Photos from New York Times: click to enlarge, or follow links for slide shows ...
December 31, 2007
Sydney Morning Herald:
A six-year-old girl was indecently assaulted by a man near a beach in southern Sydney yesterday, police said.I can't comment without swearing.
St George police said the young girl was at Kyeemagh Baths, a popular swimming spot at Botany Bay, when she was allegedly assaulted by a man about 40 years old at 2pm.
A spokesman from St George police said it was an indecent assault, and the man touched the six-year-old inappropriately.
She informed her parents who then called police.
Police say there were a number of witnesses to the incident and were appealing for public assistance in finding the man
He is described as being African in appearance, 35 to 40 years old, approximately 180cm tall, and with a fat build and short black hair.
At the time of the alleged assault, he was wearing long white shorts and no shirt.
Police reminded parents to be extra vigilant when they were with their children at beachfront areas during the holiday period.
December 28, 2007, Herald Sun:
AUSTRALIAN cricket fans racially taunted Indian supporters at the MCG yesterday despite Cricket Australia's zero-tolerance policy.So here we have confessed Australian citizens wearing the colours of a foreign country, waving a foreign flag, and cheering for a foreign team. Michael of Ryde comments:
And police and security staff did not eject any fans despite the Australian supporters shouting "Show us your visas, show us your visas" at their Indian counterparts and being within metres of the potentially explosive incident.
Indian fans spoken to by the Herald Sun described the chant as "offensive, ugly and racist" ...
Up until the chant began, there had been good-natured banter between the two groups but the Indians' mood changed when the "visa" taunt started.
More than 100 Indian supporters sat stony-faced and silent during the chant ...
"Everyone feels offended when they are attacked on the basis of their residency or where we came from," said an Indian supporter, who asked not to be named.
Another said: "It is racist and yes we are offended.
"It is really lucky that it stopped and nothing happened because it was an explosive situation.
"Besides, we have Australian residency and we are Australian citizens." ...
"Police have confirmed the chant took place and conducted extensive interviews with both Indian and Australian supporters and they did not find anyone who was offended," Mr Young said.
"But we urge anyone who considers comments to be racist to report them to police and security staff. Racism is in the eye of the beholder." ...
It also comes after two men dressed as Indians became the first victims of the anti-racism campaign on Boxing Day when their sign -- which said "Supporting India from every corner of the globe", accompanied by a 7-Eleven logo -- was confiscated by police ...
And what is wrong with this picture? Australian citizens wearing foreign colours, chanting for a foreign team. Under the pretense of banter, that is a rejection of Australia and Australians. Aussies are offended. There lies the first spark of tension. If Indians living in Australia want to be treated with respect, then pull on the green and gold, leave your drums at home, and cheer for your country. We can then go back to watching the cricket instead of abusing each other.Racism is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and I am offended when Australian citizens prefer to identify with another country. I agree the Indians have gone further than banter: they are displaying their rejection of Australia.
In a climate of mass immigration, multiculturalism, liberal subcultures, and unbalanced birthrates, traditional Australians are pretty well fed-up with all the "walking rejectors" in whatever form.
And the two men dressed as Indians who's sign was confiscated were simply stating the obvious: that many Indians in every corner of the globe prefer to support India rather than their new country. Such is the stupidity of racist censorship: the truth dare not be spoken.
When you identify yourself by race, don't be surprised if you are treated that way. Go buy a green and gold shirt, or carry on dividing this country - your choice. If you continue identifying yourself by race, then don't be surprised when the white folk start to do likewise.
"Everyone feels offended when they are attacked on the basis of their residency or where we came from," said an Indian supporter ...And when you pull on the blue shirt, you are attacking Australians who feel offended even before you open your mouths and further alienate yourselves by speaking a foreign language.
It's not banter, it's betrayal. Assimilate - it's not a difficult concept.
But I do acknowledge that in many parts of the country, where traditional Australians no longer reside in significant numbers, assimilation is now a ridiculous concept to speak of. "Assimilate to what?' is the mantra of today's immigrants. And that is why incompatible immigration has reached critical mass and has to stop, and why white folk should campaign for a separatist agenda before we are bred out of existence.
... leaving teachers struggling to cope
17th December 2007, Daily Mail:
English is the second language among children in 1,300 British schools, it emerged.Via VFR.
The figure reflects the increasing pressure that immigration is having on the education system, say experts.
In one district of London, almost nine out of ten schools have an intake where the mother tongue is not English for a majority of pupils.
The statistics, obtained from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, highlight a problem which needs immediate action, teachers say.
It is estimated that the cost of educating a non-English speaking pupil could be as much as £30,000 a year.
This compares with £4,000 for a primary school child whose mother tongue is English.
Philip Parkin, general secretary of the Professional Association of Teachers, said: "There's been an explosion in numbers of children without English as their first language in the last couple of years." ...
Mr Parkin said: "To have one child who does not speak English is hard enough for a teacher to deal with, but when you have 20 or so, then that really is a problem." ...
The total number of schools in England where a majority of pupils do not consider English as their first language is 1,338. ...
Mr Parkin said: "There is no additional funding for a child with little language skills, which is effectively a special need." ...
"As far as I know, nothing is being done to look at these issues."
If they don't speak English then I guess you can say those areas are not English.
Yeah, yeah, I'm going ...
December 15, 2007, Sydney Morning Herald:
A man is in a coma with a fractured skull after being punched and robbed on a northern Sydney beachfront early today.Now back to my holiday ...
The 23-year-old Harbord man was attacked while walking on the beachfront at South Steyne, Manly, just after 1.30am. He had a brief conversation with another man, who punched him and caused him to fall to the ground, police said.
The attacker stole the victim's wallet before running off ...
The attacker is believed to be aged in his early 20s.
He was described as being of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance with dark brown hair.
He is about 175cm tall with a muscular build and was wearing a white or pale-coloured t-shirt with a dark pattern on the side and blue jeans.
He was last seen running along Raglan St, Manly ...
It looks like I've clocked off for the year. Merry Christmas to all.
To all the tireless bloggers who've kept me informed with way more news and views than I can keep up with: I applaud your efforts.
See ya next year. Cheers. And pass the prawns please ...
Dec 1, 2007, Associated Press:
French officials point to a host of causes — poverty, unemployment, the influence of criminal gangs — for riots that erupted this week.Via VFR
But there's one taboo issue that officially colorblind France has been unable to confront: race.
The violence, like riots that spread nationwide for three weeks in 2005, exposed how parts of France have divided along color lines, with blacks and Arabs trapped in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods — like Villiers-le-Bel, in the northern suburbs of Paris, where gangs attacked police and burned cars and buildings this week.
"Among the rioters, the very large majority come from immigrant backgrounds," said Douhane Mohamed, a police commander. "Why? We mustn't kid ourselves: there is a direct link between urban violence and ghettos, and the majority of people with immigrant roots live in ghettos."
France does not like to see its recurrent, and some say worsening, bouts of urban violence through the prism of race or color. Rioters are often described simply as "youths," while poor projects with large concentrations of immigrants are "sensitive urban zones."
In the name of equality, France has so idealized the melting pot that it has made its minorities invisible — on paper at least. The country does not compile statistics on the foreign-born or their French-born children. France, a nation of 60 million people, has the largest Muslim community in western Europe but does not know how many Muslims live here. The number is estimated at about 5 million — though some experts disagree.
Critics argue that being officially colorblind has limited France's ability to recognize and treat the difficulties its minorities face — sometimes because of their color. Immigrants and their French-born children often complain that it is harder for them than whites to get work, job interviews, housing, even entrance to nightclubs ...
The rioters are a tiny minority but sullen anger is palpable in Villiers-le-Bel. Black youths complain that police stop and search them because of their color. They speak of exclusion, of not getting a fair shake, of being treated like foreigners in their own country.
Few residents condone the violence and many condemn it — but no one seems surprised that it broke out.
"Everyone is equal. That is what is written. But behind that is something else," said Hassan Ben M'Barek, spokesman for Suburbs Respect, a group that lobbies for those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
In some such areas of the Paris region, "there are no white French people left in the streets. You can drive around for two or three hours and all you will see are North Africans and blacks. And these are neighborhoods with enormous problems," he added. "Those who have the means to leave the projects are white, and they leave. There's no more ethnic diversity."
It was impossible not to see the violence in Villiers-le-Bel in black and white terms.
The hundreds of beefy riot police officers drafted in, some from as far away as France's eastern border with Germany, were almost exclusively white. The neighborhoods they patrolled were largely black and Arab.
The trigger for the rioting was the deaths last Sunday of two teens whose motorcycle crashed with a police car. Lakamy Samoura, 15 and Mohsin Sehhouli, 16, weren't wearing helmets and their bike was not authorized for public roads.
Police insisted the crash was accidental, but kids in the neighborhood didn't believe it. The deaths became an excuse for two nights of rioting in which more than 100 police officers were injured, some by shotgun rounds.
Tellingly, neither of the teens will be buried in France, although both were French. Mohsin's parents are taking his body to Morocco; Lakamy will be buried in Senegal, from where his parents emigrated in 1966.
Having a foot in France and another in Africa is something that Maka Sali, a black 17-year-old in Villiers, identifies with. She said she doesn't like taking trips into Paris — about 20 minutes away on the train — because she doesn't like the way some whites there look at her.
"I feel like a foreigner," she said. She also said it was "just terrible" that it took the deaths of two teens to thrust the issue of France's poor neighborhoods back to the forefront of the national agenda.
The riots of 2005 also started when two teens were killed — electrocuted while hiding in a power substation from police.
Some argue that the recurring violence must make France rethink its taboos ...
Since the violence of 2005, France has earmarked billions of dollars for programs to improve housing and create jobs in tough neighborhoods. The government says that its newest "equal opportunities" program will be unveiled Jan. 22.
But it was hard to see among the burned out cars and blackened moods in Villiers that much has changed.
"The only thing they (the government) have done is build that police station," said Frank Dosso, a black 16-year-old, referring to a $7 million police station under construction in Villiers. "But that's not going to last long."
Photos: Riots hit French suburbs (Yahoo)
Above: Family members of two teenagers who were killed in a collision with a police car in Villiers le Bel leave the Elysee Palace after a meeting with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris November 28, 2007. (Yahoo)
Below: Residents march during a ceremony for teenager Lakamy Samoura who was killed with his friend Mohsin Sehhouli in a motorbike crash with a police car that caused riots, Friday Nov. 30, 2007 in Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris. Some 300 mourners marched through Villiers-le-Bel demanded justice and truth for the dead two teenagers. Vast deployments of riot police restored calm to the troubled suburbs of northern Paris.