A Natural Event

A professor travels to Africa to live with a primitive tribe and spends years with them, teaching them all about the wonders of science and mathematics. He makes friends with the tribes Chief’s and his wife and they all live happily for some time. One day, the Chief’s wife gives birth to… A white child!

The word spreads and the entire tribe is in shock. The chief pulls the professor aside and says, “Look, you’re the only white man we’ve ever seen around here, and my wife just gave birth to a white child. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened!”

The professor replied, “No, Chief. You’re mistaken. What you have here is a natural occurrence, what we in the civilized world call an albino! Look at that field over there. All of the sheep are white except for one black one. Nature does this on occasion.”

The chief was silent for a moment, then said, “Tell you what. You don’t say anything more about that sheep and I won’t say anything more about that white child.”

Sweden’s Afghan “Rapefugees”

On New Year’s Eve, the same kind of mass sexual assaults that happened to women in Cologne — in Arabic called “Taharrush” — also took place in Sweden, but the police and the media have chosen to bury the information. The men, it turned out, were mainly Afghan, and claiming to be “unaccompanied refugee children.”

In reality, many of them are much older than 18, and are now commonly referred to with the recently coined name, “Rapefugees,” rather than “refugee children.”

It recently emerged that the Immigration Service urged its administrators to accept as a “child” everyone who looked under the age of 40 — apparently without any thought as to how inappropriate it is to place grown men in elementary and secondary schools with teenage girls. As Sweden — until December — kept its doors wide open to the migrants of the world, the country has accepted vastly more asylum seekers than its Nordic neighbors. Statistics for 2012-2015 are available via Eurostat, and provide the following statistics on the number of migrant arrivals:

Sweden: 342,635

Norway: 63,370

Denmark: 41,290

Finland: 40,470

Iceland: 675

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Join us or die: the birth of Boko Haram

In February 2009, I was at a motor park in Maraba, a satellite of the Nigerian capital Abuja, looking for motorcyclists wearing dried vegetables on their heads. The Nigerian Police Force had recently tightened laws requiring drivers and passengers of motorcycles to wear helmets. In the case of motorcycle taxis – known as achabas in northern Nigeria – drivers would now have to provide helmets for their passengers. There was an uproar. Everyone knew that taking a trip on an achaba could be a dangerous thing; the drivers had a reputation for recklessness. But many Nigerians did not like the new rules.

Above all, the law gave the police an opportunity for extortion. One motorcycle taxi driver told me it was going to cost him 10,000 naira (around £40) to buy two helmets. As he made between 300 and 400 naira per day (less than £2), there was no way he could afford to obey the new law. Everyone knew what would happen. The police would set up flying checkpoints, near markets, motor parks and busy thoroughfares. They would swoop down on motorcyclists, flailing sticks and canes as the riders madly accelerated out of their traps.

People who drive achabas are close to the bottom of society. They are men (and only men) without much formal education, often without any other marketable skill. Many sleep rough, under bridges or awnings, some sleep on their motorcycles, guarding their source of income. Their passengers are also mostly poor. The vast number of achabas on the roads is a symptom of Nigeria’s economic problems. The new helmet law was, in the minds of most, just another squeeze on people already in perilous circumstances.

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A World Spinning Out-of-Control

Beyond the Cusp

The first area the world is having difficulties is nothing new as finances and resources are always at a critical point somewhere, but when it spreads wide and wild, then there is a problem. The problems are about to get really tightly strung as the United States cash flow valves are about to be made even tighter until mid to late August when the money will be released to give the economy as good a feel and appearance that people will believe that President Obama’s promises to repair the economy have finally begun to work. This will be reflected in a general media message that all is finally well in the world and the United States is healthy and ready to take on the comeback of the millennia. Nothing could be further from the truth but if the economic weapon is to be taken off the table making the push…

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How Brazil’s Jews samba through the madness of Carnival

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Brazilians know how to party. Nowhere is that more obvious than at Carnival, Brazil’s most popular celebration festively combining its rich and multi-ethnic melting pot. It’s also one of the world’s largest multi-day celebrations, when ecstatic crowds enjoy fabulous samba parades and enormous street parties.

Carnival follows a lunar calendar, so the exact date varies – this year it’s February 5-10. The celebration kicks off Friday night and ends on Ash Wednesday at noon, when some very hungover Brazilians are forced to go back to work. Easter Sunday comes 40 days after.

Though it may have Catholic connotations, the roots of Carnival trace back to pagan rites of spring held by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Across Europe, the season was celebrated with parties, masks and dancing in the streets. The Portuguese brought the Carnival concept to Rio in the late 1800s, when French-style balls and masquerade parties became common. Over time, unique elements deriving from African, Ameri-Indian and even Jewish cultures were incorporated.

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