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Nearly 9,700 people were victimized in the U.S. last year because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability, the FBI announced in its annual hate-crimes report. The figures represent a 2% increase over 2007, though the FBI, which relies on data supplied voluntarily--and sporadically--by local law-enforcement agencies, warned against comparing statistics from year to year. Advocacy groups point out that violence against illegal immigrants and gays and lesbians is probably underreported because of fears of repercussion or stigma. The data come less than a month after President Obama expanded federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by gender or sexual orientation.
Hate crimes in 2008, by category
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Sexual orientation 1,706
* What They're
Finding on Facebook:
A Quebec woman is claiming that her insurance company revoked her health benefits after discovering photos on the social-networking site that purportedly showed her having fun. Nathalie Blanchard, who had been on paid sick leave after getting a diagnosis of depression, says insurer Manulife stopped sending monthly checks this fall, saying her Facebook photos illustrated that she was well and ready to return to work. Manulife has not commented on the case.