News Feed 20121230

Financial Crisis
» Day of Seesaw Talks Produces No Accord on Fiscal Crisis
» Italian Treasury Sells 5.88 Million in Five-, 10-Year Bonds
» Less Than 1/2 of Italian HS Degree Holders Employed
» Talks on Fiscal Crisis Face Setback That Threatens Deal
 
USA
» Bravo to Real Inventor
» Former CINCPAC Commander Adm. Jones: Scrap Draft US Army Manual That Appeases Islamic Doctrine
» Government Employee Unions Robbing Taxpayers
» Merry Christmas and Happy Gun Control, Chicago
» Muslim-Hating Woman Pushed Hindu Man Onto Subway Track Because of ‘9/11’
» Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is Hospitalized With Blood Clot
» Two Alleged Terrorists Extradited From Canada to Brooklyn by DOJ
 
Europe and the EU
» Italy Captures 11 Billion Euros in Missing Tax Money
» Italy: Bersani Says No to Monti Ministers in Election List
» Italy: Former PM Berlusconi Wants Inquiry Into Monti ‘Conspiracy’
» Merkel Earns Too Little, Says Steinbrueck
» Ryanair Pilots Say the Airline Keeps Them ‘Short on Fuel’
» Sweden: Most Sterilizations Performed on Women
» Sweden: Dementia Bigger Killer Than Heart Attacks
» UK: Two Lone Women Were Stabbed in Potentially Linked Incidents
» Woman Hurt in Acid Attack in Germany
 
North Africa
» Church Explosion in Libya’s Misrata Claims Lives of Two
» Fighter Jets for the Muslim Brotherhood — A Gift We Shouldn’t Give
» First Plane Out of Benghazi
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Naftali Bennett Catches a Wave in Israel’s January 2013 Knesset Elections
» Why is Suha Arafat Back in the Spotlight?
 
Middle East
» Iraq: Iraq: Hundreds of Thousands of Sunnis on the Streets Against the Shiite Government
» Saudi Wahhabi Preacher Issues Fatwa Allowing Jihadis to Rape Syrian Women
» Syrian Rebels ‘Beheaded Christian and Fed Him to Dogs’
 
Russia
» The Greatest Subversive of Our Times
 
South Asia
» India: Karnataka: Anti-Christian Attacks Even on Christmas
 
Far East
» China’s Coral Reefs Nearly Gone, Study Finds
» The Princelings, Descendants of the Party’s ‘Immortals’, Are China’s New Masters
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Boko Haram Militias Murder 15 Christians in Nigeria
 
Immigration
» EU Lifts Visa for Turkish Citizens Providing Service in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark
» Immigrant Traffickers Arrested
» Nobel Winner Slates Britain’s ‘Stupid’ Immigration Reforms
» Switzerland: SVP Piles on the Pressure Over Foreign Criminals
 
Culture Wars
» Do Not Underestimate the Value of Culture as a Power of Change
» Italy: Top Bishop Calls ‘Femicide’ Priest’s Comments ‘Sad’
» The New Outlaws: How Same-Sex Marriage Suffocates Freedom
» UK: Christians Have No Right to Refuse to Work on Sundays, Rules Judge
» What is Marriage?
» Wicca, Raelism, Animism, Christianity

Financial Crisis

Day of Seesaw Talks Produces No Accord on Fiscal Crisis

Senate leaders on Sunday failed to produce a fiscal deal with just hours to go before large tax increases and spending cuts were to begin taking effect on New Year’s Day, despite a round of volatile negotiations over the weekend and an attempt by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to intervene.

Both sides moved toward each other on the central issue of how to define the wealthy taxpayers who would be required to pay more once the Bush-era tax cuts expire. But that progress was overshadowed by gamesmanship. After Republicans demanded that any deal must include a new way of calculating inflation that would lower payments to beneficiaries of programs like Social Security, Democrats halted the negotiations for much of the day.

The Republican minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, made an emergency call to Mr. Biden in hopes of restarting negotiations, and the White House dispatched the president’s chief legislative negotiator to the Capitol to meet with Senate Democrats. Soon after, Republicans withdrew their demand and discussions resumed, but little progress was made.

[Return to headlines]

Italian Treasury Sells 5.88 Million in Five-, 10-Year Bonds

Bond auction draws slightly less attention than usual

(ANSA) — Rome, December 28 — The Italian Treasury sold 5.88 billion euros worth of its five- and 10-year bonds Friday, slightly less than its target of six billion.

It was also forced to offer a slightly higher interest rate than at a similar auction in November.

The yield rose to 3.26% from 3.23% on the five-year paper while yield on the 10-year bonds rose to 4.48% from 4.45% a month ago.

As trading opened Friday morning, the spread between Italy’s 10-year benchmark bond and its German counterpart was slightly higher than Thursday close of 313 points, at 326 basis points and an average yield of 4.56.

The spread is a good barometer of financial markets’ confidence in Italy’s finances.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Less Than 1/2 of Italian HS Degree Holders Employed

Istat 2011 data shows 82.3% still live with their parents

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Just 45.7% of Italians who graduated in 2007 have found a job, a 2011 survey by the national statistics bureau Istat showed.

A previous survey of 2004 graduates showed more than 50% had found jobs three years after leaving school, Istat said.

Unemployment is highest among secondary school graduates, those with fine arts degrees and those with teaching certificates (34%), against 22.4% for those with technical diplomas and 21.4% of those with degrees from professional institutes.

Of those who did find a job in spite of the crisis, 37.8% has a full-time job, 27.3% has a short-term contract, 7.3% works under project-based contracts, and 19% has occasional or seasonal employment.

Many high school graduates work, study, and look for new employment at the same time, the Istat data showed. Just over 9% works and goes to school, and about 4% don’t work and don’t study.

Of 2007 high school graduates, almost 64% went on to university, while just 2.5% pursued a fine arts or musical degree. Of those who attended university, just under 14% obtained their degree, while another 9% interrupted or abandoned their studies. At least 82.3% still lived with their parents and 5.5% lived on their own, with few having formed families of their own.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Talks on Fiscal Crisis Face Setback That Threatens Deal

Negotiations to reach a last-ditch agreement to head off large tax increases and sweeping spending cuts in the new year broke down, at least temporarily, on Sunday after Republicans requested that any deal include a new way of calculating inflation that would lower payments to beneficiaries programs like Social Security and slow their growth.

A Senate Democratic aide with knowledge of the talks cautioned that they could restart. And Republican officials hinted that the Republican position is not set in stone. But for now, the Democratic aide said, talks have stopped.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, went to the Senate floor a little to say that Republicans had made their last offer at 7:10 the night before and had yet to receive a reply.

“I’m concerned about the lack of urgency. I think we all know we’re running out of time,” he said.

To that, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, declared, “at this stage, we’re not able to make a counter offer.”

[Return to headlines]

USA

Bravo to Real Inventor

By Phyllis Schlafly

For more than 200 years, our U.S. rule about patents has been, as required by the U.S. Constitution, that the person who first invents something has a right to patent it. Patent rights attach to the inventor, not to paper-pushers who may rush to a government office and try to file first with papers about the invention. But lobbyists for big corporations have long wanted to change our rules, and the current Congress passed a law that gives the corporations what they want. Congress passed what is called the America Invents Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2011. Patent rights are now based on who files documents first with the Patent and Trademark Office. This new law rewards paper-pushers rather than real inventors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Former CINCPAC Commander Adm. Jones: Scrap Draft US Army Manual That Appeases Islamic Doctrine

We have written about the dangers of delusional political correctness intruding on conduct of alleged counter-insurgency doctrine in Afghanistan. We have thought that the so-called Human Terrain Studies, promoted by defamed former CENTCOMM Commander and ex-CIA Chief Gen. Petreaus appeasing Islamic ‘cultural anthropology’ would only hobble US operations in the faltering war in Afghanistan. In fact it violates the field commanders’ first priority of force protection verging on gross negligence argued by Stephen Coughlin, Army Reserve Major and former Pentagon Consultant on Jihad war doctrine You would have thought the spike in murderous green- on- blue attacks against US and Coalition ISAF forces by Afghan security personnel, the US Army’s Combined Arms Command , Army Lessons Learned Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas would have gotten the message that Coughlin and others have warned about. Apparently not.

The Washington Times (WT) this New Year’s weekend published what one commentator called “a concise and thoughtful criticism of this myopic Army Manual. The WT op ed, authored by former Commander of the US Pacific Fleet (CINPAC), ret. Admiral James A. Lyons, is entitled, “Draft of new U.S. Army handbook must be scrapped”. Former CINPAC Commander Adm. Lyons has in the opinion of this former US Army intelligence officer nailed it.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Government Employee Unions Robbing Taxpayers

By Phyllis Schlafly

On my Saturday radio talk program, I recently interviewed Mallory Factor, the author of a new book called Shadowbosses. Shadowbosses is a term he invented for government employee unions. We’ve only had government-employee union in recent years, and they are very different from private sector unions because government employee unions are paid by the taxpayers and the taxpayers are never at the bargaining table. Many government employees are forced to pay union dues in order to get and keep their jobs. Union bosses admit that much of the dues money goes to buy political influence to get what the unions want in pay and benefits. But the government employee unions don’t exercise their influence only to increase benefits for their members. These unions are also big players in promoting leftwing and Democratic Party governmental policies of all kinds.

Nationwide, only 7% of private companies are unionized. However 41% of government employees are unionized. Together they collect $14 billion annually in dues. The government union officials are very well paid, with individual compensation ranging up to $300,000 per person in annual salaries. One of the major government employee unions is the National Education Association, which exerts tremendous influence on education policies and spending.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Merry Christmas and Happy Gun Control, Chicago

Chicago, one of America’s most Nazified, anti-gun cities, has just recorded its 500th homicide. This is another banner year for Rahm Emanuel’s tightly controlled non-gun “paradise.” Breitbart recently reported that Chicago’s own stats show that 440 school age children were shot in 2012 in Chicago’s paradise. Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins writes:

These numbers are well above those for the 2011-2012 school year, in which 319 Chicago students were wounded and another 24 were killed.

And yet, it has long been reported that the school where Rahm’s children attend to their education has an armed security guard. Additionally, his children also have an armed escort to get them to and from school, just like those Hollywood celebrities who clamor for gun control while they enjoy full-time, armed bodyguards. And yet, the citizen gun control puppets continue to lap up the “wisdom” of their Masters and spew their hyper-emotional pleas to be controlled and enslaved.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslim-Hating Woman Pushed Hindu Man Onto Subway Track Because of ‘9/11’

A Muslim-hating woman was charged with murder as a hate crime for senselessly shoving a Queens man to his death in front of the 7 train, officials said today.

Erika Menendez, 31, was hit with a second-degree murder charge after confessing to killing Sunando Sen, 46, following her arrest this morning.

“She is accused of committing a subway commuter’s worst nightmare,” Queens DA Richard Brown said. “(He was) suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train, shoved from behind with no chance to defend himself.

“She told police that she pushed a Muslim off the train tracks. She said, ‘I’ve hated Hindus and Muslims since 2001 since they put down the Twin Towers. I have been beating them up since.’“

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is Hospitalized With Blood Clot

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was hospitalized on Sunday with a blood clot stemming from a concussion she suffered earlier this month, a State Department spokesman said.

Mrs. Clinton, who canceled most of her public events in recent weeks because of her concussion, was at a follow-up exam Sunday when doctors discovered a blood clot, according to Philippe Reines, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton.

“She is being treated with anticoagulants and is at New York-Presbyterian Hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours,” Mr. Reines said in a statement.

[Return to headlines]

Two Alleged Terrorists Extradited From Canada to Brooklyn by DOJ

BY JIM KOURI Two alleged operatives of the Sri Lanka-based terrorist group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a designated foreign terrorist organization popularly referred to as the Tamil Tigers, were arraigned Thursday before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., following their extradition from Canada.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy Captures 11 Billion Euros in Missing Tax Money

Crackdown on tax evasion earns windfall of billions

(ANSA) — Rome, December 28 — Italy’s tax collectors seized 11 billion euros in unpaid taxes from evaders as of early December, the national revenue agency announced Friday.

That’s a bit less than the amount recovered in 2011’s fight against tax evasion, the agency admitted. During the same period last year, 12.7 billion euros in unpaid taxes were collected.

In 2013, the agency says it will be applying new rules to help in the fight against tax evasion.

In one major case this year, it said, a group of companies in the Marche region issued false invoices worth 226 million euros that created 32 million euros in unreported — and untaxed — income. As a result, seven people have been charged with criminal conspiracy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bersani Says No to Monti Ministers in Election List

(AGI) — Rome, Dec 28 — Pier Luigi Bersani has said he will not be using ministers in Mario Monti’s government in the election list. “One year ago, with the participation of everyone, we put together a transitional, technical, so-called non-partisan government. Now, I would not want this choice and this government to be torn apart, a little by one side and a little by the other, in an electoral competition,” the PD Secretary said at a press conference.

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

Italy: Former PM Berlusconi Wants Inquiry Into Monti ‘Conspiracy’

(AGI) Milan, Dec. 29 — Asked whether he regretted supporting the creation of the Monti government, former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi called it a “conspiracy”. In his words, “let’s be frank: at that time there was a de facto conspiracy. If we win, we will immediately set up a commission to look into what exactly happened.” .

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

Merkel Earns Too Little, Says Steinbrueck

(AGI) Berlin — Angela Merkel’s Social Democrat challenger for the Chancellorship, Pier Steinbrueck, has let slip that the Chancellor earns too little.

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

Ryanair Pilots Say the Airline Keeps Them ‘Short on Fuel’

(AGI) Brussels, Dec 29 — Four Ryanair pilots said the airline “makes us fly short on fuel” .

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

Sweden: Most Sterilizations Performed on Women

In Sweden, more women are choosing to get sterilized than men, according to figures from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

Out of the 4,800 Swedes who chose to get sterilized in 2010, two thirds were women.

According to relationship experts the disparity could be down to women traditionally taking greater responsibility for both reproduction and pregnancy prevention.

“Many guys think that if we skip using a condom she’ll sort out the pregnancy prevention… So I’m thinking if the woman doesn’t want to be on the pill, then one option is to get sterilized,” Robert Jakobsson, a social worker and sexologist, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Since Swedish county councils are no longer obliged to report the number of sterilizations carried out, the National Board of Health and Welfare figures are not conclusive.

However, there is information about the cost of carrying out the operation, and it varies significantly around the country.

In 11 out of Sweden’s county councils the patient fee for a sterilization is 300 Swedish kronor ($45), which is the prize of a regular doctor’s visit.

In eight of the councils, sterilizations cost over 2,000 kronor. In the southern region of Östergötland the prize is a hefty 13,200 kronor.

Two county councils do not offer the procedure at all.

Sveriges Radio (SR) spoke to a 26-year-old woman who said she knew already as a teenager that she did not want to have children.

At age 19 she found out that she could get sterilized, but the age limit is 25.

“When I turned 25 I immediately went to the health centre because I knew that’s what I wanted,” she said.

She added that she could always adopt if she ever changes her mind about having children.

“There are lots of children in the world who need parents. I don’t see a need to have your own, genetic children just because you want them. It’s better to take one that already exists and to take care of it,” she said.

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

Sweden: Dementia Bigger Killer Than Heart Attacks

For decades, heart attacks were the most common cause of death in Sweden, but now more Swedes are dying from dementia diseases.

Improvements in healthcare and healthier lifestyles have led to a fall in the number of heart attacks, as well as a fall in death rates among heart attack victims.

That is according to broadsheet Dagens Nyheter (DN), which has analyzed statistics from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

In 2011, a total of 6,874 Swedes died from heart attacks. That is 4,300 fewer cases than in 2001.

The same year over 8,000 Swedes died from some form of dementia, including senility. That is a 32 percent jump compared to 2001. Alzheimer’s is high one the list of deathly dementia diseases in Sweden.

An ageing population could be one explanation behind the jump.

At the same time, there has also been a fall in death rates for some of the most common diseases in Sweden.

For instance, the number of people dying from the flu or pneumonia has decreased by 25 per cent in 10 years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Two Lone Women Were Stabbed in Potentially Linked Incidents

Both victims were attacked as they walked through a park area known locally as Wapping Woods, off Garnet Street.

The suspect is described as an Asian man

The first attack occurred at around 6.25pm on Tuesday

The suspect approached her holding a knife and stabbed her before taking a digital camera from her bag and running off towards The Highway.

A second similar incident happened at around 12.25pm today in Wapping Woods in which the victim was a 26 year-old woman.

She was approached by a man holding a knife and forced into bushes where she was stabbed three times in the chest. It is not believed that anything was taken before the attacker ran away towards The Highway

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Woman Hurt in Acid Attack in Germany

GERMAN police have arrested two suspects after a young woman of Turkish origin suffered serious burns in an acid attack in western Germany.

The 20-year-old victim opened the door of her home in the town of Hilden early on Saturday when one of the suspects doused her with sulphuric acid from a tin can.

The victim immediately felt strong burns in her face and called rescue services who identified the liquid as an acid.

The woman was taken to a hospital. Her grandmother was also slightly hurt in the attack.

One of the suspects, a 22-year-old man of Turkish origin, was arrested and remanded in custody on Saturday.

He told investigators he had asked an acquaintance to carry out the attack, police and the public prosecutor’s office in the state capital of Duesseldorf said in a joint statement.

The other suspect, who is aged 18 and thought to have carried out the attack, turned himself in to the police on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Church Explosion in Libya’s Misrata Claims Lives of Two

(AGI) — Tripoli, Dec 30 — At least two people were killed and two were injured after a bomb exploded at a Coptic Christian church in Libya’s Dafniya, some 30km west of Misrata. According to Egyptian consular sources in Tripoli, all the victims were Egyptian.

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

Fighter Jets for the Muslim Brotherhood — A Gift We Shouldn’t Give

With a continuing moral crisis in America, the fight over whether we continue to spend taxpayer money we don’t have, it is unthinkable that the Obama Administration would be willing to spend $213 million to give arms to Egypt.

Yet, the United States is poised to give the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Egypt 200 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and 20 F-16 fighter jets. These represent some of America’s best, most sophisticated weaponry — used today by our men in women in uniform. This gift will increase Egypt’s M1A1 tanks by 20% and represents nearly a 10% increase in Egypt’s F-16 fighter jets.

This is not an insignificant award of firepower or finances, costing American taxpayers $213 million for the fighter jets alone. But it is also extremely important to know to whom we are giving these highly sophisticated weapons.

[Return to headlines]

First Plane Out of Benghazi

When madmen in the Middle East shoot up American consulates and embassies, [Obama] blames movies and calls for film control.

It took some 22 hours for American help to arrive in Benghazi after all the t’s had been crossed and the i’s had been dotted, and the body of America’s ambassador to Libya had been dragged through the streets by “rescuers” stopping along the way to pose for cell phone pictures with his corpse.

By way of comparison it takes about 16 hours for a boatload of Libyan illegal immigrants to row to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Support for the Americans under fire in Libya would have arrived sooner if a few former members of the Harvard Rowing Team had gotten in one the many rowboats beached on the shores of Lampedusa and pushed the oars all the way to Benghazi.

It says something about the current state of asymmetrical warfare that not only can Al Qaeda throw together a coordinated string of attacks on American embassies around the region without anyone being the wiser for it, but boatloads of migrants from Libya can reach Europe faster on muscle power than American forces can reach a mission under attack while equipped with jet power.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Naftali Bennett Catches a Wave in Israel’s January 2013 Knesset Elections

Bennett’s rise in Knesset election polls has caught a wave of interest in both Israel and the mainstream media in the US and aboard. That was signified by articles on him that appeared this week in The Daily Beast, The New York Times and AFP. Ted Belman of Israpundit drew attention in a blog post to an article in the Israeli left wing publication +972 (the area code for Judea and Samaria) that designated the settler movement as their’ Person of The Year’. +972 had this to say about the Bennett ‘phenomenon’: The traditional focus on the center seems somewhat irrelevant, as a new role model of the Israeli Sabra emerges in figures like Bennett, who has been receiving quite a bit of publicity lately, including a feature in the New York Times. . . .Bennett, the Zionist patriot, recently said in a television interview that as an army reserve officer he would refuse orders to evacuate settlements. Refusing orders has long been a red line that few dared to cross; politicizing one’s army service was considered a taboo in mainstream Israeli society that many thought made one unelectable. The New York Times profile on Bennett noted how Netanyahu’s reaction to this taboo may have had the opposite effect. The NYT article, “Dynamic Former Netanyahu Aide Shifts Israeli Campaign Rightward,” noted: Mr. Stern of the Israel Democracy Institute said that while Mr. Bennett tries to convince voters that they can vote Jewish Home for identity reasons without threatening Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election, the prime minister is making the opposite case: that Mr. Bennett is an extremist and not a reliable partner. Hence, days of headlines filled with the refusal spat. “Our biggest problem before this was name recognition,” said a top Jewish Home figure, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of seeming to make light of a serious issue. Mr. Netanyahu, he added, “fixed that for us.” Bennett’s Stability lnitiative entails annexation of Area C which he estimates at 350,000 Jewish Israeli residents and 48,000 Palestinians. The proposal would give the option to the minority Palestinians in Area C to become Israel citizens, akin to that offered to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Increasingly Palestinians in East Jerusalem have elected to seek Israeli citizenship. This has given rise to what Ha’aretz this weekend called a “process of surprising “Israelization”. Bennett’s Stability lnitiative would assure Israel control over 50 percent of the nation’s water supply and it would provide security for the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Why is Suha Arafat Back in the Spotlight?

In a Dubai TV interview on December 16, 2012, Suha Arafat, the widow of Yasser Arafat , revealed in a MEMRI translation that her late husband had perpetrated the Second Intifada in September 2000 that lasted until 2005. More than 3,000 Palestinians, 1,000 Israelis and 64 foreigners were killed in the armed uprising. The Palestinian myth created was that the visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque by then Israeli Prime Minister (PM) Ariel Sharon, triggered the Intifada. Arafat had rejected a US deal brokered by Former President Clinton with Israel at Camp David. In November 1999, Suha and then First Lady Hillary Clinton were photographed embracing during a visit to Ramallah. Clinton’s espousal of a Palestinian state was complicated by Suha’s accusations against Israel at the time:

Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.

Jerusalem Post and Daily Caller articles on New Year’s weekend drew attention to MEMRI’s translation of Suha’s revelations from the December 2012 Dubai TV interview:

Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return… Camp David had failed, and he said to me, ‘You should remain in Paris.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I am going to start an intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so.’

I do not want Zahwa’s [Arafat’s daughter’s] friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles. I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa and to the children of Palestine.

Suha Arafat is playing the media to gain sympathy and revenge as an alleged grieving widow against PA political and security leaders for not providing adequate security that might have prevented her husband’s demise. That might deflect accusations of financial irregularities arising from alleged mishandling of donor funds. Her recent confirmation of Yasser Arafat’s premeditated Second Intifada should give no comfort to Israel, given that she continues to accuse Israel of despoiling Gaza. In the Ynet.com article she rationalized the Paris birth of her daughter Zahwa in 1995: My father was on his deathbed and in hospital and that is why I made the decision. I refused to give birth in Israel — I told them (the Israelis) — You ruined the whole of Gaza, you were the ones who destroyed our hospitals, not us.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iraq: Iraq: Hundreds of Thousands of Sunnis on the Streets Against the Shiite Government

For the past week the main roads of the country have been blocked. In Ramadi, more than 100 thousand people have built barricades on the road leading to the Syrian border. Protests also in Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra. The Sunnis demand an end to anti-terrorism laws and accuse the Shiites of keeping them on the margins of society.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims are protesting against the government of Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the anti-terrorism laws and the police. In Fallujah (50 km west of Baghdad), about 60 thousand people blocked the main road leading to Baghdad. Protesters burnt flags and effigies of Shiite Islam, shouted slogans against the government accused of being manipulated by Iran. The Sunnis have expressed their support for the Syrian rebels who for the past 20 months have been fighting President Bashar Al — Assad who belongs to the minority of Alawites close to Shiite Islam.

According to local media people want to emulate the “Arab Spring” which in 2011 led to the fall of governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. The climax of the protests was reached yesterday in Ramadi, with more than 100 thousand people along the road that leads to the border with Syria and Jordan. Other protests have taken place after Friday prayers in Mosul, Kurdistan, Samarra and Tikrit. Riots were sparked by the arrest in Anbar province (western Iraq) of 10 bodyguards of Rafia al-Issawi, Minister of Finance, one of the main leaders of the Sunni faction of the government.

The Sunnis were the dominant faction in Iraq for decades during Saddam Hussein’s regime, guilty of the genocide of the Shia minority. With the fall of the dictator in 2003, the international forces opted for a rise to power of the Shiite faction that gave way to a gradual marginalization of its opponents. The contrast between the two groups, however, has also led to a real conflict involving al-Qaeda terrorists and various extremist movements from neighbouring Iran, regarded as the main supporter of the government of al-Maliki.

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

Saudi Wahhabi Preacher Issues Fatwa Allowing Jihadis to Rape Syrian Women

A Wahhabi religious cleric in Saudi Arabia, Muhammed al-Arifi, who is very influential in Jihadi circles, has recently issued a fatwa (religious edict) that permits all Jihadist militants in Syria to engage in short-lived marriages with Syrian women that each lasts for a few hours in order to satisfy their sexual desires and boost their determination in killing Syrians. He called the marriage as ‘intercourse marriage’. It requires that the Syrian female be at least 14 years old, widowed, or divorced.

Is this the Western-promoted “freedom and democracy” that Syrians want?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syrian Rebels ‘Beheaded Christian and Fed Him to Dogs’

He has just got married and his wife was about to give birth but this did not save Andrei Arbashe, a young Christian, from a horrific fate at the hands of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime earlier this month.

“They beheaded him, cut him into pieces and fed him to the dogs,” said Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, mother superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated between Damascus and Homs.

Forget the familiar Arab spring narrative about down-trodden masses taking on the forces of evil: the Syrian conflict appears to have entered a darker phase in which the rebels are committing atrocities against innocent civilians. It does not bode well for peace.

The people who chopped up Arbashe did not seem to need much of a motive: his brother had apparently been overheard complaining about the rebels behaving like bandits.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia

The Greatest Subversive of Our Times

by Michael Ledeen

December 30th is Vladimir Bukovsky’s seventieth birthday. He is the only Russian barred by special law from running for president, a tribute to his immense popularity and force of character. Among the great generation of democratic dissidents—the generation that punctured the monstrous Soviet bubble and produced the celebrated sucking sound that ended the Soviet Empire and gutted the world Communist movement—Bukovsky is arguably the most important.

Otherwise that law wouldn’t be necessary.

Bukovsky has a rare combination of toughness, common sense, and good humor. He never compromised with his oppressors, even though he was subjected to the KGB’s infamous psychological and biochemical torments during his years in prison and the camps. His unrivaled courage and tenacity inspired a generation, and his standing was dramatically demonstrated when the Kremlin traded him for the Chilean Communist leader Luis Corvalan in 1976.

His memoir, To Build a Castle, is one of the masterpieces of the period, and his subsequent works document the crimes of the Soviet state, the complicity of Western leaders who played useful idiots to the evil empire, and the survival of the Soviet vision in the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Karnataka: Anti-Christian Attacks Even on Christmas

Hindu nationalists from the Bajrang Dal get banner dedicated to the 25 years of Our Lady of Velankanni removed. Christian leader tells AsiaNews that police “are silent spectators when it comes to violence against Christians.” The latest is the 40th attack against Christians this year.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Police are “quick to respond to the demands of Hindu nationalists,” but are “silent spectators when it comes to violence against Christians,” said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) as he spoke about the 40th anti-Christian attack in Karnataka this year.

On Wednesday, activists from the Bajrang Dal forced the parish priest of the Stella Maris Church in Kalmady (Udupi District) to remove a banner dedicated to Our Lady of Velankanni, whose silver jubilee it is this year. The banner showed an image of Our Lady and a Brahmin with a vase in his hands.

According to tradition, various Marian appearances have been recorded in the area since the 16th century. In the first case, the Virgin, her son in her arms, asked a Hindu boy for some of the milk he was carrying.

Fr Alban D’Souza raised the banner on 8 December, to mark the 25th anniversary of the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Velankanni. However, for Anil Bangera, a local Bajrang Dal leader, the banner “hurt the religious feelings of the Hindu community of Kalmady.”

After informing the police, Hindu nationalists told the parish priest to remove the banner and apologise for the insult. To avoid violent reactions during Christmas celebrations, Fr D’Souza removed the banner saying that “the Church had no intention of hurting anyone’s belief.”

For Sajan George, the incident “is an act of intolerance that deserves to be strongly condemned because it sows the seeds of mistrust and suspicion within the community; the more some since the apparition of Our Lady of Velankanni is part of the history and culture of this area, and the chapel is visited by believers of every religion.” (NC)

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

Far East

China’s Coral Reefs Nearly Gone, Study Finds

Coral reefs are under siege worldwide, and now a team of Australian and Chinese researchers has made an alarming discovery in the waters near China: The teeming coral reefs once found off the shores of the Asian giant have shrunk by an astonishing 80 percent over the last 30 years.

Biological surveys in the South China Sea and off mainland China revealed that losses of living coral reefs, especially in the past 10 to 15 years, present a “grim picture of decline, degradation and destruction,” said the research report, according to AFP.

Pollution, overfishing and coastal development are blamed for the disappearance of the coral reefs. “China’s ongoing economic expansion has exacerbated many wicked environmental problems,” the report authors said, as quoted by AFP.

In addition to environmental causes, regional politics also plays a part in the reefs’ destruction, the AFP reports. Several countries in the area, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, have competing claims on territorial waters in South Asia, making management of the area’s resources difficult.

China’s remarkable growth has been accompanied by widespread environmental destruction throughout the country, the AFP reports. The economic powerhouse suffers from some of the worst air, water and land pollution in the world, despite the government’s efforts to lead the nation toward a more sustainable growth model.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Princelings, Descendants of the Party’s ‘Immortals’, Are China’s New Masters

They own private companies and manage state corporations, with properties abroad or offshore. The descendants of the Party’s founders are China’s new ‘red aristocracy’ and have created one of the most unjust societies in the world with the gap between haves and have-nots reaching a danger level. At least 500 episodes of social unrest occur each day. Xi Jinping is urged to fight corruption and implement reforms; however, the study that reveals the princelings’ assets is blocked.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — The descendants of eight party founding fathers are sitting on assets worth dozens of billions of dollars. Such a connection between politics and economics undermines the fight against corruption pursued by Xi Jinping and the country’s new leaders. At the same time, such concentration of wealth is generating anger and outrage among ordinary Chinese.

A study released by Bloomberg News yesterday, which includes a number of pieces and an interesting graph, maps the breadth and history of China’s ‘red aristocracy’, describing the assets of 103 individuals, all of whom are the direct descendants and spouses of the so-called ‘eight immortals’, i.e. Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, Yang Shangkun, Wang Zhen, Bo Yibo, Li Xiannian, Peng Zhen and Song Renqiong.

These eight are among the founders of the Communist Party who, following Mao Zedong’s death, tried to save the country from the economic disaster caused by Mao’s policies by opening it up to foreign investments.

At the same time, to prevent the party from losing power, their loyal descendants were chosen to run new state-owned conglomerates. By the 1990s, the latter began investing in real estate, steel and coal. Eventually, they diversified into rare earths and international finance.

Bloomberg’s study shows that 26 of their heirs ran or held top positions in state-owned companies that dominate the economy. Three children alone-Wang’s son, Wang Jun , Deng’s son-in-law He Ping and Chen Yuan , the son of Mao Zedong’s economic tsar-headed or still run state-owned firms with combined assets of about US$1.6 trillion last year. That is equivalent to more than a fifth of the mainland’s annual economic output in 2011.

In the 1980s, Wang Jun and He Ping got into the arms industry, selling weapons to Iran, Myanmar, and Pakistan. They also set up a joint-venture with Ferrari, the princelings’ favourite car.

At least 43of the 103 ran their own businesses or became executives in private firms. Using family connections and their foreign education, they went to work for banks like Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. Many own or run entities linked to companies registered offshore, many in jurisdictions that offer secrecy, like the Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Liberia.

Although their fathers ostensibly disliked the ‘bourgeois individualism” of capitalist nations, at least half of their descendants lived, studied and worked abroad.

At least 23 of their descendants and their spouses studied in the United States, including three at Harvard University and four at Stanford University. At least 18 worked for US entities, and 12 owned property in the US.

For some analysts, the Tiananmen massacre of 4 June 1989 was carried out to stop criticism from Chinese students against the princelings’ privileges (visas and funding) to study in the best universities in the world in England and America, at a time when no Chinese could do so. As long-time critic Bao Tong noted, the massacre silenced pro-democracy voices but also anti-corruption critics.

By examining thousands of pages of documents and conducting dozens of interviews, Bloomberg traced the holdings of the Immortals’ 103 direct descendants and their spouses, highlighting China’s greatest problem, social inequality.

Over the last three decades, Communist China’s leaders have claimed that more than 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty; yet they have also built one of the world’s most unequal societies.

A recent study shows that China’s Gini coefficient is 0.6. This index measures inequality and levels of instability in society. Experts believe that a coefficient higher than 0.4 can lead to social unrest.

In China’s case, episodes of social unrest due to corruption of party officials or environmental problems number at least 500 a day.

By releasing the study on China’s ‘red aristocracy’, Bloomberg is sending signals to China’s future president, Xi Jinping, that social reforms and the fight against corruption are needed if he wants to stop the rot inside the party and its potential demise.

However, Bloomberg is blocked in mainland China, and Chinese bloggers planning to post the study have been warned that they would be in trouble with the law if they did so.

Already in June, Bloomberg was blocked after it released data on the assets own by Xi Jinping and his family, estimated to be around a billion dollars.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Boko Haram Militias Murder 15 Christians in Nigeria

(AGI) Kano, Dec 30 — Boko Haram militias have cut the throats of 15 Christians in yet another attack in the Nigerian village of Masuri in the mainly Muslim north-east of the country.

Witnesses and NGO sources in the area have reported that based on information available, “the attackers broke into a number of specifically chosen homes and killed 15 people while they slept.” The Nigerian authorities had reported an attack in Musari without providing details and said that only five people had been killed.

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

Immigration

EU Lifts Visa for Turkish Citizens Providing Service in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark

The European Union Commission announced it would life visa requirements for Turkish citizens who provide service to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, asking that the booklets handed out to border officials in those countries be changed accordingly, Anatolia news agency has reported.

The new change allows for Turkish citizens providing service to stay for 2 months in Germany, and 3 months in Netherlands and Denmark without holding a visa.

The EU Commission recalled the European Court of Justiceâ€(tm)s 2009 resolution ordering Turkish citizens residing and exercising their activities in Turkey and wishing to enter the territory of a member state to provide services there, would be exempted from visa in a written statement on the upgrading of the Schengen booklet to Germany, Netherlands and Denmark.

The commission detailed the guidelines on the movement of Turkish nationals crossing the external borders of EU member states in order to provide services within the EU. According to that statement, the visa exemption for Turkish citizens applies only to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark among the 26 Schengen countries.

Turkish architects, builders, lawyers, computer scientists, commercial agents, scientists and lecturers, artists, fitters and instructors installing or repairing machinery or informing of the use thereof, professional athletes and trainers, truck drivers and others established in Turkey are considered to be employed in jobs that provide services. They must prove their status with written statements at the borders.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness [Return to headlines]

Immigrant Traffickers Arrested

Three allegedly landed 35 near Agrigento at Xmas

(ANSA) — Agrigento, December 28 — Italian police on Friday arrested three suspected Moroccan immigrant-traffickers.

The three were part of a group of five picked up on Christmas night near the Sicilian city of Agrigento, telling police another 30 had been with them.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nobel Winner Slates Britain’s ‘Stupid’ Immigration Reforms

A Nobel prize-winning scientist whose discovery at a British university will help the UK economy become more competitive launched a blistering attack yesterday on the Government’s “stupid” immigration policy.

Russian-born physicist Professor Sir Andre Geim said new restrictions on non-European Union immigrants, including minimum salary requirements of at least £31,000 and tighter student visa rules, are blocking the brightest academics from working at British institutions.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland: SVP Piles on the Pressure Over Foreign Criminals

Swiss ministers came under renewed pressure on Friday to pass a law to expel foreign criminals, after far-right party the SVP brought a new referendum on the issue a step closer.

The party has brought forward a new popular initiative, signed by 154,982 people, calling on the government to honour the result of a referendum held in November 2010, newspaper 20 Minutes reports. In that vote, 53 percent of voters backed the compulsory expulsion of foreigners who had committed crimes in Switzerland. The SVP accuses the government, which is obliged to implement the measures, of dragging its feet.

The government put two detailed proposals forward in May, but both of these were significantly more lenient than the original proposals — something the government said was necessary to make them compatible with international law.

The new initiative is far more detailed than the original, and if passed would give the government less room for manoeuvre. The text specifies that expulsion of foreigners who committed murder, robbery or rape would be automatic, even on a first offence. Others facing expulsion would include “notorious and incorrigible” offenders whose actions “seriously affect order and public safety,” according to Le Matin.

“It is high time to act severely against foreign criminality,” the party claims in the initiative. “Criminality remains a potent problem. The number of robberies and burglaries is literally exploding in several cantons,” it says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Do Not Underestimate the Value of Culture as a Power of Change

Hope and Change, Hope and Change, Hope and Change… Millions of Americans were chanting totally mesmerized. Change at the speed of light is here and accelerating. Hope is fading away. How did we get here so fast? It did not happen overnight. We just failed to pay attention.

We underestimated the value of culture as a power of change, irreversible change. We were too busy building nations and democracy in countries living by seventh century rules written in one book to notice that our culture was being changed from within and without, partly by theocratic and totalitarian cultures, partly by globalists, and their human tools and institutions, and partly by illegally-domiciled cultures.

You cannot change “hearts and minds” in a culture that values death more than life; you cannot absorb a banana republic culture with “family values” of God and the pursuit of happiness in which happiness is not self-generated but expected from a benevolent government…

W. C. McGrew defined culture as a six-step process:

1.   A new pattern of behavior is invented, or an existing one is modified.
2.   The innovator transmits this pattern to another person.
3.   The form of the pattern is consistent.
4.   The one who acquires the pattern retains the ability to perform it long after having acquired it.
5.   The pattern spreads across a population: families, clans, troops, or bands.
6.   The pattern endures across generations.

Language, a very important element of culture, is the direct expression of a people’s national character. Johann Gottfried Herder said, “Denn jedes Volk ist Volk; es hat seine National Bildung wie seine Sprache” (Because every people is a People, it has its own national culture expressed through its language). We do not have our own official language — the government and necessity have forced the use of two languages. Immigrants, who have entered other cultures through time, have formed their own sub-cultures within the primary culture:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Top Bishop Calls ‘Femicide’ Priest’s Comments ‘Sad’

Bagnasco says Corsi’s stance also ‘serious’

(ANSA) — Genoa, December 28 — Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) said on Friday that comments posted by a priest who stirred a nationwide row by suggesting women were responsible for violence against them was a “sad and serious thing”.

A flyer displayed on the San Terenzo church bulletin board this week in the northern town of Lerici by Father Piero Corsi has caused an uproar for allegedly “encouraging” violence against women.

The priest entitled the leaflet “Women and femicide — healthy self-criticism. How often do they provoke?”. Corsi on Thursday said his archbishop had advised him to take some time off for “reflection and rest”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The New Outlaws: How Same-Sex Marriage Suffocates Freedom

Advocating gay marriage as a way of enlarging the American sphere of liberty are profoundly — and deceptively — misrepresenting their aims.

Those advocating the radical social innovation, which they label “same-sex or gay marriage,” typically claim that they are fighting for freedom, championing a basic liberty. “Freedom to Marry” is indeed the name of a national organization devoted to the advocacy of same-sex marriage. Established in 2003 by civil-rights advocate Evan Wolfson and headquartered in New York City, this group takes “We All Deserve the Freedom to Marry” as its slogan. So effective has it promulgated this perspective that even former First Lady Laura Bush endorsed homosexuals’ right to marry as a matter of basic freedom when she appeared on the Larry King Show in May 2010.

But those who advocate homosexual marriage as a way of enlarging the American sphere of liberty are profoundly — and deceptively — misrepresenting their aims. Their real aim came to light in the public controversy over remarks attributed to Queen Sophia of Spain in criticizing her country’s invention in 2005 of a homosexual right to “marry.” “If those people [homosexuals] want to live together,” commented the Spanish monarch, “dress up as bride and groom and get married they can do so, but that should not be called marriage because it is not.” Widely reported by the media, the furor over these remarks forced representatives of the Queen to issue a statement claiming that the published remarks “do not exactly match the opinions expressed by Her Majesty the Queen” and apologizing for the “ill-feeling and upset” her comments had caused. The pressures compelling this semi-retraction and apology prompted one media commentator to ponder the “interesting question” of whether on the issue of homosexual marriage, the Queen still had “the right… to express her opinion like any other citizen.”

This commentator had glimpsed the fundamental aim of those advocating homosexual marriage: it is not at all about giving homosexuals a new freedom to participate in ceremonies that they regard as weddings. It is entirely about denying freedom of public speech to anyone who would criticize such ceremonies or the sexual behaviors such ceremonies legitimize. The muzzle that homosexual activists tried (largely successfully) to put on an outspoken monarch represents only the beginning. Homosexual activists in this country deeply desire to place first thousands, and then millions, of even tighter muzzles on all who disagree with them about the nature of homosexual behavior. They well understand that enactment of laws authorizing homosexual marriage will give them sweeping powers to bind those muzzles very tightly on their fellow citizens.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Christians Have No Right to Refuse to Work on Sundays, Rules Judge

A new ruling by a High Court judge — the first on the issue in nearly a decade — says that Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs.

The judgment — which upholds an earlier decision — means that individual Christians do not have any protection from being fired for not working on Sundays.

Campaigners said the decision puts Christians at a disadvantage to other religions and means the judiciary are deciding what the core beliefs of Christians can be, which they say is an interference in the right to practise religion.

The judgment was issued by Mr Justice Langstaff as he ruled on an appeal brought by a Christian woman who was sacked after she refused to work on Sundays at a care home.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

What is Marriage?

A defence of man-woman marriage combining the precision of scientists with the clarity of good journalists makes for essential reading.

One reason why supporters of traditional marriage are losing elections is that they are losing the war for intellectual credibility. They are too often mired in facile arguments about “tradition”, Bible passages, and bleeding heart litanies about children. Supporters of gay marriage have succeeded in ridiculing these fumbling attempts at a rationale as ignorant and homophobic.

So a robust intellectual defence of the traditional view of marriage by a group of authors which includes Princeton law professor Robert P George is a welcome addition to the debate. Labelled by the New York Times as “America’s most influential conservative Christian thinker”, George, a convert from the ranks of the Democrats, is responsible for the interdenominational manifesto The Manhattan Declarationsigned by a number of Christian leaders in support of traditional marriage, sanctity of life and religious liberty. Sherif Girgis is a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Princeton and a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. Ryan T. Anderson, who is William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and editor ofthe Witherspoon Institute’s journal Public Discourse, is a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Altogether a formidable team.

In 2010 they published a controversial article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, putting forward a philosophical defence for the conjugal view of marriage. It gained many responses from all sides of the debate and has proved so successful that they have expanded it into a book to further flesh out their claims and answer their opponents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wicca, Raelism, Animism, Christianity

All must be accorded absolute respect, according to a draconian mandate from Quebec’s education junta.

Until 2008, the curriculum of Montreal’s (private) Catholic Loyola High School included a course called “Morals and World Religions” (MWR). MWR taught students the basic history and tenets of other major religions from the Catholic perspective, which is presumably what the students’ parents were paying for.

In 2008, however, Quebec introduced a province-wide program called Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) running throughout elementary school, and all but one high school year. Every Quebec student — even the homeschooled — is obligated to take this state-composed program. And teachers, whatever their beliefs or religious affiliation, must teach it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “News Feed 20121230”

  1. Hurrah for Quebec. As a member of the Pure Aryan Fellowship, whose prophet is Adolf Hitler, I welcome the fact that my religion will now be given equal respect in Quebec.

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