Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Mexican pop star Kalimba, accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in December, walked free on Thursday after a judge ordered his release for lack of evidence. For fans of the dreadlocked singer and dj, it was a justice of sorts, given that 73 percent of Mexicans believe he was innocent, according to a poll in leading newspaper Reforma.
Guilty or not, the case gave Mexico a bit of homegrown celebrity gossip over the past few weeks in a country where relentless news of horrific drug killings is daily fare. Seeing the singer arrested in El Paso, Texas, where he was recording a new album, then dressed in a orange jump suit and imprisoned in a Mexican jail and then crying on his release, made top news and created plenty of chat both in Mexican homes and on the Internet.
Did the voice behind local hits such as “Tocando Fondo” (Hitting Bottom) and Disney’s Spanish language version of “The Lion King” really sexually abuse the minor after hosting a show in the Caribbean coastal city of Chetumal in Quintana Roo state on Dec.19, or was the girl just creating a stink to get some attention?
What’s most revealing about the case is what it says about the dysfunctional Mexican justice and prison systems, partly responsible for feeding Mexico’s brutal drug war that has killed more than 34,000 people since December 2006, not to mention the racism against black Mexicans that remains deeply embedded in the country’s culture.
When I have time to lavish on reading something other than news, I want to spend it on stories that leave me saying, “Wow!” A great read should tell readers something they don’t already know, enlighten them about the world and its people, inform them about the human condition. Readers should be moved to laughter, tears, anger, action through superb writing and extraordinary reporting. Here are my picks for the best reads of 2009.
A packet of cigarettes is enough to cause a fight among the Spaniards and immigrants shivering in the dark outside an emergency homeless shelter in Madrid, set up for a bitter winter and depression-era unemployment. Police push past jobless Romanian and Hungarian construction workers. ”One day this place is going to explode,” says unemployed waiter Miguel Roa, a Spaniard.