News Feed 20120919

Financial Crisis
» Italy: Bond Spreads Narrow: European Stock Markets Edge Up
» The Greatest Fraud in History
 
USA
» A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife
» America 2050: Population Change Threatens the Dream
» Charlotte Muslims React to Tensions in the Middle East
» Creating and Conserving Liberty: Constitution Day
» Is Romney Losing the Beauty Contest?
» Islamic Violence Needs No Spark
» Media Bias Designed to Save Obama’s Presidency
» Obamacare Faces Possible Illegality Ruling Again
» Why Do People Laugh When President Obama Speaks?
 
Canada
» Confirmed! Flu Vaccine Increases Risk of Serious Pandemic Flu Illness
 
Europe and the EU
» Britain Should Call for Reform of Existing Blasphemy Laws
» Charlie Hebdo and Sharia Versus Freedom of Speech
» Denmark: Police Arrest 14 Anarchists for Vandalism
» France: Muhammad Cartoons, Reinforced Embassies’ Security
» France: Teacher Attacked by Teargas at Amiens School
» France: The Cartoons That Are Sparking Outrage
» France: Steps Up Security at Embassies as Magazine Publishes Prophet Mohammed Cartoons
» France: Socialist Deputy Mayor Refused to Marry Muslim Woman Who Wore Hijab
» France: Safety Warning After Charlie Hebdo Publishes ‘Naked’ Muhammad Cartoons
» ‘Free Markets to Thank for Swedish Model Success’
» Freedom of Satire Guaranteed in France, PM Says
» Mohammed Cartoons: Ayrault: Freedom of Expression in France
» Mohammed Cartoons: Don’t Mock Religions, Says Italian FM
» Netherlands: World War II Parachutist’s Body Found Near Arnhem
» Oldest Dental Filling is Found in a Stone Age Tooth
» U.S.: Italy: U.S. Ambassador Lauds Italy Over Anti-Islam Film
» UK: Campaigns Head of Fosis Joins Aafia Siddiqui Protest
» UK: Council’s Go-Ahead for Mosque Alterations
» UK: Lured to Their Deaths in an ‘Act of Pure Evil’
» UK: Manchester Police Shootings: We Had to Let Dale Cregan Go, Force Admits
» UK: Neutrality of Prince of Wales Might be Questioned if ‘Black Spider’ Memos Made Public, Former Aide Warns
» UK: Priceless Chariot of the Naked Goddess Heading to London
» UK: Protest Against Blackburn ‘Terrace House Mosque’
» UK: Skegness Halal Abattoir Firm in Jobs Pledge Despite Protest
» UK: We Must Answer Rushdie’s Call to ‘Be Braver’. the Only Alternative is Abandoning Our Free Speech
 
Balkans
» Albanian Imams Stage Anti-US Protest in Pogradec
 
North Africa
» Libya: We Gave US Three-Day Warning of Benghazi Attack
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Erekat Blasts Romney Comments on Peace Process
» Obama’s Dangerous Campaign
» Palestinians Are Furious About Romney’s Remarks
» Romney Says Palestinians ‘Committed to Destruction of Israel’
 
Middle East
» Ancient Papyrus Reveals Early Christian Belief That Jesus Was Married
» Obama’s Middle East Delusions
» Syrian Organization Files Complaint Against Charlie Hebdo
 
Russia
» Cognate Languages of Finnish Are Disappearing in Russia
» Republic of Abandoned Children: Desperate Moldovans Head West Without Families
 
South Asia
» Blasphemous Movie: 1000 on the Streets in Jalalabad
» British Soldiers No Longer Trust the Afghans
» Pakistani of Accused Blasphemy Over Prophet Film
» Pakistani Lawyers Rallied Against Anti-Islam Film at Diplomatic Enclave
» Sri Lankan Muslims Protest Anti-Islam Film
» Taliban Claims Credit for NATO Afghan Pull Back
» The Cruel Reality is That We’ve Lost in Afghanistan …
» What Lies Behind Afghanistan’s Insider Attacks?
 
Far East
» China: Crowd Attacks US Ambassador in Beijing
» Cyberattacks Hit 19 Japan Websites Amid Chinese Protests
» U. S. Ambassador’s Car Attacked in Beijing
 
Australia — Pacific
» Muslims Help to Track Extremists
» Tired of the Violence and Stupidity
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Al Qaeda Threatens to Kill French Hostages in Mali
» Mali: Francois Hollande Condemns ‘Stupidity’ Of Islamic Rebels in Mali
 
Latin America
» Will Humans Eventually All Look Like Brazilians?
 
Immigration
» UK: If the Conservatives Want to Win Younger Voters, They Should Ease Up on Immigration Control
 
Culture Wars
» Americans United for Separation of Church and State Tries to Scare Churches
» Your Defense Against Evil Suggestions
 
General
» UN Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy

Financial Crisis

Italy: Bond Spreads Narrow: European Stock Markets Edge Up

Yield dips below 5%

(ANSA) — Milan, September 19 — The spread between the interest rate on Italy’s BTP and the German bund narrowed on Wednesday, closing at 329 basis points, with the yield on Italian 10-year bonds at 4.92% . Wednesday’s close was 12 basis points lower than Tuesday’s, when the yield was 5.05%.

Spain benefited too.

The spread between its 10-year bonos and the German benchmark sank to 407 basis points. On Tuesday it had closed at 426.

The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds was 5.69% Wednesday, compared to 5.85% a day earlier. The spread between German bond rates and those of Italy and Spain are considered important indicators of market confidence on whether Italy and Spain will meet their public debt payments.

European markets did no harm Wednesday, with the Madrid Ibex (+0.5%), London FTSE-100 (+0.43%), Paris CAC 40 (+0.53%), Frankfurt DAX (+0.59%) and Milan FTSE MIB (+0.15%) all edging upward.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Greatest Fraud in History

The actions of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve, the Obama administration, with the blessings of nearly every elected and appointed official just sealed the demise of the U.S. dollar by launching an indefinite round of creating digital money, backed by nothing, for the purpose of buying our own debt. Doing so ultimately makes our paper money worth less and soon to be worthless. In other words, it will take more money to buy food, gas, clothes, school supplies and pay for all goods and services.

Everyone with U.S. dollars in pension plans, savings and retirement accounts are about to lose much, if not all of their savings. Why? Because by creating more digital money from nothing will significantly devalue the dollar to the extent that it will take more and more of them to pay for the same goods and services yesterday, last week, last month and last year. We are witnessing a state sanctioned Ponzi scheme that is nearing its end, as the process will ultimately collapse upon itself. It is now a mathematical certainty.

[…]

What we are seeing here is the orchestrated attack on the American dollar by our own government officials and elected leaders. But why?

[…]

There is an overriding aspect that exceeds greed as a motive, and that’s power. Unbridled, evil and unchecked power by a group of globalists and a compliment of co-conspirator bankers who bring down countries by debasing their currencies.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

USA

A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ “

The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”

The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at the International Congress of Coptic Studies by Karen L. King, a historian who has published several books about new Gospel discoveries and is the first woman to hold the nation’s oldest endowed chair, the Hollis professor of divinity.

The provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and its owner has asked to remain anonymous. Until Tuesday, Dr. King had shown the fragment to only a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic linguistics, who concluded that it is most likely not a forgery. But she and her collaborators say they are eager for more scholars to weigh in and perhaps upend their conclusions.

Even with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.

The discussion is particularly animated in the Roman Catholic Church, where despite calls for change, the Vatican has reiterated the teaching that the priesthood cannot be opened to women and married men because of the model set by Jesus.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

America 2050: Population Change Threatens the Dream

Our exclusive analysis reveals huge inequalities between young Hispanics and ageing whites — only by working together today can the US protect its future

The US is at a crossroads. Its future depends on the interwoven fates of two main groups: an ageing population of European extraction and a growing and mostly youthful population of Latin American ancestry. Unless they help each other out, warn leading demographers, the economic success that underpins the American dream may be under threat.

New Scientist’s analyses of US Census Bureau data reveal large and stubbornly persistent disparities in wealth and educational achievement. If these are not narrowed, predicted population change could undermine the US’s future prosperity. But the nation may yet avoid a cycle of decline — if it improves educational opportunities for young Hispanics.

At this year’s Democrat and Republican conventions, the presidential candidates talked a lot about how voters were making a choice for a better future. They did not say much about the challenges posed by demography, however.

Perhaps they should have attended the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, held in San Francisco in May. The association’s president, Daniel Lichter of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, delivered a sobering address, warning: “Our failure to effectively address policy questions of persistent racial and ethnic economic inequality… may lead to new cultural and economic fragmentation.”

Some researchers believe that Lichter paints an unduly pessimistic picture. But even the optimists agree that today’s decisions will have far-reaching consequences. “We’re really at a watershed moment in American society,” says Richard Alba, a sociologist at the City University of New York.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Charlotte Muslims React to Tensions in the Middle East

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is extra security at Charlotte’s Islamic Center where they are frightened and concerned about what’s happening in the middle east. The Friday service is packed — as always — at Charlotte’s Islamic center and today has taken on new meaning. Spokesman Jibril Hough said, “Theirs actually been a call nationwide for our Friday sermons to focus on current events, especially what’s happening and Libya now looks like its spreading to other Muslim countries…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Creating and Conserving Liberty: Constitution Day

On September 17, 1787, after weeks of often bitter debate by delegates of the States gathered at the Constitutional Convention at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Constitution of the United States, beginning with the words, “We, the People,” was signed by thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates. The world was changed forever as America began its ‘great experiment’ in self-government.

Never before had a constitution been established in the name of “the People” of a nation, rather than by and in the name of a monarch, a state, or other governmental power. Many of the most erudite thinkers of the so-called “Age of Enlightenment,” did not believe that a constitutional republic of limited government “by, for, and of the people” could survive in a broad land containing a large and diverse population. America is still an ongoing experiment in liberty.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is Romney Losing the Beauty Contest?

According to Obama’s network of leftist propaganda outlets (aka news media & pollsters) — Mitt Romney is behind in all of the polls due to a “likability” problem. Do you buy it? I’d bet yes and no…

Face it — after three and a half years of the worst leadership since Jimmy Carter, national survival is the only real issue of the 2012 election. But according to Obama’s media network, “likability” is the issue of the day, as if we are voting on the Golden Globe Awards rather than our future.

While it is true that too many Americans vote based upon a beauty contest instead of any relative facts concerning the future of freedom and liberty, are Americans really dumbed-down enough to overlook the worst administrative record in U.S. history and vote based upon the “likability” of the beauty contestants in 2012? I don’t think so… Every American has been directly harmed by the Obama Administration now. Over 70% of Americans rightfully fear for their future!

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamic Violence Needs No Spark

Islamists do not need an excuse to incite violence against the “infidels”

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

The Obama administration is willfully misleading the American people on the source of Islamic violence and throwing the First Amendment’s protections of free speech under the bus to boot. In full dhimmitude mode, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice have been busy blaming an obscure anti-Muslim video for the killing of our ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

They refuse to place the blame where it belongs — on the Islamists themselves who do not need an excuse to incite violence against the “infidels.” Never mind that the interim president of Libya Mohamed al-Magariaf publicly took issue with the Obama administration’s apologist explanation for the killings of the Americans in his country:

“It’s clear from the timing, on Sept 11th, and from the detailed planning of the attacks, indicates that behind it there was experienced masterminds. It was not a spontaneous act in protest of the movie. This has been prepared for a long time, on this specific day.”

[…]

At the United Nations, as reported exclusively by Inner City Press, the Obama administration tried to have inserted into a press statement, issued September 12th by the Security Council on the “Attacks against U.S. Diplomatic Personnel” in Libya, language against the denigration of religions. France, which does not even have legal protections of free speech as strong as our First Amendment, thankfully blocked this incredibly craven proposal from seeing the light of day.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Media Bias Designed to Save Obama’s Presidency

The constant refrain from the media that the “anti-Islam” film somehow “triggered” or “sparked” the violence in Libya, Egypt and other countries is a transparent lie that follows the Obama Administration’s attempt to divert attention away from the fact that the “Arab Spring” promoted by Obama has been a complete failure for U.S. interests. Media bias is to be expected, especially during a foreign policy debacle that threatens Obama’s perceived expertise in foreign policy.

Our media understand that, in the same way that Jimmy Carter lost Iran and America was humiliated during the Iranian hostage crisis, there is a danger that Obama will be perceived to have lost Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood, as violent demonstrations continue in the Middle East and other Arab/Muslim areas of the world. Hence, attention is being directed to a film that has been on the Internet since July. It is a diversion intended to save Obama’s presidency.

[…]

Despite the media bias, it should be clear to anyone paying even casual attention that Obama has lost Egypt and is now in danger of losing Libya to the Islamists. The only legitimate debate is whether this outcome is accidental or planned. Such a debate, which will only be held if Republicans acquire some testosterone, could turn the presidential campaign in Romney’s favor in the same way that Jimmy Carter was unable to recover from the effects of a bad economy and a disastrous foreign policy, resulting in Ronald Reagan coasting to victory.

[…]

The hysterical media attacks on the filmmaker reflect media desperation that voters may come to associate the anti-American violence with Obama’s policy of appeasing the Arab/Muslim world. The voters know very little about how Obama has deliberately and consciously assisted the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and that this is the group that has spawned anti-American terrorism around the world. Andrew McCarthy’s new book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, documents how there never was an “Arab Spring” but a Pandora’s box that contains the seeds of the destruction of America and the West.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamacare Faces Possible Illegality Ruling Again

In one of the most uplifting and inspiring statements made by an individual American citizen, Iowa small business owner Matt Sissel, said to the Pacific Law Foundation (PLF), concerning having to pay for the government ObamaCare plan, “It’s dispiriting to see our lawmakers treat the rules set out in the Constitution with disrespect, as if they’re just suggestions, or as if members of Congress are too important to follow them.”

This newly minted case against the Obama health care Act was published online in The New American on September 17, 2012, as a result of the information furnished the PLF by Sissel, a small businessman and former combat medic who wears the Bronze Star, and believes the ObamaCare law trespasses the Constitution by forcing him to buy something he neither wants nor believes he needs. He pays for his health care out of pocket.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Do People Laugh When President Obama Speaks?

Barack Obama, as observers have long observed, is many things to many people; and one of these, it would seem, is funny. An irregular thing happens when Obama makes a pause during a set-piece speech: People laugh.

By way of example, take the president’s statement to a Cleveland audience on June 16, in which he vowed that his economic plan “would get rid of pet projects and government boondoggles and bridges to nowhere.” Somewhat inexplicably, this sober oath produced widespread mirth in the assembled ranks — mirth that was tamped down only by a follow-on promise to build more highways and runways.

Likewise, last year at a DNC fundraiser, Obama told the assembled crowd that, “over the last 15 months, we’ve created over 2.1 million private-sector jobs,” an observation that was deemed sufficiently risible to elicit knowing laughter. The regrettable optics (or acoustics?) of this did not escape the notice of the powers that be, who were quick to recast the audience reaction in the official White House transcript from “laughter” to “applause.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canada

Confirmed! Flu Vaccine Increases Risk of Serious Pandemic Flu Illness

The Canadian press recently broke the story that new research confirms initial findings that the flu vaccine appeared to actually increase people’s risk of getting sick with H1N1, and cause more serious bouts of illness to boot.

According to the Vancouver Sun:

“Researchers, led by Vancouver’s Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, noticed in the early weeks of the [2009 H1N1] pandemic that people who got a flu shot for the 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn’t received a flu shot. Five studies done in several provinces showed the same unsettling results.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Britain Should Call for Reform of Existing Blasphemy Laws

by Melanie McDonagh

Around the time that speculation was mounting about Tony Blair’s possible return to British politics last month, I went to a public discussion about faith and public life by the man himself and Rowan Williams in which Charles Moore was both participant — or should I say, combatant — and moderator. It was, as you’d expect, a lively affair in which the two Catholic converts took radically dissimilar views on most things, and Islam in particular. In retrospect, one of the remarks that strikes me as remarkable was Mr Blair’s throwaway contention that inter-faith discussion should be conducted on terms agreeable to the faiths in question. The implication was, though he didn’t say so, that no discussion of Islam would be possible that was critical of any aspect of the life of Mohammed, because that would be uncongenial and offensive to Muslims.

That remark came to mind today when I heard that the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, had not only called for a further week of Muslim protests about the anti-Islamic video from the US doing the rounds on YouTube but for something more far-reaching: an enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions. His remarks weren’t, by the standards of most of the protests, extreme: for what it’s worth, he applauded the fact that they were directed at Americans rather than Christians in general. But it was an unwelcome resurrection of an idea that has been doing the rounds for some time, notably when the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the OIC, tried to get the concept of respect for religion and for Islam accepted by the UN General Assembly in 2008.

Now, as it happens, Tony Blair has taken quite the right approach to the video, saying that the film was ‘wrong and offensive but also laughable as a piece of film-making — what is dangerous and wrong is the reaction to it’. Just so. But his earlier contention, that discussion of religion should be in respectful terms that their adherents can handle would not just prohibit egregiously offensive anti-Muslim propaganda, like this video, but any critical treatment of Islam. Only last week, Channel 4 had to cancel a screening of Tom Holland’s notably un-provocative documentary about the origins of Islam on security advice. If we are to censor any critical discussion of Islam on the basis of the offence given to Muslims, given the hyper-sensitivity of the community, then we shall find ourselves pre-emptively seeing off serious academic criticism of Islam’s account of itself like Tom Holland’s, let alone more robust analysis, such as ibn Warraq’s Why I am Not A Muslim, or Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, which made creative play with an ambiguous verse in the Quran, let alone the Danish cartoons — which were, remember, originally intended as benign.

And that is why we should worry about Sheikh Nasrallah’s call for an international law against the expression of offensive views on Islam, which takes Tony Blair’s notion of respectful self-censorship to the extreme of legal prohibition. Of course, the British or any Western government is unlikely to run with that one. But Arab governments might well. And if they do, let’s look to Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation, handsomely supported by Arab donors, to make the case against it.

The issue of religious offence-giving and taking isn’t just an academic one for the British government. It has an instance right under its nose, in the shape of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws — the latest victim of which was an unfortunate, withdrawn Christian girl who, reportedly, has Down’s Syndrome, yet was accused of desecrating the Quran. The blasphemy laws are effectively, a means of persecuting Pakistan’s non-Muslim minorities. I spoke recently to one Christian Pakistani couple who said that Christians are terrified of carrying copies of the Quran — and children are effectively obliged to study it — lest they be accused of blasphemy and their homes targeted by mobs. Their child worried about taking his schoolbag, with Quran, with him to the lavatory in case this should be interpreted as an insult. In one case, a Christian man, stumbling against a woman, caused her to drop her Quran on a muddy path, and he was duly targeted by the clerics. This is a life-and-death issue: more long-running, if less dramatic, than the current riots across the Muslim world and much more unlikely to go away.

Britain does have a role here in the form of the enormous sums it provides Pakistan by way of overseas aid — £200 million in 2011. If I were Justine Greening, the new International Development Secretary, I’d make at least part of it dependent on reform of the blasphemy laws.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Charlie Hebdo and Sharia Versus Freedom of Speech

By Andrew Bostom

My forthcoming book Sharia Versus Freedom [1], elaborates in great detail the grave threat, Sharia, Islam’s totalitarian “universal law” poses to our bedrock Western liberties—especially freedom of conscience and speech.

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French tabloid, has just published [2] (9/19/12) a new series of cartoons lampooning Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

According to one of contemporary Islamdom’s most popular and respected clerics, Yusuf al-Qaradawi—who will no doubt raise vociferous objections to the publication of these caricatures, and perhaps even issue a fatwa calling for the “punishment” (i.e., death, imprisonment, etc.) of the cartoonist—Muhammad remains the “Jihad Model [3]” for all Muslims justifying the creed’s mission for violent subjugation of the “infidel” and sanctioning murderous “martyrdom operations,” in modern parlance homicide bombings, to achieve that end.

As Qaradawi himself, legions of other mainstream Muslim legists, including the mainstream Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, and the laws of many Islamic nations affirm, Charlie Hebdo’s publication of such “blasphemous images” is a criminal act punishable [1], at minimum by fine and imprisonment, or even death—all in accord with Islam’s freedom of speech abrogating “Holy Law,” the totalitarian Sharia [1].

Professor Carl Brockelmann (1868—1956), the renowned scholar of Semitic languages, and arguably the foremost Orientalist of his generation, made these candid observations [1] about the sharia’s injunctions pertaining to penal law, in 1939—Islamic law being “valid” eternally, and all too widely applied in Brockelmann’s era, till now…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Police Arrest 14 Anarchists for Vandalism

City cops work with PET to track down overly-artistic left-wing extremists

The Copenhagen Police and PET, the Danish security and intelligence service, have collaborated to arrest 14 left wing extremists for committing or planning politically-motivated vandalism against the police and other public authorities.

According to Copenhagen Police, four of those arrested were charged with “systematic vandalism of an organised nature”. They were charged with vandalising or attempting to vandalise vehicles at a police academy on Artillerivej and a police station on Hermodsgade. They were also charged with scrawling graffiti on several buildings on Gormsgade and Ægirsgade, including the Nordea facade in Gormsgade where they spray-painted the phrase “f*** capitalism”.

PET said that some of the seven men and seven women detained, who ranged in ages between 16 and 48, were rounded up as a precautionary measure.

“PET’s view is that those arrested had plans of carrying out co-ordinated, politically motivated vandalism targeted at the police and other public authorities,” PET said in a statement.

The statement gives no indication of what other actions police believed the group had planned.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Muhammad Cartoons, Reinforced Embassies’ Security

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, Sept. 19 — France has taken “special security precautions” to protect its embassies, after the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was announced this morning by the French Minister of Foreign Affair, Laurent Fabius.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France: Teacher Attacked by Teargas at Amiens School

Teachers at a technical high school in Amiens suspended classes on Tuesday afternoon after one of their colleagues was sprayed with teargas.

The victim was a woman teacher of mathematics and science at the Acheuléen “lycée professionel” near the train station of the northern French city.

The incident occurred around 2.30pm as the woman was teaching a class, according to press reports.

The teacher, opening the classroom door after someone knocked, was sprayed with a teargas grenade by a young person wearing a hood, whose face was partly hidden, the Courrier-Picard newspaper reported, citing another teacher.

The attacker fled, leaving the teacher in a state of shock.

She was transported to the emergency department of the local hospital.

It is not known whether the assailant was enrolled at the school of 750 students.

The entire staff of the school decided to discontinue classes later in the afternoon over concerns about the lack of security at the institution.

They were scheduled to meet on Wednesday to decide what further action to take.

The head of the school, who declined comment on the incident, has lodged a complaint with the national police, the Courrier-Picard newspaper said.

Jean-Louis Ducrocq, an elected representative of the teachers, said it was not the first time that the school had faced such violence and more needed to be done to control access to classrooms.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: The Cartoons That Are Sparking Outrage

(By Tullio Giannotti) (ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 19 — French weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose satire is a symbol of political incorrectness in the country, published today cartoons mocking Prophet Mohammed.

In one cartoon, the prophet only wearing a turban is lying in bed as he pronounces a line recited in a cult scene by Brigitte Bardot in the Jean-Luc Godard movie ‘Le mepris’: ‘et mes fesses? Tu les aimes, mes fesses? (and my bum? Do you like my bum?).

Some of the most shocking cartoons are inspired by the controversy sparked by a US-produced movie mocking the prophet.

One of the cartoons portrays the naked prophet on all four legs with a yellow star on his bottom: ‘Mohamed, a star is born’, reads the cartoon.

Another cartoon portrays the front page of Closer, the gossip magazine which published pictures of a topless Duchess of Cambridge, but instead of depicting Kate Middleton the cartoon shows ‘Madame Mahomet’ with a beard and the line ‘revolts in Arab countries’.

Another shows a ‘problematic teenager’ who ‘doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs and doesn’t have sex’ and causes his mother’s despair: ‘Help, my son is a salafite!’.

Finally, a cartoon shows Pope Benedict taking off a fake beard with a headline reading: ‘Scandal movie, the actor interpreting Mohamed finally unmasked’.

Charlie Hebdo, which critics accuse of being racist and publishing trash, has always inspired strong reactions with its provocations and ‘politically incorrect’ cartoons and reports.

In July the magazine celebrated its 20th anniversary with a special number.

First created in 1970, inspired by Charlie Brown and ‘Hara Kiri Hebdo’, it was censored for the front page published on the day following General Charles De Gaulle’s death: ‘Tragic ball at Colombey, one dead’, read the headline. The paper had great success but the many lawsuits forced it to fold in 1981 after publishing 580 numbers. It was re-issued 11 years later and has often clashed with leaders of all religions due to its liberal inspiration.

The first caricatures of Mohamed date back to February 2006; they sold 400.000 copies and led to an attack by Islamists. At the end of 2011 the newsroom was completely destroyed by an arson attack and a special online number called ‘Sharia Hebdo’ was hacked.

Meanwhile, Charlie journalists moved to the newsroom of Liberation and then to a new office where journalists are preparing a special issue for the publication’s 20th birthday which should is expected in October.

Charlie Hebdo has a weekly circulation of 100.000 copies and 15.000 subscribers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France: Steps Up Security at Embassies as Magazine Publishes Prophet Mohammed Cartoons

France will close its embassies and schools in around 20 countries on Friday because of fears of a hostile reaction to a magazine’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius earlier announced that he had ordered special security measures “in all the countries where this could pose a problem.” Demonstrations in the Islamic world often follow Friday prayers. Fabius admitted that he was “concerned” by the potential for a backlash to satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s printing of a series of cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed against a background of violent protests in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film. The crudely-made US film is the main subject of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons but the sketches are open to wide interpretation. The weekly carries a total of four cartoons…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France: Socialist Deputy Mayor Refused to Marry Muslim Woman Who Wore Hijab

The Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France reports that on Thursday 6 September a young Muslim couple, Saad and Myriam, arrived at the town hall at La Seyne-sur-Mer in southeastern France to get married. However when Florence Cyrulnik, the Socialist Party deputy mayor who was to preside over their wedding, arrived she told Myriam abruptly that she would not proceed with the marriage unless the bride immediately removed her headscarf. Although Myriam was not wearing a face veil, which is of course illegal in France, she was informed that religious symbols were banned in public spaces according to a local secularist statute.

Attempts to reason with Cyrulnik and her equally aggressive assistant Marc Vuillemot failed and Saad and Myriam were forced to call off their wedding. “What should have been the happiest day of their lives turned into a humiliation coupled to an injustice”, the CCIF writes. The report adds: “The CCIF strongly condemns the municipality of La Seyne-sur-Mer and the actions of Florence Cyrulnik that violated the young couple’s fundamental right to marriage, as well as their religious freedom.” They support the couple’s decision to mount a legal challenge to the municipality over their disgraceful treatment.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France: Safety Warning After Charlie Hebdo Publishes ‘Naked’ Muhammad Cartoons

France has stepped up security at its embassies in the Muslim world after satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo threw ‘oil on the fire’ by publishing a series of crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, including some of him naked

Embassies, consulates, cultural centres and international schools in more than 20 countries will be closed this week as a result of the cartoons, which come during a period of heightened tension due to anger over an anti-Islamic film independently produced in the US. The French foreign ministry issued travel warnings for French people in Muslim countries to exercise the ‘greatest vigilance’ especially around ‘sensitive buildings’ with specific religious or western significance. The front page of Charlie Hebdo, the headquarters of which were last year firebombed for a similar move, showed a caricature of an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair, while several cartoons of the Prophet featured on its inside pages. On the front page the wheelchair-bound figure is captioned as saying ‘You mustn’t mock’ under the headline ‘Untouchable 2’, a reference to a French movie about a paralysed rich white man and his black assistant. Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, a cartoonist previously only known as Charb, said the images would ‘shock those who will want to be shocked’. He said the magazine ‘does caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, but when we do it with the Prophet, it’s called provocation’. One of the magazine’s cartoonists, who uses the name Tignous, commented: ‘It’s just a drawing. It’s not a provocation.’

[…]

[JP note: Link here to the Charlie Hebdo front page static4.businessinsider.com/image/5058b5766bb3f7ba7b00000d-698-886/charlie-hebdo-cover.jpeg?maxX=590&maxY=748

and another nice one here www.meddlingkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/hebdo.jpg ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘Free Markets to Thank for Swedish Model Success’

While Sweden is often held up as a shining example of the benefits of a generous welfare state, a new paper argues that free markets, rather than a large state sector, are the real key to Sweden’s economic success.

“Sweden’s success has had nothing to do with the welfare state,” the report’s author, Nima Sanandaji, tells The Local.

“If you want to argue for the benefits of a free market economy, Sweden is a great example.”

Sanandaji, an Iranian-born Kurd who came to Sweden as a child, lays out his contrarian case in a paper published recently by the Institute of Economic Affairs in the UK.

The “Swedish model” of high taxes and generous welfare benefits has long been held up by parties on the left in the UK and the United States as an example of a high-tax society with solid economic growth.

In recent years, Sweden has also received a great deal of attention for the way in which the country has successfully navigated the global financial crisis without suffering from a prolonged rise in unemployment or negative growth.

But Sanandaji, who founded the liberal Swedish think tank Captus, explains that much of the praise for Sweden’s economic model is misplaced.

“The idea of Sweden being some sort of socialist utopia is very widespread. Sweden has a lot of positive social outcomes and is known as a social democracy with high taxes. But this myth is more a product of correlation rather than causation,” he says.

According to Sanandaji, the ingredients that have contributed to Sweden’s success — high social trust and an embrace of free-market ideology — were in place well before the country’s welfare state expanded in late 1960s and 1970s.

“Sweden was a place with high equality, few social problems, and a high life expectancy before it started expanding its welfare state,” he says.

He points out that in 1975, Sweden was the 4th richest industrialized country in terms of GDP per head.

But by 1993, following two decades of increasing taxes and an expansion of the state sector, Sweden had fallen to 14th.

“Since the start of the social democratic era in Sweden, the country’s growth trajectory has been lower,” says Sanandaji.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Freedom of Satire Guaranteed in France, PM Says

If someone feels offended, go to court

(ANSAmed)) — PARIS, Sept. 19 -”We are in a country in which the freedom of caricaturing is guaranteed, and if someone feels offended, they can go to court”: so said on the radio RTL French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, referring to the cartoons about Muhammad, published today by the newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mohammed Cartoons: Ayrault: Freedom of Expression in France

(AGI) Paris — French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault underlined that whoever feels offended for cartoons on Mohammed, published on satyrical periodical Charlie Hebdo, may file a case. He reminded, however, that France is a country where there is freedom of speech, even of expression in cartoons. If anyone feels offended in their convictions and believe that laws have been violated, we live in a state where laws are enforced, so they may resort to a court.” Prime Minister Ayrault stated that the demonstration planned in Paris to protest against the film produced in the US will not be authorized. “No reason to have conflicts in France over an issue that does not concern our country,” explained the Prime Minister.

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

Mohammed Cartoons: Don’t Mock Religions, Says Italian FM

Some people guilty of ‘irresponsible sensationalism’

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Wednesday that religions must not be mocked after French weekly Charlie Hebdo caused outrage in the Muslim world by printing cartoons featuring Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

The development comes after a wave of violence sparked last week by an American-produced film that allegedly ridicules Mohammed.

Terzi said some people in the West were guilty of “irresponsible sensationalism” by abusing “deep religious sensibilities that must be respected” for personal advantage.

“Religions are fundamental, they are important for many billions of people, and no one should allow themselves to mock them or joke about these values,” added the minister. “Let’s not forget that it is possible to prosecute those who offend religion under Italy’s criminal code”. “I think this should be a common principle to all the countries of the world”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: World War II Parachutist’s Body Found Near Arnhem

The body of a British World War II soldier has been recovered from the Ginkelse Heide near Ede, the Dutch Royal Airforce reports.

The body was discovered last week by someone with a metal detector. The identity of the soldier has not yet been established.

The recovery and identity service says the soldier was probably a member of 4th Parachute Brigade of the 1st Airborne Division which was dropped over the Ginkelse Heide on September 18 1944. Two hand grenades were found near the body.

Next week hundreds of parachutists will relive the drop as part of the annual Battle of Arnhem remembrance ceremony.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Oldest Dental Filling is Found in a Stone Age Tooth

You may not want to try this at home. A simple wax cap that was applied to a broken tooth 6500 years ago is the oldest dental filling on record. It adds to evidence that Neolithic communities had a surprisingly sophisticated knowledge of dentistry.

The recipient of the treatment was most likely a 24 to 30-year-old man, living in what is now Slovenia. His fossilised jawbone was found early last century near the village of Lonche. At the time, the find — one of the oldest human bones ever found in the region — was described, catalogued and filed away in a museum in nearby Trieste, Italy.

“The jawbone remained in the museum for 101 years without anybody noticing anything strange,” says Claudio Tuniz at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. That was until Tuniz and his colleague Federico Bernardini happened to use the specimen to test new X-ray imaging equipment, and spotted some unusual material attached to a canine.

They constructed a high-resolution 3D picture of the tooth, which revealed a long vertical crack, and an area of enamel that had worn away to create a large cavity in which the dentine was exposed. The unusual material formed a thin cap that perfectly filled the cavity and the upper part of the crack.

Infrared spectroscopy identified the material as beeswax, and radiocarbon dating found it and the tooth to be both around 6500 years old. This suggests the beeswax may have been used to plug the cracked and worn tooth while its owner was still alive, which would make it the oldest example of a dental filling ever found — predating gold prostheses used in Imperial Rome.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U.S.: Italy: U.S. Ambassador Lauds Italy Over Anti-Islam Film

‘Most reliable ally in Europe’ says Thorne

(ANSA) — Rome, September 19 — The United States’ ambassador to Italy on Wednesday gave high praise to the Italian government’s assistance with protests sparked by a film mocking the prophet Mohammed that was made in the U.S.

“The collaboration received from Italy — and directly from the premier and from the president of the republic — was of great help and usefulness; and it indicates how special and important our relationships are,” said Ambassador David Thorne.

Thorne also called Italy America’s “most reliable ally in Europe,” adding “this has never been more true than in the last few weeks.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Campaigns Head of Fosis Joins Aafia Siddiqui Protest

As the new university term is just around the corner, Britain’s Islamist-dominated student umbrella group FOSIS is keen to stir the anti-western pot. On the 23rd September 2012, the ‘Justice for Aafia coalition’ is holding a protest at the US Embassy to demand she be freed. Readers should note that Aafia Siddiqui is a doctor who left Pakistan to attend MIT and Brandeis in the USA. After completing her studies, she returned to Pakistan, where she divorced her husband. In March 2003 the FBI issued a global alert for Siddiqui. This is what they say about her:

US officials allege that Ms Siddiqui has links to top al-Qaeda suspects. They say that the mother of three is married to Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, known as Ammar al-Blackuch, a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks, and a cousin of Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York.

Siddiqui was found guilty of a number of violent charges and was rightly given a harsh prison sentence for her actions in federal custody…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Council’s Go-Ahead for Mosque Alterations

CONTROVERSIAL alterations to a mosque have been approved by Bolton Council. Officials from the Masjid Al Aqsa mosque in Gilnow Road, Halliwell , had applied for retrospective planning permission for changes made to the building since it was built in 2003. Objectors to the plans claimed the building had spread by one metre to the south and 20 square metres to the south eastern side. Neighbours in Gilmore Gardens also complained about windows overlooking the properties and the overhanging structure that accommodates the “mihrab” feature-acircular niche in the building signifying the direction of Makkah…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Lured to Their Deaths in an ‘Act of Pure Evil’

Two female police officers were murdered in cold blood after being lured into an ambush and gunned down in the worst atrocity against the police for almost half a century.

Fiona Bone, 32, and her colleague Nicola Hughes, 23, were on a routine patrol in the Mottram district of Greater Manchester when they responded to reports of a house burglary on the Hattersley Estate. Shortly before 11am the pair, who were unarmed, arrived at terraced property in Abbey Gardens in a marked police car. As they approached the house, a man suddenly emerged and fired more than ten times at them before throwing a grenade in their direction. Both women were fatally injured, one dying at the scene while paramedics were unable to save her colleague. A short time later Dale Cregan, 29, who was wanted in connection with the murders of father and son David and Mark Short in separate gun and grenade attacks, walked into nearby Tameside police station and gave himself up. Police said they believed Cregan or someone acting on his behalf had deliberately called the police to report a bogus burglary in a bid to lure officers into a deadly ambush. Two people, one male and a female, who were believed to be in the house from where the bogus call to the police was made, were last night helping police with their inquiries…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Manchester Police Shootings: We Had to Let Dale Cregan Go, Force Admits

Greater Manchester Police has defended its decision to release Dale Cregan on bail in the months before PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed.

Greater Manchester Police today defended its decision to release Dale Cregan on bail in the months before PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were killed. Dale Cregan, 29, was one of Manchester’s most wanted men when he walked into Tameside police station and gave himself up yesterday following the deaths of the two officers. In June Cregan was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Mark Short, but was released on bail pending further inquiries. Cregan subsequently went into hiding, and police offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest so that they could pursue inquiries into the murders of Mark Short and his father David in separate gun and grenade attacks. Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Sir Peter Fahy defended the decision to release Cregan…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Neutrality of Prince of Wales Might be Questioned if ‘Black Spider’ Memos Made Public, Former Aide Warns

People might question the “political neutrality” of the Prince of Wales when he becomes King if his private letters to ministers are made public, according to a former aide.

Sir Stephen Lamport, his former private secretary, said the Prince believes that writing to Government ministers prepares him for when he is made king and will stop the controversial practice when he is crowned. Sir Stephen’s comments were made in a series of evidence sessions to a tribunal of judges which ruled on Tuesday that the Government should release some of the Prince’s letters under the Freedom of Information Act. The Prince has faced criticism for sending the letters — known as “black spider memos” because of his handwriting — to ministers, marked private and confidential, setting out his views on aspects of government policy…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Priceless Chariot of the Naked Goddess Heading to London

An ornamental chariot bearing a naked goddess that was built 700 years before the birth of Christ and which is worth over 50 million euros is heading to London.

The bronze-age Strettweg Chariot was found by a farmer ploughing his field near Judenburg, Austria in 1851.

It was regarded as so valuable that a special law was introduced by the local government banning it from ever being allowed out of the country for display abroad — and in order to allow the trip to London MPs had to vote to make an exception.

The MPs agreed, and now the chariot has been allowed to make a one-off visit to the UK.

Archeologists who rushed to the area after the wagon was found also located jewelry, bronze amphorae, iron weapons, and tack and harness gear for horses that would have pulled the device.

The chariot has four wheels with a naked female figure at the centre holding a bowl-shaped object and surrounded by numerous other figures in the form of both standing and mounted people — as well as deer and horses.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Protest Against Blackburn ‘Terrace House Mosque’

COUNCILLORS are set to tell a mosque in Blackburn to move out of a terrace house after objections from neighbours. The town’s MP Jack Straw has backed objectors to an application for retrospective planning consent for the place of worship above the Ashrafi Study Centre Madrassah, in Accrington Road, Audley. He has told Blackburn with Darwen planning committee that using terraced houses as mosques was no longer necessary, or appropriate, to allow Muslims to practise their faith. Farooq Mohammed has been operating an Islamic school at the premises with planning permission since July 2009 for 75 pupils, between 5pm and 7.30pm. In August last year he submitted a retrospective application to use the whole building as a mosque, which was withdrawn in January because of noise and highway safety concerns…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Skegness Halal Abattoir Firm in Jobs Pledge Despite Protest

THE company behind a controversial Halal abattoir say they want to be a large employer for the coast. Premier Halal Meats, who are behind an application to open up a Halal abattoir on Heath Road industrial estate in Skegness, hope to create between 40 and 70 jobs for the town. A spokesman from the company, who would not give his name, said: “About 50 people have applied for a job with us and we expect more applications to come in. We will be employing a lot of people and hope to be one of the biggest employers in Skegness.”

He declined to comment on some of the concerns raised by local residents regarding animal welfare practices, but simply said they were “lovely people” who are generating publicity for their business as a local employer. This comes after local campaigners continue to gather signatures on petitions against the abattoir. On Saturday, the far right National Front held a demonstration in Tower Gardens. They used a loud speaker to address around 50 people and a small leaflet drop on Grand Parade. Lincolnshire Police said it was a peaceful protest which went without incident…

[JP note: Skegness is no longer bracing, it is merely halal. See here for Skegness is so bracing poster designed by John Hassall http://www.topskips.com/skip-hire-blog/wp-content/uploads/skegness.jpg ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: We Must Answer Rushdie’s Call to ‘Be Braver’. the Only Alternative is Abandoning Our Free Speech

by Jake Wallis Simons

Last night, I was having a drink in one of the bars at the Palace of Westminster with a Tory MP. I mentioned that I’d written a couple of blog posts recently about the Muslim world, including one about the film riots and another about anti-Israeli sentiment in Egypt. Neither of these had been particularly inflammatory. “You’d better be careful,” said my companion, from his position at the heart of British power. “You don’t want to get on the wrong side of Muslim fanatics.” Yesterday, Salman Rushdie — who has had his fatwa reinstated by an Iranian Ayatollah, with an increased bounty of $3.3 million — said that a “climate of fear” would make it impossible for the Satanic Verses to be published now. In an interview with the BBC’s Will Gompertz, he said that the opponents of free speech used a “medieval vocabulary” of blasphemy, heresy and apostasy, which has had a cumulative cultural effect. This burgeoning Islamic intolerance, he argued, forms a “straight line” from his 1989 fatwa to the 9/11 attacks. This represents a cycle of oppression in which aggressive Islamist rhetoric sparks popular violence, which in turn gives future threats teeth.

There can be no doubt that the message of intimidation has been amplified since the late eighties, with protests and attacks sparked by countless books, cartoons and films. My conversation with the MP highlighted just how successful this concerted campaign by Islamic radicals has become in suppressing free speech in Britain. The defining characteristic of terrorism is that a little bit of terror goes a long way; blow up one bus, and all passengers will worry about their safety. These days, the “climate of fear” is so pervasive that even in the mother of all parliaments, the mere mention of an article related to Islam makes MPs suck their teeth and advise you to watch your back.

The current spate of riots across the Muslim world are taking things one step further by explicitly calling upon Google and other players in the West to ban the offending film. This sharpening of focus reveals a new sense of purpose emerging from the orchestrated crowds of rioters. The Obama team has been put on the back foot; Hillary Clinton has been forced to explain the importance of freedom of speech to the American way of life, a fact that only appears weaker when rehashed and justified to those who find it “hard to understand”. Now that protests have begun to take off on our own shores, this fear can only get more intense. When asked for the solution to the problem, Rushdie said “we have to be braver”. Surely he is right; the only alternative is to abandon our principle of free speech, which would be unthinkable. Yet I wonder how many people would unreservedly answer his clarion call.

[Reader comment by telfennol on 19 September 2012 at 6:25am.]

This is one of Islam’s favourite tactics: To find something to overreact to and then massively take offense. It intimidates or removes all but the most stalwart opponents and spreads the message that it’s simply not worth messing with Muslims, and it’s an effective approach as time and again western politicians react by appeasing rather than confronting Islam. The problem is that where we might view this as being reasonable and looking for common ground extremists see it as a sign of weakness and an indication that they should press forward.

What Obama should have done is address the protestors and explain that while he was sorry that they were offended it was not the responsibility of the US and as such hostile actions against American persons or property would be met with a proportionate response. As for the UK protestors and their signs “America out of Muslim Lands”, well, I absolutely agree. The West should withdraw our troops, who are dying needlessly, and our aid money, wasted on the ungrateful. Then to make it fair we should pursue a reciprical policy of “Muslims out of Christian Lands.”

[Reader comment by sebastien2 on 19 September 2012 at 2:14 am.]

Reading through so many blogs over time, I do enjoy the grim satisfaction of sensing that many have finally tumbled to what mohammedism is really all about. “Islamophobia”? Not at all. “Islamorealism” would better describe the deepening awareness of what this death cult with its false prophet stands for — in deed rather than word. Viking has listed some of horrors. Plumbline refers to more subtle aspects — a spiritual war or, in other words, a contest of ideas. Such a perhaps slightly mystical perspective is not to be sneered at since this is how many mohammedans see it.

Either way, to reject islam’s deviant and triumphalist vision of medieval Arab supremacy under the bloody auspices of a tribal Moon God (Al’Lah) and a schizophrenic brigand, is not phobic. It’s common sense. Neither is it prejudice, since our knowledge of this perverse creed is growing by the day. We understand it — albeit not in the way mohammedans would wish. That is to say we know why we reject its claims to perfection. We can fluently and cogently articulate our disapproval of it and we can — except for on the cowardly BBC — investigate it objectively and with proper historical rigour, showing that it may be neither “revealed”, coherent or divine. Either way, it is not immaculate in the sense mohammedans insist it is. It is not and never has been “the final testament”.

So what deters us from blurting all this out, in public, on the airwaves, on the web? What ties our tongues and freezes our vocal chords? What halts us from the freedom of speech that generations have paid so much to secure for us. What is it if not deep apprehension of the violent consequences? And if so, isn’t this evidence enough of this deviant theology’s true nature: to bully, to intimidate, to threaten and to foist on us all a deeply prejudiced view in favour of itself that more unbiased, truthful examination (which it seeks to repress or prohibit) just can’t provide. But such truthful examination is surely right.

To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.

[JP note: Note a clever version of Westergaard’s Turban Bomb Prophet posted by Prince Monolulu on 19 September 2012 at 0:20 am.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Balkans

Albanian Imams Stage Anti-US Protest in Pogradec

AGI) Tirana — The League of Albanian Imams staged anti-US protests in Pogradec on Wednesday afternoon against the blasphemous film. The film is said to ridicule the figure of the Prophet. The Embassy of the United States has launched an alert to all American citizens in Albania calling on them to closely monitor the events and did not exclude that similar demonstrations might take place in other cities, including the capital Tirana, and recommended that everybody keep away from the demonstration rallies.

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

North Africa

Libya: We Gave US Three-Day Warning of Benghazi Attack

American diplomats were warned of possible violent unrest in Benghazi three days before the killings of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three members of his team, Libyan security officials say.

The claim came as the country’s interim President, Mohammed el-Megarif, said his government had information that the attack on the US consulate had been planned by an Islamist group with links to al-Qa’ida and with foreigners taking part.

[…]

But President Megarif told the American station National Public Radio: “We firmly believe that this was a pre-calculated, pre-planned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the US Consulate. A few of those who joined in were foreigners who had entered Libya from different directions, some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Erekat Blasts Romney Comments on Peace Process

Ramallah, 19 Sept. (AKI) — The chief Palestinian negotiator in the Mideast peace process Wednesday blasted remarks by US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney that a two-state solution was impossible as Palestinians were sworn to enmity with Israel.

“The accusations made by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney are insensitive and unacceptable,” Saeb Erekat told Adnkronos International.

“It is unacceptable to claim that the Palestinians don’t want peace,” Erekat said, levelling criticism at Israel’s policy of settlement expansion.

“You cannot achieve peace by building more settlements, nor by rejecting the necessary conditions to achieve peace, that is a two-state solution based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as our capital,” Erekat told AKI.

He was reacting to controversial comments made by Romney in a secretly filmed video of a speech to Republican party fundraiser in which he said peace in the Middle East and the creation a separate Palestinian state were impossible as the Palestinians were “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel”.

Romney was on Wednesday reported to be trying to play down the video, in which he also claimed that almost half Americans “pay no income tax” and “depend on government” and that the US could come under attack from Iran.

Clips from the video were posted to the website liberal magazine Mother Jones and have upended Romney’s campaign in what looks like it will be a tight race.

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

Obama’s Dangerous Campaign

by Melanie Phillips

Into my inbox last week popped an email from Michelle Obama. “Thank you for an amazing week… Can you chip in $5 or more to stand with Barack today?” For some reason, I have been on the Obama campaign mailing list for the past four years, which is a hoot since, from the get-go, I have warned about Obama’s extremist, Black-Power, Israel-hating background and circle, and that he would be a disaster for Israel and the west. So it has proved. Yet astoundingly there are Jews who believe he has been the most Israel-friendly US president in history…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Palestinians Are Furious About Romney’s Remarks

(AGI) Ramallah, 18 Sept. — PLO slammed Romney over his remarks that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “almost unthinkable” and that it is the Palestininans’ fault since they “have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace.” Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Romney’s remarks are “absolutely unacceptable.” In the videoclip shot at a close-door fundraiser on 17 May last and then posted by Mother Jones magazine, Mr. Romney said he was not worried about 47% of the country who votes for Obama and depend on the government to provide for them and … do no pay their taxes.

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

Romney Says Palestinians ‘Committed to Destruction of Israel’

Secret footage of Mitt Romney was released on Tuesday in which he describes the Palestinians as “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel”. The film, posted on the website of the left-leaning US magazine Mother Jones, showed Mr Romney speaking at a $50,000-a-plate private fundraiser in Florida in May. When asked by one donor how the “Palestinian problem” could be solved, Mr Romney gave a lengthy reply, stating that: “The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and… the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” This is contrary to the official position of the Republican Party, which backs a two-state solution. Its 2012 platform says: “The US seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, negotiated between the parties themselves with the assistance of the US.” At the fundraiser, the presidential candidate said he was resigned that the situation between the two countries “is going to remain an unsolved problem”. During the speech, Mr Romney incorrectly named Syria as a country bordering the West Bank.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Ancient Papyrus Reveals Early Christian Belief That Jesus Was Married

A newly-uncovered ancient papyrus shows that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married, a Harvard professor told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies.

Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, said the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary. Ms King says the fragment of Coptic script is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century. Ms King helped translate and unveiled the tiny fragment at a conference of Coptic experts in Rome. She said it doesn’t prove Jesus was married but speaks to issues of family and marriage that faced Christians. Four words in the 1.5-by-3-inch fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Ms King said. Those words, written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, translate to “Jesus said to them, my wife,” King said in a statement. Ms King said that in the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says “she can be my disciple.”

Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried even though there was no reliable historical evidence to support that, Ms King said. The new gospel, she said, “tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage.” “From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry,” she said, “but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’s marital status to support their positions.”

Ms King presented the document at a six-day conference being held at Rome’s La Sapienza University and at the Augustinianum institute of the Pontifical Lateran University.

While the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio frequently cover such academic conferences, there was no mention of Ms King’s discovery in any Vatican media on Tuesday. That said, her paper was one of nearly 60 delivered on Tuesday at the vast conference, which drew 300 academics from around the globe…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Middle East Delusions

Globalization certainly did not bring the premodern world of the Middle East closer together with the postmodern West — despite Barack Obama’s 2007 narcissistic vows that his own intellect and background could bridge such a gap. If anything, the more we know about each other, the more we sense we are back to Lepanto and the siege of Vienna. Since the 9/11 anniversary attacks, the Obama administration has seemed bewildered, petulant, and more or less shocked in Casablanca-style fashion about the hatred shown the United States — whether overt among the Arab Street, or implicit among Arab governments’ wink-and-nod inability to protect U.S. embassies. It apparently forgot some basic rules about how to deal with radical Islam, and instead regressed back to the old familiar appeasement that led to 9/11/2001.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syrian Organization Files Complaint Against Charlie Hebdo

(AGI) Paris- Syria’s Organization for Freedom is threatening court action against magazine Charlie Hebdo for “inciting hatred”. The Paris-based organization is taking action as a result of the satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed which were published in Wednesday’s edition of the magazine, reports ‘France Press’, citing legal sources. The complaint, filed Wednesday, accuses the French magazine of “having decided to fuel the fire by publishing caricatures mocking the Prophet Mohammed” and of “public provocation and discrimination inciting hatred or national, racial or religious violence”. The court will now have to examine the complaint and decide whether to pursue legal action against the magazine.

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

Russia

Cognate Languages of Finnish Are Disappearing in Russia

Zinaida Dubinina is fighting to save the Karelian language, but despite the revival of minority languages people are rapidly being Russified

A battle. That is the word that Zinaida Dubinina is using. Dubinina is fighting a battle in the bedroom of her home in the village of Kotkatjärvi in Russian Karelia. At her desk she has committed her most important acts in order to save her native language: translated the entire Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, as well as parts of the Bible into Karelian.

Dubinina’s choice of words is dramatic, but her struggle is a real one. A defeat in the battle would mean a death-blow to the Karelian language and culture. “I do not honestly know what will happen to the Karelian language”, she quitely contemplates.

In the village of Kotkatjärvi, the Karelian language is still alive. On the bumpy roads, one meets people whose speech-patterns are oddly familiar. “Olgua hyvin!” Viktor Pärkiyev wishes us politely, before setting off on a bicycle that looks quite as old as the cyclist himself. Nevertheless, the cognate languages of Finnish are facing difficulties. The number of those who speak Finnish, Karelian, and Vepsian of the Veps language is shrinking rapidly.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Republic of Abandoned Children: Desperate Moldovans Head West Without Families

Moldova was a relatively prosperous republic when it was still part of the Soviet Union. But now its ailing economy has driven roughly a quarter of its population abroad in search of better prospects. The victims are the thousands of children growing up back home alone.

When Nadia Popa wakes up at 7 a.m. every morning, it is to a growing and uneasy feeling of rage. Popa lives in an apartment in the southern part of Verona, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, where summer lilac is now in full bloom. It’s a place where tourists come to spend romantic weekends. “I’m not here to be happy,” she says.

Her children, Anastasia, 16, and Alexandra, 12, wake up at the same time, but more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away, in the dusty village of Nucreni in the northern part of the Republic of Moldova. Popa’s daughters live in a country that is notorious for human trafficking and the illegal trade in human organs. The girls sleep in a spotless room with pink walls and teddy bears neatly lined up on the sofa. It looks more like an empty dollhouse than the bedroom of two young girls.

Anastasia and her sister, Alexandra, live alone in the house, which is on a gravel road. They feed the chickens before school and, in the afternoon, they plow the corn and potato fields. The girls run their own household, doing the laundry, cleaning the house and cutting firewood in the forest. The pink bedroom is emblematic of a childhood devoid of parents.

In the wake of an exodus of Moldova’s modestly affluent class, the parents in families like Anastasia and Alexandra’s have also begun to leave. Moldova was relatively prosperous during the Soviet era, when it was a significant exporter of fruit and vegetables to the rest of the country. But today, it is Europe’s poorest country. Of a population of 4 million, one million Moldovans have already moved abroad to countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece, which they still view as places of hope. Most Moldovans live there illegally, leaving children and the elderly behind in their villages in Moldova.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Blasphemous Movie: 1000 on the Streets in Jalalabad

(AGI) Kabul — One thousand demonstrators, mostly colle students, took to the streets in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan. They were protesting against a US produced amateur movie about Mohammed, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to the enemies of Islam”. Until now some 30 people died in the wave of protests against the film, around the world. 12 dies this past Tuesday morning in a kamikaze attack on the outskirts of Kabul.

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

British Soldiers No Longer Trust the Afghans

by Con Coughlin

After the recent wave of so-called “green on blue” incidents in Afghanistan (Afghans killing Nato soldiers), it was almost inevitable that British ministers would have a serious rethink about the wisdom of sending British soldiers on joint patrols with their Afghan counterparts. With such incidents on the increase — they now account for one fifth of British fatalities in Afghanistan — it was only a matter of time before British ministers pulled the rug on joint patrols, and ordered that such operations in future be conducted only at battalion level.

While this might make sound military sense, it nevertheless constitutes a victory of sorts for the Taliban which, by encouraging these attacks, has achieved its objective of destroying the bond of trust between Nato soldiers and the newly trained members of the Afghan army.

The Ministry of Defence claims that most of these incidents have been caused by unrelated, local grievances, with individual Afghan soldiers turning their guns on their Nato mentors out of frustration over some petty misunderstanding, rather than the attacks being part of a coordinated Taliban strategy to undermine the Nato war effort. I am not so sure, particulary after the events of last weekend, where the spate of attacks on Nato soldiers — including British — looked more like a concerted effort to undermine Nato’s ability to maintain a good working relationship with the Afghans. Let us not forget that the main reason we have in excess of 100,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan is to help the Afghans rebuild their country after three decades of civil war, and be in a position to look after their own security. But if the only thanks we get for our trouble is our young soldiers being killed and maimed by ungrateful Afghans, then many people will ask what’s the point of sustaining further casualties for a nation of ingrates?

[Reader comment by J Cook on 19 September 2012 at 0:20 am.]

The entire concept of trying to work with one group of Muslims to destroy another group of Muslims from the same nation and region is an idea so bizarre that to advocate such is arguably a gross dereliction of duty to the men and women of our Armed Forces by the nation’s political leadership. Some people should be standing in the dock when the dust finally clears on this (so far at least) the greatest British misadventure of the 21st century.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Pakistani of Accused Blasphemy Over Prophet Film

Pakistani officials say they have opened an investigation into a businessman who has been accused of blasphemy after refusing to join protests over an anti-Islam video and allegedly trying to convince others also not to take part.

Police officer Munir Abbasi says that hundreds of protesters in the city of Hyderabad who rallied against the film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad demanded businessman Haji Nasrullah Khan shut his shops in solidarity.

When Khan refused, one of his tenants said his decision supported the film.

City police chief Fareed Jan said Wednesday the protesters claim Khan insulted the Prophet.

Jan said there’s no evidence to suggest this happened and said police were pressured by the mob to open the case.

Blasphemy is punishable by life in prison or death in Pakistan.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Pakistani Lawyers Rallied Against Anti-Islam Film at Diplomatic Enclave

ISLAMABAD: Up to 500 Pakistani lawyers managed to break through a gate to Islamabad’s heavily-guarded diplomatic enclave on Wednesday in a fresh protest to denounce an American-made anti-Islam film.

Wearing headbands inscribed with “Lovers of Prophet, Death to the blasphemer, America’s friends are traitors”, the protesters chanted slogans including “We are ready to sacrifice our lives to safeguard honour of the prophet”. More than 200 riot police armed with batons and shields stood guard as the lawyers broke through the first of two gates leading to the enclave, which contains most Western embassies in the Pakistani capital. The lawyers halted at the second gate, where their leaders delivered fiery speeches against the US, urging the Pakistan government to expel the American Ambassador and break its “criminal silence” over the “Innocence of Muslims” film. “The government should stop the policy of appeasing the US,” they said, castigating the country’s rulers for not officially registering their protest with the US.

A US flag was laid on the ground and the protesting lawyers walked over it one by one. Later they burnt the flag before the rally ended peacefully. More than 30 people have been killed in a week of attacks and violent protests linked to the controversial film, deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan have all blocked access to YouTube, following the video-sharing website’s failure to take down the film.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sri Lankan Muslims Protest Anti-Islam Film

Hundreds of Muslims in Sri Lanka have protested against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States, calling for its creators to be hanged. About 300 protesters marched in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, on Wednesday, carrying signs and banners that read, “Ban anti-Islamic film all over the world. US should apologise to Muslims.”

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Taliban Claims Credit for NATO Afghan Pull Back

The Taliban on Wednesday claimed credit for NATO’s decision to scale back joint operations with Afghan security forces, hailing it as the start of their overall defeat in Afghanistan.

The US-led International Assistance Force announced the change in strategy after an unprecedented number of Western soldiers were shot dead by their local colleagues and amid an angry backlash over a US-made film deemed offensive to Islam. Experts say the move is a setback for NATO’s long-held strategy of containing an 11-year Taliban insurgency by training and advising Afghan forces to take over as most of its troops withdraw by the end of 2014. Taliban, the main militant group leading the insurgency, said it had “forced” NATO commanders into the decision by sowing distrust among Afghan and foreign troops. According to NATO, the Taliban are only involved in a quarter of Afghan security personnel attacks on Western soldiers. It attributes the rest to grudges, misunderstandings and cultural differences…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Cruel Reality is That We’ve Lost in Afghanistan …

by Max Hastings

Almost 40 years ago, as a young correspondent in Vietnam, I found myself aboard a vast U.S. transport plane, travelling back to Saigon, after reporting on a battle in the Central Highlands. The only other passenger beside our TV crew was an American sergeant in a green body-bag, on his way home for burial with his possessions — hi-fi, guitar and suchlike — stacked sadly beside him. I spent much of that long ride through the darkness thinking about the wretchedness of losing one’s life in the final convulsions of a dying war…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

What Lies Behind Afghanistan’s Insider Attacks?

A string of deadly insider attacks has been one of the defining features of the latest phase of the conflict in Afghanistan.

This year has witnessed a sharp rise in attacks on Nato forces by rogue Afghan soldiers, believed to account for about 15% of coalition casualties so far in 2012. The killings have undermined Nato’s ambition to fight “shoulder to shoulder”, against the Taliban. August proved to be the deadliest month for such attacks, and in September Nato announced it was restricting operations with Afghan troops. But what lies behind these incidents? BBC News examines the complex web of factors that lead Afghan soldiers to turn their guns on their allies…

[JP note: Nothing too complex, merely the lethal combination of Islam and Western dhimmi politicians.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Far East

China: Crowd Attacks US Ambassador in Beijing

An angry crowd mobbed a car carrying the US ambassador to China at the height of protests against Japan’s claims over islands in the East China Sea.

Around 50 Chinese protesters surrounded the official car of the United States ambassador in Beijing, who escaped unharmed, according to the US State Department. The melee occurred outside the gates of the US embassy and security guards had to intervene to protect Gary Locke, 62. The protesters caused minor damage to the vehicle…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Cyberattacks Hit 19 Japan Websites Amid Chinese Protests

At least 19 Japanese websites including those of government agencies have come under cyberattacks since the Japanese government decided Sept. 11 to nationalize the Senkaku Islands claimed by China, the National Police Agency said Wednesday.

Noting that more than half of the 19 sites had been cited as the targets of cyberattacks on the message boards of a Chinese hacking group or on major Chinese chat sites, an NPA official said the attacks appear to have originated in China.

The cyberattacks made it impossible or difficult for 11 of the 19 websites to be browsed. Among them are those of banking, power utility and other private-sector companies as well as government agencies including the Defense Ministry and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The websites might have become subject to so-called “distributed denial-of-service” attacks, which flood sites with massive data.

The cyberattacks tampered with the other eight websites, including those of the Supreme Court and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, leading them to display pictures of the Chinese national flag.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U. S. Ambassador’s Car Attacked in Beijing

(AGI) Beijing — Anti-Japanese protesters attacked U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke’s car in an area close to the American Embassy on Tuesday, the Associated Press revealed citing a document issued by the U.S. State Department.

According to the AP, the car was “slightly damaged” and Locke was unhurt. AgiChina24.it reported that the US Embassy expressed their concern over the incident to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. According to the State Department’s reports, fifty protesters surrounded the Ambassador’s car and tried to enter the embassy. They were blocked by Chinese security personnel around the embassy. A U.S. embassy official who wished to remain anonymous assured AgiChina24.it that “it was nothing serious”. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing is a few hundred meters from the Japanese Embassy where demonstrations took place yesterday against Tokyo’s announcement that the country had purchased three of the five islands disputed with China on 10 September. The archipelago of the Senkaku, or Diaoyu in Chinese, has been the core of a territorial dispute between the two countries for decades. The street where the US and Japanese embassies are located was completely cordoned off and closed to traffic yesterday. Thousands of demonstrators, between twenty and thirty years of age, launched bottles, cans and fruit against the Embassy building. A massive number of police agents has been deployed to protect the area around the Japanese embassy this morning. There have been no riots and the traffic in the area has resumed its regular pace. Last weekend’s demonstrations against Japan’s decision to purchase the disputed islands from a family that owns the exploitation rights have been defined as the worst of anti-Japanese protests in China. Beijing and other 72 cities were involved in the violence. Many shops, restaurants, and Japanese factories in China have been forced to close in recent days to protect their employees. Operations were suspended in the factories of electronic giants like Panasonic, Sony and Canon. (AGI) .

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

Australia — Pacific

Muslims Help to Track Extremists

Islamic leaders urge an end to protests

Islamic leaders have moved rapidly to stamp on extremists within their communities and heal serious rifts with other Australians in the wake of last Saturday’s violent riot in Sydney.

Leaders of a wide range of Islamic groups met in Sydney and Melbourne — where they were joined by the city’s Coptic Christian Bishop — as police tracked ringleaders through inflammatory texts and dozens of tips from within the Muslim community. With conservative columnists and politicians calling for tougher measures, including demands for new barriers to Islamic immigration, Muslim organisations and websites received hundreds of death threats and abusive messages. The leaders of 25 Sydney Muslim organisations yesterday condemned the violence, called for the “handful” of extremist troublemakers to be identified and punished by law, and urged that there be no further protests…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tired of the Violence and Stupidity

Randa Abdel-Fattah

THE violent protest in Sydney on the weekend was a terrible setback for our community.

Some Muslims, apparently seeking to repudiate a certain film’s claim that Muslims are violent, took to the streets and engaged in violent protests. It would be the stuff of a comedy skit if it weren’t so depressing. Didn’t it occur to the violent protesters — and a banner that threatens to behead any who insult the prophet constitutes violence — that their actions would validate every conceivable stereotype held about Muslims? Muslims are often accused of not “speaking out” against such extremism. “Where are the moderate voices?” we hear time and time again. Whether it was after September 11, the Bali Bombings, the “uncovered meat” sermon, and now this, Muslims are charged with generally remaining silent…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Al Qaeda Threatens to Kill French Hostages in Mali

(AGI) Nouakchott — Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb threatens to kill the French hostages kidnapped in Niger and now held in Mali, after French satyrical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ published a cartoon on Mohammed. Mauritanian website Sahara Medias reports so. The French hostages kidnapped on 24 November are Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic.

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

Mali: Francois Hollande Condemns ‘Stupidity’ Of Islamic Rebels in Mali

French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday denounced the “unfathomable stupidity” of Islamist radicals who destroyed Muslim shrines at Timbuktu in northern Mali.

“Everywhere in the world… when heritage is destroyed we will be there to battle against the groups motivated by the unfathomable stupidity which leaves all civilisations vulnerable,” Hollande said, citing the Timbuktu vandalism. West African defence and foreign ministers held talks this week on the possible deployment of regional troops to Mali amid reports that Islamists destroyed the tomb of a Muslim saint in a region under their control. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is trying to broker an end to the political crisis in Mali — which has been effectively sliced in two after a putsch…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Latin America

Will Humans Eventually All Look Like Brazilians?

Evolutionary biologists say humans will eventually homogenize, and approach the appearance of mixed-race Brazilians.

According to Stephen Stearns, a Yale professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, before the invention of the bicycle, the average distance between the birthplaces of spouses in England was 1 mile (1.6 kilometers). During the latter half of the 19th century, bikes upped the distance men went courting to 30 miles (48 km), on average. Scholars have identified similar patterns in other European countries. Widespread use of bicycles stimulated the grading and paving of roads, lending credence to the Fugate clan’s excuse and making way for the introduction of automobiles. Love’s horizons have kept expanding ever since.

“The distance between the birthplaces of parents has continued to increase since the invention of the bicycle, making it now easy, if not standard, for parents to have been born on different continents,” Stearns told Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.

Stearns says globalization, immigration, cultural diffusion and the ease of modern travel will gradually homogenize the human population, averaging out more and more people’s traits. Because recessive traits depend on two copies of the same gene pairing up in order to get expressed, these traits will express themselves more rarely, and dominant traits will become the norm. In short, blue skin is out. Brown skin is in.

Already in the United States, another recessive trait, blue eyes, has grown far less common. A 2002 study by the epidemiologists Mark Grant and Diane Lauderdale found that only 1 in 6 non-Hispanic white Americans has blue eyes, down from more than half of the U.S. white population being blue-eyed just 100 years ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Immigration

UK: If the Conservatives Want to Win Younger Voters, They Should Ease Up on Immigration Control

Matthew Goodwin is Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House

The recent history of the Conservative party has been dominated by its inability to secure a parliamentary majority. By the next election, it will be almost a quarter of a century since a Conservative leader walked into Downing Street as a Prime Minister secure in his or her Parliamentary foundation. Indeed, it is even a stretch to describe the 92-97 Major Government in these terms. Over the past thirty years modern one-nation Conservatism, Euro-sceptic British nationalism, neo-Thatcherism and progressive Conservatism have each been tried. Electorally, they have all fallen short. This could be misfortune or circumstantial, but the deeper evidence suggests something structural. How can the Conservatives become a majority party once more?

Clearly, no one dataset provides all the answers. But a new survey commissioned by the Extremis Project highlights both the challenge and the dilemma facing the centre-right. Working with the polling agency YouGov, we surveyed 1,725 adults online, and shortly after the close of the Olympics. The figures we report are weighted, and representative of British adults, aged 18 and above. Respondents were asked whether certain policies would make them ‘more’ or ‘less’ likely to vote for a party, or whether these policies would make no difference to their choice. The four policies that we were interested in are focused on the identity axis, and have each been pushed by radical right parties in Britain and Europe, such as UKIP: (1) to stand up to political and business elites, (2) stop all immigration into the UK, (3) prioritise British values other over cultures, and (4) reduce the number of Muslims/presence of Islam in society…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Americans United for Separation of Church and State Tries to Scare Churches

Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently announced that it sent over 60,000 letters to churches across the country, warning them from becoming involved in “partisan politicking” during this election season. The letter tries to intimidate churches by ominously warning “If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institution’s tax-exempt status or levy significant fines on the house of worship or its leaders.”

Letters like this are a favorite tactic of AU. For years now, it has attempted to intimidate churches into silence during election season. But here’s the problem. AU is using an unconstitutional law to try and intimidate and scare churches.

The Johnson Amendment, upon which AU bases its letter, is blatantly unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, the pastor has the right to determine what is said from the pulpit, not the IRS.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Your Defense Against Evil Suggestions

The father of modern confusion, Karl Marx, was once called one of the most evil men of the 20th century (even though he lived and died in the 19th Century). He was the quintessential liberal, code-named political manipulator. He developed a widely used system of deflecting public scrutiny and once taught followers, later called communists, how to confuse opponents. He said, “Accuse people of what you do to them.”

Have you ever caught a wrongdoer in the act and noticed how he instinctively spun the truth around and accused you of the very thing he was doing to you? He gets away Scott free, seemingly. By such means, entire nations are confounded and end up being ruled by those with the darkest minds.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

General

UN Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy

I am not sure when subsequent generations, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will no longer be permitted access in zones marked off-limits to human habitation and trespassing in accordance with the dictates of UN Agenda 21 and the now infamous Wildlands Project map.

The map was produced by Dr. Michael Coffman, editor of Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes and CEO of Sovereignty International, to stop the ratification of the international treaty on Convention on Biological Diversity one hour before the scheduled cloture and ratification vote. (Congressional Record S13790)

[…]

UN Agenda 21 goals include but are not limited to:

  • Redistribution of population according to resources
  • Government control of land use in order to achieve equitable distribution of resources
  • Land use control through zoning and planning
  • Government control of excessive profits from land use
  • Urban and rural land control through public land ownership
  • Developing rights must be held by public authorities via “regionalist” authorities

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

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