The exodus from Africa to Europe continues to accelerate as thousands of Africans are crossing the Mediterranean in order to reach Italy and the prospect of work. The number of migrants hitting Italy’s southern shores has soared by more than 50% this years and at 33,000 is already 13,000 more than arrived in 2007. At least 500 people never reached Italy because they drowned at sea. Since December 24, at least 2,400 additional people reached the Pelagic islands between Libya and Sicily. Experts on migration believe the large number coming during the midst of winter suggests they are being driven by economic factors which allows smugglers to pile them into aged vessels for the perilous voyage. Italy’s Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, threatened to fly the migrants back to their homelands, but this seems doubtful in terms of the sheer number arriving and seeking asylum.
Ironically, the Berlusconi government rode to power on the promise of being tough toward migrants and now faces the prospect of dealing with thousands of additional migrants. Many are coming from Libya despite promises by its dictator Gaddafi’s promises to crack down on the smugglers. In the meantime while Berlusconi’s followers denounce newly arrived immigrants, thousands sit in camps or wherever space can be found awaiting news of their futures.
Ibrahim Barzak and Matti Friedman, reporting for the Cairo Daily News, said “Israel’s air force obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of its overwhelming Gaza assault, striking a house next to the Hamas premier’s house, devastating a security compound and flattening a five story building at a university closely linked to the Islamic group.” Over three hundred have died in the bombings and the Hamas rocket attack on Ashkeion resulted in the death of at least one Israeli. “Most of those killed since Saturday were members of Hamas security forces,” but at least 50 were civilians including women and children. Israel planes also attacked a refugee camp near Gaza city and at least three children were killed along with a mother and her child.
The reporters also note planes struck dozens of tunnels through which supplies and arms had been smuggled into Gaza. Syria has suspended indirect peace talks with Israel and the UN Security Council has called on both sides to halt the fighting and asked Israel to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza since hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties. “the carnage inflamed Arab and Muslim public opinion, setting off street protests in Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank, across the Arab world, and in some European cities.”
We offer this among other perspectives on the Gaza conflict without making any editorial comment.
Sarah Palin made clear to America this fall, she stands solidly behind her daughter who pledged to remain a virgin until marriage. It now appears, her daughter’s pledge was no different than most young girls who promise to adhere to virginity until on the marriage bed. A new report from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals teenagers in America who pledge to remain virgins until marriage as just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not take the pledge. However, pledgers are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control. According to Janet Rosenbaum, author of the report: “Taking a pledge doesn’t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior. But, it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking.”
Pledgers use condoms 10% less than do honest teenagers who refuse to make any promises and will take life as it comes. In this day and age of the need to use federal money in wise ways, hopefully, President Obama will suggest ending the spending of $258 million a year to urge pledge taking. How many people can get free medical insurance with the $258 million?
The world is upset at events in Gaza, but the world is not that interested in the brutal fighting going on in Uganda where the fanatical Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) continues its murderous attacks on innocent people. On the day after Christmas these fanatical crazed soldiers hacked to death with machetes over 100 people who were in a church. A witness, Abeel Longi said: “I hid in bush near the church and heard people wailing at they were being cut with machetes. The LRA has long been accused of cutting off lips of people or recruiting young children who are forced to kill parents and relatives in order to ensure they will not return home or be sympathetic to the notion of killing.
Rebels are reportedly retaliating for army attacks and since they prefer confronting unarmed adversaries rather than soldiers who are armed, the LRA took out its fears on the nearest available group of civilians. A major problem is desire by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to put on trial Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, which is a factor in hindering peace.