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Thu, 23 Feb 2017
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Illegal immigrant gang member released from Rikers Island under New York's "Sanctuary City" law

An illegal immigrant gang member from El Salvador was allowed to walk free from Rikers Island under Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Sanctuary City" law — in defiance of a federal petition to hold him for deportation, officials said Tuesday.

"This man is by his own admission a member of a violent street gang and he was released back into the community," said Thomas Decker, field office director for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in New York. "Honoring a detainer request is not about politics, it is about keeping New York citizens safe."

Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, an admitted member of the notorious MS-13 gang, was released from Rikers Island on Feb. 16 after serving time for disorderly conduct.

ICE officials had requested last May that Velasquez — who was ordered removed by an immigration judge in November 2015 — be turned over to them when he was done serving his sentence, but no one at ICE was alerted to his release.

Comment: Poll finds that 80% of American voters oppose 'sanctuary cities'

Alarm Clock

Mentally ill Chinese man beheads noodle vendor over 12 pence

© Wuhan Police
A Chinese man beheaded a noodle vendor after accusing him of overcharging 12p ($0.15), according to local reports from the city of Wuhan. The incident took place on Saturday 18 February.

The suspect, 22, is alleged to have been furious after believing he had been asked to pay one yuan too much for his dinner. He complained to the restaurant owner, 42, and a deadly fight broke out.

During the fight, the younger man is reported to have seized a kitchen knife from within the restaurant and used it to decapitate the proprietor. He is then said to have thrown his rival's head into a nearby rubbish bin.

The victim is reportedly a single father who divorced five years ago and now takes sole charge of his 13-year-old son in Wuhan, Hubei province.

Police arrived at the scene shortly after and arrested the 22-year-old, reported to be from the bordering province of Sichuan. Photos show him in custody handcuffed to a table, seemingly calm.

Arrow Up

Texas proposes aggressive campus rape laws in wake of Baylor sexual assault scandal

Sen. Joan Huffman is co-sponsoring a bill that would institute some of the most stringent anti-campus rape rules in the country.
Texas could soon pass some of the most aggressive campus rape laws in the country, a reaction to the sexual assault scandal at Baylor University.

"I love my school, but I've been extraordinarily disappointed," said Baylor alumnus Kirk Watson, a Democratic senator from Austin. "I actually think there is a real feeling that we need to address sexual assault.
"It's a bear in the room."
Watson filed five bills Tuesday that aim to increase and encourage reporting and lessen rates of sexual violence, harassment and stalking on college campuses. But he's also the co-sponsor of a proposal that would require school employees — and even some students — to report assaults or else face criminal penalties.

"We've got to be serious about this," Watson said. "Students have a right to be safe."



'Guess I'm breaking the law': Utah in a predicament in how to enforce abortion clinic 'fetal pain' law

© Global Look Press
Nine months after Utah passed the nation's first law requiring abortion providers to administer anesthesia to fetuses, the only licensed clinic in the state says that the state is not enforcing the law.

In May 2016, Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed the "Protecting Unborn Children Amendment" law, which requires physicians to administer anesthesia or analgesic, a painkiller, to women having an abortion after 20 weeks' gestation. These painkillers are not intended to aid the pregnant women, but only to "eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child."

According to Planned Parenthood, there are only two licensed abortion clinics in the entire state, both of which are located in Salt Lake City. However, only one of those clinics performs the elective procedure.

Dr. Leah Torres, one of the handful of physicians who performs elective abortions at the clinic, said she has been trying to comply with the law, but she doesn't know how to administer fetal anesthesia.

"I have no idea of what fetal anesthesia means," Torres told the Standard Examiner last April. "Does that mean if I give my patient a Motrin I've now administered an analgesic to the fetus? I'm calling the governor, every day... I want to know how not to break the law."

Governor Gary Herbert (R) told the Associated Press that physicians should direct their questions about the law to the attorney general's office.

Comment: See also: No aid with maternity or abortions: Most state laws drive families with children to poverty - report


DAPL protesters set tents ablaze ahead of camp evacuation deadline

© Terray Sylvester / Reuters
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters have started setting fire to their camp ahead of an enforced evacuation deadline Wednesday.

Earlier, several demonstrators declared they would not leave the site and instead were bracing for a stand-off with law enforcement.


East London gallery under fire for hosting 'neo-Nazi' art & 'Islamophobic' speakers

© Kacper Pempel / Reuters
A London art gallery has been criticized for exhibiting neo-Nazi artwork, hosting openly Islamophobic speakers and "promoting fascism."

LD50, in Dalston, east London, is facing calls to shut down over an exhibition and a series of talks hosted by the far right or so-called 'alt-right' movement, which is known for its vehement anti-liberal stance, often favoring white supremacist views.

Last summer, the gallery, run by Lucia Diego, held a 'neoreaction conference' featuring speakers including Peter Brimelow, Brett Stevens and Iben Thranholm. 'Neoreaction' is a 'philosophy' which rejects democracy, is anti-egalitarian and embraces autocratic rule.


Solitary confinement of teens in British prisons 'against UN torture rules'- government denies the practice

© Suhaib Salem / Reuters
Prisons in the UK are keeping teenage offenders in solitary confinement despite the government denying the practice is still in use, an investigation has found.

Young offenders institutions (YOI), which imprison 15- to 18-year-olds, are allegedly using solitary confinement, which can cause mental health issues for inmates, according to the Independent.

Prison inspection reports found that teenagers are self-harming as a result of the distress caused by recurring and prolonged isolation.

Solitary confinement could be infringing British law and Article 16 of the UN Convention Against Torture, under which governments must prevent prison officials from carrying out "acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."


Hundreds of campuses are encouraging students to turn in fellow students and professors for offensive speech

© The Economist
Universities are the cradle of free speech, where ideologies and ideas clash, where academics and activists can agree, disagree, or be disagreeable. This is particularly true in the United States, where the First Amendment zealously guards against government surveillance and intrusion into free speech.

Yet at hundreds of campuses across the country, administrators encourage students to report one another, or their professors, for speech protected by the First Amendment, or even mere political disagreements. The so-called "Bias Response Teams" reviewing these (often anonymous) reports typically include police officers, student conduct administrators and public relations staff who scrutinize the speech of activists and academics.

This sounds like the stuff of Orwell, although even he might have found the name "Bias Response Team" to be over-the-top.


Maryland's military weapons ban upheld by federal appeals court protecting the state's gun control laws

© George Frey / Reuters
Maryland's ban on semiautomatic and military-style weapons has been upheld by the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals in a 10-4 ruling. The decision not only protects the state's gun control laws, but also similar ones in California, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Laws against assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in Maryland were upheld on Tuesday when a Court of Appeals overturned a previous ruling on the ban. While the 4th Circuit Court in Richmond, Virginia ruled strongly in favor of the ban, the four dissenting judges believed that their counterparts had undermined the Second Amendment.

Dissenting Judge William B. Traxler Jr. claimed his colleagues have "gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms."

Comment: See also: The Truth Perspective: Western Violence and Disintegration: The New Normal

Heart - Black

Blaming the victim mentality: Report finds child sexual abuse claims not taken seriously by UK police

© Michaela Begsteiger / www.globallookpress.com
Children reporting violent sexual crimes are not being taken seriously by the police, Britain's victims' commissioner, Baroness Newlove, has warned.

Newlove said the authorities are failing young people that come forward with stories of abuse, making them feel like criminals themselves. In some cases, children said they were simply not believed or told that they were wasting the police's time.

"They didn't care because we were three teenage girls," a young woman said in describing how the police reacted to her call about an assault. "It's like we were wasting their time. They couldn't be bothered with us."

Twelve female victims aged between nine and 17, and some of their parents, were interviewed about their experiences reporting sexual or violent crimes.