of 23 Party elders warned the Party would "die a natural death" if did not give people basic rights.
China's leadership has furiously rebuffed calls for reform, attacking the Nobel Prize committee for awarding the peace prize to "a criminal" and printing newspaper editorials accusing Western nations of waging an ideological war against China.
However the Party is facing pressure not just from Western democratic governments, but also from within, as the latest letter praised the Nobel committee and called for the immediate release of Mr Liu and all political prisoners in China.
"China should join the mainstream of civilised humanity by embracing universal values," the letter said, "Such is the only route to becoming a 'great nation' that is capable of playing a positive and responsible role on the world stage." The increasingly bold calls for reform in academic and dissident circles are not expected to have an immediate impact on the Party leadership.
Analysts will be watching to see if China's new five-year-plan contains measures to speed up the rebalancing of China's economy by stimulating domestic demand as China faces growing calls to revalue its currency and wean itself off its reliance on exports.
Political watchers will also be looking for signs that vice-president Xi Jinping, the heir-apparent to current Chinese president Hu Jintao, is still on track to take over the reins of power in 2013.
In a further indication of the pressure for reform that Mr Xi could face when he takes power, China's internet has seized on a blog post by Mr Xi's former doctoral supervisor arguing that the party's refusal to submit to any checks and balances is causing the "social decay" of China.

Indonesia writes off book-banning law -

Indonesia writes off book-banning law -
JAKARTA, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Indonesia turned a page by ripping up a 50-year-old law that allowed the government indiscriminately to ban books it considered dangerous or too controversial.
Human rights groups said freedom of speech to a leap forward when Indonesia's constitutional court struck down the book banning law that has been in place since the days of former President Suharto in the 1960s.
Successive governments have used it to clamp down on any form of public dissent, to bolster public order and to improve sensitive national security situations.
Suharto was well known for cracking down on dissent during his 32-year rule up to 1998. But since then, there has been a gradual widening of freedom expression for the nation's nearly 240 million people, the vast majority being Muslim.
Even so, in the past six years, the law was used to ban 22 books. Most have dealt with the 1965 coup attempt but one dealt with the mass killing of suspected communists in 1965 and 1966, another on the insurgency and free-Papua movement in Papua and two books were on religion.
The legal challenge to the law was mounted by several authors and publishers who argued that the government's banning powers curtailed freedom of expression.
In the landmark verdict, the Constitutional Court took away the powers of the Attorney General's Office to unilaterally ban books, saying such power should rest with a judicial court.