Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The British love of crooks again

Police try to stop Facebook hunt for rapist... in case it 'victimises' attacker

Police have warned the fiance of a rape victim to shut down a Facebook site he set up to catch the attacker in case it 'victimises' the criminal, it has been claimed. The woman’s boyfriend posted CCTV images of the suspect after growing angry at what he thought was lack of progress by police after the rape in Sale, Manchester, last year. In the first known case of the social networking site being used to hunt a criminal, more than 5,000 people have joined the group Find the Sale Rapist. The home page has a detailed description of the attacker.

The police had published a CCTV image of the suspect on their website but took it down after just 10 days. On Facebook, the fiance, a former restaurant manager, pleads: 'The woman in question was my girlfriend. ‘After a frantic search I found her in the state this beast left her in. I ask everyone to help bring this sick pervert to justice.'

Greater Manchester Police are said to be taking seriously a name suggested by one contributor. But the distraught fiance, who is in his 20s, has been warned to remove the site out of fear the rapist will become a 'victim' of vigilante attacks. Police also believe comments that could prejudice a future trial.

He launched the site to track down the stranger who brutally raped his 21-year-old girlfriend as she walked less than a mile to her parents' home from a pub in Sale, Manchester, on August 2 last year. He was due to meet her half way but she failed to turn up. After a desperate 45-minute search, he discovered her cowering behind a hedge by the side of the road in tears. His traumatised girlfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is too scared to go out at night and cannot work, he said.

Speaking from the home they share in Greater Manchester, he said last night: 'She was a mess when I found her at about 3am. I'll never forget the horror of that moment. 'This evil and dangerous man is still out there but after all these months, the police seemed no closer to catching him. ‘Who logs on to a police website on the off-chance there might be someone wanted who they might recognise? 'They could have given it greater publicity, with posters or more door-to-door knocks. ‘I have managed to get the picture out to more people who are likely to have been out that evening. 'Now they have warned it may have to be taken down. I'm furious that his human rights seem to be prioritised when my fiancee is the one who has suffered.' 'The police said he could be victimised and it could prejudice a future trial.'

The group describes the suspect as a 6ft white man in his 40s or 50s with blond or white hair, a chunky nose, long ears and a local accent.

The fiance added: 'I've been told the site could jeopardise a court case. But if he's not caught, there won't be a court case at all. I'd ask anyone who recognises the man to contact police.'

Greater Manchester Police said they were not able to comment on the individual case yesterday, but a spokesman said that website comments could risk prejudicing a future trial. He added: 'We would work closely with Facebook and the owners of the site and suggest that certain things might be removed. ‘The internet is a minefield and we have to be aware of legislation around anything that is published.'


A spirit-filled man shows a true Christian attitude

Christians should respect free speech, even if others do not

Notre Dame has invited President Obama to speak at its graduation ceremonies this year. An institution that likes to view itself as the premier Catholic university in America will welcome the most anti-life, pro-abortion president in America's history. I could not vote for Obama because his anti-life positions were so clear. Notre Dame will host a president whose pro-death mindset is clear: he has reversed the Mexico City policies, he seeks to eliminate conscience restrictions for health care workers, and he endorses embryonic stem cell research. Yet, Notre Dame's President John Jenkins, CSC, has invited Obama to a public platform at Notre Dame.

Jenkins is doing the right thing.

Many of my brothers and sisters who are passionately pro-life can and will disagree. One web site already claims 200,000 signatures to oppose Notre Dame's invitation, Bishop D'Arcy of Indiana has written a firm but kind rebuke to Jenkins based on the teaching of the Catholic bishops, and Randall Terry is already at work organizing to “lead an attack on the ground,” and to “raze hell” against Notre Dame's decision. But again, Jenkins is doing the right thing in inviting the President to Notre Dame.

How can this be? First, Jesus' fundamental instruction to His followers is to “love your neighbor,” including the difficult “love your enemies” in that teaching. All God's children, the born and the unborn, are my neighbors, but so too is President Obama. To love my neighbor and my enemy, I first have to be willing to show him grace and hospitality even when I know that he is wrong. To cut off the conversation and to throw up one's hands into his face accomplishes nothing other than making myself feel better for being right. But being right is not always enough. As the apostle Paul reminds us: knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Love is the more excellent way. I am called to be loving even more than to be right. In fact, Cardinal Francis George, the leader of American bishops, recently went and spoke personally with President Obama, an act I suspect had as much love in it as it did instruction.

Second, by inviting Obama, Notre Dame now holds an extraordinary opportunity to lead a new approach in talking with the president. The administration, faculty, staff, and students at Notre Dame can demonstrate that they truly are a Catholic institution. How so? By welcoming President Obama at a reception hosted by students who were originally scheduled to be aborted by their mothers. Imagine the scene as the President of the United States meets students of all ages, including some from Notre Dame itself, who share with him how glad they are that their mothers changed their minds. Their beaming smiles pierce his eyes, and begin the work of softening his heart.

This simple reception humanizes the case. The conversation moves beyond theory into reality. What better way to open the eyes of Obama than by greeting him with the joyful smiles of live humans who fortunately were not seen by their mothers as “punishment” for a one-night stand but rather as a gift from God, a life to be welcomed and embraced? This experience is the embodiment of showing grace to a misguided, sitting president. Confront moral error with the very real presence of children. In accomplishing only this much, Notre Dame will have demonstrated its own faith and also pioneered a new tack in changing the heart of our pro-abortion president.

Imagine the experience George Wallace or Bull Connor might have had if they had been welcomed by the administration and graduates of Morehouse College, say in 1963. Imagine their hearts, like the Grinch's minute raisin of a heart, beginning to show new life and hope as they looked into the eyes of men graduating from America's premier African-American college. Might that not have been a new humanizing arrow in the non-violent quiver of the civil rights movement? A fresh way of doing to others what you would like them to do unto you – namely, to treat you as fully human?

Finally, Notre Dame has a standing tradition of inviting new presidents to speak at the university's graduations. President Carter spoke in 1977, Reagan in 1981, and George W. Bush in 2001. With all due respect, neither President Carter's pro-abortion stance nor President Bush's position in favor of the death penalty seemed to provoke much protest or petitioning. Perhaps that is because we somehow have lost the ability now to remember that a university is, after all, a place of intellectual inquiry. And conversation with those who disagree is a prerequisite for any real inquiry and the pursuit of truth. Perhaps, even more so, the community of Notre Dame sought to demonstrate a respect for the office of the President of the United States and an appreciation for being able to personalize the Catholic perspective with each president.

When President Bush spoke at Furman University's graduation last year, many of the faculty members behaved in bush-league fashion. Some boycotted, others stood with printed T-shirts at the back of the crowd in protest. Few treated the president with respect, dignity, or grace. All claimed to advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of dissent, but few were actually willing to listen to the one with whom they were dissenting. In other words, they failed the first test of academic freedom.

In doing so, they also failed the first test of faith: love. Here's hoping that Notre Dame learns the lesson and embodies a new way of loving neighbors and loving enemies in the coming months. The university has an opportunity to live up to its name or into its shame.


BBC downgrades Christian programming

The Archbishop of Canterbury has complained to the Director General of the BBC about the decline of religious programming at the Corporation. Dr Rowan Williams warned Mark Thompson at a meeting at Lambeth Palace that the broadcaster must not ignore its Christian audience. His intervention comes amid mounting concern among senior members of the Church of England that the BBC is downgrading its religious output and giving preferential treatment to minority faiths.

The corporation recently sacked its head of religious programmes, Michael Wakelin, a Methodist preacher. The emergence of a Muslim as the front-runner to succeed Mr Wakelin, along with the recent appointment of a Sikh to produce Songs of Praise, has raised fears within the Church that the Christian voice is being sidelined.

Mr Thompson caused controversy last year when he suggested that Islam should be treated more sensitively by the media than Christianity because Muslims are a minority religion.

As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide religious programmes. But Dr Williams challenged the director general during their meeting earlier this month over the decline in religious broadcasting on the BBC World Service. The World Service has reduced its English-language religious coverage from one hour 45 minutes a week in 2001 to a mere half an hour in 2009. The archbishop said that this had been a significant loss.

In a gathering of the Archbishops' Council, the Church's executive body, last week, Dr Williams agreed with suggestions that the future of religious broadcasting is under threat. Christina Rees, a member of the Archbishops' Council, said: "The vast majority of the population identifies itself as Christian and as the established Church in England we would be negligent not to take an active concern in the changes happening with the BBC's religion and ethics department."

The Rt Rev Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich, will hold a meeting next month with senior BBC and Church figures to discuss the corporation's attitude to faith issues. The Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, has already written to Mr Thompson to express his disquiet at the developments.

During the past year, four out of seven executives in the BBC's religion department have been made redundant, with Mr Wakelin the latest casualty. The favourite to succeed him is Aaqil Ahmed, a Muslim who – as commissioning editor for religion at Channel 4 – has been accused of treating faiths differently in the programmes he has commissioned.

Catholic priests last year accused Channel 4 of being biased in favour of Islam and claimed that Christianity was treated with less respect. Church leaders have privately expressed concern at the prospect of the appointment of a Muslim to head the BBC's religious coverage in addition to a Sikh producing Songs of Praise.

According to the Churches' Media Council, an umbrella organisation for different denominations, Christians are now significantly under-represented at the Corporation. It has expressed concern that no senior member of the department has an academic qualification in religion. The Rev Dr Joel Edwards, chair of the council, said: "There's no doubt that the BBC's specific expertise in religion has been diminished over the past few years as the TV side of the department has shrunk."

He urged the BBC to "rebuild its authority and secure the confidence of the faith communities by appointing staff and commissioning programmes that reflect the vibrancy of Christianity and the other UK faiths".

A BBC spokeswoman argued that changes that have been made to the department were intended to strengthen the BBC's offering. [Cutting back the hours devoted to religious broadcasts sure is a funny way to do that] "The BBC's commitment to Religion and Ethics is unequivocal and entirely safe," she said, adding that the BBC had stressed this to bishops who had expressed concerns. A Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said that they could not comment on a private meeting.


Paternalism harms rather than helps Australian blacks

Just giving them dole money without restriction was disastrous too. Cutting off the dole altogether and just providing soup kitchens is the one thing that might work

The Sunrise Health Service covers 112,000 square kilometres of the Northern Territory east of Katherine and is at the frontline in dealing with the health parts of the intervention. All but one community within its area are subject to the intervention's measures, including welfare quarantining.

Sunrise has compared data collected before and since the intervention and the results are dispiriting. Anaemia is an iron deficiency that leads to poor growth and development, and as such is an indicator for the general health of children. Since the intervention, anaemia rates in the area have jumped significantly. In the six months to December 2006, 20 per cent of children were anaemic. A year later the figure had increased to 36 per cent, and by June last year it had reached 55 per cent, where it stayed in the last six months of 2008. Now, more than half the area's children face big threats to their physical and mental development. In two years, 18 months of which was under the intervention, the anaemia rate nearly trebled.

There is also a worrying rise in low birth weight among babies. In the six months leading up to the intervention, 9 per cent of children had low birth weights. This rose to 12 per cent in December 2007, and to 18 per cent six months later. By the end of last year, it was 19 per cent, double the figure at the start of the intervention.

Since compulsory income management of welfare payments began in the region in late 2007, there have been documented instances when it affected people's capacity to buy food. This included diabetics, who with no local store access were unable to access food for weeks at a time. Their response to this situation was to sleep until food became available.

Income management has not reduced alcohol or drug consumption - indeed, alcohol restrictions on prescribed communities has merely shifted the problems to larger towns or bush camps. And it has not stopped "humbug" or the conversion of Basic Card purchases into cash for grog. There is also no evidence that it has increased the consumption of fresh food among Aboriginal families, which is vital to fighting anaemia.

There was strong agreement about the need to protect women and children from violence and to improve the socioeconomic position of Aboriginal families between those who designed and welcomed the intervention and those who questioned its methods. The key criticism from those of us asking questions was why all the evidence of what is known to work to make communities safer and to improve education and health was ignored in favour of expensive, untried, top-down, heavy-handed policy approaches.

On Friday, the Government is expected to endorse the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, along with the national apology to the stolen generations, another symbolic shift from the Howard government's indigenous policy. But there are still striking similarities between the practical approaches of the former government and the present. Nowhere is that clearer than the continuation of the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, the right to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and the right to seek redress under the Northern Territory anti-discrimination legislation.

The suspension of the right to seek redress have left those people subject to welfare quarantining with no avenues of complaint if they feel unfairly treated. And there are more reasons to be concerned about continuation of the intervention without reflection on what is working and what is not.

While the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, has said she is relying on conversations with some people about the need to continue without reviewing the policy, the evidence on the ground - like that from Sunrise - suggests it is time for the Government to seriously rethink the mechanisms it is using in the Northern Territory, especially around welfare quarantining.

There are two challenges for the Government over its indigenous policy. The first is to make it compliant with the standards it supports in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The second is to make real its promise that it will be led by the evidence of what works rather than ideologies that don't. Both challenges will lead to more positive steps to addressing the socioeconomic disparity experienced by Aboriginal communities and the issues of protecting women and children that has been the justification of the intervention.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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