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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Oct 7th, 2006 at 11:51:40 PM EST
Independent: Murder in Moscow: The shooting of Anna Politkovskaya

A body found slumped in a Moscow lift. A discarded pistol and four spent shells. A mysterious thin man in a black baseball cap. The murder yesterday of Anna Politkovskaya, the most famous reporter in Russia, is a story as sinister as anything she investigated in her fearless, award-winning career.

The 48-year-old, lauded by journalists and writers around the world for her exposés in Chechnya, appears to have been assassinated. Her most powerful enemy was President Vladimir Putin. The murder came two days before she was due to publish an exposé of the Chechnyan Prime Minister.

The gun found near her apartment block in central Moscow was a 9mm Makarov, known as the weapon of choice for Russian hitmen. Police said they were searching for a man in his twenties dressed in a black cap, seen just before neighbours discovered her body in the lift.

Amnesty International said that it was "shocked, saddened and deeply angered" at the death of Politkovskaya, who had won its international media award in 2002. A spokesman said: "Russia has lost a great human- rights defender."

Hat tip to Far Easterner for breaking this yesterday.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:06:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian:

Cancer patients sacked illegally, survey finds

Cancer patients suffer discrimination and unfair dismissal at work despite recent legislation to protect their rights, disability experts said today.

An investigation by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) found that many cancer patients were discriminated against because their employers were not aware of their legal responsibilities.

The commission said its helpline had dealt with, on average, two calls a week from women with breast cancer complaining of unfair treatment at work since Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was amended in December to give protection to people with cancer.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 03:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some more information from the Disability Rights Commission website

In total, more than 70 women with breast cancer and 103 people with other forms of cancer have called the DRC Helpline complaining of problems with their employers.

(...)

Among callers with other cancers, the overwhelming majority (82%) cited employers failing to make reasonable adjustments that would keep them in work. Nearly one in five callers reported having been dismissed.  A further 13% of callers complained of facing threats of dismissal and nearly 6% of callers were facing disciplinary action.

These kind of issues frequently arise with most disabilities, often due to the assumption that any reasonable adjustments would be a hassle and cost a fortune, which actually is rarely the case. So employers just give people the boot.

The Disability Discrimination Act itself came into force in a staggered way, and each time there was an overwhelming ignorance and lack of preparation to meet the requirements.  Unfortunately it doesn't surprise me at all that employers are not aware that that they can no long just sack people with cancer.  The Amendment also covers people with HIV and with Multiple Sclerosis.

There's also a lack of awareness in the general population as to what their rights actually are, and what they can do if they've been treated unlawfully at work - which just gives even more leeway for unscrupulous employers to go ahead with exploiting and devaluing their employees.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just one example of the bad side of capitalism.
by gradinski chai on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:53:48 AM EST
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Exactly. And it absolutely galls that I have to work so hard to try to convince employers of the business case behind supporting disabled people to be able to stay in the workplace (this applies generally to promoting good equality practice), because I know that they are impervious to the argument that morally, it is the right thing to do.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Straw blamed for 'racist' backlash

The first sign of a racist reaction came in Liverpool on Friday when a man snatched a veil from a 49-year-old woman's face after shouting racist abuse. Yesterday, protesters took to the streets of Mr Straw's Blackburn constituency to vent their anger.

The protest was told that a young Muslim girl wearing a veil in Blackburn was confronted by three youths on Friday night. One threw a newspaper at her and shouted: "Jack has told you to take off your veil."

by det on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OMFG...

We discussed a few months ago the issue of whether it was reasonable to expect employers to hire people whose face they can't see, whether it was reasonable that veiled muslim women will choose no to attend job interviews because they know they will not be hired, and initially whether it was justified for the State to withdraw unemployment benefits from these women for refusing to attend interviews for jobs they are actually qualified for. This was in the context of the Netherlands.

I think Straw's words around this have not been unreasonable, he basically said it makes him uncomfortable to talk to people whose faces he can't see, and that he has been bringing this up privately with her constituents for about a year, always with a female staffer in the room when the women came to tell him of some problem. But I wonder whether in the current climate it is possible to voice these concerns openly without having idiots attack muslim women shouting "Jack has told you to take off your veil" (which he emphatically didn't) and sparking protests by muslims...

I think the day is not far off when an Islamist political party will start contesting elections in the UK, and scaring people shitless. And I am not talking about Respect (at least in its current incarnation).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is only partly about Muslims. If you set up a climate of xenophobia - it could just as easily be about people with long hair, or Spaniards - then there will always be idiots who use it as an excuse to pick a fight.

The problem is the idiots - and every culture has them, including Westerners and Muslims. Ideologies are only a problem to the extent that they encourage this kind of thing.

(And every so often a culture goes off the deep end and the idiots take over. That's when you get Nazi Germany, the Taleban, and Bush World.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the day is not far off when an Islamist political party will start contesting elections in the UK, and scaring people shitless.

If it does happen, let's just grab that party and the BNP, lock them in an arena, and let them slaughter each other.  We'll ship you Pat Buchanan from the states, too, and kill two birds with one stone.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to wikipedia (2001 census data) Muslims in England and Wales are only 3% of the population, so an Islamist party cannot really poll all that highly, so it would not be obectively scary, but only subjectively.

grab that party and the BNP, lock them in an arena, and let them slaughter each other

Very funny. Trouble is, you'd likely find places like East London [Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest] doubling as this "arena".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I wonder how many of those British muslims are actually "Islamist" and how many are just your average British Subject who maybe or maybe not goes to Mosque and just wants to live a normal life, small business, send kids to college, tend the garden, etc.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"
by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Mon Oct 9th, 2006 at 04:41:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't add anything of real value to what TBG said.  There are idiots all over the world.  I suppose we should find it reassuring that we all have to deal with the same sorts of lunatics.  (My argument stands: People are generally the same where ever you may be.  We just have to break them up into smaller groups to get the more accurate picture.)

Personally, I didn't find Straw's comments to be at all racist.  I don't like talking to people whose faces I can't see either.  Am I going to rip off their veils?  Of course not.  It's my problem, and I get over it in short order when I talk to them, anyway.  Or I can choose to not talk to them.

Too large a chunk of the Muslim population really is too sensitive, though.  If you don't want to take the veil off, write a fucking email to his office about whatever you wanted to talk about instead of annoying viewers with pointless marches.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Straw still received, listened to and helped veiled women who came to his surgeries, he just let them know that not being able to see their faces made him uncomfortable. I am not aware of any public protests. However, since he came out publicly on the topic, the press took the (IMHO) wrong spin on it, broadcast his "gaining backing" from political and religious (Xian) figures, then broadcast (IMHO misplaced) acusations of racism, and then people started assaulting veiled women, and some muslims started protesting.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:58:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been disappointed at the lack of informed comment in the British media. There are genuine Islamic reasons for not wearing a veil. Just as there are islamic reasons for wearing one. It would be nice to see Irshad Manji, Amina Wadud or Shirin Ebadi on this.

However, the debate has simply been pitting the hackneyed views of the same old biased male voices and a few veiled women tellng everybody how wonderful it is to be hidden from the world and countering them with the ill-informed prejudice of Joe and Jane vox pop saying "it's all wrong innit".

Very unimaginative

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 02:08:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Tea for two as Brown and Blair woo Murdoch

It must be tiresome, at times, having the two most important men in British politics pleading for your affections. But when you are Rupert Murdoch, being constantly pestered to drop round for tea with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is all part of the job - even if it is, as he says 'sometimes very inconvenient'.

In an interview with John Cassidy for New Yorker magazine, available from tomorrow in Britain, Murdoch gives his frankest assessment yet of the British political scene, describing Blair as a 'lame duck' ever since he announced he would not serve a full third term, and also disclosing that the rivalry between Blair and Brown is so great that he cannot meet one unless he also sees the other.

There will be groans in Downing Street at the way the media tycoon characterises his relationship with New Labour, portraying its two senior figures as vying for his attention.

Murdoch said Margaret Thatcher did not go out of her way to develop a personal relationship with him as premier, but that he had been courted tirelessly by the current administration.

'Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whenever I'm in town they say, "Can't you come over for a cup of tea?" When you're invited by the Prime Minister to have a cup of tea, you have a cup of tea. It's sometimes very inconvenient - if you're only there two days and you have a month's work to do. And you have to be careful to have a cup of tea with them both, or they are very suspicious that you are lining up with the other one.'

by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if you're only there two days and you have a month's work to do

If Rupert Murdoch organizes his work so badly he is a month behind and has only scheduled two days to catch up, it's time he retired. Mmm, Rupy boy?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, the reason Murdoch is so successful is that he manages to do a month's work in two days.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just that your average executive only has a little work to do each day, he pays people to do all the real work, and thus just has to say yes or no a few times a day. In his case it's relatively easy to do a months worth of saying yes or no to your underlings in 48 hours.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:12:27 AM EST
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There will be groans in Downing Street at the way the media tycoon characterises his relationship with New Labour, portraying its two senior figures as vying for his attention.

It tells you who the real power is in Brittain, doesn't it?

The PM and Chancellor competing like children for daddy's attention.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:29:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Latvia's coalition government takes majority in parliamentary elections

RIGA, Latvia Latvia's ruling coalition narrowly managed to win enough seats to form a majority government in the Baltic state's general elections, the Central Election Commission said Sunday.

Led by Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, the three-party coalition won 51 seats in the Saeima, or parliament -- six more seats than it currently has. It is the first time in Latvia that a sitting government has maintained its grip on power since the country broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Latvia has had 12 governments in 15 years of independence.

The fractured opposition took the remaining 49 seats, with the right-wing New Era party, a bitter rival of Kalvitis' People's Party, mustering 18 seats, and the Harmony Center, a left-wing force that represents Latvia's large ethnic Russian minority, received 17 seats.

The election was the country's first since joining the European Union and NATO in 2004.

With all votes counted, the center-right three-party coalition gathered 44.8 percent, according to results posted on the electoral commission's Web site.

Kalvitis' People's Party finished first with 19.5 percent of the vote, ahead of coalition partner the Greens and Farmers Union with 16.7 percent. The third coalition party, Latvia's First, was in fifth place with 8.6 percent, the results showed.

by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:57:58 AM EST
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