links for 2010-04-12

  • Appearing without a tie — as if to say, Hey, I'm just a regular guy — Steele said he probably ruffled some feathers among the party's elders because "I'm not a Washington insider. I'm more grassroots oriented, not Good Ol' Boy Network oriented….I tend to come at it a little stronger, more streetwise, if you will." But then, in a question from a viewer, ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Steele whether he has a slimmer margin for error because he's black. "The honest answer is, 'yes,'" he said. "Barack Obama has a slimmer margin. A lot of folks do…That's just the reality of it. But you just take that as a part of the nature of it." This is dangerous territory for a crossover figure. If you say yes, you look like you're passing the buck, not accepting responsibility for your actions. At some of the low points of his candidacy, and even during his presidency, Obama has been asked this question. He always says no.
  • In the aftermath of this week's twin suicide bombings in Moscow, Uzlipat Gebekova is very careful about what she wears in public. A resident of Makhachkala, the capital of the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan, Gebekova is living in Moscow temporarily while she studies jewelry-making. And she doesn't want anybody associating her with the two female suicide bombers who wore long black skirts to cover the explosive belts they detonated on the Moscow Metro, killing 39 Monday-morning commuters.
    "The situation is very dangerous for us," Gebekova says. "Wearing a head scarf is a risk. I think even wearing a skirt would be dangerous. It's best just to wear trousers. To come here [to Moscow] now — whether for business, education, or medical treatment — is dangerous."
  • It was an April Fool's Day joke that not everyone found funny. A mock edition of the "Advocate," the University of Colorado at Denver's school newspaper, makes fun of minorities and issues including rape and eating disorders. Angry students want the editors to face repercussions. A group of students is planning a rally for Monday…One article is titled, "Enjoy Obamacare If You Like Payin' For Illegal Mexicans." Another seems to advocate bulimia. There's also a column "Dear White Guys," in which black men supposedly ask questions such as, "Why do white people put their kids on leashes?"
  • As far as the records show, no one has spoken Shinnecock or Unkechaug, languages of Long Island’s Indian tribes, for nearly 200 years. Now Stony Brook University and two of the Indian nations are initiating a joint project to revive these extinct tongues, using old documents like a vocabulary list that Thomas Jefferson wrote during a visit in 1791. The goal is language resuscitation and enlisting tribal members from this generation and the next to speak them, said representatives from the tribes and Stony Brook’s Southampton campus.
  • Wikileaks reveals video showing US air crew shooting down Iraqi civilians. A secret video showing US air crew falsely claiming to have encountered a firefight in Baghdad and then laughing at the dead after launching an air strike that killed a dozen people, including two Iraqis working for Reuters news agency, was revealed by Wikileaks today. The footage of the July 2007 attack was made public in a move that will further anger the Pentagon, which has drawn up a report identifying the whistleblower website as a threat to national security. The US defence department was embarrassed when that confidential report appeared on the Wikileaks site last month alongside a slew of military documents.
  • The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Islamaphobic behaviour, including Switzerland's minaret building ban, despite some states' major reservations. The resolution "strongly condemns… the ban on the construction of minarets of mosques and other recent discriminatory measures." In a November referendum Swiss citizens voted to ban the construction of new minarets, a move that drew criticisms worldwide. These measures "are manifestations of Islamophobia that stand in sharp contradiction to international human rights obligations concerning freedoms of religions," said the resolution.
  • 5,000 protesters demonstrate against far-right Islamophobic gathering of 350 in Germany.
    BERLIN – Nearly 5,000 people protested on Sunday against a demonstration by extreme-right and anti-Muslim groups in the western German city of Duisburg ahead of a regional election in May, police said.
  • A British model is at the forefront of a drive by the Indian fashion industry to tackle widespread prejudice in the country against darker skin colour. Gia Johnson Singh, 23, from London, appears with four other bikini-clad models on the front cover of this month’s Indian edition of Vogue, under the headline, “The dawn of dusk”. The fashion magazine aims to hit back at a growing belief in Indian society that pale skin tones signify beauty and success.