By Melissa Wuske
Islamic State Murders Declared Genocide
The parliament of the European Union voted to designate the continued killing of Christians in the Middle East by the Islamic State as genocide. The designation opens the door for increased international response through the United Nations and urges individual countries to take serious action to end the killing.
Prince Charles of the United Kingdom described the ongoing crisis this way: “According to Aid to the Church in Need . . .
Christianity is on course to disappear from Iraq within five years unless emergency help is provided on a greatly increased scale at an international level.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is asking for “American and other world leaders to condemn the genocidal actions and crimes against humanity of [the Islamic State] that have been directed at these groups and other ethnic and religious groups.”
Income Segregation in the City
Urban planning professors at UCLA, Michael C. Lens and Paavo Monkkonen, studied income segregation in the 95 largest cities in the U.S. They discovered that, contrary to what many believe, segregation creates fewer poor ghettos but rather more “ultra-rich” enclaves.
Their study determined a number of factors that influence this phenomenon. For example, zoning regulations and land use restrictions, such as density restrictions and limits on multifamily housing, can drive out middle-class and low-income residents. They also found that greater amounts of review and input by community groups actually adds to segregation rather than lessening it.
In response to their findings, Lens and Monkkonen said, “We also urge a more extensive implementation of inclusionary housing in the wealthier areas of cities. Such policies have a much greater potential to reduce segregation than the alternative approach of incentivizing affluent households to move into lower-income parts of the city.”
Record Number of Exonerations in 2015
The National Registry of Exonerations found a record number of overturned convictions in 2015—149 people who had been falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated. About 40 percent of those exonerated had been convicted of homicide and five had been sentenced to death. Three-quarters of all the cases in the registry involved official misconduct.
“The thing that is most troubling to me about these cases,” said Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan law professor, “is it’s clear that for every innocent defendant who is convicted and later exonerated, there are several others who are convicted who are not exonerated because almost all the exonerations depend on a great extent on good fortune.”
While freedom and a clear record are worth celebrating, the damage the initial convictions caused is irreversible. Many of those exonerated have spent years, even decades in prison. For example, three of the exonerations were related to a deadly fire in 1980, and one of those defendants died in prison in 1989.
Oldest Living Wild Bird
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, is the oldest living bird in the wild at age 65, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She’s also mother to a new chick named Kūkini, the Hawaiian word for “messenger.” “Wisdom has raised at least eight chicks since 2006 and as many as 40 in her lifetime,” the Fish and Wildlife Service says. “Just as astonishing, she has likely flown over 3 million miles since she was first tagged on Midway Atoll in 1956.” It takes about seven months for an albatross to incubate and raise a chick, and the birds only set foot on land during breeding season.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).