News You Might Have Missed * Vol. 7, No. 12

Important but overlooked news from around the world.


“You don’t get to be an old cougar by doing stupid stuff like hanging out in backyards and eating cats.”

— Researcher Robert Wielgus on why mountain lion attacks are up in Washington State (see “Wildlife,” below).


*Gay Rights & Refugees*
Gay Muslims seek political asylum in Britain

Hunting animals who hunt humans


* Gay Muslims Seek Political Asylum in Britain

The United Kingdom has been gripped in recent weeks by the stories of two gay teenagers who say they face persecution and even death in their home countries of Iran and Syria.

Though unrelated, the stories the two youths tell are eerily similar.

The Iranian, 19-year-old Mehdi Kazemi, won a temporary reprieve last week when the British Home Secretary agreed to reconsider a deportation order, according to The Independent.

Kazemi had already lost one bid for asylum in Britain and had been rejected in the Netherlands as well.

He first came to Britain in 2005 as a student, and learned the following year that his boyfriend in Iran had been arrested and put to death for sodomy, the newspaper reported.

Fearing that he will meet the same fate if he returns home, Kazemi has been fighting for political asylum ever since.

In Scotland, Jojo Jako Yakob, also 19, says that in his home country he was arrested for political reasons, and that authorities beat and tortured him, and shot him in the arm.

According to The Scotsman, when his captors discovered Yakob’s sexual orientation, they beat him so badly he was put into a coma.

Upon his release from prison, Yakob fled to Scotland, where he was arrested for carrying a fake Belgian passport.

He now faces possible deportation back to Syria.

Gay rights activists condemned his plight, and The Scotsman itself took the unusual step of organizing an online petition to try to get the government to stay Yakob’s deportation.

— Will Crain/


“Death sentence: gay Syrian teenager facing deportation”
The Scotsman, March 16, 2008

“Victory for Kazemi as Home Secretary halts deportation to Iran”
The Independent, March 14, 2008


* Hunting Animals Who Hunt Humans

With mountain lion attacks are on the rise in rural Washington, and many residents feel the answer is more hunting.

New legislation signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire allows just that — but a new study finds that hunting actually makes attacks more likely.

The Seattle Times reports that a research team from Washington State University working in the northeastern part of the state, where most of the attacks have taken pace, have found that the problem was not that hunters weren’t killing enough lions, but that they were killing the wrong ones.

Hunters looking for an impressive trophy kill older adult males, leaving behind the smaller but more aggressive and unpredictable adolescents.

The younger lions are the ones who get dangerously close to humans, mostly because they don’t know any better.

“You don’t get to be an old cougar by doing stupid stuff like hanging out in backyards and eating cats,” researcher Robert Wielgus told the newspaper.

The study found that mountain lion populations were collapsing in the same areas where attacks were up, and that in another area a boost in hunting merely cleared room for young male lions from surrounding areas to move in.

— Will Crain/


“Is cougar hunting breeding chaos?”
Seattle Times, March 16, 2008

Editors: Josh Wilson, Will Crain

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