July 25th 2009

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Articles from this issue:

OPINION: Michael Jackson and popular culture

BOOK REVIEW: D-DAY: The Battle for Normandy, by Antony Beevor

CANBERRA OBSERVED: What Australia can learn from China's behaviour

BANKING: Six economists renew call for a 'people's bank'

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Rebuilding a functioning financial system

FISHING INDUSTRY: Coral Sea marine protected areas: our gift to Asian fishermen

EDUCATION: The war against home-schooling our children

VICTORIA: Religious freedom under threat

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Aboriginal disadvantage: more than question of money

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Just some French youths

BOOK REVIEW: THE DARWIN MYTH: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin, by Benjamin Wiker

FOREIGN INVESTMENT: China businesses 'left and right arms of the state'

ENVIRONMENT: Rudd admits failure of global climate talks

HOMELESSNESS: Families forced to brave the streets

RUSSIA: Moscow unrepentant about Stalin era

CHINA: China unrest a symptom of a diseased system

EDITORIAL: The Middle Kingdom sends us a message ...

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Just some French youths

News Weekly, July 25, 2009
Just some French youths

Late last night [Friday night 11 July], a Parisian court finally announced its verdict in the Ilan Halimi murder trial, which I first wrote about over three years ago. As I noted at the time, while The Independent in London headlined its piece on the murder "This anti-Semitic attack is terrifying" and Le Monde called it "the anti-Semitic crime of an era", other papers - notably The Guardian's sister paper The Observer in London - scrupulously avoided any mention of the fact that the victim was a Jew, and The New York Times was initially silent about the story.

Youssouf Fofana, leader of the gang that mastermind Halimi's kidnap, torture and murder, which was described by a leading police officer as the most brutal and sadistic in modern French history, was sentenced to life (with a minimum of 22 years). Of the 26 other defendants in the case, two were acquitted and the rest received sentences of between six months and 18 years. Fofana admitted in court that the plan was to "kill a Jew". Halimi, a 23-year-old shop clerk, was chosen at random.

At the end of 24 days of torture that left and cuts and burn marks all over his body, including his eyes and throat, Halimi, who was handcuffed throughout his ordeal, was doused in alcohol and set alight. One of the young torturers told police his accomplices took turns to stub out cigarettes on Ilan's forehead and tongue while voicing hatred for Jews. They cut bits off his flesh, fingers and ears.

Fofana, who screamed "Allah Akbar!" (God is greatest) during the trial, has called on others to now murder Halimi's parents and other French Jews. Scores of police, some in full riot gear, took up posts around the Palais de Justice in central Paris as the verdict was read out last night.

Extract from Tom Gross, "Timing of French verdict raises suspicions of attempt to minimize media coverage", National Review Online media blog, July 11, 2009. URL: http://media.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZWFiNDFmMDMxNTNjMTI0M2VlMDY4ZTJjMDBlOGU1MTQ=

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