Americans lived for decades with the fear of instant death from a Soviet nuclear strike. The People’s Republic of China has acquired a similar, though more limited, capability. Nothing happened in either case, because even evil people who acted like barbarians at home refused to commit suicide abroad.
So it is with North Korea. A Defense Intelligence Agency report that Pyongyang may have miniaturized a nuclear weapon for use on a missile has created a predictable stir. Yet the analysis was carefully hedged, and Washington’s top security leadership, ranging from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper dismissed the seriousness of the threat.
If the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was lucky, it could successfully launch its longest range missile, topped by a warhead with explosives rather than a nuclear weapon, without the rocket blowing up or falling back on the DPRK. With additional luck, the missile might hit somewhere in Alaska or Hawaii, though Pyongyang would have little control over the actual strike zone.
But if the missile “worked” in this way, the North’s luck would quickly end. The United States would launch several nuclear-topped missiles and Pyongyang, certainly, and every urban area in the North, probably, would be vaporized. The “lake of fire” about which the DPRK has constantly spoken would occur, all over North Korea. Pretty-boy Kim Jong-un wouldn’t have much to smile about then.
Deterrence worked against Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. There is no indication that it won’t work against the North Korean leadership. There always is a risk of mistake or miscalculation, but that properly is a problem for Pyongyang’s neighbors.
The latest DPRK crisis should trigger a policy shift in Washington. Once the immediate furor has passed, the Obama administration should begin bringing home the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the Republic of Korea, and then end America’s formal security guarantee. Once Washington no longer confronted the North, the latter would turn its ire elsewhere.
The ROK should take over its own defense, while building a better relationship with democratic neighbors, most obviously Japan, which also has been threatened by the North. At the same time, the Obama administration should hint at a rethink of Washington’s traditional opposition to the possibility of South Korea and Japan building nuclear weapons. China should understand that failing to take strong measures to curb its ally’s atomic ambitions could unleash the far more sophisticated nuclear potential of America’s allies.
North Korea is a practical threat to the United States only to the degree which Washington allows. Better policy-making would reduce America’s role in Pyongyang’s ongoing tragic farce.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Coutts warns clients of threat from debt markets amid bubble fears
Coutts, the high-end private bank, has warned its clients against exposing their fortunes to a potential collapse of the high-yield debt market amid growing concerns of a new global credit bubble.
Fears have been raised as investors increase the risk they are taking on the bonds by borrowing further Photo: Alamy
By Harry Wilson, Banking Editor10:23PM BST 01 Apr 2013
Senior managers at the private bank, whose customers include a who’s who of British society, are being discreetly advised to reduce their holdings of high-yield bonds, according to an internal warning seen by The Daily Telegraph.
Sales of high-yield debt have exploded this year as investors chase returns in an environment of historically low interest rates and rising inflation. In both Europe and Asia, high-yield sales have reached all-time highs. In January alone, Asian companies sold just over $9bn (£6bn) of high-yield bonds, a year-on-year increase of more than 6,000pc, according to data provider Dealogic.
Fears have been raised as investors increase the risk they are taking on the bonds by borrowing further. Coutts’ investment strategy committee has become concerned at the use by some wealthy individuals of borrowed money to enhance returns from high-yield investments and is understood to have begun advising clients to avoid the practice.
“If and when yields rise, the impact of these bonds, magnified with leverage, could lead to serious losses,” said one investment manager.
The use of borrowed money to enhance returns has become particularly prevalent in Asia, where local and international private banks have used guarantees of access to loans to win business.
This practice has led to fears of a new bubble in high-yield debt as investors buy riskier bonds using more borrowed money.
Among the products causing most concern are CoCos – contingent convertible bonds – that either transform into ordinary shares or are wiped out when a bank’s capital levels fall below a given level.
One of Britain’s leading bond funds has warned against buying CoCos, claiming they are “dreadful” for investors. “By losing all value prior to existing credit and equity investors, this bond is essentially providing insurance to every other investor. In short, investing in these bonds is like being in a reverse lottery where someone gives you one pound every week and then suddenly turns up demanding millions,” said Christine Johnson, manager of Old Mutual’s corporate bond fund.
Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays have both issued CoCos. Barclays issued a $3bn (£2bn), 10-year bond in November that attracted orders of more than $15bn.
But there are concerns that many investors have little appreciation of the risk. “Many buy based on superficial factors – such as the coupon [interest rate] and name rather than the terms and conditions of the bond,” said one senior investment strategist.
Last week, the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee said it had identified a £25bn capital shortfall in British banks and it is likely that at least some of this will be raised through new sales of CoCos.
“It appeals to senior management at the banks because it doesn’t dilute equity. And it appeals to regulators because it explicitly takes the pain… In short, good for regulators, good for bondholders but dreadful for those who buy it,” said Ms Johnson.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:30 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
The Ultimate Threat In The Euro Bailout And Austerity Racket: War
SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2013 AT 7:13PM
There have been waves of threats by Eurozone politicians to bully people into accepting “whatever it took” to keep the shaky construct of the monetary union glued together. These threats peaked last year with disorderly default, and when that wasn’t enough, with the collapse of the Eurozone. But now, the ultimate threat has been pronounced: war.
It wasn’t an idle thought by a wayward parliamentarian on the radical fringe but a well-articulated statement by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker who was, until January, the President of the Eurogroup that manages the political aspects of the euro. And he’d picked Europe’s largest magazine, Der Spiegel, to make it (excerpts here, rest behind pay wall).
He’d alluded to it before. Last August, as he was jabbering about Greece’s potential exit from the Eurozone, he lamented that “many Germans and the German media” talked about Greece as if it were “a people you couldn’t respect,” and that Greeks depicted Chancellor Angela Merkel as if she were “the heiress of the Nazis.” And then his big threat, albeit in veiled form: “What we thought had been buried long ago, very quickly rises again.”
His problem: the halting integration of Europe. European countries were small, but there was a solution. “We must show the world something giant, and that’s the euro,” he said. He wanted Europeans to integrate more closely. And not just within the EU, but “the total continent, with extensions”—so maybe Turkey. They’d all eventually use the euro. And if it didn’t work out….
That was last year. Now, given the Italian election, he made it explicit. “For my generation, the common currency has always been a policy of peace,” he said. He was worried that people were getting lost in national naval gazing. “Those who believe that the eternal question of war and peace in Europe would never reappear could be seriously mistaken,” he said. “The demons aren’t gone; they’re only sleeping, as the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo have shown.”
The possibility of war—unless the euro survived and became the currency of the entire EU.
He was struck by the realization how much the European conditions resembled those of 1913, on the eve of World War I. But then, after having thrown “war” on the table, he backed off; he didn’t believe that Europe was facing armed conflicts, but he saw “conspicuous parallels.” In 1913, the prevailing wisdom was that there could never be another war in Europe because the powers on the continent were economically so interwoven that they couldn’t afford it, he said. “Particularly in Western and Northern Europe, there reigned a complacency that assumed that peace had been secured forever.”
By 2050, Europe would have about 7% of the world population, he said. In order to remain relevant, it would have to be united. The heads of the governments in Germany, France, and Great Britain knew that their voices were heard internationally only because they were speaking through the “megaphone” of the EU.
And the EU’s destiny was the euro. He listed proudly the “serious reforms” that had been carried out, like keeping Greece in the Eurozone—regardless of what that did to the Greeks whose belts had been tightened by five notches, or what it did to their economy that would be downgraded to “developing nation” effective June 2013. He praised the bailout funds and the European banking union—regardless of how they’d use taxpayers in some countries to bail out banks and their investors in others.
But hadn’t the elections in Italy shown that Southern Europeans weren’t all that enthusiastic about his glorious plans? Hadn’t Italian voters just demolished Prime Minister Mario Monti and his pro-euro course of reforms and austerity? It didn’t matter. Abandoning the austerity policies “would be a big mistake,” he explained. Politicians shouldn’t promote the “wrong policies” just because they were afraid they’d lose the next election. “If you want to govern, you must take responsibility for your country and Europe overall. And that means: you must implement the correct policies even if many voters find them wrong.”
A curious understanding of democracy. One fraught with peril. But one that has become all too common in the Eurozone where the will of the people has consistently been trampled into the ground. To make his message more persuasive, to get politicians to toe the line, to get taxpayers in financially stable countries to give up resisting the transnational wealth transfers, and to get the people in crisis countries to swallow without demur the bitter pills of his reform programs, he’d added what has become the ultimate threat in the euro bailout and austerity racket—the possibility of war.
But there may be complications. The ECB and the national central banks of the Eurozone set out to collect information on household wealth. A massive bureaucratic undertaking. Results are now ready. No one in Europe had ever done a survey on that scale before. And no one might ever do it again. Because the results are so explosive that the Bundesbank is keeping its report secret—and word has leaked out why
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:18 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
This is the first time in Pew’s polling that a majority of Americans said they felt this way.
The colossus is too large. The system of legal graft and crony capitalism in Washington DC spins like a black hole sucking life from the rest of America, economically and even spiritually.
Washington has become the center of the universe, and many Americans recognize that this is dangerous. Add that the place is completely dysfunctional largely because of its sheer heft, and it’s not surprising that Pew got the result from its poll that it did.
The post Pew Poll: A Solid Majority of Americans See Government as a Threat to Their Rights appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
My book Libertarianism: A Primer, published in 1997, begins with this paragraph:
In 1995 Gallup pollsters found that 39 percent of Americans said that “the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.” Pollsters couldn’t believe it, so they tried again, taking out the word “immediate.” This time 52 percent of Americans agreed.
Well, the Pew Research Center has been polling on a similar question, and they’ve just found the highest number ever. They ask a slightly different question – “Do you think the federal government threatens your own personal rights and freedoms, or not?” – and of course pollsters’ methods and samples may vary. Pew’s numbers seem to have been somewhat lower than Gallup’s over the past two decades. But today they report:
As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree.
Gallup’s polling found that the level of fear had fallen dramatically in the early 2000s, as did Pew, but that by late 2011 it had risen back to 49 percent. Gallup also, alas, reports a partisan divide in answers to the question:
Americans’ sense that the federal government poses an immediate threat to individuals’ rights and freedoms is also at a new high, 49%, since Gallup began asking the question using this wording in 2003. This view is much more pronounced among Republicans (61%) and independents (57%) than among Democrats (28%), although when George W. Bush was president, Democrats and independents were more likely than Republicans to view government as a threat.
Dan Mitchell noted that divide back in 2010 and suggested that, with a Republican administration spending us into bankruptcy and a Democratic administration continuing the wars and the Patriot Act, partisans ought to start recognizing the threats from their own respective parties. Indeed.
The bottom line, though, is that when a government is viewed as a threat to “your own personal rights and freedoms” by a majority of its citizens, it should probably take a critical look at its policies.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
The Obama Mandate: The Gravest Threat to Religious Freedom in 226 Years
Oct 07, 2012
Editor’s Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
A liberal reporter speaking at a conference in Georgetown recently dismissed conservative alarms about the Obama administration’s mandate that forces religious institutions–like Catholic Hospitals and Evangelical colleges–to provide coverage for drugs and procedures that can abortions and that effect sterilizations. "What about the anti-Catholic Bible riots in Philadelphia in the 1840s," she asked. Those led to scores of people actually being killed. Those Bible riots were deplorable, a blot on American history. But they were not the acts of the federal government. They were lawless violence, not a deliberate policy of oppression.
James Madison famously said the people are right to take alarm at the "first advance on their liberties." The Obama Mandate will force us to violate our consciences. President Obama famously said he doesn’t know when human life begins, but he’s willing to force us to collaborate in the destruction of innocent human lives. We do know when human life begins. So does science. So, increasingly, do millions of young Americans who see their first photo–an ultra-sound picture taken of them in their mothers’ wombs. This is why, even liberal columnist Joe Klein writes, "ultrasound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being." He conceded this in TIME magazine, no less. But President Obama and his administration deny this eternal truth every day. And he wants to force you to deny it, too.
Madison happily reported to Thomas Jefferson in France in 1786 that the Virginia legislature had finally passed their great Statute for Religious Freedom. Madison exulted that this historic law would "establish" not a single church or denomination, but religious freedom itself–for the first time in human history. This measure would become the foundation for civil liberty, he thought. And it would add immeasurably to the "lustre of our country."
No more would governments presume to tell men what they must think. Conscience had been liberated. President Obama doesn’t care what you think, so long as you join him in helping to destroy the unborn on demand. And help him by paying for it. The Virginia Statute of 1786 freed citizens from having to pay taxes to churches whose doctrines they disbelieved and whose worship practices they did not share. Now, all Americans are forced to join President Obama’s professed ignorance of when human life begins, when the unborn come to possess the right to life. Abraham Lincoln had no such doubts as this Illinois president expresses. He said "nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon." That firm faith impelled Lincoln to reject human bondage inspires millions of Americans to reject this slaughter of innocents.
Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51 that the multiplicity of sects (religious denominations) is what enabled Virginians to establish religious freedom in 1786. And he argued that the checks and balances of the new Constitution would be preserve civil liberty in the new American republic. That’s what’s in danger now. If the Obama Mandate stands, Americans will all be forced either to violate their own consciences or be taxed for the suppression of other Americans’ consciences. We have long recognized conscientious objection in granting exemptions from the military draft. President Obama’s proposed religious exemption from his abortion mandate is so narrowly drawn that it is questionable whether even Jesus’ ministry would qualify.
We are putting at risk America’s unique contribution to the world: religious freedom. How much longer can we say, with George Washington, that in America "each shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are senior fellows at the Family Research Council.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:49 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
After drought blights crops, U.S. farmers face toxin threat
Michael Hirtzer and Meredith Davis, Reuters | Updated: August 15, 2012
The worst U.S. drought in five decades has parched the land and decimated crops. It now threatens to deal a second blow to farmers, who may have to throw out tonnes of toxic feed.
Growers are rushing to check the nitrate levels of that silage, the stalks and leaves that corn farmers often harvest to feed to locally raised cattle or hogs.
Agriculture groups are warning farmers that drought-hit plants may have failed to process nitrogen fertilizer due to stunted growth, making them poisonous to livestock.
Exceptionally early spring planting has caused a crush of early summer requests for the tests. Farmers are also expected to chop down a near-record swathe of their fields for silage to make up for this year’s poor yields.
"We’ve had a lot of walk-in business and normally we are not a walk-in business," said Lola Manning, a 30-year employee of Agri-King, a laboratory that tests for nitrates and other toxins. "At this point it’s the busiest I’ve seen it."
Manning said the facility, approved by the National Forage Testing Association, checked about 400 samples — roughly double the norm — in July.
So far, few samples have shown elevated levels of toxins, she said. But late-season rains — far too tardy to help salvage the corn crop — could prompt mostly mature plants to draw even more nitrogen out of the soil and into the stalks.
"The tests are coming out OK but as soon as they have rain, the situation will change," Manning said.
SO FAR, SO GOOD
Two months of dry weather and high heat that stunted plants and shriveled ears likely caused the absorption of excessive amounts of nitrogen, experts say. Instead of being distributed safely through the plant, the chemical built up in the lower portions of the stalk at potentially toxic levels.
Kenny Wagler, a dairy farmer in Nashville, Indiana who also farms 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) of corn and pasture, is testing his corn for the first time since the last major drought in 1988.
"It’s almost never a factor," said Wagler, who raises about 1,500 dairy cows and cattle, adding that he is testing this year on recommendation from his farm nutritionist.
Nearly half of what he typically harvests to sell as a cash corn crop will be cut for silage this year because most of the plants had no ears of grain.
In the worst-case scenario, silage with high levels of nitrate can be absorbed into an animal’s bloodstream, causing poisoning leading to death.
The absorption causes hemoglobin to be converted to methemoglobin, which is incapable of transporting oxygen and so can be fatal to the animal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Symptoms of nitrate poisoning include labored breathing, rapid heartbeat, weakness, lack of coordination and blue-gray discolored skin.
Extensive losses of livestock are an unlikely, extreme scenario, beef and dairy experts say.
"Certainly there are instances of dead cattle from nitrate," said Chris Hurt, agriculture economist at Purdue University. "Widespread education has helped reduce the problem."
But nitrate-laced silage would force those farmers to buy extra feed grains in order to sustain their animals.
LOW GRAIN YIELDS, MORE SILAGE?
Silage is usually harvested while plants are still green and contain a high level of moisture. It is then fermented, often in silos. Many dairy farmers raise corn specifically for silage, in part to avoid having to buy feed elsewhere.
The rest of the crop is allowed to mature and is harvested as grain to be sold to elevators for export or feed use, or to ethanol makers.
Farmers are expected to harvest more of their corn crop for silage than usual this season due to poor yields, which are forecast by the USDA to be the lowest in 17 years.
As many as 9 million acres — or 9 percent of the corn crop — may not be harvested for grain this year, according to USDA data released last week. That would be the most abandoned acres in a decade. Much of that will be used instead as silage.
At Agri-King in western Illinois, tests cost $8 per sample for nitrate. Farmers are advised to take six stalks, chop them up and put them into a bag for testing.
Nitrate levels under 4,400 parts per million are considered safe while those over 15,000 ppm are considered potentially toxic and should not be fed to livestock, said Randy Shaver, extension dairy nutritionist at the University of Wisconsin.
At between 8,800 and 15,000 ppm, silage should be limited to less than half of the total feed ration and well fortified with minerals, data from that university showed. However, acceptable nitrate levels vary slightly from state to state.
"We’ve had quite a few tests that have come in at 14,000 parts per million or higher, and that seems to come up after a rain," said Travis Meteer, a beef extension specialist at the University of Illinois, one of several universities to issue bulletins about nitrates in silage in recent weeks.
LIVESTOCK PAIN, CORN’S GAIN
If the silage proves to be toxic, farmers like Wagler could be forced to cull their herds, as many ranchers are doing. Or they could buy additional grains from the cash market to feed their livestock — incurring extra expenses in a year when some of their income will depend on crop insurance claims.
Extra demand could add fuel to corn prices, which have already rallied more than 60 percent in two months to a record as drought deepened across two-thirds of the country.
"It will mean higher feed costs for livestock producers," said Roger Elmore, a professor of agronomy and a corn specialist at Iowa State University. "In addition to the drought, forage quality and the quantity will be less.
"We’ll have less forage out there, so that price will also increase. All of that increases the cost of production for livestock producers," he added. (Editing by Dale Hudson)
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:02 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
Agco, CNH, Deere face threat from Asian rivals
Western-based tractor giant such as Agco, CNH Global and Deere & Co face a battle to preserve market share in their own backyard as developing country rivals look abroad to escape slowdowns in their domestic markets.
Farm equipment makers from emerging market countries have already gained a foothold in Western nations, and now manufacture nearly one-in-six low horsepower tractors sold in Western Europe.
That compares with one-in-20 at the start of the decade, and reflects sales growth of 20% a year.
And that trend, led by Asia Pacific manufacturers, of "moving aggressively" into the West, looks set to continue, advisory group AlixPartners said.
"Original-equipment manufacturers are seeing their share in some established markets, for example Western Europe, under attack," the US-based group said.
Peter Busse, director in AlixPartners’ heavy equipment practice, said: "New second-tier players are aggressively entering established markets and at a fast speed, with a focus on the low-horsepower end of the market."
These manufacturers are "gaining market share with equipment that costs materially less, and through well-developed commercial approaches", he added.
Indeed, they are "fundamentally changing the competitive landscape for agricultural equipment" in developed countries.
The trend reflects in part the prospect of relatively fast growth in many Western markets, notably North America which, with growth of 4.4% a year between 2011-15, to prove the world’s fastest-growing region in terms of tractor sales volumes.
Sales will be encouraged by "rising farm incomes", AlixPartners said.
Meanwhile, sale in India, the world’s biggest tractor market, where volumes are expected to break through 500,000 this year, will "slow dramatically", as it faces up to the dynamics of small farms.
"Due to an agriculture industry that is transitioning from manual to automated labour and small land holding size, India’s tractor industry is characterized by small tractor size, which may bring weaker margins and future pricing pressure," the group said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese market will "stagnate" as the impact of reduced farm support feeds through, although there will be trade-ups to larger equipment.
"The overall market will continue to grow even with flat unit sales as equipment mix evolves to include larger, highly-engineered products," the group said.
And the South American market will decline, at least until 2014, largely reflecting moves by Brazilian authorities to weaken the real – and so boost export prospects, but at the expense of affordability of foreign goods such a farm equipment – and to cut agriculture perks such as a low interest loans programme.
AlixPartners recommended Western farm equipment giants to boost their prospects by expanding in emerging markets, feeding an increasing appetite for more sophisticated equipment, while cutting manufacturing costs by stealing a strategy followed by car-makers of building different products around the same parts.
"Adopting automotive industry-like ‘platform’ approaches to standardisation and cost-control" offers manufacturers "big opportunities", the consultancy said.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:25 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
Witchcraft is growing threat to children in Britain, warn police
Children in Britain are being abused and murdered in increasing numbers because the belief in witchcraft is rife in some African communities, police said.
01 Mar 2012
The warning was issued as a couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo were found guilty of murdering the woman’s 15-year-old brother during an “exorcism ceremony”.
The Metropolitan Police yesterday said it had investigated 83 “faith-based” child abuse cases involving witchcraft in the past 10 years but believed it was still an “under-reported, hidden crime”.
Children’s charities and campaigners urged communities to report abuse and said social workers must be firmer in confronting abuse in immigrant groups.
Kristy Bamu, 15, was relentlessly tortured and eventually drowned in a bath on Christmas Day 2010 by his sister, Magalie, and her partner, Eric Bikubi. The killers are facing life sentences.
They believed he had cast spells on another child and punished him with increasing viciousness. The teenager “begged to die” because he was in such pain after three days of being attacked with knives, sticks, metal bars and a hammer and chisel, suffering 130 separate injuries.
‘Witchcraft’ couple guilty of murder
01 Mar 2012
Teenager ‘killed by relatives who believed he was a witch’
05 Jan 2012
Couple murdered ‘witchcraft’ brother
01 Mar 2012
Among the cases that have come to light are four murders, including that of Victoria Climbié in 2000, the case that first raised awareness of the problem in Britain.
Detectives warned that while they were investigating around eight cases a year, they believed many more incidents went unreported.
Det Supt Terry Sharpe, the Metropolitan Police’s lead on Project Violet, a team set up to tackle religious-based child abuse, said: “The intelligence from the community is that it’s far more prevalent than the reports we are getting.”
The NSPCC said: “We must not be afraid to challenge these communities to out the wrongdoers within them. Sadly, this deeply disturbing case is not a one-off incident. “
The Victoria Climbié Trust, which was set up after the death of the eight year-old, said that, while the number of children affected was relatively low, the impact was significant. “The reality is that no one really knows the full extent across the many communities for whom traditional belief systems are the norm,” said director Mor Dioum.
The charity Trust for London said some officials may be unsure how to deal with abuse cases linked to witchcraft and spirit possession.
“Those working with children need to remember that no faith or culture promotes cruelty to children and not be afraid to intervene if someone is wrongly using belief as an excuse to harm children.”
Many cases involve immigrants from African countries such as the DRC, where witchcraft is widely practised, and are nurtured by an increasing number of African churches.
Kristy had come to London with his two brothers and two sisters from Paris to stay with their sister and her boyfriend for Christmas, but within hours Bikubi, 28, had accused them of bringing kindoki – a form of witchcraft – into his home.
Two sisters, aged 20 and 11, were beaten but escaped further attacks after “confessing” to being witches.
Kristy was singled out because, in sheer terror, he wet himself. He was struck in the mouth with a hammer, had bottles and tiles smashed over his head and his ear twisted with pliers.
In what prosecutors called “a staggering act of depravity and cruelty”, the siblings, who included a 13-year-old boy and an autistic brother aged 22, were made to join in the torture.
At one point, Bikubi, 28, a football coach from Newham, east London, told the youngsters to jump out of the window to see if they could fly.
One of the victims, Kelly Bamu, said: “They started talking about kindoki, witchcraft and this and that. It was as if they were obsessed by witchcraft.”
The Old Bailey heard that emergency services were greeted with a horrific scene when they were called to the eight-floor flat following Kristy’s death. In the blood-spattered flat, police found his brothers and sisters “hysterical, terrified and soaking wet,” the court heard.
Bikubi and Bamu, 29, who had denied murder, will be sentenced on Monday.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:04 pm
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com