UK parents found guilty of honour killingBritish court convicts parents for suffocating daughter they thought was trying to live westernised lifestyle.Last Modified: 04 Aug 2012 07:52inShare1EmailPrintShareFeedbackThe parents of a 17-year-old girl who was killed nine years ago in the UK have been convicted of her murder and jailed for life.Iftikhar Ahmed and his wife Farzana were told on Friday that they were to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison after a jury at Chester Crown Court found them guilty of their daughter Shafileas murder.Shafilea was suffocated with a plastic bag at the family home in Cheshire, northern England on September 11, 2003, because her parents felt that her choice to lead a “Western” life had led to her family being “shamed”.”There is always a trigger. In the case of Shafilea, the abuse she suffered was motivated by her parents desire to control her. To make her to conform to their interpretation of Pakistani culture. They tried to control her, to force her into marriage, and to prevent her from expressing herself,” said Detective Superintendent Geraint Jones, at a news conference after the sentencing.”When this failed, they murdered her. A vile and disgraceful act, against their own daughter, a murder of someone they shouldve been very proud of,” he said.Jones led the inquiry for Cheshire Police from 2003 until 2010.Shafileas parents denied any wrongdoing and in one interview her father Iftikhar was quoted as saying he would never harm his daughter.”Would we kill our own daughter… Never, I couldnt even dream of it,” he said.After Shafileas decomposed remains were discovered in the River Kent in February 2004, however, her parents changed their tone.”The times I did meet them they were polite and very unchallenging I would describe them as. But as the investigation progressed and as the evidence built, particularly once we found Shafileas body, their attitude changed and they became aggressive,” Jones said.”They, in their own minds thought they could use the media to point the finger elsewhere as weve heard in court. But behind it all, we knew, within that house there was torture, there was domestic abuse,” Jones said.During the trial, Aleha, Shafileas sister, testified that her parents repeatedly attacked and abused Shafilea as she grew up. She said that Shafilea had grown increasingly distant from her parents traditional lifestyle.”The word shame has been heard many times during the course of this trial in at least three languages. And the evidence has shown that cultural factors were literally at the heart of the Ahmeds abuse of Shafilea,” said Helen Morris, advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service.”Why did they abuse Shafilea, why did they kill her? Put simply it was because she challenged their regime and refused to conform to their expectations. She wanted to choose how she lived her life and who she married – choices that are fundamental freedoms for any citizen of the United Kingdom,” she said.At the news conference, the police and Crown Prosecution Service said they would review conflicting evidence to see if any further action should be taken.Diana Nammi, a womens rights activist in the UK, told Al Jazeera that there were at least 3,000 reported cases of honour-related violence and killings in the country in 2010.”This is a huge problem. It is not about one family or two families, its about the whole community, its about 3,000 at least … which we believe are just the tip of the iceberg [because] they are the women who had the courage to come forward and seek help,” she said.”There are so many who do not have confidence, they are scared, they are worried about their families and their reputation within the community.”Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies
PASADENA, Calif. – NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory and its Curiosity rover are set to land shortly after 1 a.m. ET Monday on the most advanced, most ambitious and most adventurous mission ever sent to the Red Planet.
The scientific return promises to be profound, but there is one thing Curiosity won’t be looking for: little green men.
Or even tiny microbes, for that matter.
This $2.5 billion expedition is not a life-detection mission. The lab’s instruments are the most sophisticated in the history of planetary space exploration, but they couldn’t distinguish pebbles from protozoans.
“Curiosity is not set up to detect life directly,” saysSteven Lee, deputy manager of Mars Science Laboratory surface operations. “Now if we come across a trilobite or a dinosaur bone, yes, that would be pretty definitive. But if life ever developed on Mars, it was most likely small, microbial life. So we’re not quite ready to make instruments small enough to do that detection directly on Mars.”
This mission is all about what planetary scientists call habitability. Scientists are trying to determine whether Mars ever harbored all the ingredients key to the formation of life.
Liquid water, energy such as sunlight and “organics” — carbon compounds — are the fundamental ingredients of all life on Earth.
NASA’s Martian orbiters and surface rovers over the past 15 years have beamed back ample evidence that Mars once was warmer and wetter — a place that could have been hospitable to the formation of primitive life.
Still elusive: conclusive proof of carbon compounds in Martian rocks or soil.
What’s more, evidence of organic matter is not a slam-dunk score.
“The real question is: Were those organics produced by life? Are they biological in origin?” says Matt Golombek, a landing site scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
“There are lots of organics produced without life whatsoever,” he says.
Meteorites and comets crashing into the planet over eons could have distributed organic matter not of biological origin.
Any discovery would lead to debate over the origin of the organic material.
“That is a much more difficult question to answer,” Golombek says. “I don’t think we should be holding our hopes out for that. That would be a very, very difficult thing to establish.”
But what if scientists could make that leap and determine that all the ingredients to form life once existed on a world that is now dry, acidic and constantly scoured by deep, penetrating cosmic radiation?
Driving the exploration of Mars and other planets are the most fundamental questions humanity can ask: Are we alone in the universe? Will life form anywhere that liquid water is present?
“Or did you need some one-in-a-trillion act of God, some accident, for life to have formed here on Earth?” Golombek says. “If life forms anywhere that liquid water is present, then Mars should have had life, and we ought to be able to go there and see that.
“Was there a second Genesis? Did life form somewhere else? Are we in fact alone in the universe? Or are we just an incredibly fortunate, or unfortunate, luck of the draw?
“If you can answer that sort of question, that kind of fundamental question that really goes to the heart of an exploring society, you can’t measure that in dollars.”