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Ghana cracks down on gays

© Unknown

Ghana's Western Region Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo MP has ordered the immediate arrest of all homosexuals in the country's west.

Aidooo has tasked Ghana's Bureau of National Investigations and security forces to round up the country's gay population and has called on landlords and tenants to inform on people they suspect of being homosexuals.

"All efforts are being made to get rid of these people in the society," he said.

The move by the Minister follows months of campaigning by the Christian Council of Ghana which last week called on Ghanaians not to vote for any politician who believes in the rights of homosexuals.

Muslims and Christians in the Western Region have been staging protests ever since a local media report claimed there were around 8000 homosexuals and lesbians in the district.

Comment: This is a response by an individual from Ghana:
I'm a Ghanaian journalist, let me clear a few things.

As the last paragraph says, Ghana's constitution does not outlaw homosexuality in its explicit sense, just an ambiguous statement of "unnatural carnal knowledge".

The first comment here asked how the govt knows of the 8000 gay people in that region. It's because those 8000 people registered themselves into a grouping and a newspaper found out.

Ghana's religious population (christian and muslim) have a powerful voice. And they are against the homosexuals getting recognition. Their favorite quote is "God loves the sinner including the homosexuals but hates sin and homosexuality"

What's the mood like? It will soon get bloody. It's an extremely touchy issue.

Hope this clears things up.


Gaza: The Blockade Runners

Pro-Palestinian activism to break the illegal siege

Global Research Editor's Note

The following article by Julie Lévesque is Part I of a review of the lone humanitarian ship to Gaza, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie which reached Palestinian territorial waters before being brutally intercepted by The Israeli Navy.

The mission was organized by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) based in Kuala Lumpur.

For several years now Global Research has been actively collaborating with the PGPF in a broad initiative to criminalize war. It is in this context of continued collaboration that Global Research's Julie Lévesque participated in this important endeavor.

Contrary to the Freedom Flotilla, which was the object of active media debate and discussion, the planning of the Spirit of Rachel Corrie mission was not made public.

The Israeli authorities were taken totally by surprise. The Spirit of Rachel Corrie was within less than one kilometer of the Gazan coastline. The Israeli navy acted in a totally improvised fashion, firing at the crew and the passengers until the Spirit of Rachel Corrie retreated into Egyptian territorial waters.

In an act of tremendous courage and determination, the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, led by PDGF's Matthias Chang, challenged the legitimacy of the Israeli government. It managed "to put a hole" in the blockade of Gaza as well as deliver by land, its humanitarian cargo.

Part I of this report focuses on two courageous Irish activists, Derek and Jenny Graham, who played a central role in leading both last year's Rachel Corrie and this year's Spirit of Rachel Corrie.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, July 18, 2011

Bad Guys

Germany: Bones of Nazi Hess Exhumed From "Pilgrimage" Grave

Hess Grave
© Reuters / Michael Dalder
A file photo of the grave of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in Wunsiedel, August 16, 2000.

The remains of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess have been exhumed from a grave in Bavaria after it became a pilgrimage for thousands of right-wing extremists.

A church official in the southern town of Wunsiedel said on Thursday the tomb had been razed and its headstone removed after consulting with Hess's family over how to handle the grave site.

"The bones were removed and brought to the crematorium, and the ashes are to be scattered at sea," Peter Seisser said.

An early, fervent member of the Nazi party, Hess spent time in prison with Hitler in the early 1920s and helped edit Mein Kampf -- the book in which the dictator outlined plans to destroy European Jewry and murder other groups he considered undesirable.

Hess parachuted into Scotland in May 1941 after a mysterious solo night flight, apparently on an unauthorized peace mission. He was captured and held prisoner until 1945 -- briefly as one of the last prisoners in the Tower of London.

Arrow Down

Africa: 10 Dead, Dozens Wounded after Malawi Anti-Government Demonstrations

© AP Photo/Diane Boles
A protester burns vegetation in a street in Lilongwe, Malawi, Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
Malawi's president lashed out at anti-government demonstrators Thursday, as two days of protests left at least 10 people dead in unprecedented levels of unrest in this southern African nation.

Hospital officials and activists said the victims had been shot with live ammunition, and that at least 44 others in the northern city of Mzuzu alone were being treated for gunshot wounds.

President Bingu wa Mutharika vowed to "ensure peace using any measure I can think of" as protesters gathered for a second day in this impoverished country roiled by fuel shortages and price hikes.

"If you break shops and banks will you have fuel? You demonstrated yesterday and throughout the night until today, but is there fuel today because of the demonstrations?" he asked.

"I think God will do something to help us, will bless us, because these people are not being led by God, they are being led by Satan," the president said.


US: Arkansas Town Invests in Children to Save Itself

© AP Photo/Danny Johnston
Sparkman High School seniors Sarah Donahue, left, and Leslie Easley, both 18, work in a science class in Sparkman, Ark. In an effort to save their dying town and school, residents in Sparkman are banding together to send their high school graduates to college.
The signs of decline are everywhere in this tiny timber town. Most of the gas stations are abandoned metal skeletons left to rust under the Arkansas sun. Empty storefronts and vacant lots mark the graves of other long-gone businesses.

Sparkman has been dying for decades, losing more than half of its population since 1950. It has virtually no jobs. And its lone school is on the brink of closing. Now the community is trying to save itself by tapping into the economic-development potential of its most precious resource: its children.

Parents and teachers have launched a scholarship program that goes beyond offering money for college. It also aims to draw new families to town to keep the school system alive - and with it the once-thriving village 90 miles southwest of Little Rock.

"We know there's not much here to bring people into our town," said fourth-grade teacher Stephanie Harmon. "We just want to keep our school so that our town can stay."

Arrow Up

US: Jobless Claims Rise Above Expectations

© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
Student Brian Goode looks at pictures of green jobs on a wall at the Youth Opportunity (YO!) Academy and the Westside Youth Opportunity Community Center in Baltimore March 9, 2011.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, pointing to a labor market that is struggling to regain momentum.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 410,000 from a previously reported 405,000.

"We're just stuck in this trend between 410,000 and 430,000. Generally we're just really not seeing any improvement but also not much worsening," said Jeffrey Greenberg, an economist with Nomura Securities in New York.

Stock index futures held earlier gains after the data, while the dollar extended losses against the euro.

The claims data covered the survey period for the closely watched nonfarm payrolls count for July, which will be released on August 5.


Australia Asylum: Christmas Island Unrest Continues

© Reuters
Asylum seekers have held roof-top protests in Sydney and on Christmas Island
Australian police have clashed with asylum seekers at the Christmas Island detention centre for a second night, firing tear gas and "bean-bag bullets".

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said up to 40 detainees had "engaged in vandalism and violence" at the centre.

Refugee rights groups said about 10 asylum seekers had held a roof-top protest, setting fire to sheets.

The UN has criticized Australia for holding all asylum seekers while their applications are assessed.

The migrants are held for months at the Christmas Island center, about 1,500 miles (2,400km) from the Australian mainland, and other facilities.

Many have expressed frustration at long delays and overcrowding.

Bad Guys

Serbia Arrests Its Last Fugitive Accused of War Crimes

© Politika Newspaper, via European Pressphoto Agency
Goran Hadzic was arrested in Fruska Gora national park, close to the village of Krusedol, Serbia, on Wednesday.
The last Serbian fugitive wanted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal was arrested in a Serbian forest early Wednesday, a quiet event that appeared to remove the final major obstacle blocking the nation's access to Western money and European Union membership.

The suspect, Goran Hadzic, 52, is a former Serbian rebel leader who is accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was arrested near the village of Krusedol in northern Serbia as he was about to meet "with a helper, who was supposedly bringing him some money," said Vladimir Vukcevic, the war crimes prosecutor in Belgrade, Serbia's capital.

Mr. Vukcevic said investigators had caught up with Mr. Hadzic recently because he had apparently run out of money after seven years on the run and was trying to sell a painting by Modigliani. "He was penniless," Mr. Vukcevic said.

Investigators in Belgrade said the painting was believed to be "Portrait of a Man," one of several Modigliani works listed as stolen. But it was not clear if the painting was authentic or a fake.

Arrow Down

UK: 34,000 Police Jobs to be Axed

© Press Association
More than 34,000 police staff will lose their jobs by 2015
More than 34,000 police staff will lose their jobs by 2015 as part of Government cuts.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said that about 16,200 police officers will be axed by 2015 amid fears crime could go up by 3 per cent.

Up to 1,800 community support officers and 16,100 police staff will also go as part of an overall reduction of 14 per cent, the study of 43 forces across England and Wales said.

Protecting frontline policing will be "very challenging" over the next 18 months, inspectors found.

"Forces will have to transform their efficiency if they are to protect frontline services," the report added.

Roger Baker, of HMIC, said it "went without saying" that forces were facing their biggest financial challenge in a generation.

Arrow Down

US: Texas Executes 9/11 "Revenge" Killer

© Ho/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Stroman died by lethal injection despite last-minute representations by his lawyer at the US supreme court.
Mark Stroman shot dead two convenience store workers he believed to be Arab in Dallas shooting spree in 2001

A man who embarked on a shooting spree in what he claimed was retaliation for 9/11 has been executed at a prison in Texas.

The lone survivor of Mark Stroman's attack on convenience store workers in late 2001, Rais Bhuiyan, originally from Bangladesh, unsuccessfully sued to stop the execution, saying his religious beliefs as a Muslim required him to forgive the man. The courts denied his request.

Stroman, 41, had said hate in the world needed to end and asked for God's grace shortly before the fatal drugs began flowing into his arms. He was pronounced dead less than an hour after his final court appeal was rejected.

Stroman claimed the shooting spree that killed two men and injured a third targeted people from the Middle East, though all three victims were from south Asia. It was the death of 49-year-old Vasudev Patel, from India, that put Stroman on death row. He was also charged but not tried in the shooting death of Waqar Hasan, 46, a Pakistani immigrant who moved to Dallas in 2001 to open a convenience store.