News Feed 20110514

Financial Crisis
» Europe’s Warning of Bigger Bailout Bills: Debt-Crippled Nations ‘May Need Extra Cash’
» Gold and Silver: South Carolina’s New Currency?
» Iain Martin: The Euro Crisis is Terrifying — But It’s Cameron’s Last Chance to Restore Britain’s Sovereignty
» The Fannie Mae Mess
» UK: Teachers Set to Stage Walkout Over Two-Year Pay Freeze
 
USA
» “Spreading the Wealth” At the New Zeal Blog
» A Declaration of Energy Independence
» Al Qaeda’s Hardmen: New York Terror Suspect is Wannabe Model Who Worked as Make-Up Salesman at Saks (And His Co-Conspirator Has a Record for Kicking a Poodle)
» Anti-Foreign Law Bill Will Protect All S.C. Citizens
» Arrests of South Florida Imams Sure to Spur Questions and Distrust
» Book Review: Underdogma
» Exposing the Public Meeting Facilitator
» Head of I.M.F. Arrested in New York and Accused of Sexual Attack
» IMF Head Strauss-Kahn Pulled Off Plane, Arrested in Alleged Sodomy of Hotel Maid
» Media Stonewalled as AFL-CIO Boss Scandalizes Catholic University
» Obama to Deliver New Muslim World Speech
» Obama’s Secret Plan to Help Democrats by Flushing 9/11
» Obama: Freedom or Islam?
» Obama Adviser Compared U.S. Christians to Al-Qaida
» President to Renew Muslim Outreach
» Presidential Texts From the Edge
» Raj Rajaratnam: Billionaire Hedge Fund Executive, Convicted on All Counts in Insider Trading Case
» Ravening Wolf at America’s Door
» Republican Presidential Hopeful Dogged by Alleged Ties to Aljazeera
» Sex, Lies & the TSA
» Video: Shocking Excerpts Read at Tucson School Board Meeting From a Book in the Ethic Studies
» Why Don’t We Hear About Soros’ Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?
 
Europe and the EU
» Denmark: DPP Gets Three Clampdowns
» Irish Muslim Arrested in Dublin Over Obama Threats
» Italy: Berlusconi Turns Local Elections Into Confidence Vote
» Maroni Says EU Council Meeting Didn’t Go Particularly Well
» Pope: Christians the Most Persecuted But We Are Not Afraid
» Spain: Crazed Knifeman Decapitates British Woman in Busy Tenerife Shopping Centre and Runs Through the Streets With Her Head
» UK: Bradford Murders: Police Find 3rd Body
» UK: Let Off With a Caution: The 3am Intruder Who Attacked and Terrorised Farmer and His Partner
» UK: Latest Elections Show How Deeply Socialist Britain Has Become
» UK: Militant Rail Staff’s 10% Pay Rise as ‘Ransom Payment’ To Prevent Strikes During Olympics
» UK: Senior Police Officer Suspended After His Arrest in Corruption Probe
» UK: Tower Hamlets Taliban
» UK: Taxi Bosses Ordered Driver to Remove Crucifix From His Cab ‘Because it Looked Phallic’
» UK: White Teenage Mother Stabbed to Death and Dumped in Canal After Having Baby With Married Muslim
 
Mediterranean Union
» Transports: EuroMed Project Coordinated From Tunis
 
North Africa
» Crime Wave in Egypt Has People Afraid, Even the Police
» Egypt’s New Rulers Must Protect the Copts, Not Persecute Them
» Fifteen Killed in Cairo’s Religious Clashes
» Gaza Arms Smugglers Operating Freely Since Fall of Mubarak
» Israel’s New Neighbor Egypt: Radical Nationalist President; Islamist-Dominated Parliament
» Libya: Raid Over Brega, “Fatwa” On Italy, France, UK
» Obama Should Condemn Anti-Christian Violence in Egypt
» Tunisia: Sea Gives Up 58 Bodies
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: Obama’s Newest Ambush
» Teen Injured in J’lem ‘Nakba’ Riots Dies
» This Time the “Ovens” Will be Turned on by Hamas, Fatah and the UN
 
Middle East
» Eleventh-Hour Reprieve for Iranian Man Sentenced to Have Acid Injected Into His Eyes by Woman He Blinded
» Iraq — a Province of Iran?
» Six Girls Flogged After ‘Act of Mischief’ At Saudi Arabia Orphanage
» Yemeni Qaeda Chief Warns Jihad Will Intensify
 
South Asia
» Extensive Porn Stash Found in Bin Laden Compound
» Indonesia: Foreigner ‘Attacked’ For Not Paying Bribe
» Pakistan’s ‘Blasphemy’ Laws Pose Growing Threat
» Security Breach Could Endganger Seals Who Killed Bin Laden
» U.S. Says it Recovered Porn Collection From Osama Compound
 
Far East
» Did China Win the War on Terror?
 
Australia — Pacific
» Husband Celebrates Miracle as ‘Brain Dead’ Wife Wakes Up in Hospital
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» American Jihadist Leads Pro Al-Qaida Rally in Somalia
» Kenya: Barack Obama’s Grandmother Threatened by Al Qaeda
» Muslim-on-Christian Violence Expands in Africa
» Nigeria: Pastor Tells Dying Wife: Hold to Jesus, We’ll Meet Again
 
Latin America
» New Book Details Chavez Involvement in Assassinations and Treachery
 
Immigration
» 1,247 Immigrants Have Landed in Lampedusa Today
» 166 Land in Lampedusa
» 416 Immigrants Land in Lampedusa Over Night
» Barroso to Copenhagen: Border Checks Are Illegal
» Barroso Says Denmark’s Decision Violates EU Treaty
» Boat With 213 Refugees Lands Close to Agrigento
» Denmark Suspends Schengen Treaty
» Denmark Says Passport Checks Not Re-Introduced
» Denmark: Suspending Schengen Sparks Debate
» Denmark Resumes Sweden Border Controls
» Denmark: Neighbours: Move Toward Border Controls a “Scandal”
» EU Countries Scrap Open Borders to Halt Flood of Arab Refugees
» EU Slams Denmark Over Plans to Reintroduce Border Checks
» EU Warns Against Unilateral Suspension of Schengen
» Greece Opposes Suspension of Schengen, Minister Stresses
» Hundreds More Migrants Land From North Africa
» Interior Minister: EU Didn’t Act Promptly on Immigration
» Interior Minister: No Help From Europe With Immigration
» Is Conservative Student Group Preaching White Nationalism?
» Migrants: 5 More Boats Are Steaming Toward Lampedusa
» More Than 500 Migrants Are Reportedly on One of the Boats
» Netherlands: Minority Groups Protest at Nationality Rule Changes
» Obama Invokes Bible to Push Amnesty
» Over 550 Migrants Arrive in Lampedusa, More on Way
» Over 600 Migrants Land at Lampedusa & Another Boat Arriving
» Over 1,200 Migrants Arrive in Lampedusa, Gaddafi Blamed
» Swiss Minister in Brussels for Refugee Talks
» The Amnesty Bandwagon Rides Again
» Two Fishing Boats With 635 Immigrants Rescued Off Lampedusa
» UK: Mass Immigration ‘Has Made the UK’s Poor Even Poorer’
 
Culture Wars
» Soros Group Behind Attack on Boehner’s Catholicism

Financial Crisis


Europe’s Warning of Bigger Bailout Bills: Debt-Crippled Nations ‘May Need Extra Cash’

Europe raised the spectre of a further round of multi-billion pound rescue packages yesterday after warning that its debt-crippled nations are sinking deeper into the mire.

In a worrying economic health check, the European Commission predicted that debt levels in bailed-out Greece, Ireland and Portugal are expected to soar significantly higher than first thought.

All three are trapped in vicious high unemployment levels, low economic growth and falling tax receipts, which will prevent governments from tackling their crippling national debts.

The warning will raise fears that European nations, including Britain, will have to increase the £240billion of emergency support they has already extended to the stricken trio.

UK taxpayers will be on the hook for around £14billion if, as expected, EU finance ministers approve a £68billion rescue for Portugal on Monday.

The EC’s dire prognosis comes amid rising concerns that Greece and Ireland will have no choice but to default on a portion of their loans.

Any move to re-negotiate their crippling debts could send tremors through financial markets every bit as severe as the turmoil triggered by the collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, experts said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Gold and Silver: South Carolina’s New Currency?

South Carolina lawmakers are proposing a bill that would give the state another form of legal tender.

Sen. David Thomas, a Republican from Greenville, wants to make gold and silver coins another option in the Palmetto State. Lawmakers are calling it the Sound Money Legislation.

“I’m no financial expert but am I smart enough to know that you can’t keep printing money when it has no backing,” says SC Republican Representative Mac Toole.

Thomas also wants a special joint committee to study the need and process for establishing an alternate currency. Read the entire bill here.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Iain Martin: The Euro Crisis is Terrifying — But It’s Cameron’s Last Chance to Restore Britain’s Sovereignty

Surely, it was one of the greatest escapes in Britain’s history.

If we had been foolish enough to go into the European single currency we would be in an even more dire economic situation than we are now.

The euro’s lower interest rates would have made money even cheaper and easier to borrow during the boom, making the recession deeper when the bubble burst and more difficult to get out of.

You won’t hear any of this from those in the political establishment who cravenly backed Tony Blair when he was madly trying to abolish the pound.

Lord Mandelson, Nick Clegg, Lord Heseltine, Paddy Ashdown and Ken Clarke have all gone incredibly quiet on the subject of the single currency.

And no wonder, considering the terrifying scale of the calamity unfolding in the eurozone.

The crisis is now very dangerously poised. Weaker countries on the periphery of the zone — Greece, Ireland and now Portugal — cooked their books, ran up vast debts and have had to be bailed out by the rest, as well as by the International Monetary Fund.

The markets so distrust these countries — understandably given their reckless behaviour — that they are prepared to lend to them only at exorbitant interest rates. And this, in turn, worsens their debts.

This week it became clear that last year’s bailout of Greece has simply not worked. So out of control are the country’s borrowings and spending — even after various austerity programmes — that it is in serious danger of defaulting on its loans.

To head off this possibility, some are suggesting a so-called ‘restructuring’ in which those institutions in the financial markets which loaned money to the Greeks are forced to accept that they will not get all of it back.

Yet even this might not be enough to put an end to the problem. After crisis talks earlier this week.

German sources suggested that it may be time for everyone to cut their losses and that Greece should leave the euro. Privately, the Greeks have also floated the idea.

The countries that have been bailed out are in a terrible situation. They are contemplating years of recession or slow growth as they struggle to cope with the vast new debts they have taken on to keep the euro afloat.

Utterly impoverished, they can only look on as Germany and France power ahead with their own strong economic recoveries.

Britain, too, with its stuttering performance and flatlining GDP (which will be two per cent at best), has cause to be jealous.

Figures out yesterday suggested France will grow by around four per cent this year, and Germany by more than five per cent.

Even though it would be extremely messy, abandoning the euro could be tempting for these small countries which are desperate to leave their debts behind and start again.

But for cheerleaders of the eurozone, that would be a nightmare scenario. If Greece left, it would create huge instability and chaos, risking financial contagion, with the markets wondering which country was next in the departure lounge.

Greece is the most likely candidate, but it could be Ireland, Portugal or even Spain in the months ahead. The European Central Bank is desperate to insulate Spain in particular, and stop it becoming the next problem.

Spain is a much bigger fish economically than a minnow such as Ireland, and there is no bailout fund big enough to cope with the consequences of the Spanish not being able to pay their bills.

Advocates of the euro still say that nobody, not even Greece, will leave the eurozone. But little more than a year ago the same experts regarded the bailouts of weaker states as an impossibility.

Bailouts of this kind were supposed to be illegal, according to the original terms of the treaty that established the euro. Yet what was deemed an impossibility then is now reality. The bailouts happened. So it is no good now branding a partial break-up of the euro as impossible.

It cannot be ruled out if those in the financial markets panic or political leaders bungle the next stages of their negotiations.

For Britain’s government, trying to concentrate on this country’s own considerable economic problems, this crisis is a massive headache it can do without.

Even though we still have the pound, our banks — along with those in Germany and France — are exposed because they hold some of the debts of eurozone countries. (Although the Treasury in London says it is satisfied that British banks have quietly reduced their level of exposure on this front in the past year.)

We are on the hook in other ways, too, unfortunately. The most disgraceful last act of the Labour government was to sign us up to take part in the financial rescues for Ireland and Portugal.

Mercifully, however, the Chancellor will tell other European finance ministers on Monday when they meet to discuss the crisis that the UK will play no further part in any future bailouts by the eurozone.

But so profound are the implications of this developing crisis that they are very likely to bring to a head the very issue David Cameron had hoped to avoid addressing, for fear of offending the Europhile Lib Dems: that of Europe and Britain’s position in the EU.

Of the 27 members of the EU, 17 are in the eurozone. After the latest stage of the crisis, those in the euro will move much closer together.

Led by France and Germany, they will have to integrate their economies even more to try to make the euro endure.

The Germans will demand that countries agree to tight budget discipline so that debts don’t get out of hand again, and will impose strict policies that suit German industry.

Those countries outside the euro but in the EU will then be put in an interesting position.

There will be a ‘two-speed Europe’ — with the more closely integrated eurozone members in one category and those outside the eurozone in another group.

That will make Britain the most powerful country in a grouping that includes Poland, Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary and others.

Some of these countries are, in theory, in the queue to join the euro (at dates which keep being knocked further away).

But after the events of the past year, is anyone really going to be mad enough to ask to get into the euro?

No. Joining up looks like an even worse deal for them now that the Eurozone members have declared that the price of entry would be their stumping up a contribution to the single currency bailout fund. It is like being charged to enter a burning building.

These seismic developments will come as a brutal shock to the complacent British foreign policy establishment, which has long been in hock to Brussels and thinks our only option is to be dragged along the path of ever closer integration.

But the Europhile approach is about to be overtaken by history. In the wake of the euro crisis, the EU will be split in two and have to be reshaped in some way.

It should then be possible to negotiate a much better deal for those nations outside the euro — those countries which obviously won’t need the swathe of new harmonisation and regulation that will come with the inevitable closer integration of the core Euro countries.

Surely we can wish our neighbours luck with their project while, as the head of the non-euro group, demanding a much looser set of arrangements for ourselves.

Let’s have national powers returned, an end to our membership of the dreaded social chapter that imposes so many costs on business, the rebirth of proper parliamentary sovereignty and the continuation of a free trade area.

The euro crisis is creating a great deal of frightening uncertainty — but it also presents an historic leadership opportunity for David Cameron.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]



The Fannie Mae Mess

Fannie Mae reported a net loss of $6.5 billion for the first quarter as a weakening housing market dashed hopes that the company had stabilities

It was a relatively short Wall Street Journal article on Saturday, May 7th. “Fannie Mae Falls Back Into the Loss Column.”

“Fannie Mae reported a net loss of $6.5 billion for the first quarter as a weakening housing market dashed hopes that the company had stabilities,” wrote Nick Timiraos. “Fannie said Friday it would ask the government for a fresh taxpayer infusion of $6.2 billion after paying dividends to the Treasury.”

What we are witnessing — and paying for — is the way this “government-sponsored enterprise” (GSE) has distorted the nation’s housing market since it came into being. Freddie Mac is another GSE that shares the blame.

In a Cato Institute Policy Analysis by David Reiss, the author notes that “Fannie and Freddie are extraordinary large companies: together they own or guarantee more than 40 percent of all the residential mortgages in the United States. This amounts to more than 4.2 trillion dollars in mortgages.”

In a free market economy, when did anyone ever imagine that the government would “own or guarantee” the vast bulk of home mortgages? And why? This is the result of socialist policies that assert that everyone should have an imagined “right” to own a home when common sense says that not everyone could qualify for this.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Teachers Set to Stage Walkout Over Two-Year Pay Freeze

A teachers’ union has voted to strike in protest at the prospect of a two-year pay freeze.

Proposed changes to pay and conditions are part of a £45 million package of cuts to education.

However, a union official claims that local authorities have ‘singled out’ teachers to bear the brunt of austerity measures.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USA


“Spreading the Wealth” At the New Zeal Blog

I know what you’re thinking. “What? is Trevor becoming a socialist?”

No. I’ve just got my hands on a box of Curtis Bowers’ award winning documentary film, “AGENDA: Grinding America Down.” In the documentary, Mr Bowers looks at the subversion of America, the systematic “grinding down” of American culture and values over several decades — a process nearing its climax today. And I want to give them all away!

The film features interviews with Dr E. Calvin Beisner, Dr Jim Bowers, the late Dr Robert Chandler, Beverley Eakman, M. Stanton Evans, Bryan Fischer, Dr David Gibbs, Jr., Brannon Howse, Cliff Kincaid, Congressman Steve King, Gen. Ed Meese lll, Dr David Noebel, Hon. Howard Phillips, Janet (Folger) Porter, Sen. H.L. Richardson, Phyllis Schafly, Jim Simpson, Mike Smith Esq., John Stormer, Tim Wildmon, Wendy Wright and… Trevor Loudon.

I’ll run a couple of contests each week, from my Facebook page. I’ll ask a question and whoever makes the best response — or the one with the highest number of “likes” will be sent a free copy of the must-see AGENDA: Grinding America Down DVD.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



A Declaration of Energy Independence

The rising price of oil has a negative impact on our economy and threatens to stifle our anemic recovery from the government produced and bureaucratically fostered Great Recession. How did we get here? Has anyone ever pinpointed the problem beyond blaming speculators and rising demand? Has anyone shown us how our energy independence could be achieved?

Remember the 1973 oil embargo? This was our first oil shock. How did it come about and what did we do about it? Did these policies solve the problem?

In 1973, the U.S. and the Western world were experiencing an accelerating inflationary spiral. Twenty years of prosperity and accelerating population growth created heavy need for raw materials that were not being produced internally which made them highly vulnerable to commodity cartels. Due to the fall in domestic production mainly because of the powerful man-made global warming lobby the demand for Middle Eastern oil increased. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), formed in 1960, determined to increase its profits at the expense of the West grew stronger.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Al Qaeda’s Hardmen: New York Terror Suspect is Wannabe Model Who Worked as Make-Up Salesman at Saks (And His Co-Conspirator Has a Record for Kicking a Poodle)

One of the terror suspects arrested for allegedly planning to attack New York synagogues dressed as a Hasidic Jew used to work as a make-up salesman for Saks Fifth Avenue, it emerged today.

27-year-old Ahmed Ferhani, who quit his job to try to become a male model, was caught with taxi dispatcher Mohammad Mamdouh, 20, on Tuesday night in a dramatic police sting operation as they tried to acquire a fearsome arsenal of weapons from an undercover NYPD officer.

The surprising background of the would-be terrorists emerged after they made their first court appearance last night.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Anti-Foreign Law Bill Will Protect All S.C. Citizens

The South Carolina Senate is currently debating legislation that would ban the enforcement of foreign and religious laws — including Islamic sharia law— but opponents claim the bill would violate the constitutional rights of Muslims. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In April, a Judiciary subcommittee conducted two hearings (on two separate days) on Senate Bill 444, which would prevent foreign and religious law from violating an individual’s constitutional rights. A third subcommittee hearing is in the offing.

S.C.’s bill does not mention sharia law, and appears to avoid religious infringement altogether, unless the religious law would violate the rights of another: “A court, arbitrator…or enforcement authority may not enforce a foreign law if it would violate a constitutionally guaranteed right of this State or of the United States. The provisions of this section apply only to actual or foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a person caused by the application of the foreign law.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Arrests of South Florida Imams Sure to Spur Questions and Distrust

The Margate mosque where Izhar Khan is an imam has a poll question on its website: “What is the biggest misconception about Islam?”

The leading vote getter, with 63 percent: “Muslims are violent, terrorists and/or extremists.”

The Saturday arrests of Khan, 24, and his father Hafiz, 76, imam at Miami’s oldest mosque, on charges of providing support to the Pakistani Taliban will make it that much harder to dispel the stereotypes.

While federal prosecutors went to great lengths to say the indictments against six individuals were not meant to be an indictment against “a particular community or religion,” it didn’t take long for Islamophobia to flare up.

“Islam is not a religion, it’s a terrorist training tool,” wrote one commenter on SunSntinel.com. “Mosques are the terrorists’ training camps.”

Wrote another: “Ban [Muslims] from the USA.”

The inflamed passions are ugly but understandable, given South Florida’s terrorist-linked past.

Many Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers took up temporary residence in South Florida and attended local mosques. Convicted terrorist Jose Padilla, who trained with al-Qaida, became radicalized after studying at local mosques. Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who the U.S. says is among al-Qaida’s top leaders, is a former Broward resident whose late father ran a Miramar mosque.

Of course, there are tens of thousands of other South Florida Muslims who live peaceful and productive lives, doing many charitable things.

“This is only going to reinforce the people who think the worst about Muslims, they’re going to say, ‘See we told you!’ “ said Fran Kraft, of Coral Springs. “But I’ll say, ‘No, it’s only a few people, it’s not everyone.’ “

Over the past few months, Kraft and other members of Temple Beth Orr in Coral Springs have met with members of the Masjid Jamaat Al-Mu’mineen mosque.

It’s called Peaceful Pairing, a regional program that brings Jews, Muslims and Christians together for monthly discussions.

“We share our faiths to see the common ground we have, and to show that we can work together,” Kraft said.

“We’re very interfaith, very involved in our community,” said Safiya Deen, who coordinates the program for the mosque. Deen didn’t want to say anything else when I reached her by phone on Saturday.

Kraft said she was disturbed by Khan’s arrest.

“This kind of really jolts you,” Kraft said. “I have questions … I guess we’re going to have to talk about this.”

She didn’t recall meeting Khan, didn’t know if he attended any of the discussions, but she said his arrest will only heighten fears and distrust among congregation members who balked at the get-togethers.

“Does it shake my faith in the people I’ve been dialoguing with? No, I don’t think so,” Kraft said. “Everyone I’ve met has been very kind and welcoming. I don’t want to put them in the position of having to prove anything. It’s one bad apple.”

She knows it’s unfair to tarnish an entire religion and congregation with guilt by association.

But it would also be foolish — and naïve — to not question what’s happening.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Book Review: Underdogma

How Our Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power

Rarely do I come across an author that I feel thinks along the same lines as I do. Michael Prell is one of those rare individuals. A kindred conservative pundit and a very wise author. This is a man that I could call friend. A man who would be welcome in my home and at our dinner table. It’s as if he knew what I had written and thought about. As if he knew my research and felt the same way that I have for years. I hear the echoes of what I have spoken about over the years and it gives me great hope for the future.

I’m always reading books. Sometimes 2 and 3 at a time. For a book to capture my sole attention is an event bordering on magical. When I started reading Underdogma, magic ensued. Our philosophies clicked and I was hooked. Jenny Beth Martion, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, calls Underdogma the first great Tea Party book. And I would enthusiastically agree. The book manages to take the politically correct insanity that is infecting our world today and explain it in a way that clarifies and gives individuals hope. Hope that we can fight the liberal Progressivism so entrenched in American culture that sometimes it feels like it would be impossible to remove every hooked barb that has lanced itself into America’s psyche. This book is the cure for the disease of Marxist tyranny and an antidote to Progressive collectivism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Exposing the Public Meeting Facilitator

Major New Weapon for the Freedom Fighter’s Arsenal

If you’ve been to a public meeting lately, you will see the meeting is run by a man or woman who is not really part of the group in an “official” capacity. They are called “facilitator.” his/her job is to bring the group to “consensus,” which means there is not to be debate or disagreement. The policy or project or program on the table is not discussed in detail so that the group can judge the item on its merits and vote on it. In fact, if you begin to question the policy, or ask who the facilitator represents, or in general show signs of disagreement, the facilitator quickly loses his/her charm and begins to describe you to the group as “uncooperative” or a troublemaker who is wasting the group’s time. There is never a vote on the issue. Instead, the group somehow reaches “consensus.”

The average activist or concerned citizen doesn’t have a chance to debate merits of the program. A property owner is viewed as selfish and unenlightened to bring up how a policy might affect his/her property. And if the facilitator is good at his job, and they usually are highly paid to be good, then it won’t matter how many protesters manage to turn out. It doesn’t matter how much pressure has been brought to bear in letters to the editor. The facilitator brings his group home to the predetermined outcome, the policy becomes law. Government grows, freedoms are lost. …Until now — that is.

Best-selling author Beverly Eakman has been conducting one-day seminars for years to teach the good guys how to bust up these facilitator-controlled public policy meetings. Those attending her events have also been provided a copy of a manual detailing how to organize and fight back. The problem was, Beverly could only conduct so many seminars and that made for a small distribution of the manual. Now that has changed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Head of I.M.F. Arrested in New York and Accused of Sexual Attack

The leader of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested on Saturday, minutes before he was to fly to Paris from John F. Kennedy International Airport, the authorities said.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a candidate for president of France, was taken off an Air France flight by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and turned over to Manhattan detectives, according to a Port Authority spokesman.

He was accused of a sex attack on a maid at a Times Square hotel earlier in the day, the authorities said.

[Return to headlines]



IMF Head Strauss-Kahn Pulled Off Plane, Arrested in Alleged Sodomy of Hotel Maid

The French political bigshot who heads the International Monetary Fund was arrested for allegedly sodomizing a Manhattan hotel maid today — hauled off an Air France flight just moments before takeoff from Kennedy Airport, police said.

Three Port Authority detectives pulled Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the plane’s first-class cabin just two minutes before it was due to depart for Paris, according to police sources said.

Strauss-Kahn, 62 — who was expected to challenge Nicholas Sarkozy in the 2012 French presidential election — was turned over to NYPD officers and brought to the Special Victims Unit’s uptown squadroom.

The trouble began around noon, when a 32-year-old housekeeper entered Strauss-Kahn’s room at the Sofitel on West 44th Street — apparently unaware he was still inside.

The married Strauss-Kahn was in his bathroom, said sources. He emerged naked, grabbed her and “he jumps her,” a source said.

Then, Strauss-Kahn allegedly threw the housekeeper on the room’s bed and forced her to perform oral sex on him, said the sources.

The maid managed to break free and ran to a hotel worker to tell what happened, said a source. Soon afterward, Strauss-Kahn got dressed and headed off to Kennedy Airport for his flight to Paris.

When he was approached on the plane by Port Authority cops, he said, “What is this about?” sources said. He was then taken off without handcuffs.

Two law enforcement sources said Strauss-Kahn was trying to flee the US. Police said he left his cellphone and other personal items in the room.

Strauss-Kahn, who had a meeting planned for today with German chancellor Angela Merkel, has a special arrangement with Air France that allows him to get on any flight and sit in first class, the sources said. He was traveling alone.

The NYPD’s Special Victims Unit is investigating the case, the sources said.

The victim was taken to Roosevelt Hospital, where she was being treated for trauma.

Strauss-Kahn, a leader of France’s Socialist Party, is a longtime rival to Sarkozy, who was said in a news report today to have kicked off a smear campaign that focused on his lavish lifestyle. It included Strauss-Kahn’s purchase of suits from the same tailor who clothes President Obama.

But Strauss-Kahn seems able to find trouble on his own. In 2008, he publicly admitted to “an error of judgment” for having an affair with an IMF subordinate.

In France’s 2007 vote, Strauss-Kahn lost the Socialist Party nomination to Segolene Royal, who in turn fell to defeat against Sarkozy, leader of the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement.

But Sarkozy, who still sees Strauss-Kahn as his likeliest electoral rival, is believed to have maneuvered him out of France by backing him to head the Washington-based International Monetary Fund.

Strauss-Kahn is married to New York-born Anne Sinclair, a leading French TV journalist. She is his third wife; he has four children from two prior marriages.

A spokeswoman for the US State Department had no immediate comment. IMF did not immediately return calls.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo [Return to headlines]



Media Stonewalled as AFL-CIO Boss Scandalizes Catholic University

The Catholic University of America (CUA) may have thought that AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Sweeney’s May 2nd speech on campus would be non-controversial. But Sweeney, a Catholic who doesn’t hide his commitment to socialism and a progressive takeover of the Democratic Party, promised controversy from the start. He attacked conservatives, in particular Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and told the event that opponents of organized labor were out-of-step with the teachings of the church and Jesus Christ Himself. Then, however, Sweeney unloaded on the sponsors of his appearance, attacking university officials as union busters.

Perhaps Sweeney thought his comments would go unanswered, out of deference to the fact that he was a featured speaker and was showered with praise by the liberal organizers of the event as a brilliant labor organizer. But CUA officials struck back, issuing a statement basically accusing Sweeney of lying and having the statement read aloud as Sweeney sat in stunned silence. The sordid affair has had the unintended result of revealing the hand of left-wing billionaire George Soros in the affairs of the national university of the Catholic Church.

This extraordinary development, a major embarrassment for both Sweeney and the CUA, was shocking enough. But university officials then went into damage control, failing to respond for several days to repeated email requests from the press for a complete and unedited copy of the statement refuting Sweeney. Finally, Accuracy in Media was told that Victor Nakas, associate vice president for public affairs at CUA, was handling the controversy. But he was busy with other matters and was unavailable.

CUA officials were apparently operating on the assumption that the conference had been ignored by the press and that reporters would have no immediate access to what Sweeney had said and what the university said in response.

In fact, a recording of the event turned up and demonstrates that the statement issued by CUA officials takes issue with almost everything said by the former labor boss and accuses organized labor of manipulating and abusing workers at this institution of higher learning.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Obama to Deliver New Muslim World Speech

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama reportedly is planning a new speech to the Muslim world that would call for a rejection of Islamic militancy.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House is planning for such a speech within the next two weeks, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to roll out proposals for reviving peace talks with the Palestinians in a meeting with Obama and in a speech to the U.S. Congress.

The United States and Israel share concerns that the pro-democracy movements now roiling the Arab world could be overtaken in some cases by Islamist forces.

According to the Journal, Obama wants to exploit the recent U.S. killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to deliver a message that the United States embraces democracy but rejects militancy.

“It’s an interesting coincidence of timing,” the newspaper quoted deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes as saying. “That he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model.”

Obama delivered a speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009 proposing a new era of engagement.

Conservatives criticized the speech for not emphasizing democratization.

Obama in the speech said U.S. support for Israel was steadfast and rebuked Arab nations for allowing Holocaust denial to fester, but pro-Israel groups said he did not go far enough in emphasizing Jewish claims to Israel and complained that he did not visit Israel on the same trip.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]



Obama’s Secret Plan to Help Democrats by Flushing 9/11

You won’t believe how president sought to change meaning of catastrophic day

Believing Sept. 11 to have been “hijacked by Republicans,” President Obama had a secret plan to “flush 9/11 down the memory hole” in order to benefit Democrats, the author of a brand-new book is claiming.

According to “Subversion Inc.” by investigative journalist Matthew Vadum, Obama sought to make the environment the prime concern on 9/11 instead of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history.

The president allegedly used his green jobs czar Van Jones and the leftist group ACORN to help orchestrate the transformation.

[…]

Vadum says officials never publicly explained why out of all 365 days in a year, Obama’s new National Day of Service had to be held on Sept. 11.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Obama: Freedom or Islam?

White House panders to Muslims instead of pushing American values

President Obama is trying to hit the reset button on his outreach efforts to the world’s Muslims. He would do better to focus on aggressively promoting freedom rather than pandering to Islam.

The first round of outreach — kicked off by Mr. Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo — was a spectacular failure. Opinion polling on sentiment towards the United States in countries with Muslim majorities showed an initial burst of enthusiasm, followed in 2010 by a collapse. In some cases, Muslim approval of America fell to levels lower than during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration.

Now the White House is using the timing of Osama bin Laden’s death to argue that al Qaeda’s violent approach to political change is passe, and that the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East represent the wave of the future. However, al Qaeda already has answered this argument. In the Spring 2011 edition of the terror group’s English-language magazine Inspire, the lead editorial by Yahya Ibrahim notes that a “line that is being pushed by Western leaders is that because the protests in Egypt and Tunisia were peaceful, they proved al Qaeda — which calls for armed struggle — to be wrong. That is another fallacy. Al Qaeda is not against regime changes through protests but it is against the idea that the change should be only through peaceful means to the exclusion of the use of force.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Obama Adviser Compared U.S. Christians to Al-Qaida

Also likened feared terror group to Jewish ‘totalitarians’ in Israel

President Obama’s faith adviser, Eboo Patel, compared al-Qaida to what he called Christian “totalitarians” in the U.S. and Jewish “totalitarians” in Israel, WND has learned.

In February 2010, Obama named Patel to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Patel, a Muslim activist from Chicago, is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



President to Renew Muslim Outreach

President Barack Obama is preparing a fresh outreach to the Muslim world in coming days, senior U.S. officials say, one that will ask those in the Middle East and beyond to reject Islamic militancy in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and embrace a new era of relations with the U.S.

Mr. Obama is preparing to deliver that message in a wide-ranging speech, perhaps as early as next week, these officials say. The president intends to argue that bin Laden’s death, paired with popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, signal that the time has come to an end when al Qaeda could claim to speak for Muslim aspirations.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Presidential Texts From the Edge

President Obama has a PLAN. And by PLAN I mean The Personalized Localized Alerting Network, announced Monday, which will let government text you on your cell phone. PLAN is an extension of the Emergency Alert System we have all come to know, love and often be annoyed by. That ear shattering belch of a screech we hear so often on the radio, usually followed by the announcement that “this is only a test”, has become pretty much standard for anyone that doesn’t have their head in the sand living a life of Unabomber simplicity.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, on the PLAN system we Americans will get three types of texts. The first type will be missing children Amber Alerts. The second will be texts that warn us about life threatening situations in our local area. The third, however, is the most disturbing as it is just simply described as messages from our dear leader and President, currently Barack Obama.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Raj Rajaratnam: Billionaire Hedge Fund Executive, Convicted on All Counts in Insider Trading Case

Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire investor who once ran one of the world’s largest hedge funds, was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy on Wednesday by a federal jury in Manhattan. He is the most prominent figure convicted in the government’s crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street.

Mr. Rajaratnam, who was convicted on all 14 counts, faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced. Mr. Rajaratnam is expected to appeal.

[Return to headlines]



Ravening Wolf at America’s Door

Obama and Marxism in America

In all of world history there is nothing so cunning as the unimpeded cunning of the Marxists.

In open societies where the masses go about the daily grind of getting by, the Marxists are out there turning society upside-down. Wrong is presented as right; evil as good. Once enough tables have been sufficiently turned upside-down, the Marxists turn around and blame it on the other side.

Above all else the Marxists excel at the fine art of projection. Because they lack empathy of others, and like textbook psychopaths have no conscience, they don’t even mind getting caught.

Marxists all the way from Karl Marx to President Barack Obama have no regard whatsoever for the individual, only the collective; no respect for the human soul which they believe does not exist.

Living in the lap of hedonism they hear no cries even from people they personally know.

Marxists have no empathy for others. To the manor born, they were born to rule. Constitutions and founding fathers they categorize under ‘silly sentiment’. No matter how painful and destructive to others their cruel agenda, the end absolutely justifies the means.

Because no decency governs their conduct, Marxists cheat and steal to get ahead.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Republican Presidential Hopeful Dogged by Alleged Ties to Aljazeera

A blockbuster Politico story on Al-Jazeera claims that the Republican-oriented lobbying firm, Barbour, Griffith & Rogers (BGR), worked on behalf of Qatar, as well as Al-Jazeera. But Loren Monroe, the spokesman for the firm, is denying it, telling Accuracy in Media, “We did not represent Al-Jazeera.” The charge that a prominent lobbying firm represented Al-Jazeera is politically explosive not only because of the high-level Republican connections, but because the “Barbour” in BGR is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

Qatar sponsors and funds Al-Jazeera but the government and the channel have tried to obcreate the perception that the network is somehow independent. Generally, Qatar has been regarded by some as friendly to the U.S. while Al-Jazeera was considered an enemy of what the U.S. was trying to accomplish in Iraq and around the Middle East. The channel developed a reputation as “Jihad TV” or “Terror Television” because of its airing of videos from al-Qaeda. One of its correspondents went to prison in Spain as an agent of al-Qaeda.

Politico reporters Keach Hagey and Byron Tau said, “A person familiar with the Qatar contact confirmed to Politico that BGR and Al-Jazeera have a long-standing relationship, and that the network embarked on a PR push during the latter half of the Bush administration.” This “long-standing relationship” between BGR and Al-Jazeera (and Qatar) became more direct and substantial when Ben Smith’s Politico blog said that the representation of Al-Jazeera was “part of their contract with Qatar in a mid-2000s PR push to rehabilitate the controversial Arab network.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Sex, Lies & the TSA

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Totalitarianism

The psychic fluidum- that is, the peculiar atmosphere — of totalitarian dictatorship is created by two closely related phenomena, propaganda and terror. […] Its chief characteristic is the deliberate effort to intimidate. […] A pervasive atmosphere of anxiety and a general sense of insecurity are the subjective concomitants of such terror. Often the victims of such terror are quite unaware of their own psychic states. — Excerpted from Totalitarian Dictatorship & Autocracy by Carl J. FRIEDRICH and Zbigniew K. BRZEZINSKI; Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers; Second Edition (c) 1956. 1965 (emphasis added)

Most Americans still “don’t get it.” Our rights as American citizens are under attack by the most socialist administration ever to assume power, installed by an elite oligarchy of globalists through a continuity of agenda that began decades ago. Americans continue to be sold some of the biggest lies in history by the establishment media, which has been progressively infiltrated by some of the most powerful socialists, communist sympathizers and sellouts in the history of the Fourth Estate.

The rights of every American citizen are protected by the U.S. Constitution, which is divinely inspired and one of the most famous documents in the history of the world. Along with the Bible, this document allocates inalienable rights to Americans that no other man or government agency shall take away. Due to a combination of apathy and deliberate assault, the U.S. Constitution has become the proverbial red-headed stepchild of this administration in particular and past administrations in general. It has been ignored, beaten, and relegated to an indefinite “time out.”

[…]

Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, Americans are indeed being conditioned to accede their constitutional rights for the mere illusion of security. This illusion of security, however, is but one spoke of a wheel designed by the globalists for the implementation of a New World Order. A New World Order cannot coexist with our national sovereignty and a constitution protective of its citizens. Therefore, the power elite must deconstruct our rights and safeguards from within, and are readily doing so under the pretext of our own security. Once the majority of the sleeping population is properly conditioned, the violations of our rights will become incrementally more egregious until the perversions detailed by George Orwell’s 1984 are nothing more than a distant vision in our collective rear view mirrors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Video: Shocking Excerpts Read at Tucson School Board Meeting From a Book in the Ethic Studies

This is what is being taught to our kids. When will it be enough? This is disgusting. We are being overthrown from within.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Why Don’t We Hear About Soros’ Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two part series on George Soros and the media.

When liberal investor George Soros gave $1.8 million to National Public Radio , it became part of the firestorm of controversy that jeopardized NPR’s federal funding. But that gift only hints at the widespread influence the controversial billionaire has on the mainstream media. Soros, who spent $27 million trying to defeat President Bush in 2004, has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets — including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC.

Prominent journalists like ABC’s Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that take Soros cash. This despite the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethical code stating: “avoid all conflicts real or perceived.”

This information is part of an upcoming report by the Media Research Centers Business & Media Institute which has been looking into George Soros and his influence on the media.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU


Denmark: DPP Gets Three Clampdowns

The Danish People’s Party has negotiated three clampdowns as the price for its support.

The Danish People’s Party has been given significant legal and foreign policy concessions in return for its support for the government’s retirement reform.

According to Politiken’s information, the concessions are in the form of three agreements which will be put forward when current negotiations on a retirement reform have been concluded.

The first element of the pact is a border agreement to strengthen controls at Denmark’s borders.

“It has to be something that works. Both a strengthening of customs controls in which there is a permanent customs officer presence. There must also be extra funds for the police so that those caught in customs controls can be arrested,” says Danish People’s Party Deputy Chairman Peter Skaarup.

The agreement calls for a permanent customs presence at borders in order to check vehicles for particularly weapons and narcotics. EU rules preclude border controls as such, but a solution involving customs officers would be a way of getting around the rules, as checks would be random.

At the same time, police patrol cars would have special cameras installed which would enable them to automatically check vehicle number plates to determine whether a vehicle is being sought.

The pact also includes a gentleman’s agreement between the government and DPP, that Denmark will support an Italo-French proposal for changes to the Schengen agreement.

Safety package

The Safety Package is said to be the main component of the agreement. The package is said to include stiffer sentences, in particular for criminal immigrants and those who carry out domestic break-ins.

“Gang members should not just have a finger wagged at them. They should get a hammer,” says one source close to the negotiations. The DPP has not, however, been able negotiate expulsions without a court judgment, as practiced in terrorism cases.

The final part of the agreement is said to involve an earning principle for foreigners looking for access to welfare payments.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Irish Muslim Arrested in Dublin Over Obama Threats

Police arrested Ireland’s most notorious Muslim convert Thursday over his reported death threats against President Barack Obama.

Police said Khalid Kelly, a 44-year-old dubbed “Taliban Terry” by Dubliners, was arrested at his Dublin residence on suspicion of threatening to kill the U.S. leader. He could be held for up to three days before being charged or released.

The arrest came 10 days before Obama’s arrival in Ireland and four days after a British newspaper, the Sunday Mirror, printed an interview with Kelly. He is Ireland’s most outspoken supporter of al-Qaida and its slain founder, Osama bin Laden.

Kelly, a former Catholic altar boy from inner-city Dublin, converted to Islam while imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 2000 for selling illegal alcohol.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Italy: Berlusconi Turns Local Elections Into Confidence Vote

‘We need win for new energy’ PM says in last stump speech

(ANSA) — Rome, May 13 — Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has turned local elections across Italy Sunday and Monday into a confidence vote on his three-year-old government amid a string of sex and corruption cases against him, pundits say.

“We have to win to give new energy to our national government,” said the 74-year-old premier on Friday, the last campaigning day in Milan, Naples, Turin, Bologna and seven other big cities.

The premier has been saying for weeks that a strong showing by his People of Freedom (PdL) party, especially in its stronghold Milan, would be a personal triumph and a blow against the prosecutors he earlier this week called “a cancer on democracy”.

He has regularly upstaged Milan’s PdL incumbent mayor, Letizia Moratti, appealing to the Milanese to vote for him personally.

In Naples too, where the premier has staked a lot of his credibility on ending a garbage crisis, Berlusconi made a characteristic last-minute sales pitch, vowing to forgive illegal construction in the chaotic southern city.

“Ever since (he entered politics in) 1994 he’s turned every vote into a plebiscite, for or against him,” James Walston, political scientist at the American University in Rome, told ANSA Friday.

“This time it’s basically a referendum between him and the prosecutors”.

Berlusconi is implicated in four cases, three of which have come to trial.

Two of these are for allegedly bribing a witness and for tax fraud on film rights and the third, and potentially most damaging, is for allegedly paying an underage prostitute for sex and getting her out of police custody on an unrelated charge.

Walston doesn’t believe the scandals will play as big a part as many commentators think, however.

“Basically most people have made up their minds already, they’re either for him or against him”.

What could be a blow, however, would be a weak turnout in the Milan fief or the possibility that Moratti has to face a run-off in two weeks instead of winning cleanly first time round.

“Moratti not beating (leftwing candidate) Giuliano Pisapia at the first ballot would be a serious problem. That’s why Berlusconi has been pulling out all the stops,” said Walston.

Many pundits see the PdL’s key coalition partner, the Northern League, making a better showing than the premier’s party.

“If the League wins big then they will be aiming for a much bigger say in policy decisions, especially on devolution, and also angling for more government posts”.

Another commentator, John Cabot University political scientist Franco Pavoncello, said it was “unthinkable” for the PdL to lose Milan.

“If it did the government would fall,” he said, pointing out that the League is expected to make “a big announcement” in the aftermath of the vote on May 16.

But he said the chance of Milan falling to the Left for the first time in 20 years was “close to zero”.

Unlike Walston, Pavoncello said the scandals might loom large on voters’ minds and show whether the premier’s popularity is closer to the 50% rating he claimed this week, or the all-time low 30% independent agencies have been showing.

The vote calls almost a fifth of Italian voters to the polls in more than 1,000 municipalities countrywide but the battleground cities, aside from Milan and Naples, are Turin and Bologna, usually fairly safe leftwing bets.

Neither Walston nor Pavoncello expected these to turn right but Walston said they would be “a major barometer for the general election”, expected in 2013, while Pavoncello said the divided centre left “would not be that bothered” if it lost them.

Another potential bellwether which is usually overlooked in the bigger scale of things is Latina, a city south of Rome reclaimed by Benito Mussolini from swampland 80 years ago.

The city, some of whose inhabitants look back fondly to the Fascist days, has never returned a leftwing mayor since WWII.

But this time the field has been widely split with a record 13 mayoral candidates and a popular Italian author, Antonio Pennacchi, leading a highly unusual ‘Fascio-Communist’ slate.

Pennacchi is allied to the so-called ‘third pole’ born from a split within the PdL that threatened the government’s survival in December, but has said he will vote for the centre-left Democratic Party if it comes to a run-off.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Maroni Says EU Council Meeting Didn’t Go Particularly Well

(AGI) Novara — The extraordinary EU Council meeting in Brussels “didn’t go particularly well. The proposals put forward are always very interesting but then they fail to materialize words into actions”. This is the reply given by Interior Minister Roberto Maroni before a rally in Novara to reporters asking him the outcome of the Extraordinary European Council meeting that convened today in Brussels.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Pope: Christians the Most Persecuted But We Are Not Afraid

(AGI) Vatican City -”Christians are currently the religious group who is suffering from the hashest persecutions due to their faith. “ This was denounced today again by Pope Benedict XVI during a speech to the Vatican’s missionary organization.The Pope underlined that John Paul II urged not to be afraid and asked Catholics not to feel intimidated; to be, instead, a factor of renewal and change. being committed in building a more just and welcoming world.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Spain: Crazed Knifeman Decapitates British Woman in Busy Tenerife Shopping Centre and Runs Through the Streets With Her Head

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

A British woman was today decapitated by a madman with a machete on the holiday island of Tenerife.

The crazed killer stabbed the 62-year-old a number of time before cutting off her head without uttering a word in a shopping centre in Los Cristianos, in Tenerife.

Witnesses said he then fled the store with the severed head in his hands, with blood dripping on the floor.

As the 28-year-old attacker ran through the streets of the holiday island carrying the victim’s head, security guards and a number of witnesses gave chase.

He was eventually cornered after a passing Italian motorcyclist, named only as David, hurled his helmet at the man’s face.

The knifeman stumbled, dropped the head and the biker jumped on him. He struggled to break free but was held by the motorcyclist and other pursuers until police arrived.

Security guards leapt on the attacker and held him until police arrived at the shopping centre.

Last night questions were raised about why Spanish authorities had allowed him the attacker, a 28-year-old homeless Bulgarian, to wander the streets.

Spanish media reported that he had convictions for violence and was recently treated in a psychiatric unit.

Local mayor José Reveron said the man was known in the resort for his bizarre behaviour, including intimidating passers-by and ranting that he was ‘a prophet of God’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Bradford Murders: Police Find 3rd Body

A third murder investigation is under way after another body was discovered just a few hundred yards from where two men were found dead 36 hours earlier.

Police this morning swooped on a terraced house near to the spot where fire-fighters discovered the body — thought to have been set on fire deliberately — in Holme Lane in the Holme Wood area of Bradford, West Yorkshire, at 6.40am this morning.

Detectives are looking at whether the latest death is linked to the murders of two men found dumped on the side of a road in New Lane late on Tuesday night. A post mortem examination revealed one died of head injuries. Results of the second autopsy will take place later today.

No arrests have been made into the three deaths.

The men, in their 20s or 30s, were discovered by a passing motorist at 10.30pm and have still not been identified. No weapons have been recovered and detectives would not comment on reports that the two men had been beaten.

[…]

The detective was asked whether he thought the killings were gang-related but he said it was far too early to speculate.

Mr Nuttall said: ‘Inquiries at the moment are focused on identifying the two men and establishing the circumstances in which they came to be found in New Lane.’

He said New Lane was a ‘well-used cut-through’ between the A58 and the Holme Wood Estate, in south Bradford.

Asked about the men’s racial origins and nationalities, the officer said: “Until we identify the individuals, I cannot speculate on their country of origin.’

He also refused to answer repeated questions about the nature of the men’s injuries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Let Off With a Caution: The 3am Intruder Who Attacked and Terrorised Farmer and His Partner

When farmer Clifford Pearson was attacked by an intruder in his bathroom in the early hours, he acted instinctively and wrestled him to the ground.

Despite being naked, the 48-year-old held on to the man for ten minutes until police, who had been alerted by his girlfriend’s 999 call, arrived at the farmhouse.

But the couple were horrified to be told 12 hours later that the 20-year-old intruder had been given only a caution for common assault and was not being taken to court or punished further.

Mr Pearson was punched once in the chest and both he and his partner were badly shaken by the terrifying ordeal.

Their upset turned to anger when they discovered that police were ‘sweeping the incident under the carpet’.

Officers attempted to justify the decision by saying it was the man’s first offence, he had a ‘good job in the Army’, had no recollection of what he did and was intoxicated at the time.

Mr Pearson insisted the intruder did not smell of alcohol and was not drunk, was fully alert and because he entered his house in the middle of the night and assaulted him, the matter should have gone before a magistrates’ court.

He said: ‘He should have got a fine or a punishment of some sort in court. We said we wanted him prosecuted and they just played the whole thing down.

‘A caution is not a punishment for entering somebody’s house at night, assaulting them in their own house and putting the fear of God in them. This just brings an early conclusion to the case, it tidies everything up very quickly and helps their crime figures. It benefits this man and not us.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Latest Elections Show How Deeply Socialist Britain Has Become

London, England-In a referendum held last week, Britain decided to keep its traditional first past the post national electoral system, but local council elections held in tandem have exposed just how far the leftist creep of statism has imbedded itself and is well on the way to destroying the progress Thatcherism brought to the country.

The referendum on the electoral system was the price the country was forced to pay as part of the deal Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg struck up with the Conservatives to form a government. The country gave a definite ‘no’ to the complicated proposed system with a 70 per cent majority.

Under the Alternative Vote (AV) voters list their candidates in order of preferences and a candidate must receive at least 50 per cent of the votes to win. Any less and the one with the least amount of votes is eliminated and their second preferences are distributed among the rest. This goes on until one candidate has a clear majority. The effect is that a fringe or lukewarm vote rises to the top. Couple this with the fact that British politics ranges from centre, soft to hard left and you can see that an accelerated march to harder socialism would have been inevitable. But it would appear it already is inevitable.

On the face of it, the results looked pretty bright for the Conservatives. Right wingers were quick to pat Conservative PM David Cameron on the back for his valiant push in the ‘no ‘campaign as well as taking many councils in England where they expected to lose. Yet in the popular vote they stayed neck and neck with Labour and that’s one of the indicators that David Cameron’s flavour of conservatism isn’t working.

[…]

The north of England is Labour’s heartland where they have stuck their hands in the pockets of southern taxpayers to supply the billions of pounds that entrench the very poverty it is supposed to eradicate in the north. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, state spending is 57 per cent of economic output in the north-east and a staggering 63 per cent in the north-west. Under Labour a huge schism has been created that is dividing the country. Your average Yorkshireman has an economic output that is half of the average Londoner.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Militant Rail Staff’s 10% Pay Rise as ‘Ransom Payment’ To Prevent Strikes During Olympics

Militant transport workers were last night handed a 10 per cent pay rise as part of a ‘ransom payment’ to prevent strikes during next year’s Olympics.

Network Rail agreed the astonishing rise amid fears that industrial action could wreck the London Games.

But MPs accused the firm of caving in to hardliner Bob Crow, the head of the Rail Maritime Transport union, who has led a series of crippling strikes in recent years.

The deal, which has the private backing of ministers, will see 10,000 signallers, engineers, customer service staff and other employees across the country receive a 5.2 per cent pay rise this year, backdated to January, and a further rise of inflation plus 0.5 per cent from next January.

On top of that, staff involved in the Olympics will enjoy a £3.50 an hour bonus for each shift they work during the Games. Overall that will be worth about £500 a head, said Mr Crow.

Network Rail has also signed away any right to dismiss a worker during the Olympics — whatever they do wrong.

The extraordinary arrangement was condemned by Tory MPs, who accused Network Rail and ministers of giving in to blackmail.

Dominic Raab, who is pressing for new strike laws, said: ‘The British public is being blackmailed. There’s no justification for giving rail staff a 10 per cent pay increase plus bonus, whilst pay is frozen across the public sector.

‘Yet again, the RMT has held the public to ransom — this time under the threat of disrupting the Olympics.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Senior Police Officer Suspended After His Arrest in Corruption Probe

A senior police officer has been arrested by his colleagues following accusations of corruption.

Police confirmed inspector Mohammed Razaq, 51, was quizzed over allegations he tried to pervert the course of justice and has been suspended from the force.

The 51-year-old’s arrest follows an internal investigation by Greater Manchester Police into the senior officer’s professional conduct.

A police source said the investigation centred on alleged secret meetings between Inspector Razaq, who is based in Bolton, and a solicitor.

Another man, understood to be the solicitor, has also been arrested.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Tower Hamlets Taliban

Death threats to women who don’t wear veils. Gays attacked in the streets. And all in a borough at the heart of Britain’s capital.

This vocal minority, who are causing increasing concern in the area, have lent this corner of the capital a new nickname — the Islamic republic of Tower Hamlets.

Those familiar with life in Tower Hamlets are not surprised. They say that such attitudes are commonplace. Residents have grown used to the fact that the council-run libraries are stocked with books and DVDs containing the extremist rantings of banned Islamist preachers.

There is a Muslim faith school where girls as young as 11 have to wear face-covering veils. There are plans to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of municipal money to build a set of Islamic arches — the so-called ‘hijab gates’, which would look like a veil — at either end of Brick Lane, which is packed with Indian restaurants and clothes shops.

And there have been allegations of corruption during council elections, with the names of hundreds of Bangladeshi ‘ghost voters’ suddenly appearing on the electoral register.

But what many struggle to understand is how mainstream politicians are ignoring the corruption that is going on in the heart of our capital.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Taxi Bosses Ordered Driver to Remove Crucifix From His Cab ‘Because it Looked Phallic’

A taxi boss has hit out after one of her drivers was told to remove a religious cross from his vehicle’s dashboard — because it looked ‘very phallic’.

Clair Cook was told by her local council that her driver’s symbol should be removed because they had had a complaint from a 15-year-old schoolboy that the cross was a ‘fake penis’.

But she has branded the complaint ridiculous and said she was appalled that anyone could think it was anything other than a religious ornament.

She also said that if the driver, a devout Roman Catholic who works for her at AnD Taxis in York, had been carrying a symbol of any other religious faith, then City of York Council would have reacted with more caution and investigated fully before any decision was made to ask for it to be removed.

The driver, who does not want to be identified, said he was a Roman Catholic and had bought the cross on holiday in Greece six years ago.

Asked what his reaction was when he heard the complaint, he said: ‘Incredulity. I couldn’t believe that anyone could think it wasn’t a cross.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: White Teenage Mother Stabbed to Death and Dumped in Canal After Having Baby With Married Muslim

A white teenage mother was stabbed repeatedly and her body dumped in a canal after she clashed with the Asian family of her lovechild, a court has heard.

Laura Wilson, 17, had a brief relationship with Ishaq Hussain, 22, who lived close to her before giving birth to their daughter in June last year.

Sheffield Crown Court was told that Hussain failed to acknowledge the child as his own and did not offer any support, leading to friction between Laura, her family and Hussain.

Things came to a head last October when she went to Hussain’s house and told his family he was the father of the child, prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC said. Hussain and his friend, who also had an affair with her and was said to be her first love.

They sent a flurry of text messages to one another.

They adopted the language of the cult British film ‘Four Lions’ about Islamic terrorists and mounted a ‘mission to kill Laura Wilson’, said Mr Campbell.

Asghar allegedly sent a text message to Hussain which said: ‘I’m gonna send that kaffir bitch straight to hell.’

He later told a friend that laura and her friends had brought trouble to his door and he was ‘very angry’..

Mr Campbell said Asghar sent text messages to the friend using words to the effect of ‘I’m going to kill Laura.’

‘She was a loose cannon and they had to get rid of her,’ he said.

Hussain, of Ferham Road, Rotherham, and Ashtiaq Asghar, also from Rotherham, deny murdering Miss Wilson some time between October 8 and October 11 last year.

The teenage student went missing from her home in Holmes and her body was found two days later in a canal.

Mr Campbell told the jury: ‘The two defendants are jointly responsible for her murder.’

Laura’s older sister, Sarah, looked upon Hussain as being ‘like her brother’ in the mixed ethnicity area where they lived.

Before the affair, Laura had fallen in love with Asghar and they had a sexual relationship. They resumed the affair after Laura had the baby with Hussain.

Laura struggled at school and played turant, ‘but she embraced life with gusto, she was an attractive and popular girl,’ Mr Campbell added.

Laura began drinking with Fay Williams had also had a daughter with Hussain. They knew one another before falling pregnant but then they became firm friends.

They realised Hussain would never marry either of them and Laura was only interested in Asghar.

A week before her death, Asghar taunted Laura about a drunken telephone call she had, increasing tensions.

When Hussain started taking his responsibilities to the daughter he had with Miss Williams, Laura and Sarah Wilson took exception and arranged a meeting with Hussain who claimed he was not the father of her baby and blamed Asghar.

Hussain began to panic according to a bystander and grabbed Laura and shook her violently shouting: ‘Don’t tell my family.’

Mr Campbell said Hussain continued to ignore the daughter as his.

‘Laura Wilson wasn’t seeking a relationship being in love with Asghar she was seeking some support for her daughter.’

Hussain later told police his family knew about his child with Fay Williams but he was trying to keep the other baby’s existence secret.

He was also annoyed that Laura had threatened to ‘grass’ him to his family. Laura then took matters in to her own hands and went to see the Asghar and Hussain families to tell all.

Laura told Asghar’s mother she loved her son and ‘wanted to have babies’ by him but the mother became angry and hit Laura with a shoe.

She said he would never have a baby with a white girl and called her ‘a dirty white bitch who opens her legs.’ Laura then saw Hussains’s family and told them she had give birth to his baby.

‘Her actions that night brought the truth to both of their front doors,’ said Mr Campbell.

After that Hussain and Asghar spent more and more time together. Text messages recovered later showed they even talked about getting a gun.

In the language of the film Asghar said: ‘I will make a show and make some beans on toast’ — a reference to the carnage after a bomb blast, said Mr Campbell.

It was clear the references to ‘unbelieving kaffir b*****ds’ referred to the ‘mission’ to kill Laura. The hearing continues.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union


Transports: EuroMed Project Coordinated From Tunis

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 13 — The new project “Integrated Maritime Policy for the Mediterranean” (IMP-MED) funded by the EU in the framework of the Euromed Transport programme has opened its regional office in Tunis, from which all project activities will be coordinated. According to the Enpi website (www.enpi-info.eu), the project, funded with a budget of 1.5 million euros, seeks to promote an integrated approach to maritime issues in the Mediterranean among Eu and southern partner countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Syria. The project’s main task is to provide support to states interested in developing a national integrated maritime policy and identification of coordinated actions in the maritime sector at the regional level. Launched in November 2010, the IMP-MED project aims at improving the governance of maritime affairs in the Mediterranean basin and seeks to establish an agreed framework in this field in cooperation with Southern partner countries.

The Euromed Transport project aims to assist the implementation of the Regional Transport Action Plan (RTAP) for the Mediterranean (2007-2013), contributing to the establishment of an integrated, efficient, safe and secure transport system in the region, recognised as a key factor for the development and stability and the increase of intra-regional trade. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

North Africa


Crime Wave in Egypt Has People Afraid, Even the Police

The neighbors watched helplessly from behind locked gates as an exchange of gunfire rang out at the police station. Then about 80 prisoners burst through the station’s doors — some clad only in underwear, many brandishing guns, machetes, even a fire extinguisher — as the police fled.

“The police are afraid,” said Mohamed Ismail, 30, a witness. “I am afraid to leave my neighborhood.”

Three months after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, a crime wave in Egypt has emerged as a threat to its promised transition to democracy. Businessmen, politicians and human rights activists say they fear that the mounting disorder — from sectarian strife to soccer riots — is hampering a desperately needed economic recovery or, worse, inviting a new authoritarian crackdown.

At least five attempted jailbreaks have been reported in Cairo in the past two weeks, at least three of them successful. Other attempts take place “every day,” a senior Interior Ministry official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Egypt’s New Rulers Must Protect the Copts, Not Persecute Them

Egyptian Muslim Salafists, other Islamic fundamentalists deal with their fellow Christian citizens with superiority, contempt, humiliation, hostility, intolerance, bloody violent infringements on the Coptic faith, rituals, everyday life.

Were we all fantasizing, naive and foolish when the recent peaceful and civilized Egyptian revolution led by the new youthful generation made us and the whole world believe that its prime objectives were stability, freedom, justice, peace, equality, democracy, openness, respect for human rights, a dignified life with no oppression, education about hatred and discrimination and a secular constitution that secures equality in rights and obligations for all Egyptians citizens of all religions?

Like many others, we are enraged, disappointed and sad because the “Higher Military Egyptian Council” that assumed power after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak and his government, has badly covertly and overtly adopted all the previous Egyptian regimes’ despicable inhuman practices, intolerance, discrimination, injustice and persecution of the Christian Copts. Not only that, but against all logic, patriotism, and obligations towards other Arab countries has embraced the Iranian mullahs’ fundamentalist and terrorist regime, undeterred by its flagrant terrorism, hostility, and interference in the internal affairs of the Gulf Arab States, Lebanon and Iraq. One wonders if the only achievement of the Egyptian revolution was the replacement of one Pharaoh with another.

The first and major failure and setback committed by the “Higher Military Egyptian Council” members was in their stubborn clinging to Article Two in the country’s constitution that legalizes discrimination and apartheid. It states verbatim: “Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation”.

In this realm of discrimination, the Council refused to appoint Christians and women in the judicial committee that was designated to study and propose constitutional amendments. The approved amendments were few, insubstantial and merely decorative and cosmetic.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Fifteen Killed in Cairo’s Religious Clashes

(AGI) Cairo -The number of people killed in clashes between Muslims and Christian Copts in Cairo’s north-western Imbaba district has risen to at least 15 according to a spokesman for the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights, Diaa Rashwan.

Clashes had broken out when a group of Muslims attacked the Church of Saint Mena believing that a Christian woman determined to convert to Islam, her husband’s religion, was being kept there against her will.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Gaza Arms Smugglers Operating Freely Since Fall of Mubarak

Shin Bet says in report the Egyptian government is preoccupied with stabilizing the county, allowing smugglers to operate almost entirely hindrance-free; Bedouins reportedly a major group smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Smugglers transporting arms into the Gaza Strip are operating almost freely after a change of leadership in Egypt, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said Friday.

A report by the domestic intelligence agency said with Egypt’s new leaders preoccupied with stabilizing their country, “governance in Sinai is not high and this allows smugglers to operate almost without hindrance.

[…]

It also reaffirmed Israel’s belief that Iran, in seeking to strengthen its influence in the region, was supplying Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants with “choice military-grade weaponry.”

It said hundreds of rockets with a range of 20-40 kilometres (12-25 miles), at least 1,000 mortar bombs, some anti-tank missiles and tons of high explosives and raw material to make high explosives had entered Gaza since the start of 2010.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Israel’s New Neighbor Egypt: Radical Nationalist President; Islamist-Dominated Parliament

By Barry Rubin

Amr Moussa, probably Egypt’s next president, has given a comprehensive picture of his views, a foretaste of the likely policies of someone about to become the Arab world’s most powerful person. One thing he said is particularly important and shocking. Read on.

Moussa, former Egyptian foreign minister (1991-2001) and head of the Arab League until his resignation takes effect on May 15, is a figure from the Egyptian establishment and the old regime. But which aspect of the old regime: that of the centrist Husni Mubarak, the moderate Anwar al-Sadat, or the radical Arab nationalist Gamal Abd al Nasser?

Moussa is the last Nasserist. He knows that the next president must also be a populist to survive. So he will bash Israel, the United States, and the Egyptian upper class. The hope is that he will be pragmatic enough to restrict his demagoguery to rhetoric.

It might seem ironic that a revolution against the old regime ends up electing as president a figure from the old regime. Yet Moussa perfectly combines experience and name recognition with radicalism. A recent Pew poll shows him with an 89 percent positive rating. Moussa’s prospects look so good because the Islamists aren’t running a presidential candidate. Moderate democrats, restricted to a small urban middle class constituency, can choose among four candidates running against each other, thus further splitting that vote.

Another reason Moussa’s election appears likely is his deft use of the anti-Israel card. So identified is Moussa with hostility to Israel that in 2001 a popular song entitled, “I Hate Israel (I love Amr Moussa)” zoomed to the top of the Egyptian hit parade. Indeed, Moussa is now emphasizing that much of the reason for his break with Mubarak was due to his desire to take a stronger policy against Israel.

Moussa’s basic argument in his Wall Street Journal interview is that Egypt has obtained nothing from peace with Israel and that Israel is completely at fault for the lack of an Israel-Palestinian peace agreement. Of course, Egypt received: the Sinai’s return; the reopening of its oilfields and the Suez Canal; and the opportunity for more trade, tourism, and a lower military budget. Failure to take advantage of the latter points was due to Egyptian decisions.

In addition, Egypt and Israel had what amounts to an alliance against revolutionary Islamism, particularly Hamas in the Gaza Strip. President Moussa will reverse this policy and see Hamas as an ally, albeit one that he won’t trust and might try to restrain.

Hamas is now starting to believe that by attacking Israel it will have the power to draw Egypt into a war with Israel. If that view is not countered decisively by the next Egyptian government, the result will be a return to the 1960s and a terrible major conflict. Unfortunately, the current U.S. government cannot be counted on to see and help eliminate that problem.

As the Wall Street Journal accurately notes: “U.S. and European officials said they don’t see the Egypt-Israel peace agreement in danger in the near term. They say Cairo won’t place in jeopardy billions of dollars in aid.”

We’ve seen this kind of economic determinism before and every time it is applied to Middle East states it fails. Examples:…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]



Libya: Raid Over Brega, “Fatwa” On Italy, France, UK

(AGI) Tripoli — Yesterday at dawn, eleven imams were killed in Mara el-Brega during a NATO raid over the city. Preparations for the funerals are underway in the Cyrenaican city and the imam of Tripoli, Noureddin al-Mijrah launched a sort of ‘Fatwa’, the sentencing of citizens belonging to some of the countries that are taking part in the NATO attack against Gaddafi’s regime.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Obama Should Condemn Anti-Christian Violence in Egypt

Even as he renews his outreach to Muslims, President Obama should seek to stem the growing tide of violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt by condemning last weekend’s attacks that left a dozen people dead and scores injured.

The attacks, about which Obama has been silent, also resulted in the burning of Coptic Orthodox churches and the destruction of Christian homes and businesses.

The president needs to say more to stem religious violence that creates opportunities for Islamic extremists who want to seize power in Egypt, our most important Arab ally.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday “strongly” condemned the violence, saying, “We stand behind the Coptic Christian community and their right to practice their faith in safety and security, free of persecution.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Tunisia: Sea Gives Up 58 Bodies

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, MAY 10 — The bodies of 58 people who drowned, presumably the victims of one or more shipwrecks, have been recovered on Tunisian beaches by units of the Army and National Guard. According to a foreign ministry statement the bodies, almost all male and already in decomposition, were cast by the sea onto the beaches of Skhira, Chaffar and Kerkennah (Sfax governorate) and those of Gabe’s, Djerba and Mahdia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians


Caroline Glick: Obama’s Newest Ambush

It is hard to believe, but it appears that in the wake of the Palestinian unity deal that brings Hamas, the genocidal, al-Qaida-aligned, local franchise of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, into a partnership with Fatah, US President Barack Obama has decided to open a new round of pressure on Israel to give away its land and national rights to the Palestinians. It is hard to believe that this is the case. But apparently it is.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in Washington next week, and before the premier has a chance to give his scheduled address to a joint session of Congress, Obama will give a new speech to the Arab world. In that speech, Obama will praise the populist movements that have risen up against Arab tyrannies and embrace them as the model for the future. As for Israel, the report claimed that the Obama administration is still trying to decide whether the time is right to put the screws on Israel once more…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]



Teen Injured in J’lem ‘Nakba’ Riots Dies

Hospital says 17-year-old Milad Ayache died after suffering critical gunshot wound to the abdomen. Jerusalem Police confirms details, says family denied request for autopsy

A Palestinian teenager injured Friday during a Jerusalem riot marking the Palestinian “Nakba,” or “catastrophe” of Israel’s inception, died Saturday, his family said.

The teen was identified as 17-year-old Milad Ayache. He reportedly suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen during a riot in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]



This Time the “Ovens” Will be Turned on by Hamas, Fatah and the UN

While all the distraction of Obama’s latest, contrived birth certificate, debt ceiling arguments, Osama Bin Laden’s demise and who might be the next President, we have a potential death knell circling our best alley in the Middle East, Israel. Anyone home???

Two deadly Muslim terrorist groups have now combined, Hamas and Fatah. For many years they were at each others throats, but now have joined. They have now set their weapons and rage aside to become one group that will run the ‘Palestinian state, ‘ steal more land from the Jews, and plan the deaths of countless more.

Just a small little detail with all the ‘getting along’ ‘peace making’ fun between these two groups Hamas and Fatah. They both have a written and declared goal to exterminate and destroy Israel. They also both have a bloody and prolific history of attacking and murdering Israelis. A two state solution effort is old news and has been put on the table again and again and again. Now, we see 3 crime families emerging, Hamas, Fatah, and the UN. Will the United States become the 4th crime family with Obama at the helm?

The horror of this time is not only the unification of these two Muslim terror groups, but a formal vote being planed in just four months by the UN to create a Palestinian state, manipulating, no doubt putting endless international and media pressure on Israel to give away even more land. They will be pressured, if not ‘forced’ by the UN to give away the heart of Jerusalem and ‘more land for contrived peace’ AGAIN.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Middle East


Eleventh-Hour Reprieve for Iranian Man Sentenced to Have Acid Injected Into His Eyes by Woman He Blinded

In an 11th hour decision Iran has postponed blinding a convicted man who threw acid in the face of a woman because she would not marry him.

A court sentenced Majid Mohavedi to be blinded in both eyes for throwing acid into the face of 32-year-old Ameneh Bahramiy.

Under Iran’s Islamic law, imposed since the 1979 Islamic revolution — an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth — it is permitted in cases where bodily injuries are inflicted.

Mohavedi was convicted after he threw acid at Bahrami’s face, blinding the then 24-year-old electronics graduate in both eyes.

Movahedi attacked her at a bus-stop in 2004 after he had begged her in vain to marry him.

For months he had stalked her and she was left blind and disfigured. She later underwent 19 operations.

The court awarded her £19,000 in compensation and Majid went to jail. But Ameneh did not want the money.

She wanted her attacker to suffer the same anguish she was forced to endure for more than six years.

Bahrami, whose hands, neck and face were also disfigured in the attack said she does not see the ruling as taking revenge, but wanted to ‘prevent it from happening to someone else.’

She has received death threats because of her determination to exact revenge.

‘The police have told me not to go out on the street alone,’ she said. ‘My parents are scared. They think the judges are wrong.’

Arrangements had been made for Ameneh to inject the acid into her attacker’s eyes as he lies in a Tehran hospital under an aesthetic at midday today. Twenty drops in each eye.

She was quoted as saying: ‘I’m very happy. After six years I’m getting justice. But we are both losers because we have both suffered greatly.’

Bahrami and her lawyer have now said they were not aware that the punishment had been postponed.

‘I haven’t got any official news on the postponement of the verdict,’ said her lawyer Ali Sarrafi.

‘The verdict has been issued by the court and it is legally enforceable unless it is postponed due to legal reasons.’

Judiciary officials were not available for comment but an unnamed official said: ‘The punishment of Majid was scheduled to be carried out on Saturday at a hospital but it has been postponed.’

Amnesty International has urged Iran not to carry out the sentence, saying: ‘the Iranian authorities have a responsibility under international law to ensure it does not go ahead’.

‘Regardless of how horrific the crime suffered by Ameneh Bahrami, being blinded with acid is a cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture,’ said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]



Iraq — a Province of Iran?

After American forces leave Iraq at the end of 2011, Tehran will try to turn its neighbor into a satrapy, i.e., a satellite state, to the great detriment of Western, moderate Arab, and Israeli interests.

Intense Iranian efforts are already underway, with Tehran sponsoring militias in Iraq and sending its own forces into Iraqi border areas. Baghdad responds with weakness, with its chief of staff proposing a regional pact with Iran and top politicians ordering attacks on the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MeK), an Iranian dissident organization with 3,400 members resident in Camp Ashraf, 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. The MeK issue reveals Iraqi subservience to Iran with special clarity. Note some recent developments:

On April 7, the MeK released intelligence exposing Iran’s growing capacity to enrich uranium, a revelation the Iranian foreign minister quickly confirmed.

On April 8, even as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Iraq, the country’s armed forces attacked Ashraf. Fox News and CNN footage shows Iraqis in U.S.-supplied armored personnel carriers, Humvees, and bulldozers running down unarmed residents as sharpshooters shot at them, killing 34 people and injuring 325. The top secret plan-to-attack order of the Iraqi military, “Iraqi Security Forces Operation Order No. 21, Year 2011,” reveals how Baghdad sees the Ashraf residents as “the enemy,” suggesting collusion between Baghdad and Tehran.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Six Girls Flogged After ‘Act of Mischief’ At Saudi Arabia Orphanage

Six orphan girls aged between 12 and 18 were flogged in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of attacking the head of their orphanage, an official said today.

The girls received 10 lashes each under the country’s strict interpretation of Islamic law at a women’s prison in Medina, Islam’s second holiest city, in the west of the desert state.

‘The order against the six orphans is a legitimate court order,’ Mohammed al-Awadh, the public relations manager at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said. ‘The ministry does not have the right to interfere in a court order.’

He gave no details of the ruling but the Arabic-language newspaper Okaz said the girls had been convicted of ‘acts of mischief’ and attacking the director of the orphanage.

The girls defended their actions, saying they were harassed by the director, Okaz reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Yemeni Qaeda Chief Warns Jihad Will Intensify

DUBAI — The leader of Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch has warned that jihad will become more “intense and harmful” following the slaying of Osama bin Laden by US commandos, SITE monitoring group reported Wednesday.

Nasir al-Wahishi, leader Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said in a statement posted on an Islamist website that the “ember of jihad is brighter” following the May 2 killing of bin Laden, the US-based group said.

“Do not think of the battle superficially … What is coming is greater and worse, and what is awaiting you is more intense and harmful,” Wahishi said, according to a translation given by SITE.

He warned Americans not to fool themselves that the “matter will be over” with the killing of bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda.

“We promise Allah that we will remain firm in the covenant and that we will continue the march, and that the death of the sheikh will only increase our persistence to fight the Jews and the Americans in order to take revenge,” Wahishi said.

The US has become increasingly concerned about the threat posed by Islamist militancy in Yemen, bin Laden’s ancestral homeland, and has warned of the potential for the country to become a regrouping ground for Al-Qaeda.

Four days after bin Laden was killed in a US commando raid on his Abbottabad compound, about two hour’s drive from Islamabad, a US drone attack targeted US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi in southern Yemen.

The cleric, whom the US says has strong links to Al-Qaeda, survived the attack in southern Yemen but two AQAP members were killed.

In January 2009, the Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches announced their merger to form the Yemen-based AQAP, which later went on to claim a failed attempt to bomb Detroit-bound US airliner in December 2009.

A year later in November 2010, AQAP also claimed responsibility for two parcel bombs — ink cartridges packed with explosives — which were intercepted in Dubai and London before they were loaded into cargo aircraft.

Wahishi in his eulogy said bin Laden was killed “while his hand was on the trigger, fighting the enemies of Allah without tiring or surrendering.”

“He was killed while remaining firm and not changing or altering, as he continues according to the covenant of the believers.”

He stressed that the torch will pass from bin Laden to others who will keep up his work for generations.

“Let the enemies of Allah know that we are determined to take revenge.”

Al-Qaeda formally acknowledged bin Laden’s killing four days after he was killed and his body buried at sea.

In his final audio message recorded a week before his killing, bin Laden warned there will be no US security before the Palestinians live in security.

Another affiliate of Al-Qaeda, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, also promised in a statement posted on Islamist forums that they will intensify jihad, or holy war, SITE reported Wednesday.

“We vow to Allah to continue the fight. The death of Sheik (bin Laden) only strengthens our resolve to fight Jews and Americans to avenge the martyrs of the Islamic nation,” the statement said, according to a translation provided by SITE.

Abdullah Azzam, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, was the mentor of bin Laden before he was killed in a bombing in Afghanistan in 1989.

The Azzam Brigades had claimed responsibility last August for sending a suicide bomber who blew himself up aboard a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Wednesday’s death brought to six the number of protesters killed since Sunday by security forces at Taez, Yemen’s second largest city located 250 kilometres (150 miles) south of the capital, according to a tally by medics.

Thousands of teachers have been staging a sit-in outside the regional ministry of education offices in Taez demanding better pay and postponement of final exams. Their action is joined by hundreds of anti-regime protesters.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]

South Asia


Extensive Porn Stash Found in Bin Laden Compound

A stash of pornography was found in the Pakistani compound of Usama bin Laden raided last week by Navy SEALs, U.S. officials told Fox News.

The pornography taken from the compound, first reported by Reuters, is said to have included modern, electronically recorded video and is described as fairly extensive. But officials told Reuters they did not know if the terror leader acquired the porn himself or even viewed it.

The discovery of pornography taken during raids on Islamic militants is not uncommon, officials told Reuters.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Indonesia: Foreigner ‘Attacked’ For Not Paying Bribe

Jakarta, 11 May (AKI/Jakarta Post) — A Chinese national sustained injuries after being assaulted by immigration officials at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for allegedly refusing to pay a bribe to officers.

Cheung Ho Chung, who arrived from Hong Kong on a China Airlines flight, refused to give two officers from the airport’s Immigration Office HK$100 that they demanded.

The Jakarta Police said Cheung arrived at 2:53 p.m. Friday and was waiting to get his passport stamped when an officer in charge asked him and other passengers for money.

“Seeing that the officer wanted arriving passengers to pay a bribe, Cheung set aside HK$20. But the officer refused and wanted him to pay HK$100. The officer said it was money for tea,” police said in statement.

Cheung, a resident of Hong Kong said he would not pay the amount sought and officers attempted to take him away to a private room.

He refused to follow the officers who began to attack him.

“Two immigration officers ganged up on him, hit him in the face and choked him. He had a cut lip and a bruise on the neck,” police said.

The Immigration office, however, has a different account of the scuffle.

Directorate general of immigration spokesman Bambang Catur Puspitowarno said Cheung had been out of line.

He claimed Cheung had not filled out his arrival form when he stood in line at the arrival desk.

“The immigration officer also spotted the HK$20 enclosed in Cheung’s passport. He returned it and asked him to complete his arrival form,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Bambang added that the officer asked him to fill out the arrival form in another room to stop holding up the long line at the immigration counter.

“However, he didn’t go to the room downstairs, he headed instead for the exit. Our officers stopped him and asked him again to complete his form,” he said.

Cheung began to get angry, screaming at officers, insulting them by saying that HK$20 was apparently not enough, Bambang said, adding that officers isolated him to calm him down.

Bambang dismissed the injuries Cheung sustained as self-inflicted.

“He was trying to take photos, which is strictly prohibited. The officers grabbed him to stop him, maybe the camera hit his face,” he said.

Bambang also denied the police statement that immigration officers attempted to seek a bribe.

“There was no such bribe. Our officers never asked for money from passengers or engaged in acts of violence,” he said.

Bambang claimed Cheung was probably upset so he filed a report with airport police after filling out his arrival form.

The immigration office is perceived as one of the most corrupt government institution in the country, with numerous officials implicated in graft cases.

In January, Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar suspended 27 immigration officers following revelations that they issued a passport to graft convict Gayus H. Tambunan under an assumed name.

Later that month, Patrialis appointed Bambang Irawan as the new director general of immigration, with a mandate to combat corruption in the institution.

Patrialis said during the inauguration ceremony that the immigration office was seen as a traditional safe haven for corrupt officials.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Pakistan’s ‘Blasphemy’ Laws Pose Growing Threat

Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” laws can put even children at risk, and Christians say the days when they could teach their offspring pat answers to protect them from accusations of disparaging Islam or its prophet seem to have passed.

A 30-year-old Pakistani woman who grew up in Lahore said her Christian parents taught her formula answers to keep from falling prey to accusations under the blasphemy statutes, such as “I am a Christian, I can only tell you about Him.” But even then, before radical Islamists began influencing Pakistani society as they have in recent years, schoolchildren were taught not to discuss religion, she said.

“We knew never to get into religious discussions with others,” she said. “We had them at home — our parents would put us through the drill of asking us tough questions to see how we answered. Only now I realize that was practice for school.”

In this way, she was imbued with the fundamentals of the Christian faith and at the same time learned that she should discuss it only with her parents, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Though the Christian faith is inherently evangelistic, the need to remain silent is even more important today, she added.

“Christians constantly face questions like, ‘What do you think of the Quran, do you like it?’ and, ‘What do you think of Muhammad?’“ she said. “One answer is, ‘As a Christian I have only read the Bible, I can’t read Arabic.’ These questions used to be easier to answer, we had formulas. But those are not working any more. We just tell children ‘Don’t talk about religion in school.’ This is shaky ground now.”

“Some parents don’t even tell their children about Jesus, because they are scared they will go to school and say something wrong,” she said. “One street kid did not know anything except about the blasphemy law. When her mother was asked why she did not teach her daughter about Jesus instead of the blasphemy law, she replied, ‘If I tell her too much, she will talk about it on the street, and someone will kill her or charge her with blasphemy.’“

The street child, she said, was afraid to tell her what church she attended.

“She said the mullah in the shop behind us was listening, and as she said that, I saw the man nearly fall off his chair from trying to listen to us,” she said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Security Breach Could Endganger Seals Who Killed Bin Laden

Releasing operational details of Osama Bin Laden’s targeted killing was a breach of security that could endanger the men who carried out the mission, as well as their families, CNN reports.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday the Department of Defense is looking into ways to “pump up the security” for Navy SEAL’s who carried out the Osama bin Laden after they expressed concern for their safety, — and the safety of their families.

Gates, attending a town hall meeting in Camp Lejune, North Carolina, made the statement in response to a question by a Marine who asked what measures were being taken to protect “the identities and the lives” of the SEALs involved in the take-down of bin Laden in Pakistan a week ago.

The Marine’s question underscored sentiment in the US military and intelligence communities that identification of SEAL Team 6 as the team responsible for the mission signified an unprecedented breach of confidentiality.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



U.S. Says it Recovered Porn Collection From Osama Compound

The unofficial disclosure is the latest embarrassment to Bin Laden’s legacy.

An extensive collection of digital pornography was found inside Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistani compound, current and former U.S. officials told Reuters Friday.

The pornography was found among the thumb drives and other electronics recovered by U.S. soldiers who carried out the raid, the news agency reported, and consists of “modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive.”

The officials stressed that they do not know if the pornography belonged to Bin Laden, but that fact is likely to be lost in the shuffle for a story that lends so well to Twitter jokes and email forwards.

It is unclear whether the on-background leak comes with the blessing of the White House but, regardless, it becomes the latest in a string of Bin Laden details provided by the administration that undercuts the al-Qaida leader’s image abroad.

The news is far less damning than some of the fictional details that the White House initially circulated in the wake of Bin Laden’s death. Namely, that one of his wives was killed while he attempted to use her as cover from oncoming Navy SEALs. (The White House has since recanted that story, among others.)

Nor does it come with the visual power of the edited videos the U.S. released last weekend showing Bin Laden checking himself out on TV.

But the report of pornography isn’t going to make it any easier for Bin Laden sympathizers who want to remember the man as a warrior who was fighting the U.S. to the bitter end.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Far East


Did China Win the War on Terror?

John Feffer of the far left Institute for Policy Studies, believes that China is the main winner in the “War on Terror”

But perhaps the only country in the world that has benefited from the last decade of war against al-Qaeda is China, and it has benefitted big time. Beijing has watched the United States spend more than $3 trillion on the war on terrorism, devote its military resources to the Middle East, and neglect pretty much every other part of the globe (except where al-Qaeda and its friends hang out). The United States is now mired in debt, stuck in a recession, and paralyzed by partisan politics.

Over that same period, meanwhile, China has quickly become the second largest economy in the world. In 2001, Goldman Sachs predicted that the Chinese economy would rival that of Germany by 2011. Boy, was that a lowball estimate. Last month, the International Monetary Fund looked again into the crystal ball and announced that the Chinese economy would become the world’s largest in 2016.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific


Husband Celebrates Miracle as ‘Brain Dead’ Wife Wakes Up in Hospital

A woman who was diagnosed as being brain dead has recovered three days after her husband begged doctors to put in a breathing tube before switching off a ventilator at an Australian hospital, the Northern Territory News reported Wednesday.

Gloria Cruz, 56, underwent brain surgery after a tumor was discovered when she suffered a stroke on March 7 and was rushed to the Royal Darwin Hospital in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Doctors told her husband Tani Cruz, 51, the case was “hopeless” and she would probably die within 48 hours following the surgery.

After two weeks, a breathing tube was inserted in Mrs Cruz’s mouth and the ventilator was turned off. Hospital staff were stunned when she woke from her coma three days later.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa


American Jihadist Leads Pro Al-Qaida Rally in Somalia

An American fighting for an al-Qaida linked militant group in wartorn Somalia is threatening to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.

Omar Hammami, known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, or “the American,” said Wednesday that bin Laden’s death does not mean the end of attacks against U.S. interests.

Hammami is among hundreds of foreign fighters in the ranks of the al-Shabab, Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, that is trying to topple the country’s weak U.N.-backed government.

Al-Shabab carried out its first international attack last July in Uganda, killing 76 people watching the World Cup final in two bomb explosions.

Hammami grew up in the middle-class town of Daphne, Alabama, before joining the militants in 2007.

In a profile last year, The New York Times dubbed him “The Jihadist Next Door” because of his unlikely journey from a Southern Baptist upbringing to a key post in an Islamist guerrilla army.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Kenya: Barack Obama’s Grandmother Threatened by Al Qaeda

Security has been increased around the home of President Barack Obama’s step-grandmother in Kenya after an African al Qaeda branch issued a personal threat against her, police said today.

Kenyan police told ABC News they are patrolling round the clock after Al Shabaab, the Somalia-based branch of al Qaeda, threatened the life of Sarah Obama.

Though security had been added to the elder Obama’s house the day after bin Laden was killed in fear of reprisals, the number of patrolling officers has ballooned since Al Shabaab’s threat was issued. One police chief told ABC News he now had enough officers “to patrol the entire village.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Muslim-on-Christian Violence Expands in Africa

In Nigeria, pastor killed; in Egypt, Copts die

[WARNING: Disturbing content — see url for audio radio report.]

Violence against Christians in Muslim regions of Africa is on the rise, and advocates for religious freedom are expressing concern over the deaths of 17, including the family of a Nigerian pastor, as well as the deaths of a dozen Christians in Egypt.

International Christian Concern’s Nigeria specialist Jonathan Racho says there is no known motive for the Nigeria attack.

“Seventeen Christians were killed, including that pastor’s family, and we were not told the reason,” Racho said.

“This was a Christian village in a Muslim state. Christians have been attacked in the past and it’s a part of the campaign to drive Christians from the northern part of Nigeria,” Racho said of the attack in the northern village of Aurum.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Nigeria: Pastor Tells Dying Wife: Hold to Jesus, We’ll Meet Again

Testimony comes in aftermath of Muslim atrocities in Nigeria

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A Nigerian Christian pastor says he held his dying wife’s hands and told her, “Hold on to your faith in Jesus, and we shall meet and never part again” after an attack by Muslim criminals on their small village.

The account comes from writer Obed Minchakpu, who submitted the report to the Compass Direct news service, which specializes in reporting persecution of Christians worldwide.

Pastor James Musa Rike said his wife was on the ground after being shot by Muslim attackers and slashed with a machete in Kurum, Nigeria.

Dune James Rike looked into her husband’s tear-filled eyes and asked, “Is this the end between us, so we shall not be together again?”

Pastor James said he told his wife, 35, to remain faithful to Jesus.

[…]

Compass Direct reported Pastor Rike said the attackers tried to force their way into his home.

“I opened a back door, and we ran out into the dark night while the militants pursued us,” he said. “They shot my wife and two of our kids as they tried to escape.”

Minchakpu reported Pastor Rike said that after killing the two children, Faith James Rike and 1-year-old Fyali James Rike, the assailants cut his wife’s abdomen with a machete.

“I was shocked at what I saw,” he said. “I knew my wife would not last long, and the only thing I did was to encourage her to hold on to her faith in Jesus.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Latin America


New Book Details Chavez Involvement in Assassinations and Treachery

Computer files from 2008 show Colombian rebels trained Venezuelan government goons to kill opponents of Hugo Chavez’s regime, computer data indicated.

The New York Times said Tuesday the apparent proof came in the form of data found in a computer belonging to a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym FARC, who was killed in a 2008 raid.

The documents laid out a fairly tight relationship between Venezuela and FARC, a leftist force battling the pro-U.S. government in Bogota. The details are chronicled in “The FARC Files,” a new book released this week in London by the think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Immigration


1,247 Immigrants Have Landed in Lampedusa Today

(AGI) Agrigento — A total of 1,257 refugees, among them 167 women, some pregnant, and 21 minors have arrived today in Lampedusa on five fishing boats. They all came from Libya and are originally from countries in sub-Saharan Africa. They have accompanied to a refugee centre in Imbriacola and some to the former Loran base for identification procedures .

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



166 Land in Lampedusa

(AGI) Lampedusa — A boat with 166 immigrants on board arrived in Lampedusa at 7 this morning escorted by a financial police ship after launching an SOS while in the Sicily Channel. The refugees, including nine women and four children, come from Sub-saharan Africa. A plane of the financial police spotted three boats on their way towards the Italian coasts, while other two have just left Libya.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



416 Immigrants Land in Lampedusa Over Night

(AGI) Palermo — 416 persons arrived in Lampedusa on two different boats over night, bringing the total number of immigrants landing on the island in the past 24 hours to 1700.

One boat carried 198 refugees from Libya and Sub-saharan Africa, including 20 women and a child. The second boat transported 218 Tunisians including 5 women and a child.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Barroso to Copenhagen: Border Checks Are Illegal

One day after Berlin’s angry reaction, EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has warned Copenhagen that its decision to reinstate customs checks at borders is illegal under EU rules. The Danish government maintains the contrary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Barroso Says Denmark’s Decision Violates EU Treaty

(AGI) Brussels — Barroso said that Denmark’s plan to reintroduce border controls violates articles 21 and 22 of the Lisbon Treaty. Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, a spokesman for Commission president, Jose’ Manuel Barroso, said that a telephone conversation with Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, will be followed by a formal letter from Barroso.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Boat With 213 Refugees Lands Close to Agrigento

(AGI) Agrigento — A boat with 213 persons on board, including 10 women and 2 children, has arrived in the port of Licata (Agrigento). The refugees sailed off from Liba and come for Sub-saharan African countries.The boat was sighted a few miles off the coasts of Licata and was then escorted into the port by a Coast Guard patrol boat. All the passengers have been fed and then transported by bus to the reception tent within the Porto Empedocle complex.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Denmark Suspends Schengen Treaty

(AGI) Copenhagen — Denmark has suspended the Schengen treaty and re-introduced controls at its borders with Germany and Sweden. It was announced by the country’s Finance Minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Denmark Says Passport Checks Not Re-Introduced

(AGI) Brussels — Denmark denied having re-introduced passport checks, claiming it just strengthened customs controls.

Speaking on his arrival in Brussels to take part in an extraordinary meeting of European Interior Ministers on immigration and border controls, Danish Immigration Minister Soren Pind dismissed Europe’s concerns as “much ado about nothing”. Yesterday’s announcement by Danish authorities that customs controls would be re-introduced at its borders with Germany and Sweden came as a surprise, on the eve of the extraordinary meeting on the immigration emergency and possible changes to the Schengen Treaty.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Denmark: Suspending Schengen Sparks Debate

On the eve of a meeting at which the interior ministers of the EU are to discuss reforming the agreement on the free movement of people, Denmark announced on May 11 its intention to reinstate permanent controls at its borders with its European neighbours by early June.

Under the Schengen Agreement, Copenhagen cannot reinstate border controls as they once were, but may post customs officers at the border to carry out random vehicle checks. These checks are to be concentrated in ports, airports, trains, on the bridge that links Denmark to Sweden across the Oresund, and at the German border. The decision has provoked many reactions in Europe, beginning with the Danish press.

This measure is “contrary to the Danish spirit”, writes Jyllands-Posten in its editorial. The newspaper says it is the result of an agreement sealed between the Liberal-Conservative government and the Danish People’s Party (DF, far right populist). “Even if the DF is trying to play down the decision as an attempt to prevent beggars and criminals from entering the country and to help fight drug trafficking, the fact that there will once again be border posts and customs officials and police at the borders is a symbol of our refusal to accept that we are Europeans,” writes the newspaper, outraged. Jyllands-Posten also notes that the border controls are a barrier for many people in the region near Germany who cross the border to work. Far better, says the newspaper, would be strengthened cross-border police cooperation.

However, writes columnist Ralf Pittelkow “controls are to be limited” and should aim at providing “better control of weapons, drugs, smuggling, human trafficking, illegal immigration and criminals who want to get into Denmark”— a goal he describes as “reasonable” and impossible to achieve without border controls. Pitteklow calls the critics of the government “hysterical”, starting with those who denounce the “devastating” effects of reinstated controls or who imagine “long lines of lorries and desperate tourists” at the border. Likewise, “free movement within the EU would not be threatened, as trade, labour, capital, and travellers will hardly be affected.”

Taking an entirely different view, Giovanna Zincone, writing in La Stampa, draws a parallel between the attitudes of Europeans and those in the United States, where President Barack Obama, in a recent speech in El Paso on the Mexican border, said that his country “owes its position in the world to its ability to fuel its economic life with new talent and energy, and to immigration too.” The president reiterated his support of the Dream Act, proposed legislation that would grant citizenship to nearly 11 million illegal immigrants. “Today, Europe is afraid of immigrants,” writes Giovanna Zincone: “It is reluctant even to take in new, steady flows. Obama, in contrast, has shown openness, gratitude and trust. He has not forgotten the legal aspects, but he has not dramatised the situation, either […] He has spoken out because America knows it is a country of immigration and is proud of it. Europe, despite some hollow announcements, doesn’t want to accept it. And Europe is mistaken. In the last ten years the continent has surpassed the U.S. as a land of immigration.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Denmark Resumes Sweden Border Controls

Denmark decided on Wednesday to resume controls at its Swedish and German borders, prompting calls for an explanation from the European Commission warning against any challenge to the freedom of movement in Europe.

“We asked for a clarification, explanations from Danish authorities regarding this decision,” commission spokesperson Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen told AFP.

The EU’s executive arm, she said “will not accept any challenge to the principle of freedom of movement of goods and people in the European Union”.

Denmark vowed to follow rules under Europe’s passport-free Schengen travel area when it sends customs officers permanently at borders to conduct random checks on vehicles.

The new controls will enter into force within two to three weeks, Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said following an agreement between the government and the far-right.

The Danish decision came a day before EU interior ministers hold a special meeting in Brussels to discuss the possibility of temporarily restoring border controls within the EU amid fears of a wave of north African migrants.

The European Commission proposed last week to introduce a mechanism that would allow states to temporarily reinstate checkpoints during sudden surges in migration or if an EU country fails to control its frontier with non-EU nations.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Denmark: Neighbours: Move Toward Border Controls a “Scandal”

Germany and Sweden concerned over steps to implement stricter border controls

The Liberal-Conservative government yesterday came closer to making a deal with the Danish People’s Party (DF) to increase border controls around the country in exchange for DF’s support for its 2020 budget reforms.

In reaction, Swedish and German politicians objected that it was a “scandal” that the government was ready to chip away at the Schengen Agreement in order to win the DF’s support for its welfare reform.

Under the Europe’s common border agreement, people are allowed travel within the so-called Schengen area without passport checks at national borders.

Denmark joined the Schengen Agreement in 2001, but the Liberal-Conservative government, under pressure from the DF, is now moving to create more stringent border controls, effectively rolling back border conditions to a pre-2001 state.

“It’s a scandal that we in Europe are beginning to lock down our borders,” said the German Social Democratic MP Ulrike Rodust.

The news that Denmark was ready to tighten its borders was also met with dismay by Swedish politicians.

“I really hope Denmark will not do it,” Swedish Liberal MP Olle Schmidt told Politiken newspaper. “It goes against everything that the EU and the Nordic cooperation stand for.”

The Danish initiative to tighten control of its borders came at the same time as the European Parliament was debating whether or not to change the Schengen Agreement to allowing countries to strengthen border controls.

Italy and France have proposed a return to passport checks — in defiance of the Schengen Agreement — in reaction to the influx of refugees from politically unstable North African countries.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



EU Countries Scrap Open Borders to Halt Flood of Arab Refugees

The European dream of a continent without borders appeared dead last night.

A majority of EU countries voted to reimpose passport controls between countries — in response to fears they would be deluged by refugees from the revolutions in the Arab world.

Fifteen out of the 22 EU countries who currently operate the Schengen Agreement said they would be in favour of its demise at a meeting of home affairs ministers in Brussels.

The treaty, signed in 1985 in the Dutch town of Schengen, created a European area with no internal borders which covers more than 400million people in most EU countries, as well as four others outside the bloc — Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

Of the EU’s 27 members, 22 operate it. Britain and Ireland have opted out, while Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus are preparing to implement it.

The UK is not part of the system, but it could benefit from its end because the reimposition of passport controls could make it harder for illegal immigrants to find their way through Europe towards their final destination — Britain.

Tory backbencher Philip Hollobone said: ‘It looks like the European dream of a continent without borders is going backwards.

‘This is a good thing — it makes more sense to reinstate national borders so we can properly control immigration and organised crime.

‘And it means it should be much harder for illegal immigrants to get as far as Calais.’

At a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, interior ministers agreed to a ‘radical revision’ of Schengen.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]



EU Slams Denmark Over Plans to Reintroduce Border Checks

Denmark’s decision to reintroduce permanent border controls has met with criticism from the European Union, which sees the move as a challenge to the principle of freedom of movement. Copenhagen insists the new checks are compatible with Schengen rules.

One of the unexpected outcomes of the Arab Spring in North Africa has been a debate within the European Union about the Schengen zone of passport-free travel. A number of countries, worried about an influx of refugees from Tunisia and Libya, have called for a reform of Schengen rules to make it easier to reimpose border controls.

But now the EU feels Denmark has gone too far with its unilateral decision Wednesday to tighten frontier checks. The European Commission has demanded an explanation from the Danish government for its plans to reintroduce permanent controls on its national borders with Germany and Sweden.

The European Commission “will not accept” any challenge to the principle of freedom of movement of goods and people in the European Union, Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen — herself from Denmark — told the news agency AFP. A spokesman for the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said that “unilateral” actions by member countries should be avoided.

On Wednesday, Denmark announced plans to set up customs booths at land border crossings, harbors and airports. The border controls are supposed to be introduced within two to three weeks.

“Over the past few years we have seen an increase in trans-border crime, and this is designed to curb the problem,” said Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen, who insisted the controls were compatible with Schengen rules.

Populist Pressure

The move came in response to pressure from the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party (DPP), which had been stalling on approving the government’s 2020 economic plan. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s center-right minority government relies on the DPP to pass legislation in parliament. Rasmussen’s government agreed on the move Wednesday together with Pia Kjærsgaard, the head of the DPP.

“Permanent controls” will soon be reintroduced at a number of Danish-German border crossings, including the main one at Padborg near the city of Flensburg. The facilities at the Danish-German border will include “new electronic equipment and number-plate identifiers,” Hjort Frederiksen said.

In recent weeks, Kjærsgaard had called for efforts to halt “criminals” from Eastern Europe and economic migrants who were trying to enter the country illegally.

Kjærsgaard made it clear that German holidaymakers traveling to the Danish coast would not be targeted. “Most will be waved through with a friendly smile,” she said.

Currently, Schengen countries are only allowed to reintroduce border controls on a temporary basis if there is a “serious threat” to public order or internal security, such as preventing hooligans from traveling to sporting events.

Martin Schulz, a German politician who is chairman of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, accused the Danish government of populism. A possible refugee problem in North Africa can not be solved at the German-Danish border, Schulz told the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, saying that there was no security threat that would justify reintroducing border controls. In separate comments to the regional radio station HR-Info, Schulz said it was unacceptable for “any government to suspend the basic freedoms of European citizens so quickly.”

‘Exceptional Migration Pressure’

EU interior ministers are meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss possible reforms to the Schengen rules. The Danish initiative is sure to be a key issue on the agenda.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also reiterated his demand for more flexible rules on border controls. “It should be possible in the future to be able to respond flexibly to exceptional migration pressure,” Friedrich told the newspaper Die Welt, referring to the influx of migrants from North Africa. According to Friedrich, it should be possible to have “temporary border controls which are adapted to the situation.”

Commissioner Malmström has also proposed making it easier to temporarily reintroduce border controls within the Schengen area, if there is a sudden influx of refugees or if a country is unable to control the EU’s external border. France in particular has called for such a move.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently signed a joint letter to the EU to demand that the Schengen agreement be amended to take into consideration “exceptional” situations such as the current influx of immigrants from North Africa. That initiative came after weeks of squabbling between the two countries. France had sharply criticized Italy for issuing temporary residency permits to around 20,000 Tunisian migrants who came to Italy following the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in mid-January.

The Schengen agreement was originally signed in 1985 in the Luxembourg town of that name and went into effect in 1995. A total of 22 EU members are currently part of the system, as are Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. Britain and Ireland are not, however, members.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



EU Warns Against Unilateral Suspension of Schengen

(AGI) Brussels — The EU warned against unilateral decisions by individual states to suspend the Schengen treaty. In a pause in the work of the extraordinary Home Affairs Committee on the immigration emergency, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom advised against such actions as they could “set off a chain reaction.” Malmstrom emphasised that the morning’s debate had led to “a strong unanimity” on the need “to safeguard Schengen,” and also if necessary “that procedures are clear to avoid unilateral decisions.” .

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Greece Opposes Suspension of Schengen, Minister Stresses

BRUSSELS — Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis on Thursday stressed Athens’ support for any proposal that strengthens the Schengen treaty but also its rejection of any “thoughts that reverse Community entitlements”.

Speaking at the EU justice and home affairs ministers’ council held in Brussels, he urged his counterparts to look forward to deeper European integration and not “back to a pre-EU era”.

Papoutsis said it was positive that the problems caused by migration flows at the EU’s external borders were recognised as a European and not just national problem, requiring “real solidarity between member-states”. He called for ways to further enhance the practical implementation of the principle of solidarity and a just distribution of the burden between member-states, noting that any other approach could only lead to harmful and disintegrative phenomena that would act against the best interests of the EU and its citizens.

He called for measures that would boost the efforts of member-states to guard the EU’s external borders and promote better policing in order to deter illegal entry.

The minister stressed that weight should be placed on strengthening control of external borders and tackling any shortfalls and not on ‘punishing’ member-states that were on the outskirts of the EU.

Papoutsis also underlined that creating an area without internal borders and the free movement of European citizens within the Schengen area was one of the fundamental principles of the EU and the most basic pillar for European integration that had to be protected at all costs.

He noted that proposals for mechanisms to suspend participation in specific sections and restore controls at internal borders essentially changed the entire structure of the Schengen entitlements and created issues of agreement with the EU Treaty itself and the fundamental principles that this envisages. Such a suspension mechanism might even be consider contrary to EU law, he warned.

The Greek minister was in favour of expanding the powers of Frontex, both in terms of preventing the entry of illegal immigrants and ensuring their immediate repatriation.

The Greek side further stressed the need for a solution to the issue of third-country nationals that were illegally resident in the EU but whose removal was currently not possible for technical or other reasons. Among these he suggested further strengthening community policy for voluntary and mandatory repatriation and ensuring implementation of re-admission agreements.

Among the minister’s suggestions was a common European policy for migration and asylum that would reduce the burden of increased migration flows for member-states on the external borders, one that would redistribute illegal migrants to member-states based on population, economic and geographic criteria.

He stressed the need to revise current regulations in the Dublin II treaty that placed the burden of coping with migrant flows exclusively on the shoulders of member-states on the external borders of the EU, which were called on to shoulder the burden for the EU as a whole.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Hundreds More Migrants Land From North Africa

Lampedusa, 13 May (AKI) — A people smuggling boat with 166 migrants aboard reached Italy’s tiny southernmost Lampedusa island from Libya on Friday. Italy’s coastguard and navy are tracking four other migrant boats expected to reach Lampedusa from North Africa transporting at least 1,000 people.

The migrants who reached Lampedusa included nine women and four small children. Four people were taken to hospital for checks but the rest were said to be in good health.

A total of 129 migrants aged 15-17 were due to be transferred on Friday from Lampedusa to youth communities in Sicily and the Italian mainland. They include a Nigerian girl and 11 Tunisians.

The Italian branch of Save the Children said it wanted Italian authorities to cooperate with the charity and keep it informed on how these and other vulnerable youngsters arriving from North Africa will be taken care of.

Close to 30,000 migrants have reached Lampedusa since January amid unrest that has spread across North Africa.

Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni on Thursday levelled fresh charges of ‘inaction’ towards the European Union and its member states over the humanitarian emergency in the southern Mediterranean.

Despite promises made last month, the EU borders agency Frontex had not even started discussing the possibilities of patrolling the Tunisian coast together with the authorities in Tunisia, Maroni said at a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels.

On Tuesday, Maroni warned that 10,000 migrants had already reached Italy from Libya since a bilateral pact between the two countries was suspended after the conflict began in the North African country in mid-February.

“If the war (between government forces and pro-democracy rebels) does not end, we’ll soon have 50,000 and we’ll have to keep them all,” he said, speaking in Paris where he was attended a G8 meetingof interior ministers.

Maroni on Wednesday presented his Tunisian counterpart Habib Essid with four patrol boats to be used to stop migrants from leaving for Italy. Under a pact signed in March, Italy can deport 60 Tunisian migrants a day.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Interior Minister: EU Didn’t Act Promptly on Immigration

(AGI) Brussels — Interior Minister Maroni said the EU should implement the decisions made, but it has so far failed to do so. Speaking on his arrival at an extraordinary EU Council meeting on immigration and the Schengen Treaty, Maroni said the EU should “implement the decisions made for example at the last meeting of Internal Affairs and Justice Ministers one month ago”. He went on to say that “Frontex should have promptly started talks with Tunisia to conduct joint patrolling missions: one month on, nothing has happened”. “ It’s just a matter of implementing the decisions made, but unfortunately this is not done as promptly as you would expect in such cases” the Interior Minister said.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Interior Minister: No Help From Europe With Immigration

(AGI) Novara — Interior minister Maroni said that “the EU is not helping Italy with immigration, nor with other issues. All the EU does is set limits and restrictions”. Maroni said so speaking at an electoral rally in Novara.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Is Conservative Student Group Preaching White Nationalism?

Advocates for ‘defense of the Western homeland’ become a campus lightning rod

A member of Youth for Western Civilization spoke at a rally last weekend in Cologne, Germany, that also drew representatives from several right-wing European groups that have been assailed for extremist views.

By Alex Johnson Reporter

Last weekend, several hundred right-wing political activists gathered for a rally in the German city of Cologne to protest the “Islamization” of the West and immigration policies that they contend threaten the “Western culture.”

They included representatives of Vlaams Belang, a Belgian organization that changed its name and liberalized some of its positions after it was convicted of racism in 2004 by a Belgian court; the Freedom Party of Austria, a right-wing party formerly led by the late Jörg Haider, who was often denounced for seeming to praise some Nazi policies; and the National Democratic Party of Germany, which is classified by the Bavarian government as a right-wing extremist institution.

Also represented was a small but growing nonprofit U.S. organization called Youth for Western Civilization. The group, which bills itself as “America’s right-wing youth movement,” bannered a photo of the Cologne rally on its website this week, accompanying an account that declared that “we will not falter nor fail in our attempt for the defense of the Western homeland.”

Youth for Western Civilization, which has chapters at only about 10 U.S. campuses, is just one of hundreds of conservative student organizations around the nation, far smaller than better-known college-based groups like Young Americans for Freedom and College Republicans.

But its influence is bigger than its size, drawing the attention of large numbers of admirers — and critics — since it began organizing three years ago. Thanks to its discipline in advocating a small number of simply stated positions and a new-media-savvy communications strategy, YWC may be radically refreshing the template for political organizing in American higher education.

YWC “popped up out of nowhere to become pretty important,” said Heidi Beirich, research director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal human rights watchdog group. The SPLC, which plans to examine YWC and its positions in a report next month, has previously criticized YWC, documenting what it says are its ties to the white nationalist movement.

Preserving the ‘high culture of Europe’ YWC’s president, Kevin DeAnna, 28, a graduate student in political science at American University in Washington, vigorously denies that his organization is discriminatory in any way. He said characterizations of the groups at the Cologne rally as “suspected of extremist activities” had “a faint Orwellian ring that makes me fear the German government far more.”

“I am glad we have some contacts with European groups,” he said in an email interview. “… One of the absolutely critical things that separates us from any other conservative groups is that we consider what happens in Europe (and other Western nations such as Canada and Australia) to be just as important as what happens in America.”

Initially, YWC was a response to “left-wing indoctrination, multicultural silliness and savage abuse of conservative and moderate students” at American colleges, DeAnna said.

Since then, it has honed a strategy of provoking debate over three carefully cultivated but politically potent issues: illegal immigration, multiculturalism and preservation of America’s European cultural heritage.

In doing so, it has provoked sometimes-heated debate:

The group first came to widespread attention two years ago, when it tried to host a speech at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill by former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who ran for president in 2008 on a platform that advocated overhauling U.S. immigration policy. Protesters, some of them shouting that Tancredo was a racist, blocked the speech; during the protest, a window was shattered and police used pepper spray to restore order.

The university apologized to Tancredo, who returned and spoke without notable incident last year.

Last June, DeAnna was invited to speak at an anti-immigration rally in Phoenix, where his remarks received wide circulation on YouTube (below) and in posts on right-wing websites. Last month, the YWC chapter at Washington State University in Pullman erected a symbolic “border fence” festooned with signs reading “No Trespassing” to demonstrate its opposition to illegal immigration. The event drew several dozen protesters and some regional and national news coverage.

Events like those — and the group’s first national conference, scheduled next month in Washington — are designed to attract attention to YWC’s defense of “Western culture,” which it defines as “the social norms, values, practices, and high culture of Europe and those places settled predominantly by the peoples from that area.”

Liberal groups like the SPLC contend that language like that is white nationalist code — rhetoric calibrated to sound non-controversial to potential mainstream conservative donors while sending a message of solidarity to right-wing extremists.

“They try to look as though they’re a version of the College Republicans — that’s the face that they present to the world,” Beirich said. But for those “in the know,” she said, the message is that “white people are superior to other groups, smarter, more democratic, less criminal.”

Contrary to some media reports — and there have been many, because the group is very good at attracting media attention — the SPLC has not listed YWC in its compendium of “hate groups.” But Beirich said her organization does consider YWC to be “the most far-right college group” in America, “much more to the right than any other college conservative organization.”

That characterization sits just fine with DeAnna, whose group embraces the “right wing” label even though it’s often used as an epithet in American politics.

“We really don’t care about that,” DeAnna said. “If the SPLC or whoever wants to use YWC to raise money — whatever.”

While acknowledging that YWC “focuses on the issues of racial preferences (and) extreme multiculturalism,” he rejected the idea that the group is racist. The group’s website says students who share its beliefs are welcome to join without regard to race, religion or national origin. While some authors on the site complain about “privileges” afforded to illegal and even legal immigrants, others take pains to say they support equal rights for legal immigrants “who play by the rules.”

DeAnna also denies that he once wrote hard-right articles for a website published by the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, which the SPLC listed as a hate group at the time.

The alleged articles are not on the Web, and while several groups critical of YWC have published what they say are copies from since-deleted archives, msnbc.com could not independently verify that they were authentic.

“A lot of our opponents seem to just make things up,” DeAnna said. “Every time right-wingers want to talk about immigration, racial preferences or multiculturalism, leftists respond with violence and repression.”

New tactics for an old movement Conservative activism on college campuses — especially opposition to what some conservatives see as a liberal bias permeating American institutions of higher learning — is nothing new. Prominent conservative leaders have vaulted onto the national stage from campuses since at least the early 1950s, when Russell Kirk published his doctoral dissertation, “The Conservative Mind,” and William F. Buckley Jr. published “God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom.’“ Those books are widely considered wellsprings of modern American political conservatism.

More recently, college activism laid the groundwork for the careers of such prominent conservative figures as Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s political strategist; Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition and adviser to numerous Republican candidates; and Grover Norquist, president of the anti-tax Americans for Tax Reform.

DeAnna has something else in common with Rove, Reed and Norquist — they were all trained by the Leadership Institute, the influential foundation that for more than 30 years has prepared conservative activists for jobs in politics, education and government. Dozens of members of Congress — including six elected in November — and tens of thousands of state legislators, congressional staffers and campaign operatives have passed through its doors over the years, the institute says.

DeAnna is the institute’s deputy field director, supervising field staffers in the Northeast at the same time he runs YWC.

The connection is a natural one. Morton C. Blackwell, the institute’s founder and president — like DeAnna — regards America’s colleges as captives of the “liberal establishment,” which he contends is determined to “squelch conservative activity” on campuses.

Otherwise, both men said, there is no formal connection between the Leadership Institute and YWC. In an interview, Blackwell sought to downplay the importance of YWC, stressing that it is one of the smallest of the more than 1,400 conservative campus groups that receive organizational help and training from the institute.

Even so, Beirich, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it is odd that the institute would employ DeAnna, because it is seen as a pillar of mainstream American conservatism, while “YWC is racialized.”

“They may be far-right conservatives, but they’re not racialist,” she said of the Leadership Institute. “That (connection) seems like dangerous ground.”

Blackwell said criticism like that was immaterial, because “the average student has never heard of the SPLC.”

As for DeAnna, he was even more dismissive, saying he and his colleagues have more important matters to worry about.

“The death of the West is happening,” he said. “If that is true, what else matters?”

[Return to headlines]



Migrants: 5 More Boats Are Steaming Toward Lampedusa

(AGI) Rome — There are at least five boats full of migrants crossing the Strait directed toward Sicily. A Libyan fishing boat landed this morning in Lampedusa with 220 migrants. The boats en route should carry about one thousand people.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



More Than 500 Migrants Are Reportedly on One of the Boats

(AGI) Lampedusa — During the night, the Guardia di Finanza’s ATR 42 sighted 6 boats full of migrants off the coast of Lampedusa. One of the boats has already made landfall with 166 persons of sub-Saharan origin (including 9 women and 4 minors), escorted by the Coast Guard Patrol boat “Paolini”. The other 5 boats (one of which might be carrying over 500 persons) will reach land after 10:00 am. One of the boats was reached by the Guardia di Finanza’s SS Vitali, which will escort it into the port.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Netherlands: Minority Groups Protest at Nationality Rule Changes

Government plans to tighten up the regulations for acquiring Dutch nationality will make a ‘large number of migrants in the Netherlands second class citizens’, according to ethnic minority organisations.

Home affairs minister Piet Hein Donner wants to make a salary of at least the minimum wage and two years’ employment experience or higher education part of the requirements.

But according to LOM, an umbrella group representing eight organisations, the changes mean a large number of ethnic minority youths will be unable to take Dutch nationality, even though they have lived here for years.

‘This conflicts with the principle of equality,’ LOM said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Obama Invokes Bible to Push Amnesty

Immigration reform is a moral imperative, and so it’s worth seeking greater understanding from our faith. As it is written in the Book of Deuteronomy [10:19], ‘Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ To me, that verse is a call to show empathy to our brothers and our sisters; to try and recognize ourselves in one another.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]



Over 550 Migrants Arrive in Lampedusa, More on Way

Coast guards hope boat at sea is one that launched SOS signal

(ANSA) — Rome, May 13 — Over 550 migrants from North Africa arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on three different boats on Friday and hundreds more are on the way in other vessels.

Italian coast guards are trying to establish whether a boat near the island carrying around 200 refugees is the same one that launched an SOS call in the night before all trace of it was lost.

Lampedusa is the destination migrant boats from North Africa head to as it is nearer to Tunisia than Italy.

Most of the around 30,000 people to have landed in Italy this year following unrest in North Africa arrived there, causing a major humanitarian crisis on the island for weeks before a system was organised for relocating them.

It is estimated that more than 800 others have lost their lives in the Channel of Sicily in 2011, including at least 150 in a single boat wreck early in April. The majority of the migrants have come from Tunisia, although the flow from that country has been largely stemmed by an aid-and-assistance agreement Italy reached with the new government in Tunis.

But increasing numbers of migrants are now coming from conflict-hit Libya, many originating from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Italy suspects Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is now using people-trafficking as a weapon against Italy for being part of an international alliance that is supporting Benghazi-based rebels.

The migrant crisis has caused diplomatic friction between Italy and its European neighbours, especially France.

Italy has accused its European partners of not doing enough to help before angering them by issuing many of the migrants with temporary residence visas that enabled them to move freely within the 25-state Schengen area.

The tension has subsided after Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed at a bilateral summit this month to seek changes to the Schengen Treaty to allow for the “temporary reinstatement” of state borders in certain cases.

These changes were accepted at the EU level.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Over 600 Migrants Land at Lampedusa & Another Boat Arriving

(AGI) Agrigento — Three boats carrying over 600 migrants landed at Lampedusa this morning. After the first boat with 166 people, two more arrived with the assistance of the Coast Guard. One of them carried 256 people, including 16 women and three minors, while the other had just under 200 people on board. In the meantime the Coast Guard is guiding a fourth boat carrying a few hundred people to Lampedusa. It is the same boat that warned of its presence last night via satellite phone.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



Over 1,200 Migrants Arrive in Lampedusa, Gaddafi Blamed

Frattini says Libyan regime using ‘criminal instrument’

(ANSA) — Rome, May 13 — Italy accused besieged Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi of people-trafficking on Friday after around 1,200 migrants from North Africa arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on six different boats.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told Corriere della Sera’s website that the migrant arrivals were a “criminal instrument used by Gaddafi’s regime” against Italy for being part of an international alliance that is supporting Benghazi-based rebels.

Frattini said he expected the regime’s alleged role in organising people-trafficking to be included in a dossier the International Criminal Court is preparing on Gaddafi. How deadly crossing the Channel of Sicily can be was highlighted by United Nations refugee agency UNHCR Friday, which estimated 1,200 people had died in the Mediterranean this year trying to flee conflict-hit Libya. Most of the around 30,000 people to have landed in Italy this year following unrest in North Africa have arrived in Lampedusa, a favourite destination as it is nearer to Tunisia than Italy.

At first the majority of them came from Tunisia.

But the flow from that country has been largely stemmed by an agreement Italy reached with the new government in Tunis offering aid and assistance in exchange for stiffer maritime checks and repatriations.

It is still not clear whether the six vessels that landed in Lampedusa on Friday included one that launched an SOS call in the night before all trace of it was lost.

NATO said it had rescued another boat carrying around 150 people that was in grave difficulty during the night near Tripoli. The migrant crisis has caused diplomatic friction between Italy and its European neighbours, especially France.

Italy has accused its European partners of not doing enough to help before angering them by issuing many of the migrants with temporary residence visas that enabled them to move freely within the 25-state Schengen area.

The tension has subsided after Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed at a bilateral summit this month to seek changes to the Schengen Treaty to allow for the “temporary reinstatement” of state borders in certain cases.

These changes were accepted at the European level.

But Italy still feels it has been largely left alone to handle the problem and Frattini and Interior Minister Roberto Maroni both called on the EU to do more Friday.

“A month ago Europe promised initiatives that still have not been adopted and refugees continue to arrive from Libya,” Maroni said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Swiss Minister in Brussels for Refugee Talks

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga is in Brussels on Thursday for a special meeting about proposed changes to the Schengen rules on passport-free travel.

The Swiss minister will join European Union interior ministers to discuss the temporary introduction of border controls to cope with an influx of North African asylum seekers.

They are looking for a way to introduce the temporary reintroduction of border controls while upholding Schengen law. Currently, it allows the 25 participating nations to perform border controls in the event of a serious threat to public order or national security.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the media in Berlin on Wednesday that the freedom of movement of European citizens should not to be restricted in any way.

The agenda on Thursday also includes discussion of the distribution of 1,000 refugees from war-torn countries.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



The Amnesty Bandwagon Rides Again

The public relations campaign for President Obama’s latest revival of “immigration reform” makes one thing crystal clear: This is not, and never has been, about homeland security. This is not, and never has been, about economic security. It’s about political security, plain and cynical.

In conjunction with Tuesday’s renewed White House push in Texas for a “new pathway to citizenship” for millions of illegal immigrants, disgruntled Latino activists are ratcheting up their radical anti-enforcement rhetoric. Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez — a persistent critic on Obama’s left flank — lambasted federal workplace enforcement raids this weekend. On Sunday, he repeated his hyperbolic attacks on homeland security agents “terrorizing” neighborhoods and ripping babies from the breasts of nursing moms. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made no public effort to defend her employees.

On campuses across the country, unhappy ethnic college student groups have turned up the heat on Democrats to resurrect the “DREAM Act” nightmare for the 12th time in a decade. The legislation — persistently rejected by a bipartisan majority on Capitol Hill — would provide illegal aliens (not just teenagers, but students up to age 35) federal education access and benefits, plus a conditional pass from deportation and a special path toward green cards and U.S. citizenship for themselves and unlimited relatives.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Two Fishing Boats With 635 Immigrants Rescued Off Lampedusa

(AGI) Agrigento — Another 635 refugees who sailed from Libya on two aging fishing vessels have arrived in the port of Lampedusa on Coast Guard vessels a little after 3 p.m. The vessels were sinking and the immigrants were moved to Coast Guard boats. The first fishing boat carried about 142 people while the second one carried a further 493 immigrants, all moved to three Coast Guard boats and three more from the Financial Police. There were many women and children on both boats, some of the women are pregnant and are now receiving medical assistance. The other migrants have been handed over to the police to be taken to a welcome centre. Since 7 a.m. this morning over 1,200 refugees have arrived on the island ..

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]



UK: Mass Immigration ‘Has Made the UK’s Poor Even Poorer’

Ministers drew a link for the first time yesterday between large-scale immigration and rising levels of poverty among low-paid workers.

Iain Duncan Smith said that Labour’s open door to migration meant tens of thousands more people were chasing unskilled jobs — and that in turn meant many gave up on work for a life on benefits.

The Work and Pensions Secretary named immigration as one of the causes of rising distress among low-skilled workers after the latest official breakdown showed working-age adult poverty has reached its highest level in 50 years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars


Soros Group Behind Attack on Boehner’s Catholicism

A Washington Post story about Catholic professors challenging Rep. John Boehner’s Catholic faith with an open letter to the House Speaker ignores the role of one of the key signers in a George Soros-funded group.

The letter to Boehner says, “Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress.” Ignoring the Catholic tradition of subsidiarity, or decentralized government, and voluntarism, the letter claims Boehner’s votes against expansion of the federal welfare state are anti-Catholic.

Letter signer Stephen F. Schneck of the Catholic University of America (CUA) is a board member of the Soros-funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG). Because of the significant funding the group has received from Soros, an atheist, CACG has been called a “fake Catholic” group designed to undermine official Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality and promote Obama Administration Big Government policies. The former CACG executive director, Alexia Kelley, now works for the Obama Administration.

A major financial backer of the ACLU, Soros supports such causes as drug legalization, the rights of “sex workers” and felons, euthanasia, radical feminism, abortion rights, and homosexual rights.

In addition to helping organize the protest against Boehner, Schneck recently hosted two socialists on the CUA campus at a one-sided forum on how and why the Catholic Church should be promoting liberal and pro-union social policies.

[…]

Hiding behind the mantle of being an academic and a professor, Schneck, director of CUA’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR), makes no secret of his anti-conservative views on many social issues. He was the host of a recent CUA event featuring socialist John Sweeney, former President of the AFL-CIO, who argued that Jesus Christ was pro-union.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

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