31 May 2010

Nothing like Australia

I thought I'd post a little something about my new country, Australia. This is the new tourism advert and it's pretty good. Enjoy.

South Africa: The ANC's real 'night terrors' - the DA-run Western Province

One of the 9 provinces in South Africa - the Western Cape - is run by the main opposition to the ANC government - the DA (Democratic Alliance). This party took the Western Cape back  from ANC control in the last election and went about cleaning up the province and ridding the local municipalities of the corruption they inherited from the ANC. Needless to say they've done a very good job of this and the province's success now highlights the failings of the remaining 8 bankrupt ANC -run provinces. Recently, the ANC Youth League in the Western Cape decided to stoke up the racist hatred and found some toilet walls to pull down in revolt against the "racist" DA. I just have to wonder where these people now do their ablutions since they don't have any community toilets thanks to their own people. This just reminds us how the masses burnt down their own schools and libraries during the Apartheid years in protest. As a result, we now we sit with semi-literate masses voting these clowns in election after election...It seems a leopard cannot change it's spots. Oh, and the DA won Gugulethu and Grabouw in the recent by-elections; both previous ANC strongholds - ha ha. So much for the DA being racist.

Sometimes when writing about politics, the only person you can turn to is that well-known observer of The Force, Yoda. And if he saw what’s happening in Western Cape, he would no doubt repeat his famous quote, “Fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger, anger leads to…suffering”. Much fear he would sense in the ANC in that province at the moment. Mmmm.

What else could be driving it to resort to public violence and vandalism. On the face of it, people forced to live in the area of Makhaza in Kayelitsha have every right to be angry. No one likes to have to do their private business in a public bog. And for the City of Cape Town to build toilets without any kind of protection from the elements was probably a political mistake. Yes, there was an agreement with the community that the city would build the lavatories and the people would build the walls, that all makes perfect sense. But the City should have known it was never going to work out like that.

It was the chance the ANC had been waiting for. At last, after all this time, a chance to jump down the DA’s throat about something. They’d had to wait for quite a long time after all, which perhaps says more about the pothole-infested “World-Class African City” than it does about the DA.

In the end the city went in and installed some corrugated iron shelters. Not great, no windows or anything like that, and the smell must have been horrific, but there we are. The mayor Dan Plato went himself to make sure it was done good and proper. He’d taken the precaution of making sure the residents were as happy as they could be over the affair.

But members of the ANC Youth League, people who also say they’re from a group living in the area, went in and destroyed the enclosures. Interestingly, as far as we know, none of them was arrested, but there is footage and pictures aplenty of the ANC’s new form of “direct action”. Now that same group of pacifists is urging the youth to “vandalise the city”. They want to make it ungovernable. That’s how they’re going to take out the Death Star.

Now, before we get on our high horse and point out that this is not the best way to win friends and influence people in a democratic state, there is a dispute over a few facts. Most media reports quote residents that weren’t happy with corrugated iron, but said it was better than the windy dumps it replaced. The ANCYL’s people dispute that. Their argument, as cogently as we can put it, seems to say that because the majority of these residents were opposed to the structures, they must be destroyed because majority rules. These are the people who miss the “constitutional” part of the constitutional democracy in which we live. So if all the right-handed people in the country wanted to kill all the left-handed people, that, according to this logic, would be perfectly fine.

The national office of the League says this isn’t true. Well, we think that’s what it's saying, because its “spokesman” Floyd Shivambu had a brief conversation with the unfortunate Sapa reporter who was asked to call him. Being his usual eloquent self, he asked “how can you call yourself a journalist?” before saying “how can you tell such lies?”. So he’s on the ball then.

We must just mention at this point that to speak of one ANC in the Western Cape is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a party that’s balkanised. There are massive problems within the ANC there. It’s hugely divided and that means we cannot presume this action has the backing of most, or even many, of the party’s members in the province.

In this case it seems the law, allied to the strong force that is Helen Zille, will probably prevail. With a bit of luck, the residents themselves will find a way to deal with the youth.

But this is just one incident. You have to ask how it is that so much is going so right in Cape Town that the ANC has to resort to trashing toilets. Is there really nothing else it can pick on? And to accuse the DA of racism just doesn’t wash any more. We get the feeling that middle-class black people actually just ignore that claim. Slowly, more and more people in this country are beginning to see race as not the prime determinant of their opinion.

Now, think about this. In Gauteng, Premier (for now) Nomvula Mokonyane has just finished her “Quality of Life Report” on Gauteng’s municipalities. No, Joburg didn’t win. Midvaal did. And, guess who controls Midvaal? The party’s name means “yes” in Russian. So one presumes Midvaal will be run by the DA again after next year’s elections.

We think the Western Province will too. To pick on an issue of toilets is not going to win you an election. It’s 50 toilets in one place. What it will do is demonstrate how scared you are. How, in the Western Cape, the ANC needs to accept more of Yoda’s wisdom, that losing, like “death, is a part of life”. We're not sure it will.

The better run Cape Town is, the more apparent will be the disarray in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The opposition-run Western Cape could be the shape of things to come. Eventually, the silent majority will wake up one day and realise that they care more about who provides good infrastructure, safe streets and well-run schools and hospitals than about politics of race and conflict.

That is the day our ruling political elite fears the most.


Australia: Another fine mess for Kevin Rudd, all of his own making

After waiting more than 6 months for the Henry Tax review to be released by the government, Mr Rudd eventually did so a few weeks back. Of the many suggestions made in the review which was suppose to streamline the Australian Tax system, the government clamped down on one. What was that one you ask? The brilliant idea to tax the "super profits" of the mining industry! Mr Rudd and Co have emptied the tax-payer surplus cupboard from the Liberal era and now are panicking to re-stock it before the next election -  so being desperate they decided to hit the soft-target mining sector with a super tax. The result? Shares in the industry have dropped; mining investment and projects have been put on hold and the rest of the mining countries are thanking Mr Rudd for all the new business coming their way. If this isn't Socialism then I don't know what is. What Mr Rudd underestimated in his "fair go" wisdom was the reaction from the public, the majority of whom have lambasted the government for their greed and spendthrift ways. Pity I can't vote yet!

THE charge that the Prime Minister of the country has misled the parliament is serious and not made lightly. Today Kevin Rudd stands so charged.

He'll argue his way out of it, of course and in the process trash the Westminster system just as badly as he did during the home insulation fiasco. And, as usual it's the Prime Minister's intellectual arrogance, and proclivity for hyperbole based on utter self-confidence that has put him in a position where he has misled the House of Representatives.

It's another fine mess, and as is increasingly common these days, one completely of Rudd's own making. The issue at the centre of the charge of misleading is the government's disgraceful decision to spend $38 million of taxpayers' money belatedly trying to explain its botched attempt to pillage $9 billion from the nation's miners.

To get to the misleading of the parliament we need to work backwards. Not so far backwards as Chapter 11 of Labor's 2007 pre-election manifesto, Reforming Government, in which Rudd stated, hand on heart, that "Labor will not support the use of government advertising for political purposes".

No, we only need to go as far back as Thursday when Tony Abbott asked the Prime Minister if he would now abandon the mining tax. Abbott cited four reasons; "the collapsing dollar, the falling stockmarket, the suspension of projects and the evaporation of jobs".

It's the falling stockmarket that concerns us here. In a lengthy answer, Rudd comprehensively rejected Abbott's assertion that the government's tax had had any impact on capital markets.

Let's go the PM's own words: "This goes to the other point he [Abbott] has made. I quote him from an earlier remark when he said, 'Our sharemarket is under pressure because the government has totally mismanaged its proposal of a big new tax on mining'.

"Let us go to the facts of this matter. Share prices around the world have fallen because of the crisis in Greece and the honourable Leader of the Opposition would know that. Secondly, within mining itself he is yet to adduce any data to support the proposition. So on proposition No 1 about the dollar, on proposition No 2 about the share price, on proposition No 3 about employment: wrong, wrong, wrong, against all the factual data."

Unfortunately the following day another piece of "factual data" surfaced in the form of Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig's statement that he was exempting the government from its own lily white guidelines on taxpayers' advertising to allow a $38m assault on the mining industry.

Among the reasons specifically cited by Ludwig for the exemption was the following: "I have also accepted the Treasurer's advice that, as the tax reforms involve changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets."

So, the day after Rudd tells parliament Abbott's claims the mining tax is affecting financial markets are garbage, his government uses the same rationale to justify rorting its own advertising standards.

But it gets worse. We now know that Swan first canvassed the idea of an advertising exemption based on market impacts at the time of the budget. So Rudd would have known about that justification since May 11. Then he told the parliament the opposite on Thursday.

Moreover, we now also know it was Rudd who approved the precise wording of the Ludwig statement. This column specifically asked the Prime Minister's office on Saturday if Rudd or anyone in his office cleared Ludwig's release on government advertising in relation to the mining tax before it was released.

Answer: " Yes as a courtesy a copy of the release was provided."

There was also a second question: "Was the issue discussed at any time by the full cabinet or the Strategic and Priorities Review Committee of Cabinet (aka the Gang of Four). If so, was Rudd present for those discussions?

Answer: "As per longstanding practice for both sides of politics we do not discuss cabinet committee deliberations."

I'm going to take an educated guess here and say that it was the Gang of Four, or part thereof, who signed off on this tax campaign. As my colleague Peter van Onselen reported in the The Weekend Australian, this was a policy conceived in haste and secrecy. This was Rudd and Swan's doing. Though Swan has been a lot smarter (for that read cautious) in his public pronouncements on the issue.

As for the opposition, they smell Rudd blood. Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb said: "On Thursday Rudd got up in the parliament swearing black and blue that his great big new tax on mining was not affecting share prices and this assertion was against all the factual data. To say otherwise he thundered was 'wrong, wrong, wrong'.

"We now know that on Monday Joe Ludwig approved Wayne Swan's request for an exemption to Labor's own rules so the government could launch a $38m advertising blitz against the miners. The clinker is in Ludwig's Friday press release where he says 'I have accepted the Treasurer's advice that as the tax reforms involve changes to the value of some capital assets, they impact on financial markets'.

"There it is in black and white. The Treasurer obviously has long had data which supports the Coalition's stating of the obvious: that this tax is adversely impacting on the sharemarket and on the superannuation investments of millions of Australians.

"Rudd knew this and therefore it would appear he has clearly and quite deliberately misled the parliament and he must provide a full explanation such is the seriousness of this issue. His government has approved a panicked advertising blitz on the very basis that he said on Thursday did not exist."

The speed of disintegration in the quality of decision-making in this government is truly astounding. The Labor backbench must be grinding their teeth. Especially when they read reports, as they did in The Australian last week, that Rudd would surround himself with his ministers during the coming campaign to emphasise the depth of Labor talent. Those who remember the 1980 election shudder. A desperate ALP tried to bookend the unpopular Bill Hayden with then extremely popular NSW premier Neville Wran and ACTU president Bob Hawke.

It was a disaster. The Sydney Morning Herald described it as pathetic. "Pathetic because they [campaign ads] amount to a vote of no confidence in Mr Hayden. Their message to the electorate surely is; you may not think our elected Labor leader is up to running the country, but just look who he has got with him." The answer in 2010: Julia Gillard.


Islam and Sharia Law are coming to America

Here is a quick snapshot of what Sharia is all about. Sounds just wonderful! Can't wait for it to invade our communities and to see all woman covered up and/or  beaten because they're "half a man". Such a peaceful religion....but why do their men cover up their faces if they are allowed to commit jihad? You'd think they'd be proud to uphold their beliefs.

Sharia, or Islamic law, influences the legal code in most Muslim countries. A movement to allow sharia to set regulations that pertain to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and custody, is now expanding into the United States. All Sharia is derived from two primary sources, the divine revelations set forth in the Qur'an, and the sayings and example set by the Prophet Muhammad in the Sura.

What is Sharia Law?

Also meaning "path" in Arabic, sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. It is derived primarily from the Qur’an and the Sunna, the sayings, practices, and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Marriage and divorce are the most significant aspects of sharia, but criminal law is the most controversial. In sharia, there are categories of offenses.

The chief elements of Sharia Law are first: a belief that women are deficient in their natural and “innate” potentials and abilities, including their psychological-makeup and intellectual capacity. The Islamic Penal Codes are based on violence in its most primitive forms. These not only authorize organized state violence, but also encourage male violence against women within the family and in society. While precise statistics are scarce, the UN estimates thousands of women are killed annually in the family honor.

While the Islamic Penal Codes have born down a tremendous injustice on the women they are not just second-class citizens, half a man, but at times their very existence is disregarded. It has been pointed out that our women have managed to achieve equality in one field only: equal right to imprisonment, exile, torture, being killed, and now being slaughtered.

Second, a belief in a social and family order where men must be guardians over women, and women must submit.

Third, a belief in an unequal system of rights and consequently, wherever the question of the reproduction of such an order is concerned, of a system of punishment that is also unequal.

1. Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped. Sura 5:90-91.
2. Islam allows husbands to beat their wives. Qur’an, 4:34
3. Islam allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge, physical eye for physical eye. Qur’an, 5:45
4. Islam commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off. Qur’an, 5:38
5. Islam commands that highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated. Qur’an, 5:33. As an alternative, the convicted may have a hand and the opposite foot cut off while being banished from the land instead of crucifixion.
6. Islam commands that Homosexuals be executed. Abdu Dawud no. 447. Burning to death, stoned while against a wall, or stoned and thrown over a cliff.
7. Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death. Qur’an, 24-6
8. Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non—Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself.
9. Islam orders apostates to be killed. Sura 9:11-12
10. Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad

Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad. This does not allow for the freedom of religion or conscience. People of the Book (Jews and Christians) had three options (Sura 9:29): fight and die; convert and pay a forced 'charity' or zakat tax; or keep their Biblical faith and pay a jizya or poll tax. The last two options mean that money flows into the Islamic treasury.


30 May 2010

South Africa: Obama sends feds to protect USA team.

There are some websites out there that continue to highlight the goings on in South Africa. Here is another post from the CoCC website.

Obama administration takes unprecedented action to protect an American sports team.

The Columbian soccer team had $2,500 looted from their hotel rooms by hotel staff in South Africa. The same thing happened to the Egyptian team during preliminaries.

Now the Obama administration has ordered federal agents to South Africa to protect the American team. A large force will protect American soccer players whenever they leave their hotel rooms.

Bill Clinton and Joe Biden are attending games and will be surrounded by armies of federal security forces. (So much for loving diversity!)


I fervently pray that the World Cup will bring real hope to this benighted country. So why the heavy heart?

Sadly, too late for common sense. South Africa should never have been awarded the Soccer World Cup. If anything, Fifa held all the cards and could have asked South Africa to show that crime and corruption was under control prior to awarding the country the cup. If SA took 20 years to show this, then so be it. Instead, the country has gone downhill faster since being awarded the tournament with crime and murder out of control. None of the liberal media seems willing to tell the truth as it stands today but they found a lot of energy to jump up and down when Apartheid was still in place. South Africa was NEVER this bad under Apartheid. We had law and order and the Blacks enjoyed the best education and life expectancy standards on the whole of the African Continent. What price have their people paid to have bragging rights? The highest HIV/AIDS; rape and murder stats; woeful education and crumbling hospitals; shoddy justice and police departments; lower life expectancy; and so the list goes on. You can't make a silk purse out of sows ears...

 Hat tip: REXTRUT

Keeping guard: Police watch the every movements of football teams after the Colombian national team had money stolen from their hotel
Arriving at Cape Town airport — renovated at enormous expense for the World Cup, which kicks off here in less than a fortnight — my eye was caught by a newspaper story.

Headlined ‘Be good — just for four weeks, pleads Zuma’, it was a rather desperate-sounding appeal from South Africa’s President, urging the many villains in his crime-ravaged country to suspend the murder, rape and plunder, if only for the duration of the tournament.

It didn’t sound much to ask. After all, this is the first time an African nation has been trusted to stage the planet’s biggest sporting spectacle, and more than 400,000 visiting fans plus a global TV audience of 26 billion will be watching to see whether it measures up to the task.

However, within two days I discovered, first-hand, how effective Zuma’s entreaty is likely to be.

Having been robbed here several years ago (my passport and wallet were taken from my hotel room), I decided not to bring much cash or even traveller’s cheques.

But I had been in South Africa for only a few days when I was alerted by text that my credit card was being used at cash-points all over town and I’d been fleeced of £1,300.

I still have the card, but it seems someone had cloned it and copied the pin number.

As a journalist, I have travelled to more than 100 countries and no one has stolen so much as a brass washer from me. Yet I have been to South Africa half a dozen times now, and it has happened twice.

Of course, it could just be bad luck. This sort of thing goes on all over the world, after all, and in the end all it cost me was a few hours of hassle.

Then, this week, a World Cup hotel where the Colombia squad are staying (they’ve not qualified for the tournament but are in South Africa to play a friendly) was targeted and £1,800 was stolen from the players’ suitcases.

But, it was the reaction of people here — or rather the lack of it — that told me all I needed to know about the nature of this so-called Rainbow Nation.

One police official seemed surprised I was even bothering to report the theft. My friend, Fanie, who has risen admirably from a poor township to become a top photographer, just shrugged.

‘Welcome to South Africa,’ he said. ‘Now you know what life’s like here.’

His words were still echoing a few hours later as I gazed from my 16th-floor hotel room in Cape Town’s swish new Waterfront development. The breathtaking view is dominated by two landmarks which together symbolise the historic significance of the country chosen to stage next month’s World Cup.

In the near distance, rising from the Atlantic shoreline like a gigantic upturned seashell, stands the magnificent new 4.5 billion Rand Green Point Stadium, which will stage eight of the games, including England’s second match, against Algeria.

On the far horizon lies the mist-wreathed outline of Robben Island, the forbidding rock where Nelson Mandela was held in a tiny cell and put to work in a lime quarry for 18 of his 27 years in prison.

Stadium and island are separated by just a few miles of choppy grey water, but there is no denying how far the country has journeyed in the 16 years since the fall of apartheid.

If we believe President Zuma, hosting the World Cup will represent another giant stride.

Sepp Blatter, head of world football’s all-powerful governing body, FIFA, trots out the same message — that it will transform the lives of millions of people, rich and poor alike — justifying the £3 billion it has cost to stage.

They point to the five futuristic new stadiums, the new roads and transport links, the thousands of jobs (forgetting that many have been allocated to lowly-paid immigrants, sparking a frightening xenophobic backlash) and the billions that will flood back into the economy.

This is without the unquantifiable benefits South Africa will reap from showcasing its beautiful scenery and cultural heritage; and above all from proving to the world that it is able to stage an event as efficiently as Germany or Japan.

Yet . . . much as you want to believe all this World-Cup hype — and I fervently wish the tournament is the glorious occasion that it deserves to be — there are contradictions wherever you turn.

If the tournament was really designed to benefit Africans, for example, why is it that only 13,000 of the 2.9 million match tickets — less than 0.5 per cent — have been sold to people in other African countries?

The answer is simple. At FIFA’s insistence, the vast majority were available only via the internet, and to buy them you needed to possess a credit card, commodities very few Africans possess.

Why have street vendors been booted off their market stalls near the World Cup stadiums? Is it for fear that fans might buy their cheap replica team shirts and flags instead of the exorbitantly-priced official FIFA merchandise (all made in the Far East) and eat local food instead of buying a pricey burger at McDonald’s, the tournament’s official caterer?

And why were South African musicians initially denied the privilege of performing at the opening ceremony alongside American stars such as R Kelly, only being included on the bill after threatening to steal the show by putting on an alternative concert?

So much for all the triumphal pronouncements that staging the world’s greatest sporting event here is a ‘victory for football and a victory for Africa’.

The harsh realities will hit England’s expected 50,000 travelling fans as soon as they leave Cape Town’s swish new airport. They will be confronted by a shameful scene that has been known to reduce first-time visitors to tears.

It is difficult to summon the words to describe the squalor of the vast shanty town that unfolds beside the motorway leading to the city. More than a million people are corralled into tiny shacks built from rusting, corrugated iron, sheets of polythene, cardboard and plywood: anything that they can muster.

There is no running water or electricity (though resourceful residents sometimes rig generators to the traffic lights), and the foul-stinking streams and ponds are open sewers.

Football here means a barefooted kick-about on some disease-ridden rubbish dump.

Hardly surprisingly, it is in these anarchic cauldrons that South Africa’s huge problems are rooted: seething hatred for the wealthy white minority and the burgeoning black middle classes; mass unemployment; rampant HIV, drug abuse and alcoholism; and, of course, crime.

The country’s 49 million population is 12 million smaller than Britain’s, but each year 18,000 people are murdered (a rate 27 times higher than ours); there are 200,000 serious assaults; 18,400 house robberies and a shocking 380,000 rapes.

Back in 2004, when South Africa was awarded the World Cup, the millions trapped in God-forsaken shanty towns rejoiced with the rest of the nation, for it seemed to promise them so much.

One of the fundamental principles was that the stadiums and accompanying infrastructure should benefit the most impoverished communities.

In Cape Town, for example, it was broadly agreed that a new stadium should be built in Athlone, a vast township of grim, concrete tenement blocks where people classified as ‘coloured’ were confined under the iniquitous apartheid regime.

Not only would it bring new jobs and a sense of pride, but the improved transport system would allow people to seek work elsewhere in the city.

But it was clear that a ghetto like Athlone clearly wasn’t what FIFA envisaged when they offered football’s glittering prize to Africa. After all, the new showpiece stadium, which has been built in an affluent white suburb and has Table Mountain as its scenic backdrop, would look so much nicer on the TV.

But this, in essence, is how it came to be built in an area where no one has the slightest interest in football and which is utterly inaccessible to the vast majority of fans.

As a result, there are worries it will become a white elephant after the final whistle sounds.

Meanwhile, the old Athlone stadium has been given a facelift. But in their determination to prettify the area for the world’s gaze, the local authority has embarked on a ruthless ‘sanitisation’ programme.

Far cry: Blikkiesdorp, or 'Tin Town', houses more than 350 people who were forcibly evicted from their 'eyesore' hostel in Athlone and dumped here as part of the World Cup 'sanitization programme'
It evicted 365 men, women and children from a particularly unsightly hostel beside the main road and shoved them many miles away, in a hellhole where few tourists will venture.
They have been dumped with thousands of other homeless people in a place known as Blikkiesdorp, or Tin Town, a fly-blown camp of aluminium huts which makes the shanty towns look comfortable by comparison.

‘Why didn’t they use all those billions they spent on building the stadiums to build houses for us to live in?’ asked Margaret Bennett, a mother-of-five whose family were rounded up and moved.

‘There are no shops near here and my children have to walk for four hours just to fetch a loaf of bread. The huts flood when it rains, and this place is full of diseases.

'This is what the World Cup has done for us.’

It is a story one hears repeated across the country. But there are other reasons why many ordinary South Africans feel betrayed by empty World-Cup promises.

The country’s public health service is falling apart. Only this week it was revealed that 181 babies have died in one East Rand neonatal unit since January.

Hundreds of people are also having their operations postponed — in order to keep beds empty in case of a terror attack, a stadium disaster or some other emergency during the tournament.

There is mounting resentment, too, among the staff at Cape Town’s crumbling Somerset Hospital, where the BBC has built its rooftop £1 million studio, with magnificent views of Table Mountain.

Gary Lineker and his pundits will perch safely atop the relatively modern maternity wing, but last weekend part of the ceiling in the 150-year-old forensic unit collapsed.

‘Thankfully, the nurse had just left the room. If not, she might easily have been killed,’ specialist Dr Paul Theron told me, suggesting the billions used on the adjacent football stadium might have been better spent building new hospitals.

Then there is the danger of crime, the great unspoken fear that is never far from one’s mind here.

Determined to prove it is exaggerated, the government has recruited 41,000 extra police officers and spent millions on a high-tech arsenal including weapons, helicopters and battlewagons.

They have also set up 54 special ‘World Cup courts’ at a cost of £4 million to process the expected glut of tournament-related crimes.

Barricaded behind a high wall in his smart, white Cape Town suburb, however, Smiley van Zyl, a 55-year-old skincare company owner, has one question: ‘How does jacking up World Cup security for a few weeks help people like me?’

More than 18 months ago, his wife of 33 years was shot dead by a car hijacking gang as she waited for the electronic gate at their home to open.

It tells us much about South Africa’s justice system that the first time her 25-year-old alleged killer was supposed to appear in court, officials forgot to collect him from prison.

And, incredibly, it has since been revealed that he was on bail at the time of the shooting — even though he faced 156 charges, including a string of armed robberies and attempted murder.

I’m told that most accused are able to obtain bail for a few rand no matter how serious the offence. Many then abscond, or bribe police officers to ‘lose’ their files so the case has to be dropped.

The townships are run by ruthless gangs such as the one thought to have killed Mrs van Zyl.

The suburb of Athlone is dominated by two of the most notorious: the Americans, an old established mob, and their upstart young rivals the Playboys.

They are battling to control the trade in two drugs that are endemic here, a form of crack cocaine called ‘unga’, and ‘tik’ the local name for crystal meth.

And as their respective patches are adjacent to the revamped World Cup practice stadium, running gun battles frequently erupt in the streets — alongside the pitch where England are expected to train.

Having met the Playboys’ leader, a sinister 21-year-old named Kiyaam Jovies, I can’t say I share the police’s confidence on safety.

The young gang boss removed his outsized shades to show me how his eye had been shot out.

‘The bullet is still in my head — they can’t move it because I’d lose my sight in the other eye.’

He then offered to take England fans on ‘a guided tour’ of his patch — something I certainly wouldn’t advise, having already found to my cost that crime is impossible to avoid in this country, no matter what precautions you take.

I have made friends in the Rainbow Nation and enjoyed good times here, so this is not a story I relish telling. Yet, amid all the giddy hoopla, it needs to be said.

But I’ll be delighted if my scepticism proves unfounded.

So let’s cross our fingers and hope the first African World Cup turns out to be a magnificent, trouble-free celebration of sport and culture, and marks a new beginning for this benighted country.


28 May 2010

Former asylum seeker is elected mayor of Cheshire village... then slams immigrants who refuse to integrate into British society

You see, it works like this. When someone is a genuine refugee, they appreciate what their new country has done for them.They do this by integrating and giving back. Giving back means you don't do crime; you pay your taxes and you try to be the best person you can be. It does not mean sponging off your new host ; committing crimes and generally making your fellow citizens hate you. Well done Mr Bartos.

HE arrived in Britain as a penniless asylum seeker with only a small bag of possessions to his name.

But more than 30 years after fleeing Communist-run Hungary, Gabor Bartos has been given the honour of being named mayor of his adopted home village.

And yesterday the 59-year-old said his story was a lesson to more recent immigrants on how to integrate themselves into British society.

'It's only right that outsiders should respect the cultures of the countries they want to live in,' he said.

'When I came to England, I had to learn to speak English and had to drive on the other side of the road from the rest of Europe, and I had to adopt traditions and I'm proud of that because that is what made me a British citizen.

'That gave me a loyalty to this country. I just wish all other asylum seekers would follow the same trait. Some of the people coming to this great country won't integrate, and it really makes me angry.

'It's very sad that the old saying "When in Rome do as the Romans" is much maligned and ignored these days.'

Mr Bartos grew up in Erd, south of Budapest, the son of a flower seller, but his burgeoning interest in Western pop culture after first hearing The Beatles saw him rebel against the repressive Communist regime.

Branded a dissident, he joined football fans travelling to London to watch Hungary play England in 1978, and after giving their secret police minders the slip he defected, claiming political asylum at the Home Office.

That was granted six years later, and despite the fall of Communism in 1989 Mr Bartos has made his life here, marrying a British woman, working as a piano tuner and being elected a local Conservative councillor.

Last week he was chosen as Mayor of his village, Poynton in Cheshire, which is now twinned with the town of his birth.

Yesterday he told of his gratitude for how his adopted country had given him shelter from persecution.

'We wanted to play music and we couldn't,' he said.

'We couldn't do the things that other teenagers were naturally doing on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

'We just wanted to have our long hair - I was beaten up many times by the police for having long hair, we were seen to be an enemy of the system.'

He told no-one of his plan to defect, packing only a small bag to avoid raising suspicion.

He was later sentenced to jail in his absence and was unable to visit relatives until the regime collapsed.

'I didn't tell anybody what I was planning - I couldn't even tell my mum. It was a hard decision at the time,' he said.

'I was frightened of the secret service, that they might follow me.'

Learning English and building a career tuning pianos for the BBC and a Manchester theatre he was determined to make the most of his new opportunity, however, earning enough to buy a small flat.

'When I got British citizenship in 1984 I felt like the proudest man in the world, really - because at last a great country like the UK was giving me the opportunity to be a citizen.

'Although when I went to the Home Office, the lady joked that now I was British, I had to support England at football. I told her I would!'

When it was eventually safe to return to Hungary he paid an emotional visit to relatives, discovering that an old schoolfriend was now mayor of Erd, and they arranged for it to be twinned with Poynton.

But the father-of-two - whose wife Jennifer works as a financial director - was now settled in England, and yesterday he spoke of his pride at being chosen as mayor.

'I'm absolutely humbled to get this position. I came to this country as an outsider and this job is the very least I can do after the UK made me a citizen.'


South Africa: New names for Eastern Cape towns!

Port Elizabeth could soon be known as Nelson Mandela! That's right folks - the Black masses of the Eastern Cape are starting to re-write our White history and are going to rename all the cities and towns in the region with their unpronounceable gibberish names. If they had designed, built and founded this area then maybe this wouldn't be so hard to swallow - but they did nothing but be parasites on the white tax money, sucking the teat dry and now they get to run this area into the ground and, to add insult to injury, rename the whole area to boot. No money to keep their people out of poverty and to stop the crime, but they can find the millions that it will cost to rename a whole region!

Most Eastern Cape towns, including East London and many of its suburbs, could have new names by the end of the year.

Members of the provincial Geographical Names Committee ’s (PGNC) are soon to criss-cross the entire Eastern Cape, holding meetings with different communities and other stakeholders to gather views on the proposed names for the province’s towns, suburbs and other places with colonial names.

Towns that could have their names changed include East London, Grahamstown, Uitenhage, King William’s Town and Port Elizabeth.

The committee has, over the past few months, received submissions on what these towns and their suburbs should now be called. The committee has now drawn up a short-list and is to present it at the public hearings.

Among its proposals is that East London be renamed Gompo; that King William’s Town become Qonce; Grahamstown, Nxele; and Uitenhage, Qhagqiwa. If the committee has its way, it would also change Port Elizabeth to Nelson Mandela.

Other proposed names are:
West Bank to Nongqongqo;
Wilsonia to Nqaza;
Peelton to Ncemerha;
Mount Coke to Mkhangiso;
Abbotsford to Vakwini;
Newlands to Nxarhuni;
Nahoon River to Nxarhuni River;
Nahoon to Nxarhuni;
Buffalo River to Qonce River;
Frankfort to Donqaba; and
Gonubie to Qunube.

Committee chairperson advocate Loyiso Mpumlwana said the committee had delayed the process in order to allow for enough time for communities and other stakeholders to make submissions. “We have been busy formulating district committees, as well as familiarising people and municipalities about the Geographical Names Committee and what it is all about,” he said.

The new process starts all over again on Monday, June 7, when the committee spends the week holding four public hearings in around Buffalo City Municipality. From there it will move to other parts of the province. “The process is aimed at giving residents who live in these areas a say, and we want to reach as many people as possible,” Mpumlwana said.

During the public hearings, residents will be given a chance to either submit new names or vote when more than one option for a particular place is given.


USA: Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam'

Well, I must say that Mr Brennan looks like one of those terrorist he's so passionately defending. If I saw him in a dark alley I'd run the other way...But, Mr Brennan is doing as any good Socialist should and changing the unpleasant term to a more palatable one. I'm not sure how he thinks he can b*llsh!t people into believing that terrorism is not a holy cause. Just what does he call it when the perpetrators shout "Praise to God" before blowing people and buildings up?

The president's top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam," arguing that the term "jihadists" should not be used to describe America's enemies.

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms."

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not "terrorism," because terrorism is a "tactic," and not terror, because terror is a "state of mind" -- though Brennan's title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word "terrorism" in it. But then Brennan said that the word "jihad" should not be applied either.

"Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said.

The technical, broadest definition of jihad is a "struggle" in the name of Islam and the term does not connote "holy war" for all Muslims. However, jihad frequently connotes images of military combat or warfare, and some of the world's most wanted terrorists including Usama bin Laden commonly use the word to call for war against the West.

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden's Al Qaeda network and "its terrorist affiliates."

But Brennan argued that it would be "counterproductive" for the United States to use the term, as it would "play into the false perception" that the "murderers" leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a "holy cause."

"Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism -- that the United States is somehow at war against Islam," he said.

The comment comes after Brennan, in a February speech in which he described his respect for the tolerance and devotion of Middle Eastern nations, referred to Jerusalem on first reference by its Arabic name, Al-Quds.

"In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together," Brennan said at an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University and the Islamic Law Students Association at NYU.


South Africa: Cleaners in court for robbing soccer team

And so it begins....

Johannesburg - Two cleaning ladies at the Southern Sun hotel in Hyde Park have appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court for allegedly stealing money from the Colombian soccer team, police said on Friday.

The Colombian team, who are staying at the five-star hotel, noticed that they had been robbed when they arrived back to their rooms after training on Tuesday, Colonel Eugene Opperman said.

"There was theft out of their rooms. They went out for about an hour to practise and the rooms were cleaned while they were out," he said.

"When they came back they discovered there was some money missing."

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that the women allegedly stole $21 000, however Opperman would not comment on the amount that was taken for security reasons.

Three women were arrested on Thursday but the charges against one of the women were dropped due to lack of evidence.

The Times reported that the remaining two suspects, Jeanet Mashimbyi, 29 and Lucky Mahlatsi, 25, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

They were due to appear in court again next week.


27 May 2010

Death of the Postmodernist Dream

A good round-up of world events of the past month or two. Ahhh - the winds of change are on us and we're finally starting to see the light again...

In just a few months the brave new dream world as we knew it has died — but with a whimper, not a bang.

There will be no more lectures on soft power and a Baltic-to-Mediterranean postmodern culture. Suddenly European Union expansion is dead in its tracks. The question of Turkish membership, after a decade-long controversy, has been settled without so much as a demonstration. The Europeans don’t want another Greece in their midst; the Turks don’t want German bankers running their sagging finances. A soaring Euro was supposed to reflect the sobriety of socialism; instead, it hid its profligacy, but only for a while.

So the welfare state is discredited. In the past, we used to be warned that static population growth, vast public-sector employment, early and generous retirement benefits, and high taxes were not sustainable. In recent years, those lectures were caricatured as partisan or hypothetical. No longer. The Greek meltdown — with Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain on the brink — has shown that European socialism does not work. Bankruptcy, not politics, is the final arbiter: Individuals, firms, and nations either buy particular bonds or they don’t. And a nation like Greece, in turn, either pays what it has borrowed or it doesn’t. All the op-eds in the New York Times cannot change that fact.

Al Gore will continue to channel from his Montecito hilltop the latest green consensus of the international academic community. But fairly or not, neither he nor it will be listened to all that much: He has made one too many millions off his hysteria, and professors have fudged one too many publicly funded studies. The result is that almost at once both have lost the people’s trust. A volcano, not hot weather, shut down European air travel. The Sierra Nevada is still buried under snow in late May. At least this year, a wet, cold state of California is not going to blow away, as Energy Secretary Chu warned not long ago.

It is fine and good to invest in wind and solar power, and other alternative energy sources — if for no other reason than to drain the swamp of the oil-rich Middle East — but soon Americans will be paying a fortune for gasoline and electrical power. As gas hits $4 a gallon, they will want more oil drilling, more coal mining, and more nuclear, hydro, and natural-gas energy, not less. Green mongering is not what it was just a few months ago.

Then there is Arizona. Over 70 percent of the American people support the state’s efforts to stop illegal immigration, which amount to nothing more than enforcing currently unenforced federal laws. The hackneyed charges of racism and nativism are ignored. The Left can cite California’s Proposition 187 and warn the Republicans that they will lose the Hispanic vote, but 70 percent margins reflect angry citizens of all races and ethnicities, who are tired of seeing laws ignored, their state governments bankrupted, and Mexican presidents shaking fingers at them.

I do not think the word “reset” will be used much longer to characterize American foreign policy. Reset from what to what? After all, is Iran closer to getting a bomb or further away than it was a year and a half ago? Are terrorists more or less likely to attack and kill inside the United States? Is Syria now a more or a less helpful player in the Middle East? Is Israel safer or less safe, more or less a U.S. ally? Are Putin and Ch├ívez now more helpful players on the world scene, in appreciation of Obama’s olive branches? Does a North Korea or an Iran feel more or less emboldened to run risks in testing the status quo? Is China more or less provocative in the Pacific?

The more provocation is ignored in one region, the more it is pursued in the other. The new audacity is predicated on the universal notion that the new United States either cannot or will not fulfill its retrograde function of deterrence — or might even privately sympathize with the assorted grievances that serve as pretexts for ignoring the sanctity of the border, selling missiles to terrorists, pursuing the bomb, or aiding in uranium enrichment.

The new world order as envisioned by Obama in January 2009 was, I think, supposed to look something like the following: A social-democratic America would come to emulate the successful welfare states in the European Union. These twin Western communitarian powers would together usher in a new world order in which no one nation was to be seen as preeminent. All the old nasty ideas of the 20th century — military alliances, sovereign borders, independent international finance, nuclear arms, religious and cultural chauvinism — would fall by the wayside, as the West was reinvented as part of the solution rather the problem it had been in its days of colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation. A new green transnationalism would assume the place of that bad old order, a transnationalism run by elite, highly educated, and socially conscious technocrats — albeit themselves Western — supported by a progressive press more interested in effecting social change than in merely reporting the tawdry news.

Obama can still push that story, but more and more Americans disagree with his 21st-century vision. Stuck in the past, they instead believe that capitalism, not socialism, brings prosperity; that to reach a green future we need to survive for now in a carbon and nuclear present; that all, not some, laws must be enforced; that our country is different from others and needs to maintain the integrity of its borders; and that there are always going to be a few bad actors abroad who must be deterred rather than appeased.

We will hear all sorts of angry charges as these dreams die, but that will not mean they are not dead — even if we are lucky and they go out with a whimper rather than a bang.


Hugo Chavez's implosion continues in Venezuela

Oh dear. Seems like Socialism isn't such a good policy after all and even Zimbabwe is posting better financial figures than them (and that's saying something!). Inflation in Chavez-topia is at 30%  -  but this couldn't possibly be true as Capitalism is evil and Social Justice is much better for the down-trodden citizens so what's gone wrong? I'm sure this is just a kink in the gold-paved oily road and Chavez will turn the economy around any day now. With an election coming up, old Chavez is getting a bit panicky as his ratings are below 40% and he's now resorting to banning his opponents. My, how the mighty have fallen. Good luck with trying to vote him out Venezuela! I can smell a Dictator miles away - I'm from Africa.

Hugo Chavez has been keeping a relatively low profile of late -- there have been no grand world tours, no fiery speeches at the United Nations. The Obama administration, which once promised to “engage” the Venezuelan caudillo, is instead quietly shunning him.

There’s a simple reason for this: the implosion of Chavez’s self-styled “Bolivarian socialism” is accelerating.

Figures reported Tuesday by the Chavez-controlled central bank portrayed an economy that is completely out of sync with the rest of the region -- and perhaps unique in the world in the degree of its current distress. Gross national product fell by 5.8 percent in the first quarter, while inflation remained at 30 percent. Private investment plummeted by 27.9 percent as capital continued to flee the country.

Private economists suspect the economic contraction is even worse than what the official figures concede. But let’s assume they are correct. Venezuela’s crash compares with quarterly growth rates of 8 percent in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. It comfortably exceeds the collapse of Greece, which contracted by 3 percent in the first quarter.

Inflation in Caracas is triple the next highest rate in Latin America (Argentina) and is more than double that of the next worst economy (Pakistan) among the 56 tracked by the Economist’s website. Even Zimbabwe, which used to be considered the world’s economic basket case, looks good compared to Venezuela: it is expecting 6 percent growth this year, while inflation is under 5 percent.

In short, economic recovery is taking hold across the world -- except in Chavez’s Venezuela.

When I pointed out back in January that Chavez’s revolution was collapsing, a chorus of left-wing bloggers rose up in protest.

The extremists among them claim that Venezuela is actually doing better than the rest of the world, because (loony version) Chavez is destroying evil capitalism or because (slightly less loony version) Venezuela’s implosion is irrelevant to the rest of the region.

But, of course, Venezuela really is cratering -- and Chavez’s desperate measures to stop the freefall are only making it worse. A couple of weeks ago, for example, he abruptly moved to abolish the private currency market, which supplies the dollars for 30 to 40 percent of Venezuela’s imports. The dollar exchange rate was soaring, so the government arrested a bunch of currency traders and announced that sales of dollars henceforth would be controlled exclusively by the central bank. The result will almost certainly be another drastic decrease in imports, the worsening of already widespread shortages in food and basic consumer goods, and the creation of a new black market in dollars.

And, of course, the implosion of Chavez’s potted socialism does matter to the rest of Latin America. It’s not just that the Obama administration no longer needs to bother with the strongman, since he is doing an excellent job of self-destruction. It’s that Venezuela’s clients and imitators -- especially in Bolivia and Nicaragua -- stand to lose both subsidies and ideological sustainment from Caracas. Chavez’s decade-long attempt to create a bloc of like-minded countries around the region is in tatters.

The caudillo’s popularity rating around Latin American is now below 40 percent, and his backing in Venezuela has dropped below 50 percent. With an election for the National Assembly coming up this fall, he has resorted to the Iranian tactic of disqualifying prominent opponents from the ballot. He will try to steal the election; if that doesn’t work he will try to strip the legislature of power.

No matter: Chavez appears powerless to stop the unraveling of Venezuela’s economy -- and with it, his “revolution.” He will be left with a choice: surrender to his country’s mounting discontent, or rule entirely by force.


USA: The End Of TheLegal System - Judges Joining Unions?

Amazing that all these liberal judges start their nonsense under Obama - it's like the Socialist flood-gates have been opened and the animals are escaping!

Unions are meant for one thing and one thing only: to “get” for its members. They have one purpose and that is to take as much from an employer as they can take, to get as much money and benefits as they can get away with.

Unions are not interested in assuring quality workmanship, they are not interested in offering quality to customers, and they most certainly aren’t interested in efficiency and modernization. Unions have but one purpose, to extort as many goodies as possible from an employer regardless of what it does to a business or a profession. Unfortunately, in the State of New York, judges are looking to “get” from the Empire State’s taxpayers regardless of what it might do to our legal system.

The New York Post reports that New York judges are toying with the idea of throwing in with the New York teachers union, New York State United Teachers, so that they can engage in collective bargaining.

One activist judge in particular is behind this effort according to the Post. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack is a former teacher, member of the United Federation of Teachers has been agitating for a pay raise for quite some time.

The state’s 1,300 judges make $136,700 per year and Schack wants that pay rate raised to $174,000, the same level that federal judges make.

But just imagine what this could mean? Going back to the actual purpose of a union what could happen if the judiciary ends up organized? The resulting “contract” agreements with government could slow the wheels of justice to a crawl as judges negotiate contracts with all sorts of goodies that would be antithetical to speedy justice.

And what if there is a dispute? Who settles it? Why they do! They’d be in the perfect position to adjudicate their own cases to assure that they get everything they want.

And what of government? Will the judiciary find its employers acting the role of the tough negotiator? Why should we expect our elected officials to be tough on the judges unions? After all, politicians have worked hand in pocket of the teachers unions and public employees unions to the point that government has failed miserably, government workers have become the most handsomely remunerated workers in America, and state and federal budgets have soared to unfathomable and unsustainable heights.

If you think our legal system is off track now, wait until judges become unionized!

One of the most important government reforms that Americans could undertake would be to eliminate public employees unions. The sort of incestuous relationship between greedy unions and greedy politicians are antithetical to good government and undermine democracy because the cozy relationship completely cuts out the voters from being able to have any influence at all. And if our judges also get unionized, our legal system will cease to serve justice in any way whatever.

Unionized judges will be the end of the rule of law in America.


Moonshine or the Kids?

Wow! An un-PC article which tells it like it is. Us ex-Africans saw this daily and to speak out about it is to be racist.

Jude Kokolo has been stuck in first grade for the last five years because his father says he can’t afford to pay $2.50 a month in school fees. But his father says that he averages $2 a day on alcohol and cigarettes.

Congo Republic - There’s an ugly secret of global poverty, one rarely acknowledged by aid groups or U.N. reports. It’s a blunt truth that is politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating and ubiquitous:

It’s that if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children’s prospects would be transformed. Much suffering is caused not only by low incomes, but also by shortsighted private spending decisions by heads of households.

That probably sounds sanctimonious, haughty and callous, but it’s been on my mind while traveling through central Africa with a college student on my annual win-a-trip journey. Here in this Congolese village of Mont-Belo, we met a bright fourth grader, Jovali Obamza, who is about to be expelled from school because his family is three months behind in paying fees. (In theory, public school is free in the Congo Republic. In fact, every single school we visited charges fees.)

We asked to see Jovali’s parents. The dad, Georges Obamza, who weaves straw stools that he sells for $1 each, is unmistakably very poor. He said that the family is eight months behind on its $6-a-month rent and is in danger of being evicted, with nowhere to go.

The Obamzas have no mosquito net, even though they have already lost two of their eight children to malaria. They say they just can’t afford the $6 cost of a net. Nor can they afford the $2.50-a-month tuition for each of their three school-age kids.

“It’s hard to get the money to send the kids to school,” Mr. Obamza explained, a bit embarrassed.

But Mr. Obamza and his wife, Valerie, do have cellphones and say they spend a combined $10 a month on call time.

In addition, Mr. Obamza goes drinking several times a week at a village bar, spending about $1 an evening on moonshine. By his calculation, that adds up to about $12 a month — almost as much as the family rent and school fees combined.

I asked Mr. Obamza why he prioritizes alcohol over educating his kids. He looked pained.

Other villagers said that Mr. Obamza drinks less than the average man in the village (women drink far less). Many other men drink every evening, they said, and also spend money on cigarettes.

“If possible, I drink every day,” Fulbert Mfouna, a 43-year-old whose children have also had to drop out or repeat grades for lack of school fees, said forthrightly. His eldest son, Jude, is still in first grade after repeating for five years because of nonpayment of fees. Meanwhile, Mr. Mfouna acknowledged spending $2 a day on alcohol and cigarettes.

Traditionally, a young man here might have paid his wife’s family a “bride price” of a pair of goats. Now the “bride price” starts with oversized jugs of wine and two bottles of whiskey.

Two M.I.T. economists, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, found that the world’s poor typically spend about 2 percent of their income educating their children, and often larger percentages on alcohol and tobacco: 4 percent in rural Papua New Guinea, 6 percent in Indonesia, 8 percent in Mexico. The indigent also spend significant sums on soft drinks, prostitution and extravagant festivals.

Look, I don’t want to be an unctuous party-pooper. But I’ve seen too many children dying of malaria for want of a bed net that the father tells me is unaffordable, even as he spends larger sums on liquor. If we want Mr. Obamza’s children to get an education and sleep under a bed net — well, the simplest option is for their dad to spend fewer evenings in the bar.

Because there’s mounting evidence that mothers are more likely than fathers to spend money educating their kids, one solution is to give women more control over purse strings and more legal title to assets. Some aid groups and U.N. agencies are working on that.

Another approach is microsavings, helping poor people save money when banks aren’t interested in them. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the most powerful part of microfinance isn’t microlending but microsavings.

Microsavings programs, organized by CARE and other organizations, work to turn a consumption culture into a savings culture. The programs often keep household savings in the women’s names, to give mothers more say in spending decisions, and I’ve seen them work in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Well-meaning humanitarians sometimes burnish suffering to make it seem more virtuous and noble than it often is. If we’re going to make more progress, and get kids like the Obamza children in school and under bed nets, we need to look unflinchingly at uncomfortable truths — and then try to redirect the family money now spent on wine and prostitution.


Feds Issue Terror Watch for the Texas/Mexico Border

Oh! So there IS good reason to plug the open borders! Radical Somalis are travelling via Brazil to Mexico and then through the well-protected leaking US border into the country! Hmmm, wonder when is "racist" Arizona going to get an apology from all you doubters out there?

The Department of Homeland Security is alerting Texas authorities to be on the lookout for a suspected member of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group who might be attempting to travel to the U.S. through Mexico, a security expert who has seen the memo tells FOXNews.com.

The warning follows an indictment unsealed this month in Texas federal court that accuses a Somali man in Texas of running a “large-scale smuggling enterprise” responsible for bringing hundreds of Somalis from Brazil through South America and eventually across the Mexican border. Many of the illegal immigrants, who court records say were given fake IDs, are alleged to have ties to other now-defunct Somalian terror organizations that have merged with active organizations like Al Shabaab, al-Barakat and Al-Ittihad Al-Islami.

In 2008, the U.S. government designated Al Shabaab a terrorist organization. Al Shabaab has said its priority is to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, on Somalia; the group has aligned itself with Al Qaeda and has made statements about its intent to harm the United States.

In recent years, American Somalis have been recruited by Al Shabaab to travel to Somalia, where they are often radicalized by more extremist or operational anti-American terror groups, which Al Shabaab supports. The recruiters coming through the Mexican border are the ones who could be the most dangerous, according to law enforcement officials.

Security experts tell FOXNews.com that the influx of hundreds of Somalis over the U.S. border who allegedly have ties to suspected terror cells is evidence of a porous and unsecured border being exploited by groups intent on wrecking deadly havoc on American soil.

The DHS alert was issued to police and sheriff’s deputies in Houston, asking them to keep their eyes open for a Somali man named Mohamed Ali who is believed to be in Mexico preparing to make the illegal crossing into Texas. Officials believe Ali has ties to Al Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization aligned with Al Qaeda, said Joan Neuhaus Schaan, the homeland security and terrorism fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, who has seen the alert.

An indictment was unsealed in Texas federal court earlier this month that revealed that a Somali man, Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, led a human smuggling ring that brought East Africans, including Somalis with ties to terror groups, from Brazil and across the Mexican border and into Texas.

In a separate case, Anthony Joseph Tracy, of Virginia, who admitted to having ties to Al Shabaab, is currently being prosecuted for his alleged role in an international ring that illegally brought more than 200 Somalis across the Mexican border. Prosecutors say Tracy used his Kenya-based travel business as a cover to fraudulently obtain Cuban travel documents for the Somalis. The smuggled Somalis are believed to have spread out across the United States and remain mostly at large, court records show.

Somalis are classified by border and immigration officials as “special interest” — illegal immigrants who get caught trying to cross the Mexican border into the U.S. who come from countries that are considered a high threat to the U.S., Neuhaus Schaan explained.

DHS did not respond to multiple e-mail and phone requests for comment.

In addition to the Somali immigration issue, Mexican smugglers are coaching some Middle Eastern immigrants before they cross the border – schooling them on how to dress and giving them phrases to help them look and sound like Latinos, law enforcement sources told FoxNews.com.

“There have been a number of certain communities that have noticed this, villages in northern Mexico where Middle Easterners try to move into town and learn Spanish,” Neuhaus Schaan said. “People were changing there names from Middle Eastern names to Hispanic names.”

Security experts say the push by illegal immigrants to try to fit in also could be the realization of what officials have feared for years: Latin American drug cartels are helping jihadist groups bring terrorists across the Mexican border.

Read more here

26 May 2010

Saudi Arabia throws out more Somalis

A few weeks back, the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the United States, Michael Posner, apologised to China for the USA's human rights abuses. What are these abuses? Arizona's illegal immigrant law SB1070! Think about it apologising - to China....yet he has no comment about the continued "Human Right's abuses" committed by the Saudi's against the Somalis...

 That bastion of Muslim charity, Saudi Arabia, has deported another 100 Somalis—they just fly them back to Mogadishu and drop them off—bringing total numbers of deported fellow Muslims into the thousands. So where is Michael the Apologizer Posner now? He was busy badmouthing Arizona to the Chinese, but is surprisingly silent on Saudi Arabia.

The double standard drives me nuts! Just remember it was the UNHCR that was saying in June of last year that the historic tradition of charity toward refugees comes from Islam! Sorry but that is just B.S. as Saudi Arabia demonstrates AGAIN!

The United Nations refugee agency is calling on all states to stop forcibly deporting Somali asylum seekers whose lives might be in danger if they are returned home. Officials with the refugee agency say they are very concerned about Saudi Arabia’s recent deportations of Somalis.
The U.N. refugee agency says it is not safe to send Somali asylum seekers home. Agency officials say all deportations to Somalia must stop given the precarious situation in the country.
Fleming (UN Spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming) notes Saudi Arabia has not ratified the 1951 International Refugee Convention. But, she adds, this does not absolve Saudi Arabia of its international obligations to protect people in distress.
We have been undertaking a very intense diplomatic effort with Saudi Arabia,” she said. “This has not been the first deportation. In fact, this has been ongoing for several months. We are talking about numbers that could be as many as 4,000 who have been returned by Saudi Arabia over the past year.”
I repeat, where is Posner?


Miami Company Creates "Gringo Masks" for Illegals

Apparently this is a publicity stunt to "raise awareness". Right....so, when you call us Gringos it's ok? Ok Spic's - Gringos actually built the USA, and they built it so well that their neighbors to the south will sacrifice life and limb to get there by climbing fences and crossing rivers. If the Mexicans want to impress people, try discovering a new medicine or inventing a new product or process that adds real value to life. If you can do that then you can go to a working country. Oh, and guess which State I would go to for a holiday if I'm ever in the USA again? Yup, Arizona - I hear there aren't any more liberals or illegals to ruin my holiday and they have awesome resorts!

If you are looking for a way to beat Arizona's new immigration law, look no further than Miami's new Gringo Masks.

The new product, brainchild of Miami advertising agency Zubi Advertising, guarantees the cops won't be stopping you or your loved ones after you put your best white face forward.

The product is simple. Choose from a cut out of a blue-eyed, sandy hair-colored white guy or a green-eyed, blond haired white woman.

Cut the face to fit yours. Poke out the eyes. And presto! You don't look like a "suspicious, potentially illegal" alien. Rubber band or green card not included.

The Gringo Mask was not created for profit, says Zubi execs, but for purpose. It's one of the nation's leading Hispanic advertising agency's ways of showing it disapproves of Arizona's new law.

"When we first heard of the law in Arizona and the effects it could have in terms of racial profiling, we discussed at the agency what we could do about it, since we have access to media," co-owner Michelle Zubizarreta told the Sun-Sentinel. "How can we address the issue, but do so in a creative way while at the same time delivering a message?"

Now we could see how some might find the mask offensive - kind of along the lines of the infamous "Illegal alien with green card" Halloween costume of last year.

But Zubizarreta and her brother, Joe, said with traditional protests like marches and boycotts already in full swing, the Gringo Mask was another direct way of getting the message across.

"The spirit in which we conceived Gringo Mask," Zubizarreta said, "was not to offend anyone. We wanted to start a dialogue."


Growing foreign-born population to forge 'new Canada'

Ahhh - this article is enough to warm the cockles of my heart! Which race but the white race has the race self-destructive gene? Yes, let's let in all these diverse races to wipe us out, in countries that we founded and made a success of. Not only is Canada on this suicide mission, but all white run countries are trying just as hard to kill the race off. Why don't these other races invade other countries and leave the white ones alone? Where do we get to run to when we are one day a minority in our countries? And note the new Socialist buzz word - Global Citizen/People - all to make you feel part of the global family of diversity! Anyway, if you can get through the drivel and brainwashing in the article below, see if you too get that warm fuzzy feeling I got..Oh, and the Muslim faith will be fastest-growing religion soon.

There is a "new Canada" just over the horizon — home to a diversity of skin tones, birth countries, languages and religious faiths unprecedented in the nation's history.

By 2031, at least one in four people in this country will have been born elsewhere, new population projections from Statistics Canada suggest, and just half the working-age population will belong to families that have lived in Canada for at least three generations.

"You look at the statistics and you can see it: who's the bulk of the new population, who's going to be our future," says Henry Yu, an associate history professor at the University of British Columbia. "This is the strongest indication yet — obviously, it's been developing for decades — that there is a new Canada."

The federal agency says the foreign-born population in that new Canada is expected to grow four times faster than those who are Canadian-born over the next 20 years, which is projected to create the most diverse population since Confederation.

With the vast majority of newcomers settling in large cities, the country's future and prosperity lie in its urban areas, says Yu.

And the "new Canada" is a Pacific Canada, he says, with its strongest ties and biggest portion of newcomers not coming from the European countries of old, but from our Asian and Latin American neighbours with whom we share a Pacific coast, and with Caribbean nations.

It's expected that almost one in three newcomers will follow a non-Christian religion two decades from now, Statistics Canada says, and more than three-quarters will have a mother tongue that's neither French nor English. But rather than embracing this linguistic diversity and the edge it offers in a competitive global economy, Canada has been "very pointedly obliterating the language skills of the children of immigrants," Yu says.

They learn one of the country's two official languages relatively easily as children, he says, but then they're effectively rendered monolingual by years of English- or French-only schooling and the encouragement to leave their mother tongue behind.

"We have an incredible global human capital from this new Canada," Yu says. "We need to think of ways to build upon it rather than being scared and saying, 'Oh my God, we need to make them all into carbon copies of English migrants who came 200 years ago."

Richard Day, a professor of sociology and global development studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., objects to using the "basically racist" term "visible minorities" to label a diverse group of people who are on the verge of becoming the majority in Toronto and Vancouver. It's as though there's a white, Christian "unmentioned normal person" that such diversity is being compared to, he says, but one that simply no longer reflects the face of Canada.

"If it were to go beyond the restaurant, to go beyond 'Oh, nice spices you put on your food!' — if it were to go to the level of values and how we treat each other and take on some of the really pro-community aspects of other cultures — that would be cool and I think it's going to happen," Day says.

Islam will be the fastest-growing religion in the next two decades, Statistics Canada says, with its numbers expected to triple and encompass about seven per cent of the Canadian population by 2031.

Other non-Christian religions such as Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism will double their numbers, while the proportion following Christian religions is expected to slip from about 75 per cent of Canada's population to 65 per cent, with the proportion reporting no religion will rise to 21 per cent from 17 per cent.

There's still too much that goes unsaid when it comes to racial and cultural tensions in Canada, says Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress.

Reports tiptoe around the large and growing Muslim population, accompanied by a misinformed anxiety rather than a push to ensure Muslims are successfully integrated into Canadian society, he says.

And, Tarek adds, there's no acknowledgment of the prejudice that exists between different visible minority populations.

"People want honesty, they are thirsting for frank language," he says. "We need to abandon the notion of political correctness and abandon the fear of speaking."

The Baitunnur Mosque in Calgary — one of the largest in North America — will be on the forefront of Canada's growing Muslim population in the years to come.

Sultan Mahmood, an executive member of the mosque, says it's a central tenet of his Ahmadiyya denomination of Islam that Muslims connect with and serve their community — meaning their doors are always open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Mahmood points to the example of an artists' group that has been using the brand-new mosque's facilities while waiting for their own to be built, adding that other community groups drop in to use the gym and they regularly host inter-faith conferences throughout Alberta.

At the end of the day, Mahmood returns home to engage in a time-honoured ritual that knows no national boundaries: gossiping with the neighbours and sharing food in the yard.

"This is enriching our society," says Mahmood, who moved to Calgary from Pakistan in 1992. "We're getting good people and all the good things from all over the world, and I think this diversity has made Canada one of the best countries in the world, and I think Canada will remain one of the best countries in the world because of this diversity."


Illegal aliens use open border to pump US full of deadly new heroin

Articles about this new heroin have flooded internet news feeds. However, the “mainstream” US press is silent! Desperate to protect the image of illegal aliens, the US “mainstream” media is not even reporting an American story that is major news in Canada, England, and other parts of the world.

A potent wave of cheap heroin which can kill users before they pull the syringe from their veins is spreading across America.

Drug smugglers are selling the ‘black tar’ substance for as little as £7 ($10) a bag, raising concerns that its cost will widen its appeal with addicts.

The heroin – named for its dark, gooey consistency – which is being grown in Mexico and Colombia and taken to the U.S., is so pure, it can kill unsuspecting users instantly.

Black tar and other forms of the drug are behind a rise in the number of drug overdose deaths as it attracts a new generation of users who are caught off guard by its potency.

In suburban Chicago’s Will County, annual heroin deaths have nearly tripled from 10 in 2006 to 29.

Patrick O’Neil, coroner in the town, said: ‘We found people who snorted it lying face-down with the straw lying next to them.

‘It's so potent that we occasionally find the needle in the arm at the death scene.’

The substance comes in the form of black tar or brown powder, and it has proven especially popular in rural and suburban areas.

Originally associated with rock stars, hippies and inner-city junkies, heroin in the 1970s was usually smuggled from Asia and the Middle East and was around 5 per cent pure.

The rest was ‘filler’ such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, even brick dust. The low potency meant that many users injected the drug to maximise the effect.

But in recent years, Mexican drug dealers have improved the way they process poppies, the brightly colored flowers supplied by drug farmers that provide the raw ingredients for heroin, opium and painkillers such as morphine.

Purity levels have increased, and prices have fallen.

Federal agents now commonly find heroin that is 50 per cent pure and sometimes as much as 80 per cent pure.

The greater potency allows more heroin users to snort the drug or smoke it and still achieve a sustained high - an attractive alternative for teenagers and suburbanites who don't want the HIV risk or the track marks on their arms that come with repeated injections.

Harry Sommers, the agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency office in St Louis, said: ‘That has opened up heroin to a whole different group of users.’

At the start of the decade, roughly 2,000 people a year died from heroin overdoses nationwide, according to records kept by the Centers for Disease Control.

By 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available, the drug was blamed for at least 3,000 deaths in the 36 states that responded to records requests from the Associated Press.

Seizures of heroin along the U.S.-Mexico border quadrupled from 2008 to 2009, from about 44lb (20kgs) to more than 190lb (86kgs).

In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, more than 20 deaths were blamed on heroin in 2009.

Analysis of heroin purchased undercover found the drug was nearly 60 per cent pure - the highest average purity in the U.S.

At the same time, the price was among the lowest.

To hook new users, dealers are selling heroin cheap - often around £7 ($10) a bag.

Police are concerned about a growing heroin problem tied to Mexican street gangs from nearby Los Angeles.

Gang members make the quick drive up to deliver heroin straight to high school kids.

‘They tell them, “Just smoke it. It's just like smoking a cigarette. It's just like smoking marijuana”,’ Glendale police Sergeant Tom Lorenz said. Once the kids are hooked, ‘they've got a customer forever’.

In Oregon, state Medical Examiner Karen Gunson said the heroin problem is worst in communities along the interstate.

There were 131 heroin-related overdose deaths last year - 42 more than three years earlier.

The dead simply didn't know the risks of the heroin they used, she said.

‘We're seeing it sometimes 80 per cent pure. There's no FDA approval on this stuff. If you're using it every day, your chances grow and grow that it's going to kill you,’ she added.


Australia: Four teenagers facing 68 sex offence charges released on bail

What this article omits to report is that all four boys are African. The magistrate let them out on bail despite the police opposing bail due to the seriousness of the crime. The reason? The boys had strong family support!! What about the girl? 68 charges of rape and other sex offenses were committed AGAINST this girl and she gets to watch her attackers walk the streets near where she lives! How about the support the courts should be giving her??

FOUR teenage boys charged with 68 sex offences stemming from the alleged gang rape of a girl in a suburban toilet block have been freed on bail.

Police allege the boys, aged 15 and 16, followed a 15-year-old girl on a train from Sunshine to St Albans in Melbourne's west, then forced her into a public toilet block and attacked her.

The boys collectively face 68 charges including multiple counts of rape and other sex offences following the attack on the evening of May 5.

They were granted bail in Melbourne Children's Court today on strict conditions, including that they obey a curfew.

Police had opposed bail because of the seriousness of the charges and argued they posed an unacceptable risk of re-offending if released.

The magistrate ruled that he did not believe the risk was sufficient to oppose bail and noted the strong family support shown to the boys.