Tabloid says father of shoe bomb suspect believes his son sought acceptance of fanatics

By The Associated Press

LONDON – The father of Richard C. Reid, a British man accused of trying to light a bomb in his sneakers during a trans-Atlantic flight, said he believed his son didn't really want to bring down the plane, only gain acceptance by Islamic extremists, a paper reported Thursday.

Robin Reid, 51, said his son was easily taken in by Islamic extremists in part because of a stormy childhood, during which the elder Reid was often in prison and absent.

"Please don't hate my son," Robin Reid was quoted by The Mirror was saying. "Look at the terrible childhood he had and the broken home he came from.

"Every time he needed me I was nowhere to be found. I was locked up," said Reid, who spent a total of 18 years in jail for such offenses as burglary and car theft. "With that kind of childhood, what sort of defense could he put up against lunatic religious fanatics leading him astray?"

Richard Reid reportedly converted to Islam while in prison then became involved with extremists he met at a London mosque after his release.

"The people Richard knew in prison obviously turned him towards Islam and he went straight into their arms when he came out," said the father, who is of Jamaican descent. "Every time I saw him after that he tried to convert me to Islam.

"In my heart, I still believe Richard didn't intend to blow that plane up and that what he did was a gesture to his fanatical colleagues to gain more acceptance," Reid was quoted as saying.

Richard Reid is being held in Plymouth, Mass., south of Boston, where the aircraft landed after passengers tackled him during the Paris-to-Miami flight on Dec. 22.

AP-WS-01-03-02 1334EST



Mailbox bombing suspect caught

A 21-year-old college student is arrested and charged in a string of bombings after a frantic, daylong manhunt.

©Washington Post

May 8, 2002

A 21-year-old college student is arrested and charged in a string of bombings after a frantic, daylong manhunt.

RENO, Nev. -- A 21-year-old college student was charged Tuesday in the string of pipe bombs left in mailboxes in five states after he was arrested on a windswept highway outside Reno, ending a manhunt that stretched across half the country.

Lucas John Helder of Pine Island, Minn., a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, was arrested on Interstate 80 outside Fernley, Nev., after a brief standoff during which Helder pointed a handgun at his head, authorities said. He was taken into custody after an FBI hostage negotiator intervened, one official said.

Helder was taken to jail in Reno. Federal prosecutors in Iowa charged him with using an explosive to maliciously destroy property affecting interstate commerce and with using a destructive device to commit a crime of violence.

U.S. Attorney Charles W. Larson said Helder was responsible for the injuries suffered Friday by a woman in Tipton, Iowa.

He is believed to have acted alone in planting the devices, authorities said.

The arrest capped a frantic day of searching for Helder, the subject of an FBI bulletin earlier Tuesday. He had been described as armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal. Helder was located after he made a cell phone call in the Reno area, one official told the Washington Post.

A college roommate first alerted authorities that Helder might be a suspect in the string of pipe bomb attacks that left six people injured, the law enforcement official said. The roommate cited statements Helder made before leaving Menomonie, Wis., where the university is located, he said. Interviews with Helder's parents in Pine Island sharpened the focus on him as the prime suspect.

Tuesday afternoon, before Helder had been captured, his father read an emotional statement to reporters at the family's home in Pine Island, a rural town of about 2,000 people 60 miles south of Minneapolis.

"I really want you to know that Luke is not a dangerous person," Cameron Helder said, choking back tears. "I think he's just trying to make a statement about the way our government is run. I think Luke wants people to listen to his ideas, and not enough people are hearing him, and he thinks this may help."

He added: "Luke, you need to talk to someone. Please don't hurt anyone else. It's time to talk. You have the attention you wanted. Luke, we love you very much. We want you home safe."




Saturday, October 13, 2001

'Toy-Yoda' case to go forward

DAVID ANGIER The News Herald

A judge on Friday cited fairness as a reason to keep the "toy-Yoda" case alive when he ruled against a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on an employee agreement. 

Jodee Berry has sued the Panama City Beach Hooters Restaurant where she worked until May. The suit for unspecified damages claims breech of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Berry said manager Jared Blair told the waitresses that the company would reward the one who sold the most beer during April with a "new Toyota automobile." She said at the end of April, Blair told her she'd won.

When Berry was led blindfolded to the parking lot to claim her prize, she got a new "toy-Yoda" Star Wars doll instead of the promised car, the suit contends.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Glenn Hess heard a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on an employee handbook Berry signed when hired. The handbook says employees and the company must try to settle disputes through mediation or arbitration before going to lawsuits.

Hooters attorney Casey Rodgers argued that the suit should be taken out of the courts and sent to arbitration, or dismissed outright.

But Hess sided with Berry's lawyer, Stephen West, who argued that the agreement wasn't a contract, wasn't binding and shouldn't be enforced.

West pointed out that the handbook itself states that it isn't a contract and is "subject to change by (Hooters) without notices."

"Hooters has retained for itself the right not to be bound by the terms of its own arbitration agreement," West told the judge. "They can't have a contract when it favors them and not have a contract when it doesn't favor them."

Hess cited procedural and fairness issues in coming to his decision. He said most contracts are agreements between equals with the same power to "dicker" in their best interests.

Hooters' handbook, on the other hand, is a "take or leave it" agreement in which an employee's refusal to sign would probably lead to an employment offer being withdrawn. Berry, Hess wrote, was at an unfair disadvantage.

Hess wrote that Hooters now wants Berry held to an agreement that was never intended to bind the company.

"The long-standing rule of law is that unconscionable contracts will not be given effect," Hess wrote. "The defendant's motion, therefore, is denied."



Preteens in Indian Caste Forced Into Prostitution
Run Date: 04/29/02
By Swapna Majumdar WEnews correspondent

RATLAM, India (WOMENSENEWS)--In the morning, 12-year-old Maya Lal plays with her dolls. She no longer goes to school. Instead, as soon as the sun sets, she retreats into a room with her father's "friend."

Maya is not the only 12-year-old engaged in such work. In the Ratlam district of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, when a first-born daughter of the Banchhara tribe turns 12, her father organizes a ceremony where she makes known her intentions to work as a prostitute. After this declaration, her father takes her to her first customer, who waits in a room in her family's house reserved for this purpose.

"My father has told me that I have to do this work because it is part of our custom. So I don't mind," Maya said.

Young Banchara girls such as Maya may entertain up to six clients each day.Fathers and brothers live off the earnings of their daughters and sisters, who make between $10 and $100 each day, according to the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission, an affiliate of India's National Human Rights Commission. The agency submitted recommendations last year to government officials about ending the practice. Since Indian law prohibits prostitution, the industry is unregulated by health or business officials, and more than 90 percent of these pre-teen prostitutes become pregnant. Many others are infected with sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, the commission found. "Conditioning these girls from an early age to accept prostitution as their destiny and their religious duty is the worst form of human rights violation," said Justice Gulab Gupta, the commission's chairman. He was referring to the 500-year-old custom of initiating first-born daughters into prostitution that began when a beautiful, poor young woman was kidnapped by a king, raped and forced to bear his child. According to legend, she then forced their daughter into prostitution to exact revenge for her own humiliation. "They feel that they have divine sanction to initiate their daughter into the flesh trade. Therefore they don't feel guilty of having done anything wrong," said Gupta, a former judge of the state high court.

Once she becomes a prostitute, a girl cannot marry or go to school. She is worshipped by the community because she is supporting her family and carrying forward a religious tradition found only in Madhya Pradesh and nowhere else in the country.



The Eurosnots learn nothing

Mark Steyn
National Post

On Sunday, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the alleged extreme right-wing in the first round of the French Presidential election. Since then, many Europhile commentators in the English-speaking world have been attempting to reassure us that the significance of this event has been much overplayed -- Le Pen only got a little more than he usually gets, pure fluke he came second, nothing to see here, move along. The best response to this line of thinking was by the shrewd Internet commentatrix Megan McArdle: "They're completely missing the point, which is that it's hilarious."

Absolutely. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be weeping with laughter at the scenes of France's snot-nosed political elite huffily denouncing Sunday's result as an insult to the honour of the Republic. I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago and I well remember the retired French diplomat who assured me that "a man like George W. Bush is simply not possible in our politics. For a creature of such crude, simplistic and extreme views to be one of the two principal candidates in a presidential election would be inconceivable here. Inconceivable!"