Sunday, August 20, 2006

Midnight News -- 8/20/06

Among other things, yesterday was a very bad day for women's rights, as a number of stories report women suffering at the hands of deranged or fanatic men.

Four American soldiers were killed in two separate battles against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The fighting came on Afghanistan's independence day, on which president Hamid Karzai praised education:

"Our history proves our bravery," Karzai said. "The only thing we need to keep our independence is education."

Militants have targeted schools, burning 144 to the ground over the past year and forcing another 200 to close following threats against teachers and students, according to officials. More than 200,000 children have been unable to continue their education as a result.

The insurgents claim that educating girls is against Islam and oppose government-funded schools for boys because they teach secular subjects besides religion. Targeting schools is also considered a tactic to shake the authority of the U.S.-backed government.

The religion of peace has also been sighted in Italy. A Pakistani Muslim living there slit his daughter's throat because she dared to act like she had a mind of her own. Now Italy is reconsidering its planned liberalization of immigration policy.

Two women were murdered while sitting in their car in midtown Kansas City. One was seven months pregnant, and since the unborn child was also killed, the murderer could be charged with three homicides. The description sounds like a planned assassination, as the killer jumped into a grey car and fled the scene. The police have already linked the crime to drugs. A third homicide charge for the killing of the child looks likely to spark and intense debate related to abortion.

A Long Island Man murdered his neighbor, a female retired teacher. He dismembered her and kept her severed head in his car.

Fears grow for the lives of a FOXNews correspondent and cameraman kidnapped in Gaza. None of the radical groups in that territory are willing to take credit for the kidnapping, and few kidnapped journalists have ever been held this long.

The president of Taiwan is defiant against allegations of corruption and increasing calls for his resignation. Part of his defense is that his opposition, by decrying him so vociferously, is providing mainland China with an opportunity to hurt Taiwan. The trouble with democracy is that we use legal restrictions on democratic leaders to fight political battles. This is fine when a country is rich and safe, but can be disastrous when a country faces an immediate threat, as Taiwan does. It's tragically ironic that the only party that would really benefit from extended battles over corruption Taiwan is the profoundly corrupt government of mainland China.

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