New Boston busing debate, four decades after fervid clashes
BOSTON — Nearly four decades after this city was convulsed by violence over court-ordered busing to desegregate its public schools, Boston is working to reduce its reliance on busing in a school system that is now made up largely of minority students.
Although court-ordered busing ended more than two decades ago, and only 13 percent of students in the public schools today are white, the school district buses 64 percent of its students in kindergarten through eighth grade to schools outside their immediate neighborhoods. The city has tried twice in the last decade to change the system and failed both times.
“Children are being bused now because they have been bused for 40 years and no one has had the political courage to dismantle it,” said Lawrence DiCara, a former Boston city councilor who supported busing in the 1970s and is writing a book about the city in that era. “Now, there are no white kids to be integrated. Everyone is being randomly bused. It doesn’t make sense.”
—Katharine Q. Seelye, The New York Times
Los Angeles police to revise immigrant detention policy
LOS ANGELES — The police here will soon stop turning over illegal immigrants arrested for low-level crimes to federal immigration officials for deportation, Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Thursday.
At a news conference, Beck said he hoped to put in place protocols by the start of next year, under which the Los Angeles police will no longer honor requests from federal agencies to detain illegal immigrants who are arrested for nonviolent offenses like driving without a license, illegal vending or being drunk in public unless they were part of a street gang or had a criminal record.
The announcement was the biggest and potentially most controversial step yet for Beck, who has been in his post since 2009, into the highly politicized waters of immigration enforcement. Under Secure Communities, a federal program that began in 2008, local law enforcement agencies share with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials the fingerprints of everyone they arrest.
But Beck said the program had impeded efforts to keep the city safe by eroding trust between the Police Department and the communities in Los Angeles.
“Community trust is extremely important to effective policing,” he said. “So it’s my intent, by issuing this change in procedures, that we gain this trust back.”
—Ian Lovett, The New York Times
Global food prices on the rise,
WASHINGTON — Global prices for meats, dairy products and cereals resumed rising last month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported Thursday, adding to concerns that developing countries may face food shortages.
The agency said that on average, prices rose 1.4 percent in September, after remaining steady in July and August. Scorching heat and drought in the United States, Russia and Europe constricted agricultural production and pushed up prices of corn and soybeans to record highs, the report said.
The largest increases were for dairy products, which rose 7 percent in September, their sharpest climb since January 2011. Higher feed costs were a major factor in the increase, and also helped to drive meat prices up 2.1 percent, especially in the “grain intensive” pork and poultry industries, the report said.
Cereal prices rose 1 percent, and the food agency forecast a decline in global cereal production this year.
Despite the recent price increases, the agency’s overall food price index, which measures monthly price changes for a basket of goods including cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, remains below the levels it reached in 2011, when high food prices led to unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa. But the index is close to its levels of 2008, when food costs set off riots in several countries.
—Ron Nixon, The New York Times
Philippine ex-president is arrested in hospital
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines was arrested Thursday on corruption charges related to allegations of misuse of $8.8 million in state lottery funds during her administration.
Arroyo, who is now a member of the Philippine Congress, checked herself into a government medical facility after the warrant was issued and shortly before it was served. Police officials said she was arrested while in a hospital bed. It was unclear whether she would be transferred to a jail cell later.
“Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now under arrest and in detention, under the custody of the Philippine National Police,” Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel said after the warrant was served.
Coronel said Arroyo was suffering from dehydration and hypertension. She was in the same hospital suite where she spent about eight months under detention on separate charges of rigging an election before her release in July after a judge found evidence against her to be weak.
Arroyo is under investigation in connection with a variety of corruption offenses said to have been committed during her time as president, from 2001 to 2010. Additional charges are expected to be filed in the coming months. She has maintained that she is innocent of all allegations against her.
The new charges are related to accusations that Arroyo and members of her administration repeatedly stole money from the national lottery between 2008 and 2010.
The prosecution of Arroyo is a cornerstone of the anti-corruption campaign of her successor, President Benigno S. Aquino III. A presidential spokesman said Thursday that the case was in the hands of the courts and declined to discuss the matter in detail.
—Floyd Whaley, The New York Times