Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/23/2013

Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/23/2013Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced that the Pentagon’s ban on women serving in combat will be lifted. Supporters of the move see it as a step towards true equality for women in the military, and believe it will open up previously unavailable front-line jobs for them.

In other defense news, the Pentagon is bracing itself for a 30% budget reduction under sequestration, which some military analysts fear will “hollow out” America’s defense capability.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Lurker from Tulsa, Vlad Tepes, 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
» Green Light for 11 EU Countries’ Tobin Tax
» House Approves Three-Month Debt Limit Extension
» Italian Exports Reach Post-2002 High
» Lies, Distortions, Half-Truths, And Fraud Regarding PERS
» MPs Derivatives Scandal Ignites Political Furor in Italy
» Pentagon Bracing for 30% Reduction in Army Base Operations
USA
» 90 Percent of Whooping Cough Outbreak Victims Are Already Vaccinated Against Whooping Cough
» CIA FOIA Request Denied Before Hillary’s Benghazi Testimony
» Lawlessness or Armed Citizens
» New York’s Charlie Rangel: Constitution is Something Dems Have to “Overcome”
» Pentagon Says it is Lifting Ban on Women in Combat
» Poll: Seeds of Tyranny Present in America
» Public Schools Public Menace
» School Will Not Back Down Over Five-Year-Old Girl’s Bubble Gun “Terroristic Threat”
» The American Revolution Started Over Disarmament
» Tiger Woods Admits He Left California Because of High Tax Rates After Rival Phil Mickelson Apologizes for Saying He May Quit West Coast
» Top Psychiatrist: Meds Behind School Massacres
» Video: Prominent Gun-Control Advocate Compares Firearms Owners to Nazis
» Will America Revolt Over Gun Confiscation?
Europe and the EU
» 800 European Children Develop Narcolepsy After Receiving H1N1 Vaccine
» Belgium: Wallonia on the Way to Renaissance
» Cameron’s EU Referendum Pledge Leaves Labour in Turmoil as Miliband Refuses to Support 2017 Vote Despite Backbench Support
» Dutch Invade German Borderlands for Beer
» Eurocrats ‘Want to Run Our Press’: Brussels Accused of ‘Flagrant Attack’ After Report Proposed Giving EU Powers to Control Media and Sack Journalists
» Financial Times Columnist Says Monti Not Right for Italy
» France Warns Cameron Over EU Referendum Plan
» Italy: Camora-Linked Cosentino Won’t Stand for Election With PDL
» Italy: Genoa Prosecutors Open Embezzlement Probe Into IdV Members
» Italy: Company Linked to Communion and Liberation Implicated in Probe
» Italy: Maroni Receives Negative Reactions on Deal With PDL
» Italy: Berlusconi Criticises Monti for Saying He Was No Real PM
» Italy: LNP Party Welcomes PDL’s Side-Lining of Cosentino
» Italy: Two Women Hospitalized After Ryanair Makes Emergency Landing
» Italy: Zidane ‘Never Apologized’ For Headbutt: Materazzi
» Italy: Monti Responds After FT Piece Says Not Right Man for Premier
» Norway: ‘We Have to Prevent Islamist Extremists From Becoming Entrenched’
» Prehistoric Danes to be Genetically Mapped
» Sweden Warns UK Over Risks of EU Exit
» UK: Alcohol-Fuelled Sleep ‘Less Satisfying’
» UK: Town Hall Snoopers Have the Power to Vet Your Pot Plants and Fridge: Officials Have More Than 1,400 Powers to Enter Homes
North Africa
» Terrifying Ordeal of Female Gas Plant Hostage Who Feared She Would be Raped by Al Qaeda
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israeli Elections: Settlers ‘Betray’ Netanyahu
» Italy: Less Support for the Right, More Hope for Peace
» Obama-Netanyahu Relationship is ‘Most Dysfunctional’ Ever
» What Kind of a Coalition Will Lead the Next Israeli Government?
Middle East
» Saudis, U.S. Sign Accord Lifting Post-9/11 Travel Restrictions
» Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed
» Turkish Mob Threatens German Soldiers
Australia — Pacific
» Australian Gun-Grabbers Target Bolt-Action Firearms
Sub-Saharan Africa
» At Least 50 African Children Paralyzed After Receiving Bill Gates-Backed Meningitis Vaccine
» EU Releases Another 20 Million Euros Aid for Mali
Immigration
» Italy Summarily Returning Unaccompanied Kids
Culture Wars
» ‘Amoral’ Licensed to ‘Discriminate’ Against Christians
» Canada: ‘Not Every Opinion is Valid: ‘ Carleton University Free Speech Wall Torn Down Within Hours
» Globesity: How Globalists Are Feeding Off the Obesity Crisis
» Pope Criticises Capitalism and Inhuman Ideologies
» UK: Censorship Row as BBC Cuts the Major’s ‘Racist’ Lines From Classic Fawlty Towers Episode
» UK: RE Teacher Banned for Showing Teenage Pupils Her Tattoos and Telling Them Not to Get Married So They Can Sleep Around Instead

Financial Crisis

Green Light for 11 EU Countries’ Tobin Tax

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JANUARY 22 — European Union finance ministers on Tuesday gave 11 including Italy, Germany and France countries the green light to move ahead with a tax on financial transactions known as the Tobin Tax despite concerns from financial centres like London who say it could drive business out of Europe.

The ministers approved so-called ‘enhanced cooperation’ for the 11 countries: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The levy, floated by US economist James Tobin more than 40 years ago, has been strongly advocated by groups who say banks who caused the financial crisis have not been disciplined.

Britain abstained in Tuesday’s vote along with Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Malta.

The European Commission will now frame a proposal for the tax, which could be brought in within months.

Critics say such a Tobin Tax cannot work properly if it not implemented globally or at least across Europe.

But some countries are already counting on extra income from next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

House Approves Three-Month Debt Limit Extension

Avoiding an economic showdown with President Obama, the House on Wednesday passed legislation to suspend the nation’s statutory borrowing limit for three months, without including the dollar-for-dollar spending cuts that Republicans once insisted would have to be part of any debt limit bill.

The measure, however, did include a provision that docks the pay of lawmakers if one of the chambers of Congress fails to pass a budget blueprint by April 15. That provision provided House Republicans with a rationale for giving in on the debt ceiling, at least temporarily.

“It’s real simple: no budget, no pay,” Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said before the measure passed by 285 to 144. More than enough Democrats joined Republicans to make up for more than 30 Republican defections.

[Return to headlines]

Italian Exports Reach Post-2002 High

Trade surplus €8.86 billion. ICE plan to grow exports by up to €150 billion

ROME — Italy’s gross domestic product may be declining but exports are buoyant. And for the first time in the last decade, the 2012 aggregate balance of payments shows an €8.8 billion surplus thanks to 5% growth in the value of exports and shrinking imports.

The news comes from the restructured foreign trade institute, ICE, which points out that by the end of 2015, Italian-made goods could generate €150 billion-worth of additional exports, bringing the total to an extremely respectable €620 billion. Development minister Corrado Passera illustrated the success of Italian manufacturing at ICE headquarters, where he was presenting the institute’s three-year plan. In attendance was prime minister Mario Monti, visibly satisfied at the prospect of an “export bank that guarantees competitively priced resources and insurance for Italian companies that export or invest abroad”.

ISTAT, Italy’s national statistics institute, unveiled the final figures for the first three quarters of 2012. Exports rose by 4.3%, a sharp slowdown in comparison with 2011, when there was a 12% spike. Last year, the balance of payments was rescued by the performance of non-EU markets, with average exports up 10% against -0.1% in Europe. As ICE president Riccardo Monti laid out the 2013-2015 plan to bolster the structure, beef up promotional tools and extend concessions to encourage company growth, his namesake and prime minister Mario took the opportunity to list some of the previous government’s clumsier efforts.

He started out ironically: “Some people sought to boost exports by abolishing ICE and, with what was perhaps an innovative vision of internationalisation, by setting up ministerial offices in Monza”, a reference to the Northern League’s controversial decision. Mr Monti went on to say that on his visits abroad in recent months he had been told “it has been years since we last saw an Italian minister or prime minister”. The PM then noted that multinationals “do not offer solely low-quality jobs and I do not believe that they bring worse labour conditions or practices”. This was a veiled reference to the row between McDonald’s and the CGIL union federation. Mr Monti said: “These investments should be viewed with more open eyes. If they are based on serious industrial plans, if they create new facilities, they create new opportunities for everyone”…

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

Lies, Distortions, Half-Truths, And Fraud Regarding PERS

I have been researching PERS, or this Fraud and Swindling Scheme, as Kindleberger would say: for 12 years and in that time I have never found anyone in the State of Oregon who understands PERS including Paul Cleary.

[…]

PERS is really very simple. The key is the discount rate which calculates the capitalization for the pension. All PERS accounts in Oregon use the 8% discount rate. There are no exceptions. This is fixed and is not a variable. If you do this in the private sector you will go to prison. What states do is a lot worse than Wall Street, which is why PERS must be shut down.

What is a discount rate? It is an assumed rate, on future returns, on assumed future capital. It’s all based on assumptions. By law the private sector must use the AAA Corporate Bond Rate, which is usually between 3 — 5%. The reason is that, it is supposed to be a riskless rate of return to insure it will be paid and the company will not go bankrupt.

State Pensions use a risky rate of return because the taxpayer and his property becomes de facto the corporation or the insurance company for the pensions. In other words market risk is shifted to the private individual from the government employee regardless of the risky discount rate. Naturally when the private sector finds out these facts, he becomes outraged and the PERS sector goes into hiding & spews propaganda.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

MPs Derivatives Scandal Ignites Political Furor in Italy

Tuscan bank stock plunges 7.3%

(ANSA) — Milan, January 23 — In the wake of a derivatives scandal, Italy’s third-largest lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) saw its stock to plunge 7.3% on Wednesday and sparked a political furor over its request for 3.9 billion euros in State aid to cover its capital needs.

Controversy exploded over the government’s choice to bailout the bank, which is suffering deep losses stemming from a soured government-bond portfolio and investment hedging gone wrong. Politicians in rival camps criticized caretaker Premier Mario Monti, who had a role in the MPS bailout and spearheaded passage of recessionary austerity measures to tackle Italy’s sovereign-debt crisis last year.

Leader of the law-and-order party Italy of Values (IdV), Antonio Di Pietro, called the bailout “grievous”, and said it was roughly the size of a new, unpopular property tax passed by Monti’s technical government. “Monti should return the 4 billion euros he gave to Mr.

Mussari,” wrote Massimo Bitonci, who is running in Veneto for a post in the Senate on the populist Northern League party ticket.

Bitonci cited what the bailout could provide in terms of groceries for two million poor families, people excluded from pension benefits by reforms, and 1.2 million pensioners who live on less than 500 euros a month. Ex-economy minister Giulio Tremonti, who served under ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and is also running in the upcoming State elections, chastised European Central Bank president Mario Draghi on the social network Twitter for not sending a “vigilance letter” to MPS. Heavyweight leader of CGIL union Susanna Camusso fired at Tremonti and the ex-Berlusconi government for feigning the health of Italian banks under their watch.

On Tuesday, news broke that a three-year-old derivative deal with Japanese bank Nomura means MPS will book an additional loss of at least 220 million euros for 2012.

The news led to the resignation of MPS ex-chairman Giuseppe Mussari from his post as chairman of the Italian banking association ABI the same day.

Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano reported that MPS managers became aware of the three-year-old derivative trade, named “Alexandria”, just last October.

The derivatives losses were revealed during an accounting overhaul launched by a new management team, reported the Financial Times.

MPS Chairman Alessandro Profumo and CEO Fabrizio Viola were brought in last year after the bank failed to meet European capital requirements. Mussari resigned from his ABI post on Tuesday after Nomura said he had personally approved the derivative trade during his tenure as MPS chairman.

Mussari firmly denies any wrongdoing.

MPS issued a statement saying the Nomura derivative deal was one of several structured transactions it was reviewing.

MPS is also examining a separate contract structured by Deutsche Bank, according to the Financial Times.

In November, MPS asked to increase state aid by 500 million euros to 3.9 billion euros, due to possible losses from past transactions related to its exposure to Italian State debt.

MPS stated that a review of those deals will be submitted to the MPS board in February, and that the bank would report in a timely way any impact on its accounts. Press reports say the 2009 Nomura deal was made to reduce risk exposure by swapping troubled assets for investment-grade Treasury bonds.

MPS has suffered heavy losses on its 24-billion-euro portfolio of Italian bonds. The Nomura derivatives deal is the latest in a series of setbacks for the 540-year-old Tuscan lender, which already reported a 1.66-billion-euro loss in the first nine months of 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pentagon Bracing for 30% Reduction in Army Base Operations

by Ed Morrissey

How bad will the cuts to defense spending affect the military readiness of the US? The Pentagon has begun to game out the impact of another round of steep cuts, and even fly-overs at public events will feel the slice of the axe. More importantly, Army base operations will get reduced by 30%, and military leaders are warning of a “hollow force” with a mandate that cannot possibly be met:

[…]

According to the Post, the Air Force has already begun implementing cuts but still faces a nearly $2 billion deficit for the rest of this fiscal year. That’s one reason why we won’t be seeing fly-overs at sporting events, and the Air Force’s participation in air shows — a big recruiting environment — will stop as well. The Navy and the Air Force have both imposed a hiring freeze, and the Pentagon says that the pending sequestration could mean furloughs for its entire 800,000 civilian employees…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

USA

90 Percent of Whooping Cough Outbreak Victims Are Already Vaccinated Against Whooping Cough

(NaturalNews) The utter failure of the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine to provide any real protection against disease is once again on display for the world to see, as yet another major outbreak of the condition has spread primarily throughout the vaccinated community. As it turns out, 90 percent of those affected by an ongoing whooping cough epidemic that was officially declared in the state of Vermont on December 13, 2012, were vaccinated against the condition — and some of these were vaccinated two or more times in accordance with official government recommendations.

As reported by the Burlington Free Press, at least 522 cases of whooping cough were confirmed by Vermont authorities last month, which was about 10 times the normal amount from previous years. Since that time, nearly 100 more cases have been confirmed, bringing the official total as of January 15, 2013, to 612 cases. The majority of those affected, according to Vermont state epidemiologist Patsy Kelso, are in the 10-14-year-old age group, and 90 percent of those confirmed have already been vaccinated one or more times for pertussis.

Even so, Kelso and others are still urging both adults and children to get a free pertussis shot at one of the free clinics set up throughout the state, insisting that both the vaccine and the Tdap booster for adults “are 80 to 90 percent effective.” Clearly this is not the case, as evidenced by the fact that those most affected in the outbreak have already been vaccinated, but officials are apparently hoping that the public is too naive or disengaged to notice this glaring disparity between what is being said and what is actually occurring.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

CIA FOIA Request Denied Before Hillary’s Benghazi Testimony

What you will witness when Hillary testifies will be a whitewash with Hillary, thanks to Senator John Kerry.

With all eyes on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s long awaited and highly anticipated testimony today on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi where Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were murdered, the stonewall continues, and more chilling signs of a cover-up emerge—this time from Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) to the CIA.

As the New York Times reported, Woods and Doherty worked under contract with the CIA.

Recall how officials briefed on intelligence told the Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation,” and the State Department presence in Benghazi “provided diplomatic cover” to conceal weapon transfers from Libya to Syria.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lawlessness or Armed Citizens

“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” ~ Sigmund Freud

Danny Glover’s recent statement to a Texas A&M audiences that: “The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect themselves (meaning the founding fathers) from slave revolts, and from uprisings by Native Americans…” is nothing short of liberal tripe. Of all people Glover should know better because the historical facts say just the opposite.

Don Kates a leading authority on the 2nd Amendment counters Glover with the well established foundation for the people’s right to keep and bear arms. “The Founders views,” Kates reminds us, “on the value of the right to arms began with Aristotle whom they revered as the font of liberal political thought. [For instance, Aristotle, POLITICS 218 (J. Sinclair trans., 1962)]: free government exalts an armed people, but oligarchies and tyrants ‘mistrust the people and therefore deprive them of their arms.’“ (Emphasis mine)

We would do well to remember the statement in italics above because the history of firearm laws in U.S. history is less than laudable. In many ways the misuse of firearm laws to deny American citizens, of all races, the ownership of arms is uncomfortably sad and vehemently repugnant.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New York’s Charlie Rangel: Constitution is Something Dems Have to “Overcome”

Rep. Charlie Rangel, the congressional fixture featuring a charming potpourri of ethics issues, has told MSNBC that Southern culture is something that Democrats must work to overcome.

Rangel was talking about the South’s “gun culture,” that is to say its widely held belief in the Second Amendment.

“New York is a little different and more progressive in a lot of areas than some other states and some of the southern areas have cultures that we have to overcome,” Rangel told anchor Thomas Roberts, who asked if New York’s model of banning firearms should be used in other states.

New York now has the most extreme anti-gun laws in the country. New York Democrats, however, want even more radical efforts imposed on citizen-subjects.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pentagon Says it is Lifting Ban on Women in Combat

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is lifting the military’s ban on women in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to them, senior defense officials said on Wednesday.

[Return to headlines]

Poll: Seeds of Tyranny Present in America

Citizenry unwilling to revolt offers temptation to ‘government leaders’

“That is largely because 51 percent said they cannot conceive of any circumstances or actions by government that would so cause them to agree it is time for a citizen revolution against the government. Just 18 percent said they could conceive of something the government could do to cause them to want to revolt.

“This is a testament to the longstanding stability that the country has known, but also spells a risk of tyranny. If government leaders know the citizenry is unwilling to revolt and they know their law enforcement agencies are well-equipped to put down any uprising with military-style weaponry, one could argue that those leaders might be tempted to impose tyranny on the country in some form or another,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Public Schools Public Menace

Adam Lanza’s murder of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a horror. Yet, since 1996, there have been at least fifty similar public-school massacres, including Columbine High School. These massacres had two common threads — — they took place in public schools, and many of the public schools had been declared “gun-free” zones.

It is sheer lunacy to make public schools gun-free zones. A gun-free zone literally invites monsters like Adam Lanza to attack unarmed and defenseless children and school staff. Those who argue for gun-free zones in public schools are utterly naive to think gun-control laws can stop bad guys from getting guns. Gun-free zones are also inhuman because they forbid school staff from carrying concealed weapons that could stop or cut short a massacre that kills innocent children.

As important, why did most of these massacres occur in public schools, and not private schools? Is there something about public schools that makes them magnets for these killers? The answer is yes.

Because compulsory-attendance laws force parents to give their children to these schools, the schools do not have to care about parents’ fears. The schools (education prisons) literally have a captive audience and can therefore thumb their noses at parents and their safety concerns.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

School Will Not Back Down Over Five-Year-Old Girl’s Bubble Gun “Terroristic Threat”

A school that suspended a five-year-old girl for “threatening” class mates with a Hello Kitty bubble gun will not back down on the issue, refusing to retract a statement describing the girl’s actions as “terroristic”.

As we reported last week, the incident occurred on January 10th, when the girl, whose identity is being protected, declared she was going to shoot other children, and then herself with a pink toy gun that fires bubbles composed of a harmless soap solution.

School officials reportedly categorized the incident as a “terroristic threat,” and labeled the girl’s actions a “threat to harm others.”

Superintendent Bernard Stellar of Mount Carmel school at first suspended the girl for ten days, before reducing the punishment to two days. All this came after an interrogation that lasted several hours, at which the girl’s parents were not present, according to their lawyer, Robin Ficker.

This week, Ficker has told local reporters that the school has refused to budge on the issue.

[Comment: “This is not just a “zero tolerance policy” on the part of school officials. This is a concerted and directed effort to frighten children away from the whole of American gun culture using negative reinforcement. Like Pavlov’s Dog, which was taught to salivate at the sound of a bell, America’s youngest generation is being taught to cringe at the mention of a firearms.” . (www.infowars.com/kindergartner-suspended-for-bubble-gun-terrorism/)]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The American Revolution Started Over Disarmament

The American revolution started on April 19, 1775 in response to an attempt by the British regulars to disarm the militia of their stockpiles near Lexington. It became the shot heard ‘round the world. The subsequent Constitution and Bill of Rights set up checks and balances, in part as a response to various types of British abuse and interference.

Today, the establishment has openly violated much the Constitution and Bill of Rights, wantonly spied on communications without warrant and staked TSA agents at airports to abuse the traveling public despite the 4th Amendment, and has conducted a long train of abuses. Now it seeks to dismantle the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, removing yet another important check on government power.

Watch this redux report on the Oath Keepers from 2009:

As the following special report makes clear, the Founding Fathers all intended for individual Americans to have firearms, to discourage and make impractical the worst forms of government abuse and usurpation:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tiger Woods Admits He Left California Because of High Tax Rates After Rival Phil Mickelson Apologizes for Saying He May Quit West Coast

Tiger Woods said today that the reason he left California in the mid-Nineties was because the state’s taxes were too high.

The golfer spoke at a press conference on Tuesday about his decision to move to Florida in 1996.

Speaking at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California, Woods said: ‘I moved out of here back in ‘96 for that reason.’

Woods, who is worth an estimated $600million, was referring to comments made by fellow golfer Phil Mickelson on Sunday that he will make ‘drastic changes’ because of federal and California state tax increases.

Referring to his rival, 37-year-old Woods added: ‘I enjoy Florida, but also I understand what he was, I think, trying to say.’…

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa [Return to headlines]

Top Psychiatrist: Meds Behind School Massacres

Society conducting ‘vast social experiment’ without knowing its end

NEW YORK — If lawmakers and authorities are truly concerned about stopping gun violence in schools, they need to take a close look at the prescription of psychotropic drugs for children and young people, says a leading psychiatrist.

In an exclusive in-person interview in New York City with WND, London-based Dr. David Healy criticized pharmaceutical companies that have made billions of dollars marketing Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, known as SSRIs.

Psychotropic drugs “prescribed for school children cause violent behavior,” Healy stated.

The drugs are widely used in the U.S. as antidepressants by doctors working in the mental health field and increasingly by primary care doctors, he noted.

Healey insisted the problem today is that doctors working with schools to control the behavior of children are inclined to prescribe SSRI drugs without serious consideration of adverse consequences.

“The pharmaceutical companies made these drugs with the idea of making money,” he said. “There’s a wide range of problems when it comes to looking at these drugs for children. Very few children have serious problems that warrant treatment with pills that have the risks SSRI drugs have.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Video: Prominent Gun-Control Advocate Compares Firearms Owners to Nazis

Veteran passionately defends Second Amendment at Chicago anti-gun forum

A pro-gun control meeting held by New Trier Democrats in Glenview, Chicago, turned into a raucous exchange Sunday when most of the audience members took offense to comparisons of gun enthusiasts to Nazis.

The event was labeled as a forum on “Guns and Public Safety” and a “space for real conversation,” however, it quickly became clear that the organisers were vehemently in favour of strict gun control measures, and very much against the protection of Second Amendment rights.

Audience members felt they were being subjected to one sided presentations and slideshows, and attempted to question the speakers at the event, only to be repeatedly told they could not speak and should reserve their questions and comments for the Q&A at the end.

Speakers included Mark Walsh, campaign director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence; Lee Goodman, of the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition; and Northfield residents Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins of the Million Moms March and her husband, author and gun control advocate Bill Jenkins.

It was emphatically obvious that the event represented an all out assault on Second Amendment advocates, and over two thirds of the 160 strong crowd began to shout down the speakers in protest.

[…]

That comment was enough for one member of the audience, also a combat veteran, who stood up and passionately defended the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment:

[Comment: See article for the video of the combat veteran’s response.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Will America Revolt Over Gun Confiscation?

Exclusive: Joseph Farah is shocked over recent poll results

Indeed, it did once seem far-fetched that the kind of gun restrictions we saw in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Red China could ever come to the United States — with its constitutional protections, its broad private ownership of hundreds of millions of firearms and its unique 230-plus years of history of liberty.

But then they came for the guns in the United Kingdom. And Brits gave them up. Then they came for the guns in Australia. And the Aussies gave them up.

The excuses were always the same. Gun confiscation always comes in the name of safety and security. But it brings only death and tyranny.

I always thought America would forcefully resist the constant cries from those who want to see government maintain a monopoly on force.

I am beginning to have my doubts.

WND published a disturbing poll last week on this subject. The results surprised me, shocked me, disappointed me.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

800 European Children Develop Narcolepsy After Receiving H1N1 Vaccine

On January 22, 2013, Reuters reported that nearly 800 children in Europe have developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine produced by the British drugmaker, GlaxoSmithKline in 2009. Reports of spikes in narcolepsy cases are also surfacing in Finland, Norway, Ireland, France and Sweden.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Wallonia on the Way to Renaissance

De Volkskrant Amsterdam

For a long time, Wallonia was considered the poor half of Belgium, reliant on aid from rich Flanders. Today, the Walloon economy is back on its feet and the Walloons want to seize their destiny and address the pressure from Flemish separatists. Excerpts.

Leen Vervaeke

Visitors to Château Mélot, on the crest of a hill above the Walloon capital, Namur, are pampered like royalty. Their cars are cleaned free of charge, they receive complimentary champagne on their birthday, and their children are treated to an annual visit by Sinterklaas, who is flown in by helicopter.

Money flows easily, as the castle of Mélot is home to the Cercle de Wallonie, a business club for Walloon entrepreneurs. The castle exudes the ambience of a traditional gentlemen’s club, with crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. And not to forget an impressive box of cigars alongside the bar.

“This shows that Wallonia is not just an industrial apocalypse, where the entire population is unemployed,” says André Van Hecke, director of the Cercle de Wallonie. “That’s the view held in Flanders, but it no longer reflects reality. It might have been true in the past, but things are really starting to change in Wallonia.”

The portly Van Hecke, who earned his fortune in the communications industry, started the Cercle de Wallonie in 2006. Initially he had difficulty gaining ground among down-to-earth Walloon entrepreneurs, largely running small to medium-size companies. But with workshops, lectures by successful bankers and entrepreneurs, and ultimately aided by some wine and cigars, Van Hecke won them over. Now Cercle de Wallonie has almost 1,500 members.

Wind of change

“Something is changing in Wallonia,” Van Hecke says. “We are starting to believe in ourselves. But the new socialists too are aware that a different outlook is necessary, that the future does not lie in a state dependent on handouts, but rather in work and enterprise.”…

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

Cameron’s EU Referendum Pledge Leaves Labour in Turmoil as Miliband Refuses to Support 2017 Vote Despite Backbench Support

Labour leader Ed Miliband today risked a party split after refusing to promise an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

Senior Labour figures have defied their leader and backed David Cameron’s announcement today that the Conservatives would offer an in-out vote by 2015 after renegotiating a new deal with Brussels.

With MPs from all wings of the Tory party swinging in behind the Prime Minister, it is Labour which risks a major split over Europe.

During furious clashes in the Commons, Mr Miliband was repeatedly challenged over whether he would offer a straight in-out referendum on Europe.

Mr Cameron told MPs that Mr Miliband had failed to produce a clear policy on Europe: ‘We want a renegotiation and then a referendum. What does he want? Or doesn’t he know?’

[…]

Mr Cameron issued an historic ultimatum to Brussels — warning other EU countries we are heading for the exit door unless they hand back key powers.

Crucially, he set a deadline for a renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU, saying it must take place and be put to the people by the end of 2017 — the first vote on our place in Europe since 1975.

Former Belgian prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt accused Mr Cameron of ‘playing with fire’ and warned against trying ‘hold the EU to ransom’.

‘He can control neither the timing nor the outcome of the negotiations and in so doing is raising false expectations that can never be met,’ he added.

[…]

DAVID CAMERON’S FULL SPEECH: ‘No illusions about the scale of the task but I will not rest until the debate is won’

[Comment: see article for full speech.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dutch Invade German Borderlands for Beer

The flood of Germans coming back from Holland with secret stashes of cannabis has been replaced by Dutch people going in the other direction, their cars loaded with beer, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

The alcohol tax in Holland was raised to 14 percent at the start of the year. This came hot on the heels of a two-percent increase last year in general value added tax rates to 21 percent. German beer is thus now significantly cheaper than in Holland, where taxes account for €5 per case, the paper said on Thursday.

“This huge difference has enormous consequences,” said Cees Jan Adema of the Dutch Beer Association. “It is causing a lot of headaches. We estimate that every 10th beer consumed in Holland comes from Germany.”

The commerce is particularly prominent in the border regions between Germany and Holland, where entrepreneurial Dutch tourism operators have organised special bus tours to Germany for Dutch beer drinkers.

Discos catering to young people in German border regions are also profiting, the paper said, as the Dutch taxes have made the price of not only beer, but other alcoholic drinks sometimes double what they are in Germany.

There are even disco shuttle buses taking Dutch youth to German clubs on the weekends, the paper said.

The bus companies have two requirements though. There is a no vandalism rule. Those who do not abide can count on paying at least €100. Also anyone who has had too much to drink and vomits has to pay a €50 cleaning fee.

German border towns are very grateful for the business. The head of an Aldi discount supermarket near the Dutch border said; “Basically without the Dutch the whole town could close up.”

He said Dutch tourists were mainly interested in buying hard liquor, which is not available in Dutch supermarkets. The price difference for spirits was even greater than for beer, he said, adding that bus-loads of people had shown up from Amsterdam on shopping trips.

There is, however, hope for the Netherlands. The paper reported on Friday that German tourism to Holland boomed last year, posting a three percent increase. For the first time more than three million Germans took their holidays in the Netherlands, drawn mainly to the beach, but also to city tourism.

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

Eurocrats ‘Want to Run Our Press’: Brussels Accused of ‘Flagrant Attack’ After Report Proposed Giving EU Powers to Control Media and Sack Journalists

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’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Financial Times Columnist Says Monti Not Right for Italy

Premier denounced as ineffective

(ANSA) — Rome, January 21 — His critics and political opponents seized Monday on an editorial in Britain’s respected Financial Times newspaper that said outgoing Premier Mario Monti should not return to the post.

The editorial published Monday said that Monti, who was appointed 14 months ago to head a technocratic government, failed to make the promised reforms and instead only raised taxes.

“His narrative has been that he saved Italy from the brink, or rather from Silvio Berlusconi, his predecessor,” wrote columnist Wolfgang Munchau.

“A fall in bond yields has played into this narrative, but most Italians know they owe this to another Mario — Draghi, president of the European Central Bank”.

Such criticisms were music to the ears of Monti’s many opponents in the general elections slated for February 24 and February 25.

“What the Italians are understanding is that the right man to guide the country is Pier Luigi Bersani,” leader of the center-left Democratic Party, said the party’s House vice-president Marina Sereni.

The column makes clear that although Italians have suffered “a series of measures (requiring) blood, sweat and tears,” under Monti with Germany’s encouragement, the country is not better off, added Renato Brunetta, of the People of Freedom (PdL) party established by ex-premier Berlusconi. Responding to the article, Monti said he expected the criticism from Munchau, “a columnist who has had a long-running feud with (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel” and the eurozone.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France Warns Cameron Over EU Referendum Plan

France on Wednesday branded British government plans to hold an in-out referendum on European Union membership as “dangerous”.

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised in a speech on Wednesday to hold a referendum on Britain’s place in the EU if his Conservative party are re-elected to power in 2015.

But in an interview with France Info radio French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said a referendum would place Britain in peril.

“It risks being dangerous for Britain itself because Britain outside of Europe, that will be difficult,” Fabus said, adding that Britain could not treat Europe as an “a la carte menu”.

“We hope Britain can make a positive contribution to Europe. Imagine the EU as a football club. When you join it, you are in. You cannot just decide to go and play rugby,” Fabius added.

Cameron said in a long-awaited speech that he wants to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership before putting the new deal to a vote

In extracts from his speech, which were released in advance, the prime minister said Britain as a nation should decide on its future place in Europe.

“It is time for the British people to have their say,” he said. “It is time to settle this European question in British politics. I say to the British people: this will be your decision.”

As well as signalling that France would oppose Cameron’s plans to build a new, exclusively trade-based relationship with the EU, Fabius said withdrawal from the bloc would hit investment in Britain.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Camora-Linked Cosentino Won’t Stand for Election With PDL

Berlusconi man ‘won’t fight exclusion’

(ANSA) — Naples, January 21 — Camorra-linked former industry undersecretary Nicola Cosentino will not be a candidate in the upcoming elections for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL), Luigi Cesaro, president of the province of Naples, confirmed Monday. “Cosentino gave up,” Cesaro said late Monday afternoon. “It was a painful exclusion,” from the PdL electoral lists.

Cosentino, a PdL heavyweight in the Campania region around Naples and former party leader there, had reportedly been resisting pressure not to run as part of Berlusconi’s efforts to present clean tickets.

Cosentino has been indicted for allegedly helping the Casalesi clan of the Camorra invest in a shopping mall near Caserta. Prosecutors allege he was the “national reference point” of the Casalesis, who come from the Campania town he was born in, Casal di Principe.

Cosentino denies wrongdoing and Berlusconi has described the case against him as an example of alleged judicial persecution.

The Casalesis are the Camorra clan whose death threats have forced anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano into round-the-clock police protection.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Genoa Prosecutors Open Embezzlement Probe Into IdV Members

Local councillors, regional caucus head, treasurer investigated

(ANSA) — Genoa, January 22 — Three regional councillors in Liguria of the Italy of Values (IdV) party founded by one-time anti-corruption prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro are being probed for embezzlement as part of an investigation by Genoa prosecutors into the expenses of local politicians and the regional council.

Also being probed by the authorities are Maruska Piredda, IdV’s current party caucus head in Liguria, along with the party’s regional treasurer, Giorgio De Lucchi, and his girlfriend.

IdV, an anti-graft party, has suffered several defections in the national parliament since one of its leading members was arrested on embezzlement charges late last year and Italy’s top investigative TV show reported on Di Pietro’s extensive property portfolio.

Funding scandals have hit across the political spectrum around Italy in the last two years and have led to the resignations of the governors of Lombardy and Lazio, members of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Company Linked to Communion and Liberation Implicated in Probe

(ANSA) — Milan, January 22 — Sixteen people were arrested on Tuesday following investigations into the presumed rigging of tender bids for company car-hire contracts in the Milan area to a value of 10 million euros.

The suspects now face charges of corruption and bid tampering.

The probe centres on the activities of Saronno-based company Kaleidos Srl, which has links with the Company of Works, a business organisation established by the founder of the Catholic organisation Communion and Liberation don Luigi Giussani in 1986.

Investigators have brought to light “a network of contacts belonging to the Company of Works and therefore to Comunion and Liberation,” preliminary hearings judge Giuseppe Gennari said.

The magistrate added that “for Kaleidos belonging to this network represented an efficient means of identifying new business opportunities”. Gennari alleged that the company had been manipulating and rigging tenders in the northern Lombardy region for at least five years.

The most recent suspected offence dated to late 2012 and conversations recorded in the previous months showed a situation that was unchanged with respect to the past, he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Maroni Receives Negative Reactions on Deal With PDL

(AGI) — Lodi, Jan 19 — The leader of the regionalist Northern League party, Roberto Maroni, has received negative reactions to the deal he closed with the centre right People of Freedom (PDL) party. “People have called me names, but I have to look at the results as party leader,” Maroni said in a public meeting in Lodi. “I have given it much thought. Not closing this deal would mean losing Lombardy and handing it over to the left, ending our project for northern Italy. An agreement, on the other hand, means winning.” ..

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

Italy: Berlusconi Criticises Monti for Saying He Was No Real PM

(AGI) Rome, Jan 20 — Silvio Berlusconi has hit back at Prime Minister Mario Monti for saying that foreigners have told him that under Berlusconi they hardly saw representatives of the Italian government abroad. “I not only went to Qatar, but I am a friend of the leaders of Qatar. We have dealings every week, I have sold two players to the owner of Paris Saint Germain,” he told Sky TG24. “What Monti says is very unseemly and absolutely far from the truth,” he assured.

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

Italy: LNP Party Welcomes PDL’s Side-Lining of Cosentino

(AGI) — Milan, Jan 21 — Commenting on the PDL’s decision to bar Nicola Cosentino from running in the next round of elections, LNP Secretary Roberto Maroni said on Monday “the PDL party did well to rule out a Cosentino’s candidacy,” adding, “the Left should learn a lesson by it.” Cosentino is a former high-ranking PDL party official in Campania, involved in several judicial affairs.

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

Italy: Two Women Hospitalized After Ryanair Makes Emergency Landing

Passengers say flight lost cabin pressure

(updates previous) (ANSA) — Genoa, January 23 — Two women were hospitalized after a Ryanair flight from Valencia, Spain to Bergamo, Italy made an emergency landing on Wednesday at Genoa’s international airport with 93 passengers aboard.

Passengers said that air masks dropped when the flight began to lose cabin pressure.

Two women suffering from stomach and chest pains were taken to two local hospitals by ambulance.

Airport authorities stopped all air traffic and cleared landing strips where emergency and fire department crews were waiting.

No other injuries were reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Zidane ‘Never Apologized’ For Headbutt: Materazzi

The former Italian footballer Marco Materazzi revealed on Tuesday that despite being prepared to bury the hatchet with his old foe the legendary French player Zinédine Zidane, their long-standing grudge is unlikely to come to an end.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Responds After FT Piece Says Not Right Man for Premier

Raising taxes was necessary, argues outgoing head of govt

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti has written to the Financial Times to respond after an opinion piece in the London paper argued he was not the right man to lead Italy for the next five years.

The article by columnist Wolfgang Munchau said that Monti, who was appointed 14 months ago to head an unelected technocrat government when the financial crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to resign as premier, had failed to make the promised reforms and instead only raised taxes.

The former European commissioner, who is standing for office at next month’s elections on a reform platform backed by several centrist parties, said that the piece overlooked what his government had achieved in an emergency situation.

“In November 2011 Italy was close to being shut out from the financial markets,” he wrote. “Reducing the financing needs in this case was an imperative, and could be done only by raising taxes, which to a large extent had been decided but not implemented by the previous government”. Monti said that the reforms his government had introduced to bring down prices and create more jobs in the service sector were “without precedent for such a short period of time and given the lack of a genuine majority in parliament”.

“Italy’s markets are now as open as the EU average, in some cases more, according to the OECD,” he added. “It estimates the reforms will have lifted Italy’s economic growth potential by at least 4% of gross domestic product by 2020. But the job is not over and could easily be undone. This is why I have entered the political arena”.

Monti also hit back at Munchau’s claim that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi deserved more credit for the easing of pressure on Italy’s borrowing costs after Draghi committing the central bank to buying the bonds of countries caught up in the eurozone crisis if necessary.

The premier said this would not have been possible if Italy had not first put its economic house in order and also pushed for political backing for the ECB’s bond-buying policy at a crunch European summit on the debt crisis last June.

“Without fiscal consolidation and reforms in a crucial country such as Italy, and without our leadership and determination leading to the June summit, it is doubtful the European Central Bank would have felt comfortable in saying and doing what it did afterwards, which was indeed crucial,” Monti wrote.

The FT seemed to highlight that Munchau’s piece featured his own personal opinions by subsequently printing an editorial on Italy’s election.

In it the FT said both Monti and centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, a former minister, had the “personal credibility” to govern Italy but said they had to give a clearer outline of the direction they wanted to take the country.

“During his time in government, Mr Bersani passed many reforms, including liberalising the legal professions and pharmacy shops,” read the editorial “Mr Monti, meanwhile, is trusted both by investors and Italy’s eurozone allies.

“However, neither leader has yet to set out a convincing economic vision for the country. “The Democrat leader has to prove he will not be taken hostage by the left wing of his party, which opposes reforms to an inefficient labour market. Mr Monti is right to argue for tax cuts but must spell out where he will find the savings needed to deliver them”.

The paper was scornful of three-time premier Berlusconi, who is leading the centre right’s campaigning but has said he will be economy minister if his coalition wins, not the head of government. It said the 76-year-old media magnate was not a “trustworthy leader” and lacked a “credible economic programme”, describing him as a “plutocrat-cum-politician who is planning a comeback after taking his country to the edge of the fiscal precipice”.

“Some elements of his election manifesto, such as steep cuts to government spending that would finance a reduction in business taxes, are sensible in principle,” the editorial said.

“But we have heard it all before. In his nine years in power, Mr Berlusconi, the laughing cavalier, promised much but delivered nothing. Italians should not be beguiled again”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Norway: ‘We Have to Prevent Islamist Extremists From Becoming Entrenched’

Aftenposten, 22 January 2013

In the wake of the attack by an Islamist group on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, in which several Norwegians were among the hostages, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide has told the newspaper that his country “could make a military contribution [to the intervention] in Mali”.

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

Prehistoric Danes to be Genetically Mapped

The project, expected to take at least five years and cost 80 million kroner, would be the first of its kind anywhere

The history of prehistoric residents of Denmark will soon be genetically mapped using the skeletons of people who lived as far back as 7,000 years ago.

Genetic researchers from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum say the project, named ‘The Genomic History of Denmark’, will make Denmark the first country to catalogue genetic profiles of its residents from its earliest inhabitants up to today.

The scientists hope the study will help identify early Danes’ genetic profile, where they came from and which diseases they suffered from.

The team of geneticists who will take part in the five-year project specialises in extracting and analysing DNA from ancient material, and some of the materials they are looking at in this project stem from the bones of hunter-gatherers who lived in present-day Denmark over 7,000 years ago.

“When we have analysed all the material, new and old, we will, among other things, be able to pinpoint when various diseases arrived in Denmark,” Eske Willerslev, of the Centre for GeoGenetics, told Politiken newspaper. “And we can see if large epidemics, like the plague, helped catalyse a unique and genetically orientated ‘extra resistance’ against, for example, the HIV virus, that we see today in many northern Europeans.”

The researchers are negotiating with the National Museum to be able to use the remains. The project has received a 36 million kroner grant from the University of Copenhagen, but Willerslev expected the total cost of the project to exceed 80 million kroner.

When completed, the project will have mapped the genomes of 100 Danes, from the hunter-gatherer period, through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, the Viking Era and the early Industrial Age.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden Warns UK Over Risks of EU Exit

Sweden on Wednesday warned Britain it would hold less sway in the world if it quits the EU, after Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to hold an in-or-out referendum if his party wins the next election.

In a series of tweets, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stressed the importance of European Union integration and said Europe needed to stick together and speak with one voice.

“Soon we Europeans will be only seven percent of global population. We can only promote our values and protect our interests if we work together,” Bildt wrote on Twitter.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Alcohol-Fuelled Sleep ‘Less Satisfying’

A tipple before bedtime may get you off to sleep faster but it can disrupt your night’s slumber, say researchers who have reviewed the evidence. The London Sleep Centre team says studies show alcohol upsets our normal sleep cycles.

While it cuts the time it takes to first nod off and sends us into a deep sleep, it also robs us of one of our most satisfying types of sleep, where dreams occur. Used too often, it can cause insomnia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Town Hall Snoopers Have the Power to Vet Your Pot Plants and Fridge: Officials Have More Than 1,400 Powers to Enter Homes

Public officials have around 1,400 separate powers to enter homes — including the right to inspect fridges and even pot plants.

The number of ‘snooping’ powers available to town halls and public bodies has risen despite Coalition pledges to rein them in.

Among those which remain are powers to enter a home ‘to see if pot plants have plant pests or do not have a plant passport’ under the Plant Health Order 2005.

Another power allows officials to check the energy ratings on refrigerators under the Energy Information Household Refrigerators and Freezers Regulations 2004.

Officials can also use the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to see if a garden hedge is too high.

Government departments have been given until next year to identify which powers should be repealed. Even then it may take months or years for them to be scrapped.

The Tory manifesto included a commitment to cut back on ‘the intrusive powers of entry into homes’.

Only 15 such laws have so far been repealed, including the power to enter a home and search for and seize German enemy property dating back to the 1950s, or to carry out checks on whether illegal hypnotism displays were taking place.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Terrifying Ordeal of Female Gas Plant Hostage Who Feared She Would be Raped by Al Qaeda

A woman caught up in the Algerian hostage crisis in which dozens died today described her daring escape — and her terrible fear that she would be raped.

The French nurse, who asked to be described solely by her first name of Muriel, said that she ‘refused to give up to terrorists’.

In a deeply moving interview, Muriel said: ‘At best, I’d get a bullet in the head straight away. At worst, as a woman — well, I don’t need to draw you a picture.’

On the first day of the crisis last Wednesday she heard a security alarm sounding as up to 40 al-Qaeda gunmen began to over-run the BP-run In Amanas BP gas installation, in south east Algeria.

Muriel and three male colleagues immediately hid in their living quarters, despite some thinking they should run away from the heavily armed Islamists.

‘Two of us wanted to try and get out, the two others said it was safer to stay,’ Muriel told Paris’s Europe 1 radio station.

Meanwhile, another hostage has told how Islamic militants used their captives as human shields to stop Algerian helicopters from strafing them with gunfire.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israeli Elections: Settlers ‘Betray’ Netanyahu

PM courted them but they opted for the far-right

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JANUARY 23 — It was for their sake that Israel prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu choose to take on not only Palestinian resentment but also international public opinion. Against US president Barack Obama’s stance, he recently relaunched large-scale building projects for Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Then, on the eve of the parliamentary elections, he promised that over the next four years he would not order the dismantling of any existing settlement. He went on clash with Israel’s intellectual establishment and pledged to work for the full official recognition of the Arial Academic Centre (in the West Bank) as a university. And so it must have come as a harsh blow to Netanyahu when the votes from the settlements for his list (Likud-Beitenu) were counted yesterday.

His efforts did at least prove effective in Ariel, where his list raked in 53.4%. However, elsewhere his success was surpassed by that of his far-right rivals — especially the fundamentalists of Jewish Home, the religious nationalist group led by former head of the settlers movement Naftali Bennett. In the two settlements where the ideological politburo of the settlers is located, Ora and Beit El (near Ramallah), Likud-Beitenu received what can only be called humiliating results: 11% and 8%. In the heart of the Jewish strongholds in the ancient Biblical Samaria (in the northern West Bank), the list also did poorly: 13% for Netanyahu and partners in Ali, 11% in Shilo and only 6% in Itamar. Likud-Beitenu did somewhat better only in the Karney Shomron settlement, where it managed to get 26% of votes. Though nothing of the sort has been said openly, the recriminations by the prime minister’s entourage seem likely to grow harsher. This is in large part due to the fact that over the past few years many settlers have taken the leadership of Netanyahu’s Likud by assault, signing on to influence it from within. In the last primaries, their voting in mass gave the party an even more nationalistic character and led to the exclusion from the list of such high-profile figures and moderates as Benny Begin (son of former premier Menachem Begin) and Dan Meridor. This has led to a paradoxical situation with Likud having more official members in some settlements than the number of those voting for it. “Almost some sort of trick,” a commentator in the right-wing Makor Rishon daily had admitted a few weeks back. Elected a member of parliament in the Likud-Beitenu list — in part thanks to this sort of tactic — the settler and hardliner Moshe Feiglin claims he has no regrets. To the contrary: he has now accused the leaders of his own party of having “foolishly” squabbled with the Jewish Home party by calling it extremist. As if the unexpected decline in voter support were not enough, as a consequence Netanyahu may now find he has to deal with internal bickering in the coalition with the unruly Feiglin, his followers and all the “hotheads” he has welcomed into his very home.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Less Support for the Right, More Hope for Peace

But fewer Palestinian MPs, Arab voters disapppointed

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 23 — The president of the Arab Communities in Italy (COMAI), Foad Aodi, has commented on the outcome of the Israeli elections, saying that “the right did not win as it had expected to”, and this, alongside “the continued support for the centre and also the left — despite its being split up into several small parties — could foster the peace process and a halt to settlement building, which is the main obstacle to any initiative” for peace.

The COMAI president said that the outcome shows “the voters’ desire to move more towards the centre, where there is greater support for the intensification of the peace process” and for halting settlement building. Aodi hopes, therefore, that “international diplomatic efforts will take the election results” in Israel into account.

However, there was also a decline in representatives from the Arab minority elected to the Knesset. The number of representatives has “dropped from eleven to nine, and this is a pity since it shows the disappointment felt by Palestinian voters,” Aodi underscored, saying that he hoped those elected would have “the necessary support to give a constructive voice to the Palestinians of Israel.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama-Netanyahu Relationship is ‘Most Dysfunctional’ Ever

US president and Israeli prime minister have never been as deeply at odds and for so long, says former top US diplomat

The relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “the most dysfunctional” ever between an American president and an Israeli prime minister, a veteran former American diplomat said Thursday.

Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center who served under six secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, added that while there had been strained personal relationships between the two countries top leaders’ in the past, this breakdown was unique in that it had not been corrected in four years, and would now likely be extended with Obama’s re-election and Netanyahu’s likely re-election next week.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What Kind of a Coalition Will Lead the Next Israeli Government?

Netanyahu is a masterful politician who has rightfully kept his focus on the threats from a nuclear Iran and terrorist proxies Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Moreover, Netanyahu is fully aware that the US has its hands full contending with a resurgent al Qaida in neighboring Syria, in the Maghreb, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. According to Israeli commentator Barry Shaw that is why Yacimovich of Labor and Lapid of Yesh Atid may join as junior members of a new Netanyahu-led coalition government. That would present a unified national position on Israel’s national security in negotiations with the Obama Administration and the EU to overcome the Iran threat and Islamic jihadis among Israel’s neighbors seeking its destruction. Shaw offered this view ,in a later comment on his Facebook page, reflecting the post election quandary facing Netanyahu should he be given the nod to form a new Israeli government: The World: “Israel has become right wing!” Israel: “Wait! Likud and Israel Beiteinu lost height. You call them “right wing” but they lost a lot of votes. Right?” The World: “Yes, but what about the rise of HaBayit HaYehudi ( Jewish Home)?” Israel: “They increased their vote, true, but so did Meretz, and they can’t be called “right wing.” Silence. Israel: And the Arab parties seem to have increased their seats to twelve.” The World: More silence. Can Netanyahu fashion a coherent coalition to lead a new Israeli government will be the daunting task in the weeks ahead? Stay tuned for further developments.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Saudis, U.S. Sign Accord Lifting Post-9/11 Travel Restrictions

The United States and Saudi Arabia have agreed on the easing of travel restrictions.

The agreement, signed during the visit of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, would allow Saudis deemed low-risk to quickly pass through security checks as both countries seek to identify potential insurgents.

In 2012, 180,000 Saudis visited the United States, an 80 percent increase over the previous year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed

The deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and one of the most wanted men in Saudi Arabia has been killed, a prominent jihadist announced Tuesday, though officials in the group’s home base of Yemen said they had no evidence of his death.

Abu Sufyan al-Azdi, also known as Saeed al-Shahri, died “after a long journey in fighting the Zio-Crusader campaign,” jihadist Abdulla bin Muhammad said on his Twitter account. The tweet was reported by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors global terrorism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkish Mob Threatens German Soldiers

German soldiers manning Patriot missile batteries on the Turkish-Syrian border have been threatened by an angry mob of demonstrators thought to be from a left-wing nationalist youth group.

After some 40 people surrounded the soldiers in the southern town of Iskenderun, one German reportedly had a bag containing white powder thrown over his head. Four other soldiers managed remained unscathed and all five made it back to their army quarters after Turkish security forces arrived. All of the Germans were in civilian clothing at the time of the incident.

While the authorities stepped in quickly enough to prevent things from escalating further, similar attacks have happened in the past on foreign soldiers on Turkish soil.

Thought to be from the Turkey Youth Union (TGB), a nationalist youth organisation, members have been known to throw bags over NATO soldiers in the past in reference to the treatment of Turkish soldiers captured by US forces during the 2003 Iraq war.

The German soldiers manning Patriot missiles on the border are part of a NATO mission requested at the end of 2012 by the Turkish government to help protect against attack during growing unrest in Syria.

There are around 350 German soldiers working on the “Active Fence Turkey” project, which started properly in the country at the beginning of this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Australian Gun-Grabbers Target Bolt-Action Firearms

Despite the denials of anti-Second Amendment activists, the ultimate goal of gun control is a total confiscation of all firearms.

Following the Port Arthur massacre in Australia in 1996, the government banned all semi-automatic guns and launched a buyback program that cost taxpayers $500 million and resulted in the destruction of over 600,000 personal firearms. Subsequent studies put the number at over a million firearms destroyed by the government.

“Australians have been following the Connecticut tragedy closely, and many say the US solution lies in following Australia’s path, or at least reforming current laws,” the Christian Science Monitor reported following the Sandy Hook massacre.

“I implore you to look at our experience,” Labor Member of Parliament Kelvin Thomson wrote in an open letter to Congress. “As the number of guns in Australia reduced, so too did gun violence. It is simply not true that owning a gun makes you safer.” However, according to Ed Chenel, an Australian police officer, the government confiscation in fact made Australians more susceptible to violent crime, not less as Thompson argued.

The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent, Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent; Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent!),“ Chenel wrote a year after the government forced disarmament. “In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. (Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not and criminals still possess their guns!)” In addition, there was a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly.”

[…]

Alpers and other anti-firearms activists reveal the underhanded incrementalism of gun control. The gun-grabbers say they are only interested in ridding society of military-styled weapons and want to protect the rights of ducks hunters and target shooters, but the fact is their ultimate goal is the elimination of all firearms.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

At Least 50 African Children Paralyzed After Receiving Bill Gates-Backed Meningitis Vaccine

(NaturalNews) Bill and Melinda Gates have been on a crusade for at least the past decade to vaccinate every single child on the planet. And one of their primary geographical targets has been the continent of Africa, where poor sanitations and lack of clean water have created conditions in which diseases like meningitis and malaria run rampant. But rather than try to meet these basic needs, the multi-billionaires and their many allies have instead thrust vaccines on indigenous populations as the solution, which has in turn sparked a wave of paralysis among Africa’s younger populations.

As covered by investigative journalist Christina England over at Vactruth.com, the small village of Gouro in northern Chad, for instance, recently fell victim to the dark side of this vaccine agenda after at least 50 youth in the area developed paralysis following vaccination with “MenAfriVac,” a new meningitis vaccine developed specifically for Africa. Touted as a preventive cure for meningitis, MenAfriVac reportedly caused each of the children, some of whom were as young as seven, to suffer hallucinations, convulsions, and ultimately paralysis.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EU Releases Another 20 Million Euros Aid for Mali

(AGI) — Brussels, Jan 22 — The EU has announced the release of a further 20 million euros for humanitarian aid to Mali.

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

Immigration

Italy Summarily Returning Unaccompanied Kids

Violating children asylum seekers’ rights, HRW report

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 22 — Italy is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report issued on Tuesday. The 45-page report includes interviews with 29 adults and children aged 13-17 who were summarily returned to Greece from Italian ports, 20 of them in 2012. None of them were given access to a guardian or social services, as required by Italian and international law, the report said.

“Most of those we met were Afghan boys fleeing danger, conflict, and poverty,” said Alice Farmer, children’s rights researcher at HRW.

In Greece, the kids are “vulnerable to law enforcement abuse, degrading conditions of detention, and a hostile environment marked by xenophobic violence,” HRW said.

Titled “Turned Away: Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece,” the report documents “the failure of Italian border police at the Adriatic ports of Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Venice to screen adequately for people in need of protection, in violation of Italy’s legal obligations.” Italian and international law prohibit the removal of unaccompanied children without a determination that it is in their best interest, the report pointed out.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

‘Amoral’ Licensed to ‘Discriminate’ Against Christians

Legal team calls for review of practices under ‘equality’ policies

A legal team defending religious rights in Europe is calling for three critical disputes about expression of Christian faith in the United Kingdom to be reviewed by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, because the current precedent lets “amorality” discriminate against religious believers.

[…]

“The refusal by the employers to accommodate the applicants is merely an ideological sanction, meaning that, as a question of principle, there is no room in the staff for ‘intolerant Christians.’“

He said the combined ruling effectively endorses “the monopolistic imposition of the postmodern ideology over individual consciences and religious beliefs, whereas the [court] had the opposite possibility to show the way of a really pluralist and respectful approach of diversity.”

The court is giving “a free license to discriminate [against] Christians at work by submitting them to ‘obsessive political correctness,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canada: ‘Not Every Opinion is Valid: ‘ Carleton University Free Speech Wall Torn Down Within Hours

Only hours after students installed a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University to prove that campus free speech was alive and well, it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence,” against the gay community.

“What we wanted to promote was competition of ideas, rather than ‘if I disagree with you I’ve got to censor you,’“ said Ian CoKehyeng, founder of Carleton Students for Liberty, the creators of the wall.

Installed on Monday in the Unicentre Galleria, one of campus’ most high-traffic areas, the wall was really more of a 1.2 x 1.8 meter wooden plank wrapped in paper and equipped with felt markers.

By Tuesday morning the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of “forceful resistance,” by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith.

“In organizing the ‘free speech wall,’ the Students for Liberty have forgotten that liberty requires liberation, and this liberation is prevented by providing space … for the expression of hate,” he wrote in a 600-word Facebook post in which he identified himself as an anti-homophobia campaigner…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Globesity: How Globalists Are Feeding Off the Obesity Crisis

From London to Lima and from the Big Apple to Budapest, governments are imposing increasingly onerous diktats in an effort to shrink their populations’ rapidly expanding waistlines. The hope is that by reducing the incidence of obesity, the many health problems associated with it, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, will also become less common, thereby reducing healthcare costs — a major concern in an era in which governments either heavily subsidize or fully operate their nations’ healthcare systems.

[…]

Of course, as the WHO recognized, the best-laid plans of bureaucrats and elites will not accomplish their objectives unless someone is seeing to it that the people are obeying. “Monitoring and surveillance are essential tools in the implementation of national strategies for healthy diets and physical activity,” and thus “governments should invest in” them. Such “investment,” naturally, will require higher taxes; but since the UN has declared that “economic growth is limited unless people are healthy,” these programs “should draw policy and financial support from national development plans.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pope Criticises Capitalism and Inhuman Ideologies

(AGI) Vatican — Pope Benedict called ideologies which celebrate the cult of the nation, race, or social class “true idolatries”.

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

UK: Censorship Row as BBC Cuts the Major’s ‘Racist’ Lines From Classic Fawlty Towers Episode

It is the episode of Fawlty Towers best remembered for the line ‘Don’t mention the war’ and John Cleese’s silly walk when impersonating Hitler.

The references have proved controversial before, but when The Germans was repeated on BBC2 on Sunday evening it wasn’t our European neighbours that the corporation was worried about offending.

Instead, the episode was edited to omit racist language — only for some viewers to then complain that the BBC was ‘airbrushing history’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: RE Teacher Banned for Showing Teenage Pupils Her Tattoos and Telling Them Not to Get Married So They Can Sleep Around Instead

[Comment: RE = Religious Education classes.]

As an RE teacher it was her job to enlighten pupils about Christian values and the beliefs of other religions.

Instead, Catherine Reynolds encouraged her class to have lots of sex and ‘sleep around’ before marriage.

In expletive-ridden lessons, she told pupils to ‘stop bloody talking’, ‘sit on your a***’ and warned them: ‘If you don’t want to learn RE, you can p*** off’.

An investigation into her behaviour also found she posted offensive comments on her Facebook page. Following a parents evening she wrote: ‘That was the most f****** horrendous evening of my life’, and branded parents ‘retarded’.

Yesterday Reynolds, 27, was banned from the classroom for five years after Michael Gove decided she was a disgrace to the profession.

Describing her conduct as unacceptable, the Education Secretary declared it fell seriously short of that expected of a teacher and added that a disciplinary panel had struggled to identify any ‘understanding, insight or remorse’.

Reynolds taught RE at Saddleworth School near Oldham, having joined the state-run secondary as a newly-qualified teacher in 2008.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

8 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/23/2013

  1. OK, I’ll bite on the Women on the front lines and 30% reduction in DoD budget…

    Since Obama pays his female staffers less than the males, the solution is to jettison the males on the front lines and replace them with females.

    It’s another Win-Win for TheOne™!

  2. I’m of the opinion this is just one additional step in Obama implementing a draft, and boy won’t his “supporters” male and female alike enjoy being drubbed into the Obama army, or face the gulag.

  3. “They are willing to use terror against Norway, but cry for help by the same once they are in trouble. Something doesn’t add up here.”

    Socialist figures, about Bhatti, Profit’s Ummah
    Jan Böhler, Deputy Chairman of Justice Committee, Parliament

    “We demand that Norwegian authorities do whatever in their power to put pressure on Pakistani authorities to prioritize this case, where a Norwegian citizen is missing”, Ubaydullah Hussain, leader of Profit’s Umma, says to Dagbladet.

    The same ullahdullah was praising the (probable) loss of Norwegian lives after the In Amenas terror only days ago.

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