India terrorised by holy war

A holy war in India has left tens of thousands of Christians crammed into relief camps, too scared to return home following weeks of clashes with Hindu mobs in which at least 35 people have died.

More than 40,000 Christians have had to flee their homes in Kandhamal district, one of India’s poorest, in the eastern state of Orissa. Their homes have been systematically attacked, looted and burned down by Hindu mobs since the end of August as the local police have looked on helplessly.

“Villagers have threatened to kill me because I am a Christian. They have said I will be welcome back only if I change my religion and become a Hindu,” said Jibit Kumar Digal, 30, who has spent over a month in a relief camp at Baliguda, 200 south west of the provincial capital Bhubaneswar.

Aligned to the radical Hindu Opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the marauding mobs supported by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council, are alleged to have killed Christians by burnign them alive, gang-raped a nun and destroyed over 140 churches and orphanages across Kandhamal.

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Zeitgeist: Addendum

Related: Zeitgeist, The Movie, Final Edition


Added: Oct 3, 2008

Source: Google Video

Brazilian Government Largest Illegal Logger in the Amazon

BRASILIA, Brazil, September 30, 2008 (ENS) – A Brazilian government agency that provides land to settlers is the largest illegal logger in the Amazon rainforest and could face criminal prosecution, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Monday. Minc blamed Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, or Incra, for occupying the top six places on a new government list of the 100 largest illegal loggers.

Today, he backed off a little, giving another government agency 20 days to analyze information presented by Incra contesting the legality of the deforestation.

Illegally cut logs await transport from a clearing in the Brazilian rainforest. (Photo by Andy Revkin)

“As some questions had been raised about what is legitimate, Ibama will go to evaluate point the point,” Minc said, handing responsibility for the inquiry to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama.

Minc clarified that Incra is the formal owner of the six parcels of land at issue, which in fact were deforested by the settlers. But legally, he said, the problem falls again on Incra because the Institute cannot pass ownership of land to the agriculturists until it has been settled for 10 years.

“They are small deforestations, of 20 or 30 hectares, per person. On the other hand, a small one deforests little but thousands deforest a great deal,” said Minc. “Therefore, we have that to improve, and as well we have to improve the incidents of deforestation on conservation units and on aboriginal lands.”

In total, 223,000 hectares of the rainforest were logged on those six properties

The Amazon rainforest is being chopped down more than three times as fast as last year, Brazilian officials said Monday, after three years of declines in the deforestation rate.

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India: where Christians are a target for the religious murder mobs


Namrata, a young Christian villager who was injured in an attack by a Hindu mob

The mob appeared an hour after sunset, armed with axes, clubs and paraffin. The carnage that followed would have been much worse if the Christians of Gadragaon, a remote village in northeast India, had not been warned by text message: “The Hindus are coming to kill you.”

The alert gave most enough time to flee to the jungle, where 114 of them would hide for a week, drinking rainwater and foraging for food.

But the warning did not come early enough for those unable to run. “They doused him with petrol and taunted him; we could hear him screaming,” said Ravindra Nath Prahan, 45, of his paralysed brother, Rasananda, 35, who was burnt alive by Hindu fanatics. “I could have tried to save him. But we had to save ourselves.”

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Home Office: Recession will bring big rise in crime and race hatred

Ministers are bracing themselves for a rise in violent crime and burglaries and a shift to far-right extremism as the effects of the economic downturn take their toll, a leaked Home Office report to the Prime Minister says.

In a series of warnings, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, says that Britain also faces a “significant increase” in alcohol and tobacco smuggling, hostility towards migrants and even a potential rise in the number of people joining terrorist groups.

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Pakistani women buried alive for choosing husbands

A Pakistani politician has defended a decision to bury five women alive because they wanted to choose their own husbands.

Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents Baluchistan province, told a stunned parliament that northwestern tribesman had done nothing wrong in first shooting the women and then dumping them in a ditch.

“These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them,” he said.

“Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”

The women, three of whom were teenagers and whose “crime” was that they wished to choose who to marry, were still breathing as mud and stones were shovelled over their bodies, according to Human Rights Watch.

The three girls, thought to be aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped by a group of men from their Umrani tribe and murdered in Baba Kot, a remote village in Jafferabad district.

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Police Using G.P.S. Units as Evidence in Crimes

Like millions of motorists, Eric Hanson used a Global Positioning System device in his Chevrolet TrailBlazer to find his way around. He probably did not expect that prosecutors would use it, too – to help convict him of killing four family members.

Prosecutors in suburban Chicago analyzed data from the Garmin G.P.S. device to pinpoint where Mr. Hanson had been on the morning after his parents were fatally shot and his sister and brother-in-law bludgeoned to death in 2005. He was convicted of the killings this year and sentenced to death.

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McCain suggests military-style invasion modeled on the surge to control crime

Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to the National Urban League, a group “devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.” When an audience member asked him how he planned to reduce urban crime, McCain praised Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in New York Cirty before invoking the military’s tactics in Iraq as the model for crime-fighting:

McCAIN: And some of those tactics – you mention the war in Iraq – are like that we use in the military. You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control. And you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement, etc, etc.

Listen here:

Now that our military experts advocate approaching the “war on terror” with more policing and intelligence gathering, McCain wants to approach urban policing with more military power. (HT: Political Radar)

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The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

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Airport-style scanners on the streets

Police are to use hundreds of airport-style and hand-held weapon detectors in the crackdown on knife crime.

Teams of 15 officers will be deployed across the 10 boroughs in London that have recorded the most knife crime.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin, head of territorial policing in the capital, said officers would be deployed in areas blighted by stabbings to stop and search teenagers suspected of carrying weapons.

Police admit the “in your face policing” is expected to raise community tensions in some areas.

But they say they are getting significant support from communities desperate for them to crack down on the problem.

Officers will use contentious Section 60 powers to enforce effective “no-go” areas for people carrying knives.

The powers enable officers to stop people and search them without the need to have “reasonable suspicion” that they are engaged in wrong doing.

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