During a state visit to China, French Premier Raffarin threw support behind a law allowing China to attack Taiwan and continued to push for a lift of the EU arms embargo.Granted, Javier Solana will support this deal.
At the outset of a three-day visit to China, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he supported Beijing's "anti-secession" law on Taiwan, and vowed to keep pushing for an end to an EU arms embargo that could open the door for Paris to sell weapons to the Asian giant.
Raffarin also signed or finalized major business deals with Beijing valued at around $3.2 billion (2.4 billion euros).
Appearing to put his government at odds with the European Union, Raffarin said at the outset of the three day visit that Paris had no objections to the anti-secession law.
The pregnant woman was covered with blood, and Steve Hensley, the police chief in Fort Mitchell, Ky., could scarcely believe her tale.
Sarah Brady, 26, said she had been lured to an apartment in Fort Mitchell that was outfitted with surgical tools and a nursery. There, a woman who had promised to hand over a mis-addressed baby present attacked Brady in an attempt to extract her unborn child by Caesarean section.
Instead, Brady, who was nine months pregnant, fought back and fatally stabbed her assailant, unemployed nanny Katie Smith, 22. Police say Smith had fooled her family into thinking she was pregnant by wearing padded maternity clothes and had planned to steal Brady's fetus - and presumably kill Brady - as the final act in a gruesome ruse.
"It's the most bizarre case I've seen in 22 years" of police work, Hensley says of the attack, which occurred Feb 17.
The incident came two months after a similar attack in Missouri in which the mother was killed and her baby survived. Such attacks on pregnant women are rare, but they have become increasingly common across the nation in recent years: The attack on Brady was the third such assault on an expectant mother since December 2003 and the ninth since 1987, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va.
Seven of the nine pregnant women who were attacked died; seven of the nine babies survived. (Brady's attorneys in Covington, Ky., did not immediately return phone calls; the Associated Press has reported that she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, McKaila Grace Hatton, on March 16.)
Celebrity Pentecostal preacher Runar Søgaard is under protection by Swedish police after receiving death threats. A high-profile sermon where Søgaard called the prophet Mohammed "a confused pedophile" has triggered fears of religious war.Norwegian preacher kindles religious strife
"Even if I see Runar while he has major police protection I will shoot him to death," a radical Islamist told Swedish newspaper Expressen.
Persons connected to the Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam claim to have received a fatwa, a decree from a Muslim religious leader, to kill Søgaard.
Muslim organizations have called Søgaard's sermon, which is on sale on CD at the Stockholm Karisma Center's web site, a hateful attack on Islam and fear the type of violent conflict that scarred the Netherlands after filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed by an Islamic extremist for a controversial film.
Islam expert Jan Hjärpe at the University of Lund told Expressen that such an assassination is a real risk, and he wondered if conflict was the motive for the sermon.
"It was a statement from an odd man in an odd sect but the effect is stronger antagonism between different groups. It becomes a pure religious polemic and is extremely unpleasant," Hjärpe told the newspaper.
Hjärpe saw the incident as a type of beginning of a religious war in Sweden. "It (Søgaard's sermon) has power and influence. It seems to have been Runar's intention to provoke and promote antagonism," Hjärpe said.
Søgaard said he fears for his life and understands that he has angered the wrong people. He received police protection after questioning by Swedish police.
Imam Hassan Moussa, head of Sweden's imam council, demanded that Christian communities repudiate Søgaard's remarks, and promised that Sweden would avoid the ugly scenes experienced in Holland.
On a trip to visit family in March, it came to my attention that many of the old buildings in the Clearing area are marked for demo and redevelopment. These buildings weren't all in the worst of shape, but they herald from a lost time when even the most simple factory had style, and companies had pride in where they set up shop.
I hope you will enjoy these pictures. Only one property is under active demolition at the moment, but another had been completely razed before I visited. It's only a matter of time for the rest... I think you'll agree that there are details that will sadly never be repeated and will be a shame to lose. Most of these buildings date from the 1920's and 30's; the stone Clearing Industrial Distict logo was applied to exisitng structures in 1936 or 1937.
Clearing / Bedford Park industrial district, Chicago
It was the case of a 16-year-old Jordanian girl in 1994, killed at the hands of her brother because she had been raped by another brother, which led Rana Husseini to campaign actively for the prevention of honour killings.Any objective observer can clearly see that the laws concerning this in Jordan are specifically designed to let "honor" murderers off the hook. They're not "loopholes" as some are terming them. They're get-out-of-jail-free cards. What's most sickening is vile, disgusting pigs like Mohammad Kharabsheh above, who can't see that it takes two to tango and simply rush to ensure that this is another way for them to express their fear and hatred of women.
Honour killings are the murder of a woman or girl accused of tainting family honour.
Husseini, a journalist, has been calling on the government to implement stricter laws and punishments for those who commit these crimes. She has written extensively on the subject and attends court proceedings to follow up on cases.
"[My work involves] exposing these crimes for what they really are, cold-blooded and senseless murders, and struggling with the law to restore dignity to women and consider them full human beings," she told IRIN in the capital Amman.
"The problem of honour crimes is not restricted to any particular class of Jordanian society or certain regions," she added.
Although most honour crimes occur in Muslim societies, Islam does not sanction such killings. Sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, former head of the al-Azhar University in Amman told IRIN it was a cultural practice that falsely interprets religion to allow murder to be justified.
However, some Jordanian MPs oppose repeal of the law on honour crimes.
"Women adulterers cause a great threat to our society because they are the main reason that such acts take place," said Mohammed Kharabsheh, a Jordanian parliamentarian said. "If men do not find women with whom to commit adultery, then they will become good on their own."
The law as it stands appears to condone the practice of honour killings.
Article 340 of the Jordanian Penal Code states that "he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery with another, and he kills, wounds or injures one or both of them, is exempt from any penalty".
It adds that "he who discovers his wife, or one of his female ascendants or descendants or sisters with another in an unlawful bed and he kills, wounds or injures one or both of them, benefits from a reduction of penalty."
Yet this article contradicts Article 6 of the Jordanian Constitution that guarantees the rights of all Jordanian citizens regardless of their gender.
Article 98 is almost always cited alongside Article 340 in cases of honour killings. It has been a further deterrent for potential perpetrators. Article 98 stipulates that a reduced sentence is applied to a person who kills another person in a "fit of fury".
In addition, many families entrust their sons under the age of 18 to kill female relatives in the name of family honour. "The juvenile law commits minors to a juvenile centre which releases them back into society with a clear criminal record at the age of 18 after receiving an education or vocational training," Husseini explained.
According to legal experts, these articles simply create legal loopholes, which allows such heinous crimes to continue unchecked in Jordan.
"Under the existing law, people found guilty of committing honour killings often receive sentences as light as six months in prison. Moreover, courts may further halve the sentence if the victim's family "waives" its right to file a complaint of the crime," Husseini said.
Media reports and past cases show such cruel acts are often legally put down to a fit of fury.
A Democratic fund-raiser involved in Senator Clinton's 2000 campaign has offered a guilty plea to bank fraud charges and is likely to become a government witness at the upcoming federal trial of a top finance aide to Mrs. Clinton, David Rosen, court records obtained by The New York Sun show.Clinton Case Mystery
As part of an FBI investigation into alleged campaign finance reporting violations by Mrs. Clinton's campaign, the mystery witness secretly taped a conversation with Mr. Rosen in September 2002 and apparently tried to elicit statements from the former Clinton staffer about financial irregularities involving an August 2000 Hollywood fund-raising event.
Allegedly inaccurate reports about that event filed with the Federal Election Commission led to Mr. Rosen's indictment on four counts of causing false statements to be made to federal authorities. One count was dropped by a judge last month, but Mr. Rosen is scheduled to go to trial on the remaining charges at Los Angeles on May 3.
AFTER YEARS OF criticism over the use of underfed child jockeys in its camel races, the Gulf State of Qatar is to replace them with robots.
According to the QNA news agency, a robot - dubbed Kamel - has been built by a Swiss company, K-Team, and tested so successfully and that the energy-rich country is considering setting up a factory to build them.
Camel racing, which is popular among Bedouin, is a highly lucrative sport in Qatar However, human rights groups are opposed to the practice because it involves the use of child jockeys.
Many of these children are allaged to have been abducted or sold by their families, mainly from India. Rights activitsts claim they are kept in prison-like conditions and underfed to keep them light so the camels run faster.
Qatar official, Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani, said that the use of robot jockeys would allow the sport to continue, the agency reported.