News Feed 20110611

Financial Crisis
» Are We Becoming a Nation of Thieves?
» China Economy at Risk of ‘Hard Landing’ After 2013
» Greece: Workers Protest Against Troika
» Obama’s Inflation
» Ron Paul Says Inflation Will Hit 50 Percent
» What Does it All Mean
» You Don’t Have to Accept the Choices Your Masters Give You
 
USA
» Anthony Weiner to Enter Treatment Center and Seek Leave From House
» Concern About Rise of Islam is Bigotry?
» Muslim Weightlifter’s Wish to Dress Modestly Triggers Debate
» Oklahoma: Norman Mosque Project Moving Forward, Officials Say
» The Smell of Politics Brings Out the Worst in Some People
» Tom Tancredo: Dangerous Deficit: Civics Education
» Willing Accomplices: A Book Review
 
Europe and the EU
» Denmark Customs Control Plan Stalls
» Germany Has Too Many Housewives, EU Warns
» Israeli Gas: After Russia and US Comes France
» Italy: Discovering the Lesser-Known Wonders of Italian Wine
» Italy Backs Ban Ki-Moon Second Term
» Italy: Carmine Amato, One of the 100 Most Wanted, Arrested
» Society: Population in Cyprus Up 41% by 2060, Says Eurostat
» Spain: 60% Spaniards Against Nuclear Energy
» Sweden:16 Years for Gothenburg Woman’s ‘Ruthless’ Killing
» UK: Channel 4 Presenter Quits After Bosses Say: Your Hair’s Scruffy
» UK: Heroin Dealer Spared Jail to Go on Transplant List After Innovative Heart Surgery Saves His Life
» UK: It’s Time This Government Grew Up Over Climate Change, Says Nigel Lawson
» UK: Radioactive Mushrooms Contaminated in Chernobyl Disaster Seized at British Port
» US Defence Chief: Europe May No Longer be Worth Defending
 
Balkans
» Serbia: Italy FM: Deserves Candidate Status Before End 2011
 
North Africa
» Egypt: ENI to Develop Exploration Projects, Investing $3bln in 2011-2012
» Egyptian Woman Tells of ‘Virginity Tests’
» Revolt: Al Husseini Blogger, Web Not Behind the Revolutions
» Tunisia: HRW: Official Arrested for Reporting Police Abuse
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» PA: “If I Forget Thee, Oh Jerusalem” First Said by Crusader
» Scottish Boycott Leader Defends Fogel Killers
» The Naksa Border Invasion — Why it Failed
» White House Seeks Israeli Agreement to Negotiate on 1967 Lines
 
Middle East
» Bahrain: Opposition Groups Call on Iran to Intervene
» First Russian Orthodox Church in the Arabian Peninsula Consecrated
» Italy-Turkey: Book Studies Common Period in History 1919-22
» Jordan: Demonstrations in Amman Against Military Courts
» ‘Nuke Fears’ As Tensions Rise Among Islamic Nations
» Security Forces, Gunmen Fight in Restive Yemeni Province
» Yemeni Regime Kills 21 Al-Qaeda Terrorists
 
Caucasus
» Belgrade and Baku Find Common Interest in Fight Against Separatism
 
South Asia
» Nepal: New Criminal Code to Stop Conversions to Christianity
» Pakistan: Punjab: Acquittal for 70 Muslim Extremists on Trial for the Gojra Massacre
 
Far East
» China, Japan, US: Rising Dragon, Aging Samurai, Bleeding Eagle
» Dalai Lama: “I Am a Marxist”
» Dispute Between Vietnam and China Escalates Over Competing Claims in South China Sea
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Pastor, Church Official Shot Dead in Nigeria
» Source: Top Al Qaeda Operative Killed in Somalia
» UK Aid Cash Helped African Dictator Buy Himself a £30m Jet
 
Latin America
» Brazil: Italy ‘Temporarily’ Recalls Ambassador After Terrorist Set Free
» Former Extremist Battisti Released and Plans Autobiography
 
Immigration
» 1,450 Migrants Arrive in Lampedusa Within a Few Hours
» Britain Handed Out 204,000 Passports to Foreign Nationals, Latest Figures Reveal
» Carnegie Likely to Welcome Mosque
» Citizenship Granted Mainly to Moroccans in EU
» Fearing Influx of Migrants, France Brings Back Border Checkpoints
» France: No Citizenship for Algerian Who ‘Does Not Integrate’
» Ian V. Macdonald is a Distinguished Canadian Diplomat Who Opposes the Covert Program
» Ireland: Shatter Offers Refuge to Libyans
» Libya: Fleeing to Tunisia Continues, Even Across Desert
» Tunisia: PM: 471,000 Refugees Have Arrived
» Tunisia: Almost 500,000 Refugees, It’s an Emergency
 
Culture Wars
» Israel: Tel Aviv Celebrates Gay Parade
» UK: Christian Sacked After Abortion Leaflet Row
» UK: Woman Inspector ‘Humiliated’ By Failing Riot Test Wins Up to £30k

Financial Crisis


Are We Becoming a Nation of Thieves?

A Gallup Poll released last week claims that roughly half of Americans believe “the government should enact heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth in the U.S.”

This is truly shameful. Could anything be more crass? When I was growing up, government redistribution of wealth was known as “communism.” Everybody laughed at Khrushchev for predicting, “Your grandchildren will live under communism.” (Ironically enough, his grandchildren won’t!) But according to Gallup, “a solid majority of Americans, 57%, believe money and wealth in the U.S. should be more evenly distributed among the people.” Looks like Nikita knew which way the wind was blowing, doesn’t it?

Aside from the poll revealing an abysmal ignorance of how wealth is generated, a more important issue looms larger than that. We call ourselves Christians, most of us: but let us get a whiff of someone else’s money, and we trample God’s Commandments.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s.

But half of us believe it’s all right for the government to steal, as long as the politicians share the plunder with us. And we believe such a thing because our exalted leaders—not just the brigands occupying public office, but our so-called educators, our “news” media, and even a great number of our theologically-challenged churchmen—have inflamed us with a spirit of covetousness. How many alarmist ravings has The New York Times published on “income inequality”—as if there were such a thing as “income equality”?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



China Economy at Risk of ‘Hard Landing’ After 2013

China faces the risk of a “hard landing” after 2013 as efforts to boost growth through investment lead to excess capacity, said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the financial crisis. “China is now relying increasingly not just on net exports but on fixed investment” which has climbed to about 50 percent of gross domestic product, Roubini said in Singapore yesterday. “Down the line, you are going to have two problems: a massive non-performing loan problem in the banking system and a massive amount of overcapacity is going to lead to a hard landing.”

The nation faces a 60 percent chance of a banking crisis by mid-2013 in the aftermath of record lending and surging property prices, according to Fitch Ratings. A record $2.7 trillion of loans extended over two years has pushed property prices in China to all-time highs even as authorities set price ceilings, demanded higher deposits and limited second-home purchases. China’s current challenge is to maintain growth and curb price gains ahead of a leadership change next year, Roubini said. Officials may use administrative steps and price controls as well as raising rates further and allowing currency appreciation if inflation becomes a bigger problem, he said.

: no previous donation

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Greece: Workers Protest Against Troika

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JUNE 9 — “No, we are not selling” is the slogan to be used by thousands of Greek workers who today will be taking into the streets of the large cities to protest “the blackmail of demands made by the troika”, as claims a statement by GSEE, one of the two largest Greek unions gathering together private sector workers which has called a 24-hour strike for today that even all public sector employees are taking part in. At 11 am a demonstration has been scheduled in Clathmonos Square, one of the main ones in the capital. ADEDY, the public sector union, plans to refrain from working today from 11 am until the end of the workday, while PAME, the union with links to Greece’s Communist Party, has planned a demonstration for the same time in another part of the capital, the central Omonias Square. Taking part in today’s strike are bank employees and those in enterprises in which the state holds shares: the electricity company Deh, the now-privatised telephone company Ote and Eydap, the state water enterprise, among the first companies on the list to be privatised. Hospital staff will be on strike from 10 am to 3 pm while a demonstration is being held in front of the Health Ministry. The personnel of Ike, the Greek social security institute, will be on strike today and tomorrow with a 24-hour protest. In the transport sector, all workers on all public transport will be on strike for a number of hours, leading to major problems for the population. Piraeus port workers have called a 48-hour strike for today and tomorrow. The demonstrations will continue until June 15, the day on which a general strike will take place after being called by both of the country’s largest unions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Obama’s Inflation

The Obama administration does not seem concerned with addressing the dire issue of inflation caused by its overspending and out of control money printing.

I enjoy shopping at my neighborhood grocery store. The shelves are always well stocked, there is a wide variety of food to satisfy even the most finicky palates, and prices are reasonable. Unfortunately, prices have steadily risen with each trip in response to the current administration’s expanding fiscal and monetary policies. My well-grounded fear is that shelves will be empty in the near future.

Prices of corn, wheat, and rice have risen today sharply on the Chicago Board of Trade due to severe flooding and other natural disasters. Using corn unwisely as a bio-fuel further exacerbated the shortage of corn. Some countries experienced diminished corn and wheat crops due to severe water shortage.

Monetizing the budget deficit by the Federal Reserve System (the Fed), printing money non-stop without backing of goods and services, has the unpleasant side effect of ballooning prices, also known as inflation. In plain English, too much money is chasing too few goods, resulting in higher prices for commodities and services.

Because most goods, including food, are trucked or shipped via trains and airplanes from great distances, and are produced and harvested with equipment that requires Diesel or gas, the higher cost of fuel must be factored into the rising cost.

[…]

The President is recommending that people get used to hard times. He told an adoring crowd of young people in Palo Alto, Ca during a Facebook town hall that they should get used to a lower standard of living because the Republican proposal to cut spending will be so drastic, Social Security and welfare, including Food Stamps, will be destroyed. None of this is true; Paul Ryan’s proposal is trying to save Social Security and Medicare. Obama conveniently forgot to mention that his second Stimulus cut Medicare to seniors in half and Food Stamp programs in order to finance teacher union salaries and pensions in several blue states and funded Michelle Obama’s pet program, healthy school lunches.

[…]

Nobody is addressing the real culprit of high gas prices, the destruction of the U.S. dollar, the currency in which gasoline is priced. The U.S. dollar is the Free World’s “reserve currency” as established by the Bretton Woods conference. Oil is purchased internationally using the U.S. dollar as the global medium of exchange.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Ron Paul Says Inflation Will Hit 50 Percent

MANCHESTER — Texas congressman Ron Paul on Friday predicted that inflation will hit 50 percent in the next couple of years, thanks to the massive debt the country has accumulated.

Paul, who spoke to admirers and Republican activists at a Manchester house party, said the inflation will act like default.

Social Security checks will still be cut and interest payments will still be made, but the inflated dollars will allow the government to repay borrowed dollars with devalued money, Paul said.

“They cannot pay the debt,” he said. “I don’t think that means you shouldn’t try and work things out, but with the size of this debt it never gets paid.”

[Return to headlines]



What Does it All Mean

Arctic Patriot sees a possible armed conflict coming (Via Western Rifle Shooters) I think we’re more likely to get straight up colonization. Shift the currencies enough, put enough financial institutions into the hands of the PRC, and Americans become nothing more than cheap labor. That’s already the situation in Africa where Chinese companies have set up shop using the local workforce to do the dirty work for them.

Colonization of that kind will happen more slowly, but if things go on as they are, then it will happen. It already is. Slowly.

Liu Keli couldn’t tell you much about South Carolina, not even where it is in the United States. It’s as obscure to him as his home region, Shanxi province, is to most Americans.

But Liu is investing $10 million in the Palmetto State, building a printing-plate factory that will open this fall and hire 120 workers. His main aim is to tap the large American market, but when his finance staff penciled out the costs, he was stunned to learn how they compared with those in China.

Liu spent about $500,000 for seven acres in Spartanburg—less than one-fourth what it would cost to buy the same amount of land in Dongguan, a city in southeast China where he runs three plants. U.S. electricity rates are about 75% lower, and in South Carolina, Liu doesn’t have to put up with frequent blackouts.

About the only major thing that’s more expensive in Spartanburg is labor. Liu is looking to offer $12 to $13 an hour there, versus about $2 an hour in Dongguan, not including room and board. But Liu expects to offset some of the higher labor costs with a payroll tax credit of $1,500 per employee from South Carolina.

Large parts of the United States are underdeveloped. There’s sizable unemployment. And a large decaying manufacturing infrastructure. And generous tax credits. Which means we get tax subsidized Chinese companies replacing the US companies that went to China.

[…]

It’s the worst economic program imaginable. We are borrowing money from China to give to Chinese companies to create jobs in the United States. The entire process destroys what leverage we have and brings forward the day when Chinese companies will dictate the terms on which they will do business here.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



You Don’t Have to Accept the Choices Your Masters Give You

Our federal government often acts the same way as the crooked moneylender in this story.

An old parable goes as follows:

A farmer from a small village was in debt to a notoriously crooked moneylender who just so happened to have a fond eye for his daughter. Of course she had no interest in him however. The moneylender pleaded with the farmer to convince his daughter to marry him, but the farmer refused.

After a particularly bad drought the moneylender, upset with the farmer for his refusal to help him with his desire for the farmer’s daughter called in debts he specifically knew the farmer could not pay. The farmer pleaded for more time. The moneylender refused.

A few days later the moneylender arrived at the farm with the proper local officials to claim the man’s farm for himself as payment for the debts. Again the farmer begged for more time. The farmer’s daughter cried and pleaded with the moneylender as well.

At this time the moneylender offered the farmer a deal. He really did not have an interest in the man’s farm. He would have much rather continued making interest of the loan. But if the farmer’s daughter would marry him, he would give the farmer as much time as he needed to pay his debts. He would even give him a favorable rate. The farmer and his daughter were shocked. The farmer immediately refused. But the cunning moneylender did not give up. He wanted the farmer’s daughter, not the farmer’s farm after all. He said that perhaps they should fate should decide.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USA


Anthony Weiner to Enter Treatment Center and Seek Leave From House

Representative Anthony D. Weiner planned to check himself into a treatment center on Saturday after House Democratic leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, called on him to resign and suggested he needed psychiatric counseling.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner said he would request a leave of absence from the House and seek treatment, but provided no further details.

[Return to headlines]



Concern About Rise of Islam is Bigotry?

Counter-terror specialist challenges ADL chief’s slam of Pat Robertson

A counter-terrorism specialist is defending TV evangelist Pat Robertson against a charge of bigotry toward Muslims by Anti-Defamation League boss Abraham Foxman.

Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University, was criticized by Foxman for expressing concern on CBN’s “The 700 Club” show about the growing construction of mosques in Europe. Foxman called Robertson’s statements “troubling,” based on “hateful stereotypes of Islam.”

In an open letter, Jeffrey M. Epstein, president of America’s Truth Forum, pushed back at Foxman for defending “a seditious enemy that’s not only sworn to the death and destruction of the Jewish People but one that is determined to undermine the very fabric of western society — and you have the chutzpah to do so with Jewish funding.”

Epstein, recalling his upbringing in a community of Jewish holocaust survivors, told Foxman that the Jewish leader’s “pro-Islamic initiatives have paved the way for synagogues to promote interfaith dialogue with terrorist-friendly, Muslim Brotherhood front organizations.”

[…]

“To condemn Dr. Robertson’s comparison of Islam with Nazism, as being outrageous and offensive, blatantly ignores the historical ties between Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,” Epstein said. “It was the Mufti who germinated Hitler’s final solution and provided two SS divisions from the Balkans.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Muslim Weightlifter’s Wish to Dress Modestly Triggers Debate

Atlanta (CNN) — Kulsoom Abdullah is a 35-year-old with a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering. But it’s her passion outside of work that has put her at the center of a debate — one that could affect athletic competitions worldwide, even the Olympics.

Later this month, the International Weightlifting Federation will take up the question of whether Abdullah may take part in officially sanctioned tournaments while keeping her entire body covered, aside from her hands and face, in keeping with her Muslim faith.

“It’s what I believe in. It’s what I’ve chosen to do,” Abdullah tells CNN of her decision to wear modest garb. “I’ve always dressed this way publicly.”

Abdullah is not an Olympic athlete, but enjoys lifting weights. She can deadlift 245 pounds (111 kg) and get up 105 pounds (47.5 kg) in the snatch, in which the competitor lifts the barbell from the floor to over her head in a single motion. She likes to compete with other women in her weight class — she generally weighs in the 106-pound (48 kg) or 117-pound (53 kg) classifications.

“It guess it’s empowering,” she says. “There’s a lot of technique involved, so someone who’s this big muscular person — it’s possible I could lift more than they do. There’s speed and timing to it — you have to be explosive. I think it’s great just for confidence building … I guess I got hooked.”

The Atlanta resident wants to take part in tournaments in the United States, including one coming up in July. But USA Weightlifting informed her that those events are governed by IWF rules. And those rules preclude her dressing in keeping with her beliefs.

Abdullah generally wears loose, long pants past the ankles, a long-sleeve, fitted shirt with a loose T-shirt over it, and a hijab, or head scarf, covering her hair.

The outfits — officially called “costumes” — worn at competitions must be collarless and must not cover the elbows or knees, according to the IWF’s technical and competition rules.

The IWF constitution also states that no distinction is made among individuals based on religion.

Mark Jones, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee — which oversees USA Weightlifting and many other sports — explained part of the challenge is that judges need to see that a competitor’s elbows and knees are locked during a lift.

But the USOC also understands the dilemma Abdullah faces. After CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations — a Washington-based group that advocates for Muslims and Muslim causes — contacted the USOC on Wednesday, Jones said, his group reached out to the IWF.

“I think their (CAIR’s) language is to ‘advocate’ on the athlete’s behalf with the international federation, and we have done that,” Jones told CNN. “The Olympic movement is all about the universal values of equality. We value that greatly, but we also respect the rules of sport — especially those set forth for competitive reasons. So we’re looking to see if there’s some way to accommodate — not just this one particular athlete,” he said, adding, “this is an issue that has some wider implications.”

The International Weightlifting Federation has agreed to include the issue on the agenda of its next meeting, later this month in Malaysia, Jones said. The group’s technical committee will hold a debate, and then present a recommendation to the IWF board, Jones said.

“Awesome!” Abdullah responded, when CNN informed her Thursday of these developments. “That’s wonderful.”

The news came after months of pushing for change, she said. In April, USA Weightlifting responded to an e-mail from her, explaining that it had to reject her request due to IWF rules. In that e-mail, there was no suggestion that the group or the USOC might take up the issue with the IWF.

John Duff, CEO of USA Weightlifting, issued a statement Thursday reiterating that the organization abides by the IWF rules on uniforms, and that the “issue has been brought to the attention of the IWF and the IWF Technical Committee has agreed to place the matter on the agenda of the next meeting, which will take place on June 26 in Penang, Malaysia, for consideration.”

The IWF did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Abdullah says she understands the need to make sure she isn’t wearing anything under her clothes to give her a competitive advantage. She says judges could check to make sure she is not wearing something on her elbows, for example, that might help her.

And she says she’s willing to wear a “snug” shirt — though not skin tight — underneath a loose singlet, so judges could “see that there’s lockout” in her arms when she does her lifts.

Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, which sent out a news release about Abdullah on Wednesday, praised the USOC Thursday for taking action.

“It sounds like they’ve really done exactly what we asked them to do, which is advocate on behalf of this Muslim athlete,” Hooper said.

“The ultimate result is a very reasonable compromise that allows the Muslim athlete to follow her religious beliefs and practices and maintain the legitimate rules and policies of Olympics and sports in general.”

While Abdullah was happy to hear the IWF will consider her situation, there is no guarantee the IWF will alter its rules.

Although there were no immediate, organized protests against the USOC’s decision to bring Abdullah’s case to the IWF, USOC spokesman Jones said his agency has received messages from people opposing any change in the rules. He did not characterize what the messages said or how many there were.

Numerous athletic agencies have faced similar questions in the past and, in some cases, have determined that allowing special clothing violates fairness or equality among all contestants.

FIFA, the international federation governing soccer, recently refused to allow Iran’s women’s soccer team to wear headscarves while playing in an Olympic qualifying round in Amman, Jordan.

Abdullah told CNN her effort is not just about herself. “I should at least try,” she said, “if not for me then maybe for other women who — if they have my faith or another faith — dress a certain way.”

           — Hat tip: JA [Return to headlines]



Oklahoma: Norman Mosque Project Moving Forward, Officials Say

A mosque under construction on E Lindsey Street is nearing completion, project manager Siddiq Karim said.

The Masjid, or mosque, at 420 E Lindsey St. will more than double the space Norman’s Muslim population has used for worship since 1976, he said.

The congregation has been worshipping in private houses.

When completed, the mosque will feature prayer rooms for men and women, fellowship halls, meeting rooms and parking space for up to 50 vehicles.

The campaign to build the mosque began in 2007. Construction should be finished by January or February, Karim said.

Four houses, two of which were used for worship services, were removed from the property to make space for the new Masjid.

Ninety-five percent of the $800,000 building project already has been paid for by local donations, Karim said.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims will be welcome at the mosque, Karim said.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



The Smell of Politics Brings Out the Worst in Some People

The smell of partisan politics is in the air; must be getting close to election time again, if you can describe 18 months as being ‘close’.

Democrats are, as usual, up to their old tricks again; rolling out the ancient and war-weary cliche’s and charges that Republicans are racists and geared up to prevent the “poor blacks” from getting to the polls to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Only in these modern days, they now include the “depressed Hispanics” as well.

My God, what phonies they are. Election cycle after election cycle they trot out all the tired and disbelievable small-minded people like Donna Brazile former DNC Chairman, one of the most bigoted racists ever to lie with a straight face. When it comes to politics the truth is such a stranger to this woman that she wouldn’t recognize it if it came directly from Barack Obama. Come to think of it, that’s not a good citation as I wouldn’t believe it either coming from him. But you get my point. :-)

Some people have dubbed Brazile as the female ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ in deference to James Carville the original at spreading the “Big Lie” with dripping venom, so adept that she rose all the way to the top of the Democratic National Committee, but only as an ‘Interim’ Chairman. But these days she appears relatively docile, particularly when compared to the ‘beast’ that copped the title of Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

[…]

As Quin Hilyer of Center for Individual Freedom stated in his June 09, 2011 column DNC Race-baiting Camouflages Vote Fraud “Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat, has ripped the scab from a deep wound in American politics. The Left has spent years slinging at conservatives the calumny that we want to block access to the polls by minority groups. The charge is a vile slander. Yet in the space of just two weeks, DNC chiefs have twice gone public with the allegation — race-baiting for all they are worth — in a raw attempt to foment racial tension. Beneath the surface, it’s also an attempt to provide a smokescreen for fraudulent voting.”

[…]

What both Brazile and Wasserman Schultz are referring to are the efforts of the Republican Party to require voter-ID at the polls in order to prevent the prevalent illegal voting that has taken place in recent elections fostered mainly by the Democrats — (think ACORN.)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Tom Tancredo: Dangerous Deficit: Civics Education

The National Assessment of Educational Progress last month released a “National Civics Report Card,” the first such report since 2006. No big surprises here: Our schools flunked their civics exam. The interesting question is why our schools continue to fail in a task that earlier generations of educators performed without difficulty.

[…]

In too many schools, left-wing activism has replaced traditional classroom instruction as the tool for promoting “civic involvement.” When this partisan manipulation of young minds becomes the sexy substitute for traditional instruction in history and civics, we all lose.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Willing Accomplices: A Book Review

The new book “Willing Accomplices” by former CIA agent Kent Clizbe; is a well researched book that harkens back to earlier works such as those from the Captive Nations Committee, exposing the Communist machinations in the free world.

I have put the first 3 paragraphs of his book here as Mr. Clizbe says it better than I could tell you myself:

“In Willing Accomplices, using counter-intelligence analytical techniques honed while serving as an espionage officer in the CIA, I will demonstrate that the emergence of Political Correctness (PC) in America was as intentionally orchestrated as Coca-Cola’s advertising is carefully planned and implemented.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the roots of the strategy to implant PC in the American ethos came from an old and familiar adversary: the former Soviet Union’s Committee for State Security (Russian acronym—KGB).”

My thesis is that the KGB, beginning soon after the Communist takeover of Russia in 1917, implemented massive covert influence operations. Their goal was to destroy the core moral fabric of American society. Taking advantage of the intellectual and philosophical climate of the early 1900s, the Soviet intelligence apparatus began what would now be called in intelligence circles, “a preparation of the battle space” to move the world towards the inevitable dictatorship of the proletariat.”

Covert operatives realized that America’s greatest strengths were its proud exceptionalism and belief that freedom and liberty were part of man’s divine destiny. Our free society also made us vulnerable to covertoperations. KGB case officers and their agents had easy access to a wide range of American society.”

With that beginning Mr. Clizbe makes the connections from the beginnings of the Soviet Union to today in America.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU


Denmark Customs Control Plan Stalls

Denmark’s plans to introduce permanent customs controls at its borders suffered a temporary setback Friday when a counter-proposal forced the government to put the matter to a full vote in parliament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



Germany Has Too Many Housewives, EU Warns

Facing major demographic problems over the next decades, with an ageing population and fewer workers to support the swelling ranks of pensioners, Germany must better integrate women into the labour market, the European Union’s executive body said in a report on the German economy.

Therefore, Germany must use its full workforce potential, Commission President José Manuel Barroso told journalists as he launched the report late on Tuesday in Strasbourg, according to daily Die Welt.

“Germany, but also Austria and the Netherlands, should look at the example of the northern countries,” he said.

[…]

Germany is generally regarded as being on the more traditional side when it comes to gender roles and the workforce. A debate erupted earlier this year over whether the government should impose a 30-percent quota for women in executive positions in German firms.

Commenter #53 astutely points out:

Wow! Not even ONE of the courageous commentors identified what this article is really about! Have we strayed so far in this day and age that even those who recognize that this “report” is blatantly wrong do not even recognize what this is all about? MARXISM people!! This is the HEART of MARXISM-to destroy the family unit and make the government the god of society! It rears it’s ugly head and we fail to recognize it.God have mercy on us all!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Israeli Gas: After Russia and US Comes France

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JUNE 10 — Foreign entrepreneurs’ race for the Israeli gas market is not over: after the USA and Russia’s Gazprom, France has taken the lead. On Sunday Alstom, a Paris-based industrial group, one of the world’s largest energy producers, transporters and distributors, which is also involved in the rail and naval engineering sectors, signed a contract worth some 500 million euros with Israeli company Dalia Power Energies. The deal is for the construction of an 835 MW power plant in Israel, the biggest private gas and electricity plant in the country. It will produce 7% of the power which the entire country currently generates. The power plant should be built in Tzafit, some 40 km from Tel Aviv; it should be finished by 2014. The stock exchange welcomed the news, which brings Alstom into Israel’s gas sector: the group’s shares rose 1.6%. However, the higher-ups at the French company have yet another reason to celebrate: at the same time, the company announced the imminent signing of another deal with Dalia Power. The 20-year contract will deal with plant maintenance and should be finalised within the next few weeks.

In the last year or so, the oil-gas sector in Israel has seen some important discoveries and, as a result, renewed vitality.

The discovery of offshore oilfields has awakened the interest of major international oil companies and led the government to review the conditions governing the granting of usage rights as well as its own energy policies. Some have even gone so far as to hazard the hypothesis of Israeli energy self-reliance in the not-too-distant future. However, despite the great enthusiasm which has gripped the sector, there is reason for caution. In several cases, as regards recent discoveries, including the most interesting one, the Leviathan oilfield near Haifa — doubts linger as to the realistic potential to extract and market the hydrocarbons buried at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Italy: Discovering the Lesser-Known Wonders of Italian Wine

Chianti, Barolo only part of boundless variety

(ANSA) — Rome, June 6 — Connoisseurs of Italian art, architecture and scenery know that the country has just as many treasures hidden away in small country towns as it does in the museums, monuments and cathedrals of Rome, Venice and Florence.

It is a similar story with Italian wine.

While Chianti, Barolo and Prosecco are winning more and more fans abroad, these flagship products are just a small part of what Italy has to offer the serious wine lover.

“The great strength of Italy’s wine sector is its massive variety, together with its unique cultural and geographical diversity,” Timothy O’Connell, the American creator of online retailer DesignWine (www.designwine.com), told ANSA.

“Where else in the world do you find extremes such as the heroic wine growers in the mountains of South Tyrol contrasted with the traditional growers from the Islands of Sicily? “There is passion in the way native grapes are cultivated and wines are produced in Italy that is difficult to find elsewhere”.

All of Italy’s 20 regions have their own different grapes and wine styles, with the roots of the country’s vinification traditions stretching back to the ancient Romans and Etruscans. Chianti, for example, is just one of Tuscany’s production districts and the region has plenty more fine offerings with excellent quality-price ratios.

These include rich reds like Brunello di Montalcino and whites such as the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which is so full of character with its hints of minerals and honey.

The growing popularity of white Pinot Grigio and Prosecco has helped Italy overtake France in the affections of British drinkers.

But a big, inexpensive treat can also be derived from a drop of many less famous northern Italian whites, such as Piedmont’s light, crisp, dry Arneis DOCGs with their notes of pears and apricots and the musty Ribolla Giallas of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

If bubbles are what’s wanted, the rich, fruity, fragrant Franciacorta DOCGs of Lombardy are another lesser-known delight.

Sardinian Vermentinos, meanwhile, accompany fish suppers to a tee with their superb balance of fruitiness and acidity.

The Lazio region around Rome is by no means Italy’s most heralded wine zone.

But a pleasant night out is in store for those willing to make a short trip from the capital to Frascati to sup on the town’s pleasant, undemanding citrusy sparkling wines, or to Montefiascone near Viterbo to try Est! Est!! Est!!! Legend has it that this wine got its name from a German bishop who, while travelling to visit the Vatican in the Middle Ages, sent a prelate ahead of him with instructions to write Est — Latin for ‘It is’ — on the door of an inn on the way with good wine.

The story goes that the prelate was so impressed with the wine he found in Montefiascone that he wrote EST three times to make sure the bishop would not miss it. The best way to explore this rich wine variety is to get in a car and roam the Italian countryside, stopping off at the multitude of little wineries to be found on farms with vineyards.

The Internet can provide a good substitute for those unable to do this.

DesignWine (www.designwine.com), for example, offers selections of Italian wines that it would be difficult or impossible to obtain otherwise and that have been chosen by experts after visits to the vineyards and canteens of both famous and upcoming producers. These include an assembly of Valpolicella and Amarones made by Veneto producers who still use the ‘appassimento’ method of semi-drying grapes to concentrate flavor that was developed by the ancient Romans. Another nice selection is DesignWine’s six-bottle “tasting tour” of whites produced in Friuli-Venezia Giulia by small-scale wine artisans that costs £79, including delivery to the UK.

“We have a virtual and real Sommelier ready to support our clients during any phase of the selection process,” said O’Connell, whose site currently serves the UK and Italy, with plans to move into the United States, China and other markets in northern Europe. “We will bend over backwards to satisfy our clients through personalized wine selections, custom food matchings and unique gift options.

“We are 100% focused on selecting and promoting great Italian wine. Our selection process is very complex and costly for us, but the end result is a guarantee of quality for our customers”.

Another good site for those looking for wines they would not find on the supermarket shelf is the Modena-based In Bolle Veritas (www.inbolleveritas.it), which specialises in sparkling wines, although it does not deliver outside Italy at the moment.

The Wineshop (www.wineshop.it) does not offer the wide range of personalized services found at DesignWine, but it does have a decent selection.

The Italian Wine Merchants (www.italianwinemerchants.com) site serves the United States market and its forte is top-of-the range wines costing over $100.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Italy Backs Ban Ki-Moon Second Term

UN needs ‘authoritative’ guide says Frattini

(ANSA) — Rome, June 7 — Italy on Tuesday threw its weight behind Ban Ki-moon’s bid for a second term as United Nations Secretary-General.

“I support with warm conviction Ban Ki-moon’s candidacy,” Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

Frattini praised Ban’s leadership during the global recession and a period of “widespread instability”, in which the South Korean ex-diplomat enabled the UN to “recover its central role in the management of crises and in the great decisions of global governance”.

The Italian diplomatic chief said the UN needed such an “authoritative” guide to “face the challenges of a changing world”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Italy: Carmine Amato, One of the 100 Most Wanted, Arrested

(AGI) Naples — Carmine Amato, 30, one of the 100 most wanted Italian criminals was apprehended. Alleged to be the regent of the Amato-Pagano clan (an ex-branch of the Lauro clan) and to control Naples northern outskirts, was tracked and arrested today by Police. A fugitive since 2009, Amato was hiding in a small villa in Camaldoli, on the hills overlooking the town. He was caught with another fugitive, Daniele D’Agnese, also arrested.

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



Society: Population in Cyprus Up 41% by 2060, Says Eurostat

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, JUNE 9 — Cyprus’ rate of population growth is among the highest in the EU with a predicted increase of 41% by 2060 according to the latest Eurostat Survey cited today by daily Cyprus Mail. However Cyprus’ population of over 80 year olds is predicted to be among the lowest by then, at 9%.

As a whole, the EU population is set to rise to 525 million by 2035, peak at 526 million around 2040 and then gradually decline to 517 million by 2060, when (on average) one in eight people will be aged 80 or more. The EU population is also projected to continue ageing, with the share of the population aged 65 years and over rising from 17% in 2010 to 30% in 2060. Those aged 80 and over are predicted to rise from 5% to 12% over the same period.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Spain: 60% Spaniards Against Nuclear Energy

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, JUNE 9 — Six out of ten people in Spain are against nuclear energy and that same percentage (60%) believe that no new nuclear energy plants should be built. This emerged from the Barometer of the sociological research centre (CIS), realised between May 3 and 11 of this year. The survey also shows that the main concern of people in Spain is unemployment (84.1%), the highest level in ten years and higher than the 83.9% recorded in March; 78.3% of the interviewed see the economic situation as “bad” or “very bad” and 66.8% say the same about the political situation in the country. Politicians are third on the list of problems for 22% of the interviewed.

The remaining problems follow at distance, starting with immigration, about 11.2% are worried, terrorism (9.1%); safety (7.9%); education (5.6%); the government (5.4%); corruption (5%); housing (4%); pensions (2.7%).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Sweden:16 Years for Gothenburg Woman’s ‘Ruthless’ Killing

A 23-year-old man accused of raping and murdering Elin Krantz near a Gothenburg tram stop in September last year has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the crime.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]



UK: Channel 4 Presenter Quits After Bosses Say: Your Hair’s Scruffy

One of Channel 4’s senior news presenters has quit after she was told her hair was too scruffy for TV.

Samira Ahmed, 42, who has been on Channel 4 News for 11 years, announced her departure this week following clashes with bosses over her appearance.

A close friend of Miss Ahmed said she had been treated in a ‘sexist’ manner.

Her decision to leave comes after claims she was repeatedly told by executives at ITN, which employs her, that Channel 4 chiefs did not like her hair.

They are said to have told her she was jeopardising her employer’s contract to provide news for Channel 4, and the jobs of colleagues.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Heroin Dealer Spared Jail to Go on Transplant List After Innovative Heart Surgery Saves His Life

A DRUGS trafficker escaped a prison sentence of at least five years because he is seriously ill and only being kept alive by a pioneering heart pump.

Jonathan Hibbs, 36, was caught with £50,000 worth of heroin in a car just days after being freed from jail for an identical offence.

He has no heartbeat and is one of the first in the world to benefit from the revolutionary device which pushes blood round his body.

Hibbs is only alive due to the pump inserted into his chest five months ago and is waiting for a heart transplant.

A judge allowed him to walk free due to the ‘catastrophic’ cardiac attack he suffered while on remand and his highly unusual medical needs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: It’s Time This Government Grew Up Over Climate Change, Says Nigel Lawson

The Coalition’s obsession with climate change is damaging Britain’s recovery from recession, former Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson warns today.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Lawson delivers a scathing assessment of David Cameron’s so-called ‘green agenda’ and says it is ‘time this Government grew up’.

Lord Lawson, one of the most respected Tory figures of recent decades, accuses the Prime Minister of risking Britain’s economy to make a ‘symbolic’ point.

In a devastating verdict he writes: ‘The Government’s highly damaging decarbonisation policy, enshrined in the absurd Climate Change Act, does not have a leg to stand on. It is intended, at massive cost, to be symbolic: To make good David Cameron’s ambition to make his administration “the greenest government ever”.

“A fatuous obsession: The Coalition’s absurd energy policy is damaging industry and adding hundreds of pounds to every family’s fuel bills.”

‘My dictionary defines green as “unripe, immature, undeveloped”.’

His comments came after former Civil Service chief Lord Turnbull accused ministers and officials of pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and piling huge, unnecessary costs on ordinary families.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Radioactive Mushrooms Contaminated in Chernobyl Disaster Seized at British Port

A ton of mushrooms containing ten times the safe level of a radioactive metal has been seized and destroyed by health chiefs.

The Bulgarian consignment of dried wild mushrooms is thought to have been irradiated by caesium 137 from the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine 25 years ago.

It was found by a UK Border Agency team looking for illegal immigrants and impounded before it reached the shops.

Levels of radiation are measured in becquerels. The EU sets a maximum limit for caesium 137 in food of 600 becquerels per kilogram — double the level in Japan.

But the amount of radioactivity found in the mushrooms destined for British families was more than 6,000 becquerels.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



US Defence Chief: Europe May No Longer be Worth Defending

The US is losing patience with Europe’s unwillingness to pay for its own defence, outgoing US defence secretary Robert Gates has said, casting doubt over the very survival of Nato.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Balkans


Serbia: Italy FM: Deserves Candidate Status Before End 2011

(ANSAmed) — TRIESTE, JUNE 10 — “Warm congratulations to Croatia. Now Serbia deserves to make a big step forward, it deserves the status of candidate country by the end of this year”. Italy’s Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, was speaking on the margins of a ministerial meeting of INCE, and addressing the subject of the end of accession negotiations between Croatia and the European Union.

“We are organising a Serbia-Italy intergovernmental meeting,” the Minister added, “we shall meet in Belgrade, and are still fixing the date. And obviously there will be a formal declaration of support for Serbia’s European future”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa


Egypt: ENI to Develop Exploration Projects, Investing $3bln in 2011-2012

Cairo, 7 June 2011 (AKI) — Italian energy giant Eni renewed its commitment to investing around 3 billion dollars in Egypt in 2011-2012 by expanding exploration activities, drilling new wells and accelerating natural gas and oil production, Eni said in a statement.

“The additional activities will take place in the Western Desert, in the Mediterranean and in the Sinai, and will cover both development, through the drilling of additional wells and the acceleration of production from new discoveries, and exploration, by drilling 12 exploratory wells,” the statement said.

Eni announced it was relaunching its activities in the North African country during a meeting in Cairo between its chief operating officer Claudio Descalzi and Egyptian petroleum minister Abdallah Ghorab.

“Eni will also sponsor a training plan for national staff working in the Petrobel and Agiba joint ventures with Egypt’s General Petroleum Corporation with a commitment of 4.5 million dollars,” Eni said.

Eni says it is the first international operator in Egypt with daily production of around 500,000 barrel of oil and its gas equivalent.

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



Egyptian Woman Tells of ‘Virginity Tests’

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

The Egyptian military was celebrated for helping to facilitate a peaceful revolution there three months ago. But now accusations have surfaced that they subjected young women to degrading “virginity tests” in what appears to have been an attempt to control the population. One woman told SPIEGEL her story.

According to eyewitness reports, men stormed Tahrir Square, center of the Egyptian revolution, on the afternoon of March 9 and attacked demonstrators seemingly at random. They weren’t wearing uniforms. “They looked like thugs,” Husseini Gouda says. “They called me a whore and hit me in the face.” She says she was shocked when the group dragged her and around 20 other women into the Egyptian Museum and handed them over to the military. “I couldn’t believe our army was behind this attack,” Gouda continues. “But then they took us to a military prison, and from then on, it only got worse.”

[…]

Psychiatrist Mona Hamed, from El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, has documented statements from several of the women who were arrested on March 9, including Husseini Gouda. Hamed’s conclusion: “What’s new is that it isn’t the police or the secret police behind this, but the military.” The virginity tests, she says, send a message to the people, because the army wants to control citizens’ freedom of movement. If a woman at a demonstration were beaten or arrested, Hamed says, her family would perhaps be able to accept that — but not the charge that their daughter is a prostitute. “That’s an unthinkable humiliation for the woman and her family,” she explains.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Revolt: Al Husseini Blogger, Web Not Behind the Revolutions

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JUNE 10 — Twitter and Facebook’s users did indeed play an important role in the Arab uprisings, providing information when there was none to be had from traditional media, but this should not make us forget the suffering of those who risked their own lives to do that. Blogger Amira Al Hussaini, a citizen of Bahrain, reminded listeners of this principle at the conference on the Arab Spring organized by the Italian newspaper “il manifesto”; her aim is to dispel the overly-rosy image of the social media revolutions.

“Of the Internet’s ten sworn enemy regimes, five are in the Middle East”, she claimed, citing Egypt and Tunisia among those countries. If this is the starting point, she claims, “then the internet acted as an information tool, but the revolutions did most certainly not begin online”, but were rather the result of the fight against corruption and tyranny.

And those who provided news online in Tunisia, “to let people know what was happening during the first few weeks of the revolt when there was no other coverage” did so with courage and paid for it personally at times, she continued. Online activists “were hounded, threatened, persecuted and arrested”, noted Amira Al Hussaini. “The internet was not only being monitored, but it was often working intermittently, with governments testing it, slowing the networks down until they drew to an utter standstill, which is what happened in Egypt and recently also in Syria. Many of the revolution’s players were also new to social networks, such as in Yemen and Libya, where the internet usage rate is extremely low, below 5%”.

It must therefore be acknowledged that these often improvised activists showed great courage in stopping to record what was happening with pictures and videos, “when really their instinct would have been to run”.

Amira Al Hussaini is an editor for Global Voices Online’s Middle East and North Africa Arabic-language department, and is one of the first Arab women to have worked as an editor for an English-language newspaper and to have won the UN’s Dag Hammarskjold scholarship.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Tunisia: HRW: Official Arrested for Reporting Police Abuse

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 10 — A Tunisian senior official, Samir Feriani, was arrested on May 29 for writing a letter to the Ministry of the Interior in which he reported some of his colleagues, who, like him, were high-ranking, and accused them of killing protesters during the “jasmine revolution” and of other human rights violations.

Feriani, according to the Human Rights Watch web site, which is calling for his release, also reported some of his colleagues for destroying paperwork and tapes pertaining to the Palestine Liberation Organization (which was headquartered in Tunis from 1982 to 1994) which were kept in a ministry archive. The crime was reported to have taken place on January 20, one week after the fall of the regime, and the documents and tapes allegedly described the relationship between former Tunisian dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Israeli intelligence organisation Mossad.

HRW also claims that Feriani’s accusations (which, according to one of his supporters, lawyer Samir Ben Amor, were also brought to the attention of the office of Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi) caused him to be charged, by a military tribunal, with an “attack against the State’s external safety” and with spreading information “with the potential to jeopardize the public order”.

Feriani was arrested shortly after leaving his home, then taken to the El Aouina barracks, where members of the former regime are also being held. His wife was notified of his arrest 24 hours later. The official was referred to the military tribunal due to the fact that he is a police official and as a result of the charges brought against him.

According to HRW, in Tunisia there is no appeal against sentences issued by military tribunal; they can only be challenged before the Supreme Court for procedural errors.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians


PA: “If I Forget Thee, Oh Jerusalem” First Said by Crusader

Continuing its policy of denying Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage the Palestinian Authority publicized the claims of an Arab researcher that the well-known ancient Hebrew psalm, “If I forget three, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill,” is not Jewish at all, the Israeli research institute Palestinian Media Watch reports.

Instead, Dr. Hayel Sanduqa insists the words were uttered by a Christian Crusader, and have only recently been “borrowed” by Jews and “falsified in the name of Zionism.”

The verse in question, from Psalm 137 of the Hebrew Bible, opens with the words: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” The researcher did not inform listeners of that fact.

Psalm 137, which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 BCE, is part of Jewish tradition and liturgy since then and has appeared in Jewish sources for thousands of years.

The oldest surviving manuscript of the Ketuvim, or ‘Writings,’ which includes the Hebrew Psalms, is dated between 175—164 BCE. It contains Psalm 137.

PMW says it has documented the PA policy of denying Israel’s history, no matter how ludicrous such denials prove to be, as a means of denying Israel’s right to exist as a nation. The PA often denies a Jewish temple ever existed in Jerusalem, calling it “the alleged Temple,” possibly agreeing with Nazi leader Goebbel’s oft-quoted remark that if a lie is repeated often enough as if it is truth, it will be believed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Scottish Boycott Leader Defends Fogel Killers

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

A Scottish councilor who has lead an anti-Israel boycott at the district of West Dunbartonshire defended the perpetrators of the Itamar massacre, saying the murderers were seeking to avenge the killing of Palestinian children, the Jewish Chronicle reported Friday.

Responding to an email for a Pro-Israel activist, Jim Bollan of the Scottish Socialist Party wrote that the killers aimed to avenge the death of “Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



The Naksa Border Invasion — Why it Failed

Coordinated effort was launched by Hamas, Hizbollah, and the Syrian regime to mount a massive three-pronged border invasion into Israel.

Following a trial run in May a coordinated effort was launched by Hamas, Hizbollah, and the Syrian regime to mount a massive three-pronged border invasion into Israel. The aim was to gain international propaganda by the sight of thousands of unarmed protesters demonstrating their desire “to return home to Palestine”. The anticipated numbers were put at 100,000. Israel prepared itself to face this illegal action.

The organisation began to unravel from the beginning. The Palestinians had just announced a unified front between Fatah and Hamas and the Palestinian leadership insisted that this was not the time to disrupt delicate international diplomacy with a violent confrontation with Israel. In a secret agreement, the Palestinian Authority agreed to let some local Arabs blow off steam in and around Jerusalem if Hamas backed off. In a surprising show of authority, the Lebanese Government told Hizbollah that they would not tolerate a major border incident with Israel and placed troops along the border to head off the rioters. And so the much vaunted “humanitarian” cry to return home came down to about a thousand Syrians transported to the border near Magdel Shams, and about five hundred on the Golan border near Kunetra. Each was paid the equivalent of a thousand dollars each for their time and efforts to breach the border fence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



White House Seeks Israeli Agreement to Negotiate on 1967 Lines

The White House is pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt President Obama’s view that Israel’s pre-1967 border should be the basis for future peace talks.

The Obama White House appealed to Jewish leaders on Friday that the request of Israel was part of an effort to head off Palestinian plans to declare an independent state at the United Nations in September.

The request of Mr. Netanyahu was made Monday to the prime minister’s top peace negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho at a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Security Council, according to an Israeli diplomat based in Jerusalem.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Middle East


Bahrain: Opposition Groups Call on Iran to Intervene

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JUNE 10 — Despite one or two glimmers of optimism for a resolution of the crisis between government and opposition affecting Bahrain, where the national dialogue proposed by King Hamad Ben Issa al Khalifa should begin on July first, some unrecognised opposition movements and political parties have appealed once more to the President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, to intervene in their country’s crisis.

According to the Al Arabiya web site, a group called “Youth of February 14” have published a communiqué on their Facebook profile welcoming an intervention by the Iranian President.

Mr Ahmadinejad has indeed recently spoken of his country’s intention to propose a plan for a resolution of Bahrain’s problem, while at the same time denouncing attempts by the United States to “hijack” the Arab uprisings. According to Al Arabiya, Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran did not wish to intervene in Bahrain, but should it decide to do so, it would change the whole region.

Dialogue between opposition and government, due to start on July first, will include all parties, sources cited on the website said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



First Russian Orthodox Church in the Arabian Peninsula Consecrated

Philip the Apostle Parish in the UAE is the only church to have five crosses on its domes. The Moscow Patriarchate thanks the local administration.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — After four years of work the first Russian Orthodox church in the United Arab Emirates has been inaugurated. Built in the city of Sharjah and dedicated to Philip the Apostle, the parish boasts two other firsts, as the Patriarchate of Moscow website reports, it is the only of its kind in the entire Arabian Peninsula and also its five domes are crowned by golden crosses. Often to get permission to build places of worship in Muslim countries Christians are asked to avoid emphasising explicit symbols like the cross.

Designed by architect Yury Kirs, the crosses were produced in Russia before being transported by plane to Sharjah. The blessing before their installation was given by Hegumen Alexander Zarkesher, head of the parish.

Beside the church is a three-storey building with accommodation and a cultural centre. The Patriarchate recalls that the event, “so important to the community in the region” was made possible by the administration of Sharjah and in particular the Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, who gave his personal permission to build compound. Then there was an agreement between Moscow and the Patriarch of Antioch, whose canonical jurisdiction includes the Arabian Peninsula: Antioch has allowed the Russian community to be followed by a priest of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

The foundation stone was first laid in 2007 by the then Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the current number one of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill. (N.A.)

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



Italy-Turkey: Book Studies Common Period in History 1919-22

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JUNE 9 — “A book that sheds lights on a certain period in our common history”, said Turkish ambassador to Italy Hakki Akil, referring to the book “Il Corpo di spedizione italiano in Anatolia (1919-1922)” (The Italian expeditionary force in Anatolia (1919-1922). The ambassador said this during the presentation of the book, written by Giovanni Cecini and published (2010) by the history office of the Army Staff, today in Rome in Rome’s Senate library. The secret Pact of London 1915, signed by the Kingdom of Italy and the Triple Entente forces, the south of Anatolia would come to fall under Italian influence. In April 1919 Italian troops left Trieste headed for Adalia, today’s Antalya. “The Italian expedition”, said the Turkish ambassador, “was not hostile towards the Turkish population. It was just the enforcement of the Pact of London. Italy already had economic ties with the city and no bloodshed took place”. Akil concluded: “The historic friendship that binds us and that we must continue forms the roots of the good relationship between the two countries today”. The meeting had been organised by the parliamentary Italy-Turkey Friendship Association, in collaboration with the Senate Defence Commission.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Jordan: Demonstrations in Amman Against Military Courts

(ANSA) — AMMAN, 10 GIU — Hundreds of activists gathered near the state security court on Friday calling for the cancelling of the court that they blame for suppressing reform and freedom of expression.

The protest was lead by the Islamist movement and its political arm as part of efforts to push for larger reforms.

Demonstrators chanted against the government and blamed security agencies of impeding reform to help empower conservative groups.

During the demonstration, leaders from the Islamist movement took turns to address the crowd and emphasise what they say is a negative role of the court on freedom of expression.

The court comprises three judges, two of them are army generals and rulings of the court are not subject to appeal.

Several activist and opposition leaders have been tried at the court over the past years, many have been sentenced to harsh terms for minor offenses, said Ali Abul Sukkar, president of the shurah council at the Islamic Action Front (IAF).

“This court is a lyric from the past. It must disappear if we really want to have reform. The court is used as a baton against pro-reform activists and to protect the corrupts,” Salem Falahat, former president of the Muslim Brotherhood movement told ANSA during the protest.

Anger appears to be rising, as Jordan’s citizens face an uncertain future in a country that heavily relies on foreign aid to keep its anemic economy alive.

The opposition drew comparison between Jordan and Tunisia and Egypt, calling on King Abdullah to dismiss the government, dissolve the parliament and hold early elections under an amended electoral law, representative to all Jordanians.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



‘Nuke Fears’ As Tensions Rise Among Islamic Nations

Sources concerned weapons already may be based in Saudi Arabia

Sources are saying their concern over the conflict among the Islamic nations of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan is being pushed to new levels because of fears that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons may play a role in the confrontation, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

There is growing tension now between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia — the two sectarian bastions of Islam in the Muslim world today — and that is pushing the Saudi kingdom to draw closer to Sunni Pakistan.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Security Forces, Gunmen Fight in Restive Yemeni Province

(CNN) — Twenty-one al Qaeda members and 10 Yemeni soldiers have been killed in Yemen’s Abyan province, where fighting has raged on Saturday, Yemen’s state-run news agency reported.

Clashes between security forces and suspected militants have erupted in Lawdar and Zinjibar, towns in Abyan — a militant stronghold with a presence of Yemen’s al Qaeda wing, SABA reported, citing a military official.

Eighteen al Qaeda members and nine soldiers were killed in Zinjibar and three militants and one soldier were killed in Lowdar, the report said. Dozens of people were injured.

“The heroes of the armed and security forces in Abyan province caused the terrorist elements of al Qaeda heavy losses in lives and material after fierce confrontations with those elements that began in the early hours of the morning and lasted several hours and ended with the killing of a number of them and injuring many others,” SABA reported.

A Yemeni security official, who has asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, told CNN that Yemen’s government conducted air raids on positions in Lawdar believed to be held by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Government forces have been fighting Islamic militants who seized the town of Zinjibar. Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard through the city, and planes were seen flying overhead and conducting airstrikes, witnesses and residents said.

The military official cited by SABA said Yemeni military forces targeted a warehouse used by militants to store weapons and cars used by the fighters. The official said troops are working to track down Qaeda fighters and “cleanse the pockets and hiding places where terrorists are present.”

Yemen has been consumed with unrest for months as protesters demand an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The demonstrations continued on Saturday as thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets Sanaa, Taiz, Ibb and Hodeidah, eyewitnesses said.

In recent weeks, government troops have battled both anti-government tribal forces and Islamic militants, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The chaos there intensified when Saleh and other senior officials were injured in a June 3 attack on the mosque at the presidential palace.

Saleh and other senior officials injured in the attack went to Saudi Arabia for treatment. A government spokesman on Thursday said Saleh was in good health and would be returning to Yemen “within days.”

On Friday, Demonstrations erupted in several cities across Yemen, with protesters chanting “Saleh will fall” and “The end is near for Saleh,” according to eyewitnesses.

A six-nation Gulf Arab alliance has tried to broker a government-opposition agreement that would lead to Saleh’s departure, but that effort has so far been unsuccessful.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Yemeni Regime Kills 21 Al-Qaeda Terrorists

(AGI) Aden — Yemen’s Defence Ministry says 21 Al-Qaeda terrorists have been killed in the Southern Abyan province by the regime. Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, was occupied by Islamist militants last month. The Ministry has issued a statement to the effect that 18 terrorists were killed in Zinjibar and another three in the city of Lawdar. Yemeni troops have also destroyed an arms and munitions depot in Zinjibar.

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

Caucasus


Belgrade and Baku Find Common Interest in Fight Against Separatism

Belgrade, 8 June (AKI) — Serbian president Boris Tadic and visiting Azeri president Ilham Aliyev agreed on Wednesday that the fight against separatism was a common interest that united their countries.

Serbia is fighting a diplomatic battle to retain the control over its former breakaway Kosovo province, which declared independence in 2008, while Azerbaijan has the same problem with its breakaway province of Nagorno Karabakh.

“The two countries are linked by the challenges they face, Nagorno Karabakh and Kosovo,” Tadic told a press conference after meeting with Aliyev. “No country has the right to change the borders of the other country,” Aliyev said, referring to the Azeri dispute with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh.

The two presidents agreed to support each other in international organizations, saying that territorial integrity of both countries have been violated. Azerbaijan has refused to recognize Kosovo and Serbia in return doesn’t recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh.

“Azerbaijan deems that changing borders of one country without its consent is absolutely unacceptable act,” Aliyev said.

Apart from pledging political support to each other on international scene, Serbia and Azerbaijan signed cooperation agreements on in the spheres of economy, energy, infrastructure, health, defense and environmental protection.

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

South Asia


Nepal: New Criminal Code to Stop Conversions to Christianity

Changes to the criminal code are currently under review. Anyone preaching or trying to persuade others to change religion could get up to five years in prison and almost US$ 700 in fines. Christians fear new code could restrict religious freedom and be used by Hindu extremists.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — Nepal plans to reform its criminal code and ban proselytising in order to stop conversions to Christianity and religions other than Hinduism and Buddhism. According to Article 160 of the new code, anyone who preaches or tries to persuade others to change religion could get up to five years in prison and receive a fine of 50,000 Nepali rupees (US$ 865). This has raised fear and anger among Christians who are concerned about restrictions on religious freedom in the country. Presented on 15 May, the new code needs the approval of parliament and President Ram Baran Yadav.

“The law is not against Christians who do great work in the service of the country,” Nepali Justice Minister Prabhu Sah told AsiaNews, “but is against the imposition of Christianity.”

Sah said that Hindus and Buddhists have complained about conversions by aggressive proselytising by Protestant communities. “These charges do not apply to Catholics,” the minister said.

Isu Jang Karki, head of the Nepal Christian Society, a Protestant group, slams the government proposal, saying that the charges about forced conversions are false.

Religious minorities are not represented in parliament and the new code could be adopted without Christian input. Moreover, it could be used by Hindu extremists.

Nepal became a secular state in 2007 after centuries of Hindu absolutist monarchy. According to the transitional constitution, adopted under the aegis of the United Nations, proselytising is banned, but all Nepali citizens are free to express their faith, including through missionary and charity work.

According to some Church officials, thousands of Hindus have converted to Christianity after the fall of the monarchy. Each Sunday, more than 200 non-Christians attend Mass in Kathmandu’s Catholic cathedral.

However, recent political and economic instability caused by a power struggle among secular parties has strengthened Hindu movements, which seek the restoration of the monarchy and want to end conversions at all cost.

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



Pakistan: Punjab: Acquittal for 70 Muslim Extremists on Trial for the Gojra Massacre

In August 2009, ten people died, eight burnt alive. Four churches were destroyed. Threats against Christian witnesses force them to flee to avoid further violence. Muslim leader says Christians “deserve” to be murdered. Catholic priest wonders whether minorities will ever have justice.

Lahore (AsiaNews) — Pakistan’s fundamentalists are rejoicing following the acquittal verdict. The country’s Christian minority is “under shock” because, this time as well, the massacre of innocent victims done in the name of the infamous blasphemy law will go unpunished. The justice system also shows its powerlessness vis-à-vis extremists who can carry out heinous crimes with total impunity, whilst the government remains silent. Meanwhile, a Muslim religious leader publicly says that Christians “deserve” to be murdered.

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court acquitted 70 people who, in various roles, were involved in the Gojra massacre of August 2009 (see Fareed Khan, “Eight Christians burned alive in Punjab,” in AsiaNews, 2 August 2009). The anti-Christian violence broke out following blasphemy allegations. During a wedding, a group of Christians supposedly burnt pages of the Qur’an, a pretext used to strike at the religious minority.

During the attack by hundreds of extremists (brought in by bus and trucks), ten people died, eight burnt alive. Four churches and various homes were also set on fire.

Following the Gojra attack, instead of arresting the culprits, police, twisting the facts, took into custody a number of Christians for attacking the “other group”. The unjustly jailed Christians were eventually released but after several months.

According to the court, the acquittal last Tuesday was due to the absence of Christian witnesses in the courtroom and the lack of evidence against the accused.

Sources close to the Catholic Church in Lahore, on condition of anonymity, said, “Christian witnesses were under constant threats meant to force them to withdraw their accusations”.

Two of the 70 people acquitted were released the day before the sentence. The other 68 had already been released on bail some time ago.

The main complainant, Phanias Masih, had to flee Pakistan last year along with his family, fearing more violence.

Fr Yaqoob Yousaf, vicar at Gojra’s Sacred Heart parish, told AsiaNews that “Masih and a couple of other key witnesses fled before February” when community leaders “reached a compromise to have the case withdrawn”.

Fr Habib Xavier, from the Diocese of Lahore, the verdict is “shocking”, similar to the Shanti Nagar affair in 1998 when a Muslim mob burnt 25,000 houses. At the time, the accused were also released on bail. “Today, we see the people who burn homes and kill the innocent go free. It was supposed to be fair trial,” he said. “Will minorities ever get justice?”

However, to understand the madness and power of the extremists, it is sufficient to listen to the words of Maulana Kashmiri, a Muslim leader in Punjab.

“There are no witnesses because they [the Christians] know that they are wrong. We got justice. Even though none of us did it, Christians still deserve it [death], because they are blasphemers.”

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

Far East


China, Japan, US: Rising Dragon, Aging Samurai, Bleeding Eagle

China’s rapid rise as a superpower and a future hegemon is causing tectonic shifts in the global balance of power. According to IMF, in 2016 China will eclipse US to become the leading economy in the world. By many measures such as metals, cement and energy consumption, it already has.

While distant regions such as Latin America, Africa, and Middle-East are welcoming this power shift with enthusiasm, and an aging Europe ridden with crushing debt is facing it with helpless resignation, in neighboring Japan it is causing a chronic alarm.

Part of Japan’s anxiety stems from the realization that its economic power relative to China has seen a complete reversal over the last 20 years. At the end of 1989, Japan’s equity market capitalization was 45% of the world total and its economy was 2.5 times that of China. By 2010, it was China’s economy that was 2.5 times that of Japan.

Throughout the 1980s-1990s — and even recently — American and East Asian business and political leaders admired Japan’s culture, economy and management techniques. Japan’s phenomenal success was seen as a model worth emulating by Third-World. Not so anymore.

Today international observers are largely pessimistic or dismissive when predicting Japan’s role as an influential global player even as the bulk of their focus has shifted to China.

In 2030, China’s economy will be at least 6 times that of Japan, as per capita income gap between the two countries shrinks rapidly.

Everything Japan does, China will do on a scale 10 times larger and perhaps much faster, whether it is communications, transportation, energy, aerospace or military.

The pace of demographic divergence between China and Japan is even more staggering. In last 50 years Japan added 33 million people, whereas China added 680 million — equal to the entire population of Europe. During last decade, Japan added 1.1 million babies per year on average, compared to ~19 million per year for China.

Quite simply, China is giving birth to one Canada and Australia every three years. Demographically, if China was a flying Dragon, Japan would clearly be the dragon fly.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Dalai Lama: “I Am a Marxist”

There is no better way to proclaim your lack of spiritual and philosophical depth than by, two decades after the fall of communism, disclosing that you’re Marxist. Yet this is precisely what Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama did during a speech before 150 Chinese students at the University of Minnesota this month. Journalist Tsering Namgyal reports on the story at Religion Dispatches, writing, “‘as far as socio-political beliefs are concerned, I consider myself a Marxist.’ ‘But not a Leninist,’ he [the Lama] clarified.”

Well, that’s a relief. Those Leninists can really kill ya’. Marxists will just murder you.

This isn’t the first time the Lama indicated that his soul is as red as the robes he wears. During a lecture in NYC on May 19, the Tibetan leader credited “capitalism” with bringing new freedoms to China but then said, “Still I am a Marxist”; he then explained that Marxism has “moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits.” That’s some deep thinking right there.

Now, I have the word “capitalism” in quotation marks because it was originated by a communist, and we shouldn’t allow enemies of the good to define the vocabulary of the debate. I prefer to call the mostly free market in question a “natural economy,” as it is what naturally occurs when people are afforded economic freedom; they will buy, produce, sell and compete. In contrast, communism (in the real world, not in the stateless utopia of textbook fantasies) requires a large, intrusive, freedom-squelching government to micromanage people’s endeavors and quash the yearnings of man’s spirit. And because the Natural Economy does allow people the most freedom practical (we still must have courts to enforce contracts, for instance), it is infinitely morally superior to Marxism.

Having said this, the Natural Economy doesn’t have “moral ethics”; it just is. It is, again, what naturally occurs when man is permitted to spread his wings. And it will be as moral as the average people who operate within it.

In contrast, Marxism will be as immoral as the worst people who operate within it. This is because, while the Natural Economy is governed by those hundreds of millions of consumer votes called the market, communism is ruled by the unscrupulous few who can claw their way to the top in an inevitably corrupt political system.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Dispute Between Vietnam and China Escalates Over Competing Claims in South China Sea

BEIJING — Vietnam said on Friday that it would conduct live-fire naval exercises off its coast next week, a step that escalated a long-running dispute with China over territory in the South China Sea that both nations claim.

The naval maneuvers follow an exchange of sharp statements on Thursday. Vietnam claimed that China had harassed a seismic survey boat, damaging a research cable trailing behind it, and China demanded that Vietnam halt oil-exploration activities in the area.

In an announcement on its Web site, Vietnam’s state-run Northern Maritime Safety Corporation said that nine hours of naval exercises would be held on Monday off the country’s central coast, and it warned other vessels to avoid the area. This is the first time that the government has publicized a live-ammunition drill, The Associated Press reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa


Pastor, Church Official Shot Dead in Nigeria

Muslim extremists from the Boko Haram sect on Tuesday (June 7) shot and killed a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) pastor and his church secretary in Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state.

The Rev. David Usman, 45, and church secretary Hamman Andrew were the latest casualties in an upsurge of Islamic militancy that has engulfed northern Nigeria this year, resulting in the destruction of church buildings and the killing and maiming of Christians.

The Rev. Titus Dama Pona, pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Maiduguri, told Compass that Pastor Usman was shot and killed by the members of the Boko Haram near an area of Maiduguri called the Railway Quarters, where the slain pastor’s church is located.

Pona said Christians in Maiduguri have become full of dread over the violence of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) on northern Nigeria.

“Christians have become the targets of these Muslim militants — we no longer feel free moving around the city, and most churches no longer carry out worship service for fear of becoming targets of these unprovoked attacks,” Pona said.

[…]

The Boko Haram name is interpreted figuratively as “against Western education,” but some say it can also refer to the forbidding of the Judeo-Christian faith. They say the word “Boko” is a corruption in Hausa language for the English word “Book,” referring to the Islamic scripture’s description of Jews and Christians as “people of the Book,” while “Haram” is a Hausa word derived from Arabic meaning, “forbidding.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



Source: Top Al Qaeda Operative Killed in Somalia

(CNN) — A top al Qaeda operative in East Africa, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, was killed at a Somali checkpoint in Mogadishu, a senior official in neighboring Kenya said Saturday.

Mohammed, a citizen of both Kenya and Comoros, was long sought in Somalia for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Mohammed was stopped at a roadblock manned by forces of the Somali transitional government, but he sped through, sparking the troops to shoot him.

“There’s reason to believe this senior terrorist is dead,” a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak on the record said Saturday. “He was killed, it appears, at a Somali police checkpoint in or around Mogadishu.”

Meanwhile, the commander of Somalia’s government forces confirmed that two men driving through a checkpoint southwest of Mogadishu late Wednesday were killed when both opened fire on soldiers there.

One of the men was a foreigner and his identity is under investigation, Gen. Abdikarin Dhega Badans said.

The United States considers Mohammed a senior al Qaeda operative in East Africa, accusing him of being an architect of the embassy bombings that killed 225 people.

American officials also believe Mohammed was involved in attacks on an Israeli-owned hotel and airliner in Kenya in 2002, and have offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his apprehension or conviction.

In the past, Mohammed has managed to escape capture several times. He dodged a 2008 police raid in the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi. And in early 2007, a U.S.-led airstrike in Somalia failed to kill him. In 2003, Kenyan police also said he escaped authorities.

In December 2007, the U.N. Security Council amended a list of 25 al Qaeda suspects subject to sanctions, including Mohammed. The description of Mohammed offered numerous aliases and said he had “reportedly undergone plastic surgery.”

The FBI description says Mohammed was born in the Comoros Islands, and has used birth dates indicating he was born in either 1972 or 1974.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



UK Aid Cash Helped African Dictator Buy Himself a £30m Jet

British aid money was used by an African dictator to buy a £30million jet, it emerged last night.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni bought the top-of-the-range Gulfstream G550 private plane in the same year ministers gave his poverty- ravaged country £70million.

During the same period Uganda also received around £57million from the UK through the European Union.

The autocratic 67-year-old leader — currently facing criticism for launching a violent crackdown against protesters demanding an Egyptian-style uprising — received the cash under the Labour government in 2008-09.

The Government has carried out a sweeping review of how aid money is distributed and spent. In future, funding will be targeted on sectors, such as health and education.

But International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is facing a backlash for expressing his desire to make the UK a ‘development superpower’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Latin America


Brazil: Italy ‘Temporarily’ Recalls Ambassador After Terrorist Set Free

Rome, 10 June (AKI) — Italy has “temporarily” recalled its ambassador to Brazil following the Brazilian Supreme Court’s decision to reject a request to extradite former far-left militant Cesare Battisti to Italy to serve a life sentence for homicide.

“The recalling was decided in order to deepen…the technical-juridical aspects for the application of existing bilateral accords in view of the initiatives and appeals to the various seats of international justice,” the Italian foreign ministry said Friday in a written statement.

Battisti on Thursday walked out of a high-security Brazilian prison a free man following the court’s decision. Italy said it would appeal to the International Court of Justice. Battisti has been in jail fighting extradition for the past four years.

Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial on four counts of murder. In 1990 he was convicted in absentia for crimes he was accused of committing while a member of the radical Armed Proletarians for Communism. He was sentenced to life.

The decision sparked outrage in Italy with politicians variably calling it a “humiliation” and “deplorable. Calls were made by a terrorism victims group to boycott the 2014 soccer World Cup to hosted by Brazil.

Massimo D’Alema, a former communist and briefly Italian prime minister, on Friday said “terrorists must be punished by the law, not allowed to be remain free.”

Avvenire, the Italian bishops’ newspaper, in an editorial said the Brazilian court’s decision was an “injustice” that should be overturned.

One of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s last official act before leaving office in December was to uphold the country’s decision to grant 56-year-old Battista political refugee status.

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



Former Extremist Battisti Released and Plans Autobiography

(AGI) Brasilia- A day after his release from Brazil’s Papuda jail Cesare Battisti announced he intends to write an autobiography. Once a member of the terrorist group PAC (Armed Proletarians for Communism), Battisti was found guilty on four murder charges by Italian courts. Freed from jail yesterday, Battisti gave Brazil’s Agencia Estado an interview in which he stated that he wants to return to his writing and that characters in the “autobiographic novel” will be real-life Brazilian inmates.

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

Immigration


1,450 Migrants Arrive in Lampedusa Within a Few Hours

(AGI) Rome — One thousand four hundred and fifty immigrants arrived in Lampedusa within a few hours. There have been seven landings so far. The first was at 2:00 am and they have continued at regular intervals of about one every two hours.

Mayor of Lampedusa Bernardino De Rubeis explained that were around 640 people in the reception centre, 350 of whom are to travel by ship to one of the reception centres around the country. However around 1,200 of the new arrivals will be transferred elsewhere on the Tirrenia. Meanwhile, the island’s port is expecting another two vessels to arrive any minute. The Coast Guard said that today’s migrants were all from Libya.

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



Britain Handed Out 204,000 Passports to Foreign Nationals, Latest Figures Reveal

Britain gave citizenship to the highest number of foreign nationals in Europe, new research has found.

A total of 203,600 foreign nationals were awarded British citizenship in 2009 — that is 50 per cent more than second-placed France and more than double the number in Germany.

The figures, from the EU statistics body Eurostat, followed predictions that Britain could become the most populated EU country by 2060 — with 79 million people.

UK passports were given to one in four of the 776,000 new citizens entering the EU in 2009.

The EU saw an 11 per cent rise on the number of people entering the euro zone from the previous year.

The 203,600 people who entered Britain was a 57 per cent increase on the 129,300 who came in 2008.

Critics have said the figures revealed that Labour’s immigration policies had left borders ‘wide open’.

Ukip’s home affairs spokesman Gerard Batten told the Daily Express: ‘These figures show how Labour’s uncontrolled, unlimited immigration policy is coming home to roost.

‘David Cameron must get a grip and introduce radical policies to halt mass immigration.’

The Prime Minister has said wants to cut net immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]



Carnegie Likely to Welcome Mosque

A borough along the Parkway West historically known for its religious and cultural diversity may soon cement that image with the addition of a mosque.

At least that is the hope of Carnegie officials and the leader of a Muslim mosque looking to move into a former Presbyterian church in the heart of the town’s quaint business district. A public hearing will be conducted Monday evening, followed by a council vote on a zoning change needed to establish the mosque.

“Adding our center there will make Carnegie a center for the three Abrahamic religions,” Al-Walid Mohsen, vice president and manager of Attawheed Islamic Center, said of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. “Maybe that will make a good name for Carnegie.”

The addition of a mosque in the town of roughly 8,000 would be positive, said Rick D’Loss, a council member and president of Carnegie’s synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Achim.

“It could make Carnegie an example of coexistence,” D’Loss said.

He said he has not heard any complaints from residents about the plans for a mosque, but admitted that few people likely know.

Joe Enzerra, for instance, had not heard of it.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal at all,” Enzerra, 64, of Carnegie said as he waited for a bus in front of the former church.

Rebecca Sohn, owner of Black Lamb Consignments across East Main Street from the former church, said she would welcome the mosque as a neighbor.

“Anything that restores vibrancy and brings diversity to a community is a good thing,” she said.

Mohsen, an Egyptian native who is an assistant professor of research and lab supervisor at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, said Attawheed has rented various spaces since being founded in the mid-1990s. Currently, the center rents space on the second floor of an office building on Banksville Road in Beechview. It offers prayer services each night and on Friday afternoons and holds Sunday school classes.

The Carnegie location would allow the center to hold classes and lectures as well as larger prayer services, Mohsen said. About 100 people attend Friday services, he said.

Even with council approval, Mohsen said it is not clear when the group would move into the former United Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1890. He said the 19,000-square-foot stone and brick building needs extensive repairs, including a new roof.

Mohsen did not say how much Attawheed is paying for the building. County real estate records show it last sold in 2003 for $350,000. Its value today is listed at $264,000.

The building was last home to Rosario’s Banquet Hall and has been vacant for at least a year, said Jeffrey Harbin, the borough’s manager and police chief.

The planning commission on May 17 recommended that council approve plans to convert it into a mosque.

“We have a long history of acceptance,” Harbin said. “We accept people of all faiths and pride ourselves on our diversity.”

The borough’s skyline is dotted by gold and blue onion domes of Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches, reminders of an influx of Eastern European immigrants more than 100 years ago. Steeples and bell towers of other churches — including Methodist, Lutheran and Catholic — rise above the town.

Carnegie once was home to more than 30 churches and many bars, D’Loss said. Another former Presbyterian church is now a nightclub and restaurant, and council last year approved a group’s plans to convert a former Catholic church into the Karma Cultural Center, which will include an Indian restaurant, banquet hall and a dance studio.

D’Loss estimated about 25 churches remain, with even fewer bars.

“It’s going to be a new phase in the history of Carnegie,” he said

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Citizenship Granted Mainly to Moroccans in EU

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JUNE 10 — The most numerous group among those newly granted citizenship of EU countries are people from Morocco, according to Eurostat figures for 2009. Moroccans are followed by Turks and Indians. But in Italy, the highest percentage group is that of the Albanians, followed by Moroccans and Romanians.

The data from the statistical bureau show how in 2009 EU member states granted citizenship to 776,000 people, of whom 59,000 in Italy.

The highest number of citizenship concessions was made in the United Kingdom (204,000), France (136,000) and in Germany (96,000). The highest rate in relation to the number of residents was in Portugal (5.8%).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Fearing Influx of Migrants, France Brings Back Border Checkpoints

Zied Guetari’s European journey began in the excitement of the Arab Spring, but it came to a crashing halt this week in the languid heat of an Italian summer.

The 24-year-old Tunisian, one of thousands of Arabs who have taken advantage of their countries’ new freedoms to cross the Mediterranean in makeshift boats since January, awoke Friday morning beneath a bench in a seaside park in Ventimiglia, his eighth day there. He washed his face in a drinking fountain, shared a stick of bread with a friend and joined a dozen other Arab men making the long walk to the edge of town, where Italy ends and France begins.

There, they confronted something that most Europeans have not seen in at least 15 years: A border checkpoint, complete with gendarmes examining cars, stopping some to check passports, and sending back some of those, like Mr. Guetari, who look Arabic and don’t have papers. But after spending more than $1,200 on a perilous boat crossing, this son of fishermen, like so many of his countrymen, is determined to get to France — a determination that has led France to do the unthinkable and enforce its national border.

France and Italy, fearful of tens of thousands more people like Mr. Guetari if the Libyan war ends, Syria alls and other countries erupt, have opened a deep fissure in Europe’s tradition of border-free movement and continent-wide citizenship — a fissure that is expanding to other countries and may signal the end of a long-held convention.

It began in April when Italy, having received at least 20,000 Tunisian migrants on the remote island of Lampedusa (an estimated 2,000 have died trying to get there), abandoned efforts to repatriate them and gave them permission to stay — and, implicitly, to leave Italy for France. That led to a confrontation between France and Italy, and France’s decision to post police at long-abandoned crossings.

In the days since Mr. Guetari was herded off a train by police checking passports on board — another thing Europe hasn’t seen since the 1990s — and left in this border town on the Mediterranean coast, he has lingered first in a Red Cross shelter, until the mayor closed it down on Monday, and then in the park, joining thousands of young men who have tried to penetrate a border that didn’t exist three months ago.

Desperate, Mr. Guetari says he may give his last few hundred euros to one of the men at the train station offering to smuggle Arabs to France in vehicles — a suddenly thriving industry that also has not been seen inside Western Europe for many years.

France’s efforts to stop job-seeking North Africans, some 40,000 of whom have arrived in Europe since the Arab revolutions began in January, have only been partly successful. But they have left crowds of paperless migrants lingering in Italy, and forced places such as Ventimiglia to rediscover the old realities of being a border town.

And it has provoked a political crisis. Free movement between countries, long a foundation of Europe’s postwar peace, is suddenly facing its most serious challenges in a quarter-century. After the decision by France and Italy last month to temporarily suspend the Schengen Treaty — the 25-country pact, dating back to 1995, that eliminates all borders and passport requirements between member countries — the European Parliament will hold a debate later this month on whether to make it easier for countries to suspend Schengen and impose temporary controls.

Denmark this week introduced customs agents on its borders with Germany and Sweden. They are allowed to inspect cars and boat passengers for illegal goods — a demand of the far-right Danish People’s Party, a member of the governing coalition. That move, strictly illegal under Schengen, drew a furious response from Germany, one of the treaty’s most ardent defenders.

Likewise, in Switzerland this week the Schengen Treaty came under fire from right-wing parties in the legislature. And an effort to add Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Zone — after both EU countries beefed up their border security — was passed in the European Parliament this week but then vetoed by the leaders of EU countries wary of corruption in southeast Europe.

Before April, travellers had little way of knowing that they had crossed the borders between any of the 25 countries of the zone, which covers most of the continent. (Three EU countries, including Britain, are not members; three non-EU countries are members.) Now, some officials say, the whole pact could be in jeopardy.

“I think it’s a larger European move against open borders,” says Claude Moraes, a British Member of the European Parliament who is leading the campaign to protect the Schengen Treaty from political challenges.

In part, he said, Europe is facing political challenges from parties and voters that are less tolerant of immigration. Both France and Denmark will have tightly fought national elections in 2012, and the conservative government parties are eager to show that they’re tough on immigration.

But that hardly explains the larger crisis in the zone. As officials on both sides of the political debate note, there is a larger, more damaging flaw in the open-borders agreement: It should not be leaving people like Mr. Guetari wandering stateless across Europe, and it should not leave countries fighting to prevent each other’s unwanted arrivals from crossing their frontiers.

After all, the Arab Spring is not exactly a major immigration crisis, and security provisions under the Schengen Treaty should have made it easy to handle.

“The numbers involved are actually very small, about 40,000 in total reaching Europe so far this year, which is not an emergency compared to the hundreds of thousands we saw during the Yugoslav wars, or even compared to the 900,000 who have fled Libya so far this year,” says Jean-Philippe Chauzy of the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental body that monitors human movement.

The IOM has noted that almost none of the migrants arriving as a result of the Arab Spring are claiming to be refugees — and therefore should be repatriated by member states, or given legitimate immigrant status.

“The Kosovo crisis, that was a refugee crisis — but most of the Libyans and Tunisians are migrant workers who want to return home after earning some money — they don’t even pretend to be seeking asylum.”

Under the terms of the 1990s agreements, people like Mr. Guetari should not even have reached Ventimiglia. The Schengen agreement was built on a compromise: In order to have completely open borders within Europe, there would have to be very tight and well-enforced ones outside. European governments all promised to harmonize their immigration policies, their refugee policies, and their enforcement systems, so migrants wouldn’t be able to enter through weak points and wander at will through 25 countries, or head for the country believed to have the best odds for refugees (France has historically been among the most open countries for refugees, and Italy and Greece among the least).

But that harmonization never happened. The agreement to create a common external European border has been postponed to 2012, and few believe it will actually happen.

Instead, frontier countries such as Spain and Italy struck deals with the strongmen who ruled the North African countries across the sea: Their regimes would police the beaches aggressively, preventing anyone from leaving, and they’d accept anyone deported back. They were paid generously for such agreements.

With the collapse of Arab autocracies this year, these deals are off, the Mediterranean beaches are open to anyone who wants to cross, and Europe is forced to confront its lack of a co-ordinated immigration policy — and the likely weakening of the Schengen Treaty.

“It’s not going to be destroyed entirely, for the simple reason that Schengen has a powerful economic function, and cultural and symbolic meaning for Europe. The governments are not going to allow it to be completely killed — what you will find is countries continuing to find opportunistic reasons to impose border checks, over and over.”

Here on the edge of Italy, that means that places like Ventimiglia are once again learning, after almost two decades of peace, to become frontier towns — with all the smuggling, the heavy police presence, and the lost souls that that implies.

“We really were not prepared to deal with this, and it has been a lot of work,” says Fiamma Cogliolo of the town’s Red Cross, which fed and housed more than 1,300 Tunisians until the shelter was shut down. “We had to learn a different way of operating.”

That may prove true across the continent.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



France: No Citizenship for Algerian Who ‘Does Not Integrate’

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JUNE 10 — “Lack of assimilation with the exception of language”: this was the grounding given to an Algerian applicant — for the first time in France — for a refusal of the granting of French citizenship, delivered to the Algerian by Interior Minister, Claude Gueant. The reasons included his attitude to work and the submissiveness of his wife.

According to a report appearing on the website Atlantico.com, the Algerian born man married a French woman in 2001 and made a naturalisation application in 2009. He had met the formal conditions for a successful application, but the supplementary inquiry into his “family and social [behaviour] founded on a conception of non-equality between the sexes,” his refusal to accept various types of employment offered and his insistence on being granted a disability allowance pushed the Minister to opt for a first-ever application of the article of the civil code which allows citizenship to be refused on grounds of “failure to integrate” with French society.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Ian V. Macdonald is a Distinguished Canadian Diplomat Who Opposes the Covert Program

Immigration insanity — or cunning conspiracy?

Thanks to a mole in the Immigration Department, since 1970 I have known of the surreptitious sabotage of Canadian immigration policy which originated with Pierre Trudeau’s secret, vengeful machinations to impose his vision of “racial balance” on Canada. His plan was endorsed by his powerful, no less sinister “advisers”, whose interests he served, wittingly or unwittingly, without the knowledge or consent of the predominantly white population of the time.

Secrecy was necessary since public knowledge of the plan would have created outrage throughout the country and doomed the Liberal Party’s chances of re-election. Thus, no public announcement was made nor debate permitted in Parliament or the media, although the goal was stated in a confidential memo from Minister Marchand to senior bureaucrats at the time, quoting the Prime Minister.

To increase the hitherto non-existent flow of visible minorities, formerly barred by the “ässimilability” criterion, immigration offices were opened in the West Indies, fruitlessly at first since only a handful of applicants could meet the minimum qualifications. Simultaneously, long-established offices in traditional source countries were closed and applicants appearing at Canadian Embassies were rudely rebuffed (in the mid-’seventies as I waited in the reception at the Canadian High Commission in London, a very attractive young lady, who turned out to be Assistant to the Managing Director of a London company, arrived and said she wished to emigrate to Canada. Although her skills (and genes) were much needed in Canada, the Canadian clerk on duty replied: “There is no point in my even giving you the application forms, because I know you will not be accepted”).

At the same time as the comely, talented Briton was being rejected out-of-hand, literally countless thousands of unemployable, assimilable, unscreened, aesthetically-challenged blacks from the shanty-towns of the West Indies were arriving at the Toronto Airport and whisked through the terminal directly onto the welfare system, where they and their progeny largely remain, at phenomenal, unnecessary cost to the City of Toronto and the country.

The seemingly mindless opening of the flood-gates was illegal and a gross violation of Canada’s traditional merit selection policy, but woe betide the conscientious Immigration Officer who raised objections or tried to stem the tide. With various refinements (refugee and family reunion, legal aid and other pretexts) the door to the Third World has remained wide open, even under the present “conservative” government now setting the stage for an unlimited seaborne invasion which could destroy Canadian society as we know it, and further impoverish native-born taxpayers.

An important aspect of the open-door policy that is still well-concealed, is the cost to the source countries of Canada’s profligacy. Firstly, it deprives the sending country of its more energetic and artful members. Secondly, it deprives the Third World generally of funds that could be used to support in comfort a hundred-fold the numbers in their native habitat for the cost of each one maintained in Canada on our very high welfare standards. It is well known that a good proportion of the welfare payments to migrants in Canada are remitted to their home countries (check out any Western Union office) but these funds are not spent on roads, schools and hospitals, they go for airline tickets to Canada for friends and relatives, compounding the problem. It is rumored that money for airline tickets is also provided by European agencies to relieve their countries of the increasingly unbearable burden.

Something further to ponder is the news in today’s Post that the Government has already spent $25 million on the reception of 500 Tamils, or $50,000. per man, woman and child. For a fraction of this cost, each one of the claimants could have been persuaded to remain in Sri Lanka or Thailand, or could have been persuaded to return to India, which is their ancestral homeland. Is the entire Immigration Establishment blind to this possibility, or would they perhaps see it as a threat to their lucrative, tainted spoils from the dysfunctional status quo?

And, oh, just one more thing: if the well-organized Third World invasion were not by invitation of the afflicted countries, which now include even Scandinavia, then by whose Hidden Hand was it contrived? Is there a group so influential in the Western democracies, so powerful that it can force governments to act against the most vital interests of their own countries? Is the Hidden Hand that of an international Elite destabilizing the Western Christian nations to forestall united opposition to cabalistic One World Government? Is there any other plausible explanation?

As ever,

Ian V. Macdonald

[Return to headlines]



Ireland: Shatter Offers Refuge to Libyans

IRELAND has offered to take between six and 10 Libyan refugees in response to a request from the Maltese government and the EU.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he told the Maltese the country would be happy to take a large family of up to 10 people.

They would be offered refugee status with full residency if they remained here long enough.

Malta, with a population of less than 500,000, has received many hundreds of refugees fleeing the war in Libya, many of them from Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia.

           — Hat tip: AC [Return to headlines]



Libya: Fleeing to Tunisia Continues, Even Across Desert

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 9 — Yesterday saw the non-stop fleeing from Libya of thousands of people headed for Tunisia through the Ras Jedir border crossing, with about 6,000 arrivals. Most of the refugees, according to a TAP journalist, come from the Djebel Gharbi region (which has seen violent fighting), as well as the capital Tripoli. Two hundred Libyan families, reports TAP, have arrived in Tunisia by way of the dangerous road through the Sahara in order to escape war operations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Tunisia: PM: 471,000 Refugees Have Arrived

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 8 — Over 471,000 refugees have arrived on Tunisian soil since the beginning of the crisis in Libya. This is according to the interim Tunisian Prime Minister, Beji Caid Essebsi, who was speaking today during a meeting with party members, trade unions and representatives of civic society.

The numbers are thought to include refugees who arrived at the Tunisian border before moving on to their country of origin.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



Tunisia: Almost 500,000 Refugees, It’s an Emergency

(by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JUNE 10 — The estimate figure of 471,000 refugees that arrived from Libya mentined on Wednesday by Tunisian premier Beji Caid Essebsi to call the Country to unity of action and intent with the Government in face of an emergency that has major consequences for the economy was a low one. With a daily average of 50,000 refugees (mostly Libyans, thus meant to stay in the camps or hosted by Tunisian families until the war across the border is over), Tunisia is almost if not completely exhausted. And there are may facets to this crisis.

The first and most obvious one is that given by the humanitarian crisis, because offering assistance to tens and tens of thousands of people often comes close to achieving a miracle, when international assistance is what it is (in other words, insufficient) and the solidarity of the Tunisian people is starting to weaken, though still remarkable.

Then there is the matter of assistance organisations working in the camps who also have to “resist” to problems of difficult solution that crop up day after day. But they hang in there and, as reasserted today the NGOs working in the Medenine camps are determined to stay on until a suitable accommodation is provided to the very last refugee. And this decision could be, in itself, a very long term objective because of the massive problem of non-Libyan refugees who do not plan on returning to their home countries. They originate from Somalia, Eritrea, Palestine, Iraq and the Ivory Coast, and they have no intention of returning home, which is why they protested violently and also paid a price in blood (six casualties).

And then there is the most concerning issue, because it regards security and follows the pace of violent episodes that can be traced back to Libyan refugees that have increased frictions with residents. Violence of the lowest degree, but which caught the Tunisian people off guard, because they expected anything but being repaid with thefts, robberies and beatings by people they so generously offered hospitality to. As is the case in Dehiba, one of the border passes most used by incoming refugees, where in a bout of gratuitous violence they savagely beat up a border guard. An episode that was stigmatised by all (including the spontaneous committees representing the Libyan refugees), and which induced military and border patrol units deployed in Dehiba to carry out, albeit symbolically, a sit-in that blocked the crossing point between the two countries for one hour. And the one in Dehiba is just one of a series of incidents, because the Libyan people have been guilty of other actions as well, provoking the reaction of the local population, especially that of the younger people who chose the path of punitive expeditions to save their honour.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars


Israel: Tel Aviv Celebrates Gay Parade

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JUNE 10 — Tens of thousands of Israelis and foreigners crowded the centre of Tel Aviv to join the now customary Gay Pride Parade that will end with a concert on the beach. The event was greeted among others by opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) and MP Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz, Zionist left). Mayor Ron Hulday (labour) was pleased that his city has been recently selected as a preferred tourist destination by gays around the world. He stated that he was working to offer both citizens and guests “a tolerant, liberal and free city, where everyone can feel gay without being molested”. The Mayor noted that during the last ten years the gay community achieved major steps forward, including the opening of a large community centre in the heart of Tel Aviv, and added that “However much still has to be done to achieve true equality”.

But, aside from the parade, today nobody forgot about the tragic attack on a small gay club that happened two years ago, the Bar-Noar in the centre of Tel Aviv, where two young men were killed and dozens were wounded. The author of the attack has never been identified. Today the people in attendance were asked to offer some money to help the families of the victims. There was a large crowd of gays coming from abroad to join in the week of gay events happening in Tel Aviv. The Municipality welcomed them in English and German tongue. Newspaper Haaretz reported that Barcelona sent a delegation of gays to support their Israeli friends who were wounded last year when Madrid chose to forfeit the Gay Parade in the Spanish capital for “security reasons” linked to pressure exerted by pro-Palestinian groups.

At the end of June Tel Aviv’s gay and lesbian community will return the visit and join the Gay Parade in Barcelona.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]



UK: Christian Sacked After Abortion Leaflet Row

A Christian mental health worker has been sacked after passing colleagues a booklet warning of the physical and psychological damage some women suffer after an abortion.

Margaret Forrester discussed the booklet with family planning staff at the health centre where she worked because she felt that the NHS was failing to give patients information about the risks and other options to terminating a pregnancy.

But after a six-month disciplinary process, during which Ms Forrester had to fight her own case and became ill, she was found guilty of “gross professional misconduct” and fired.

She has spoken out over the “scandal” of the pro-abortion culture in the medical profession and claimed that Christians were “an easy target” for “politically correct” bureaucrats in the NHS.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]



UK: Woman Inspector ‘Humiliated’ By Failing Riot Test Wins Up to £30k

For 30 years it has been used to test the fitness of officers who police riots and other outbreaks of serious public disorder.

The so-called ‘shield run’ involves officers covering a distance of 500 metres in less than two minutes, 45 seconds while wearing full riot gear and carrying a shield.

But when Inspector Diane Bamber, 51, failed to meet the time limit, she claimed she had been left humiliated.

She brought a sex and age discrimination case against her force, Greater Manchester Police, and now stands to win up to £30,000 after an employment tribunal ruled in her favour.

The landmark case has opened the door for thousands of other women officers to claim payouts and has triggered a review of specialist police training across the country.

Insp Bamber, a serving officer for more than 30 years who still works for Greater Manchester Police, attended an Initial Public Order Commanders’ Course in Lancashire in November 2008.

She complained to the tribunal that prior to the course starting she had been led to believe that she would not have to take part in the shield run. But on the day of the test, Insp Bamber was informed that all officers who wanted to be considered for events where trouble was a possibility would have to pass it.

She agreed to run but she did not finish in the allotted time. Her failure meant she could not complete the rest of the training course.

When Insp Bamber applied to retake the shield run, it is alleged that one of her colleagues remarked: ‘She’s got no f****** chance.’

In fact she did pass at the second attempt several months later — after Greater Manchester Police made it easier by raising the time limit to three minutes.

The tribunal heard that on the second occasion, Insp Bamber gave herself the equivalent of an extra 20 seconds by starting at the front of the group. Previously, she had started at the back but the clock starts when the first person sets off.

In her ruling, Judge Hilary Slater said Insp Bamber’s claims of indirect sex and age discrimination were ‘well-founded’.

Noting that the officer had ‘suffered humiliation at being sent away from the course’, Judge Slater added: ‘The tribunal concludes that the claimant was put at the disadvantage suffered by women and persons of her age group in that she failed the test and was not able to complete the training.’

The shield run was first introduced in the Eighties when Scotland Yard used it to test the fitness of officers policing the Notting Hill Carnival. Greater Manchester Police also conducted the runs for 30 years but has now dropped them.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the Association of Chief Police Officers is now reviewing the lawfulness of the physical training formats for 13 specialist operational roles, including those for firearms officers, which could discriminate against women and older officers.

Last night Tory MP Robert Halfon said: ‘At a time when forces face enormous challenges and need to do all they can to protect frontline service, it is bizarre they are being forced to use taxpayers’ money to pay compensation in cases such as these.’

The level of compensation will be set later this month.

           — Hat tip: Gaia [Return to headlines]

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