Foreign workers kidnapped, made to do manicures for US soldiers in Iraq

Really. I’m not kidding. (Perhaps my use of ‘kidnap’ will seem controversial: but that seems to me what it is to tell Fijian women that they are going to Dubai to earn enormous amounts of money, then send them to Iraq to earn much less and live in shipping containers.) It’s not just manicures, of course. It’s also fast food. Oh, and getting raped. (Though that’s not part of the job description.) Also, getting abandoned and denied tickets home once contracts are over. It is actually subcontractors doing the kidnapping, and the US government is officially opposed. But not much is being done about it. (Much like the rape hotline that never picks up, also discussed.)

Striking teachers kill child

The Daily Mail sinks to new all-time low*:

A teenage girl was crushed to death by a falling tree branch as she sat on a park bench yesterday.

The 13-year-old, named locally as Sophie Howard, was out with friends on the day her school was closed because of nationwide industrial action…

The girl went to Sawtry Community College which was shut yesterday as thousands of teachers across the country went on strike.

One angry parent wrote on Twitter afterwards: ‘she should have been safe at school, she was just sat on a bench talking with friends….it could have been my daughter.’

*That’s false, actually. Pretty much everything I see in that despicable rag has me gasping in amazement at the colossal chutzpah of the arguments presented. Unfortunately, some punters seem to fall for it, going by the comments. *Face, palm*

Don’t fall over in surprise, but S-K’s accuser’s credibility is in question

It’s in most newspapers, but the NY Times seems to be a main source.  Here’s the beginning of what they say:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on Friday as the sexual assault case against him moved one step closer to dismissal after prosecutors told a Manhattan judge that they had serious problems with the case.

Prosecutors acknowledged that there were significant credibility issues with the hotel housekeeper who accused Mr. Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in May. In a brief hearing at State Supreme Court in Manhattan, prosecutors did not oppose his release; the judge then freed Mr. Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance.

The problems with the accuser do not seem to be precisely with her report of the attempted rape.  Rather, there are discrepancies between what she has said recently and what she said in her request for asylum.  Further, she’s got some connection with what appears to be quite shady business; among other things, someone has deposited $100,000 in her bank account over the last year.  Finally, she also had a conversation with someone in jail about the benefits of pursuing her claim against SK; that conversation got recorded.  This last doesn’t seem to bear on credibility, but it does not look too good apparently.

The problem is that the prosecutors do not think they can get any conviction if the accuser has such credibility problems.  That seems believable to me.  The lesson here seems clear:  if you think you’ll get raped and want to bring a case about it to trial, try to live a blameless life. 

Perhaps at least this will lead to some soul-searching about rape and the courts.

Kansas Outlaws Practice of Evolution

To enforce the law, Kansas state police will be trained to investigate and apprehend organisms who exhibit suspected signs of evolutionary behavior, such as natural selection or speciation. Plans are underway to track and monitor DNA strands in every Kansan life form for even the slightest change in allele frequencies.

“Barn swallows that develop lighter, more streamlined builds to enable faster migration, for example, could live out the rest of their brief lives in prison,” said Indiana University chemist and pro-intelligent-design author Robert Hellenbaum, who helped compose the language of the law. “And butterflies who mimic the wing patterns and colors of other butterflies for an adaptive advantage, well, their days of flouting God’s will are over.”

How long did it take you to realise where this was from?

Thanks, Mr Jender!

“We are firing the women so they can stay at home and look after the children”

No, this isn’t a historical item about the Great Depression. It’s Italy, today, and that’s what an engineering firm allegedly reported to the small business association.

An engineering firm in northern Italy has sparked controversy after making almost half its workforce redundant – and selecting only women.

A union official quoted the company as having reported to the small businesses association: “We are firing the women so they can stay at home and look after the children. In any case, what they bring in is a second income.”

No one at the company, Ma-Vib, which is based in Inzago near Milan, could be reached for comment.

With Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on trial for paying an underage prostitute, there is a continuing and lively debate over the status of Italian women, which some international surveys suggest is abnormally low in comparison with the rest of Europe.

For more, go here.

Thanks, Mr Jender!