Reuters blog archive
The U.S. House of Representatives will investigate radicalization in the American-Muslim community, sparking outrage that the probe is a witch hunt akin to the 1950s anti-Communist campaign. With al Qaeda and its affiliates openly trying to recruit Americans and Muslims inside the United States for attacks, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King called congressional hearings on the subject "absolutely essential".
"I am facing reality, my critics are not," King said on MSNBC. "Al Qaeda is changing its tactics, they realize that it's very difficult to attack from the outside, they're recruiting from within."
King, who will lead a hearing on Thursday, has questioned the cooperation by Muslim Americans with U.S. law enforcement authorities and accused mosques of being a breeding ground for radicalization.
Critics say the hearings smack of the effort in the 1950s by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, who presided over congressional hearings to expose and ostracize Communists and their sympathizers in the United States. Muslim and civil rights advocates have condemned King's assertions, countering that Muslims in the United States are being unfairly targeted and pointing to tips they have provided to authorities in the past.
(Photo: Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels at a parliamentary committee hearing on child sexual abuse in the Belgian Catholic Church, in Brussels December 21, 2010./Francois Lenoir)
Belgium's former top Roman Catholic bishop told a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday into the sexual abuse of children by clerics that he was not responsible for other Belgian bishops.
Belgium's lower house set up the inquiry to examine an issue that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide and resulted in hundreds of victims coming forward. Widespread sexual abuse of minors by Belgian clerics drove at least 13 victims to suicide, a Church commission said in September, recording 475 cases.
(Photo: A man wearing a T-shirt reading "former foster home child" at a news conference presenting the final report on abuse in foster homes in Berlin, December 13, 2010./Thomas Peter)
German victims of abuse in foster homes say the 120 million euros proposed as compensation was "humiliatingly" small compared with damages awarded in other countries, and vowed to fight for more. After a two-year inquiry, a government-appointed panel on Monday recommended 120 million euros be set aside for an estimated 30,000 victims expected to file abuse claims.
"It's a poor start to the compensation process and another humiliation of victims," the VEH victims' group leader Monika Tschapek-Güntner said. "Roughly 30,000 victims are expected to apply for damages which will leave individuals between 2,000 and 4,000 euros."
Following the crisis of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Belgium is like watching a rudderless ship in a storm. The Church hierarchy seems overwhelmed by the scandal that has engulfed it. The state seems unable to intervene after its spectacular raid on Church offices last June backfired on it. Left hanging are at least 475 victims who have no idea what to expect next. (Image: A Dutch Ship in a Storm by Flemish artist Matthieu van Plattenberg, National Maritime Museum, London)
The latest installment in this confusing drama came on Tuesday when Bishop Guy Harpigny, the bishops' conference spokesman for abuse issues, confessed in two morning radio interviews that the Church botched a news conference on Monday by not issuing a full apology to victims. But -- as my colleague Phil Blenkinsop reported in our story today -- he admitted it was afraid to do so because that could bring on a wave of compensation demands.
(Photo: Nationalist youths set a car alight in Belfast on July 13, 2010/Cathal McNaughton)
The British government and the Roman Catholic Church colluded to protect a priest suspected of involvement in a 1972 bombing in Northern Ireland that killed 9 people, an official report said on Tuesday.
The Police Ombudsman's report revealed that an Irish cardinal was involved in transferring Father James Chesney out of British-ruled Northern Ireland, highlighting again the role of the Church hierarchy in protecting priests against allegations of criminal activity.
The head of a commission asked by the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands to look into allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests said on Friday a year-long investigation was needed and appealed for offenders to come forward.
"From a moral, religious point of view, in the framework of the Roman Catholic Church, it is wise to come to the forefront and say what you have done," said Wim Deetman, who was asked by the Church in March to lead a preliminary inquiry in response to an increasing number of victims coming forward.
from UK News:
Former civil servant Sir John Chilcot has been tasked with the latest inquiry into the Iraq war - the fifth - and has promised to investigate "as thoroughly, as fairly, as independently as we can".
But given the rather lukewarm response from the opposition parties, Chilcot faces an uphill task to deliver on that promise and avoid accusations of a "whitewash".
from UK News:
The government's planned Iraq inquiry has come under withering fire on several fronts, notably the lack of consultation with other political parties, its apparent careful timing to avoid any possible political embarrassment just before the next election and for what several commentators feel is a hand-picked establishment team in charge of proceedings that is unlikely to rock the boat.******But the main criticism has been the fact that it will be held in private.******That way, the government says, witnesses will be more likely to be candid, the whole process will be quicker and, above all, it will obviate the need to have legions of expensive lawyers accompanying every witness.******Doubtless Gordon Brown had in mind the example of the Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings in Northern Ireland which had been going on for 10 years and which has so far run up costs of almost 100 million pounds in lawyers' fees.******The overall cost of that inquiry had reached 182 million pounds by the end of last year. It is not expected to report now until 2010.******Do you believe the government has a point in that respect or should it have given in to the repeated demands to hold an inquiry in public?
from India Insight:
Time and time again, India's police react to riots by using live ammunition and protesters are killed. Occasionally there is a public outcry, as there was after deaths in Kalinganagar and Nandigram, yet seldom can I remember officers being dismissed or prosecuted.In Rajasthan over the past few days, the police appear to have shot and killed more than 30 rioting Gujjars . True, their provocation may have been extreme -- one policeman lynched, another police station attacked.
But was the death of so many, apparently unarmed, people really necessary?
A judicial inquiry has been ordered and I look forward to its conclusions.
In the meantime, I wonder if it is time the Indian government spent some time and some money in training its own police in how to quell unruly mobs without having to kill people.