Mexico: Knights Templar Drug Cartel Made Recruits Eat Children's Hearts in Initiation Rite

New members of an infamous Mexican drug cartel were forced to eat children’s hearts as part of a gruesome initiation rite, informers told authorities in the western state of Michoacan.
Officials investigating an organ trafficking ring allegedly run by the Knights Templar cartel said there is evidence the late gang boss Nazario Moreno demanded that recruits proved their loyalty through an act of cannibalism.
"At [an] initiation ceremony they used the organs, in this case the heart, and forced people going through this initiatory process to eat it," Alfredo Castillo, the federal government’s envoy to Michoacan, told a local radio.
Castillo said detectives were told of the shocking practice by detained members of the gang.
"There are statements from some people who were present when Nazario Moreno (El Chayo) came and told others, either as initiation or as part of a ritual: ‘Today we are going to eat a person’s heart’," Castillo told Noticias MVS.
Authorities said they have reason to believe the hearts were mainly taken from local children who were kidnapped and had their organs harvested for trafficking purposes.

Japan’s Appetite For Young White Girls

Girl Model exposes the shocking supply of pre-pubescent girls to the Japanese modeling industry. The film follows 13-year-old Nadya from poverty in Siberia to her life as a model in Tokyo. American scout Ashley promises her a lucrative career, but Nadya’s optimism fades when faced with the dehumanizing culture of the industry.
Despite a lack of obvious similarities between Siberia and Tokyo, a thriving model industry connects these distant regions. Girl Model follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a 13-year-old plucked from her rustic home in Russia and dropped into the center of bustling Tokyo with promises of a profitable career. After Ashley’s initial discovery of Nadya, they rarely meet again, but their stories are inextricably bound. As Nadya’s optimism about rescuing her family from financial hardship grows, her dreams contrast against Ashley’s more jaded outlook about the industry’s corrosive influence. After months of fruitless casting calls, and mounting expenses we witness the frustrating reality of these young girls’ lives in Tokyo.
As we enter further into this world, it more and more resembles a hall of mirrors, where appearances can’t be trusted, perceptions become distorted and there is no clear way out. Will Nadya, and the other girls like her, be able to find anyone to help them navigate the often murky world of the modeling industry? Will they follow a path like Ashley’s, having learned the tricks of the trade but unable to escape its lure? In an effort to pay off their mounting debt will they do as some of their predecessors and resort to prostitution? Or will they head back home, their dreams crushed? Indeed, it’s difficult to know who these young girls can trust and where the industry will take them.


Nationalist Japanese Group Fines For Protesting At Korean Elementary School

In a widely watched decision, a court in Kyoto on Monday ordered a far-right group to pay $120,000 in damages to an elementary school for ethnic Koreans after the group staged demonstrations using slogans that the court characterized as racist. The ruling, by the Kyoto District Court, is one of the first court decisions in Japan to address a recent proliferation of street protests using hate speech against ethnic minorities, usually Koreans and Chinese. Most of the protests appear to have been organized by a vocal new group called the Zaitokukai, whose Web site says has almost 14,000 members. The Zaitokukai is the most extreme part of a new generation of ultranationalists known as the “Net right” because it uses the Internet to organize. While the group represents a tiny fringe in this otherwise law-abiding nation, its members have recently drawn attention for marches in Tokyo’s ethnic Korean neighborhood of Okubo, during which they shouted anti-Korean slogans. In June, several marchers were arrested after a confrontation with counterprotesters turned into fistfights, a rare occurrence in usually peaceful Tokyo. More:

Being Biracial in Japan

Japanese are Japanese and foreigners are foreigners, and never the twain shall meet? In many aspects of daily life in this country, there is one way for the Japanese and another for the rest of us. Like it or not, that’s just how it is. At least foreigners know where we stand.
However, bicultural individuals — the children of one Japanese and one foreign parent — may find that life isn’t quite that simple.
Although they were born, raised and educated in Japan, and as Japanese citizens are entitled to all the legal privileges that entails, society sometimes marginalizes them in ways that their foreign parents may not have anticipated. Japanese television shows and commercials might be full of cute “half” young adults, but back in the real world, being a bit “different” isn’t always such a good thing when you are trying to make your way in this country.
Hiroki — not his real name — is a university student. Having recently moved out of the family home and into his own apartment, he was relieved when he was accepted for a part-time position at a branch of Sukiya, a national gyūdon(beef on rice) restaurant chain.
The son of an American mother and Japanese father, he has both a Japanese and a Western name. “My family and some of my close friends use my Western name, but these days I usually go by my Japanese one,” he says. “I applied for the job with my Japanese name, but since my bank account has both names on it — like my passport — I thought it was best to write my whole name in the section about account details.”
From past experience, Hiroki knew that banks could be very particular about names, so he thought he was doing his employers a favor by giving his full name. Little did he know that this simple action would lead to major headaches.
The restaurant chain, which employees thousands of young people as part-time employees, runs a training center for new recruits. When someone noticed the name “John” in katakana script on the paperwork, it raised a red flag.
“They asked if I was Japanese. I assured them I was, but then they said I needed to prove it, so I was told to get a copy of my jūminhyō [residence certificate].”
Although somewhat surprised that his verbal assurance about his citizenship wasn’t good enough, Hiroki needed the job, so he complied with the request. He dropped by the branch where he was slated to work and, after discussing his shifts, handed the document to the manager and thought nothing more about it.
The next day a call came from Sukiya’s training center, asking if Hiroki realized there was a mistake on his jūminhyō, because his gender was listed as female. “I told them there was no mistake. I explained that I’m transgender and have been living as a male since high school. However, unless you have total reconstructive surgery, you can’t change your sex on the koseki [family registry] or the jūminhyō.”
Then the bombshell was dropped. Another call came from a manager, informing him “regretfully” that they were unable to offer him a job under the present circumstances. Naturally, this came as a shock, and Hiroki wanted to know the reason. “They basically told me that because my jūminhyō lists me as ‘female,’ they have to hire me ‘as a woman.’ I was asked if I would be OK with being called a female at work, and of course I was like, ‘No, it’s not OK.’ ”
His parents were shocked and angry when they heard about the affair. “They discriminated against our son twice,” says his mother. “First for asking him to prove his citizenship, and then by making a huge issue of his gender.”
Hiroki’s father called the training center. “I wanted a proper explanation of why they wouldn’t hire my son. To cut a long story short, they told me it was based on the way their hiring system is set up — if the ID says a person is female, that is how they are listed in the company’s computer system, regardless of having lived successfully and happily as a male for several years. It was apparently too difficult for them to accommodate someone like my son.” The manager’s assurance that the company was not discriminating against Hiroki because he was transgender rang hollow.
Taking a pragmatic approach, Hiroki resigned himself to looking for a different job, but his parents are still upset about the unfairness of the whole situation. “If it hadn’t been for the fact that he had a katakana name, they would never had asked to see his jūminhyō and he’d still have a job!” says his mother indignantly. “Not that I want my son working for that company now!” Upon hearing the story, many of the family’s friends and acquaintances have vowed to boycott the chain.
So what does the company have to say? An executive in Sukiya’s public relations department agreed to be interviewed.
“Basically, any potential employee with a katakana element in their name is flagged and asked to prove their nationality. This is because we hire a lot of foreigners, many of them students,” said the representative. “Employment laws have tightened up and the company has to be very careful to ensure that non-Japanese staff can legally work in this country.” The rule also applies to Japanese married to foreign nationals and using a non-Japanese last name, and Japanese with “trendy” katakana first names, regardless of citizenship or outward appearance.
As for the issue of gender when hiring, the representative says company policy needs to be reviewed. “I believe this is the first case we’ve had with a potential transgender employee,” he notes. However, since most employees are not required to furnish a jūminhyō to “prove” anything, the spokesman admits there is probably no way to tell if someone is transgender or not.
“Our company is proud of our record of offering employment to many foreign people around Japan and we definitely do not wish to discriminate against anyone, Japanese or non-Japanese, men or women. I hope we can use this opportunity to re-examine our hiring system and improve things.”
Life isn’t always easy in the business world, either. When people first meet Stephen, they assume he is Japanese. Having spent much of his life in this country, he is perfectly at home with the culture and takes after his Japanese mother in appearance, so there is nothing to make him stand out from the crowd.
However, as soon as he hands over his name card and people notice he has katakana for both his first and last name — inherited from his Canadian father — the walls go up.
“My name throws people because it isn’t what they expected — it doesn’t ‘go’ with my face,” explains the sales executive, now in his 40s. “Doing business in this country is about connections and traditions, and sometimes Japanese people aren’t willing to give me a chance based on my name. They tend to think I’m not here for the long haul, and that I will be going back ‘home’ sooner or later. They don’t realize that home for me is here!”
Parents of bicultural children often think long and hard about whether to bestow a name from the non-Japanese partner’s culture on their children. Along with the joy and pride of passing on a name or names that reflect the child’s twin heritages comes the concern that it might cause inconvenience, embarrassment or even discrimination down the line.
Alison, an Australian mother of two, decided to go with Japanese first names only. Since her children use their father’s surname, their names can be written totally in kanji, blending in with the majority.
“My kids stick out enough as it, so I didn’t want to make things any harder for them,” she says. “I’d heard some stories from other mums of ‘half’ kids with middle names. Every time the kid goes to a new school, the teachers insist on reading out both names, because it’s listed on their official records. For a kid trying to fit into a new environment, it’s just one more hassle they don’t need.” More:

The browning version

Nina Davuluri’s win at the Miss America contest has changed the complexion of social discourse.

This past week, Nina Davuluri became the first chocolate-coloured person of Indian origin to win a beauty pageant. And those racist Americans didn’t like it. They called her an Arab. And we proud Indians were outraged. How dare they denigrate an Indian by calling her an Arab? If she had the fair skin colour of an Arab, she would have won Miss India with Indian family values, not Miss America with Hollywood depravity. It is 2013 and it is time the United States learnt from India’s glorious tradition of judging people not by the colour of their skin but by the content of the character as defined by the stereotype of their caste. In fact, in the last five years, we have eliminated racism entirely from our society.

And how did we achieve this? Through the cunning nexus of cosmetics manufacturers and the fair-minded people of this nation. Somedays back, while in a supermarket, my wife picked up a moisturising cream and, being the conservative redneck I am, I noticed that the cream advertised a promise to wipe the darkness off one’s face and turn it into a small-sized stellar object as a beneficial side effect while it went about its main job of moisturising skin.

Blasphemy, I thought. How dare these browner people banish the melanin from their skins and disturb the social order, I felt. How dare these chocolate bandits challenge the ovarian lottery that prefers a wheatish complexion (with added maida)? I immediately exhorted her to return that brand in favour of something that stopped at keeping skin hydrated instead of aspiring beyond its station in life. Confronted by a man who was actually asking her to spend more time in a retail establishment, she gleefully went back to the cosmetics aisle.

Several minutes later, she came back with a resigned expression and told me, “There is no moisturising cream that does not advertise a side-effect metamorphosis into something as white as that thing hanging on to King Vikram’s shoulders.”

That was when it hit me. India’s masterful plan to eliminate racism is to bleach everyone’s skin (and make them pay for it too). If everyone is white, there is no racism. There might be more skin cancer, but, hey, we have homoeopathy, Ayurveda and Unani medicine for that. And since Brahmastra was originally a nuclear-tipped arrow, using it for acupuncture serves as radiation therapy.

So while we are turning our majority brown population white, the U.S. needs to turn its majority white population brown. You might say that the sun could do the trick but, in case you are not aware, the combination of sun and white people tends to result in something that belongs on a fine dining restaurant’s menu.

All in all, I sense a tremendous business opportunity for Indian cosmetic companies to collect all the melanin our non-wheatish complexioned folks are jettisoning through the use of fairness creams and export it to the U.S. where it could help “arabify” (if you will) the population. Imagine the world we will create then. In one swift masterstroke, we will have settled India’s external debt. As the Americans would themselves say: “There ain’t no such thing as free melanin, baby.” This business model is not even new to us. If Tirupati can export hair, we as a nation can export brownness.

We would have also cured the Americans of racism and made airport security checks simpler. If everyone looked “Arab”, then no one goes through selective disrobing in the name of national security. This is beyond win-win. This is an epic win raised to the power of epic win.

And while they take our help in getting rid of that age-old scourge of racism, they could parallely learn a thing or two about immigration and naturalisation from our glorious traditions. They spend billions on an unnecessarily complex system that involves crowded consulates, bureaucratic bungling and political drama about the loss of American jobs.

In India, we have a very simple approach. We wait for people who have Indian roots to achieve something good in life, like going to space, designing overpriced speakers, winning Nobel prizes or beauty contests. Once they do that, we declare them Indian citizens in one fell swoop. No visas, no red tape and absolutely no care for whether their Indianness had anything to do with their achievements.

And thus I welcome the newest addition to the Indian pantheon of freshly-minted citizens, Nina Davuluri. May she get lucrative modelling contracts from Indian manufacturers of fairness creams.

Danish court fines Iranian-born lady for racism while writing against Islam

Copenhagen: A high court in Denmark fined a Danish-Iranian artist, Firoozeh Bazrafkan, of 5,000 kroner after she was found guilty of racism while making remarks against Islam and the Muslims.
She was charged by the police of violating anti-racism legislationafter publishing a blog entry in infamous newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in December 2011, in which she had stated, “I am very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters. This is, according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian, due to a defective and inhumane culture – if you can even call it a culture at all. But you can say, I think, that it is a defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”
An artist with a critical focus on Iran’s Islamic regime and religion in general, Bazrafkan argues in an interview that Danish anti-racism legislation should not apply to the critique of religion.
She said that she is not sorry for writing the blog in the newspaper but she is disappointed and angry because she should have the right to write and say what she wants. Her blog in the newspaper didn’t threaten anyone, it was a criticism of Islamic codes.

English Teachers Wanted in Asia

"They must have blond hair, white skin and blue eyes. They must respect Vietnamese teachers and students as well."

If you’re Caucasian, have a pulse and all your teeth, you’re guaranteed an English teaching job in Asia.
This is a running joke in English as a Second Language (ESL) circles, which is indicative that racism abounds in the TEFL industry in the continent.

For those with fair skin and a university degree or an English teaching certificate, finding a teaching job in Asia is uncomplicated and easy as recruiters actively seek the quintessential all-American. For everyone else, racial discrimination is a harsh reality.

In South Korea and China it isn’t uncommon to come across job posts that read “white color preferred” or “only white Americans should apply.” Employers in Asia operate under a completely different set of legal rules where it’s the norm to be asked to submit a photograph with your application, or be questioned about your race, religion or age.

While the hiring criteria is said to be standardized, applicants are sometimes recruited based not only on their English fluency, experience or educational qualifications, but also their physical appearance.
There is a distinct pecking order in the ESL world, with white Americans reigning supreme. They are followed by their British, Australian, New Zealander and South African counterparts; black Americans, Hispanics and Asians, and Africans bring up the rear.

Seongjun Kim, a recruiter at a private Hagwon (English academy) in Busan, South Korea, says parents often dictate which native speakers are deemed suitable teachers. “When parents are paying for their children to be taught by an English speaker they often demand the ‘real thing’. To them, non-whites or Asians aren’t seen as capable English speakers. So when we recruit teachers we actively seek white faces to appease our clients.”
While racial discrimination is more subtle in Vietnam, it permeates the recruitment processes of many schools. The main policy set by government is to prevent any kind of discrimination, but Vietnam has not yet developed a sophisticated set of laws and regulations to deal with employment discrimination issues.

In October 2012, the Department of Education and Training proposed a policy to employ 100 Filipino teachers to teach English at primary and secondary schools across Ho Chi Minh City. The pilot project sought to pay each Filipino teacher VND40 million (US$1,880) per month to teach 35 periods per week.

The policy came under fire with critics forthright in saying only native English speakers should be employed. School principals across the city expressed their concern that English is not the mother tongue of Filipinos. The principal of a school in HCMC was quoted saying she hired foreign English teachers on her own strict criteria.
“They must have blond hair, white skin and blue eyes. They must respect Vietnamese teachers and students as well,” she said. 

A mere third of the Filipino nationals that local authorities planned to hire to teach English were accepted by schools in HCMC. And of the schools that opted to employ Filipino teachers, many expressed their concerns over the high salaries.

The teachers who were employed as part of the pilot project will have their performance, skills and working attitudes monitored and after one year it will be determined whether their contracts will be extended.
For native Filipino Bea Villanueva, navigating the ESL market has been a challenge. With a four-year degree in Education, a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and three years of experience as a teacher, she received positive feedback when she applied for jobs online. When she arrived for the interview at a small international school, however, the recruiter expressed her surprise at Villanueva’s ethnicity. She was later told that the position had been filled.

“Bigger international schools seem to be more accepting of diversity than the small schools scattered across the city,” she says.

Villanueva has since landed a job at an international language institute.

“While no one has said anything outright racist to me, students are quick to ask me about my ethnicity and mother-tongue. I have had a student request that another teacher take over the course. While the student never expressed his reasons, I can’t help but think it was race related,” she says.

The Head of Recruitment at an English Language Academy, who prefers to remain anonymous, says he has come across discriminatory and racist sentiments in schools.

“I’ve had students complain about teachers when there was no real reason. It’s no secret that discrimination is an issue in schools in Vietnam and it is something that needs to be addressed. Many parents and students prefer white teachers but we strive to employ qualified and experienced native-speakers, regardless of their ethnicity,” he says.

For as long as a market exists for race-specific English teachers and there are candidates willing to fill these positions recruiters can dictate which teachers are more “suitable” based on their physical appearance. Until there is regulation or legislation in place, race will continue to be a deciding factor in the English-hungry Asian market.