It is a sign of a deteriorating West. Poverty and despair always lead to bad things.
Youths burned 1,137 cars across France overnight as New Year's Eve celebrations once again turned violent, the French Interior Ministry said on Friday.It's that same terrible poverty that leads people to do terrible things to other people:
Car burnings are regular occurrences in poor suburbs that ring France's big cities, but the arson is especially prevalent during New Year's Eve revelry.
The number of vehicles torched was only 10 short of the record 1,147 burned this time last year, even though the Interior Ministry mobilized 45,000 police during the night -- 10,000 more than 12 months ago.
It said police detained 549 people overnight, compared with 288 in 2009 New Year celebrations. However, unlike in previous years, there were no direct clashes between police and youths. "The few disturbances that did take place were brought swiftly under control," the ministry said in a statement.
Tribal elders in a Pakistani village where a suicide car bomber killed nearly 100 people insisted Saturday that residents will keep defying the Taliban, even as the bloodshed laid bare the risks facing the citizens' militias that make up a key piece of Pakistan's arsenal against extremism.
The New Year's Day attack on the northwest village of Shah Hasan Khel was one of the deadliest in a surge of bombings that has killed more than 600 across Pakistan since October. Police believe the attacker meant to detonate his 550 pounds (250 kilograms) of explosives at a meeting of tribesmen who supervise an anti-Taliban militia. Instead, the blast went off at a nearby outdoor volleyball court, killing at least 96 people.
The explosion leveled some three dozen mud-brick homes and covered the village with dust, smoke and the smell of burning flesh. On Saturday, numerous homes received visitors offering condolences, and funeral prayers were held. Many of the residents in the village of 5,000, which lies near Pakistan's militant-filled tribal belt, were too scared to name any possible culprits, but others were defiant.
"The people are in severe grief and fear -- it is a demoralizing thing," said Raham Dil Khan, a rifle-toting, 70-something member of the tribal council. "We want the government to provide security, but one thing is very clear: The committee will stand against every type of terrorism and despite this great loss we will continue our work."
None of the elders at the gathering was killed. The 28-member council had been debating punishing relatives of militants suspected in the recent killing of a fellow tribal leader, Khan said.
Across Pakistan's northwest, where the police force is thin, underpaid and under-equipped, various villages and tribes have taken security into their own hands over the past two years by setting up citizen militias to fend off the Taliban.
The government has encouraged such "lashkars," and in some areas they have proven key to reducing militant activity. In the Bajur tribal region, for instance, the militias helped turn the tide against militants during a 2008-2009 army offensive. And in the northwest's Swat Valley, citizens have set up militias to prevent militants from staging a comeback as the army continues an offensive there.