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NEA calls for Bush to fire education boss

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  • Claudio Herrera
    NEA calls for Bush to fire education boss By Ben Feller The National Education Association (NEA) asked President Bush yesterday to fire Education Secretary Rod
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 25, 2004
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      NEA calls for Bush to fire education boss

      By Ben Feller

      The National Education Association (NEA) asked President Bush yesterday to
      fire Education Secretary Rod Paige for calling the union a "terrorist

      The White House said Paige's job was safe.

      Paige, who made his comment in a private meeting with governors Monday,
      apologized for his choice of words but maintained that the union uses
      "obstructionist scare tactics" in its fight over the nation's education law.

      Reg Weaver, president of the union of 2.7 million teachers and other school
      workers, said yesterday that those members deserve more than "unfair labels
      and mean-spirited apologies."

      "We have heard from thousands of educators who came home from their schools
      on Monday to hear themselves and their professional organization referred to
      as terrorists by the top federal education official," Weaver said.

      "Our members say that, once again, this national leader has insulted them,
      this time beyond repair, with words filled with hatred � and merely because
      they raised legitimate concerns about the president's so-called No Child
      Left Behind law."

      Diana Garchow, a special-education teacher at Highland Elementary School in
      Bakersfield, Calif., said: "It's scary that you can't voice an opinion in
      this country without being called a terrorist. ... I don't care if it was a
      joke or what it was, that was a totally inappropriate comment."

      Weaver asked Bush "to express his regret to the nation's educators and
      demand that Secretary Paige step down."

      Paige said he is not leaving.

      "I have a job to do, and that is to make sure that we remain steadfast in
      our efforts to provide a quality education to all our children � every
      single one," Paige said.

      Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said, "The president wants the secretary to do
      his job, which is to improve public education for America's schoolchildren."

      Championed by Bush, the new education law calls for expanded standardized
      testing, top teachers in all core classes, school choices for many parents
      and several other reforms.

      The NEA says it does not oppose the law but wants Congress to change some
      provisions. And it wants to recruit states to sue the Bush administration
      over a lack of funding for the law, a move Paige has equated to assembling a
      "coalition of the whining to hold kids back."

      Included in the 100-word statement that his staff characterized as an
      apology was Paige's assertion that "the NEA's high-priced Washington
      lobbyists have made no secret that they will fight against bringing real,
      rock-solid improvements in the way we educate our children regardless of
      skin color, accent or where they live."

      At least two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Jim McDermott, of Washington, and
      Betty McCollum, of Minnesota, called for Paige to resign or be removed from
      his job.

      But otherwise, Paige's comments did not seem to cause immediate fallout on
      Capitol Hill.

    • Afsana Nahid
      US Slams Bangladesh for Poor Human Rights Record Sharier Khan The US State Department has given Bangladesh a very low score on human rights, spotlighting the
      Message 2 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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        US Slams Bangladesh for Poor Human Rights Record

        Sharier Khan

        The US State Department has given Bangladesh a very low score on human
        rights, spotlighting the high rate of violations -- especially custodial
        torture -- and the government's inaction in punishing the guilty.

        "The government's human rights record remained poor, and it continued to
        commit numerous serious abuses. Security forces committed a number of
        extra-judicial killings," says the 33-page, annual 2003 Human Rights Report
        released last week.

        During the year, 81 persons died due to the use of lethal force by the
        police and other security forces, while another 113 persons died in prison
        and police custody. It quotes the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for
        Trauma, which recorded that there were 1,296 victims of torture and 115
        deaths due to torture by security forces in 2003.

        "The government rarely charged, convicted or punished those responsible, and
        a climate of impunity allowed such police abuses to continue," the report
        emphasizes, adding that more than 436 persons were killed and 6,281 injured
        in politically motivated violence throughout the year.

        However, the government rejected the State Department report as it has
        earlier reports by Transparency International and Amnesty International,
        which also complained of widespread corruption and human rights violations
        in Bangladesh.

        Says Law Minister Moudud Ahmed, "We do not accept this stereotyped report as
        it fails to consider the realities facing the country. They should have
        included the government version."

        Apart from abuses by security forces, the report refers to press reports of
        vigilante killings by mobs. At least 53 bandits were lynched in 2003,
        reflecting a breakdown of law and order.

        Quoting the Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights, it
        states that 910 people were kidnapped during the year.

        The report found that Bangladesh's lower judiciary was widely involved in
        corruption, leading to denial of justice for the public. But the report
        points out that the higher judiciary still commands respect.

        "Police were often reluctant to pursue investigations against persons
        affiliated with the ruling party, and the government frequently used the
        police for political purposes. There was widespread police corruption and
        lack of discipline," the report states.

        "Efforts to improve governance through reform were largely unsuccessful, and
        often blocked by bureaucratic intransigence, vested economic interests,
        endemic corruption, and political polarization," it continues, reflecting
        what watchdogs like Transparency International, civil society and the local
        press have been saying all along.

        "The police routinely employed physical and psychological torture during
        arrests and interrogations. Prison conditions were extremely poor and were a
        contributing factor in some deaths in custody," the report says.

        Extortion from businesses and individuals by law enforcement personnel and
        persons with political backing was common and on several occasions,
        businessmen went on strike to protest the extortions.

        "Child labour and abuse of child workers are serious problems," it points

        Referring to the army-led crackdown on crime across the country from October
        16, 2002 to January 9, 2003, the report states that in February, the
        Bangladesh parliament adopted legislation shielding security forces from any
        legal consequences of their actions, which included "numerous abuses."

        The report says 31 cases of rape by either policemen or other officials were
        reported during the year. There were reports that policemen "facilitated or
        were involved" in trafficking women and children.

        "Violence and discrimination against women remained serious problems, as did
        trafficking in women and children for the purpose of prostitution and at
        times for forced labour," says the report.

        Although the government has rejected the report, the country's main
        opposition party, the Awami League, considers the report to be a reflection
        of the government's misdeeds. Human rights watchdogs like Odhikar,
        Manabadhikar Sangstha, and Ain-o-Salish Kendra believe the report reflects
        the truth.

        Quips Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina, "It reflects the realities of
        present day Bangladesh."

        The architect of Bangladesh's constitution, Dr Kamal Hossain, who was
        recently attacked by a gang of criminals, believes human rights violations
        have been institutionalized. "In each sector we can see violation of human
        rights and the constitution," he observes.

      • Jasbinder Singh
        India, China and the `London club By C. Raja Mohan In a few weeks from now, the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will admit China as a member and open a
        Message 3 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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          India, China and the `London club'

          By C. Raja Mohan

          In a few weeks from now, the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will admit
          China as a member and open a dialogue with India on non-proliferation. This
          differential treatment being offered to India and China will no doubt cause
          some heartburn in New Delhi.

          India should have no objection to China becoming a member of the group of 40
          nations that coordinate their policies on exporting nuclear materials and
          technology in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. India seeks an
          entry for itself and not deny it to others.

          China had formally applied for the membership at the end of January. For
          sometime now there has been talk of the need for a conversation between
          India and the NSG, also called the London Club.

          Entry into the NSG is based on two main criteria. One is the record on
          preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and the other is the membership of
          the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

          On the first count, India will claim that its record on non-proliferation is
          far superior to that of many who swear by the NPT. India would also want to
          underline the fact that many European members of the NSG have either
          wantonly or through negligence facilitated nuclear weapons proliferation.

          The extensive involvement of the European companies in spreading the nuclear
          goodies first to Pakistan and then to other countries has been glossed over
          in the recent focus on the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, self-proclaimed
          father of the Pakistani bomb.

          The other criterion, signature on the NPT, is meaningless from India's point
          of view. At a time when it is being widely recognised that many members of
          the treaty � both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states � have cheated on
          it, making membership of the NSG conditional on joining the NPT makes little

          To have Latvia and Slovenia as members but not India, whose capacity to
          export nuclear materials is substantive, shows how the London Club has moved
          from being a pragmatic gentlemen's agreement on non-proliferation to a
          bureaucratic organisation.

          France and Russia have been arguing within the NSG, the importance of
          revising the rules to admit India. But there is obviously a lot of
          resistance. But dialogue might be the first step towards overcoming the
          opposition to India's membership of the NSG.

          * * *

          The Foreign Secretary, Shashank, has reasons to be happy that his quiet
          initiative in West Africa last year has taken off. This week Foreign
          Ministers from eight west African countries will sign up with India to form
          the so-called ``TEAM 9'' to promote economic cooperation. These are Burkina
          Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali,
          and Senegal.

          While Africa has generally been neglected in India's foreign policy over the
          decades, west Africa was virtually a blind spot in New Delhi. In the last
          few years India has begun to apply corrective measures. India's renewed
          engagement with west Africa is no longer built on political rhetoric but on
          the prospects for mutually beneficial commercial cooperation.

          West African nations are looking for Indian transfer of intermediate
          technologies across a broad spectrum, skilled manpower and finance. India
          will, in return, gain stronger political links and access to rich markets.

          Mr. Shashank was the first senior official to visit west Africa in years and
          was received with enthusiasm. In the past India got in touch with west
          African chancelleries only when it needed votes in international fora. Now
          India and west Africa are eager to get a move on.

          * * *

          Out of the eight west African countries now joining India, there will be
          special focus on Equatorial Guinea. For this tiny nation on the West Coast
          of Africa is now at the heart of a great oil boom.

          The Gulf of Guinea is believed to have oil reserves amounting to 24 billion
          barrels, and could emerge as one the world's leading offshore production
          centres. The U.S. oil companies have head-start as they pour billions of
          dollars into the region.

          Equatorial Guinea has given out scores of contracts for hydrocarbon
          prospecting and could emerge in the coming years as Africa's third largest
          oil producer after Nigeria and Angola.

          For Washington, the oil lying across the Atlantic Ocean offers many
          advantages. Many African oil producers are not members of the Organisation
          of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that is dominated by producers from
          the volatile west Asia. With much it offshore, West African oil is also
          insulated from internal turmoil.

          * * *

          India, which is looking to diversify its petroleum supplies, does not want
          to be left out of the race for oil in Africa that now holds eight per cent
          of world's crude reserves. After investing more than a billion dollars in
          Sudan, India is now turning its eyes to Angola.

          It has been reported that ONGC Videsh, external arm of Oil and Natural Gas
          Corporation, is trying acquire a stake of $2 billion in a major oil project
          off the Angolan coast. The Gulf of Guinea is not beneath India's radar

          But for now mum is the word as India elbows its way into the west African
          oil scene dominated by the United States.

        • Darius Lee
          If pride causes envy, it s nothing to be proud of By LIN FENG YING SIN CHEW JIT POH ARE Singaporeans arrogant? This topic was widely discussed in the press
          Message 4 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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            If pride causes envy, it's nothing to be proud of
            By LIN FENG YING
            SIN CHEW JIT POH

            'ARE Singaporeans arrogant?'

            This topic was widely discussed in the press after former Chinese ambassador
            to Singapore Chen Baoliu criticised Singaporeans when she spoke at the
            China-Singapore Business Forum in Beijing last November. The issue died down
            soon after but was rekindled two weeks ago, when another forum on the same
            topic was held.

            Someone said at the forum that judging by the high turnout at the event, it
            could be seen that Singaporeans were not arrogant, because arrogant people
            would not be bothered to defend or examine themselves when others labelled
            them as arrogant.

            Ms Chen mentioned that Singaporeans had much capital, for they could speak
            English and were experienced in dealing with foreign countries.

            Of course, just as Ms Chen has said, this is something that they should not
            be arrogant about. Following China's development in the last few years, more
            and more Chinese are now able to speak English and have some exposure to
            foreigners. They do not lose out to Singaporeans.

            There is no doubt that many Singaporeans are arrogant merely because they
            can read and write English. They look down not only on people from China but
            also the Chinese-educated in Singapore.

            There have been many instances where Nantah graduates who were poor in
            English were jeered by their colleagues and scorned by their superiors.

            The times have changed. Today, English is still the dominant language in
            Singapore, but as the use of English becomes universal, this capital, as Ms
            Chen put it, has been devalued.

            Aren't there other areas that Singaporeans are proud of?

            Singaporeans do not need to blow their own trumpets. Singapore has an honest
            bureaucracy and its private institutions are intolerant of corruption.
            Everyone knows that this is Singapore's pride.

            Trivial matters such as violation of traffic regulations are taken
            seriously. Big-time transactions are above board, court cases are not heard
            secretly, costs are not hidden and goods change hands transparently.

            These things constitute the capital of Singapore, which must not be allowed
            to be devalued by foreign factors, unless we ourselves become corrupt.

            NAIVE ARROGANCE?

            HOWEVER, it is also because of such a system in Singapore that Singaporeans
            are deemed to be detached and to go according to the law. Once they stray
            from the law, they are at a loss as to what to do.

            A Singapore girl has been known to look aghast at her Chinese client should
            he light up a cigarette in an air-conditioned restaurant, and blurt out that
            smoking is prohibited in Singapore's restaurants.

            Singaporeans are so used to being law-abiding in Singapore that they
            instinctively expect people from other parts of the world to do likewise.
            Naive arrogance on the part of the Singapore girl has bred, in her Chinese
            client, contempt for Singaporeans, rather than respect for Singapore's love
            of the environment.

            Indeed, Singapore should be proud of the many things that it has achieved -
            for instance, the ability of most Singaporeans to speak the international
            language, English. However, if its pride does not add value to the country,
            and instead makes foreigners dislike and envy Singapore, then it is nothing
            to be proud of.

          • Yoshiko Royichi
            Asian tale of two technologies By RONALD MEINARDUS MANILA -- Media developments influence not only our private lives, but also affect the way our societies and
            Message 5 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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              Asian tale of two technologies

              By RONALD MEINARDUS

              MANILA -- Media developments influence not only our private lives, but also
              affect the way our societies and politics are organized. Before coming to
              the Philippines two years ago, I spent nearly six years in South Korea. In
              both countries, I observed the impact of media on political and social

              The differences between the Philippines and South Korea are striking in many
              ways, particularly regarding the use of modern means of communication. While
              the Philippines prides itself on being the "text-messaging" capital of the
              world, South Korea is the global leader in Internet broadband connectivity.

              The ascendancy of the Internet in South Korea is the result of a joint
              effort by the private sector and the government to get every household and
              public building wired. I am not aware of any other country in the world
              where this objective has been pursued so systematically and successfully as
              in South Korea.

              In the Philippines, on the other hand, a lack of resources and the
              geographic conditions of an archipelagic nation with thousands of islands
              have prevented the proliferation of digital technology. To this day, many
              Filipinos have no access to ordinary telephone services, and merely 5
              percent of the population uses the Internet.

              To a large extent, cost and availability of a given technology determine
              their usage and popularity. In South Korea, personal computers today are
              considered standard appliances in almost every household. In addition, South
              Koreans spend many hours in the ubiquitous Internet cafes.

              On the other hand, Filipinos spend a great amount of time on their cell
              phones, in large part sending and receiving text messages. In a way, this
              mode of communication has become a way of life in the Philippines. Here,
              everybody seems to send text messages -- bankers, policemen, nurses, maids,
              Cabinet members and even the president.

              According to a recent lifestyle survey commissioned by a leading European
              cell-phone supplier, 77 percent of the Philippines' tens of millions of
              cell-phone subscribers check their phones constantly if they don't receive
              any messages for about an hour. Users also send an average of 150 text
              messages a day. According to the same survey, nearly two out of three
              Filipinos would rather spend a day without computer access than without
              their cell phones.

              While modern media has affected our personal lifestyles, it also has wider
              implications for the societies we live in and the respective politics. In
              democracies, this observation becomes particularly apparent during election
              times, when politicians are out to mobilize the votes of the people.

              Important elections will be held in the near future in both South Korea and
              the Philippines, allowing us to compare the usage of communications
              technologies in the two countries.

              Nowhere else in the world has the Internet such a substantial political
              impact as in South Korea. "In a country where 73 percent of homes enjoy
              high-speed Internet access, the battle for National Assembly seats will
              likely be won in cyberspace," a correspondent in Seoul recently reported.

              Political analysts agree that Roh Moo Hyun would probably not be president
              of South Korea today had it not been for a countrywide campaign of
              "Netizens" supporting him in the runup to the elections in 2002.

              Importantly, the rise of what is often termed "digital politics" or
              "e-politics" in South Korea has not only changed the way the candidates
              conduct their campaigns. Some observers argue that the technological
              developments also have substantial societal implications: Lee Eun Jeung, in
              a recent volume titled "Asian Cyberactivism," writes, "Quite apart from
              parties and political organizations, citizens have learned to use the
              Internet as a new forum for political participation." In Lee's eyes, this
              has even led to a "certain renewal of Korean political culture."

              A renewal of their political culture is something many disenchanted
              Filipinos are still waiting for. Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether
              mobile phones will ever have the same beneficial political effects on
              Philippine politics as the Internet has had in South Korea.

              No doubt, cell phones have played a significant role in political
              mobilizations in recent Philippine history.

              "The notoriety of cell phones as devices with the capacity to cause a 'coup
              d'text' is most closely associated with the downfall of President (Joseph)
              Estrada," writes Raul Pertierra and his associates in a book titled "Txt-ing
              Selves: Cellphones and Philippine Modernity."

              But the authors, who highlight the mobilizing power of cell phones in the
              mass protests that led to the ouster of a disgraced president, hasten to add
              that texting is used mainly for personal and private communications, and has
              no significant positive impact on "the public sphere and public life."

              While cell phones are potentially an exceptionally effective channel for
              mass communication in a country like the Philippines, none of the major
              political candidates in the ongoing electoral campaign appear to be
              utilizing it.

              Unlike the Internet, cell phones are generally not considered to belong to
              the public sphere. "Many people treat their mobile phones as private space,"
              says Ramon Isberto, head of corporate communications at Smart, the leading
              mobile phone company in the Philippines. "You don't invite just anybody into
              your bedroom," says Isberto, who argues that sending unsolicited messages to
              mobile phones usually provokes a negative response from the recipients.

              A comparison of South Korea and the Philippines regarding the usage and the
              political impact of modern communication technologies reflects what is
              commonly known as the digital divide. There are indications that the gap
              between countries that are advanced and others that are less developed
              regarding the usage of such technologies is growing.

              The ongoing merger of Internet technology with cell-phone technology may
              help close this gap. According to the industry, it is merely a matter of
              time before mobile phones that let users surf the Internet and use e-mail
              become widely available at an affordable price.

              I would argue that for the Philippines, the eventual proliferation of this
              integrated technology will have greater societal and political impact than
              text-messaging has had thus far.

            • Gabriel Wimpfheimer
              A son s dangerous passion, in the name of the father Mel Gibson did not win an Oscar this time round. But the release of his film The Passion of the Christ on
              Message 6 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                A son's dangerous passion, in the name of the father

                Mel Gibson did not win an Oscar this time round. But the release of his film
                The Passion of the Christ on Ash Wednesday certainly focused attention away
                from the familiar Hollywood glitz - for a while, at least. The director and
                co-writer of The Passion of the Christ is an accomplished artist and this is
                a great work - irrespective of whether or not you agree with its message. As
                such, the film is capable of doing good and evil - and of inflaming

                When I saw The Passion of the Christ last Thursday, along with a
                predominantly young audience, there were audible arguments during the
                screening - followed by a punch-up near the exit at the end of the film. The
                antagonists seemed to come from groups of young Christians and Jews. It was
                as if the excessive screen violence had an impact on at least some of the

                Since Gibson dominates this film - as principal financier, director and
                writer - it tells us much about its creator, as well as his view of the

                Gibson was born in the US in 1956 and arrived in Australia in 1968 with his
                father Hutton and his mother Ann. He was educated at St Leo's on Sydney's
                North Shore (near Hornsby) which was then run by the Christian Brothers.

                Gibson attended St Leo's in the late 1960s and early '70s. This was after
                the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which had overseen significant
                theological and liturgical reforms including, in the latter category, the
                abandonment of the Latin Mass and its replacement by a vernacular service.

                The teachings of Vatican II included a decree condemning the view that Jews
                were collectively responsible for Christ's death.

                For the most part the Australian Catholic Church accepted Vatican II - with
                only a few clerical and lay dissidents. During his time in Australia, Hutton
                Gibson rejected Vatican II. In more recent times, this position was adopted
                by his son.

                Now, Mel Gibson would not have picked up this influence from the Christian
                Brothers, or from the likes of Cardinal Norman Gilroy, then Archbishop of
                Sydney. But he is old enough to remember the time before Vatican II when the
                Catholic Church, in Australia and elsewhere, focused more on Christ's
                suffering than on his resurrection.

                Some time after leaving St Leo's, Gibson gave up what some Catholics term
                the "Faith of Our Fathers". When he found God again, circa the late '80s, it
                was to the faith of his father to which Gibson returned.

                The revolt within Catholicism against the Papacy and Vatican II was led by
                the Frenchman Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-91) who visited Australia in
                1972 and again in 1985. In 1969 he founded the Society of Saint Pope Pius X.
                Pius X (1835-1914) was known for his opposition to modernism (that is,
                liberalism) within the Church, so he had a certain appeal to Lefebvre and
                his fellow Vatican II rejectionists.

                It's just that Lefebvre and his supporters had an agenda which went beyond
                religion. He was part of that section of French Catholicism which supported
                an extreme right-wing ideology and which nurtured anti-Semitism. As Michael
                Curtis says in Verdict on Vichy (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2002), it was
                Lefebvre's followers who gave sanctuary to Paul Touvier for many years.
                Touvier was an avowed anti-Semite who tortured and murdered French Jews
                while serving as a senior police officer in the fascist collaboratist Vichy
                regime during World War II.

                Anti-Semitism was not the dominant tradition within the Catholic Church but
                it played a role in Catholicism in continental Europe. There were a few
                anti-Semites in English-speaking democracies, most notably the English
                writer Hilaire Belloc and the American priest Charles Coughlin. But
                anti-Semitism did not feature in the Catholic Church in Australia, Britain,
                Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the US For example, Daniel Mannix (the
                Irish-born Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 to 1963) was very friendly
                towards Jews.

                The Australian-educated Mel Gibson is not an anti-Semite. But his American
                father is a Holocaust denier and seems to have been influenced by the
                minority movement in the American Church led by the late Coughlin. And the
                son will not renounce his father on this issue. As Mel Gibson recently told
                interviewer Diane Sawyer, who raised Hutton Gibson's view that the Nazism's
                murder of the European Jews was mostly "fiction": "He's my father; gotta
                leave it alone, Diane."

                This was a radically inadequate response.

                The concept that Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Christ
                was seldom articulated in Australia, but prevalent in parts of continental
                Europe and, as such, was a factor in the failure of many Christians to speak
                up against the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

                The Passion of the Christ is not explicitly anti-Semitic. It is possible to
                view the film without feeling one way or another about Jews. However, it is
                also possible that Gibson's work of art will inflame the prejudices of real
                and latent anti-Semites.

                In view of the evident rise of anti-Semitism in parts of Europe and the
                Muslim world, this is potentially dangerous. It is possible that a high
                price will be paid for Gibson's apparently well-intentioned, but manifestly
                self-indulgent, need to purge his guilt for the role he now sincerely
                believes his past excesses as a sinner played in Christ's suffering and

                Gerard Henderson is executive director of The Sydney Institute.


                This story was found at:
              • William Chuang
                China issues 2003 US human rights record China issued the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003 Monday in response to the Country Reports on Human
                Message 7 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                  China issues 2003 US human rights record

                  China issued the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003 Monday
                  in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 issued
                  by the U.S. on Feb. 25.

                  Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the Chinese
                  report listed a multitude of cases to show that serious violations of human
                  rights exist on the homeland of the United States.

                  "As in any previous year, the United States once again acted as'the
                  world human rights police' by distorting and censuring in the'reports' the
                  human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions across the
                  world, including China. And just as usual, the United States once again
                  'omitted' its own long-standing malpractices and problems of human rights in
                  the 'reports'. Therefore, we have to, as before, help the United States keep
                  its human rights record," said the report.

                  The report reviewed the human rights record of the United States in 2003
                  from six perspectives: Life, Freedom and Safety; Political Rights and
                  Freedom; Living Conditions of US Laborers; Racial Discrimination; Conditions
                  of Women, Children and Elderly People; and Infringement upon Human Rights of
                  Other Nations.

                  This is the fifth consecutive year that the Information Office of the
                  State Council has issued human rights record of the United States to answer
                  the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued annually by the State
                  Department of the United States. Enditem

                • William Chuang
                  Full text of Human Rights Record of the US in 2003 Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003, released by the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                    Full text of Human Rights Record of the US in 2003
                    Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of the United States
                    in 2003, released by the Information office of China's State Council Monday.

                    The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003

                    By the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of

                    March 1, 2004

                    On February 25, 2004, the State Department of the United States released its
                    Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 (called the "reports"
                    thereafter). As in previous years, the United States once again acted as
                    "the world human rights police" by distorting and censuring in the "reports"
                    the human rights situations in more than 190 countries and regions across
                    the world, including China. And just as usual, the United States once again
                    "omitted" its own long-standing malpractice and problems of human rights in
                    the "reports". Therefore, we have to, as before, help the United States keep
                    its human rights record.

                    I. On Life, Freedom and Personal Safety
                    The United States has long been in a violent, crime-ridden society with a
                    severe infringement of the people's rights by law enforcement departments
                    and with a lack of guarantee for the life of people, their freedom and
                    personal safety.

                    The United States is a country plagued most seriously by violence and
                    crimes. According to the statistical figures released in June 2003 by the US
                    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a total of 11.9 million criminal
                    cases were reported in 2002 in the United States, including homicides,
                    rapes, robbery and theft. Of these cases, 19,940 cases were reported in
                    Detroit, where 2,073 people committed crimes in every 100,000 people. In
                    Baltimore, where 2,055 people committed crimes in every 100,000 people. With
                    regard to personal offenses, cases of murders and rapes rose by 0.8 percent,
                    and 4.0 percent, respectively, over 2002(see The Sun, USA on June 18, 2003).

                    On Sept. 15, 2003, US Surgeon General Richard Carmona admitted at a workshop
                    that the United States has always ranked first in the world in terms of
                    homicide incidence. In August 2003, the US Department of Justice
                    acknowledged in a report that a total of 15,586 homicide cases occurred
                    around the country in 2000, as against 15,980 in 2001, and 16,110 in 2002,
                    indicating a rising trend yearby year (see the edition of USA Today on Aug.
                    25, 2003).

                    In a report released by the FBI in December 2003, the FBI said the overall
                    incidence of offenses in the U.S. somewhat dropped, whereas the number of
                    people murdered across the country grew by 1.1 percent during the first half
                    of 2003 (see the edition of USA Today published on Dec. 16, 2003).

                    From January to August of 2003, 166 homicides were reported in Washington
                    D.C., up 5.1 percent year on year. In Chicago, which is known as America's
                    "homicide capital", there were 648 homicides in2002, compared with 599 in
                    2003, or an average of 22.2 people victimized in every 100,000 residents (AP
                    dispatch from Chicago on Jan. 1, 2004). In New York, the number of people
                    murdered in 2003 amounted to 596 (AP dispatch from Chicago on Jan. 2,
                    2004)). In California, the number of murder cases for 2002 went up 11
                    percent. The US Justice Policy Institute held that the existing legal system
                    could not ensure the safety and health of community residents.

                    The United States ranked first in private ownership of guns, resulting in
                    drastic rise in gun-related crimes. According to a survey of crime victims,
                    350,000 criminal cases involving the use of guns were reported in the United
                    States in 2002, and guns were used in 63 percent of the 15,980 killings in
                    2001. On Aug. 27, 2003, a jobless man carrying a gun broke into a car part
                    supplying company, killing seven of his former colleagues. Statistical
                    figures from US National Center for Health Statistics showed that 56.5
                    percent of Americans who committed suicides in 2000 with the use of guns,
                    involving 16,586 people (see Gun Violence, Related Facts.

                    Improper management of firearms led to the frequent occurrence of juvenile
                    offenses involving the use of guns. At least 18 people in American public
                    schools were reportedly killed in violence with50 others wounded in mid Aug.
                    of 2003. According to data from US Center for Disease Control and
                    Prevention, more than 50 percent of the murderers in campus shootings in the
                    United States used guns owned by their families or friends, while over 80
                    percent of the guns used by students for suicides came from their families
                    or friends (Most Guns Used in School Shootings from Family, Friends, www.

                    Unrestrained evil social forces and widespread drug abuse endangered the
                    people's life and safety. According to a report released by US National
                    Youth Gang Center, there were altogether 21,500 sinister gangs in the United
                    States in 2002 with a combined membership of 731,000. In April 2003, an
                    innocent woman was killed in a gang shootout in New York. Police had to
                    impose a state of citywide emergency in the summer of 2003 due to frequent
                    gang-related violence (see the edition of USA Today on Dec. 16, 2003).

                    Drug-related crimes have been on the rise, with new characteristics
                    involving a growing number of gangs, intensified violence and trans-national
                    smuggling and collaboration with terrorist groups. The rate of crimes
                    induced by drug abuse has risen year by year. Relevant data released by the
                    US Department of Justice showed that over half of the inmates in federal
                    jails have something to do with drug-related crimes (see Washington Post on
                    July 28, 2003).

                    According to the outcome of a survey released by Washington D.C.Mayor
                    Anthony A. Williams, 60,000 people out of the 600,000 population in
                    Washington used drugs and indulged in excessive drinking, causing an annual
                    economic loss of 1.2 billion US dollars. Half of those people arrested on
                    charge of violence in Washington D.C. took drugs (see Washington Post on
                    Dec. 2, 2003).

                    In recent years, the number of AIDS patients has also increased partly due
                    to the widespread drug abuse. Statistical figures released by the US Center
                    for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the number of people
                    diagnosed as AIDS carriers across the United States in 2002 rose by 2.2
                    percent over the previous year to reach 42,136 (see Washington Post on July
                    28, 2003).

                    The infringement of lawful rights constitutes a malignant obstinate disease
                    of American society. Random assaults committed by the police resulted in the
                    frequent occurrence of tragedies with heavy casualties. The New York City
                    Police was reported for several willful shooting cases when chasing suspects
                    in January 2003. Four people were killed by the police in the city from Jan.
                    1 to 5 last year. In Dec. 2003, a black man named Nathaniel Jones was beaten
                    to death by six policemen in Cincinnati, causing a great uproar against
                    police brutality across the country.

                    According to an AP report, a woman in the city of Detroit had one of her
                    fingers cut off and another finger injured by the police simply for a
                    dispute with them in a parking lot. The report said the police also boxed
                    her ears and tore her hair.

                    The United States issued the Patriot Act in name of land security and
                    anti-terrorism after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and many substantial
                    contents of this act encroached upon rights and freedom of citizens,
                    especially the people of ethnic minorities. Under the authority of the
                    Patriot Act, the government departments are empowered to wiretap phone calls
                    of citizens, trace their online records, read their private mails and
                    e-mails. The FBI is even allowed to keep a watch on people's reading habits.
                    They check the booklists of what people borrow from libraries, so as to
                    judge whether they have been influenced by terrorism. A resolution passed by
                    Cambridge, Massachusetts, explicitly noted that the civil rights of the
                    American people are being jeopardized by the Patriot Act and, therefore, the
                    Sun in Aug. 2003 set forth an appeal for "freedom to read" (see the Sun on
                    Aug. 18, 2003).

                    The United States claim itself as a paradise for free people but the ratio
                    of inmates in the United States has remained the highest in the world. The
                    number of inmates in the country exceeded 2.1 million in 2002, a
                    year-on-year rise of 2.6 percent, according to the statistical figures
                    released by the Department of Justice in July 2003. The jails nationwide
                    receive 700 new inmates every week in the U.S. where 701 out of every
                    100,000 people are in prison (see Washington Post on July 28, 2003).

                    Inmates have received inhumane treatment in the overloaded jails. An
                    International Herald Tribune story said the states of Virginia, North
                    Carolina, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas and Arizona had lowered the food supply
                    standards of inmates so as to curb the huge government budget deficit. They
                    reduced the calorie of each meal in jail and cut three meals a day to two on
                    weekends and holidays. According to a report by Amnesty International, more
                    than 700,000 inmates were held in high security prisons and there they are
                    compelled to stay in wards for 23 hours a day and even longer, subjected to
                    ruthless and inhuman treatment and humiliation. Last year, at least three
                    inmates were hit to death by prison guards with guns of high voltage
                    electric prods (2003 Report: United States of America, Amnesty
                    International, www.amnestyusa.org).

                    Sexual harassment and encroachment are common in jails in the United States.
                    A report issued by Human Rights Watch in Sept. 2003said that one in five
                    male inmates in the country had faced forced sexual contact in custody and
                    one in 10 has been raped. For women inmates, they are objects of sexual
                    assault of jail guards, and one fourth of the women inmates are sexually
                    assaulted in a few jails (see Editorial, Doing Something about Prison Rape,
                    http:// www.hrw.org, 26/09/2003).

                    Nine girls in a juvenile delinquent center of the state of Alabama accused
                    the guards of assaulting and raping them and compelling them to have forced
                    abortion. They also said male guards watched girls take bath and unclothe
                    themselves for so-called frisk. They had to have sex with male guards in the
                    hope for better treatment, for instance, to get a can of cola or food.

                    According to another Human Rights Watch report, one in six US inmates suffer
                    various kinds of mental illnesses. Many of them suffer from schizophrenia,
                    bipolar disorder and serious depression. The proportion of inmates with
                    mental illness in the prison population is over three times higher than in
                    the general population (see United States: Mentally Ill Mistreated in
                    Prison, www.hrw.org/2003/10/US102203.htm). The total population of these
                    patients has reached as high as 200,000 to 300,000. "Prisons have become the
                    nation's primary mental health facilities," said Human Rights Watch. The
                    prisoners with mental illness are likely to be picked on, physically or
                    sexually abused and manipulated by other inmates. For example, a female
                    inmate named Georgia, who is both mentally ill and retarded, has been raped
                    repeatedly in an exchange for small items such as cigarettes and coffee.

                    II. On Political Rights and Freedom
                    The presidential election, often symbolized as US democracy, infact is the
                    game and competition for the rich people. Presidential candidates have to
                    raise money far and wide for their expensive campaign cost and most of the
                    donors are big companies and millionaires. President George W. Bush and Vice
                    President Dick Cheney had raised as high as 113 million US dollars in their
                    2000 presidential campaign, a record in US history, and the fund raising is
                    expected to reach 200 million US dollars for this year's re-election
                    campaign (see Britain's Independent newspaper on Jan.20, 2004).

                    Statistical figures from the Center for Responsive Politics showed that
                    Lockheed Martin Corp., the country's biggest arms dealer, has been the
                    biggest political donor. The company had donated 10.6 billion US dollars for
                    political campaigns in the United States from 1999 to 2000 and has been the
                    main donor to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of
                    Representatives as well as one of the top ten donors to the Committee on
                    Appropriations of the House.

                    The so-called "freedom of press" in the United States has also been brought
                    under intensive criticism. According to an investigative report of the
                    Sonoma State University in the United States, freedom of press, speech and
                    expression of opinion in the United States is amid a crisis. An increasing
                    number of US media organizations are getting involved in false reporting or
                    cheating scandals. On June 5, 2003, two chief editors of the New York Times
                    resigned after their role in a plagiarism scandal was exposed. John Barrie,
                    head of Plagiarism.org in Oakland, California, claimed that "every newspaper
                    in this country is not doing due diligence" and "everybody's got this

                    Meanwhile, the US government has exercised an extremely tight control over
                    news media, which went to the extreme during the 2003U.S.-led war against
                    Iraq. During the war, the US government had tried every means to prevent the
                    press from getting timely and true information and had wielded its hegemony
                    to override the journalistic principle of "faithful and unbiased reporting".
                    PeterArnett, a veteran reporter with the US National Broadcasting Company
                    (NBC), was fired simply because he voiced some of his personal views on the
                    Iraq war. News coverage by international media in Iraq also often fell prey
                    to US restrictions and crackdown. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders
                    (RSF) has accused US troops in Iraq of frequent "obstruction of journalists
                    trying to do their jobs in Iraq" and described the number of attacks on
                    press freedom there as "alarming" (see Reuters story on Oct. 20, 2003).

                    In January 2004, the U.S.-installed Iraqi Interim Governing Council issued
                    an order to ban the Al-Qaida-based Al-Jazeera TV station from covering any
                    activity of the Council's members between January 28 and February 27. A book
                    named "Black List", co-written by 15 American reporters, has warned that
                    America's press freedom is facing danger. In an interview with the French
                    newspaper Le Figaro, Kristina Borjesson, one of the book's authors and a
                    former reporter with the CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) and CNN (Cable
                    News Network), said that US authorities had controlled all information to be
                    spread by the media while journalists had degenerated into the government's
                    stenographers (see French newspaper Le Figaro on May 8, 2003).

                    The US has also time and again launched attacks on news media organizations
                    and journalists in Iraq. In one of such attacks on April 8, 2003, the US
                    troops bombed the Baghdad branch of an Arab TV station and killed one
                    cameraman on the spot.

                    III. On Living Conditions of US Laborers
                    Although the United States is the world's No. one developed nation, the US
                    government has to date refused to ratify the International Covenant on
                    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Itis apathetic to the rights and
                    interests of ordinary workers in economic, social and cultural aspects,
                    leading to serious problemssuch as poverty, hunger and homelessness.

                    The disparity between the rich and the poor keep widening in the United
                    States. A 2003 report by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the
                    US Congress acknowledged that the gap between the rich and the poor in the
                    country today is wider than anytime in nearly 70 years, with the wealth of
                    the country's richest one percent population exceeding the overall
                    possessions of the needy, who account for 40 percent of the total
                    population. In 2000, the rich people's wealth makes up 15.5 percent of the
                    country's overall national income, as against 7.5 percent in 1979 (according
                    to BBC report on Sept. 25, 2003).

                    A report by the US Federal Reserve also showed that between 1998 and 2001,
                    the wealth gap between the country's richest and poorest had widened by 70
                    percent (see Britain's Guardian report on Jan. 24, 2003).

                    Certain policies of the US government, instead of helping narrowing the
                    country's wealth gap, have aggravated the rich-poor disparity and led to an
                    unfair distribution of wealth. According to a report by the US Environmental
                    Working Group in 2003, the agricultural policy of the US government has
                    ensured 70 percent ofthe government subsidies go to ranch owners, resulting
                    in a yawning income gap between ranch owners and ordinary farmers and
                    pushing many farmers to the verge of bankruptcy (ABC report on Oct.9, 2003).

                    The population living in need and hunger in the United States has been on a
                    steady rise. According to statistics from the 2003 economic report of the US
                    Census Bureau, the impoverished population in the United States had been
                    increasing for two consecutive years, reaching 34.6 million, or 12.1 percent
                    of the total population, in 2002, up 1.7 million over the previous year. The
                    country's poverty ratio in 2002 had risen by 0.4 percentage points over the
                    previous year. Among the impoverished population, the number of extremely
                    needy people had risen to 14.1 million from the previous 13.4 million, and
                    the proportion of children in need had gone up to 16.7 percent in 2002 from
                    16.3 percent in 2001.Since 2001, the number of needy families in the United
                    States has been growing at 6 percent a year, and there are now 7.3 million
                    impoverished families in the country, which means 31 million people are
                    facing the threat of hunger. In the 25 leading metropolises of the United
                    States, the number of people who need emergency food aid has increased by 19
                    percent on average, while the number of people who live on charity food
                    coupons, or those who have to queue up for free food distributions, has
                    surged to 22million (see Spain's El Mundo on May 19, 2003).

                    In October 2003, the US Department of Agriculture released a report, which
                    showed that in 2002 there were 12 million American families worrying about
                    their food expenditures and 3.8 million families with members who actually
                    suffered from hunger. On December 18, 2003, an annual survey report released
                    at the US Conference of Mayors showed that in the 25 cities surveyed, the
                    number of people seeking emergency food aid in 2003 had increased by 17
                    percent on average over 2002. Moreover, 87 percent of the surveyed cities
                    believed that the number of such people would continue to rise in 2004.

                    The homeless population continues to rise. According to information released
                    by the US National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, more than 3
                    million people were homeless in the United States in 2002 (Homeless and
                    Poverty in America, www.nlchp.org). Washington D.C. has the highest rate of
                    homelessness of any city in the United States, with an estimated 20,000
                    people having experienced homelessness and nearly 400 families having
                    applied for emergency shelters in 2002 (A snapshot of Homelessness in the
                    Metropolitan, www.naeh.org). In April of 2002 alone, 38,476 people in New
                    York spent their night in aid centers, including 16,685 children. According
                    to a survey released by the US Conference of Mayors in December 2003,
                    requests for emergency shelter assistance rose by an average of 13 percent
                    in the past year; 88 percent of the cities surveyed predicted that the
                    situation would be even worse in 2004.

                    Recently, the US Christian Science Monitor reminded the United States that
                    it should regard "a home for every American" as the most rudimentary human
                    right. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless said the government was unable to
                    provide the basic subsistence guarantee for people, and that the local
                    government had violated international human rights law by forcibly taking
                    over 8,000 local residential houses in five years.

                    There is a lack of work safety. According to US laws, only the accidents of
                    industrial injuries resulting from "intended" violation of safety rules by
                    the employers are eligible to be submitted to the judicial authorities. Even
                    when alarming cases occur, the employers are seldom confirmed as "intended"
                    and rarely face public prosecution. The New York Times quoted a surveyed
                    report of the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration as saying that
                    in 20 years from 1982 to 2002, there were 1,242 cases involving the death of
                    workers caused by the employers' "intended" violation of safety rules, yet
                    93 percent of the cases were not brought to the court. In these two decades,
                    there were a total of 2,197 accidents caused by employers' violation of
                    safety rules and resulted in death of the workers in the United States, and
                    the combined prison terms for employers involved were less than 30 years.

                    The situation of health insurance worsened. According to a report released
                    by the US Census Bureau in September 2003, the number of Americans without
                    health insurance climbed by 5.7 percent over 2001, to reach 43.6 million in
                    2002, the largest single increase in a decade. Overall, 15.2 percent of the
                    Americans were uninsured in 2002 (see Washington Post on Sept. 30,2003).

                    Based on a survey, the ratio of employees uninsured in big US companies rose
                    from seven percent to 11 percent during the 1987-2001 period (see Wall
                    Street Journal on Oct. 22, 2003). More and more people cannot afford medical
                    treatment. In Nebraska,250,000 single mothers lost free medical care they
                    previously enjoyed, and in Arizona, approximately 60,000 children were no
                    longer covered by free medical care (see Spain's El Mundo on May 19, 2003).

                    IV. On Racial Discrimination
                    Forty years have elapsed since late civil rights leader Martin Luther King
                    made the famous speech "I Have a Dream", yet the equal rights pursued by the
                    American blacks and minority ethnic groups remained an unattainable dream

                    Racial discrimination in the United States has a long history with age-old
                    malpractice. It has been permeated into every aspects of society. According
                    to an investigative report released by the United Nations, the blacks and
                    colored people received twice or three times more severe penalties than the
                    whites for the crimes of the same kind; the number of black people who
                    received death penalty for killing white people was four times that of the
                    white people for killing black people. In state prisons nationwide, about 47
                    percent of the inmates were black people, and the 16 percent were people of
                    Latin American ancestry. The blacks accounted for 13 percent of the total US
                    population, yet 35 percent of the people arrested for drug abuse crimes were
                    blacks and 53 percent of the people that were convicted for drug abuse
                    crimes were blacks.

                    At present, more than 750,000 black inmates were in US jails, or over 35
                    percent of the total number of inmates in the country; approximately 2
                    million black people were disciplined or put under various forms of
                    surveillance; 22 percent of black males in the 30-34 age group had jail
                    records, while the white inmates only make up three percent; 36 of 1,000
                    black females have possibilities of being jailed in their lives, while only
                    five of 1,000 white females have such a possibility.

                    The poverty rate and joblessness rate of the US blacks remained high.
                    According to statistics of the US Department of Labor, the white people's
                    unemployment rate in the U.S. was 5.2 percent in November 2003, while the
                    rate was as high as 10.2 percent for the blacks, almost twice that of the
                    whites (Employment Status of the Civilian Population by Race, Sex, and Age,
                    www.bls.gov/news.release/empgit.to2.htm, 05/12/2003).

                    According to statistics of the US Census Bureau, poverty rate among the
                    blacks reached 24.1 percent in 2002, up 1.4 percentage points over the 22.7
                    percent rate in the previous year; 20.2 percent of the blacks were without
                    health insurance; average annual income of median black families was 40
                    percent less than the ordinary median US families (see USA Today on Oct. 3,

                    Racial discrimination exists on the US real estate market, too. In 2002, the
                    US federal government received a total of 25,246 discrimination accusations
                    on housing market, 72 percent of which were from the families of black
                    people, disabled people or those families with children, according to a
                    report released by the National Fair Housing Alliance in April 2003.
                    Discrimination over the birth place nationality of house purchasers rose
                    from 10 percent in 2001 to 12 percent in 2002 (see the Sun newspaper, USA on
                    Aug. 17, 2003). Black people usually spend more money than white people on
                    housing purchase, but their houses are not as good as those of white people
                    and they have to accept loans with higher interests. The market value of
                    houses bought by black people with same amount of money is only 82 percent
                    of those of white people, and houses with high mortgage interest rate in
                    black people communities are five times more than those in white people
                    communities, the Sun newspaper quoted the US Department of Housing and Urban
                    Development as saying in on July 3, 2003.

                    Apartheid recurs at school. More than one third of American students of the
                    African origin are studying in schools where over 90 percent of students are
                    non-white people, according to an investigation made by Harvard University
                    in 2004. Since 1988, many schools abandoned the compulsory racial
                    integration in class due to a series of court verdicts and changes in
                    federal policies. According to a verdict passed in 1991 by the Supreme
                    Court, the resumption of community schools was allowed and it was no longer
                    mandatory to carry black students from other communities by school bus,
                    which led to the disappearance of black students in white people's schools.
                    Meanwhile, wealthy white people in some southern areas withdrew from
                    publicly-owned school systems and sent their kids to private schools where
                    most students were white. Racial differentiation in US middle and elementary
                    schools is serious, noted a commentary of the New York Times on Jan. 21,
                    2003. Those black students in schools where most are white students often
                    feel unwelcome, discriminated or even scared (The New York Times on Jan.21,

                    Less proportion of colored races can go to universities than white people.
                    According to a report issued by the America Council on Education in Oct.
                    2003, 40 percent of black people and 34 percent of Hispanic-Americans of the
                    age group from 18 to 24 can go to university, while 46 percent of white
                    people can go to university
                    www.accnet.edu/news/press_release/2003/10october/minority_report. cfm).

                    According to the census result in March 2003, the income of black people
                    with bachelor degree was 24.5 percent lower than white people with same
                    degree, that of black people with master degree 21.2 percent lower than
                    white people with same degree, and that of black people with doctoral degree
                    28.1 percent lower than white people (see USA Today on Sept. 9, 2003).

                    The US discrimination toward immigrants tends to become serious. After the
                    Sept. 11 incident, the US congress adopted anti-terrorism act containing
                    items infringing on human rights. The act permits the arrest of immigrants
                    with indefinite duration, checks on all secret files, inspection in public
                    and private occasions, wiretapping of phone conversations and secret
                    investigations. In June 2003, US Procurator-General Glenn Fine revealed in
                    his investigative report that after the Sept. 11 incident, US authorities
                    detained 762 foreign immigrants for an average of about three months in
                    excuse of violation of immigrant law, but later investigation showed they
                    had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 incident (see Washington Post on June 3,

                    In the Operation Landmark launched in Chicago from Dec. 2002 toMay 2003, the
                    backgrounds of some staff working in public places such as airports and
                    high-rises were surveyed secretly, with some immigrants being detained and
                    deported without criminal acts, and the government refused to publicize any
                    details of this special policy toward immigrants and information about the
                    detainment and deportation of immigrants. According to the report, this kind
                    of "secret policing" activity in excuse of national security infringedon the
                    civil rights and freedom of millions of immigrants in the United States (see
                    Los Angeles Times on May 29, 2003).

                    Another report shows that 1,200 immigrants were detained in the United
                    States with no indictment, and at least 484 people are still in custody. To
                    date, the US government still refuses to reveal the identity of these people
                    (see a report by Britain's Independent newspaper on June 26, 2003).

                    Immigrant children are maltreated. According to a report from the Amnesty
                    International, at least 5,000 children going to the United States to find
                    relatives, or avoid abuses and mistreatment, wars and recruiting by domestic
                    rebels were put into custody in the United States. These children were
                    jailed together with adult inmates, and were abused in ways of frisk by
                    being unclothed, handcuffed and flogged. These children aged one to ten
                    years from all over the world were often imprisoned for months, or even for
                    years. A kid jailed in a detention center in Pennsylvania was beaten up for
                    minor faults such as saying "Can I use the toilet" instead of "May I use the
                    toilet." Staffs in a detention house in Texas will take back blankets and
                    mattress and switch off air-conditioners just because children make faults
                    (Reuters dispatch from Miami on June 18, 2003). The United States reportedly
                    jailed a number of prisoners regarded as illegal fighters, three of whom
                    were 13 to 15 years of age (see Britain's Guardian newspaper on April 24,

                    V. On Conditions of Women, Children and Elderly People
                    Little can be spoken of the human rights record in the US in view of
                    protecting the rights of women, children, elderly people and other special
                    disadvantageous social groups.

                    American women cannot enjoy the equal rights with men to take part in
                    government and political affairs. Statistics from the Center for American
                    Women in Politics indicated that in 2003, women hold 59, or 13.6 percent of
                    the seats in the House of Representatives, and 14, or 14 percent of the
                    seats in the Senate. Despite an increase in the number of women seated in
                    state legislatures in 2003, they made up only 22.3 percent of the total
                    7,382 state legislators in the US. (Women in Elected Office 2003 Fact Sheet
                    Summaries, www.cawp.rutgers.edu/Facts/Officeholds/cawpfs.html).

                    Women are not entitled to equal treatment with regard to employment and
                    income. American women are still largely pigeonholed in "pink collar" jobs,
                    such as secretaries, saleswomen and restaurant attendants, according to a
                    report released by the American Association of University of Women in May,
                    2003 (www.aauw.org/about/newspress_releases/230505.cfm).

                    Statistics from the US Department of Labor indicated that in 2002, the
                    average weekly income for women aged 16 and above were 530 US dollars, or
                    77.9 percent of the 680 dollars for their male counterparts. Analysis by the
                    department noted that there were twice as many as women whose earnings were
                    below the Federal minimum wage, compared with men. Among the whites and
                    Hispanics, women are more likely than men to become low income earners
                    (Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, www.bls.gov)

                    There has been serious domestic and sexual violence against women. According
                    to figures released by the White House in October2003, a total of 700,000
                    incidents of domestic violence were reported in the U.S. in 2001. One-third
                    of women murdered each year are murdered by their current or former husbands
                    or partners (National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2003, by George W.
                    Bush, www.whitehouse.gov).

                    According to a survey conducted by the US National Coalition Against
                    Domestic Violence, 92 percent of American women cite domestic and sexual
                    violence as one of their top worries. One out of every three women
                    experiences at least one physical assault during adulthood, and only one out
                    of every seven cases of domestic violence, however, drew the attention of
                    the police. A report by the US military on sexual harassment scandals in the
                    US Air Force Academy showed that 109 out of the 579 female cadets, or almost
                    20 percent, that were interviewed said they had been sexually harassed and
                    assaulted in different ways and to varying extent.

                    The protection of children provided in the U.S. is far below the
                    international standards. The United States is one of the only two countries
                    in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the
                    Child. Since 1980s, all the states in the U.S. have lowered the age of
                    criminal culpability against juvenile offenders, and in some states,
                    juvenile offenders aged 10 even stood on trial in courts for adults.

                    According to the Department of Justice, 27 out of the 50 US states have set
                    minimum age of criminal culpability. Most states such as California set the
                    age at 14, states like Colorado at 12 and two states including Kansas at 10.
                    In states where there is no minimum age of criminal culpability, judges can
                    decide to try juvenile offenders in juvenile courts or transfer them to
                    ordinary criminal courts according to the seriousness of the crimes. In
                    2002, a 15-year-old student, who killed two of his classmates in a shooting
                    rampage, was sentenced to 50 years in prison. In the same year, Brian
                    Robertson, an 18-year-old student in a high school in Oklahoma was arrested
                    for his writing a novel with "extraordinary violent" plots on a school
                    computer and if convicted, he faces upto 10 years in prison.

                    The US is the country that has handed most of the death penalties to
                    juvenile offenders and carried out the executions in the world. According to
                    a report released by the Amnesty International on Jan. 21, two-thirds of the
                    documented executions of juvenile offenders in the world occurred in the US
                    in the past decade and more. Since 1990, there have been a total of 34
                    documented executions of juvenile offenders worldwide, and 19 of them
                    happened in the US (an AP dispatch from London on Jan. 2, 2004).

                    While many countries around the world are abolishing executions of minors,
                    some politicians in the U.S. are asking to lower the minimum age for death
                    penalty, and the Federal Supreme Court has even set the age at 16. Up to
                    date, there are 80 such juvenile inmates on the death row waiting to be
                    executed (a Prensa Latina from Havana on Aug. 4, 2003).

                    Among the developed nations, the United States ranks the first in terms of
                    the number of children living under the poverty line and the last in the
                    life expectancy of its children (Britain's Guardian newspaper on Nov. 3,
                    2003). According to statistics released by the US Census Bureau in September
                    2003, 10.4 percent of all US minors lived in poverty by the definition of
                    income in 2002 (Poverty: 2002 Highlights, www.census.gov), up to 13 million
                    people (Britain's Guardian newspaper on Nov. 3, 2003).

                    Of all the children, 11.6 percent could not afford health insurance. Of the
                    millions of homeless population in the United States, kids account for a
                    considerable proportion. The US Conference of Mayors said in its 2003 annual
                    report that of all homeless families, 40 percent were families with
                    children, and among all the families applying for food subsidies, 59 percent
                    of them had at least one kid. And according to the United Nations Children's
                    Fund, of the 27 well-off nations in the world, the United States ranks the
                    first in the number of deaths of its children as a result of violence and
                    negligence (see Reuters dispatch from Geneva on Sept. 18, 2003).

                    The under-aged population are under threat in terms of physical and mental
                    health. According to statistics from the US Federal Government, of all the
                    kids under the age of 18, 10 percent suffer from psychological illness to
                    varying extent, some to the point of committing crimes. But only one fifth
                    of them have been provided with medical treatment (see the edition of USA
                    Today on Oct. 26, 2003). Violent acts plaguing the US public media are
                    bringing adverse impact to the minors. Statistics show that before coming of
                    age at 18, kids and youngsters could be exposed to at least 40,000 murder
                    scenes and 200,000 other acts of violence in various public media (an AP
                    dispatch on Feb. 5, 2004). They are so accustomed to fist fights, bloody
                    killings that some have been worshipping for violence, which gives rise to
                    more malignant acts of violence in the country accordingly.

                    Children are often the victims of sexual assault. In recent years, more and
                    more scandals have come to light that children were harassed, molested and
                    raped by priests in the U.S.. In June 2003, USA Today reported that in the
                    past 18 months, of all the 46,000 clergymen in the United States, around 425
                    were dismissed by churches for crime allegations involved, including the
                    crime of sexual assault against children (edition of USA Today on June 17,
                    2003). According to other reports, at least 1,000 people were arrested in
                    the United States for accused acts of eroticism targeting at kids since June
                    2003. Of all the arrested, 400 were charged with the crime of making and
                    spreading erotic materials relating to children via the Internet.

                    The senior citizens are prejudiced against and mistreated, which led to a
                    higher rate of suicides among them. In the United States, people aged over
                    65 account for 13 percent of the national population, and of all the people
                    who committed suicide, the senior population make up 19 percent. According
                    to a report of the Christian Science Monitor, of every 100,000 people
                    between the ageof 15 to 24, 10.3 such people killed themselves in 1999, and
                    the number rose to 15.9 for the elderly people above the age of 65, which
                    was nearly 50 percent higher than the national average level.All the numbers
                    boiled down to the fact that more than 6,000 senior citizens committed
                    suicide in the United States in 1999.

                    VI. On Infringement upon Human Rights of Other Nations
                    In recent years, the United States has been practicing unilateralism in the
                    international arena, indulging itself in military aggression around the
                    world, brutal violation of sovereign rights of other nations. Its image has
                    been tarnished by numerous misdeeds of human rights infringement in other

                    The United States tops the world in terms of military expenditure, and is
                    the largest exporter of arms. Its military spendings for the 2004 fiscal
                    year reaches 400.5 billion US dollars, exceeding the total amount of defense
                    budgets of all other countries in the world in summation. The New York Times
                    reported on September 25, 2003, that the United States export of
                    conventional arms accounted for 45.5 percent of the world's arms trade
                    volume in 2002, ranking the first in the world. And according to a Capitol
                    report, the United States sold 8.6 billion US dollars worth of conventional
                    arms to the developing nations, or 48.6 percent of all the arms procured by
                    the developing world in 2002.

                    The United States has been active in sabre-rattling and launching wars. It
                    is the No. One in terms of gross violation of other countries' sovereign
                    rights and other people's human rights.The United States has resorted to the
                    use of force against other countries 40 times since 1990s. Well-known US
                    journalist and writer William Blum said in his recent book "Rouge State: A
                    Guide to the World's Only Superpower" that since 1945, the United States has
                    attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, suppressed over 30
                    national movements, in which millions of people have lost their precious
                    lives and many more people been plunged into misery and despair.

                    In March 2003, without authorization by the United Nations, the United
                    States unilaterally waged a large-scale war on Iraq based on its claim that
                    the Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In its wanton and
                    indiscriminate bombing of Iraq, many bombs of the US army were dropped on
                    residential areas, shopping malls and civilian vehicles.

                    According to an article carried by Britain's Independent newspaper in
                    January 2004 titled "George W. Bush and the real state of the Union," in the
                    war on Iraq by then, more than 16,000 Iraqis had been killed, of which
                    10,000 were civilians (see the edition of Britain's Independent on Jan. 20,
                    2004). On April 2, 2003, the US armed forces attacked a Baghdad maternity
                    hospital installed by the Red Crescent, a local market and other adjacent
                    buildings for civilian use, claiming a lot of human lives and injured at
                    least 25 people. Five cars were bombed and drivers were burned to death
                    inside their cars (see the edition of San Diego Union-Tribune, U.S. on Aug.
                    5, 2003).

                    Based on a report by Britain's Independent newspaper on Feb. 8,2004, more
                    than 13,000 civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed so
                    far by the US army and its allied forces in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in
                    the wake of Sept. 11 incident in 2001, "making the continuing conflicts the
                    most deadly wars for non-combatants waged by the West since the Vietnam War
                    more than 30 years ago." Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to
                    former US President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, said "it is a serious matter
                    when the world's Number One superpower undertakes a war claiming a causus
                    belli that turns out to have been false." (Washington Post on Feb. 2, 2004).

                    Depleted uranium (DU) shells and cluster bombs were used recklessly during
                    wars in violation of international laws. In December 2003, the Human Rights
                    Watch disclosed in a report that the 13,000 cluster bombs US troops used in
                    Iraq contained nearly 2 million bomblets, which have caused causalities of
                    over 1,000 people. The "dub" cluster bombs that did not blast on the spot
                    continued to menace the lives of innocent people. The US troops also used
                    large quantities of depleted uranium shells during their military operations
                    in Iraq. The quantity and residue of pollutants from these bombs far
                    exceeded those of the Gulf War in 1991. Through a spokesman for the Central
                    Command, the Pentagon acknowledged that ammunition containing depleted
                    uranium was used during the Iraq war. Indeed, Doug Rokke, ex-director of the
                    Pentagon's depleted uranium project, former professor of environmental
                    science and onetime US army colonel, said after the Iraq War that the
                    willful use of DU bombs to contaminate any other nation and b ring harms to
                    the people and their environment is a crime against humanity (see Spain's
                    Uprising newspaper on June 2, 2003).

                    Another investigation report said that in the Iraqi capital Baghdad alone,
                    numerous places were found to have the amount of radioactive materials that
                    exceeded the normal level by 1,000 times. The US troops also used "Mark-77"
                    napalm, a kind of bomb banned by the United Nations, in Iraq, which
                    negatively impacted on environment there. On July 7, 2003, Dato'Param
                    Cumaraswamy of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, openly voiced
                    his shock at the fact that the US Government did not abide by international
                    human rights rules and humanism in its counter-terrorism military actions.
                    (United Nations Rights Expert "Alarmed" over United States Implementation of
                    Military Order, United Nations Press Release, July 7, 2003, www.un.org)

                    The United States put behind bars 3,000 Taliban and Al-Qaida inmates in
                    Afghanistan, 680 alleged die-hard Al-Qaida elements from 40-odd countries in
                    Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and an undefined number of prisoners in the US army
                    base on Diego Garcia island on the India Ocean leased from Britain. All
                    these prisoners locked upby the U.S. were not indicted officially (Britain's
                    Independent newspaper on June 26, 2004). The New York Times quoted a
                    high-ranking official from the US Department of Defense on February 13,2003
                    as saying that the United States planned to jail most of the prisoners
                    currently in Guantanamo for a long time or indefinitely. The US Government
                    said the detainees in Guantanamo were not "prisoners of war" and therefore
                    not subjected to the protection of the Geneva Conventions.

                    "The main concern for us is the US authorities ... have effectively placed
                    them beyond the law," said Amanda Williamson, spokeswoman for the Washington
                    office of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.
                    (Overseas Chinese newspaper in U.S., Oct. 11, 2003). A report entitled
                    People the Law Forgot, carried on the British Guardian in Dec. 2003,
                    depictedthe plight of the 600-odd foreigners detained by the US in
                    Guantanamo Bay. These people had been detained in Guantanamo Bay since
                    January 2002, where they were tortured both mentally and physically
                    (Britain's Guardian newspaper on Dec. 3, 2003). The detainees were given
                    only one minute a week for taking shower and only through a hunger strike
                    did they win the weekly five-minute shower time and the weekly ten-minute
                    break for physical exercises. At a clandestine interrogation center of the
                    US troops in Bagram of Afghanistan, prisoners were even more tortured. They
                    were forced to stand or kneel down for hours in varied awkward positions
                    while wearing hoods over their heads or colored glasses. Exposed to strong
                    light 24 hours a day, they could not go to sleep(Britain's Independent
                    newspaper on June 26, 2003).

                    The US is the nation with the most troops stationed overseas, about 364,000
                    troops in over 130 countries and regions. The violations of human rights
                    against local people frequently occurred. In 2003, the US military authority
                    received 88 reports about "misbehavior" of its overseas troops. On May 25,
                    2003, a soldier of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa of Japan wounded and raped
                    a 19-year-old Japanese girl. The soldier was sentenced to three and a half
                    years in prison. In the past dozen years, such cases occurred frequently in
                    Okinawa and up to 100 US soldiers have been reported of committing crimes.
                    On February 7, 2004, Australian police detained three soldiers of the US
                    Marine Corps suspected of committing sexual harassment of two Australian
                    women.In September 2003, three officers and soldiers from the US Kitty Hawk
                    aircraft carrier robbed and seriously wounded a taxi driver in Kanagawa-Ken
                    of Japan. The three officers and soldiers were sentenced to four years in
                    prison. In October 2002, a female engineer in Baghdad of Iraq was handcuffed
                    and made to stand in the scorching sun for one hour because she refused to
                    be snuffed at by police dogs as she was taking a copy of Alcoran with her.
                    The case sparked large-scale protest and demonstration in Iraq.

                    For a long time, the US State Department has been publishing "Country
                    Reports on Human Rights Practices" every year. It presumes to be the "Judge
                    of Human Rights in the World" and, regardless of the differences and
                    disparities among different countries in politics, economy, history, culture
                    and social development and strong opposition from other countries, denounces
                    other countries unreasonably for their human rights status in compliance
                    with its own ideology, value and human rights model. Meanwhile, it has
                    turned a blind eye to its own human rights problems. This fully exposed the
                    dual standards of the U.S. on human rights and its hegemonism. The human
                    rights record of the U.S. is absolutely not in accord with its position as a
                    world power, which constitutes a strong irony against its self-granted title
                    ofa big power in human rights. The United States should take its own human
                    rights problems seriously, reflect on its erroneous position and behavior on
                    human rights, and stop its unpopular interference with other countries'
                    internal affairs under the pretext of promoting human rights.

                  • Kelly Martinez
                    President vs. precedent on same-sex marriage By Cass R. Sunstein In declaring his support for a constitutional amendment that would forbid same-sex marriage,
                    Message 9 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                      President vs. precedent on same-sex marriage

                      By Cass R. Sunstein

                      In declaring his support for a constitutional amendment that would forbid
                      same-sex marriage, President Bush is repudiating more than 200 years of
                      American theory and practice. His proposal is radically inconsistent with
                      the nation's traditions. Whatever it is, there is one thing that it is not:

                      Since its ratification in 1789, the Constitution has been amended only 27
                      times. Nearly every amendment falls into one of two categories. Most of them
                      expand individual rights. The rest attempt to fix problems in the structure
                      of the national government itself.

                      The first 10 amendments, ratified in 1791, make up the Bill of Rights, which
                      guarantees liberties ranging from freedom of speech, assembly and religion
                      to protection of private property and freedom from cruel and unusual

                      In the aftermath of the Civil War, three new amendments were ratified: to
                      prohibit slavery, guarantee African Americans the right to vote, and assure
                      everyone the "equal protection of the laws." During the 20th century,
                      several amendments expanded the right to vote � granting that right to women
                      (1920) and to 18-year-olds (1971), forbidding poll taxes (1964) and allowing
                      the District of Columbia to be represented in the Electoral College (1961).

                      Many other amendments fix problems in the structure of the government. An
                      early amendment, ratified in 1804, specifies the rules for the operation of
                      the Electoral College. In 1913, the Constitution was changed to require
                      popular election of senators; in the same year, an amendment authorized
                      Congress to impose an income tax.

                      A 1951 amendment, responding to Franklin Roosevelt's four terms as
                      president, bans the president from serving more than two terms. A closely
                      related amendment from 1967 specifies what happens in the event that the
                      president dies or becomes disabled while in office.

                      Do any amendments fall outside of these categories? Just two, and they're
                      not impressive precedents. In 1919, the 18th Amendment prohibited the sale
                      of "intoxicating liquors." The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.

                      What accounts for our remarkable unwillingness to amend the Constitution
                      except to expand rights and to fix structural problems?

                      The simple answer is that from the founding period, Americans have prized
                      constitutional stability. We have agreed that the document should not be
                      amended merely to incorporate the majority's position on the great issues of
                      the day. For those issues, we rely on the federal system and on democracy.
                      We fear that large-scale constitutional debates could lead not only to
                      ill-considered change but could also split and polarize the country. When we
                      differ, we use the other institutions that we have, not constitutional

                      American presidents have shown a remarkable appreciation of these points,
                      and of presidential responsibilities to the founding document itself. Though
                      repeatedly rebuffed by a right-wing Supreme Court, Roosevelt did not favor
                      amending the Constitution. In defending his New Deal, he appealed instead to
                      Congress, the public and the states. Lyndon Johnson argued for dramatic new
                      laws to protect civil rights and to carry out his "war on poverty," but he
                      left the nation's charter alone.

                      Although he was appalled by a left-wing Supreme Court, Richard Nixon
                      emphasized not constitutional change but ordinary political processes to
                      steer the nation in the directions that he favored. Ronald Reagan may have
                      been the most influential president of the second half of the 20th century,
                      but he didn't seek to change a single word of the Constitution.

                      In fact, Nixon and Reagan repeatedly emphasized the importance of relying on
                      the federal system for resolving the most contentious issues. They often
                      criticized "activist judges" for protecting criminal defendants and taking
                      over school systems. But when Nixon and Reagan did so, they meant to protest
                      the use of the national Constitution, by either left or right, to forbid
                      experimentation at the state and local levels.

                      In our history, there is no parallel to Bush's call for a constitutional
                      amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Prohibition is by far the closest
                      analogy.) And even if we agree that such marriages are objectionable, what
                      is the problem for which constitutional change is the solution? No federal
                      judge has said � not once � that the existing Constitution requires states
                      to recognize same-sex marriages.

                      At the state level, there are ample channels for continuing deliberation and
                      debate. True, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled that the
                      state constitution forbids Massachusetts to refuse to give marriage licenses
                      to same-sex couples. But even there, well-established processes are now
                      under way for amending the state constitution, if the citizens wish, to
                      overturn the court's decision. In the overwhelming majority of states, there
                      is no effort to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

                      Although acknowledging that constitutional amendment "is never to be taken
                      lightly," Bush tried to disguise the radicalism of his proposal by
                      announcing, blithely, that the "amendment process has addressed many serious
                      matters of national concern." But our tradition has been far more specific,
                      wise and careful than that.

                      Almost all "serious matters of national concern" have been handled through
                      ordinary processes, not through constitutional change. Bush has proposed a
                      reckless departure from our deepest traditions.

                      Cass R. Sunstein teaches law at the University of Chicago and is the author
                      of "Why Societies Need Dissent" (Harvard University Press, 2003).

                    • Corey Yasinsky
                      Conference on Islam Evolution in Russia Begins in Moscow Russian and American scholars and public figures take part in the conference An international
                      Message 10 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                        Conference on Islam Evolution in Russia Begins in Moscow

                        Russian and American scholars and public figures take part in the conference

                        An international conference "Reformism in Russian Islam: history and the
                        present" started at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental
                        Studies on February 27. Main goal of the forum is to analyze history, find
                        out the importance and essence of reforming Islam in Russia, consider
                        contemporary reformatory Islamic projects and estimate their
                        perspectiveness, RIA Novosti news agency was told at the Institute.

                        At the conference, experts are to discuss the internal evolution of Russia's
                        Islam during the epochs of the Russian Empire, the USSR and democratic
                        Russia, the dogmatics, the law and relations between the authority and
                        Moslem communities.

                        Members of the Russian Mufti Council, officials of governmental structures,
                        embassies, Russian and American Islam researchers and public figures are
                        taking part in the conference.

                        The forum is organized by the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of
                        Oriental Studies and the
                        Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.

                        Reference: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies is a structural
                        subdivision of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The
                        Institute was founded in 1974 by three outstanding public figures:
                        Ambassador George F. Kennan, James Billington (then-director of the Wilson
                        Center) and historian S. Frederic Starr who became the first director of the
                        Institute in 1975.

                        The Institute was named after a relative of George F. Kennan, George Kennan
                        Sr., a well-known American traveler, publicist and explorer of Russia and
                        Siberia in the 19th century.

                        Main goal of the Institute is to contribute to US's knowledge about Russia
                        and former Soviet republics; to develop scientific researches and reports on
                        the issue; keeping up a dialogue between American scholars and experts from
                        governmental institutions concerning relations between the US, Russia,
                        Ukraine and other former republics of the USSR; increasing contacts between
                        scholars from the US and the CIS.

                        (Cited as based upon information from USA.Polpred.ru)

                      • Samantha Bhuiyan
                        Proshika chief�����s pet dogs in lap of luxury NAZMUL AHSAN Proshika president Qazi Faruque Ahmed spent Tk 113,000 for his pet dogs in one year from
                        Message 11 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                          Proshika chief�s pet dogs in lap of luxury

                          NAZMUL AHSAN

                          Proshika president Qazi Faruque Ahmed spent Tk 113,000 for his pet dogs in
                          one year from donors� fund that was meant for the marginal people�s poverty
                          alleviation, revealed an official audit.

                          This was one of the unusual heads of accounts on which the foreign-funded
                          NGO �misused� about Tk 110 crore in five years from 1996 to 2001.

                          �Spending from Proshika�s fund on housing, feeding, treatment and care of
                          personal pet dogs of the Proshika president is contrary to financial
                          discipline and a financial irregularity as well,� said the 160-page audit
                          report with 10 volumes of annexure backing the findings.

                          Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman formally apprised the
                          donors of such irregularities, but some of them seemed sceptical of the
                          findings and suggested commissioning of international auditors to
                          double-check the allegations.

                          The official audit, headed by a senior bureaucrat, detected 83 heads of
                          expenses that also included sending dependents abroad on scholarship,
                          depositing 2 per cent of the aid money against the foreign currency account,
                          and exceeding the permissible limit of budget by Tk 75 crore.

                          Besides, irregularities in purchasing motorcycles worth more than Tk 1.28
                          crore have also been detected by the audit.

                          �In the name of poverty reduction, Proshika in fact is burdening the poor
                          people with debt. The poor people are rather being exploited in this way,�
                          the report said.

                          �Proshika is lending money it gets as grants from donors to the poor and
                          charging high service charges from them to make profit,� it said.

                          Each of the �fortunate� dogs was allocated Tk 111 to Tk 121 daily as food
                          allowance while Tk 18,300 was spent for construction of a shed for them and
                          Tk 25,570 for electrification of the shed.
                          Two German shepherd dogs were bought at Tk 19,700 for the Proshika boss
                          on July 30, 2001.

                          The rest of the money was spent on vaccination, treatment, cleaning and
                          some other heads for the welfare of the dogs, the audit report mentioned.

                          A sum of Tk 210,000 was spent on celebrating the birthday of the Proshika
                          chief and other family anniversaries from the NGO fund, the report said,
                          adding that spending such an amount of donor�s money, which is meant for the
                          poor, for pets and birthdays is gross violation of terms and conditions.

                          Installation of a water pump at the Proshika chief�s residence cost Tk
                          79,481 and net grille Tk 56,375, while about Tk 650,000 was spent for
                          furnishing his office and residence with security glass, the audit further

                          The NGO�s fund was also misused on rates like paying residential
                          electricity bills of Tk 40,051 against four vouchers between March 2000 and
                          January 2001.

                          Installation of a security grille at the top floor of Qazi Faruque�s
                          residence cost Tk 107,034.

                          Proshika also spent Tk 744,535 as salaries and allowances for 10 ansars
                          deployed at Faruq�s residence between April 1999 and June 2001, which the
                          report termed a serious financial irregularity and a gross abuse of power.

                          The Proshika president and his spouse spent Tk 1, 19,744.97 for treatment
                          at the National Hospital, Singapore, without any advice of a specialist
                          doctor, said the report, and termed it �corrupt practice�.

                          Qazi Faruque borrowed Tk 10,73,401 from the provident fund unlawfully,
                          the report further said, adding that the Proshika president took the loan by
                          abusing his power.

                        • Faisal Shahbaz
                          Jihad at Karbala By Prof. Dr M.A. Soofi The �����Jihad����� stands for strive in the name of Allah the Creator; this could be done with wealth or soul as sign
                          Message 12 of 13 , Mar 1, 2004
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                            Jihad at Karbala

                            By Prof. Dr M.A. Soofi

                            The �Jihad� stands for strive in the name of Allah the Creator; this could
                            be done with wealth or soul as sign of Love to Creator and His Apostle,
                            Propher Muhammad (PBUH). It is fight for Allah�s cause. To control oneself
                            against the evil is also Jihad. Jihad is expressed, when desire is
                            restricted to avoid, what is prohibited by Allah. Honest earning and
                            striving for clean living is too a Jihad and Hussain Ibn Ali�s (RS) Jihad is
                            for humanity against evils forces at Karbala. Islam lays a great emphasis on
                            sacrifice and Jihad. And Islam lays a lot of emphasis on Jihad in the name
                            of Allah.

                            The western societies, blame Islam on this issue. This is, because of their
                            little understanding of its meaning. It involves cultural and historical
                            factors in the name of the Creator. The west lacks this knowledge. However
                            Prince Charles of the UK, while addressing (October 27 1993) at Oxford
                            University�s Islamic Study Centre on �Islam & West, Past, Present and
                            Future�, mentioned there is growing lot of better understand of Islam in
                            West and Islam is being recognised as religion of nature, which stands for
                            understanding, expansion of knowledge and control from Sins. He gave very
                            impressive information about the position of Islam in the western society.
                            He told that there are now 500 Mosques in UK and l0 lakh Muslims live there.
                            Islam is gaining its strength in France and Germany and in Europe as well.
                            It is estimated that there are 22 lakh Muslims in France and Germany as
                            well. France has got more Mosques too. Western Europe is increasing with
                            population of Muslims.

                            Prince Charles admitted that Muslims, Christians & Jews, all are holder of
                            divine books, and there should not be major separation because all believe
                            in Day of Last. He appreciated the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and
                            quoted his Hadith �The ink of the scholars pen is more sacred than the
                            marty�s blood�. This indicates the trend of Islam towards learning and
                            knowledge. Islam prefer preaching against fight.

                            It was Islamic civilisation/knowledge possessed by Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) who
                            acknowledged the letters and requests of Kufi�s for caliphate. It was his
                            pursuit of practice of Quranic knowledge and Hadith of his granderfather
                            (Muhammad PBUH) to give consideration to the sufferers or the needy against
                            caliphate of Yazid. It was his glorious journey from Madina to Mecca and
                            from Mecca to Kerbala aong with family members. Imam Hussain left the
                            impression of Action and sacrifice for ever.

                            His �Shahadat� is an evidence of sacrifice against unlawful Caliphate.A
                            small Carvan of 72 without proper war equipment had overcome a much bigger
                            army of Yazid led by Abdullah Ibn Ziad. Having true spirit of Islam justice
                            and truth and integrity of his family, Hussain (RA) adventure has become as
                            a heroic act of global of history. The blunder played by Shamer�s, has
                            resulted into act of shame and weakness. Because out of fear Kufi�s have
                            become prejudice and emotion of worldly attraction originated in their false
                            action which have not even destroyed them in this world but in the Day of
                            Last. Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) guided by Almighty stood not to admit wrong, they
                            will be sufferer �even ye may have to suffer�. He was in grips of danger,
                            darely he accepted the challenge to set an example for generations i.e.
                            truth is to remain in order. His acted, what he inherent from his father Ali
                            Ibn Abo Talib (RA) the Lion of Allah, and Pious mother Fatima (RA) and
                            grandfather, the Muhammad (PBUH). The last of Prophets, in whose laps
                            Hussain has been brought up. Hassan and Hussain (RA) both the brothers were
                            dear to their grandfather. The Prophet of God said �those, who will love
                            them they shall be close to me in the Heaven�.

                            The crude action of forces of Yazid , was no match in any catalogue of
                            history to what Hussain (RA) reminded them in his address. It was full of
                            wisdom and learning but their established misdeeds could not follow human
                            value of the spiritual sermon. Though Imam Hussain had not surrendered to
                            their dictation, he showed his cooperation to avoid bloodshed by saying:

                            - �Let me see Yazid Ibn Maviya for negotiation�
                            - �Let me go back to Madina for my religious duties�.
                            - �Let me go to the territories to fight in name of Allah�.

                            �I have not come to you on my own. It was you, who had sent me letters and
                            letters of request from your city of Kufa and in your response I am here. I
                            have not come with military necessity rather, ours is a religious family.
                            But you can�t give me force me for bait to Yazid,� Said Hussain to the
                            troops. �Your army can�t keep me away from right path of my decision in the
                            light of Quran and Sunnah. You can�t pursuit me against Quran.�

                            The extremist having forgotten the traces of love for Hussain slaughtered
                            him. Thus they were doomed for ever. His resistance has become reality, and
                            he is living example forever whereas Yazid and his army is dead and
                            disgraced. Muaviya made a lot of achievement during his time of rule.

                            When he was on the death bed, he deputed his heir Yazid to perform this
                            undemocratic act.

                            Abdullah Ibn Ziad and Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) could not agree, as other
                            accepted Yazid as ruler. They were pressed for Bait, but Hussain (RA) did
                            not agree to it in principle. Abdullah lbn Zubair declared his Caliphate in
                            Mecca and Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) has to march on, from Madina to Kufa having
                            not admitted Yazid as a ruler. He stopped at Karbala about 50 miles north of
                            Iraq. Obaidullah son of Ziyad asked Hussain (RA) to surrender. But he did
                            not. Thus his camp was surrounded and put on fire. They became desperate and
                            managed to strike a sword on Hussain�s neck; he head was chopped on Abdullah
                            Ibn Ziad�s order; his body was trampled and mutilated.

                            The heroic death of the Imam provides us a chance to fight against evils in
                            the society and refuse to obey those who don�t deserve it in accordance with
                            the Islamic dictates as well as the Constitution of Pakistan. Until, we
                            review ourselves in the light of the Quran and Sunnah, we can�t stand
                            against ills of society. Our line of action in life should be the right
                            path, right thinking and the action devoted to the interest of Islam and
                            Muslims. We should act as a bond of love between ourselves and fight against
                            enemy of Islam. If we could not practice preachings of the messenger of God,
                            our claim of being his Ummat, is not fulfilled.

                            The Quran formulates (Chap. II verse 5): �Those who follow revelations from
                            God, that is, religion given them by God, are on the path of Guidance,
                            coming to them from the Creator, Nourisher and Evolver and they will become
                            successful.� Hussain acted upon and therefore stood successful. It was his
                            broad vision that he adhered to the Quran and faced sword. This is called
                            complete submission to the Divine Laws and uplifted status of humanity,
                            justice and right action. He has accomplished task, for glorification of
                            Islamic teaching and this has raised human edification. After alms giving
                            (Zakat) to needy and Pilgrimage to Mecca, once in life if one can afford,
                            Jihad is of paramount importance.

                            Imam Hussain had not accepted wrongful decision of Yazid, being in
                            possession of Rightful will and he willingly volunteered himself for
                            sacrifice.His spirituality and his potentiality against all odds produced
                            marvelous results of Bravery. Quran Says (S.II 154/56):

                            And say not of those

                            Who are slain in the way of
                            God: �They are dead�.
                            Nay, they are living.
                            Though ye perceive (it) not.
                            Be sure we shall test you
                            With something of fear
                            And hunger, some loss
                            In goods or lives or the fruits
                            (Of your toil), but give
                            Glad tidings to those
                            Who patiently persevere
                            Who say, when afflicted
                            With calamity: �To God
                            We belong, and to Him
                            Is our return�

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