History of gun control is cautionary tale for those seeking regulations after Conn. shooting
By Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz, David S. Fallis and Joel Achenbach, Sunday, December 23, 6:44 AM
At 3 a.m. on July 2, 1993, Steve Sposato sat down in his darkened living room to write, by hand, a letter to the president of the United States. His life had just been shattered.
Hours earlier, in the afternoon, a deranged man armed with semiautomatic weapons had gone on a rampage, slaughtering eight people at an office building in downtown San Francisco. The gunman’s motive would remain forever a mystery. Among the slain: Steve’s wife, 30-year-old Jody Jones Sposato, the mother of his 10-month-old daughter, Meghan.
His anguished letter to the president asked how it was possible for someone to possess rapid-fire weapons with 30-round magazines, seemingly designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. “Now I’m left to raise my 10-month-old daughter on my own,” he told the president. “How do I find the strength to carry on?”
Taliban preys on Afghanistan’s corrupt police force
As troops leave, secret papers reveal extent of bribery among Afghan officers
BRIAN BRADY SUNDAY 23 DECEMBER 2012
The Afghan police charged with maintaining security in their own country as coalition troops begin to pull out within months are still “endemically corrupt” and riven with problems including nepotism and drug abuse, internal government documents have revealed.
Foreign Office (FCO) papers obtained by The Independent on Sunday disclose official concerns about the fate of Afghanistan and its chances of holding the Taliban at bay, if its leaders fail to “root out corruption” throughout the ranks of the Afghan National Police (ANP).
Bethlehem Christians feel the squeeze as Israeli settlements spread
Near a biblical landscape of donkeys and olive trees, homes are being built and Palestinian Christians fear for their future
The Observer, Sunday 23 December 2012
Amid plastic bags snagged on gorse bushes, rusting hulks of cars in a breakers yard and a few shabby trailers, traces of a biblical landscape are still to be found on a hillside between the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. A couple of donkeys are tethered to a gnarled olive tree; nearby, sheep and goats bleat as they huddle against the chill December air.
But this terrain will soon be covered in concrete after the authorisation last week of the construction of more than 2,600 homes in Givat Hamatos, the first new Israeli settlement to be built since 1997.
Tribal attack suspects arrested in Kenya
Kenyan police say they have arrested 56 suspects in the wake of Friday’s attack that left dozens of villagers dead. US President Barack Obama has called for an end to Kenya’s strife ahead of elections due in March.
Police in Kenya’s Tana River delta coastal region said Saturday some of the suspects were found with injuries sustained during the attack. Machetes, spears and an AK 47 rifle had also been recovered.
Early Friday, farmers of the Pokomo tribe raided Kipao, a village of the semi-nomadic Orma cattle herders. Regional deputy police chief Robert Kitur said six women and 13 children were among the 39 people killed.
For years the groups have fought over grazing lands, but human rights activists quoted by the news agency Reuters said the blame this time lay with politicians who had sought the eviction of locals they believed would vote for rivals in March.
Deep emotions run beneath Russia’s adoption ban
The Duma’s bill to ban US adoptions of Russian children, which passed another legislative hurdle today, appeals to Russian pride and concerns about the US.
By Mike Eckel, Correspondent
You usually can judge Vladimir Putin’s dislike of a reporter’s question by the intensity of his expression. Such was the case this week at his annual news conference, when he greeted with a hard scowl the subject of pending Russian legislation that would ban Americans from adopting orphaned children. Mr. Putin unleashed invective on the fact that consular representatives aren’t allowed to visit adopted Russian children in the United States.
“I believe that is unacceptable. Do you think this is normal? How can it be normal when you are humiliated? Do you like it? Are you a sadomasochist or something? They shouldn’t humiliate our country,” he told reporters in Moscow.
As is often the case in Russia, there is the issue of what is going on versus what is really going on. And as is often the case in Russia, it’s complicated.
Brazil settlers in land disputes over Amazon farming
23 December 2012 Last updated at 00:18 GMT
By Sue Branford
Para state, Brazil
“This is the copaiba tree,” said Derisvaldo Moreira, universally known as Dedel.
“Look how we made a nick in the tree, collected the oil and then blocked it up so the wound would heal.”
Walking through the exuberant Amazon rainforest forest, Dedel pointed out the trees, including andiroba, Brazil nut, and cupuacu, from which his community extracts oil.
It is easy to think Dedel was brought up in the forest, relying on knowledge passed down the generations. But this is far from the truth.
Dedel and his family, like many others living in this region, migrated to the Amazon region from the drought-ridden north-east of Brazil.