Sarkozy’s anti-Roma racism breaks French laws


Sarkozy cartoon, by Zapiro

More about this cartoon about Sarkozy´s racism against Muslims and Roma is here.

From AFP news agency in France:

French police are keeping secret lists of Roma and other travelling minorities in breach of laws on ethnic profiling, lawyers for rights groups alleged in a formal complaint seen by AFP on Thursday.

The allegation of the secret list of “non-sedentary ethnic minorities”, also reported on Thursday by the newspaper Le Monde, comes after the government drew international criticism this summer for stepping up deportations of Roma.

The complaint cites what it calls “illegal” and “undeclared” documents held by the Central Office for the Fight Against Itinerant Delinquency (OCLDI), a state body run by gendarmes, France’s paramilitary police.

According to the text of the complaint lodged by the groups the office compiled documents that aimed to “make a genealogy of Gypsy families“.

To do so “seems to be possible only by the use of a file” based on ethnic origin, it said.

The gathering by officials of demographic data classified by ethnic origin is prohibited in France. Authorities have denied such a list exists amid an outcry against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Roma crackdown in recent months.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in August that authorities held data on nationalities but not on ethnic groups and denied the government was targeting Roma, hundreds of whom have been deported to Romania and Bulgaria.

However a note later came to light, signed by Hortefeux’s chief of staff Michel Bart and dated August 5, which was sent to police chiefs and stated that “Roma camps are a priority” in the crackdown and deportations.

In the complaint revealed Thursday, lawyer William Bourdon and two others acting for four Roma rights groups called for prosecutors to launch an inquiry.

Bulgaria: [anti Roma] Racism, injustice lead to murder conviction: here.

A Czech court convicted four neonazis of an arson attack on a Roma family today: here.

Especially hard hit in Romania is the Roma minority, which already faces discriminatory treatment and suffers from extreme poverty: here.

German occultists convicted for Holocaust denial


This is a German TV video about the 2008 ban of the Collegium Humanum.

From DPA news agency in Germany:

German pensioners sentenced for Holocaust denial

Oct 6, 2010, 16:28 GMT

Munich – An 81-year-old German woman is to serve a six-month suspended sentence after being convicted of denying the Holocaust, a district court in Munich said Wednesday.

The woman, a former chairwoman of the outlawed far-right group Collegium Humanum, admitted to distributing pamphlets containing Holocaust-denying material in schools.

A 91-year-old man was also convicted by the court of aiding and abetting Holocaust denial, as he had allowed the material to be distributed with his name as the publisher.

Holocaust denial, or the calling into question the historical event of the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler, is a crime in Germany punished under laws governing incitement.

The woman was fined 1,000 euros (1,390 dollars), her accomplice 600.

The prosecution had demanded a nine-month prison sentence for the woman. However judge Norbert Riedmann said he had ‘severe doubts that the accused would change her views.’

I doubt whether many judges would apply that kind of logic to criminal cases.

‘She is too deeply rooted for that,’ Riedmann said. The judge added that the woman was entitled to her views, but would be punished for publishing them.

Collegium Humanum was banned in 2008, on the grounds that it attracted anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi supporters that deny the Holocaust.

Collegium Humanum based itself on the esoteric doctrines of early twentieth century German Anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner.

Roman Catholic exorcism: here.

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Rare fungus discovered in the Netherlands


Hericium coralloides

Translated from Natuurmonumenten in the Netherlands:

October 7, 2010

Last weekend, forester Hans Blessing found the very rare mushroom Hericium coralloides in a dead tree in the Corversbos [nature reserve near Hilversum]. …

This fungus is highly characteristic of rotten old beech trees. The discovery of these fungi shows that it is important where possible to leave old trees where they are after they die. That will benefit many other types of fungi, lichens, insects and hole breeding birds as well.

See also photos here.

Squamanita odorata found near Brummen in the Netherlands: here.

Harnessing mushrooms to replace plastic — watch this TED talk on the humongous potential of fungus: here.

This is a video about fungi in the Netherlands.

New paper reveals 100 new species of lichenized fungi: here.

Florida’s Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park appears to be have more lichen biodiversity in a relatively small space than anywhere else in North America, according to a recent census led by a Field Museum botanist: here.

100 California condors now


This video from the USA is called California Condors in Arizona by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

California condor population hits 100

October 6, 2010 | 6:12 pm

The number of wild, free-flying condors in California has reached 100, the most in half a century.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced the landmark Wednesday, crediting a captive breeding program started in Southern California in 1982, when there were only 22 wild condors in the state.

Young condors born in captivity are released into the wild every fall at Pinnacles National Monument in Central California and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge on the southwest side of the San Joaquin Valley. The flock will get another bump over the next few months with the release of 11 juveniles.

The big birds are also reproducing on their own in the wild, adding 16 young to the California population since 2004.

The carrion-eating birds, known for their huge wingspan (9.5 feet) and memorable visage, soared from Mexico to Canada at the time of settlement. Their numbers plummeted with loss of habitat and the decline of the large mammal populations they fed on. More recently, lead poisoning from ammunition and the ingestion of bits of trash have taken a toll.

Arizona, Utah and Baja Mexico also have wild populations. But even when captive birds are counted, there are fewer than 400 California condors in the world.

–Bettina Boxall

(University of California – Davis) Two new UC Davis studies add scientific evidence that hunters’ lead ammunition often finds its way into carrion-eating birds, such as eagles and turkey vultures: here. And here.

Rare green heron in Cornwall


According to Rare Bird Alert in Britain, yesterday a rare green heron from North America was seen in Heligan gardens, Cornwall.

See also here.

Dutch prosecutors neglected clerical child abuse


Clerical sexual abuse, cartoon

Translated from Dutch crime newssite Camilleri:

Dutch Department of Justice wrongly declined to prosecute abuse cases

By the Editorial Board

Oct 06, 2010

The Dutch Department of Justice in 1980 and 1985 wrongfully dropped criminal cases against two pedophile priests who themselves had admitted that they had sexually abused a large number of children. One of the priests then continued with the abuse. Harm Brouwer, Chairman of the Board of Procurators General, says that both dismissals “have been incorrect decisions”. He reacts to the book Vrome zondaars [Pious sinners] by Joep Dohmen which came out today. In both abuse cases – in South Holland and Limburg provinces- there was complete evidence. Besides the confessions of the perpetrators, there were numerous witnesses. The priests were allowed, after conditional closure of their cases, to go to a monastery. The book quotes the former bishop of Roermond Jo Gijsen (1972 – 1993): “We had some contacts with prosecutors in Roermond and Maastricht when considering cases. Then we asked for a look at those and to advise us what we should do.”

The Public Prosecutors (OM) say not to be aware of the informal contacts which the Catholic Church maintained with public prosecutors. According to attorney Richard Korver, president of the LANZS foundation which provides legal assistance to victims of sexual crimes, the dismissals of slam dunk use abuse cases against priests fit into a culture which marked the OM in the nineteen eighties: “Victims who wanted to report abuse were ostracized. Supposedly, there was no proof, or survivors were not believed. The prosecutors mainly tried to keep the relationship with the Church well. Many prosecutors were pious Catholics. So were judges.” The prosecution denies that there was a culture of covering up and says that the statements by Korver “do not make sense.”

Emeritus professor of criminal law Jan Reijntjes, in the nineteen seventies and eighties prosecutor in Roermond and Maastricht, says that at the time in the judiciary the view prevailed that institutions like the church and government should not unnecessarily be discredited. “That view was not incorrect in itself, but now there is a growing realization that prosecution may be necessary, even if that harms the reputation of the institutions. That realization was much less then,” said Reijntjes. The book Pious sinners points out that the police sometimes cooperated to keep abuse cases out of publicity. And whenever church ministers did have to stand trial, the penalties were mild. In 1960 the parish priest of Hansweert in Zealand got one month probation and 100 guilders (45 euros) fine for the regular abuse of an altar boy. The book concludes that the government failed in prosecuting and punishing religious abusers. The book Pious sinners can be ordered HERE.

See also here. And here.

More than 1,000 teachers have been sacked in Kenya for sexually abusing girls over the past two years, the authorities say: here.

Four out of ten Dutch priests want to restart the debate about mandatory celibacy: here.

Quebec gets first female Roman Catholic priest: here.