Church

16 Children Repatriated to South Africa from Foreign Jails

Sad this.

The social services department has repatriated 16 children born to women held in foreign jails, it said on Sunday.

Nine of the 16 babies, were born in Brazil, said social development minister Bathabile Dlamini.

She recently repatriated two children whose mothers were serving sentences in Rio and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

“The babies, aged 10 months and one year respectively, are currently in temporary care while awaiting foster care placement,” she told reporters in Pretoria.

Four more babies, in Bolivia, Hong Kong, Mozambique and Tanzania, were awaiting repatriation.

Dlamini said women imprisoned at advanced stages of pregnancy, gave birth to their children while in prison.

Three women serving sentences were pregnant.

They were among 337 South African women, aged 29 to 62, imprisoned in foreign countries for illicit drug trafficking.

“A large number of these women, 92, are incarcerated in some of the nine female prisons in Brazil…, 71 South African females are serving their sentences in Sao Paolo alone,” she said.

Dlamini said some drug cartels used routes that included countries which were part of the Southern African Development Community, and she appealed for stricter drug regulations in the region.

The department expressed concern about an “unprecedented increase” in the number of South African drug mules arrested in Brazil.

“Twenty eight South Africans were arrested in Brazil alone since the beginning of this year [2013]…. This can be attributed to the recent Confederations Cup hosted in Brazil,” Dlamini said.

She predicted that the number would rise during the build-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup if the necessary measures were not implemented.

Hawks organised crime investigator Brigadier Ebrahim Kadwa said drug mules at the country’s border posts were a growing problem.

“Since the beginning of January 2012, there have 281 arrests at OR Tambo [International Airport] of couriers, South African and other nationalities.”

Kadwa described drug traffickers as unscrupulous people who preyed on the poor. He urged people who had been approached to go to the authorities.

“They’ve even gone to shelters where they’ve recruited persons to act as human couriers. We have intensified efforts to prevent drug trafficking,” he said.

 

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Church

Priest Faces Up to Drug Dealers, With Prayer and a Petition

The New York:

The threatening letter opened with a misspelling, a common fault of the genre.

“Father Bonaface,” it read, addressing the Rev. Boniface Ramsey, pastor of the Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville.

“Be careful when you report, people selling drugs on 87th St.”

It’s not every decade that you run across members of the clergy getting into squabbles with people hanging out on street corners on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The neighborhood around St. Joseph’s, on 87th Street between First and York Avenues, is one of the dwindling pockets of Manhattan that manage to have, in a single block, an Everything $1 and Up store with a display of sponge mops, and a VinoVersity, an “educational wine store,” with regular course offerings and tips on subjects like the best bottles to wash down a platter of chicken wings (in a word, fruity).

On the side streets are five-story walk-ups with tenants who have been residents since the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, and on the avenues, 25-story buildings with gyms used by renters who arrived in time for this summer’s internships on Wall Street.

At the 8 a.m. Mass on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Father Boniface noticed a man slumped over in a back pew at St. Joseph’s, a parish planted in the 19th century.

“I said to him, ‘Kevin, you’re using drugs, who is selling them to you?’ ” Father Boniface said in an interview. “He got to his feet, mumbled, ‘Father, Father,’ and walked out. There was a filthy needle on the bench.”

That drove the priest to compose a letter to the commander of the 19th Police Precinct, citing a group of people who loitered on the corner of First Avenue and 87th Street.

“We are dismayed that the children who attend our school can see the same things that adults can, including public urination and defecation, indecent exposure, prostitution, and extreme drunken and drug addicted behavior,” he wrote.

So, tucked into the weekly bulletin alongside announcements of the sick to be remembered in prayers, the last choir performance before summer, a collection for a mission in Africa, and meetings of the Brownies, Alcoholics Anonymous and the rosary prayer group, was the text of his letter about drug dealing and prostitution.

The actual document was left in the back of the church, not far from where the priest had found the sleeping man and his used needle. Within a few days, 700 people had signed on. These were pen and paper signatures: no online clicking to plump up the numbers. (“I don’t know how to e-mail,” Father Boniface, 67, mentioned in passing.)

A few doors down from the church, Avi Keller, who runs a computer repair shop, said he could understand why the people on the corner were viewed as a nuisance. Still, he said, the druggies were less of a problem for him “than people who come out of the bars and are puking in my doorstep.”

Some days, he said, he has handed out a few dollars to the people on the corner; other times, he shoves past.

“I get pretty rude with them, ‘Get out of my way,’ and they drop back, they don’t provoke anything else,” Mr. Keller said. “I’ve never seen them commit violence against anyone, and I’ve never seen any drug dealing. I don’t think I can judge anyone.”

Presented with the letter, the police responded, Father Boniface said. “We went to the precinct last week, and we were treated very well,” he said. That was on Monday.

On Tuesday, he found two almost identical pieces of mail, handwritten on paper torn from a notebook. One complained about his treatment of homeless people. The other mentioned his campaign about drug use on the corner, and had a menacing tone.

“Watch your back! You have to walk outside — you know. Do you think that your all that holy?”

Father Boniface passed along copies of the letter to the police, and also read it out to the congregation during the Masses on Sunday.

On Monday and Tuesday, the corner was largely cleared of the usual hangers-on. A police van was parked there, and a young officer in a powder-blue polo shirt said he knew all about the contention. “We’re on it, 24 hours a day,” the young officer said.

At Father Boniface’s last parish, St. Vincent Ferrer’s, the main criminal element was Bernard Madoff, who lived nearby, he said.

The threatening letter was not the work of a criminal mastermind, Father Boniface said: “The guy left his DNA all over the envelope.”

Church

Priest Held for Dagga Possession

IOL News:

A priest has been arrested for possession of dagga with an estimated street value of R2500 near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, police said.

Police, acting on a tip-off, searched the house of the 26-year-old man in Bongweni on Saturday night, Lt-Col Mzukisi Fatyela said.

They found 2,5kg of dagga inside his house, he said.

It was not immediately clear if the priest was dealing in dagga or using it, Fatyela said.

He was expected to face a charge of dagga possession in the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court on Monday

Culture

Amy Winehouse is Dead

Ending a life that was never really lived

Amy Winehouse, the singer, has been found dead at her home at the age of 27.

Miss Winehouse, who came to fame with her debut album Frank in 2003, was found at her flat in north London this afternoon, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed.

They say that they received a call at 4.05pm calling for help for a woman in Camden. Paramedics were called to the scene, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death is “unexplained” but not thought to be suspicious, according to police. Sources have told the Sunday Mirror that an overdose of drink and drugs is the suspected cause of death…

Miss Winehouse had several bouts of treatment for drink and drugs, the most recent in May. Her 2006 album Back to Black featured a song called Rehab, which documented her drinking problems and refusal to seek help…

Rehab was not enough…

Culture

Mexico is a Mess!

When things like this are happening all the more: Priest killed in crossfire.

Church officials and the community of Matamoros were in shock after a well-known Catholic priest was killed in crossfire during a Saturday afternoon shootout between armed gunmen and the Mexican military.

Sources outside of law enforcement said the shootout began when members of the Zetas tried to enter Matamoros.

Father Marco Antonio Duran Romero died at approximately 3:40 p.m. at a local hospital from a gunshot injury, according to a statement by Father Alan G. Camargo, a spokesman for the Matamoros Diocese.

The diocese issued a statement late Saturday expressing deep pain at the death of Father Duran.

According to a Tamaulipas law enforcement official not authorized to speak to the media, Duran was struck in the chest by a bullet from a firefight between authorities and gunmen as he drove through Avenida Albino Hernandez in the Colonia Obrera.

Duran was widely known throughout the city because of a television show he had on a local channel and regular appearances on radio, where he discussed a wide variety of topics. He also served at the San Roberto Belarmino parish in the Colonia Portes Gil, according to a Matamoros resident who is close to the diocese and was deeply saddened by the news…

Too terrible. Rule of law seems to be held ransom to murderous cartels and gangs.

Church

Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients

So it would seem:

(CBS4) – Expect challenges to a bill signed by Governor Rick Scott which will require welfare applicants to undergo drug testing.

The bill also requires that those who apply for welfare must pay for the drug testing out of their own pockets. However, the cost would be reimbursed if the person passes the drug test…

“While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Governor Scott said. “This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.”

A similar law which passed in Michigan in 1999 which required random drug testing of Welfare recipients lasted five weeks before it was stopped by a judge. An appeals court ruled it unconstitutional after a four-year legal battle.

On Tuesday, Scott also signed into law another measure that bans the designer drug MDPV or “bath salts.”

Poison control centers in Florida have reported 61 calls of “bath salts” abuse, making Florida the state with the second-highest volume of calls.  The hallucinogenic substances are readily available at convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, and truck stops, among other locations.

A good idea?

HT