Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/22/2013

Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/22/2013The war in Mali was briefly eclipsed by the hostage crisis in Algeria, but has now returned to the headlines. Speculation abounds as to whether Qatar may be backing the Salafist rebels in North Mali. Other analysts blame the Obama administration for the crisis. Russia has offered its support to French troops in Mali, but according to recent polls, most Germans do not want their country to become embroiled in the conflict.

In other news, hundreds of disgruntled Chinese workers in a factory in Shanghai held about twenty of their managers hostage for several days. The workers were angry over a strict two-minute rule on bathroom breaks and other injustices. When the police intervened, the managers — more than half of whom were Japanese — were released.

Meanwhile, a truckload of brown cheese caught fire in a tunnel in Norway, causing extensive damage and forcing the closure of the tunnel for several weeks. No one was injured in the incident.

To see the headlines and the articles, Click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, CSP, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, LS, Steen, The Observer, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.


Financial Crisis
» 37 Statistics Which Show How Four Years of Obama Have Wrecked the U.S. Economy
» Bersani Calls to Lower Italian Military Spending on F-35
» Cyprus to Wait Until March for €17bn Bailout
» EU: Spain Won’t Meet Deficit Target of Below 6.3%
» Italy to Raise 1 Billion Euros From Tobin Tax
» Italy: ‘Italian Incomes Lowest Since 1986’
» Italy Spread With German Bonds Stable at 262 Points
» JPMorgan Embraces Offshore Yuan as Trading Doubles
» New Eurozone Chief at the Helm, Cyprus’ Crisis Tops Agenda
» Our Children’s Legacy: Debt and Environment
» Sarkozy’s Plans ‘To Dodge New 75% French Tax Rate by Moving to London With Wife Carla and Setting Up £1bn Private Equity Fund’
» The Real Reasons That Germany is Demanding That the U.S. Return Its Gold
» Zoo to Run Out of Food in 48 Hours Threatening Animals With Starvation as Italy’s Financial Crisis Hits
 
USA
» 103-Year Sentence in Sex Abuse Case That Shook Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn
» Chicago Alderman: Put GPS Tracking Devices on All Guns
» ‘Far Right’ Report Outrages Critics of Federalism
» Frank Gaffney: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy
» Human Health Risks From Electromagnetic Fields and Radio Frequency Radiation Real
» Legal Group Files Federal Lawsuit Against Obama and His Gun Initiative
» Michael Moriarty: The History of World War III
» Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: Obama Asks Military Leaders if They Will “Fire on US Citizens”
» NYTimes Buries Own Poll Findings Showing Support for Armed Guards in School, Blaming Hollywood
» Piers Morgan: Use Machine Guns to “Take Out” Critics
» Sheriffs Are Key to Protecting Americans From Unconstitutional Gun Laws
» The Great Power of Washington
» Thirteen Thoughts on the Future of American Conservatism
 
Europe and the EU
» Archeologists Revise Image of Ancient Celts
» Austria Bucks Trend With Conscription Vote
» Cameron to Promise Britons Straight Choice on EU Exit
» EU Wants Power to Sack Journalists
» How Scientists Could Use Brain Scans to Detect Whether You Are a Racist
» Italy: Berlusconi Set to Drop ‘Tainted’ Politicians for Vote
» Italy: Berlusconi Blames Politicised Judiciary for List Exclusions
» Norway Goat Cheese Fire Closes Tunnel
» Strauss-Kahn Pays 1 Million Dollars to Cleaning Woman
» UK: ‘He Left My Son in the Road to Die’: Hit-and-Run Driver Who Broke Teenage Motorcyclist’s Back Swore at Seriously Injured Student Before Driving Off
» UK: Al Qaeda Bomb Plot Gangs Were Handed £30m in Legal Aid to Fund Their Defence
» UK: Councils Advised to Scrap “Equalities Impact Assessments”
» UK: Grandmother, 50, Lost £70,000 Life Savings and Was Left Homeless After Being Duped by Turkish Toyboy Lover
» UK: Knee-Jerk Islamophobia: Why Trevor Kavanagh is Wrong About British Muslims
» UK: Two Held in ‘Islamic Patrol’ Probe
» UK: Yes Africa is a Terror Hotbed … But Fanatics Are Here Too
» Uncovered, The ‘Toxic’ Gene Hiding in GM Crops: Revelation Throws New Doubt Over Safety of Foods
» Vatican Dismisses Guardian ‘Secret Property Empire’ Report
 
North Africa
» 12 of Algeria Attack Victims Are Japanese Citizens
» Algerian Gas Plant Attack Leader Was Once Recruited by CIA
» Al-Qaida Flourishes in Sahara, Emerges Stronger
» Deutsche Welle: The Last Jews of Tunisia
» Egyptian Writer Slams Muslim Brotherhood
» Terror in North Africa: Are Westerners Pulling the Strings?
» The Last Jews in Tunisia
» Three Killed in Cairo Suburban Clashes
» Tunisia: New Attack of Salafites Against Sufi Mausoleum
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Elections: Arab League Calls on All Arabs to Vote
» Israeli Elections: Two New Faces Possible Keys to Future Government
 
Middle East
» Car Bombs Kill 17: Wound 54 Around Baghdad
» Christianity ‘Close to Extinction’ In Middle East
» Did the Armenian Genocide Inspire Hitler? Turkey, Past and Future
» Erdogan to Turkish Women, Have at Least 4 or 5 Kids
» Erdogan Greenlights 1,300 Police Stations in ‘Ottoman Style’
» Syria: Qatar Pledges 20mln Dollars to Transitional Gov’t
 
South Asia
» Afghanistan: Nine-Hour Gunfight After Taliban Suicide Bombers Attack Traffic Police Building in Kabul Leave Eight People Dead
» Afghanistan: Ghazni is a Culture Capital With No Visitors
» British Grandmother, 56, Breaks Down in Tears as Indonesian Court Sentences Her to Death for Drug Trafficking
» Indonesia: Catholic Schools Agree to Provide Islamic Lessons
» ‘This Isn’t a Game’: Taliban Labels Harry a ‘Coward’ For Comparing Afghan Conflict With Computer Games After He Reveals He Has Killed Enemy
 
Far East
» Abe Advocates ‘Security Diamond’ Against China
» Chinese Workers Revolt Over 2-Minute Toilet Breaks, Hold Managers Hostage
» Chinese Workers Hold Managers Hostage After Toilet Break Changes
» Japan: Man, 23, Bitten to Death by His Own Father Who Thought He Was Possessed by a Snake
» North Korea Facing Rebuff From US and China at UN
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» French Troops ‘To Stay as Long as Needed’ In Mali
» Is Qatar Fuelling the Crisis in North Mali?
» Islamist Forces Kill 18 in Attack on NE Nigeria Market
» Majority of Germans Against Military Intervention in Mali
» Mali’s Musicians Fight Back Against Censorship
» Nigeria Raises Alert After Sending Troops to Bamako
» Norway May Join the Battle in Mali
» Russia Offers French Troops in Mali Logistical Support
» SAS and Spy Planes Set for Mali as Britain Offer More Support in Battle Against ‘Terrorist Scourge’ Of Al Qaeda
» Top Brass Resist PM’s Mali War
 
Culture Wars
» Canada’s First Christian Law School Opposed Over Gay Lifestyle Ban
» Denmark Says That Both Men and Women’s Haircuts Must Cost the Same Price
» Racist Terms in Children’s Books Divide Germans
» Top Neurosurgeon: “Comfort Care” Only for Victims of Strokes Who Are Over 70
» Wildlife Legend Sir David Attenborough Warns That Mankind is a ‘Plague on the Earth’
 
General
» Fat Drivers Are 80% More Likely to Die in a Crash: Extra Weight Stops Seat Belts Tightening Properly
» Should Drone Strikes be Considered Lawful?

Financial Crisis

37 Statistics Which Show How Four Years of Obama Have Wrecked the U.S. Economy

The mainstream media covered the inauguration of Barack Obama with breathless anticipation on Monday, but should we really be celebrating another four years of Obama? The truth is that the first four years of Obama were an absolute train wreck for the U.S. economy. Over the past four years, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has fallen, median household income has declined by more than $4000, poverty in the U.S. has absolutely exploded and our national debt has ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Of course all of the blame for the nightmarish performance of the economy should not go to Obama alone. Certainly much of what we are experiencing today is the direct result of decades of very foolish decisions by Congress and previous presidential administrations.

And of course the Federal Reserve has more influence over the economy than anyone else does. But Barack Obama steadfastly refuses to criticize anything that the Federal Reserve has done and he even nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman despite his horrific track record of failure, so at a minimum Barack Obama must be considered to be complicit in the Fed’s very foolish policies. Despite what the Obama administration tells us, the U.S. economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline has accelerated in many ways over the past four years. Just consider the statistics that I have compiled below. The following are 37 statistics which show how four years of Obama have wrecked the U.S. economy…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bersani Calls to Lower Italian Military Spending on F-35

‘We don’t need fighter jets, we need jobs’ says premier hopeful

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani and premier hopeful said Italy needed to reduce military spending on things such as the controversial F-35 fighter plane. “We absolutely need to revise and limit military spending on F-35s because our priorities are elsewhere,” he told Italian television. “Our priorities are not fighter jets but jobs”. Last year outgoing Premier Mario Monti announced plans to cut its order of Lockheed Martin’s radar-evading F-35 fighter to 90 from the 131 the country agreed to buy in 2002.

Italy’s State-owned defence company Finmeccanica is involved in the project to build the F-35, which is estimated to cost $200 million per unit. The center-left PD is currently leading in polls.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Cyprus to Wait Until March for €17bn Bailout

Cyprus will have to wait until at least March for an EU bailout after eurozone finance ministers Monday said negotiations must continue on a deal worth €17 billion. Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing Eurogroup chair, told reporters that “negotiations are ongoing” and will be led by his replacement Jeroen Djisselbloem.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU: Spain Won’t Meet Deficit Target of Below 6.3%

Recapitalizing banks is a strain, report says

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — Spain won’t meet a 2012 deficit target of below 6.3%, according to a European Commission report published Tuesday.

“Consolidation continues, but the 2012 deficit target won’t be met. The deficit has gone up due to banks recapitalizing to the tune of 10 billion euro — or 1% of GDP. Reaching a fixed 6.3% target will be very difficult”, the report said, going on to explain that Spain’s autonomous regions are causing the most problems. “There are substantial risks that many regions will go beyond their targets”. Not tweaking pensions in line with inflation, which was higher than predicted, “has saved around 0.2% GDP, but the social system will bring a deficit of over 1.1%”.

Even if the effect of the consolidation measures will only be seen in the fourth quarter, including a VAT hike and the abolition of thirteenth month pay, a 6.3% target is still far off. Inflation is high because of the consolidation measures and a lack of competition in the product market, the report says. Recession is set to continue in 2013, with recovery only likely in the second half of the year.

Unemployment levels are still high and don’t look set to decline. These factors have a knock-on effect for domestic demand.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy to Raise 1 Billion Euros From Tobin Tax

EU finance ministers give backing to ‘enhanced cooperation’

(ANSA) — Brussels, January 22 — The newly approved fee on financial transactions will raise approximately one billion euros for Italy, the country’s Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said on Tuesday. EU finance ministers gave their backing to enhanced cooperation for the introduction of the so-called Tobin Tax — named after Nobel economics laureate James Tobin — in 11 European countries including Italy, Germany, France, Greece and Spain at an Ecofin meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. “Italy has already intervened in the knowledge that other countries would also follow a similar path,” said Grilli in reference to provisions to introduce a tax on investment transactions contained in the 2012 budget law. “It will be important for us to see how the provision evolves in order to coordinate future governments with respect to what has already been introduced,” he concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Italian Incomes Lowest Since 1986’

Per capita income less than 17,000 euros this year says report

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Average Italian incomes will be the lowest since 1986 this year, a report said Tuesday.

Per capita income fell 4.8% last year and a further drop will take it down to 16,955 euros this year, compared to 17,337 euros in 2012, said Rete Impresa Italia, a business association. The last time per capita income was below 17,000 euros was 17 years ago, in 1986, it said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Spread With German Bonds Stable at 262 Points

European markets mostly flat

(ANSA) — Milan, January 22 — The spread between Italian 10-year bonds and the benchmark German bund ended Tuesday stable at 262 basis points following a successful bond auction in Spain, where the country sold more three- and six-month Treasury bills than originally planned.

In a thin corporate news day, European stock markets ended flat despite a better-than-expected reading in Germany’s ZEW business confidence survey, which helped exchanges recover some early Tuesday losses. Milan’s FTSE-MIB ended up 0.48% at 17715.90, Paris’s CAC 40 closed down 0.59% at 3741.01, Germany’s DAX closed 0.68% lower at 7696.21, Spain’s IBEX 35 ended 0.39% at 8632.10 and London’s FTSE 100 closed the day 0.03% lower at 6179.17.

Investors in Italian defense giant Finmeccanica pushed shares up almost 5% on expectations the company will announce developments on the sale of energy unit Ansaldo Energia on Wednesday. Investors also boosted shares in Enel Green Power, following a positive report on the company by SocGen analysts. Meanwhile, investors pelted bank MPS (-5.7%) following reports of derivatives transactions in 2009 which were used to improve its financial accounts and could lead to a 220-million-euro charge for 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

JPMorgan Embraces Offshore Yuan as Trading Doubles

Standard Chartered Plc estimates offshore trading of yuan has doubled to at least $6 billion a day, giving investors more confidence to invest in the currency using options, forwards and Dim Sum bonds.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Eurozone Chief at the Helm, Cyprus’ Crisis Tops Agenda

Dijsselbloem: “austerity and balanced books are important”

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JANUARY 22 — Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a previously unknown unknown Dutchman with no economic experience but with the type of clear ideas that Germany likes, has replaced Jean Claude Juncker as the new leader of the Eurogroup.

“Austerity and balanced books are what’s important because they bring growth”, Dijsselbloem said. The first Eurogroup meeting of the year brings up a raft of new issues: a change of leadership; fresh crisis in a southern European country; the fragile possibility of an ESM rescue that allows banks to recapitaize directly, sidestepping the state, and Europe’s level of solidity. THE EUROGROUP CHIEF Key points at the top of Dijsselbloem’s agenda include, “completing banking mergers, continuing a strategy of consolidation and creating employment.” Only Spain voted against Dijsselbloem’s appointment while he is a favorite of Germany. Dijsselbloem has no longterm economic or ministerial experience but has been Head of Finance in the Netherlands since last November, and prior to that was a Labour Party spokesman for education. Germany likes him because he tends to agree with their economic polices, in particular on austerity.

“I believe that austerity and balanced budgets are important for the future because they mean more investment and growth. But the road is long and hard”, Dijsselbloem said at his first post-meeting press conference.

CYPRUS The Eurozone’s ability to respond to crises is under the spotlight once again as Cyprus’ debt spirals higher than Greece’s.

Cyprus asked for a bail-out several months ago, although a decision isn’t likely before the March 1, after the presidential elections. Europe is holding back until it has seen a privatization plan that the current president refuses to submit.

It also suspects that aid could end up in Cypriot banks suspected of concealing shady Russian capital.

As with Greece, Germany is dragging its heels. It wants a task force to investigate possible fraud, and for Russia to shoulder its part of the debt. BANKING AID Recapitalizing banks direct from the ESM rescue fund is a critical decision in the making. The EU promised that once a system of banking supervision was underway banks could sidestep the state — and avoiding burdening it with further debt, by approaching the ESM directly. The decision is being awaited eagerly by Spain, who has already asked for aid, as well as Ireland and Portugal.

But Germany, the Netherlands and Finland want to postpone any decisions until 2014 when the system of banking supervision comes into play. “We still need to discuss things at a technical level”, Juncker said, who believes there won’t be any progress before June.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Our Children’s Legacy: Debt and Environment

Our second president, John Adams said, “There are two ways to defeat any nation. The first is by the sword and the second is by debt.”

Today, our country and all of us citizens run a $16 trillion debt. We stand up to our eyeballs in debt. War debt, poverty debt, welfare debt, interest payments of over $600 million a day on debt, energy debt, trade debt and the list could run off this page.

More of our citizens suckle off the system and we add millions every year. Four years ago at the beginning of the Obama tenure, 36 million Americans and non-citizens utilized our extravagant food stamp system. Ironically, because Obama could not and did not create more jobs as promised, those poor now stand at 47.7 million people feeding themselves on the rest of our backs. Within the next four years, their numbers could exceed 55 million by recent projections. Our debt will increase.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sarkozy’s Plans ‘To Dodge New 75% French Tax Rate by Moving to London With Wife Carla and Setting Up £1bn Private Equity Fund’

Nicolas Sarkozy is preparing to move to London to set up a billion pounds plus investment fund, it was claimed today.

If the move goes ahead, the controversial Frenchman will become the latest to escape a potential top tax rate of 75 per cent in his home country.

He and his former supermodel third wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy would be likely to settle in an affluent district like South Kensington — so becoming the most high profile Gallic celebrity couple in the city.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Real Reasons That Germany is Demanding That the U.S. Return Its Gold

Why Is Germany Demanding 300 Tons of Gold from the U.S. and 374 Tons from France?

The German’s are demanding that the U.S. return all of the 374 tons of gold held by the Bank of France, and 300 tons of the 1500 tons of bullion held by the New York Federal Reserve.

Some say that Germany is only demanding repatriation of its gold due to internal political pressures, and that no other countries will do so.

[…]

Indeed, it is now well-documented that the Fed has leased out a large chunk of its gold reserves, and that big banks borrow gold from central banks and then to multiple parties.

As such, it might not entirely surprising that the Fed needs 7 years to give Germany back its 300 tons of gold … even though the Fed claims to hold 6,720 tons at the New York Federal Reserve Bank alone:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Zoo to Run Out of Food in 48 Hours Threatening Animals With Starvation as Italy’s Financial Crisis Hits

Hundreds of exotic animals at Naples zoo are facing starvation, as keepers declare a state of emergency with food supplies set to run out in 48 hours.

Zoo keepers at the compound in the southern Italian city, said within two days hay, fruit and all other food will be finished, leaving the 300 tigers, giraffes, elephants and other animals, high and dry.

Italy’s dwindling economy has hit the once-famous zoo hard, leading its managers to declare bankruptcy in 2011. Now if funds for more food are not found within 48 hours, the zoo’s prize exhibits including big cats and other rare exotic animals will starve to death, keepers said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

USA

103-Year Sentence in Sex Abuse Case That Shook Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn

An unlicensed therapist who was a prominent member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn was sentenced on Tuesday to 103 years in prison for repeatedly sexually abusing a young woman, beginning the attacks when she was 12.

Nechemya Weberman, 54, a member of the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg, did not react as the judge sentenced him. The victim, now 18, who delivered an impassioned statement asking for maximum sentence to be imposed, dabbed away tears.

“The message should go out to all victims of sexual abuse that your cries will be heard and justice will be done,” said State Supreme Court Justice John G. Ingram before imposing the sentence, close to the longest permissible to him by law. He praised the young victim’s “courage and bravery in coming forward.”

[Return to headlines]

&title=Chicago-Alderman-Pushing-Requiring-GPS-Devices-On-All-Guns}

***Unclosed Item!***Chicago Alderman: Put GPS Tracking Devices on All Guns

A South Side alderman is asking for City Council hearings on an unorthodox gun control measure that would allow for GPS tracking of firearms. WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), a former police officer, has suggested that global positioning system chips be embedded in new guns, and retrofitted on existing firearms, so they could be located if they go missing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Far Right’ Report Outrages Critics of Federalism

Conservatives labeled as violent

A West Point think tank report that links people who believe in individual freedom with violent “far right” movements has stirred strong opposition from conservatives and former members of the military.

[…]

The West Point report also disparages conservatives in general, saying they live in the past while liberals are future-oriented.

“This report is outrageous in and of itself,” said a Washington Times reader, one of more than 1,600 to post a comment. “But it speaks of a far worse scenario at the hallowed West Point; the rise of liberalism within the faculty there and their desire to shape the next generation of warrior/patriots into left-of-center thinkers. Sad and troubling. Our country is in trouble on so many fronts now.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy

This week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be making her swan song appearance on Capitol Hill, providing at last to Senate and House panels her testimony about the Benghazigate scandal. Under the circumstances, legislators may feel pressured to be deferential and to keep their questions more limited in scope and superficial rather than probing. For the good of the country, it is imperative that they resist going soft.

After all, the hearings Wednesday before the two chambers’ committees responsible for foreign policy oversight afford the final opportunity to examine with the sitting secretary of state her legacy with regard not only to the fiasco that left four Americans dead in Benghazi last Sept. 11, but with the policies that led up to that event — policies that are roiling the region today and that will afflict us for many years to come…

           — Hat tip: CSP [Return to headlines]

Human Health Risks From Electromagnetic Fields and Radio Frequency Radiation Real

Bioinitiative 2012 has just released its 2012 report on January 7, 2013, an update of the 2007 version. It includes approximately 1,800 new studies on biological effects and adverse health effects from electromagnetic fields such as power lines, electrical wiring, appliances, hand-held devices, and from wireless technologies such as cell and cordless phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors, surveillance systems, and wireless utility meters (smart meters).

The report has been prepared by 29 authors from 10 countries; ten researchers have medical degrees (MDs), twenty-one have PhDs, three have MsC, MA or MPHs. RF color charts can be downloaded as well as 4 links with summaries of hundreds of studies done between 1990 and 2012 on the “free radical damage from both RFR (radio frequency radiation) and ELF (extremely low frequency) and a set specific to electro-sensitivity.” (www.bioinitiative.org/report/research-summaries/)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Legal Group Files Federal Lawsuit Against Obama and His Gun Initiative

A public-interest group dedicated to upholding the U.S. Constitution announced on Wednesday that it is suing the Obama White House task force that led to the gun control proposals offered by the Commander in Chief during a televised speech on Wednesday.

The lawsuit is based on the legal argument that the White House group conducted meetings with lobbyists without sufficient public notice that is legally required.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Florida by Larry Klayman of FreedomWatch, seeks to eliminate the task force and prevent any of its recommendations from becoming law, according to the group.

“Do not be fooled by a belief that leftists hate guns,” wrote Stanislav Mishin in Pravda regarding gun control in the United States. “What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step [with] their ideology.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Michael Moriarty: The History of World War III

With many in the United States at their wit’s end about President Barack Obama’s previous four years and the Obama Nation’s reinstatement in the White House, America is now indisputably divided and increasingly on the brink of Civil War.

Why?

There are as many different explanations for the coming nightmare as there are Americans.

My own, increasingly low estimate of Barack Obama cemented itself when this President made abortion a universally available part of all hospitals in the United States, thus evicting the Catholic Church, preventing Her from running Her own hospitals in Her own, abortion-free, way.

Ergo, the end of Religious Freedom.

With Obama’s planned assault upon “the right to bear arms”?

Thus the end of the Second Amendment.

Make no mistake: President Obama is not only preparing for a Second Civil War in America but purposely, cold-bloodedly and, with serpentine intent, deliberately provoking that potential holocaust.

Barack Hussein Obama has calculatedly made himself the most incendiary President of the United States in the history of America; and, with malice aforethought, prepared himself and his comrades, in both the Communist and Islamic world, for not only a Civil War but World War III as well.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: Obama Asks Military Leaders if They Will “Fire on US Citizens”

2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jim Garrow shockingly claims he was told by a top military veteran that the Obama administration’s “litmus test” for new military leaders is whether or not they will obey an order to fire on U.S. citizens.

Garrow was nominated three years ago for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize and is the founder of The Pink Pagoda Girls, an organization dedicated to rescuing baby girls from “gendercide” in China. Garrow has been personally involved in “helping rescue more than 36,000 Chinese baby girls from death.” He is a public figure, not an anonymous voice on the Internet, which makes his claim all the more disturbing.

“I have just been informed by a former senior military leader that Obama is using a new “litmus test” in determining who will stay and who must go in his military leaders. Get ready to explode folks. “The new litmus test of leadership in the military is if they will fire on US citizens or not”. Those who will not are being removed,” Garrow wrote on his Facebook page, later following up the post by adding the man who told him is, “one of America’s foremost military heroes,” whose goal in divulging the information was to “sound the alarm.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NYTimes Buries Own Poll Findings Showing Support for Armed Guards in School, Blaming Hollywood

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: “Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not.”

But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood’s culture of violence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Piers Morgan: Use Machine Guns to “Take Out” Critics

CNN host Piers Morgan has built his case for gun control on an apparent concern for victims of gun violence. However, that concern was not evident when he told an interviewer of his desire to see his critics taken out with machine guns.

Asked about how he would treat his critics if they were appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, a show on which Morgan appeared as a judge, the CNN host remarked, “I’d replace the buzzers with machine guns and just take them all out and do the public a massive favor.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sheriffs Are Key to Protecting Americans From Unconstitutional Gun Laws

(NaturalNews) Local sheriffs are the preeminent legal authority in the country and have the power, by constitutional design, to prevent or refuse enforcement of federal statutes which violate the U.S. Constitution or their oaths of office, according to one former sheriff who has battled the Feds over gun laws and won.

Richard Mack, the one-time sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., said in a recent interview with WorldNetDaily.com that he joined with then-Rivalli County Sheriff Jay Printz in a successful lawsuit against the federal government during President Clinton’s terms during the 1990s to oppose provisions of the Brady Bill gun-control law.

[…]

Per Alan Stang over at NewsWithViews.com:

While Richard Mack was sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., a bridge washed out. Parents had to drive twenty-six miles to get their kids to school half a mile across the river. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wouldn’t fix it. First they had to do an “environmental impact study,” to replace a bridge already there. They were in no hurry. The study would take a mere ten years. The people’s suffering reached the board of supervisors. The board voted to dredge the river and fix the bridge. The feds warned that they would be fined $50,000 per day if they tried. The supervisors hesitated. Sheriff Mack promised them and the workers protection and pledged to call out a posse for the purpose if necessary. They built the bridge and the Corps of Engineers faded. The board never paid a dime.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Great Power of Washington

The one thing that Washington D.C. has never understood is that it does not run America. It is just as incapable of understanding this as every ruler in history. A government can issue decrees and punish those who disobey. It can levy fines, build prisons and equip police forces to enforce them. What it cannot do however is implement a policy in such a way that its execution exactly matches the intention. The whip cracks, the people veer and the law of unintended consequences takes over.

Obama does not understand that just because he won two elections does not mean that he runs the country. Outside the safe areas of government control is a wilder and woolier territory where drugs are sold and guns are shot. That is true of even the environs of government in Washington D.C., it is all the more true of America.

The difference between a wise leader and a foolish leader is that a wise leader does not give orders that he knows will not be followed. A wise leader understands that the will of the people is the limit of his power. A foolish leader does not understand that. Like Xerxes he whips the sea, expecting it to obey him.A wise leader strengthens his people while a foolish leader weakens and destroys them, turning them into children or rebels.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Thirteen Thoughts on the Future of American Conservatism

by Tim Montgomerie

The American Commentary magazine has just published a collection of answers to the question, “What Is the Future of Conservatism in the Wake of the 2012 Election?” The answers focus on American conservatism but they’re not irrelevant to our future, here in Britain. I’ve observed a number of big themes from reading the symposium and have summarised them below. You can purchase the whole collection for $4.95, here.

I will begin by noting that not all of the contributors to the symposium were negative about the health of conservatism or even convinced that conservatism needed to change very much at all. Roger Kimball was notably unwilling to be dragged into despondency by the presidential election result. Voters, he argued, will turn again to Republicans and to conservatives when it is clear that Obama, liberals and the Democrats had failed. And they will fail, he insisted. Quoting the economist Herbert Stein’s dictum that “that which cannot go on forever, won’t” Kimball declared that reality augured well for conservatives because “reality is conservative”. Margaret Thatcher would agree. “The facts of life,” she said, “ are conservative”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Archeologists Revise Image of Ancient Celts

The Celts were long considered a barbaric and violent society. But new findings from a 2,600-year-old grave in Germany suggest the ancient people were much more sophisticated than previously thought.

The little Bettelbühl stream on the Danube River was completely unknown, except to local residents. But that changed in the summer of 2010 when a spectacular discovery was made just next to the creek.

Not far from the Heuneburg, the site of an early Celtic settlement, researchers stumbled upon the elaborate grave of a Celtic princess. In addition to gold and amber, they found a subterranean burial chamber fitted with massive oak beams. It was an archeological sensation that, after 2,600 years, the chamber was completely intact.

The wooden construction was preserved by the constant flow of water from the Bettelbühl stream. “In dry ground, the wood wouldn’t have had a chance to survive over so many centuries,” said Nicole Ebinger-Rist, the director of the research project handling the find.

Since the rings in the wood allow them to date the other items in the burial chamber, researchers are now hoping to gain a new understanding of Celtic culture and history

The result could change our view of the Celts. Roman writers in particular described the heterogeneous people as barbaric, only excelling in violence and war. But that’s a distorted view, according to Dirk L. Krausse from Baden-Wurttemberg’s state office for historic preservation.

“There’s also a bit of propaganda involved, since the Celts conquered Rome in the year 387 B.C., so they couldn’t have been so primitive,” Krausse explained. The findings at the Heuneburg near Hundersingen also indicate that the Celts living in the upper Danube region were more advanced than previously thought.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Austria Bucks Trend With Conscription Vote

In a national referendum, Austrians have voted to keep military conscription, bucking the trend towards professional armies in the rest of Western Europe.

In a referendum on Sunday, nearly 60 percent of Austrians voted to maintain the status quo, where men have to serve in the army for six months or in the civilian service for nine months when they reach the age of 18.

Some 22,000 young men are currently drafted into the military in this way every year.

This result makes Austria one of only a handful of European countries to maintain conscription. Most Western European nations scrapped compulsory military service in the last two decades, including France in 1996, Spain in 2001 and Germany in 2011. The United Kingdom abolished military service back in 1960.

Military service is still compulsory in five other European Union countries: Denmark, Finland, Greece, Cyprus and Estonia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cameron to Promise Britons Straight Choice on EU Exit

“It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics,” he said in the extracts, adding that his Conservative party would campaign for the 2015 election promising to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership.

“And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]

EU Wants Power to Sack Journalists

The “high level” recommendations that will be used to draft future EU legislation also attack David Cameron for failing to automatically implement proposals by the Lord Justice Leveson inquiry for a state regulation of British press.

A “high level” EU panel, that includes Latvia’s former president and a former German justice minister, was ordered by Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president, last year to report on “media freedom and pluralism”. It has concluded that it is time to introduce new rules to rein in the press.

“All EU countries should have independent media councils,” the report concluded.

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How Scientists Could Use Brain Scans to Detect Whether You Are a Racist

Brain scans show differences in the way people with negative racial attitudes perceive black and white faces

Brain scans could soon be used to detect whether or not people are racist, scientists say.

Researchers found that brain scans were able to pick up on differences in the way that people with implicit negative racial attitudes viewed black and white faces.

Racial stereotypes have previously been shown to have subtle and unintended consequences on how we treat members of different race groups.

But the new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows race biases also increase differences in the brain’s representations of faces.

Psychologists Tobias Brosch of the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Eyal Bar-David and Elizabeth Phelps of New York University examined activity in the brain while participants looked at pictures of White and Black faces.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Set to Drop ‘Tainted’ Politicians for Vote

Dell’Utri, accused of Mafia links, among those who won’t stand

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, January 21 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has said he is going to drop some senior members of his People of Freedom (PdL) party who are linked to criminal cases from his list of candidates for parliament for next month’s elections.

Berlusconi said at the weekend that it made him feel “bad” to ask the politicians not to stand, as none of them had received a definitive criminal conviction.

Among the candidates who will not stand are Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, a former close aide of Berlusconi’s who is on trial for alleged links to the Mafia. Another is former industry minister Claudio Scajola, who is on trial over a shady real-estate deal regarding a house bought for him near the Colosseum in Rome by a businessman. He is also probed for alleged corruption concerning Brazilian contracts for Italian defence giant Finmeccanica. Marco Milanese, a PdL MP and a former consultant for ex-economy minister Giulio Tremonti, said Monday he would not run for parliament. Milanese is implicated in several probes.

Berlusconi also mentioned another MP, Alfonso Papa, who is suspected of conspiracy in the so-called P4 inquiry looking into bribery and corruption at a top level.

But Papa said Sunday he had no intention of withdrawing his candidacy.

The former head of the PdL in Campania, Nicola Cosentino, is reportedly resisting pressure for him not to stand as well.

Cosentino, a former economy undersecretary, is set to go on trial for allegedly helping the Casalesi clan of the Naples Camorra mafia invest in a shopping mall near Caserta.

According to media reports, PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano has been pushing hard for the party’s lists to be purged of candidates linked to criminal cases.

Berlusconi has said Alfano will be premier if the centre right wins the election and he will be economy minister. The PdL has been among the parties to be hit hardest by a series of corruption probes over the last year, with scandals forcing centre-right regional administrations in Lazio and Lombardy to collapse in 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Blames Politicised Judiciary for List Exclusions

Candidates now beyond criticism, says ex-premier

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the centre right’s election campaign, on Tuesday said he had been forced to drop “friends and colleagues” from cleaned-up electoral lists because of allegedly politically motivated magistrates.

“We had to ask our friends and colleagues to withdraw from electoral lists because they had been attacked by politicised prosecutors and this was reported by the media, potentially reducing consensus,” Berlusconi told a news programme broadcast by his own television network Mediaset.

His comments came the day after it was announced that the Camorra-linked former industry undersecretary Nicola Cosentino would not be a candidate for his People of Freedom (PdL) party in the February 24 and 25 general elections.

Cosentino, a PdL heavyweight in the southern Campania region, has been indicted for allegedly helping the powerful Casalesi clan invest in a shopping mall near Caserta. Prosecutors allege he was the “national reference point” of the Casalesi, who come from his home town of Casal di Principe and were exposed in Roberto Saviano’s 2006 bestseller Gomorrah. Saviano is in police protection after death threats from jailed Casalesi chieftains.

Cosentino denies wrongdoing and was initially reported to be resisting pressure from the PdL to withdraw his candidacy. Other key party figures who have been dropped from lists include Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, a former close aide of Berlusconi who is on trial for alleged links to the Mafia, and former industry minister Claudio Scajola, who is on trial over a shady real-estate deal in Rome and is also being probed for alleged corruption concerning Brazilian contracts for Italian defence giant Finmeccanica. Berlusconi described the decision to exclude the candidates as “painful” but said the lists were now beyond criticism and that debate could consequently focus on programmes and content.

Berlusconi himself is on trial in two cases: for allegedly paying for sex with an underage prostitute and for alleged involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap.

He was recently convicted of tax fraud. The ex-premier has said he will not become premier in the event of a centre-right victory but instead has set his sights on the position of economy minister.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Norway Goat Cheese Fire Closes Tunnel

A road tunnel in Norway has been closed — by a lorry-load of burning cheese.

About 27 tonnes of caramelised brown goat cheese — a delicacy known as Brunost — caught light as it was being driven through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway, last week.

The fire raged for five days and smouldering toxic gases were slowing the recovery operation, officials said.

The tunnel — which is said to be badly damaged — is likely to remain closed for several weeks, they added.

“We can’t go in until it’s safe,” geologist Viggo Aronsen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Police officer Viggo Berg said the high concentration of fat and sugar in the cheese made it burn “almost like petrol if it gets hot enough”.

The lorry driver had noticed the fire in his trailer and abandoned it about 300m (1,000ft) from the southern entrance. No-one was hurt.

Kjell Bjoern Vinje, of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said it was the first time he could remember cheese catching fire on Norwegian roads.

“I didn’t know that brown cheese burns so well,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Strauss-Kahn Pays 1 Million Dollars to Cleaning Woman

(AGI) — Paris, Jan 20 — The cleaning woman who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape reportedly decided to drop the charges against the former IMF managing director after closing a secret deal giving her 1.5 million dollars. The news was published by France’s Journal du Dimanche.

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

UK: ‘He Left My Son in the Road to Die’: Hit-and-Run Driver Who Broke Teenage Motorcyclist’s Back Swore at Seriously Injured Student Before Driving Off

A schoolboy has been left with a broken back after being knocked off his motorcycle by a driver who then swore at him and drove way from the scene.

Steven Smith was nearly paralysed in the hit-and-run smash, and his parents are appealing for help in bringing the driver to justice.

The teenager has recalled how the driver who hit the back of the bike walked over to him and said, ‘serves you right’ before leaving him bleeding in the road.

His father Paul said: ‘Accidents do happen — but I would not have left a dog like this. He left my son in the road to die.’

Steven was given the bike as a birthday present in November last year, and was riding round Old Whittington in Derbyshire on January 6 when he was hit by a black people-carrier.

After the driver sped off, a passer-by who knew first aid found him lying in the road and put him in the recovery position while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Doctors at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital believe her quick thinking may have saved Steven from being paralysed for life, and say that the teenager will eventually be able to walk again.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Al Qaeda Bomb Plot Gangs Were Handed £30m in Legal Aid to Fund Their Defence

Two gangs of Al Qaeda terrorists who plotted to inflict mass murder on the British public shared more than £30million in legal aid, it emerged last night.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show the astonishing sums being paid out by taxpayers to fund defence in criminal cases.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Councils Advised to Scrap “Equalities Impact Assessments”

The absurdity of “Equalities Impact Assessments” has been chronicled at the Systems Thinking for Girls blog — by someone who used to write dozens of them. Following the Prime Minister speech to the CBI, the Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has sent guidance to councils to scrap them.

Mr Lewis says: The Government Equalities Office has given clear guidance to Whitehall departments that Equality Impact Assessments are not and have never been a legal requirement. Indeed, they can be resource intensive and take staff away from planning and delivering important public services. This advice applies to other parts of the public sector. Local councils should be able to use their judgment to pay due regard to equality without resorting to time consuming, bureaucratic, tick-box exercises at the end of the decision-making process.

The key is to take a proportionate, timely approach to assessing equality and that this is properly considered from the outset with a simple audit trail. This approach builds on our Best Value guidance released in September 2011 in which councils are asked to ensure that their policies and services are efficient, effective, appropriate and accessible to all — without resorting to unnecessary lifestyle or ‘diversity’ questionnaires of their local residents and suppliers. Every bit of the public sector is seeking to reduce administrative costs; I hope this light-touch guidance will helpful in reducing statutory burdens on local government.

Any council contemplating cutting services for the vulnerable, or putting up the Council Tax on their hard pressed residents, should first ensure that the message from Mr Lewis is heeded. Intrusive monitoring forms asking about religion, sexual orientation or ethnic group are not required. Nor are fatuous Equalities Impact Assessments. That is where the axe should fall.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Grandmother, 50, Lost £70,000 Life Savings and Was Left Homeless After Being Duped by Turkish Toyboy Lover

A grandmother who sold her house and lost her life savings after being duped by a toyboy Turkish bar owner ended up having to sleep rough.

Lovestruck Pat Ekins, 50, was left broke and snubbed by her angry family after selling her house behind her children’s backs and pumping £70,000 into the business of 28-year-old Ibrahim Halin who she met on holiday in the Turkish resort of Marmaris.

Pat, from Preston, Lancashire, would fly back and forth between Turkey and her then home town of Middlesborough, North Yorkshire every couple of months.

But no sooner had she handed the money over to her toyboy, he had fled leaving Pat, who was 46 at the time, desolate and facing eviction from her apartment.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Knee-Jerk Islamophobia: Why Trevor Kavanagh is Wrong About British Muslims

This kind of evidence-free, stereotype-laden assault on the British Muslim community has got to stop, says Rob Ford.

On 6 August, after an extraordinary night in the Olympic Stadium, the Sun‘s Oliver Harvey was moved to write: “A ginger bloke from Milton Keynes, a mixed race beauty from Sheffield, an ethnic Somali given shelter on these shores from his war-ravaged homeland. This is what Britain looks like today. Three Britons from wildly different backgrounds that gave this generation its 1966 moment.” His colleague Anila Baig added: “We’ve heard a lot about belonging and loyalty and allegiance, Muslim first or British first. On Saturday Mo Farah gave us the answer: British Muslim and proud proud proud.”…

[Reader comment by a.cole on 21 January 2013]

Muslims are very poorly integrated into the UK. Many muslims live in predominantly Muslim ghettos such as Bury Park in luton and Tower Hamlets in East London. This is not evidence of a successful multicultural experiment.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Two Held in ‘Islamic Patrol’ Probe

Two men have been arrested by police investigating reports a gang claiming to be Islamic vigilantes have been confronting people in the street demanding they throw away alcohol and cover their bare skin.

In one video, posted online, men from the self-styled Muslim patrol in Whitechapel, east London, tell another man “no drink in this area, it’s a Muslim area” before ordering him to pour away his alcohol.

It has been reported that another video shows the group shouting homophobic abuse at a man and tell him “get out of here you fag… don’t stay around here any more”.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Officers investigating a series of incidents that took place over the course of the weekend of 12/13 January in east London, whereby a small group of individuals were seen to approach and harass members of the public at various locations, have arrested two men.

“Videos of the incidents were uploaded onto YouTube.”

A 22-year-old man was arrested in Acton, west London on Sunday, and a 19-year-old man was arrested on Monday after going to an east London police station.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and public order offences and were bailed to return to an east London police station in February and March pending further inquiries.

The police spokesman added: “The Metropolitan Police Service takes these incidents very seriously and is pursuing various lines of inquiry with a view to identifying and prosecuting the individuals concerned.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Yes Africa is a Terror Hotbed … But Fanatics Are Here Too

by Trevor Kavanagh

“AL-QAEDA is on the path to defeat,” American President Barack Obama announced a few weeks ago.

The bloodbath in Algeria, where British workers were among 23 slaughtered hostages, suggests that this was shockingly wishful White House thinking. The world has taken its eye off the ball in Africa. Now al-Qaeda is back with a vengeance, opening dangerous new battle lines across Saharan Africa…

Britain is a melting pot of nationalities and faiths, home to hundreds of thousands of Malians, Iraqis, Syrians, Somalis, Kenyans, Nigerians, Yemenis and Pakistanis. Not all are grateful. Indeed, many are becoming outspokenly defiant. Some have colonised suburbs in major cities. One London borough is so staunchly Muslim it has become known as the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets.

Last week, hooded gangs of self-appointed religious police roamed Muslim- populated suburbs ordering women to cover up and confiscating liquor. Police are investigating YouTube clips which show the men branding mini-skirted white girls as “naked animals”. MI5 claims thousands of young British-born Muslims have been radicalised — some of them trained in bomb-making and terror tactics in the badlands of Pakistan. That number has certainly grown in recent years. The security forces have done a remarkable job in keeping a lid on this threat at home.

It is now more than seven years since the 7/7 London bombings and the terrorists have been silent. But Mali and Algeria should remind us of Gerry Adams’ chilling warning about the IRA: “They haven’t gone away.” Now, as David Cameron warned yesterday, we face a global threat which could take “years, even decades” to resolve. He might have added, “if ever”.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Uncovered, The ‘Toxic’ Gene Hiding in GM Crops: Revelation Throws New Doubt Over Safety of Foods

A virus gene that could be poisonous to humans has been missed when GM food crops have been assessed for safety.

GM crops such as corn and soya, which are being grown around the world for both human and farm animal consumption, include the gene.

A new study by the EU’s official food watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene.

As a result, watchdogs have not investigated its impact on human health and the plants themselves when assessing whether they were safe.

The findings are particularly powerful because the work was carried out by independent experts, rather than GM critics.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vatican Dismisses Guardian ‘Secret Property Empire’ Report

London newspaper exposes real estate bought with Mussolini money

(ANSA) — Vatican City, January 22 — The Vatican on Tuesday dismissed an article published by London’s the Guardian newspaper on its alleged secret property empire as coming from another world.

“I am amazed by the article in the Guardian, which seems to come from someone who is among the asteroids,” said Vatican Spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi in response to the article accusing the papacy of using money originally handed over by fascist dictator Mussolini in exchange for Vatican recognition of his regime and offshore tax havens to create an international portfolio worth £500 million with real estate in the UK, France and Switzerland. “These things have been public knowledge for 80 years” as a result of the 1929 Lateran Pacts regulating relations between the Italian state and the Roman Catholic Church, the spokesman added. On Monday the Guardian printed an article listing elements of the Vatican’s alleged secret commercial property empire including the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in London’s New Bond Street, and the headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital on the corner of St James’s Square and Pall Mall.

It also denounced the apparent “lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

North Africa

12 of Algeria Attack Victims Are Japanese Citizens

(AGI) — In Amenas, Jan 20 — The horrific toll of the attack at the Amenas gas plant in southern Algeria is becoming clearer.

According to the latest account, reported by a local source, the bodies of twelve Japanese citizens have been found. The total number of hostages killed remains, for the moment, 23.

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

Algerian Gas Plant Attack Leader Was Once Recruited by CIA

In the video below, Mokhtar Belmokhtar — said to be the mastermind behind the terrorist attack by the Islamist al-Mulathameen (Masked) Brigade on the In Amenas Gas complex in Algeria — takes credit for the operation.

Belmokhtar was recruited and trained by the CIA in Afghanistan. He was an “Afghan Arab” recruit from North Africa and fought with the CIA and Pakistan ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) Mujahideen that would later splinter into al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Following the deadly Afghan civil war that claimed nearly a half million lives, Belmokhtar returned to Algeria in 1993 and joined the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Al-Qaida Flourishes in Sahara, Emerges Stronger

RABAT, Morocco — The terrorist attack on an Algerian natural gas plant that left dozens of hostages and militants dead has demonstrated how a failing Algerian insurgency transformed itself into a regional threat — bringing al-Qaida to the forefront — partly by exploiting the turmoil unleashed by the Arab Spring revolts.

Al-Qaida’s branch in Algeria retreated into a Sahara no man’s land between Mali, Algeria and Mauritania after it was largely defeated by the Algerian army in a 10-year war in the 1990s that claimed 200,000 lives.

There it grew rich on smuggling and hostage-taking, gained new recruits and re-emerged stronger than ever, armed with looted high-tech weapons from Libya’s 2011 civil war.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Deutsche Welle: The Last Jews of Tunisia

A tip of the hat to Fjordman who brought this Deutsche Welle article on thet remnant of less than 1,500 Tunisia’s Jews facing the Arab winter in North Africa. Tunisia’s Jews have lived in the country before the onset of Christianity and Islam. Last January, a Ynet.com article quoted a few Tunisian Jews putting on a brave face defying calls from Israel’s Vice Premier Silvan Shalom entreating them to make aliyah to safety in Israel: Me, I’m a Tunisian Jew,” said Atun Khalifa, a senior figure in the community. “I know my country well and I’m against the proposition to leave because no-one here is afraid. I don’t tell him (Shalom) where to go!” Now with the Islamist Ennahda party in control, we wonder if those Tunisian Jews still harbor the same defiance about making aliyah to the ‘freest country in the Middle East’, according to the annual Freedom in the World report of Freedom House. The vast bulk of Tunisian Jews who once numbered 110,000 emigrated to Europe and Israel following the June 1967 Six Days of War. The Grand synagogue in Tunis, built in 1938, now stands empty. Most of Tunisia’s remaining Jews live on the Island of Djerba, the scene of a devastating attack at the ancient El Ghriba synagogue that killed 21 tourists, among them 14 Germans and Four French, in April 2002, the first al Qaida action in North Africa after 9/11.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Writer Slams Muslim Brotherhood

Al Ghitany: “no hope for the people, no democracy”

(ANSAmed) — FLORENCE, 22 JAN — The Egyptian writer Gamal Al Ghitany has slammed the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi, and said that the future of his country looks bleak.

“My country is going through a difficult time. Seven months on since the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi took control, the situation is bleak and the future looks uncertain”.

“There’s no hope for Egyptians right now — there is economic hardship and nothing is clear”, Al-Ghitany told a conference in Florence dedicated to the Arab world. Al-Ghitany won the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2009 for his book ‘Ren’. “There are no projects on the horizon, and money in central banks has dried up. Everyday life is tough for the majority of the population, not to mention unsafe”.

“This is because there is no democracy and the Muslim Brotherhood are clinging to power and intend to stay there forever”, he said. “They are trying to destroy an Egyptian state which is more than two centuries old in order to create another.” “They are taking control of the press and justice, as shown by December’s siege at the High Court. This is madness. It has never happened before,” he said “It was done in the name of revolution, but Egyptians didn’t topple Mubarak to put another dangerous regime in his place”. “There aren’t any other politicians able to change the situation, there is no leader. Big protest rallies are a problem because of the risk of violence”, he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Terror in North Africa: Are Westerners Pulling the Strings?

Canada is investigating an allegation by the Algerian Prime Minister that one of its citizens co-ordinated the terror raid at the Saharan gas plant in which dozens of hostages were killed.

Westerners, including a man with blond hair and blue eyes, are believed to have been among the Islamist militants who launched last week’s attack on the Tigantourine complex near Algeria’s border with Libya.

A French jihadist, previously unknown to authorities, and two Canadians are suspected to have been involved in the hostage-taking, and reports also claim that a man with a Western accent was among the extremists who lured terrified gas workers from their rooms during the hostage crisis.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Last Jews in Tunisia

Jews lived in North Africa before the arrival of Christianity or Islam. On the eve of Tunisia’s independence from France, there were more than 100,000 of them in the country. Half a century later, as few as 1,500 remain.

Two years ago, Tunisians took to the streets and overthrew President Ben Ali, triggering the protests across the Arab world that became known as the Arab Spring. The revolution promised freedom and democracy. That same freedom has also brought instability however, and Tunisia’s minority Jewish population is vulnerable.

Jamel Bettaieb comes from Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Tunisian revolution. The young language teacher and activist was at the heart of the protests that led to the downfall of the Tunisian president and triggered the Arab Spring. Bettaieb is now concerned that freedom of speech is providing a platform for extremists to voice hate campaigns against Tunisia’s Jews.

“In the last few months an imam went on television and spent an hour speaking negatively about the Jews. Where was the reaction of the government? There was nothing. I criticize society. Civil society should say this is unacceptable. People should care,” said Bettaieb.

Under President Ben Ali, Islamists were arrested and political parties banned. Now, however, the country is experiencing a religious revival. Tunisians chose the moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, to lead their first democratically elected government after the revolution.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Three Killed in Cairo Suburban Clashes

(AGI) Cairo, Jan 20 — Official sources have reported that three people have died in clashes in the Shubra el-Kheima suburb in Cairo after a policeman accidentally killed a man while chasing a drug dealer. Friends and relatives of the dead man attacked police officers with weapons and Molotov cocktails. Twelve people were wounded, among them two policemen and a soldier.

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

Tunisia: New Attack of Salafites Against Sufi Mausoleum

Faithful insulted and threatened with knives

(ANSAmed) TUNIS, JANUARY 21; A group of activists with the Salafite movement crashed into the Sufi mausoleum of Sidi Abdelkader El Jilani in Menzel Bouzelfa, threatening those gathered there with knives. The episode was denounced by one of the leaders of the mausoleum according to whom the Salafites told the Sufi faithful to go away and never return, accusing them of being atheists. Salafites have been targeting Sufi mausoleums for months, attacking them and setting some of fire, opposing this mystical Islamic belief which is considered too far removed from Muslim Orthodoxy. Sufi Muslims who were inside this mausoleum dedicated to Sufi saint Abdelkader El Jilani when it was attacked were preparing for celebrations for Mouled on Thursday to commemorate the birth of Mohamed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Elections: Arab League Calls on All Arabs to Vote

Tomorrow country votes. ‘To stop nationalist right-wingers’

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV — The Arab League in Cairo called on Arabs in Israel to take part in national elections scheduled Tuesday in Israel in a statement which was welcomed by Arab parties running for a seat. According to the document drafted by the Palestinian department of the Arab League, it is necessary to oppose nationalist right-wing forces which are expected to win at the upcoming election. ‘These are extremist elements who oppose peace and see Arabs as a threat to their state’, said the document.

Last week, the Haaretz daily published an appeal of Israel’s Arab population to actively take part in the vote after surveys showed that one Israeli Arab in two intended to abstain. The outgoing Knesset (parliament) had three mainly-Arab lists (Raam-Taal, Balad and Hadash) with 11 lawmakers out of 120. The three parties are running separately in tomorrow’s vote as well and thus risk to lose votes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israeli Elections: Two New Faces Possible Keys to Future Government

Netanyahu probable winner, but will need coalition partners

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JANUARY 22 — Ultra-right-winger and high-tech magnate Naftali Bennett and centrist journalist Yair Lapid are shaping up to be the key newcomers as Israelis took to the polls on Tuesday to elect the 19th Knesset, or parliament.

With the Likud-Beitenu coalition led by incumbent Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and former foreign affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman looking set to gain a relative majority, both Bennett and Lapid, neither of whom have any experience as MPs, have a good chance of being a part of the future government.

Born in Haifa in 1972 of American immigrant parents, Bennett is a big fan of special forces commander Yoni Netanyahu (brother of the current premier), who died in a daring anti-terrorist operation in Uganda in 1976. Following in his hero’s footsteps, Bennett served in the Israeli Defense Forces’ most daredevil units, such as Sayeret Matcal and Maglan, tussling with Hezbollah in shadowy operations in Lebanon.

In 1999, with three friends and a fistful of shekels, the ex commando officer entered the world of high-tech, building up an internet banking security company that sold just a few years later for USD 145 million. Crossing paths with his hero’s brother, it was what Israeli media called “love at first sight” between the former officer and the premier, who hired Bennett to head up his office.

They parted ways a year later for reasons that remain unclear, but Bennett had gotten a taste of political power: he moved to the West Bank Jewish settlements council, then took over as chief of the right-wing nationalist religious party, which he renamed Jewish Hearth. Thanks to Bennett, Jewish Heart, whose main platform is supporting the settlements, has found a common language with the secular as well as the religious right-wing.

Born in 1963, Lapid comes from a prominent intellectual Tel Aviv family. His father, Youssef Tommy Lapid, was a star journalist at highly influential Maariv newspaper, the leader of the centrist Shinui party, and a justice minister. His mother, Shulamit Lapid, is a successful writer. Yair became a boxer, published books, recorded songs, wrote thousands of articles, then became a star anchor at Channel 2, Israel’s top-rated broadcaster. A year ago Lapid Jr. left his journalism career and entered politics to, like his father, fight for a secular, Zionist and progressive Israel, one in which rights and responsibilities are distributed more equally. The moment of truth has arrived, for both him and Bennett.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Car Bombs Kill 17: Wound 54 Around Baghdad

(AGI) — Baghdad, Jan 22 — Car bombings in and around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, have killed at least 17 people and wounded 54 more, police say. In one attack, a car packed with explosives exploded near an army checkpoint in the town of al-Mahmoudiya, south of the capital, killing two soldiers, three civilians and injuring 15 others.

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

Christianity ‘Close to Extinction’ In Middle East

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.

And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.

The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Did the Armenian Genocide Inspire Hitler? Turkey, Past and Future

by Hannibal Travis

It is well known by genocide scholars that in 1939 Adolf Hitler urged his generals to exterminate members of the Polish race. “Who speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?” Hitler asked, just a week before the September 1, 1939 invasion of Poland. However, while it is generally agreed that Hitler was well aware of the Armenian genocide, some genocide scholars and historians of the Ottoman Empire have questioned whether he actually made the above statement or even intended to exterminate portions of the “Polish race.”

Still, there is evidence that the massacre of the Ottoman Armenians helped persuade the Nazis that national minorities posed a threat to empires dominated by an ethnic group such as the Germans or the Turks. Furthermore, these minorities could be exterminated to the benefit of the perpetrator with little risk. Indeed, it was German officials who had smuggled out of the Ottoman Empire the leaders of the Young Turk regime, culpable for the deaths of over a million Armenians and a million or more other Christian minorities such as the Assyrians and Greeks. Diverse historical evidence suggests that Hitler viewed the Armenians and Poles as analogous; in several ways, his statement about the Armenians was consistent with his other beliefs and writings.

Conclusion

Numerous ideological and political influences led from the Armenian genocide to the rape of Poland and the Holocaust. Chamberlain, Hess, Rosenberg, Seeckt, Scheubner-Richter, and von Papen all likely played a role in prompting Hitler to use Turkey’s example as a model for Poland. Hitler compared the two cases in his 1939 speech, which, like most evidence that the Holocaust took place, was not relied upon in the tribunal’s judgment. Subsequent efforts to discredit the speech by defenders of the Ottoman Empire should not, however, blind us to the manifold connections between the Armenian genocide and that perpetrated by the Nazis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Erdogan to Turkish Women, Have at Least 4 or 5 Kids

Premier fears wellbeing will lead to lower birth rate

(ANSAmed) — Ankara, January 21 — Turkey’s Islamic populist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Turkish women to have ‘at least four or five children’ in the name of the country’s ‘grandeur’ and faster economic growth, the Hurriyet newspaper reports. Erdogan had so far asked Turkish women to have at least three kids. He and wife Emine have four children, Ahmety Burak, Necmettin Bilal, Summeyye and Esra. Sixty percent of Turkey’s population is under 30, something the prime minister has proudly stressed. But a higher lifestyle following the country’s decade-long economic boom could bring Turkish couples to have fewer children, a trend seen across western countries.

Speaking at a wedding ion Gaziantep, Hurriyet reports, the premier called for ‘four or five kids’ per family. ‘If we look at birth rate trends, forecasts on the years between 2037 and 2040 are alarming’, he said. Having a large family, he explained, ‘is of great importance for the future of our nation’.

Turkey currently has a population of 75 million which will grow to 100 million in 2025. The country aims to becoming one of the world’s top ten economic powers. It currently is 17th.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Erdogan Greenlights 1,300 Police Stations in ‘Ottoman Style’

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JANUARY 22 — The Turkish government is set to build 1,300 ‘Ottoman and Seljuq style’ police stations across the country, according to local press reports.

Ankara’s National Police Department has confirmed that works are already underway on the new buildings which are inspired by university studies of police stations during the Seljuq and Ottoman dynasties over 1000 years ago. Turkey’s Premier Recap Erdogan, often referred to as ‘The Sultan’, is a great admirer of the Ottoman period. He has green-lighted several revaluation and enhancement projects of Turkey’s imperial past, particularly in Istanbul.

The new police stations will be wheelchair enabled.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: Qatar Pledges 20mln Dollars to Transitional Gov’t

Next opposition meeting, Paris Jan 28

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, JANUARY 22 — Qatar has pledged $20 million dollars to the Syrian opposition for the establishment of a transitional government.

Qatari financial backing is considered essential by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) which has now postponed a decision on the establishment of a transitional government in rebel strongholds, for 10 days. SNC president Moaz Al Khatib flew to Doha to secure financial backing after a coalition meeting in Istanbul to negotiate the establishment of a government, Doha News reports. The Syrian opposition meets again in Paris on January 28.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Nine-Hour Gunfight After Taliban Suicide Bombers Attack Traffic Police Building in Kabul Leave Eight People Dead

Taliban suicide bombers have attacked a government building in Afghanistan sparking a six-hour armed battle gun fight with Kabul police, resulting in eight deaths.

Insurgents launched the attack on the police traffic headquarters before dawn in the Afghan capital, by setting off a suicide bomb in a car outside the gates, which killed two Taliban.

Three insurgents then stormed the building sparking the standoff which resulted in the deaths of three police officers and the attackers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Ghazni is a Culture Capital With No Visitors

Ghazni is the capital of Islamic culture in Asia in 2013. However, the security situation means it cannot be reached by tourists. The organizers want to bring the city to people outside instead.

It is thanks to Mahmud of Ghazni (971 -1030) that the city of Ghazni, some 140 kilometers southwest of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on the road to Kandahar, is being celebrated this year. The most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty brought together Islam, the Persian language and the Turkish art of war in an empire that once stretched from today’s Iran to India.

‘“Mahmud of Ghazni turned the city into a thriving capital by inviting artists, writers and scholars from all over Central Asia to the court,” Karsten Ley of Aachen University told DW. He is currently working on the restoration of Ghazni as part of a team of urban development experts led by Michael Jansen that has been in the city since 2010.

“This is exactly what we can see as integration of different cultures in the best European sense,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

British Grandmother, 56, Breaks Down in Tears as Indonesian Court Sentences Her to Death for Drug Trafficking

A British grandmother broke down in tears today and cried ‘no, no, no’ as she was sentenced to death for trying to smuggle almost 5kg of cocaine into Bali in her suitcase.

Lindsay Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, was arrested in May last year as she entered Indonesia on a flight from Thai capital Bangkok with £1.6million worth of the Class A drug stuffed in her luggage.

State prosecutors had called for the 56-year-old housewife to be jailed for 15 years but there was a gasp in the Bali courtroom today when she was told she would be killed for her crime.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Catholic Schools Agree to Provide Islamic Lessons

Opponents blast regulation as silly

(THE JAKARTA POST) — Six Catholic schools in Blitar municipality, East Java, have finally given in to a local ordinance and will provide Islamic lessons for their Muslim students.

The city ordinance requires all Muslim students to be able to read and write Koranic verses.

The head of the Religious Affairs Ministry’s office in Blitar, Imam Mukhlis, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that the six schools had finally agreed to provide Islamic teachers for their Muslim students.

“We met today [Tuesday] and everything is just fine and there is no problem. They are willing to carry out the city ordinance,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘This Isn’t a Game’: Taliban Labels Harry a ‘Coward’ For Comparing Afghan Conflict With Computer Games After He Reveals He Has Killed Enemy

Prince Harry has been accused of handing the Taliban a ‘propaganda victory’ after admitting he had killed insurgents on deployment in Afghanistan.

The third-in-line-to-the-throne was also accused of being ‘arrogant and insensitive’, particularly over unguarded comments that he had honed his skills as an Apache attack helicopter gunner on his gaming machines.

The prince also drew criticism for his unusual admission that he had been personally responsible for the deaths of Taliban fighters as a helicopter pilot and gunner.

The shadow defence secretary suggested that Harry had been overly ‘candid’ in discussing his role in the fighting — and experts warned he had made himself ‘a prime target’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Far East

Abe Advocates ‘Security Diamond’ Against China

Since assuming office at the end of 2012, Japan’s new prime minister has started conducting a diplomatic offensive to counteract China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is usually traditional for a new Japanese prime minister to make his first foreign trip to the US, but Shinzo Abe broke with tradition and made his first trip to Southeast Asia. After his finance minister went to Myanmar, and his foreign minister went to Singapore, Brunei, Australia and the Philippines, Japan’s new head of state set off for Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

This diplomatic offensive is an indication of the new Japanese administration’s growing economic and strategic interests in Southeast Asia. Abe wants to curb China’s growing military and commercial clout in the region. He wants to expand Japan’s maritime competence and combine it with the country’s economic strengths.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese Workers Revolt Over 2-Minute Toilet Breaks, Hold Managers Hostage

The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet and workers will be fined 50 yuan ($8) if they are late once and fired if they are late twice,” said the security guard, surnamed Feng. “The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chinese Workers Hold Managers Hostage After Toilet Break Changes

Shanghai electronics workers, angry about two-minute limit on breaks and fines for lateness, held bosses inside factory

Hundreds of Chinese factory workers angry about strictly timed bathroom breaks and fines for starting work late held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half before police broke up the strike.

About 1,000 workers at the Shanghai Shinmei Electric Company kept the 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers inside the factory in Shanghai from Friday morning until 11.50pm on Saturday, said a statement from the parent company, the Shinmei Electric Company, released on Monday.

It said the managers were released uninjured after 300 police officers were called to the factory.

A security guard at the Shanghai plant said on Tuesday workers had gone on strike to protest against the company’s issuing of new work rules, including time limits on bathroom breaks and fines for being late.

“The workers demanded the scrapping of the ridiculously strict requirements stipulating that workers only have two minutes to go to the toilet and workers will be fined 50 yuan (£5) if they are late once and fired if they are late twice,” said the security guard, whose surname is Feng. “The managers were later freed when police intervened and when they agreed to reconsider the rules.”

The plant makes electromagnetic coils and other electronic products. It was closed on Tuesday, said a man who answered at the plant but refused to give his name. He said workers were no longer on strike and staff would return to work on Wednesday.

Strikes have become commonplace in China, as factories operating in highly competitive markets try to get more productivity from their labour force and workers connected by mobile phones and the internet become more aware of their rights.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Japan: Man, 23, Bitten to Death by His Own Father Who Thought He Was Possessed by a Snake

A 53-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of biting his own son to death to get rid of ‘a snake haunting him,’ Japanese media have reported.

23-year-old Takuya Nagaya was attacked by his father, Katsumi Nagaya, on Friday in Okazaki City, Japan.

The investigation has so far revealed that the victim was repeatedly assaulted, included head-butting and biting.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Korea Facing Rebuff From US and China at UN

Diplomats at the UN say China and the United States have agreed on a compromise draft Security Council resolution that would chastise North Korea for its December rocket launch and update bans on technology transfers.

China’s support for a draft resolution would represent a blow to Pyongyang because it has typically sought shelter alongside its only major Security Council ally, said the diplomats. They spoke to news agencies on the condition of anonymity.

Under the deal, Washington would forgo the idea of immediate new sanctions, while Beijing would accept the prospect of a Security Council resolution instead of a mere council statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

French Troops ‘To Stay as Long as Needed’ In Mali

(AGI) — Paris, Jan 19 — French troops will stay in Mali “as long as necessary to defeat terrorism”, French President Francois Hollande has said.

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

Is Qatar Fuelling the Crisis in North Mali?

Oil-rich gulf state Qatar has a vested interest in the outcome of the north Mali crisis, according to various reports that have been picked up by French MPs, amid suspicion that Doha may be siding with the rebels to extend its regional influence.

Since Islamist groups exploited a military coup in the Malian capital of Bamako in early 2012 to take control of the entire north of the country, accusations of Qatari involvement in a crisis that has seen France deploy troops have been growing.

Last week two French politicians explicitly accused Qatar of giving material support to separatists and Islamists in north Mali, adding fuel to speculation that the Emirate is playing a behind-the-scenes role in spreading Islamic fundamentalism in Africa.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Communist Party Senator Michelle Demessine both said that that Qatar had questions to answer.

“If Qatar is objecting to France’s engagement in Mali it’s because intervention risks destroying Doha’s most fundamentalist allies,” Le Pen said in a statement on her party website, in response to a call by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani for dialogue with the Islamists.

The first accusations of Qatari involvement with Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups came in a June 2012 article in respected French weekly the Canard Enchainé.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Islamist Forces Kill 18 in Attack on NE Nigeria Market

(AGI) — Abudja, Jan 22 — Yet another mass killing has taken place in Nigeria. Islamist fighters thought to belong to Boko Haram have killed at least 18 people in an attack on a market in Damboa, in the northeastern part of the country. Reports were from local government sources.

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

Majority of Germans Against Military Intervention in Mali

(AGI) Berlin, Jan 19 — A poll has shown that 59 percent of Germans are against sending troops to Mali. The poll, which was carried out by EMNID for the weekly journal Focus, shows that only one third of the electorate (33 percent) favoured German military intervention, and that the far-left Linke and the liberal-conservative CDU parties were strongly opposed (83 percent and 61 percent respectively).

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

Mali’s Musicians Fight Back Against Censorship

Islamic militants in northern Mali have banned most types of music and forced local musicians to flee for their lives. In exile in Bamako, they are keeping their music alive.

A small crowd sits in awe as world famous musician Yacouba Sissoko takes to the stage of Pili Pili with his kora, a 21-stringed instrument related to a harp. The bar in the heart of Bamako, the capital, is not only known for its African food, but also for attracting some of the country’s top musicians. At the moment though, with the militants occupying the north, music is being heavily censored.

Zouzou, a singer from Gao in the north of Mali, is one of many musicians who fled south to Bamako, after al Qaeda-linked militants took control of northern Mali last spring. The Islamists banned music of any kind there — even cell phone ringtones.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Nigeria Raises Alert After Sending Troops to Bamako

(AGI) Abuja — Nigerian authorities have raised security levels after sending troops to Bamako .

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

Norway May Join the Battle in Mali

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, who’s just spent the past week dealing with a crisis involving Norwegian hostages at an Algerian gas plant, is now considering sending Norwegian troops into neighbouring Mali, where many of the hostage-takers came from. Opposition politicians in the Norwegian Parliament appear to support such a move.

Eide and Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, both from the Labour Party, are evaluating whether to team up with other countries that are trying to help Mali’s embattled government fend off radical Islamists intent on taking over the former French colony. Strøm-Erichsen told Aftenposten that Norway had been approached by Swedish officials in Brussels about cooperating in a Nordic training force that the EU was planning to send to Mali.

Norway is not a member of the EU but Strøm-Erichsen called the proposed Nordic cooperation “Interesting” and said she would discuss it with “our Nordic colleagues.”

Eide insisted that the prospect of sending Norwegian troops to Mali would not be influenced by the recent terrorist attack on the Algerian gas plant that Norwegian state oil company Statoil operated along with BP of the UK and Sonatrach of Algeria. “What happened in Algeria shouldn’t influence this discussion (over sending troops to Mali) at all,” Eide told Aftenposten on the phone from Tromsø, where he’d earlier committed to speaking at a conference on development in the Arctic. “It’s important not to let our evaluations be steered by terrorists.”

At the same time, however, Eide stressed that it also was important not to let the terrorists gain more of a foothold in northern Africa. “We must hinder extreme Islamist forces from establishing themselves in northern Mali,” Eide told newspaper Aftenposten on Tuesday. “All experience shows that areas outside national control become grounds for terrorists.”

Responding to a call

Norwegian government officials also are responding to a call from British Prime Minister David Cameron for a “global response” to the attack on the gas plant in Algeria and the subsequent hostage crisis. British citizens are among the dead and missing while five Norwegians also remained missing on Tuesday. Twelve others were rescued…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

Russia Offers French Troops in Mali Logistical Support

(AGI) Paris, Jan 20 — France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said Russia offered providing transportation and materiel for French troops in Mali, and that Canada offered to provide transport for African troops. During an interview on the Europe 1 radio station, Fabius explained that African troops will be moved “in part by Africans themselves, in part by European and in part by Canadians”, and that “Russia has offered to supply transportation for France”.

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

SAS and Spy Planes Set for Mali as Britain Offer More Support in Battle Against ‘Terrorist Scourge’ Of Al Qaeda

Britain is to send spy planes, unmanned drones and special forces to Mali to ‘find and dismantle’ the Al Qaeda network behind the slaughter in Algeria.

In an escalation of the UK’s support for French forces fighting the militants in the African country, David Cameron said he would commit ‘intelligence and counter terrorism assets’.

The Prime Minister said the UK must ‘act with an iron resolve’ to tackle what he called a ‘generational struggle’ against the ‘scourge of terrorism’ after the Algerian attack.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Top Brass Resist PM’s Mali War

DEFENCE bosses want to block David Cameron’s bid to join a war against al-Qaeda in North Africa.

Over-stretched military chiefs are refusing to back sending Special Forces units or bomber jets to Mali. The news came as the PM pledged extra resources to help France repel Islamic fanatics in its former colony. Mr Cameron told MPs he was considering sending dozens of troops, along with RAF spy jets, drones and more transport planes. The deployment, revealed by The Sun yesterday, came as he spoke in the aftermath of the gas plant hostage crisis in neighbouring Algeria. He said the West was in “a generational struggle”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Canada’s First Christian Law School Opposed Over Gay Lifestyle Ban

For more than a year, Trinity Western University (TWU) has been attempting to start Canada’s first Christian law school, a proposal that the Canadian Council of Law Deans finds “very troubling.”

The Canadian Council of Law School deans recently issued a letter stating that TWU’s “community covenant” unfairly discriminates against gay, lesbian, and bisexual students—and that discrimination is “fundamentally incompatible” with the core values of Canadian law schools and of an equal society, the National Post reports.

TWU’s covenant is a lifestyle code signed by all students, staff, and faculty. It asks that those who sign the code abstain from homosexual relationships. It also asks them to refrain from gossip, lying, smoking and consuming alcohol.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Denmark Says That Both Men and Women’s Haircuts Must Cost the Same Price

Denmark, which like its Nordic neighbours prides itself on promoting equal treatment for men and women, has taken gender equality all the way to the beauty salon.

A ruling last month by Denmark’s Board of Equal Treatment effectively stated that price differences between men’s and women’s haircuts were illegal.

It ordered a salon advertising women’s haircuts for 528 crowns — £59 — and men’s haircuts for 428 crowns — £48 — plus an extra fee for long hair, to pay 2,500 crowns — £281- to a woman who had filed a complaint.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Racist Terms in Children’s Books Divide Germans

Germans are divided over whether it is okay to use words like “negro” or “gypsy” in children’s book classics, a Bild am Sonntag survey made public on Sunday showed.

Those questioned by the Emnid Institute, which conducted the survey of 500 people who are 14 or over on behalf of the newspaper, were split 50 percent in favor of removing the controversial words to 48 percent against.

East-West differences were substantial, with 52 percent of Germans in the western part of the country calling for words like nigger out of children’s texts to 37 percent in the eastern region.

People who were more educated were more against changing the texts, the survey showed. Some 85 percent of those without formal training wanted the texts changed compared to 37 percent who had completed higher education.

The discussion as to whether the texts should be changed began after Family Minister Kristina Schröder told the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that when she reads stories like “Pippi Longstocking” to her children she substitutes words like Neger, which can mean be used to mean both negro and nigger in German.

Those reading from newer editions of the children’s classic don’t have to worry about replacing undesirable words. Since 2009 the book has been published with the work “Negro King” replaced with “South See King.”

The publisher of “The Little Witch” (Die kleine Hexe) plans to remove the word negress from the story. Otfried Preußler, the author, recently gave up his resistance to changing the word.

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

Top Neurosurgeon: “Comfort Care” Only for Victims of Strokes Who Are Over 70

If you are over 70 and need stroke care, they are not going to treat you, they are going to give you “comfort care”. You must listen to this Neurosurgeon speaking out. It is scary.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wildlife Legend Sir David Attenborough Warns That Mankind is a ‘Plague on the Earth’

Sir David Attenborough has described mankind as a ‘plague on the Earth’ and issued a stark warning that the world must limit population growth.

The 86-year-old presenter bleakly predicted that if humans do not curb burgeoning populations then nature will do it for us.

Sir David, who is a patron of the Population Matters organisation which calls for smaller family sizes, made his comments while speaking to the Radio Times about his latest series for the Eden channel.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

General

Fat Drivers Are 80% More Likely to Die in a Crash: Extra Weight Stops Seat Belts Tightening Properly

Obese drivers are more likely to die in car crashes than other motorists — with fat women most at risk, warn scientists.

Heavier people are up to 80 per cent more likely to die in an accident than drivers of a healthy weight, according to a new study. But the risk doubles for obese women, says research published in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

It found fat people are propelled further forward during a collision because their additional soft tissue prevents the seat belt tightening immediately against the bones of the pelvis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Should Drone Strikes be Considered Lawful?

The US has been using armed drones in the ‘War on Terror’ since the year 2001. Though they are used in targeted killing, civilian casualties cannot be prevented. This raises legal and ethical questions.

A conceivable scenario: a truck approaches a village near the Pakistani-Afghan border. At the village, the weekly market is being held, attracting people from the entire region. Two men are sitting in the truck. Secret service experts at the American command central affirm that the men are Taliban fighters and that they are carrying a couple hundred kilograms of explosives on their truck. Information from satellite pictures, contacts on the ground, routine movement patterns and pictures taken by the Predator drone circling overhead all conclude that the truck is a moving bomb. It is supposed to explode very soon at the market. There is only one way to stop the bloodbath: to fire the drone’s Hellfire rockets at the truck.

Between June 2004 and September 2012, employees of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US military opted for a drone attack 344 times — 52 times under President Bush and 292 times under President Barack Obama. The decision is based on a seemingly straight forward cost-benefit calculation: The death of two Taliban insurgents is weighed against the possible death of dozens of civilians in a terrorist attack.

Yet the situations are nearly as never cut and dry as the scenario described above. It is difficult to determine whether or not the drone attack will take civilian lives.

Up to September 2012, between 2,562 and 3,325 people were killed in Pakistan alone in drone attacks. The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, an NGO, estimates that there were between 474 — 881 civilian casualties in those attacks. The large variation in the estimate is due to the fact that US government does not comment on drone attacks. The NGO has to rely on media reports and eyewitness accounts for information.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/22/2013

  1. Running the press
    - European values

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2266798/Eurocrats-want-run-Press-Brussels-accused-flagrant-attack-report-proposed-giving-EU-powers-control-media-sack-journalists.html

    “Brussels was accused of a ‘flagrant attack on Press freedom’ last night after a major report proposed giving the EU draconian powers to control the media and even sack journalists.

    It said the European Union should be put in charge of a new network of national ‘media councils’ which would regulate the Press in individual countries.

    The ‘independent’ councils would be ‘monitored by the European Commission to ensure that they comply with European values’.

  2. Beware the two words “media management,” or “media regulation.”
    These are both codewords for censorship.
    At my university, there’s an entire program titled “media managment.” I cringe to think of what they’d teach there.
    There is emphasis on the management of the arts, but no art degree, one emphasizing practice in various media, showing, and promotion, offered.
    Sickening.
    We fear to teach art, but are enthusiastic to teach the censorship of it.

  3. Dear Baron: Since you are rearranging the furniture anyway, I suggest you change the name from Gates of Vienna News Feed to the “Gates of Vienna News Boy” (or Gates of Vienna Newsboy). This will increase your hits, especially over time. You have a most memorable and charming little boy, why not make him an intimate mascot by naming the column after him? Then I suggest you link little feller to the news itself. Bet your clicks will double soon. Charm is charming.

    I say this because I really like the newsfeed and I simply want more people to read it. Besides, I was in marketing and I think it’s stuck in the blood. Since everything else you do so well, this one thing sticks out every time I see it. At least think about it Baron.

    Overall the new site is looking very good, actually better than ever.

Comments are closed.