At Latitude News, we scan the global press for what the rest of the world is saying about the U.S. Here are today’s best stories.
Elderly Americans lose in Jamaican lottery scam
In a Senate hearing, U.S. lawmakers lambasted Jamaica’s government for failing to crack down on a telephone scam that has defrauded elderly Americans in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire of $13 million.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) sharply criticized the failings of the island’s police force according to a report in the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.
“We have all seen those ads full of gorgeous scenery and upbeat music calling Americans to come and feel the spirit of Jamaica,” Collins said. “But beneath the Jamaica of those enticing ads and the tourists’ dreams lurks another Jamaica, one that brings nightmares to elderly Americans targeted by Jamaican criminals intent on swindling them out of their life savings.”
But Major William L. King, a sheriff’s deputy from Maine, testified that international cooperation was key to bringing down the scammers and that the U.S. had to work more closely with Jamaica. Meanwhile, Sandrea Falconer, Jamaica’s minister of information, said her government was embarrassed and appalled by the scam that had bilked retired Americans out of their life savings:
“I know most Jamaicans are sensitive, empathetic and caring people and when we hear those things it is something that pulls at the heart strings. It is something that we should really be embarrassed about that there are Jamaicans among us who have no heart and who don’t care and are willing to do anything to get money.”
Congressmen call on Turkish PM to retract Zionism comments
A group of American lawmakers has sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urging him to apologize for his “appalling” remarks about Israel. Hurriyet Kampus, a Turkish newspaper, reports that at a UN conference last week Erdogan called Zionism a “crime against humanity,” adding that ““just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become necessary to view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.”
The bipartisan letter, signed by 89 members of Congress, expresses “grave disappointment” in Erdogan’s statement, which comes after a deterioration of relations with Israel.
“We greatly regret the harsh tone adopted by you and senior Turkish officials toward Israel in the recent past,” the letter says according to Hurriyet Kampus’ report.
The letter goes on to define Zionism as “a non-discriminatory affirmation of Jewish nationhood.”
Will U.S. follow suit after EU bans cosmetics testing on animals?
A ban on animal testing in the European Union is going to have ripple effect here in the U.S. As Ria Novosti reports, the ban prohibits the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals like rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. American animal rights activists are thrilled, saying they hope the news will lead to a similar ban in the U.S.
And it’s good timing for activists in the U.S. The Humane Society of the United States is rolling out a star-studded campaign to raise public awareness. Among the cast of characters: Paul McCartney, Ke$ha, Colbie Caillat, Torrey DeVitto and Ricky Gervais.
The ban will also have a direct impact on American manufacturers who want to sell products in the EU:
“New cosmetic products manufactured outside of the 27 nations that make up the EU, but containing ingredients that were tested on animals, could still be sold in Europe.”
The caveat, EU health officials said, is that manufacturers must be able to document the safety of its products to EU regulators without using data gathered by animal tests.”
While the cosmetics industry is less than thrilled, Jennifer Sass of the Natural Resources Defense Council warns that products that will used on human skin must be tested on living animals first. She says living in a world without animal testing will be “a big risk.”