Strauss-Kahn civil case will need more than accusations

(Reuters) – While civil suits have wider latitude of what may be introduced in court, a judge in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn civil case will want hard evidence rather than mere accusations from other women that he sexually assaulted them, analysts say.

In a lawsuit filed this week, Nafissatou Diallo accused Strauss Kahn, 62, of waging a “violent and sadistic” attack on her in a suite at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan on May 14.

Strauss-Kahn has also been charged with sexual assault in criminal court and prosecutors are debating whether to move forward with that case despite concerns about Diallo’s credibility.

Read more at Reuters

A new U.S. law-enforcement tool: Facebook searches

(Reuters) – U.S. law-enforcement agencies are increasingly obtaining warrants to search Facebook, often gaining detailed access to users’ accounts without their knowledge.

A Reuters review of the Westlaw legal database shows that since 2008, federal judges have authorized at least two dozen warrants to search individuals’ Facebook accounts. Many of the warrants requested a laundry list of personal data such as messages, status updates, links to videos and photographs, calendars of future and past events, “Wall postings” and “rejected Friend requests.”

Federal agencies seeking the warrants include the FBI, DEA and ICE, and the investigations range from arson to rape to terrorism.

Read more at Reuters

Joining the Locals In Paris’s East

Perched high on the eastern slopes of Paris, the 20th Arrondissement has historically been a spot for local residents, with an emphasis on raucous music and hard-left politics. The few tourists who do broach the district usually get no farther than the Père Lachaise cemetery. Plentiful graffiti and one or two watch-your-step side streets attest to the area’s still-rough edges, but these are being smoothed over by growing clusters of dining and night life options.

Read more in the New York Times

The Buzz in France this Summer? Us

It has been a while since large waves of French immigrants followed Champlain to hew wood and haul water in a new land. That does not mean that the appeal has abated. In the midst of Paris’s sweltering summer, there have been large ads scattered through the metro system exhorting the good citizens of France to “Move to Canada.”

Those responsible are not the usual subjects from the Parti Quebecois. Instead, it is a respected French weekly newsmagazine, L’Express, that is behind the initiative.

“There are many French fantasies tied to Canada,” says Jean-Michel Demetz, an editor at the magazine, which puts out an annual issue that serves as a 150-page guide for French citizens pondering a move to Canada.

Read more in The Montreal Gazette

Play Ball! Blue Jays caps a surprise hit in NY

The Toronto Blue Jays’ starting lineup may look downright dreadful but the news is not all bad. Suffering fans can take comfort in the fact that, in the area of style at least, the team is near the top of the league.

Jays caps are flying off the shelf in New York, where young men across the city are rocking the Toronto logo and, in some neighbourhoods, the caps are outselling even the hometown Mets.

Toronto’s team has even made it big on Harlem’s fabled 125th Street.

“I would say they’re in the top three,” says Diallo Thierno, a salesman at Jerseyman Cap USA at 125th at Malcolm X Boulevard. “First it’s the Yankees, then the White Sox and then the Blue Jays.”

Read more in The Globe and Mail

Crackles of Hatred

Silencing murderous messages is not as easy as it sounds

LAST year, as Kenya slid into mayhem, the words that sputtered forth from crude transmitters were cryptic but, to those in the know, horrifying. “People of the milk”, a reference to the cattle-owning Kalenjin people, were urged to “take out the weeds in our midst”— in other words, the Kikuyus. Meanwhile Kikuyu broadcasters inveighed against the peril posed by “animals from the west”: this meant the rival Luo (from which Barack Obama originates) and Kalenjins.

In East Africa this use of radio to incite ethnic slaughter recalled an even darker episode: the Rwandan genocide of 1994, in which a station called Radio Mille Collines (Thousand Hills Radio) seemed to be directing the massacres. It not only poisoned the general atmosphere but urged on the killers, with phrases like “cutting the tall trees” and “killing the cockroaches”.

In an era of drones and spy satellites, it may seem odd that crude simple radio transmitters can still make huge mischief.

Read more in The Economist


Are you Ready for Avatar Rights?

The world has seen its share of rights movements in recent years. That may not prepare it for the claims of the latest group seeking recognition – digital people.

As online computer games soar in popularity, the distinction between animated characters and their real life creators is eroding. This has given rise to perplexing new questions about the extent to which we have rights in our digital identities.

The popularity of avatars has much to do with the emergence of the online self. Avatars are the custom-designed figures created by computer users to play video games or to participate in a variety of online worlds. Recently, some nasty events have befallen these avatars, bringing moral or financial injury to their creators. Consider one famous example.

Read more in the Toronto Star

Didn’t get the job? Could it be your name?

It’s a difficult and little-discussed issue for many people on the hunt for work: What if the one essential on every resume and a symbol of your identity is hurting your prospects of landing a position?

A funny thing happened to Rajiv Prasad when he invented an alter-ego named Roger Pritchard — prospective employers responded to his job applications.

It was the mid-1990’s and, despite having a university degree and work experience in the high-tech sector, Mr. Prasad was having a hard time finding a job in a slumping Ottawa economy. So he tried an unusual experiment.

Curious about whether his Indian name was hindering his employment prospects, Mr. Prasad responded to five job postings with two versions of his resume. The only difference between them was the name at the top. One listed Mr. Prasad’s real name and the other listed a “white alias” named Roger Pritchard.

Read more in the Globe and Mail story (pdf version)

Return of the (philosopher) King

Ignatieff wows at Beatty Lecture

Michael Ignatieff delivered a hit for Homecoming on October 1, rousing a packed auditorium with a bold articulation of Canada’s present and future place in the world. Speaking at the annual Beatty Lecture, Ignatieff drew on history and political philosophy to offer a forceful vision of national identity and foreign policy. The speech was marked by several standing ovations for Ignatieff, who occupies a post as Director of Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and who will be taking a visiting professorship at the University of Toronto this January.

Read more in the McGill Reporter