July 4, 2007

Top Stories * June 28-July 4

Photo-Free NYC

A post-9/11 requirement that tourists and other casual photographers get a permit before taking pictures in New York City has the ACLU claiming a First Amendment violation.

The city’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcast proposed the new rules, which would “require City-issued permits and proof of insurance for any person using a handheld camera in any public area in a group of two or more and using the camera for more than thirty minutes,” according to the North Country Gazette.

The rules are expected to affect tourists more than any other group, as they tend to gather at places like Ground Zero with their cameras for long periods of time.

Backlash Brewing in Mogadishu

Mogadishu’s transitional government, backed by Ethiopian troops, is credited with pushing out the hard-line Union of Islamic Courts. But residents say the new mayor’s harsh tactics have made life even more unbearable than before.

More than 1,500 government critics have been detained, many without charges, the Los Angeles Times reports, while longtime “squatters shopkeepers” have been violently evicted, and the streets clear for fear of muggings after 5 p.m., despite house-to-house searches and the destruction of thousands of weapons.

This is seen as creating sympathy for the Islamists, but Mogadishu mayor Mohammed Dheere, a militia leader credited with reducing crime in his home city of Jawhar, denies that his tactics are creating terrorists.

His citywide disarmament program, backed by a 1,200-member police force, is meant to enforce “law and order,” he told the Times.

Poverty is a Plague for Africa’s Children

A gangrenous affliction of the face called noma is surging among impoverished, malnourished children in West Africa, and now appears to infecting HIV-positive adults as well.

Aid workers told the U.N. news agency that the disease is not transmitted, and could be prevented with improved nutrition and improved living conditions. Niger and Burkina Faso, the centers of the African surge, have the world’s highest rates of underweight and undernourished children.

The disease, which is not yet taught in medical schools, rots facial tissue, causing the skin to scab off all the way to the jaw. Health workers are only now beginning to recognize the symptoms; survivors are disfigured for the rest of their lives.

Sources:

“NYC would require permit for casual photography”
North Country Gazette (NY), June 28, 2007

“Somalia’s rough tactics seen backfiring”
Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2007

“Children made faceless by a disease of neglect”
IRIN (UN), July 27, 2007 * CAUTION — DISTURBING IMAGES *

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