News Briefs

Nigerian mother to be stoned for committing adultery

Sufiyatu Huseini awaits death by stoning as sentenced by an Islamic court in Sokoto, Nigeria for committing adultery. The only evidence brought against her is her 10-month-old daughter, Adama, who was born out of wedlock. A judge mandated that the sentence be carried out as soon as Adama is weaned, according to The New York Times. Awaiting an appeal and maintaining that she was actually raped, it is unlikely that Sufiyatu will be acquitted. Her case has drawn international attention to the strict “Taliban-esque” Islamic rule of law backed up by harsh punishments currently being enforced in 10 of Nigeria’s 12 northern states, according to The Times. This punishment is seen as fair under the Maliki tradition, the strictest interpretation of the Koran, in which pregnancy alone is sufficient evidence of adultery. Sex between two unmarried people is punished by beatings, but the penalty for adultery, if one partner is or has been married, is death. Sufiyatu says that it is not Muslim law she is fighting; she simply wants to receive justice. “As a Muslim,” she says, “I know the laws of God are being implemented. But the law must be fair.”

Washington, D.C.

Bush outlines three point plan for U.S. the nation

In his first State of the Union address last night, President George W. Bush outlined a three-pronged plan to eliminate terror abroad, reinforce national security and lead the U.S. out of recession. Bush declared that the current “war against terror is only beginning” and issued renewed warnings to terrorists and the countries that harbor them, branding Iran, Iraq and North Korea as “an axis of evil” and cautioning all states that are developing weapons of mass destruction. “We will be deliberate, yet time is not on our side,” said Bush. “I will not wait on events, while dangers gather,” he added, alluding to intelligence reports that more than 10,000 terrorists may have been trained by Al Qaeda alone since 1996. Bush also vowed to use the national unity forged by the war against terrorism toward the twin causes of creating jobs for those worst hit by the recession and promoting a spirit of national service calling on all adults to devote two years of their lives to volunteer activities. He also urged Congress to be prudent with their spending and act in a bipartisan manner, suggesting running a temporary deficit in order to accomplish long-term goals.

Boston, Massachusetts

Parents sue MIT for not intervening with suicidal student

After unsuccessfully attempting to kill herself with pills and cutting her arms and wrists numerous times, MIT student Elizabeth Shin succeeded in setting herself on fire in April 2000. This Monday Shin’s parents filed a $27 million lawsuit accusing the school of negligence in dealing with Shin’s apparent mental illness. According to Shin’s parents, MIT’s counseling services were inadequate. Shin had been in treatment for over a year and MIT has denied any wrongdoing. The suit is making waves nationally because it calls into questions many privacy laws that schools have set up to allow students to speak freely about issues they fear talking about with their parents. The Shins said they hope to spur reforms to the federal and state confidentiality laws that deter colleges from telling parents about their children’s mental troubles or drinking problems, according to The Boston Globe. MIT officials explained they did not contact Shin’s parents because of confidentiality laws, specifically the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that protects the privacy of a student’s education records.