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Tue, 19 Jan 2021
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Ohio Amish Sect Leader, Followers Convicted of Hate Crimes

© The Associated Press
In this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo, from left: Johnny Mullet, Lester Mullet, Daniel Mullet, Levi Miller and Eli Miller
Cleveland - An Ohio Amish sect leader and 15 of his followers were convicted on Thursday of federal hate crimes in connection with a string of beard- and hair-cutting attacks on other Amish people last autumn that shook the religious community.

Samuel Mullet Sr. and each of his followers were found guilty on multiple charges stemming from attacks on six Amish men and two women, and likely face years in prison.

The jury verdict came on the fifth day of deliberations at a federal courthouse in Cleveland, which at times during the trial was filled with Amish spectators. Some witnesses said they had never been outside the counties of their birth before traveling to Cleveland for the trial.

Prosecutors contended the crimes were motivated by religious disputes between Mullet, 66, the leader of a sect in Bergholz, Ohio, and other Amish religious leaders who had accepted into their communities people Mullet had excommunicated from his.

"This was a crime of violence," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach told a news conference after the verdicts. "From day one, this case has been about the rule of law and defending the right of people to worship in peace."

Defense attorneys said they would appeal the convictions. The defense called no witnesses, but attorneys had argued the assaults were the result of family or financial disputes and not religious differences, and therefore could not be classified as hate crimes.

Amish women and married Amish men do not cut their hair or beards as symbols of living a religious life. The Amish are known for their plain dress, simple living and shunning of technology.


Man posted 'all soldiers should die' Facebook update, court told

© Anna Gowthorpe/PA
Azhar Ahmed, the man accused of posting an offensive Facebook message about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan.
A man posted an offensive message on Facebook following the deaths of six British troops stating that ''all soldiers should die and go to hell'', a court heard today.

Azhar Ahmed, 20, admitted what he wrote was ''unacceptable'' in the status update on the social networking site after reading about the deaths of the soldiers in March has told a court

The six soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

Today Huddersfield Magistrates Court heard Ahmed posted his message two days after the deaths.

It said: ''People gassin about the deaths of Soldiers! What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed [all sic].

''The women who have been raped. The children who have been sliced up!

''Your enemy's were the Taliban not innocent harmful [sic] familys [sic]."

''All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE F****N SCUM!

''gotta problem. go cry at your soldiers grave and wish him hell because thats where he is going.''

Ahmed told the court he immediately started to receive critical comments on his page and realised the second half of his post was ''unacceptable''.

Comment: This is an example of racial profiling and discrimination in the UK as part of the 'war on terror'.


Priest Dies Before Sex Abuse Trial

Francis Markey

Fr Francis Markey
An 84-year-old Irish priest extradited from the United States to face sexual assault charges against teenage boys has died while awaiting trial.

Fr Francis Markey was due to appear in court in Monaghan later this year for allegedly raping a 15-year-old boy in 1968 during a religious pilgrimage to Lough Derg. It was claimed the priest subsequently abused the same teenager after the funeral of the boy's father in Co Galway the following November. In November 2005 the man told his wife and a councillor after reading a copy of the Ferns Report into allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Ferns, Co Wexford, when it all came back to him.

The former cleric was arrested by US marshals at his home at Miller Court in South Bend, Indiana in 2009 in connection with the rape of the boy more than 40 years ago. He was extradited to Ireland in July 2010.

Heart - Black

Kate's breasts, Pussy Riot, virginity tests and our attitude on women's bodies

Kate Middleton
© Getty Images
It seems as if we are in a time of unprecedented struggle over the meaning of women's bodies and sexuality. Controversy is swirling about an American University professor who breast-fed a baby in class; topless photos of Kate Middleton have been released; and a Time magazine cover showing a mother breast-feeding her toddler sparked even more tittering in May.

It is not just the breast that is contested: Pussy Riot, the punk band, was sentenced to two years in a Russian prison after a staged performance in which they did high kicks that showed too much of their bodies. They tried, from prison, to explain "what pussy meant" and "what riot meant."

Michigan representative Lisa Brown got into hot water -- and fought back -- for using the words 'my vagina' in the Michigan statehouse. Michigan women supported her by standing in front of the statehouse with a giant "V" symbol and spelling out the words 'VAGINA' in pink letters.

Arrow Up

Number Of Factors Raising Suicide Risk In Middle-Aged Men

© Photos.com
Researchers in the UK are suggesting that suicide rates among middle-aged males are climbing after years of dropping off.

Reasons for this trend are varied for individuals, but as a group, a panel of psychologists, economists and social scientists concluded that the pressure to meet the expectations of others is too much for some.

Other reasons include a breakdown in supportive family units and the collapse of traditional male-dominated industries creating a "masculine identity" crisis. Traditionally, males are also more unwilling to discuss personal problems, which could alleviate their self-imposed pressure.

Working class men who have lost not just a job, but an entire career, find themselves struggling to provide for the family. A reluctance to talk about emotions and a greater tendency to turn to drink and drugs were also cited as reasons for the suicide rates among this group, BBC Health News reports.

Rory O'Connor, professor from the University of Stirling, suggested the shift could be partially explained by an aging generation of at-risk people. "The data would suggest it is the same group of people. We think of young people 20 years ago and the societal expectations of what is a successful man or a successful contributor to society, the expectations were particularly high."

"And with the change in the male role being less well-defined now than it was 20 years ago, men have great difficulty responding to the challenge of how we define ourselves as men."

Arrow Down

Another Lesson In 'The Government is Here to Help'

Ori Feibush
© Steven M. Falk/Daily News
Ori Feibush sits outside his coffee shop.
A business developer in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze is facing legal action after voluntarily cleaning up more than 40 tons of trash from a vacant lot neighboring his local business.

As the old adage goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Ori Feibush says he visited the local offices of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority four times, sent in seven written requests and made 24 phone calls to the agency asking them to take care of a major eyesore: an empty lot next to his coffee shop was home to more than 40 tons of debris.

Not only did the agency fail to act but it also denied Feibush's offer to clean up the mess himself.

But the Daily News reports that Feibush went ahead with his plans anyway, reportedly spending more than $20,000 of his own money not only to remove the trash but also to level the soil; add cherry trees, fencing and park benches; and repave the sidewalk.

"This was a lot of garbage," local resident Elaine McGrath told the paper. "Now it's gorgeous. I'm excited."

However, the city agency was less excited, demanding that Feibush return the vacant lot to its previous condition and saying it is considering legal action against him.


Police begin enforcing controversial Arizona immigration measure

AZ Governor Jan Brewer
© Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Jan Brewer
Phoenix - Arizona police on Wednesday began enforcing a controversial "show-your-papers" provision of a state law targeting illegal immigration as civil rights groups prepared to document allegations of racial profiling.

Police in the border state with Mexico are now authorized to begin conducting immigration status checks of anyone they stop for any reason and suspect of being in the country illegally after a federal judge on Tuesday lifted an injunction against the provision requiring such checks.

The measure, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, is part of a broad Arizona clampdown on illegal immigration signed into law in 2010 by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, an outspoken foe of President Barack Obama's administration on immigration.

Brewer has said the law was needed because of the federal government's failure to secure the border with Mexico. She said enforcement would be free of any racial profiling.

"It's definitely a new phase, and one where we'll be looking very carefully to monitor for civil rights violations in the state," said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, one of a coalition of groups that challenged the law.

"There is a hotline set up ... where folks can report any violations or questionings or detentions that happen under the law," she added.

Bizarro Earth

Surprise! Pepper-Spraying Campus Police Won't Face Charges

pepper spray, police
© Louise Macabitas
The University of California, Davis police officers who doused students and alumni with pepper spray during a campus protest last November won't face criminal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The chemical crackdown prompted widespread condemnation, campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses were widely played online. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

But the Yolo County District Attorney's office said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to prove the use of force was illegal.

A task force appointed by the university concluded in April that the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying was "objectively unreasonable" and could have been prevented.


Iran Cleric Pummeled by 'Badly Covered' Woman After Warning

© Hamed Saber
An Iranian cleric said he was beaten by a woman in the northern province of Semnan after giving her a warning for being "badly covered," the state-run Mehr news agency reported.

Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied "you, cover your eyes," according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.

"I fell on my back on the floor," Beheshti said in the report. "I don't know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me."


British Soldier Who Did Not Know She Was Pregnant, Gives Birth on the Frontline

  • army medics
    © Getty Images
    Unexpected task: The soldier, who has not been named, was taken to Camp Bastion's £10million field hospital where Army medics delivered her baby
    Royal Artillery gunner who was deployed with the 12th Mechanised Brigade gives birth to baby five weeks premature
  • Fijian soldier had passed her pre-deployment training, including an eight-mile march and five-mile run, without realising she was pregnant
  • British Army handbook editor says top brass will need to 'start thinking very, very carefully' about how female soldiers are tested before deployment
A British soldier who did not know she was pregnant has given birth on the frontline.

The woman had a son in Camp Bastion on Tuesday - just days after the Taliban launched a deadly attack on the UK's main base in Helmand.

The baby was born five weeks premature. Last night both mother and child were said to be doing well.

A paediatric team from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford will travel to Afghanistan in the next few days to provide care for the soldier and her son on their RAF flight home.

The birth has stunned military chiefs and led to calls for extra medical checks on women who are sent to the warzone.

Almost 200 troops have discovered they were pregnant at war since 2003 - forcing commanders to send them straight back to Britain. But this is the first time a UK soldier has given birth to a baby in Afghanistan.