Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wise Men in Sudan

Well, the following looks like a funny story, but it is of interest in the way justice is delivered. Is the “wise men” system, better than the one with elected judges in the US? (See also a similar story about Hudood Ordinaces- The Crime And Punishment For Zina in Pakistan. )

A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal. The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders. They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi. "We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said. Mr Alifi, Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat. "When I asked him: 'What are you doing there?', he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up". Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case. "They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper. (

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Summers resigns from Harvard

Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University has announced his resignation after a turbulent five years and a week ahead of a second no-confidence vote. ...continues here!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Selection in schools fails most children in the UK

For those of us who are concerned about the social implications of educational policies, here is another study that generates concern over some policies in the UK. (Observer, Feb 19, 2006). ...continues here!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Despite rising fees students stay at the UC Berkeley

What is the impact of rising University tuition fees on unequal opportunities? This is an interesting statistics, not directly related to the above question. ...continues here!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gonzales Testimony

On Monday Feb. 6, I was listening to the US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testimony to the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the legality of the National Security Agency wiretaps on American citizens. Replying to a question by a Senator, the Attorney General said (I think), that there are no legal constrains for US agencies to carry out wiretapping of non-US citizens abroad. Did I hear well? Can someone verify that?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Masterly Inactivity

Is Humphrey (from “yes prime minister”) advising Kostas Karamanlis? Obviously, it seems so, since KK has become an expert in mastery inactivity.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Violent protests over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad

Is this a religious issue or a political one? Hard to tell.
Here is the opinion of a young colleague of mine whose judgment I value.

To some extent religion is a tricky matter. Cold logic might suggest that making fun of one's religious beliefs is perhaps not as bad as making fun of their political beliefs: the latter is an informed judgment while the former is something accepted de facto. BUT, when emotions come into play, things become tricky. ...continues here!

MPs in England offered compromise on schools

Is this a compromise or a political U-turn?
Ministers will offer a compromise on reform plans for England's schools in an effort to avert a damaging rebellion by Labour MPs, the BBC has learned. More than 90 MPs have criticised proposed "trust" schools which would have more autonomy - raising fears among many of increased selection. But the government is offering local authorities a "strategic oversight" to prevent this, sources say. The school admissions code would also get more legal force. The revised plans appear to reinforce the role of existing admissions forums, which seek to co-ordinate admissions in an area.