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Japan hikes jail terms for rape in sex law overhaul

Japan hiked minimum jail terms for rapists and widened the definition of sexual assault victims to include men for the first time today as part of sweeping revisions to century-old sex crime legislation. Lawmakers decided unanimously to update the 1907 statute to impose tougher penalties on sex attackers and make prosecutions easier, as they look to boost Japan’s low number of convictions.

The changes — long called for by victim advocates –raise the minimum prison term for those convicted of rape to five years, up from the present three. The changes also means victims will no longer have to file a complaint before a sexual assault prosecution can go ahead. That current requirement is seen as a major reason for the underreporting of rape cases in Japan.

Sexual assault victims for the first time will also include men, with the definition of “rape” dramatically widened. The law will also make it easier to prosecute parents and guardians suspected of abusing their children.

“I hope that these revisions will mean more appropriate punishment and draw public attention to the reality of sex crimes,” Jun Yamamoto, a 43-year-old who was molested by her father as a child, reportedly told parliament.

Victims and their supporters said that the current 110-year-old law is out of date and that penalties are too lenient. The number of rape cases in Japan recognised by police declined to some 1,200 in 2015 from more than 2,000 a decade ago, according to police.

But data from a Justice ministry study group found that nearly 75 percent of sex crime victims do not seek criminal punishment for perpetrators. Support groups said victims tend to hesitate to take legal action as they are traumatised and feel embarrassed to speak out.

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Nuclear, chemical and biological threats: The terror next time?

IN THE aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, those whose job it is to think the unthinkable were conscious that, for all the carnage, it could have been far worse. Fuel-laden aircraft slamming into buildings was bad enough. But the sight of some among the rescue workers picking over the debris with test tubes, followed by the sudden decision to ground all of America's crop-spraying aircraft for several days, pointed to an even more horrible possibility. Were terrorists with so little calculation of restraint to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction—whether chemical, biological or even nuclear—they would surely use them. How real is that threat?

It is certainly not new. Among one of many warnings from American think-tanks and government agencies in recent years, a report released last December by the CIA's National Intelligence Council concluded baldly that, when it came to chemical and biological weapons in particular, “some terrorists or insurgents will attempt to use [these] against United States interests, against the United States itself, its forces or facilities overseas, or its allies.” Governments in America and Europe worry that Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda, the terrorist network thought to be behind the September 11th attacks, may already have access to such weapons, and be planning to use them in response to any American military strikes. The World Health Organisation has called on governments around the world to be better prepared for such an eventuality.

For groups prepared to engage in the kamikaze tactics seen on September 11th, the easiest way to spread poisonous or radioactive materials might simply be to fly into repositories of them, or to use lorries full of them as suicide bombs. As Amy Smithson of the Stimson Centre in Washington, DC, observed in a report released last year, there are some 850,000 sites in the United States alone at which hazardous chemicals are produced, consumed or stored. The arrest in America last week of a number of people who were found to have fraudulently obtained permits to drive trucks that carry such hazardous loads looks like a worrying confirmation of such fears.

It is, nevertheless, likely that terrorist groups around the world are working on more sophisticated approaches to mass destruction than merely blowing up existing storage facilities, or hijacking lorry-loads of noxious substances. Mr bin Laden himself has, in the past, called it a “religious duty” to acquire such weapons. He is reported to have helped his former protectors in Sudan to develop chemical weapons for use in that country's civil war, and has since boasted of buying “a lot of dangerous weapons, maybe chemical weapons” for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that now harbours him.

Even for determined terrorists, however, merely getting hold of chemical, biological or nuclear materials is not enough. Do-it-yourself mass destruction—whether of a nuclear, chemical or biological variety—is far from easy (see article). First, you have to acquire or manufacture sufficient quantities of the lethal agent. Second, you have to deliver it to the target. And third, you have either to detonate it, or to spread it around in a way that will actually harm a lot of people.

The difficulties in doing all these things are illustrated by an attack carried out in 1995 on Tokyo's underground railway. Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult, released a potent nerve agent called sarin on five trains. The intention was to kill thousands. In fact, only 12 people died, and some 40 were seriously injured—bad enough, but no worse than the casualty list from a well-placed conventional bomb.

The cult's researchers had spent more than $30m attempting to develop sarin-based weapons, yet they failed to leap any of the three hurdles satisfactorily. They could not produce the chemical in the purity required. Their delivery mechanism was no more sophisticated than carrying it on to the trains in person in plastic bags. And their idea of a distribution system was to pierce those bags with umbrella tips to release the liquid, which would then evaporate.

The attack, in other words, was not a great success. Yet, of the three classes of weapon of mass destruction, those based on chemicals should be the easiest to make. Their ingredients are often commercially available (see table). Their manufacturing techniques are well known. And they have been used from time to time in real warfare, so their deployment is also understood.

Biological weapons are trickier; and nuclear weapons trickier still. Germs need to be coddled, and are hard to spread satisfactorily. (Aum Shinrikyo attempted to develop biological weapons, in the form of anthrax spores, but failed to produce the intended lethal effects.) Making atomic bombs is an even greater technological tour-de-force. Manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear explosives (“enriched” uranium, or the appropriate isotopic mix of plutonium) requires a lot of expensive plant. Detonating those explosives—by rapidly assembling the “critical mass” needed to sustain a chain reaction—is also notoriously difficult.

Terrorist groups working from first principles are thus likely to run into formidable obstacles if they want to get into the mass-destruction business. Nevertheless, there may be ways round these. One quick fix would be to buy in the services of otherwise unemployed or ill-paid weapons specialists from the former Soviet nuclear-, biological- and chemical-weapons establishments. At least some of these people are known to have washed up as far afield as Iran, Iraq, China and North Korea, but none has yet been directly associated with any terrorist group.

In an attempt to reduce the risk of this happening, the United States has, over the past ten years, spent more than $3 billion dismantling former Soviet nuclear weapons, improving security at Russia's nuclear storage sites, and keeping former weaponeers busy on useful civilian work. But, as Ms Smithson points out, only a tiny fraction of this money—itself a drop in a bucket when measured against the scale of Russia's sprawling weapons complex—goes towards safeguarding chemical and biological secrets. And even the nuclear side of things has sprung the odd leak.

Over the past ten years there have been numerous attempts to smuggle nuclear materials out of the former Soviet Union. There have been unconfirmed suspicions that Iran, for one, may have got its hands on a tactical nuclear warhead from Russia. So far, though, police and customs officers have seized mostly low-grade nuclear waste. This could not be turned into a proper atomic bomb, but with enough of it, a terrorist group might hope to build a “radiological” device, to spread radioactive contamination around (see article). Fortunately, the occasional amounts of weapons-grade stuff that have been found so far fall short of the 9-15kg of explosive needed for a crude but workable bomb.

Yet even if a group got hold of enough such explosives, it would still face the hurdle of turning them into a weapon. Hence the most effective way for a terrorist group to obtain one would be to find a sponsoring government that is willing to allow access to its laboratories or its arsenal.

After the Gulf war, UN special inspectors discovered that Iraq had been pursuing not one but several ways to produce weapons-grade material, and had come within months of building an atomic bomb. The effort, however, is thought to have taken a decade and to have cost Saddam Hussein upwards of $10 billion. Much of this was spent on acquiring the bits and pieces needed from foreign companies—sometimes through bribery, sometimes through deception.

In similar ways, he amassed the materials and equipment, much of it with legitimate civilian uses in fermentation plants and vaccine laboratories, for his vast chemical- and biological-weapons programmes. Although most of Iraq's nuclear programme had been unearthed and destroyed, along with much of its missile and chemical arsenal, the inspectors were convinced, when they were thrown out of the country in 1998, that important parts of the biological effort remained hidden.

A glance at the list of state sponsors of international terrorism maintained by America's State Department makes troubling reading. Most of the seven countries included—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan—have chemical weapons already. Five are suspected of dabbling illegally in the biological black arts, and several have covert nuclear-weapons programmes, too. America's Department of Defence estimated earlier this year that more than two dozen countries have already built weapons of mass destruction, or else are trying to do so.

So far, there is no evidence that any of these governments has helped terrorist groups to acquire such deadly goods. That may, partly, be because of widespread moral revulsion against their use. But self-interest on the part of the states involved is also a significant factor. It is one thing to give terrorist groups financial and logistical support and a place to hide—a favoured tactic of governments on the State Department's list as a deniable way of furthering their own local or regional ends. It is quite another to share such awesome weapons with outfits like al-Qaeda, which no government can fully control.

On top of that, since the September 11th attacks, American officials, from the president down, have gone out of their way to emphasise that not only the terrorists involved in any future assaults, but also the states that shelter them, can expect to find themselves in the cross-hairs.

Iraq has been the worst offender when it comes to wielding any of these weapons. It used chemical weapons in its war with Iran and in attacks against its own Kurdish population. Yet Saddam Hussein's failure to use his chemical and biological-tipped missiles, or the radiological weapons he also had, against western-led coalition forces during the Gulf war showed that, even when morality plays little part, deterrence can still work. America had made clear that, if he had deployed these weapons, he would have brought down massive retribution on both his regime and his country.

The big distinction between the dangers of states obtaining such weapons and the danger of terrorists getting their hands on them, argues Gary Samore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in London, is precisely that, however hostile they may be, states are more “deterrable”. Mr bin Laden's network has shown that it will stop at nothing. But are states such as Iraq and North Korea, which operate in other ways largely outside international law, deterrable enough to prevent them lending a secret helping hand to a group like Mr bin Laden's?

America's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, argued this week that it takes no “leap of the imagination” to expect countries harbouring terrorists to help them get access to weapons of mass destruction. Testimony from the trial of four bin Laden operatives convicted earlier this year for the August 1998 bombing of America's embassies in Kenya and Tanzania revealed that their past military interest in Sudan went beyond helping the regime make chemical weapons for its own war. In one case, Mr bin Laden was attempting to purchase uranium via intermediaries.

Meanwhile, intelligence officials trying to assess the range of threats they now face worry that Iraq's past military links with Sudan may have been no coincidence either. In 1998 America bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant which it said showed traces of a precursor chemical for VX, a highly potent nerve gas that inspectors believe Iraq had put into weapon form. Some observers speculate that, even if Sudan's denials that it was manufacturing any such stuff are true, the country may have served as a trans-shipment point for supplies to Iraq. Might some weapons assistance have flowed the other way, possibly reaching Mr bin Laden's network? Iraq denies it has had anything to do with Mr bin Laden, but there have been unconfirmed reports that one of the New York hijackers met a senior Iraqi intelligence official earlier this year in Europe.

Yet even if no direct link is ever proved between a reckless foreign government and last month's terrorist attacks on America, western officials have long fretted that groups such as Mr bin Laden's will be able to exploit emerging new patterns of proliferation to gain access to nuclear, chemical and bug bombs. Despite attempts by western-sponsored supplier cartels—the Missile-Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Australia group, which tries to track the trade in worrying chemicals or biological agents—the number of such suppliers has expanded over the past decade. Countries that were once entirely dependent on outside help for their covert weapons programmes, mostly from Russia and China, are now going into business themselves.

This is particularly disturbing in the context of the third obstacle to the use of these weapons: delivery. Working from original Russian Scud missile designs, North Korea has created a thriving missile- and technology-export business with Iran, Pakistan, Syria and others in the Middle East. Iran, in turn, has started to help Syria and possibly Libya (which had past weapons ties with Serbia and Iraq) to improve their missile technology. Egypt is still building on the expertise developed by a now-defunct missile co-operation programme with Argentina and Iraq.

It is unlikely that such ballistic-missile technology would find its way into terrorist hands any time soon. But two things are true of almost all technologies: as the years pass, they get cheaper, and they spread. Even if there is no immediate threat, it may eventually not be just hijacked aircraft that are flying into places that terrorists have taken a dislike to. And their “warheads” may consist of something even worse than aviation fuel.

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Men risk their lives in wars so women can enjoy societies where they can pursue feminist goals, such as punishing men for sexist language.

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Indecent sexual affair in the offices of the Socialist Party in Albania

Tirana, August 18, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

The discovery of the suspected pedophile Agron Cane, former brigadier commander

Agron Cane, a former 61 year old military officer and brigadier commander, had been part of the Socialist Party for a while. He worked at the office of MP Kokedhima in Saranda, where he used to take note of the demands coming from the citizens, mainly for jobs and complaints and he also filled the necessary documents to help them.

One of the persons who also sought help at the office of the Socialist Party was O.G, a widow, mother of four children, who suffered constant poverty in Saranda. Since the month of March, she was trying to find a job, but the secretary of the socialist MP didn’t consent to this if she didn’t offer him a sexual favor. The situation escalated when the unscrupulous official asked her to offer him his 14 year old daughter for sexual relations. He demanded to take the virginity off the young girl and engage in an orgy along with her mother in bed. The woman said that she was very upset by this, but she didn’t trust police and this is why she didn’t demand help there. A few days ago, while the situation was aggravating, she addressed to a local journalist. This marked the start of a series of registrations which revealed for the public other ugly aspects of officials who deal with the problems of the citizens.

It’s easily discerned by the conversation that the woman has had sexual relations with the pervert, but forced to do so. But, Cane was now asking for more, an orgy with the child. An outrageous part where Cane claims that next year he would run for the mayor of Saranda was this one: “I, you and the girl will all three be in bed. Under your guidance, she will be your student. So, phone her, as I’m looking forward to her. I’m obsessed by your daughter. Her friends have done this before her. I can assure you on this. She will be relieved because she has many hormones. The girl needs sex. I’m not a maniac, as I have a wife at home. I like good things and I take pleasure on doing this. I don’t want to say a lot, but if I’m elector mayor, your daughter will have a future”.

State Police reacted by arresting the suspect, Agron Cane, married, father of two children.

Kokedhima condemns the “maniac act”

The socialist MP, Kokedhima reacted after the event and said that “the ugly act and implication of Agron Cane in this story is strongly condemned”.

“We distance ourselves from such ugly perverse acts”, said Kokedhima.

In the press statement, the MP also published for the first time, the full identity of the woman who became an object of abuse in the office of the SP. Media and police had kept her name discreet.

This also shows that party offices are used for employments: “The woman who denounced this, came to our office at the start of the year in order to find a job and our office helped her to get a job at a private company in Saranda, where she worked for six months…”

Who is Kokedhima

Since the ‘90s, Koco Kokedhima became known after privatizing several state owned enterprises, thus becoming one of the biggest business people in Albania. In 1997 he entered the world of media when he founded the daily “Shekulli” newspaper, which soon became the biggest one in Albania and held this position for several years. Kokedhima also opened a national radio channel and a TV channel, and also a sport newspaper, a photographic agency, magazines, publishing houses, etc. Besides the media, he also bought a football team. During this period, he started the radio talk show called “How to become a millionaire”. Kokedhima claims that his wealth is estimated to amount to several hundred millions of Euros. Kokedhima is also known as one of the closest friends of the prime minister. Kokedhima entered politics in 2013, when he ran as an MP of the Socialist Party for the south of Albania.

Berisha: The pedophile is Kokedhima’s closest man

Former prime minister and current MP of the Democratic Party, Sali Berisha says that “the pedophile Agron Cane is Kokedhima’s closest man. By using Kokedhima’s power and SP in Saranda, he asks the mother of four orphan children to offer him his daughter for sexual relations in exchange of a job”, Berisha says that after this scandal, “Rama-Kokedhima did everything with police and SP to shut the media up and end this scandal. After they failed, Rama, in violation with every law, sent Kokedhima to put pressure on the young girl during her interrogation at the police of Saranda”.

Berisha criticizes what he considers to be as Rama’s silence: “Although in this super scandal everything had developed the same as in horror films, Rama keeps quiet to convey a message to socialists and common citizens that this is his model of employment and solution to their problems”.

Rama: Evil has no place among us

Immediately after this, prime minister Edi Rama reacted on this event. He stresses the fact that police arrested the suspect and that the office of MP Kokedhima categorically distanced itself. Rama said that the 61 year old was expelled from the Socialist Party, by adding: “For us, evil has no party and no place among us”.

MPs, active in condemning the scandal

MP Albina Deda says that “one must offer money or sexual favors, or to have a serious previous conviction to get a job”, adding: “It’s clear that the state offices, the offices of the Socialist Party have turned into offices of abuse and perversity”.

MP Alban Zeneli says that this phenomenon has turned into a system: “Kokedhima’s assistant, who demands sexual favors from the minor in exchange of a job, is the creature of a system established by Edi Rama”. According to him, “the entire society is irritated and has raised its voice for the dirty stuff taking place in the office of the Socialist Party”.

Analysts offer their insights

Analyst Andi Bushati says that “the terrible scenes of a 61 year old who asks to have sex with a minor in the offices of the Socialist Party, are not only an object of anger for thousands of hopeless unemployed people, who live on the verge of poverty, who want a job and more opportunities in life, but it’s also a reflection of the situation in which we’re in, a great moment of reflection which tells us about our society, for its darkest side and for the weak links that tie the relations between this society with the people that govern it.”

Bushati says that “that part of the declaration issued by Kokedhima, which talks about the woman that has denounced this story, is outrageous. In a perverse manner, the woman’s name is revealed, something which has been done neither by police, nor by the media. They “forget” that she’s the mother of four children, who lives in a small town, where everyone knows everyone. In a more disgusting manner, the declaration says that the woman has been found a job by the SP office before. What does this mean: that she has found the job based on the services that she has offered (a low insinuation)? Or is this being done to show that even now, after the event, with more publicity and attention, people must continue to knock in the local offices of the SP because they can solve their problems there?”.

Analyst, Mero Baza, criticizes the regards that Kokedhima shows for the past of the pedophile and suggests: “Kokedhima should have denounced the crime after he was made aware and hand the criminal to police. After this, he should have offered a strong public apology, not because he was guilty, but because he was responsible for the people that he imposed upon us to govern our fate. The citizens of Saranda have not voted the pervert, neither his career as a military man or his vices as a pedophile, but the Socialist Party. Today, they have no explanation why their party trusted the fate of the citizens to a pervert. Nevertheless, the only thing that makes sense is the public apology. It’s a sign of humbleness and unification with the revolted citizens. The justification with his past as an officer, causes more irritation”.

Baze says that the scandal reveals how power is executed in the Socialist Party’s base. “Power is delegated to several informal offices, which receive letters and complaints and use them for personal power. The scandal turns down what the government has claimed about recruitments at the party’s base, standards of recruitment and quality of those who recruit. The pervert was not an employee of a job center in Saranda, but an employ of Koco’s office, who formally is a volunteer without pay, but who has more power than whoever works in job offices”.

Baze further suggests that “Koco Kokedhima is not to be blamed why a sexual pervert was found among the voluntaries, but he’s responsible for delegating power in an informal way, outside the structures of the state. We have job offices for employment, we have the municipality for complaints and we have police to report corruption… The parallel state of the MP is the start of the problem which fuels the courage to abuse up to this level of perversity”.

Publicist Nidela Hoxha Zenuni told IBNA that “every day we have to deal with such people, in work premises and everywhere else”. “Under the disguise of a normal man, who is often presented as a good man, lie scary monstrosities and perversities”. The publicist says that “pedophiles of such dimensions who circulate in high levels of society, show a high level of sophisticated criminality, and at the same time, an ordinary one”. /ibna/

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Arson as a weapon

The riots of 1929, which erupted over the Arabs' objection to changes in the arrangement for Jewish prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, were one of the first serious outbreaks of violence among the Arab population of prestate Israel. A total of 133 Jews were murdered and hundreds more wounded. Dozens of Jewish communities were attacked and set on fire, some of them completely burned down. The most serious example was the ancient Jewish community of Hebron, where dozens of Jewish residents were slaughtered by their Arab neighbors.

These riots inspired the unforgettable poem by Emanuel Harusi, "Schav B'ni" ("Lie down, my son"), a poem about a young father worried about his little boy in the midst of the bloody events taking place around them. We cannot help but recall these lines from the poem: "The silo at Tel Yosef is burning / and smoke is also rising from Beit Alfa / But don't cry anymore now, rest and go to sleep / Night, night, a night of fire that will devour the harvest and the straw / We must not, must not despair / tomorrow we will begin again."

Arson was, and remains, part of the story of the Jewish-Arab struggle for Israel, going back to its earliest days. That was how it was in the 1929 riots, and that's how it was during the massive Arab revolt of the mid-1930s and during the more recent intifadas, especially the fire in the Carmel National Forest in the summer of 1989 and throughout the First Intifada.

The Palestinian war on Israel has seen ups and downs, as well as innovations, some of which turn out to be imitations of methods used in the past. Indeed, every time the Palestinian battle reaches an impasse and appears to be dying down, someone will always seek out and find new-old tactics. Sometimes, it's a calculated moved planned by the leaders of some group, and sometimes it's outbreaks of local, even spontaneous, violence.

The waves of terrorism 10 years ago showed what a disaster a lone terrorist carrying a bomb could create. After the Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Defense Forces found a solution to those waves of attacks, it was time for waves of stabbings or car ramming attacks, which we have seen for more than a year now. And once it appeared that those, too, were wearing thin, it was time to set fires.

We can assume that in the next few days, as long as the weather cooperates, the same lone actors -- some of whom are youths influenced by online incitement -- will try to imitate earlier arson attacks. The rain that is on its way will wash away the traces of the fire and bring this wave of attacks to an end, until next year.

This wave of attacks must be addressed mainly on the preventative level. It is inconceivable that a few lone terrorists, or even a single one, can set a fire that forces tens of thousands of Haifa residents to evacuate their homes. Past experience has taught us that sooner or later, we'll find a solution.

What should be of concern, other than the immediate efforts to capture the arsonists, is the push they're getting, mainly on social media, both from the Palestinian public and the Arab world. It's encouraging to see Egypt, Jordan and even the Palestinian Authority officially step up and help Israel battle the fires, but it's depressing to discover how much hatred toward Israel still simmers in the Arab world. These are the embers that must be stamped out to prevent the next fire.

The Palestinians have cause to worry, too. The regression nearly 100 years back to fires, and before that to stabbings -- mostly the work of lone individuals -- indicates that the Palestinians are going back to the starting point of the conflict, as if 100 years hadn't passed and the Palestinian national movement, which today oversees a government entity in Judea and Samaria, had never been founded. The Palestinian national movement is on the brink of collapse, having achieved nothing and reached a dead end. The actions of individuals when no path forward exists say it all.

But we can take comfort in the condemnations by individuals and by the Palestinian Authority, which, unlike Hamas, even sent teams of firefighters to help battle the blazes. This shows that even when no diplomatic solution is on the horizon, large parts of both peoples understand the need to live peacefully side by side, and even with each other.

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Butea superba (Roxb.) improves penile erection in diabetic rats

Summary

The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of ethanolic extract of Butea superba (Roxb.) on erectile dysfunction in diabetic rats by the measurement of intracavernous pressure (ICP) and on cavernosal smooth muscle relaxation. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were induced to become diabetic by a single intravenous injection of Streptozotocin (55 mg kg-1 body weight). The ethanolic extract at the concentration of 1, 10 and 100 mg kg-1 BW was administered orally once a day to diabetic rats in each group for 4 weeks. Diabetic rats showed a significant decrease in both ICP and the relaxation of the cavernosal smooth muscle compared with the normal rats. The extract of B. superba significantly increased the ICP with the effective dose of 10 mg kg-1 BW (61.00 ± 11.11 mmHg versus 39.61 ± 11.01 mmHg in the diabetic control group). Moreover, the B. superba-treated group also showed enhanced relaxation of the cavernosal smooth muscle with EC50 of 1.17 mg ml-1. These results suggest that the extract of B. superba enhanced penile erection in diabetic rats by increasing the ICP. This might be explained by the increased blood flow as a result of the relaxation of the cavernous smooth muscle.

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It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!

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Revealed: 'Lolita' isn't just a classic novel; Nabokov's story of sick lust really happened

Vladimir Nabokov's novel is a totem in modern literature, an unflinching look at a monster who has been able to hide behind his education and manners. But it's also more than a classic of 20th century literature. Writer and editor Sarah Weinman has published a long, powerful piece of historical reportage about the largely unknown real story that inspired Nabokov's tale.

11-year-old Sally Horner entered a Camden, N.J., Woolworth's more than 60 years with the intention of stealing a 5-cent notepad. She was 11 years old and the thievery was her initiation into a girl's club. Instead, it would prove another, far more sinister initiation. "On the afternoon of June 13, 1948, she had no idea a simple act of shoplifting would destroy her life," Weinman writes in Hazlitt, an online magazine owned by Penguin Random House.

A middle-aged man wearing a suit and a fedora stopped Sally as she left the store. "I am an FBI agent," he told her. "And you are under arrest."

The man, Frank La Salle, was not a G-man. He was an ex-con and sometime mechanic. And a pedophile. He would kidnap Horner, telling her she had to accompany him to Atlantic City to avoid going to prison for shoplifting. Over the next year-plus they would cross the country, ending up in California. Throughout, he forced himself on her sexually while pretending to be her father. "That five-cent notebook didn't just alter Sally Horner's own life, though," Weinman writes. "It reverberated throughout the culture, and in the process, irrevocably changed the course of 20th-century literature."

Horner's tragic story hit the country's newspapers in 1950. Five years later, Nabokov's novel about charming Humbert Humbert and 12-year-old Dolores Haze (a.k.a., Lolita), his sexual obsession, began to arrive in bookstores. Nabokov, having had his manuscript rejected by multiple prosecution-fearful publishers, loathed being asked to explain "Lolita." Which was fine. Plenty of literary critics were willing to explain it for him, rightly or wrongly.

Elizabeth Janeway, reviewing the book for the New York Times in 1958, called it "one of the funniest and one of the saddest books" she'd ever read. The Atlantic magazine, also in 1958, wrote that "there is not a single obscene term in 'Lolita,' and aficionados of erotica are likely to find it a dud."

This was true enough as far it went. Aficionados of horror, however, would be enthralled. The language isn't obscene when compared to a pornographic text, but it certainly is when the reader remembers that the narrator is a middle-aged man mooning over a 12-year-old girl. Then Humbert's "gagged" discomfort as her "legs twitched a little as they lay across my live lap," will make you want to gag yourself. Writes Nabokov:

I stroked them; there she lolled on in the right-hand corner, almost asprawl, Lola, the bobby-soxer, devouring her immemorial fruit, singing through its juice, losing her slipper, rubbing the heel of her slipperless foot in its sloppy anklet...

On and on it goes, until Humbert Humbert sees himself -- just maybe, just for a moment -- as he really is, forcing him to let out "the last throb of the longest ecstasy man or monster had ever known."

"I want my learned readers to participate in the scene I am about to replay," Humbert tells his audience. And we do, such is the beauty and power of Nabokov's prose. We sink luxuriously into Humbert's perversity; we even -- dear God -- understand Humbert's lust, his need.

The New York Times' Janeway believed that was the point, "to underline the essential, inefficient, painstaking and pain-giving selfishness of all passion, all greed -- of all urges, whatever they may be, that insist on being satisfied without regard to the effect their satisfaction has upon the outside world. Humbert is all of us."

And so Frank La Salle, the real-life monster who defiled Sally Horner, must be all of us as well, even though he had none of the sophistication of his fictional alter ego. Nabokov saved newspaper clippings about the case, which he scribbled detailed notes on, but his debt to the defining experience in Horner's life -- and perhaps the defining experience in La Salle's life as well -- remains largely unknown to the reading public. A 2005 Times Literary Supplement essay pointed out that Horner's story "reads as a rough outline for the second part of 'Lolita.'" A biography of Nabokov mentions Horner in passing. But the real little girl has never really surfaced. Weinman isn't surprised:

"Packed as 'Lolita' is with countless other allusions, leitmotifs, and nested meanings, excavating a real-life case wasn't top priority for Nabokov scholars. Sally's plight was written up extensively in local newspapers at the time, but the New York Times never bothered, and eventually, even the hometown media (in Camden, N.J.) forgot about the case."

Maybe it's just as well. Lolita -- Dolores -- has a short-lived victory of sorts in the novel, escaping Humbert and thus sending her abuser into an emotional free-fall. They inevitably meet up again, and this time Dolores, though poor and pregnant, has the upper hand. "She is now an entirely different person," writes Janeway in the New York Times review, "a triumph for the vital force that has managed to make a life out of the rubble that Humbert's passion created, and the monster's mindless activity merely confirmed."

Horner never had an equivalent triumph. She would eventually break away from her abuser and be reunited with her family, but she had trouble adjusting. Weinman points out that decades before the Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard cases, there was little understanding of the mental state of kidnapped adolescents. Newspaper readers at the time surely wondered why Sally didn't escape earlier: after all, she even went to school during her time with La Salle. "Whatever Sally has done I can forgive her," Horner's mother apparently told a UPI reporter.

Weinman expertly lays out Horner's reentry into "normal" life. Sally had to officially state that La Salle was not her father, which he insisted he was. "My real daddy died when I was six and I remember what he looks like. I never saw this man before that day at the dime store," she said. La Salle was convicted and sent back to prison, but ultimately this did not mean much to Sally Horner. She had been irrevocably damaged. She would come to a tragic end not long after La Salle's conviction -- until being reborn, just a couple of years later, in Nabokov's novel. Ever since she has been a "girl immortalized, and forever trapped," by Nabokov's brilliance -- and her own bad luck.

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Terrorist Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Reality to Come?

Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs or CBRN) are undeniably a terrifying thing. Some of them have the capability of indiscriminately killing dozens, some hundreds and some even millions. Although CBRN terrorism has been widely considered only a low probability risk,[2] the possible high consequences of a successful attack has still kept many policy-makers awake at night. Preventing CBRN terrorism has been a constant aim of numerous official security doctrines across the world.

There have been so far only a handful of terrorist incidents involving chemical, biological or radiological weapons, and none concerning nuclear weapons. To name a few, the Rajneeshee cult poisoned salad bars with salmonella in a small town in Oregon in 1984,[4] Chechen terrorists placed, but did not detonate a dirty bomb at a park in Moscow in 1996,[5] and Aum Shinrikyo repeatedly used botulinum toxin, sarin and VX in the early 1990s.[6] Fortunately, no terrorists were ever successful in using these weapons in an effective way.

However, this historic experience does not mean CBRN attacks cannot become a more common and deadly phenomenon. This essay will analyse whether the security threat of CBRN terrorism has increased over the years and how much. This essay will particularly assess the motivation of the fourth wave of terrorism and the overall accessibility of CBRN weapons. In essence, this essay argues that the overall threat has increased indeed, but it still belongs in the ‘low risk-high consequence’ category.

Motivation: Organizations Willing to Use CBRN Weapons

Building on David Rapoport’s scheme, a close analysis of the four waves of terrorism shows that only the last one has a true motivation to use CBRN weapons. The first wave, represented by anarchist movements, never attempted to use CBRN weapons. During the second wave, the ethno-separatist, only the Tamil Tigers used chemical weapons, but only in battlefield use against armed forces. Neither did the third, left-wing wave used CBRN weapons, even though there have been some allegations. However, the current fourth wave is diametrically different from the previous three.

One of the usual suspects is Al Qaeda. The group, its affiliates and the global Salafi jihadist movement in general perceive the world only in shades of black or white. That enables Al Qaeda terrorists and perhaps even motivates them to kill their adversaries en masse and indiscriminately, not excluding civilians. Furthermore, Al Qaeda has openly claimed the divine right to kill four million Americans. It seems difficult to imagine Al Qaeda or one of its affiliates would not use CBRN weapons if had the opportunity.

Al Qaeda actually tried to buy a nuclear warhead on the black market in the late 1990s. Ahmed Ressam, an Al Qaeda member and known as ‘the millennium bomber’, claims that the organization has been training its operatives in Afghanistan how to use chemical weapons. Furthermore, its Iraqi branch, the predecessor of the Islamic State (ISIS), remains the main suspect of more than a dozen of car bombings enhanced with chlorine gas in 2007.

The Islamic State has repeatedly shown that it is willing to use all means necessary to achieve its aim. In 2006, it started a sectarian war against the Shia by bombing the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra. Now, it seeks to defend and expand its current territory in lands formerly known as Syria, Iraq and Libya, even by using chemical weapons, as Baghdad claims.

One should not underestimate terrorist organizations coming from other religions. After all, the most active user of CBRN weapons was Aum Shinrikyo. Similar religious sects, attempting to cause the Apocalypse with CBRN weapons, could theoretically originate anywhere.

Another possible CBRN terrorist category could be the radical right-wing. Similarly to religious extremists, the far-right perceives the world in black and white, it does not avoid using violence against members of other communities it deems inferior, and it is prepared to take justice into its own hands if the government fails to act accordingly. The extreme right-wing is non-violent now, but it has the potential to become a serious security threat if it came to the conclusion that it cannot force political changes by peaceful means.

In Europe, the right-wing with the greatest potential for the future can be seen in the current anti-Islam movement, represented for instance by the English Defence League and German Pegida. In the United States, CBRN terrorism seems the most probable coming from the local militias, which consist in total of approximately five million paramilitary-trained members. In 1985, U.S. authorities seized illegal guns and ammunition, automatic rifles, hand grenades, a light anti-tank weapon, and 43 gallons of potassium cyanide at a headquarters of an Arkansan militia, to name just a single example to demonstrate the security hazard.

Capability: Accessibility of CBRN Weapons

Accessibility of chemical weapons can be assessed as fairly easy. Chemical components to dangerous agents can usually be easily found on the open market. Experts deem the nerve agent tabun to be the easiest to make and a skilled chemist could prepare sarin in his own kitchen as its components can be found for instance in gasoline additives, paint solvents and antiseptics. As for the laboratory equipment, it gets cheaper and more accessible every year, like it is with all modern technology. Aum Shinrikyo worked for years with dual-use equipment without raising suspicion.

The more difficult task, when it comes to chemical weapons, is the dispersion. If aerosol is prepared poorly, it will not cause many casualties. Thus terrorists might prefer to steal already weaponized and tested chemical weapons. Because of the Arab Spring, this task might be easier than ever before. The revolutionary wave destabilized particularly Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately, these countries also had active chemical programmes in the past. Troublesome could be especially Iraq because Saddam-era chemical weapons were found in recent years and no one can tell if there are more to be found.

The same problem is regarding biological weapons as Libya, Egypt and Iraq had invested into researching biological warfare as well. As for acquiring non-weaponized agents, some are extremely easy to make, particularly toxins like botulinum and ricin. Terrorists may be also very interested into anthrax, which was demonstrated by Aum Shinrikyo or Bruce Edwards Ivins. As it was with chemical weapons, dual-use laboratory equipment would suit terrorists the best and the greatest challenge lies within the delivery mechanism.

Radiological weapons are arguably the easiest to obtain and weaponize. Nine isotopes are considered a high security risk should they lose physical protection or become abandoned. Three of them (caesium-137, cobalt-60 and iridium-192) are strong gamma emitters which can be easily found in standard hospital or mining equipment.

A terrorist can either simply attach the source to a conventional explosive, which is generally known as the dirty bomb. While panic and some economic damage would be guaranteed, experts doubt this kind of attack would cause many casualties.[33] Another option would be to disperse the radiological source in the form of aerosol, which would be more lethal, but it again requires a sophisticated dispersal device. Furthermore, the perspective of people dying weeks, months or even years after the initial attack due to cancer does not seem too dramatic, which is something terrorists usually crave for.

While nuclear weapons might be the most desired CBRN weapon, they are by all means the most difficult to obtain. Because the implosion device is a tremendously complex mechanism, terrorists are indefinitely more likely to use the much simpler gun-type design, if they ever acquired at least 55 kilograms of high enriched uranium (HEU). The IAEA registered only sixteen incidents involving HEU or plutonium with the total weight being not even close to the needed mass. Extreme security measures have so far served as a sufficient deterrent against nuclear terrorism.

Conclusion

The overall threat of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction has clearly increased over the years. The fourth wave of terrorism, represented by Salafi jihadists, apocalyptic religious cults and the extreme right-wing, has little respect for life of everyone who does not share their beliefs. This black and white perspective of the world helps them justify killing of civilians in large numbers.

Chemical and biological weapons are the most likely CBRN weapons to be used. First, some chemical and biological agents or their components are accessible on the free market. Second, laboratory equipment gets cheaper every year. And finally, the Arab Spring severely destabilized several countries which had chemical and biological weapons. On the other hand, radiological and nuclear weapons do not seem likely to be used by terrorists in the near future. The former for its ineffectiveness and the latter for its complexity and inaccessibility of fissile material.

However, it would still seem farfetched to claim that CBRN terrorism would become an increasingly common phenomenon in the future. Although the overall threat of chemical and biological terrorism is definitely much higher than a decade or two ago, it is still quite difficult to access the required agents in sufficient numbers, weaponize them and acquire an effective dispersal device, especially without gaining attention of the authorities and intelligence services.

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