Showing posts from April, 2007

New Study finds racism just hidden by white students

A researcher at the University of Dayton who surveyed hundreds of white college students nationwide found that harsh racist language, the use of the “n-word” and the ugliest of racial stereotypes are common, everyday occurrences when white students are alone.

“What I found was there is a profound difference between the frontstage – when whites are with people of color – and the backstage – when they are with other whites,” said Leslie H. Picca, assistant professor of sociology.

Non-Whites Fare Worse in Traffic Stops

WASHINGTON — Black, Hispanic and white drivers are equally likely to be pulled over by police, but blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be searched and arrested, a federal study found.

Police were much more likely to threaten or use force against blacks and Hispanics than against whites in any encounter, whether at a traffic stop or elsewhere, according to the Justice Department.

The study, released Sunday by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, covered police contacts with the public during 2005 and was based on interviews by the Census Bureau with nearly 64,000 people age 16 or over.

Six central African countries to launch common passport in July

N'DJAMENA (AFP) - Six central African countries plan to launch a common passport in July, permitting the free movement of goods and people across their borders, they said in a statement on Thursday.

The countries, which comprise the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), agreed on the long-delayed common passport during the bloc's summit this week in Chad.

The countries in the bloc are Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon and Congo.

Citizens Premanently Displaced from Lower 9th Ward?

NEW ORLEANS - The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Mayor Ray Nagin led hundreds of marchers Saturday to the crumbling houses that still dominate the Lower 9th Ward to draw attention to the area's slow recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Jackson said the Bush administration and much of the nation had largely forgotten the working class and mostly black hurricane victims in the Lower 9th, while areas that draw tourists and more affluent sections recover more quickly.

"The waters have subsided, but the abandonment continues. The president did not mention Katrina in his last State of the Union address," Jackson said. While the Saints, the city's professional football team, and Mardi Gras have returned, "the people are not back," he said.

Operation Anubis, First 'No Scar' Surgery

On April 2nd 2007, at the University Hospital of Strasbourg, Professor Jacques Marescaux and his team successfully performed the first no scar surgery. This first human incisionless operation was carried out using a flexible endoscope for transvaginal removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) in a 30-year-old woman with symptomatic gallstones.

This world first, called "operation Anubis", was presented last week-end in Las Vegas at the Society for the Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgery (SAGES) to an enthusiastic audience.

60% of HIV-Positive People in India Live in Rural Areas

About 60% of the approximately 5.2 million adults living with HIV/AIDS in India live in rural areas, according to a report recently released by the World Health Organization, PTI/Financial Express reports. According to the report, HIV prevalence among adults is about 1% in five of India's 35 states and territories. HIV prevalence among injection drug users in the country has increased from 7% in 2002 to 23% in 2005, the report said. In addition, the report found that HIV prevalence among commercial sex workers in Mumbai has remained between 40% and 50% during the past five years. The report also found that in 18 of 30 districts in the Indian state Maharashtra, HIV prevalence among women visiting government prenatal clinics was 1% or higher. Similar figures were recorded in 16 of 25 districts in Karnataka state, according to the report. The report also found that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is between 1% and 40% across 18 areas that have targeted prevention progr…

Nurses Sentenced to Death in Libyan HIV Infection Case

Five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for allegedly intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV could be released from prison by the end of June, German Ambassador to Bulgaria Michael Geier said on Thursday, Reuters Africa reports (Reuters Africa, 4/26). The nurses and one Palestinian doctor in May 2004 were sentenced to death by firing squad for allegedly infecting 426 children through contaminated blood products at Al Fateh Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya. They also were ordered to pay a total of $1 million to the families of the HIV-positive children. The Libyan Supreme Court in December 2005 overturned the medical workers' convictions and ordered a retrial in a lower court. A court in Tripoli, Libya, in December 2006 convicted the health workers and sentenced them to death. The health workers say they are innocent of the charges, claiming that they were forced to confess and that they were tortured by Libyan officials during interrogations. The h…

Flawless skin top priority in hunt for beauty: study

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Pampered, peeled and toned skin is the number one priority for image-conscious consumers around the world and they are going to increasingly extreme measures to get it, a survey showed on Friday.

A survey by research group AC Nielsen across 46 countries found that one in three people spend most of their beauty budget on skincare, with Asian and U.S. consumers leading the trend.

Skin whitening is the most sought after treatment in Asia, the survey showed, with one in 10 Asian consumers buying bleaching products and 50 percent saying they would lighten their skin if money was no object

East Timor drowns in language soup

DILI (Reuters) - Portuguese is one of the two official languages in East Timor, but you can hardly hear it spoken in the streets of the young nation.

The tiny country was a Portuguese colony for more than three centuries, but only an estimated 5 percent of its one million people now speak the European language.

After Lisbon cut the territory free, East Timor was occupied by neighboring Indonesia for 24 years before gaining full independence in 2002.

Under Indonesian rule, Portuguese was suppressed and speakers of the language now mostly come from the political elite or are older people educated in the colonial era.

Boom in Christianity reshapes Methodists

The United Methodist Church is the latest Protestant group caught in the shifting currents of world Christianity. While the American denomination is shrinking at home, its congregations in the developing world are growing explosively.

Over the last decade, the number of United Methodists outside the U.S. more than tripled. The denomination's largest district is now in the West African nation of Ivory Coast. At the next national church assembly, the 2008 General Conference in Texas, overseas delegates will have more say than ever in the church's future — as many as 30 percent could come from abroad.

"Trends suggest that Christianity is going to continue to grow as a global phenomenon, and denominations that have thought of themselves as being predominantly North American in character are going to have to get over that," said William Lawrence, dean of the Perkins School of Theology, a Methodist seminary in Dallas.

Potentially habitable planet found

WASHINGTON - For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."

The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.

MIT Admissions Dean Lied on Resume, Quits

The dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was forced to resign today after the school confirmed an anonymous tip that she had lied about graduating from college herself.

The dean, Marilee Jones, is prominent in higher-education circles as an author and outspoken advocate of reducing the stress of college admissions. At MIT, she redesigned the school's application to include fewer lines for extracurricular activities, saying that too many students were puffing up their credentials to fill the space.

But as the university learned last week, Ms. Jones had embellished her own credentials. She attended college for one year, as a part-time student at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1974, but never received the bachelor's or master's degrees that she claimed from RPI. Nor did she receive a degree she claimed from Albany Medical College, the university found. Registrars at RPI and Albany confirmed that Ms. Jones didn't receive degrees there.

U.N. promises better Sudan refugee camps

KILO 26, Sudan - The head of the U.N. refugee agency said Thursday that he is appalled by the living conditions endured for decades by refugees at camps in eastern Sudan and promised to remedy the situation over the next 12 months.

Antonio Guterres was on a one-day visit to Sudan's border with Eritrea and Ethiopia, where U.N. officials care for most of the 133,000 refugees sheltering from wars in those nations.

Guterres previously inspected refugee camps in Sudan's western Darfur region, where more than 2.5 million people have been chased from their homes by four years of fighting between ethnic African rebels and the Arab-dominated central government.

UN lifts embargo on Liberian diamonds

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The UN Security Council lifted Friday its embargo on Liberia's diamond exports, saying the west African nation has made progress in certifying the origin of its rough diamonds.

The 15-member Security Council unanimously approved a US-drafted resolution that canceled a 2003 resolution's embargo on Liberian raw diamonds.

It was the council's second vote of confidence in the new president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, following the lifting in June of an embargo on Liberian wood.

US condemns bombing raids on Darfur villages

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Friday condemned Sudanese government helicopter attacks on villages in strife-torn Darfur, saying the strikes "call into question" Khartoum's commitment to finding a peaceful settlement in the conflict.

Washington "condemns the aerial attacks by Sudanese government helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers on the villages of Jira and Amray in North Darfur on April 19 and 21, 2007, respectively," said State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey.

Imus producer doesn't understand firing

NEW YORK - Don Imus' former producer said Thursday that the radio exchange that got them both fired was wrong, but that it would be horrible if people could no longer poke fun at each other.

Bernard McGuirk, a 20-year producer and on-air jester for the "Imus in the Morning" program, was fired a week after his boss for the banter in which members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team were called "nappy-headed hos."

Britain's slave trade records go online

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's slave trading past gets a human face on Friday as an ancestry-tracing Web site starts putting the personal histories of the victims online for the first time. The Web site,, posted 100,000 names of Barbados slaves registered in 1834 in the colony.By December the site will contain the names of three million slaves from 700 registers in 23 British colonies, from South Africa to Sri Lanka between 1812-1834.

Don Imus, White Denial and Racism in America

Just looking around the universe and noticed this thought by Tim Wise...

Let us dispense with the easy stuff, shall we?
First, Don Imus's free speech rights have not been even remotely violated as a result of his firing, either by MSNBC or CBS Radio. The First Amendment protects us against state oppression or legal sanction for our words. It does not entitle everyone with an opinion to a talk show, let alone on a particular network. To believe or to demand otherwise would be to say that Imus's free speech rights outweigh the rights of his employers to determine what messages they will send out on their dime.
Secondly, those who are telling black folks to "get over it," when it comes to racial slurs, such as those offered up by Imus, are missing an important point: namely, the slurs are not the real issue. The issue is that these slurs (be they of the "nappy-headed ho" variety, or the semi-psychotic string of vitriol spewed by Michael Richards a few months bac…