Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/24/2013

Austria’s Turkish community is incensed about a Lego model kit that includes a depiction of the palace of Jabba the Hutt, from the Star Wars series. Austrian Muslims see a resemblance between Jabba’s palace and the mosque of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which they say insults their religious and cultural feelings. They are demanding an apology from Lego.

In other news, the unemployment rate in Spain has reached 26%, with the rate for under-25s estimated to be at 60%. Meanwhile, in reaction to expanded UN sanctions, North Korea has threatened new rocket launches and tests of nuclear weapons that target the United States.

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

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

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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
» Apple Shares Tumble Despite Record Profits
» Dutch PM Says Should be Possible to Leave the Euro
» Greece’s Middle Class Feels the Pain
» IMF: Eurozone Periphery Challenged, Italy-Spain Recession
» Italians’ Incomes ‘Set to Go Back 27 Years in 2013’
» Italy: Berlusconi: “We Need Elbow Grease to Break Out of Crisis”
» Italy: Grilli Says No Evidence of Other Banks With MPS’s Problems
» Japan Logs Biggest Trade Deficit in Its History
» Lebanon’s Middle Class Steadily Shrinking
» Poland: Gone With the Fiat
» Spain: Unemployment for Under 25s Hits 60%
» Spanish Unemployment Soars Beyond 26 Percent
» World Bank Highlights Growth Outside the EU Crisis
 
USA
» All the Difference in the World
» Councilman to Veteran: Disarm or Leave
» Democrats Unveil ‘Big List’ Of 150 Banned Firearms
» Doctor’s Prescription to Buy Cigarettes?
» Kerry Says U. S. Foreign Policy Not Only Drones and Troops
» Make Parents Tell School if They Own Guns
» Making Little Murderers
» NYPD Commissioner Says Department Will Begin Testing a New High-Tech Device That Scans for Concealed Weapons
» Sneaky Scum Doctor Probes Teen About Guns in Home- While Parents Out of Room
» Study Accidentally Exposes Chemotherapy as Fraud — Tumors Grow Faster After Chemo!
» Texas Sheriff Joins Growing List of Those Who Will Not Tolerate Unconstitutional Gun Grabs From Feds
» Too Much Brotherhood
 
Canada
» Canadians Can Stop Sun From Setting on Feisty Sun Media
 
Europe and the EU
» Antibiotic Resistance is Now as Serious a Threat as Terrorism and Could Trigger an ‘Apocalyptic Scenario’, Warns UK’s Top Doctor
» Austria: Lego Accused of Racism With Star Wars Set
» Austrian Muslims Claim Jabba’s Palace Lego Toy is Racist as it is ‘Based on Iconic Mosque in Istanbul’
» Bank of Italy Scrutinizing Activities at Troubled MPS
» Baroness Warsi: Fewer Than One in Four People Believe Islam is Compatible With British Way of Life
» ‘Belgians Are Richest Europeans’
» Brunost: The Norwegian Cheese That’s a Hot Topic
» Evidence Grows for Narcolepsy Link to GSK Swine Flu Shot
» Fewer Than One in Four People Think Islam is Compatible With British Life, Faith Minister Warns
» France’s Richest Man Moves to Belgium and Takes Multi-Billion Pound Fortune With Him ‘To Avoid New Socialist Super-Tax’
» Greece: Survey: NEA Dimokratia Ahead
» Islam: 74% of French Say It’s an ‘Intolerant’ Religion
» Italy: Opposition’s Grillo Accuses Unions of Toting Party Line
» Italy: Obama ‘Sun-Tanned’ Remark ‘A Compliment’ Says Berlusconi
» Italy: Bersani Blasts Monti’s ‘Dangerous Position’ On Union
» Italy: Berlusconi ‘Not Recently in Touch With Merkel’
» Latvians Don’t Want to Let Go of Their Lats
» Right-Wing Extremism and Islamophobia in Germany
» Scientists Race to Develop Floating Wind Farms
» Storm Clouds Crawling With Bacteria
» UK: Albanian Gangster Behind Three Murders is Still in the UK Despite 19 Court Battles to Extradite Him
» UK: Former Soldier Sends His Medals to Prince Charles After Fight to Stay in the UK Leaves His Family Facing Financial Ruin
» UK: Isabella Freeman: Lutfur Rahman’s Little Helper Who Brings Council Standards ‘Into Serious Dispute’
» UK: Man in Court Accused of Killing Student Kieran Crump Raiswell
» UK: Notorious Killer Who Wants to Move to Open Prison Granted Anonymity by High Court Judge Using Human Rights Laws
» UK: Pupils Aged Just Twelve Given Nicotine Patches by Nurses on Visits to Schools Without Telling Their Parents
» UK: Quick-Thinking Boy, 11, Dubbed a Hero After Saving His Mother From Plastic Surgery by Packing Snow on Her Arm When She Burned it on Car Radiator
 
North Africa
» Head of Egypt’s Shoura Council Calls for Stopping a ‘Hot Movie’ On a Plane Trip
» Some Algeria Attackers Are Placed at Benghazi
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» No Enemies to the Left
» Palestine — Morsi Minces Two-State Solution
» Shoah: Survival is Our Revenge, Says Chief Rabbi Lau
 
Middle East
» American Pastor Jailed in Iran Now Missing
» Government Loyalists Win Jordan Elections
» Iran: Syria and North Korea Step Up Work on Biological Weapons
» Lebanon: Gov’t Nixes First-Ever Civil Marriage
» Turkey: Exiled Sociologist Pinar Selek Sentenced to Life
» UAE: Alfa Romeo Presents Giulietta and MiTo
» What’s Behind the ‘Attack’ On German Soldiers in Turkey?
 
South Asia
» Indonesian Ulema in Favour of Female Circumcision: A “Human Right”
» Is the Thai Tradition of Buddhism on the Decline?
 
Far East
» China Colonel Raises Nuclear Spectre
» N. Korea Vows Nuke Test Aimed at U.S.
» North Korea Threatens Third Nuclear Test
» The Secret Horror of North Korean Prison Camps… and How Google Earth Has Helped to Unmask Them
 
Australia — Pacific
» Hate Speech Warning as Dutch MP Geers Wilders Faces Protests
» Hillary Clinton Tries to Silence Bindi Irwin on Population Growth
» When it Comes to Law Reform, There’s No Pride in Ruling on Prejudice
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Angolan Isabel Dos Santos is Richest Woman in Africa
» France Will Send Troops to Protect Niger’s Uranium Mines
 
Latin America
» Not Surprisingly, Castro’s Take on Gun-Control Coincides With Our Rulers’
 
Culture Wars
» Germany: Catholic Hospitals Refused Rape Victim Help
» Italy: Church & Gov Lock Horns Over Sex Education in Schools
» Primary School Bans Six-Year-Old Boy From Wearing Christian Wristband in Class for ‘Health and Safety Reasons’
» Pro-Life Display Destroyed at Catholic University
» Report in Highschool on Christianity by 16-Year-Old Monica — Dr. Laurie Roth’s Daughter
 
General
» Asteroid Mining Could Pave Way for Interstellar Flight
» Multiple Vaccine Doses Have Resulted in Up to 145,000 Child Deaths in Past 20 Years
» Quran vs. Bible (And the Vast Contradictions Between the Two)
» Year of the Comets: 2 Dazzling Comets Heading Our Way

Apple Shares Tumble Despite Record Profits

Stock in tech giant Apple Inc has continued its one-year rollercoaster, dropping by around 10 percent even after the company announced increased profits. Its shares still cost more than one year ago, though.

Apple announced a profit of $13.1 billion (9.8 billion euros) in the October-December quarter, from revenue of $54.5 billion. The company set quarterly highs in bulk sales of iPhones and iPads, though investors were purportedly concerned by a reduced profit margin.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dutch PM Says Should be Possible to Leave the Euro

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, questioned about Greece, said on Thursday it should be possible for a country to leave the euro zone.

Rutte was asked on a World Economic Forum panel in the Swiss resort of Davos whether it was now certain that no countries would be leaving the single currency area after euro zone leaders agreed last year to further aid for Greece in return for draconian austerity measures and structural reforms.

“I believe our aim should be to have the whole euro zone intact,” he said. “At same time, you can never predict whether some country may want to leave the euro zone. I think that should be possible.” (Reuters)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece’s Middle Class Feels the Pain

Shops in Greece are folding by the day. Many Greeks are unemployed, while others work for half the pay and those who can, leave the country. The economic crisis is draining its middle class financially.

Theodoros Marinidis doesn’t have much time. Busy planning his daughter’s future, he has scheduled an appointment at the Goethe Institute in Athens.

The plan is for her to go to Germany after she graduates from university. Although she already speaks German, her father believes she could benefit from further instruction and practice.

Marinidis sees his daughter’s future outside Greece because he considers the country’s future to be totally unpredictable. “ To a certain degree, we’ve also made plans here, maybe not the same as the Germans, but now everything has become incalculable,” he says. No one, he argues, can say with any certainty whether Greece will remain in the eurozone and what its political future has in store.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IMF: Eurozone Periphery Challenged, Italy-Spain Recession

(ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, JANUARY 23 — International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist Olivier Blanchard has said that “high risks remain for countries in the eurozone periphery, with another year of recession in Spain and Italy”.

The IMF expects Italy’s GDP to drop by 1% this year and Spain’s by 1.5%. “Progress has been seen in a number of areas in Europe but the recovery is stilled burdened by the need for recovery in public finances and problems within the financial sector,” Blanchard said, underscoring that interest rates are also still too high. He concluded by saying that the implementation of the decisions made in Europe is essential.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italians’ Incomes ‘Set to Go Back 27 Years in 2013’

(AGI) — Rome, Jan 22 — Italians’ disposable income will go backwards by 27 years in 2013, said a survey by the Italian Corporate Network. Disposable income has dropped below the 17,000 euro mark to 16,955 euros compared with last year’s 17,337 euros. In 2007, the year in which the financial crisis began, income was 19,515 euros.

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

Italy: Berlusconi: “We Need Elbow Grease to Break Out of Crisis”

(AGI) Rome, Jan 18 — In order to break free of “the recession spiral caused by the current technocratic government”, Italy must “find some elbow grease and get to work”, said Silvio Berlusconi. During the Italia Domanda television program, Berlusconi also listed some of the aims on his manifesto: “Reducing the IRAP (Region Production Tax, Ed.), getting rid of bureaucracy and creating follow-up checks, give businesses credit again with the State’s direct intervention and with the government shouldering the risk as guarantor.” ..

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

Italy: Grilli Says No Evidence of Other Banks With MPS’s Problems

Italy’s third-biggest lender hit by derivatives scandal

(see related story) (ANSA) — Turin, January 24 — Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said on Thursday that there was no evidence other Italian banks were in the same plight as Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), which has been hit by a derivatives scandal.

“The situation of MPS is not a new thing. It’s not a bolt from the blue,” Grilli said of Italy’s third-biggest lender, which needed to request a 3.9-billion-euro bailout from the government last year.

“We have known about its problems for a year. I don’t have evidence of problems in other banks.

“It is the Bank of Italy’s competence to do checks”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Japan Logs Biggest Trade Deficit in Its History

The government of Japan has announced the country has posted an annual trade deficit of unprecedented scope. Exports took a 2012 tumble owing to weak European demand and a territorial spat with China.

Official figures from the Japanese Finance Ministry on Thursday showed the world’s third-largest economy experienced a record trade shortfall last year.

The deficit amounted to 6.92 trillion yen ($78 billion, 58.6 billion euros) in 2012, with the shortfall in December alone standing at a higher-than-expected 641.5 billion yen.

The numbers are bad news for the Japanese economy which has been struggling to stay on recovery course after the 2011 quake-tsunami and the impact of an export-sapping, strong national currency.

The data marked a second consecutive annual trade deficit in an economy that’s relied heavily on its export strength, but analysts argued the worst might be over.

“The figures will be better in 2013,” said economist Masahiko Hashimoto from the Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo. “The European economy may continue to worsen until the middle of the year, but China and other Asian economies are likely to lead the global economy.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Lebanon’s Middle Class Steadily Shrinking

Lebanon was once known as the Switzerland of the Orient. But that was a long time ago. Today, many Lebanese are struggling to survive in an increasingly difficult economic environment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Poland: Gone With the Fiat

Tygodnik Powszechny Cracow

Modern and productive, the Tychy factory was once Fiat’s flagship site, but in the face of the debt crisis, the Italian automaker has decided to bring production of the popular Panda back to Naples. For the Polish workforce, this means a wave of redundancies in late January, and disillusionment is the order of the day.

Franciszek Gierot hoped this would never happen again. We are chatting over a cup tea in the restaurant of Corona Hotel, not far from the Fiat plant. The weather seems fitting — gusty wind is hurling sleet against the windows and the clouds hang so low you could touch them. A poor start to the year.

In his car — a black Lancia Delta — Mr Gierot has left the letter he brought from the management office at Bielsko-Biala listing the members of the WZZ August ‘80 trade union who will soon be made redundant. He is the leader of the union and similar envelopes were handed over to the leaders of the other unions active at Fiat’s Tychy plant.

Mr Gierot knows what’s next. The numbers leave little room for doubt. There were times when the plant churned out as many as 2,300 vehicles per day, one leaving the assembly line every 37 seconds. In 2012, the figure fell to 1,600 and it is expected to hit the 1,000 mark this year. This means that a whole assembly line becomes redundant. Of the plant’s 4,900 employees, 1,450 are to lose their jobs.

The golden era

For two decades, Silesia has been crippled by high unemployment and sudden economic downturns, so the situation should be nothing new.

But during Fiat Auto Poland SA’s golden age of 2009, six cargo trains and 350 lorries would leave the premises each day to ship the vehicles to various international destinations. Output is up 20 per cent on the previous year and the Tychy facility manufactures as many vehicles as Fiat’s five Italian assembly plants combined…

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

Spain: Unemployment for Under 25s Hits 60%

Disillusionment spreads further among recent graduates in Spain, as statistics show most of them are headed for the dole queue.

Unemployment in Spain for people under the age of 25 has now reached 60%, according to officially released figures.

Overall, Spain’s unemployment rate has risen to its highest level since measurements began in the 1970s, as a prolonged recession and deep spending cuts have left almost 6 million people out of work at the end of last year.

The nationwide jobless total rose to 26% in the fourth quarter of 2012, or 5.97 million people, according to the National Statistics Institute.

That is up from 25% in the previous quarter, and more than double the European Union average.

Spain sank into its second recession since 2009 at the end of 2011, after a burst property bubble left millions of low-skilled labourers out of work and sliding private and business sentiment gutted consumer spending and imports.

Efforts by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government to control one of the eurozone’s largest deficits through billions of euros of spending cuts and tax hikes have fuelled anger and dampened demand.

When Mr Rajoy took office in late 2011 there were 5.27 million jobless in Spain.

The economic downturn put an average of 1,900 out of work every day through 2012 and with the recession expected to last at least until the end of 2013, net job creation is unlikely this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spanish Unemployment Soars Beyond 26 Percent

Spain’s unemployment rate has hit another high, with almost six million people out of work in the southern European nation. While the figures are gloomy enough, the situation looks set to deteriorate.

At the end of the last quarter in 2012, Spain’s unemployment rate reached 26 percent, the national statistics body INE reported on Thursday. It climbed from a rate of 25 percent in the previous three months.

The latest employment figures marked a sad record for the country, with almost six million people now out of work and unemployment reaching its highest level since Spain returned to democracy in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco.

INE announced 60 percent of young people between 18 and 25 years of age were unemployed in the last quarter of 2012, adding there was no immediate reversal of the trend in sight.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

World Bank Highlights Growth Outside the EU Crisis

BRUSSELS — For those suffering from eurozone crisis syndrome, it is easy to forget that an economic world exists beyond the EU’s borders.

For all the talk of recession and depression it would be a mistake to think that economies are in retreat the world over. In reality, most of the world is growing — and not just the usual suspects.

While the US, the EU and Japan tread water, five years after the start of the financial crisis, the 150 or more countries of the developing world are growing at an average of 5.1 percent.

Indeed, the World Bank which, like an increasing number of economic authorities, believes that the worst of the crisis may be over, expects the growth rate to hit 5.5 percent in 2013 and 5.8 percent in 2014 — closer to the pre-crisis rates of between 7 and 8 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

All the Difference in the World

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived back in the Senate, after dodging a few falling safes, multiple banana peels and an ornery dog named Henry, to give a carefully prepared histrionic rant which can be summed up, “I do care a lot” and “None of this was my fault” and “What difference at this point does it make?”

The last isn’t a sarcastic restatement. It’s what she actually said.

It might make a difference to a Coptic Christian whose trailer was blamed by the leader of the free world for a series of Al Qaeda attacks against American diplomatic facilities and who was sent to prison on the orders of members of the administration…

Crimes don’t make a difference unless there are people who can expose them for what they are. Many of the things that we consider unacceptable behavior today had to be criminalized.Democrats have criminalized many ordinary things, such as buying cough syrup without a photo ID or making a movie that offends Muslims, but they have decriminalized other things, such as funding and arming terrorists and endangering the survival of the free world.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Councilman to Veteran: Disarm or Leave

Walks out of meeting after confrontation with legal gun owner

(WHIDBEY NEWS-TIMES) No guns were drawn or even visible, but a councilman’s confrontation with an armed audience member ended dramatically Tuesday night as the elected official left the meeting when his colleagues refused to pass a motion to disarm the man.

The confrontation has amped up gun control debate in Oak Harbor, which mirrors many of the discussions occurring nationwide since the Dec. 14 shooting that left 20 children and six staff members dead at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

The question being argued in Oak Harbor is whether people should be able to carry firearms in public places like city parks or council chambers. Councilman Rick Almberg, with support from Councilman Joel Servatius, has taken a stand against allowing guns in such public places. Almberg acknowledges that the council may not have the authority to preempt state law, but he wants to bring attention to the issue.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Democrats Unveil ‘Big List’ Of 150 Banned Firearms

Feinstein ‘incensed’ at country’s ‘weak gun laws’

(WASHINGTON POST) Democratic lawmakers formally reintroduced a bill Thursday that would ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, the most ambitious — and politically risky — element of proposals unveiled by President Obama to limit gun violence.

The “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” is a much more far-reaching proposal than the federal ban that expired in 2004. The proposal would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing or importation of more than 150 specific firearms, including semiautomatic rifles or pistols that can be used with a detachable or fixed ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and have specific military-style features, including pistol grips, grenade launchers or rocket launchers.

It excludes more than 2,250 firearms used for hunting or other sport, and assault weapons lawfully owned before the law’s enactment. But it would require background checks for the sale or transfer of grandfathered weapons and would bar the sale or transfer of large-capacity feeding devices owned before the bill’s enactment. Current assault weapon owners also would need to safely store their firearms. Unlike the original federal ban passed in 1994, the new ban would be permanent.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Doctor’s Prescription to Buy Cigarettes?

Legislation would impose fines, prison on offenders

SALEM, OR (KPTV) — If you’re a regular smoker, you may want to keep an eye on a new bill in the Oregon Legislature.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick, from Portland, is sponsoring a bill that makes cigarettes a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it would be illegal to possess or distribute cigarettes without a doctor’s prescription.

Under the proposal, offenders would face maximum punishments of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine or both.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kerry Says U. S. Foreign Policy Not Only Drones and Troops

(AGI) Washington — Obama’s pick for incoming Secretary of State, John Kerry, has said that U.S. foreign policy ‘is not simply drones and troops on the ground’ .

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

Make Parents Tell School if They Own Guns

(KSDK-TV) Ever since the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gun control has been a hot topic. Now comes word of a Missouri lawmaker who wants any parent who owns guns to notify their child’s school.

The lawmaker says she hopes the already filed bill will bring awareness to schools and to parents about keeping their guns locked up.

It’s the next idea in a long list of proposed ideas for gun control, making it mandatory for parents to notify their child’s school about their gun supply.

“I am not trying to take away the gun rights of any parents or any other citizens I believe in the Second Amendment,” says State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Making Little Murderers

If anything good comes from the Newtown massacre, it will be a national discussion of the role of various psychological medications that have been foisted on a generation or two of young Americans in the nation’s schools. Particularly dangerous have been a group called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

While the White House and other gun-banning groups grab the spotlight by putting the blame on guns, columnist Dr. Jerome R. Corsi recently reported that SSRIs have played a role in “some 90 percent of school shootings over more than a decade…according to British psychiatrist Dr. David Healy, a founder of RxISK.org, an independent website for researching and reporting on prescription drugs.”

A visit to one of Dr. Healey’s websites, ssristories.com, provides more than 4,800 news stories involving some level of violence in which antidepressants are mentioned. SSRIs include Prozac, Zoloff, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, and Luvox. Others include Remeron, Anafranil, Effexor, Cymbalta, and Pristiq, as well as the dopamine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant Wellbutrin, marketed as Zyban…

For a decade I was the communications director for the American Policy Center and was appalled to learn how the nation’s educational system had been altered from schools that concentrated on academics to schools whose purpose was behavior modification. In 1965, the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Act opened the doors to a legion of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and “the psychiatric programs and testing needed to validate them.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NYPD Commissioner Says Department Will Begin Testing a New High-Tech Device That Scans for Concealed Weapons

Get ready for scan-and-frisk. The NYPD will soon deploy new technology allowing police to detect guns carried by criminals without using the typical pat-down procedure, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday. The department just received a machine that reads terahertz — the natural energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view concealed weapons from a distance.

The detector works by zeroing two lasers at different frequencies on a target. This causes the materials the laser hits to emit terahertz radiation, which in turn emits a fluorescence that is unique to that material as well as detectable from far away.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sneaky Scum Doctor Probes Teen About Guns in Home- While Parents Out of Room

Apparently this is from the Chicago Tribune:

“I felt uneasy, but I stepped out so my son wouldn’t be embarrassed,” she told me, saying she figured they would ask drug and alcohol questions. Sam doesn’t take drugs or alcohol, she said.

Later that day, Sam told her what the doctors had asked him.

“By the way, Mom,” she recalled him saying, “when you were out of the room they asked me if we had any guns in the house.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Study Accidentally Exposes Chemotherapy as Fraud — Tumors Grow Faster After Chemo!

(NaturalNews) A team of researchers from Washington state had a giant “Oops!” moment recently when it accidentally uncovered the deadly truth about chemotherapy while investigating why prostate cancer cells are so difficult to eradicate using conventional treatment methods. As it turns out, chemotherapy does not actually treat or cure cancer at all, according to the study’s findings, but rather fuels the growth and spread of cancer cells, making them much harder to stamp out once chemotherapy has already been initiated.

You might call it the “smoking gun” that proves, once and for all, the complete fraud of the conventional cancer industry. Not only is chemotherapy, the standard method of cancer treatment today, a complete flop, based on the findings, but it is actually detrimental for patients with cancer. Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the shock findings which, not surprisingly, are being ignored by the mainstream scientific community, highlight in full detail how chemotherapy causes healthy cells to release a protein that actually feeds cancer cells and causes them to thrive and proliferate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Texas Sheriff Joins Growing List of Those Who Will Not Tolerate Unconstitutional Gun Grabs From Feds

(NaturalNews) In response to calls from President Obama and his allies in Congress for expanded gun control measures, a movement is spreading among local sheriffs: More of them are standing up and saying publicly they won’t enforce any new laws they consider unconstitutional, specifically any new statutes calling for outright gun bans.

The latest local law enforcement official to lay down a pro-gun gauntlet is Collin County, Texas, Sheriff Terry Box, who declared that neither he nor his deputies would enforce unconstitutional gun laws passed or decreed by those he calls misguided politicians.

‘I won’t participate in the enforcement of laws that violate our constitutional rights’

Box issued a statement recently laying out his position:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Too Much Brotherhood

By Roger Kaplan

As noted about a month ago in this space, the controversial policy of equipping the Egyptian air force with F-16s will proceed, with the full blessing of the State Department, according to the Washington Free Beacon, which picked up the latest of this long-simmering story from FoxNews.

State, according to the Free Beacon, is eager for the deal to close because it will enhance “U.S. security interests.” Deal to close is putting if very liberally, since it is certain who the mark in this deal is: the U.S. taxpayer. The “foreign aid,” as State qualifies it, includes as well 200 Abrams tanks, the Free Beacon reports…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

Canadians Can Stop Sun From Setting on Feisty Sun Media

An antiseptic sun that effectively pierces the shadows of slanted news coverage — and that finally made Canadian TV worth watching — will sink fast behind the horizon if the Sun media fails to rally Canadians to its Canadian First TV campaign…

You need to be Sherlock Holmes of the television channel search to find Sun News after the Quebecor-owned network was moved by cable provider giant Rogers’ from Channel 15 to Channel 144, effectively cutting Sun viewership in half.

Sun News is now available in some 5.1 million Canadian households, compared with 11.6 million for rival Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News Network. But bastion of the left CBC, funded by taxpayers to the tune of $1.1 billion per year, has been around since the days of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Viewers not being able to easily find Sun News among the channel listings, in part cost Sun News $17 million in 2012.

The campaign to bury Sun News began even before it went live.

[Comments: Rogers moving SunTV from channel 15 to 144 had put SunTV outside the range of many analog TVs with built in converters. This was really a despicable and sleazy step made by Rogers.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Antibiotic Resistance is Now as Serious a Threat as Terrorism and Could Trigger an ‘Apocalyptic Scenario’, Warns UK’s Top Doctor

Growing numbers of drug-resistant diseases could trigger an ‘apocalyptic scenario’ comparable to a catastrophic terrorist attack, Britain’s chief medical officer warned yesterday.

Dame Sally Davies said there was risk that within 20 years people going for simple operations would die of routine infections because we may ‘run out of antibiotics’ that work.

She told MPs the threat from infections that are resistant to antibiotics was so serious that the issue should be added to the Government’s national risk register of civil emergencies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Austria: Lego Accused of Racism With Star Wars Set

Lego has been accused of racism by the Turkish community over a Star Wars model that supposedly resembles one of Istanbul’s most revered mosques.

Austria’s Turkish community said the model was based on Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul and that the accompanying figures depicted Asians and Orientals as people with “deceitful and criminal personalities.”

The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria released a statement calling for Lego to apologise for affronting religious and cultural feelings.

The anger was provoked by “Jabba’s Palace”, a model of the home of Jabba the Hutt from Lego’s Star Wars product range based on the blockbusting series of science fiction films.

Jabba is the large slug-like creature who holds Han Solo captive in the film Return of the Jedi, and his palace is the setting for several crucial scenes, including using Princess Leia as his slave.

Jabba’s domed home and accompanying watchtower bare, according to the statement, an unwanted resemblance to Istanbul’s great Hagia Sophia, and another mosque in Beirut.

Austria’s Turkish community also took issue with the figures that went with the palace, including Jabba. “The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” said the statement posted on the organisation’s website.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Austrian Muslims Claim Jabba’s Palace Lego Toy is Racist as it is ‘Based on Iconic Mosque in Istanbul’

Lego has been accused of racism by the Turkish community over a Star Wars toy allegedly depicting a mosque.

The critics claim that the Jabba’s Palace model, part of Lego’s Star Wars range, offends Muslims as it resembles the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul — one of the world’s most renowned mosques.

Members of the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria group also accused the toy manufacturer of depicting Asians as having ‘deceitful and criminal personalities’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bank of Italy Scrutinizing Activities at Troubled MPS

Stock plunges amid derivatives scandal at world’s oldest bank

(ANSA) — Milan, January 23 — Officials from the Bank of Italy are carefully scrutinizing documents related to troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), the banking supervisor said in a statement late Wednesday.

“The true nature of certain transactions…have emerged only recently,” said the Bank of Italy, which supervises banks in Italy.

Its comments came in the wake of a derivatives scandal at Italy’s third-largest lender, which saw its stock plunge more than 8% on Wednesday.

At the same time, MPS executives came under intense pressure to explain to shareholders what was behind 2012 losses that could reach 220 million euros. The Bank of Italy said MPS operations now have the full attention of supervisory authorities, adding the bank was cooperating with investigators.

Just one day earlier, news broke that a three-year-old derivative deal with Japanese bank Nomura meant that MPS will book an additional loss of at least 220 million euros.

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.

Controversy also swirled Wednesday over a request made last November, when 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.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Baroness Warsi: Fewer Than One in Four People Believe Islam is Compatible With British Way of Life

Fewer than one in four people now believe that following Islam is compatible with a British way of life, Britain’s most senior Muslim minister will warn today.

Highlighting unpublished research showing that a majority of the country now believes that Islam is a threat to Western civilisation Baroness Sayeeda Warsi will say that “underlying, unfounded mistrust” of Muslims is in itself fuelling extremism.

And she will cite new figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers showing that between 50 to 60 per cent of all religious hate crimes reported to police in Britain are now perpetrated against Muslims.

“My fear is that seeing one community as the ‘other’ is a slippery slope that will enable extremists to advance their twisted interests unchecked,” she will say.

“I don’t have to remind anyone what happens when an unfounded suspicion of one people can escalate into unspeakable horror.”

Two years ago Baroness Warsi, who has responsibility in Government for faith and communities, was criticised claiming that Islamophobia in Britain “had passed the dinner table test”.

But in her speech to a support service for those who have suffered anti-Muslim attacks Baroness Warsi will say new data supports the evidence of widespread anti-Muslim feeling in the UK.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Belgians Are Richest Europeans’

Le Soir, 17 January 2013

Belgians are Europe’s biggest savers with an average household financial worth of €67,000, made up of bank accounts and other investments. This is slightly more than their Dutch neighbours (€61,219), and much higher than French (€41,407) and German (€38,702) households.

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

Brunost: The Norwegian Cheese That’s a Hot Topic

Norwegian brown cheese was in the news this week when a consignment caught fire in a road tunnel, but what is it and how is it eaten? Let an expert explain

News reports of a protracted fire in a tunnel involving Norway’s beloved brunost (brown cheese) spread beyond the county of Nordland this week. In rather understated style, Kjell Bjorn Vinje of the public roads administration said: “I didn’t know that brown cheese burns so well.”

You don’t have to be a biochemist to know that fat and sugar are quite combustible, and any Norwegian cook will tell you that with its low melting point and high fat content brown cheese is easy to use in dishes, but it seems unlikely that anyone in the police department or at the local brown cheese production facility would have a contingency plan for a scenario in which 27 tonnes of the stuff catches fire in a tunnel.

It has, however, brought some attention to a little-known oddity in the cheese world. It’s fair to say brunost hasn’t a huge fanbase outside Norway (and the photo caption on yesterday’s news story illustrates just how well known it appears to be).

So what exactly is brown cheese? It’s quite unusual. Visitors often say that it tastes like a sweet-savoury, fudgey Caramac, which may sound unpromising. I’d rather describe it as a deeply savoury dulce de leche, and as such it can be a challenge to non-Norwegians. The sweetness comes from overcooking whey until a Maillard reaction kicks in and the milk sugars caramelise. Brown cheese doesn’t go through any maturation process, and it keeps in the fridge for a few months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Evidence Grows for Narcolepsy Link to GSK Swine Flu Shot

(Reuters) — Emelie Olsson is plagued by hallucinations and nightmares. When she wakes up, she’s often paralyzed, unable to breathe properly or call for help. During the day she can barely stay awake, and often misses school or having fun with friends. She is only 14, but at times she has wondered if her life is worth living.

Emelie is one of around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe who developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 2009.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fewer Than One in Four People Think Islam is Compatible With British Life, Faith Minister Warns

Fewer than one in four British voters believes Islam is compatible with the British way of life, the UK’s first Muslim woman Cabinet Minister reveals today.

Baroness Warsi will quote private police figures which show that more than half of race hate attacks in Britain are against Muslims as she condemns critics of Islam for peddling ‘hate’.

Lady Warsi sparked huge controversy two years ago when she said Britain’s approach to Muslims has made Islamophobia acceptable at middle class dinner parties.

But in a new speech today she accuses critics of Islam of being ‘un-British’ themselves by grouping ordinary Muslims with extremists.

The Minister for Faith and Communities reveals stark polling conducted by YouGov which found that just 24 per cent of voters think Islam is compatible with being British, while more than half disagree. Only 23 per cent say Islam is not a threat to Western civilisation.

An unrepentant Lady Warsi, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan, said that she was right to speak out before and will use the new evidence to warn that the ‘underlying, unfounded mistrust’ of Muslims is fuelling extremism.

In her speech to a group called Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks, which monitors violence against Muslims, Lady Warsi condemned politicians and the media for failing to do enough to combat negative views of Muslims.

‘When I said that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner table test”, I meant anti-Muslim sentiment had become so socially acceptable, it could be found even in the most civilised of settings.

‘I got a fair amount of stick for making that statement. There were those who denied the problem existed. There were those who said talking about it was dangerous.

‘But let me tell you what’s really dangerous. It’s when people are treated differently because they hold a different religious belief. It’s when a country turns a blind eye towards that discrimination.

‘And it’s when we allow a perception of a people to become so entrenched that extremists are able to capitalise on it. Because any form of prejudice, bigotry or discrimination is wrong. It’s unBritish.’ Lady Warsi will quote new figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers showing that between 50 to 60 per cent of all religious hate crimes reported to police are now against Muslims.

The police have never previously broken down hate crimes by individual religions.

And she will reveal the polling information for the first time to back up her case. It was commissioned by Dr Matthew Goodwin of Nottingham University — an expert in extremism.

Two years ago Lady Warsi was condemned for dismissing what many people saw as legitimate criticism of Islamist extremism.

But she will said that it is her critics, not her, who are to blame for boosting extremists.

‘My fear is that seeing one community as the “other” is a slippery slope that will enable extremists to advance their twisted interests unchecked,’ she said.

‘I don’t have to remind anyone what happens when an unfounded suspicion of one people can escalate into unspeakable horror.’ Baroness Warsi said more should be done to promote Muslim role models such as Olympic hero Mo Farah.

‘To those who say that there is a conflict of being loyal to Britain and a Muslim, you have to look no further than Mohamed Farah,’ she said.

‘Our national hero is a practising Muslim. The double gold medallist saw no conflict between crossing the finish line in the Union Flag and dropping to the ground in prayer. In fact, he showed how seamlessly religion and patriotism can go together.’

She will conclude by condemning those who say Muslims are unpatriotic, citing research among Muslims that showed 83 per were proud to be British, compared to 79 per cent of Britons overall.

And she said that both her grandfathers fought for Britain during the Second World War.

‘I will not take lessons on loyalty from those on the extreme right who demonstrate the ideology of intolerance — the very fascism that my grandparents fought all those years ago.’

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

France’s Richest Man Moves to Belgium and Takes Multi-Billion Pound Fortune With Him ‘To Avoid New Socialist Super-Tax’

The richest man in France has officially transferred his multi-billion pounds fortune out of his Socialist-run homeland, it was confirmed today.

Bernard Arnault, the 63-year-old head of luxury goods group LVMH, insists that he moved the cash and assets for ‘family inheritance reasons’.

But others are convinced that, like numerous other tycoons and celebrities, he simply wants to avoid taxes including a 75 per cent top rate on income being introduced by President Francois Hollande.

Mr Arnault, who owns numerous homes around the world including one in London, applied for a Belgian passport soon after Mr Hollande’s Socialists won presidential and parliamentary elections last year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Survey: NEA Dimokratia Ahead

Followed by Syriza and neo-nazi party Chrys Avgi

(ANSAmed) — Athens, January 23 — Nea Dimokratia, the centre-right party led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, is back in first position though with a marginal 0.2% lead, in spite of harsh austerity measures to tackle Greece’s economic crisis, according to a survey by polling institute Marc commissioned by private radio station Alpha. According to the survey, 22.5% of would-be voters back Nea Dimokratia, while 22.3% support Syriza. Third place with 9.7% goes to neo-Nazi party Chrys Avgi (Golden Dawn), followed by the Socialist Pasok at 5.7%, the right-wing Anexartitit Ellines at 5.6%, the Democratic Left Dimar with 4.6% and the Greek Communist party KKe with 4.3%.

Premier Samaris remains the country’s most popular politician for 53.2% of those polled against the 30.9% of Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras. The survey also revealed that 51.1% of would-be voters are not satisfied by the policies implemented by the government coalition, against 37.2% who expressed satisfaction, while 63.7% against 32.3% would like the government to complete its term in office.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Islam: 74% of French Say It’s an ‘Intolerant’ Religion

New Ipsos survey, published on Le Monde.fr

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 24 — A new survey by Paris-based Ipsos research company on Thursday showed 74% of French respondents believe the Muslim religion is “intolerant” and incompatible with their social values.

The survey, published on the Le Monde newspaper website, also showed eight out of 10 French people believe the Islamic religion tries to impose its views on others, 10% believe a majority of Muslims are fundamentalists, and another 44% believe a many but not all Muslims are fundamentalists. Most respondents did not know how to define fundamentalism, however.

The data varied across age groups and political affiliations, but represents a majority in each category of respondents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Opposition’s Grillo Accuses Unions of Toting Party Line

(AGI) Lecce, Jan 19 — Beppe Grillo, leader of the opposition party M5S (Five Star Movement), accused Italy’s top three labour unions of toting the party line. “They’re in collusion with those in power. I’m not talking about the small unions, but the big trio, CGIL, CISL, and UIL, are the same thing as the parties,” he stated in Lecce (Apulia). Grillo’s criticisms follow similar statements on Friday, which were poorly received by unions and political parties both left and right, but the leader of M5S continued his assault unperturbed. “Unions will become useless,” he told a crowd gathered in Lecce notwithstanding the rain. “We should put workers on companies’ board of directors.” .

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

Italy: Obama ‘Sun-Tanned’ Remark ‘A Compliment’ Says Berlusconi

‘Shows good health’ says ex-premier

(ANSA) — Rome, 24 January — Calling US President Barack Obama “sun-tanned” was a compliment, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said on Italian radio Thursday.

Berlusconi played down the fuss the remark made after Obama’s first inauguration four years ago.

“Sun-tanned was a compliment. I would have liked to have his colour, which shows good health,” said the centre-right leader, who is running for a fourth term as premier in February 24-25 elections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bersani Blasts Monti’s ‘Dangerous Position’ On Union

Outgoing premier says left-wing CGIL blocked reform

(ANSA) — Rome, January 24 — Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Thursday that outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti had adopted a “dangerous position” regarding the nation’s biggest union, the leftwing CGIL.

Monti said this week that it will be difficult for Bersani to rule if he wins next month’s election because of the influence his centre-left Democratic Party (PD) allows the CGIL to have, He also said governing will be tough because of the election pact the PD has formed with the leftwing SEL party.

Monti, who is standing for office on a reform platform backed by several centrist parties, reiterated his criticism of the CGIL Thursday, saying the union had stood in the way of some of the reforms his emergency technocrat government tried to introduce since taking power in November 2011.

The CGIL was against many of Monti’s measures and the opposition it and the PD presented to a controversial reform of the labour market led to it being watered down.

“The labour market reform did not go far enough,” Monti said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“It’s the fault of one trade union that decisively resisted change and did not sign an agreement that the others signed.

This culture should change”.

Bersani, whose alliance is ahead in the polls but has seen ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition make big inroads into the lead in recent weeks, said Monti was wrong about the influence the CGIL had on the PD and suggested the former European commissioner had an arrogant attitude.

“It’s ridiculous to attribute the CGIL with command of the PD,” Bersani said on state broadcaster Rai.

“It amazes me that someone like Monti follows these things that are blown up by the right. When you are in government, all the unions are your children.

“And the CGIL is a union with a million members. This position is dangerous…

“We are a party of the people that does not look at them from above, but eye to eye”. The CGIL got some support in the debate from an unexpected source when Giorgio Squinzi, the head of Italy’s powerful industrial employers’s association Confindustria, said that the union was not “an obstacle to reforms or interventions for growth”. “We are all in the same boat, in the middle of a perfect storm, so we all have to row in the same direction,” Squinzi added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi ‘Not Recently in Touch With Merkel’

Former premier says reason may be related to comments

(ANSA) — Rome, January 24 — Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi said he had not had recent communications with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that perhaps a reason was that he once shouted “peekaboo” at her during an official visit in Trieste.

“I have a great familiarity with her, and the week before Putin had done the same to me,” Bersluconi said during an Italian radio interview on Thursday. “With Merkel I have a cordial relationship”. Berlusconi went on to deny reported insults he made in 2011 about Merkel’s sex appeal.

“She was told things that I reportedly said about her, which I would never have said about her or anyone else,” he said. Berlusconi is the leader of Italy’s center-right coalition, one of the main contenders in the upcoming February 24-25 elections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Latvians Don’t Want to Let Go of Their Lats

Latvia is getting ready to introduce the euro in January 2014, but politicians worry about little support for the single currency. Only 30 percent of Latvians want to switch from lats and santims to euros and cents.

Latvian government officials boast that the country already meets the Maastricht criteria, a set of four requirements that have to be achieved in order to join the eurozone. The Baltic nation plans to ask EU officials in January for the green light to adopt the euro. But Latvian politicians worry that there’s little support for the single currency among Latvians who want to keep their own money.

“I feel like I am being deprived of my personal money. I live here in Latvia and I associate the country with several clear symbols like the national anthem, the Latvian flag, the language and our lats and santims,” says 60-year old playwright Lelde Stumbre. “And if the national currency is taken away, it seems like the whole thing will start to fall apart.”

It’s not just about money, says Stumbre, as she jingles lats and santims in her red purse. It’s about the history and what distinguishes Latvia from other countries. She has spent most of her life living under Soviet rule and paying in roubles — a currency imposed on Latvia for five decades. Latvians have been using their money only since 1993 when the rouble was replaced by lats and santims. This is why Stumbre wants the country to keep its national coins and banknotes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Right-Wing Extremism and Islamophobia in Germany

Sending out a Political Signal

In this essay, Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, warns against the trivialisation of anti-Islamic tendencies and right-wing extremist violence, both of which are increasingly posing a threat to social peace in Germany

In the wake of 9/11, a new brand of home-grown right-wing terrorism was able to emerge in Germany. Even specially drafted anti-terror laws didn’t help because right-wing radicalism had been underestimated and sometimes even structurally repressed for too long. After the brutal right-wing extremist terrorist attacks in Norway, it became clear in Germany too that right-wing terrorists were capable of carrying out the worst attacks the country had seen since the Second World War. This led Germany’s attorney general to say that the terrorist acts perpetrated by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) were “Germany’s 9/11”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Scientists Race to Develop Floating Wind Farms

In order to take advantage of high wind speeds on the open seas, the race is on to create wind turbines and wind farms that float on the surface of the water. But, the jury is still out on which is the best method.

Erecting a wind turbine in the middle of the ocean is a costly and time-consuming business. Most importantly, the structure must be anchored at the bottom of the sea to ensure its stability in the face of extreme wind and rough seas. The project is normally only feasible up to depths of 50 meters of water.

But, a new generation of wind turbines no longer has that problem. Mounted on pontoons which are attached to the ocean floor by long steel cables, floating wind turbines are now the new trend in the renewable energy scene. First prototypes are already being tested.

The world’s most advanced floating wind turbine has floated in the North Sea off Norway since 2009. It’s called the Hywind turbine, and looks like a kind of giant, bottle-shaped buoy. The tower with the rotor blades at its tip rises high into the air, while the body of the turbine is settled deep in the ocean, weighed with cement ballast. This gives it the stability it needs to stay upright in heavy weather.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Storm Clouds Crawling With Bacteria

The storm clouds in Earth’s atmosphere are filled with microbial life, according to a new study.

The research, published today (Jan. 23) in the journal PLoS One, revealed that hailstones drawn from storm clouds harbor several species of bacteria that tend to reside on plants, as well as thousands of organic compounds normally found in soil. Some of the bacterial species can seed the tiny ice crystals that lead to rain, suggesting they play a role in causing rain.

“Those storm clouds are quite violent phenomena,” said study co-author Tina Santl Temkiv, an environmental chemist at Aarhus University in Denmark. “They are sucking huge amounts of air from under the clouds, and that’s how the bacteria probably got into the cloud.”

In the past, researchers have found bacterial life in clouds that drift over mountaintops. Bacteria have been found as far up as 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) and may even survive as spores into space, Temkiv said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Albanian Gangster Behind Three Murders is Still in the UK Despite 19 Court Battles to Extradite Him

An Albanian gangster convicted of three murders is still in the UK almost a year after his arrest and is now likely to claim asylum.

Ndricim Sadushi, 42, has been on the run for 15 years and is receiving legal aid in his fight against extradition back to Albania that is costing the UK taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds.

His case has been listed before judges 19 times during the lengthy court battle.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard today there is a ‘suggestion’ he will appeal for asylum.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Former Soldier Sends His Medals to Prince Charles After Fight to Stay in the UK Leaves His Family Facing Financial Ruin

A Fijian soldier who spent 13 years in the Army has sent his four medals to the Prince of Wales after a fight against deportation from the UK left him facing bankruptcy.

Bale Baleiwai, 32, sent the medals to Prince Charles with a letter saying that they had lost their meaning because of the treatment received by him and his British wife and children.

The father-of-two could lose his Bournemouth, Dorset, house and faces possible bankruptcy after a costly fight to stay in the UK which he won last month.

Solitary_One comments: This country has gone mad. Booting this guy out after 12 years service to the nation, yet we allow the gutter trash of Eastern Europe and beyond can come here at will.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Isabella Freeman: Lutfur Rahman’s Little Helper Who Brings Council Standards ‘Into Serious Dispute’

by Andrew Gilligan

Among the most interesting members of the dreadful crew around Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked executive mayor of Tower Hamlets, is the council’s assistant chief executive, a woman called Isabella Freeman (above). She is one of the borough’s shrinking band of senior white officials who has not been sacked or decided to leave.

Last year, it can now be revealed, both Labour and Conservative members of Tower Hamlets council overwhelmingly passed a motion recommending disciplinary action against Freeman. It was passed in a secret session of the full council but has so far made no difference whatever to Freeman’s position. It has not even been reportable until now.

Freeman is responsible for the “standards regime,” the code of conduct for Tower Hamlets councillors. Last week in the Commons, under parliamentary privilege, the former local government minister, Bob Neill, told how Freeman and Lutfur’s supporters have “abused” the standards regime to hound the mayor’s opponents and protect him, bringing it into “serious disrepute.”

Anti-Lutfur councillors — including the Labour leader, Josh Peck, his predecessor Helal Abbas and the Tory leader, Peter Golds — have, said Neill, been subject to a “history of vexatious complaints” by Rahman supporters and placed under costly and time-consuming investigations by Freeman for Kafkaesque supposed “offences” which amount, in essence, to “doing what many people would regard as their duty.” What Neill called the most “frankly scandalous” example involves me. You may remember that my interest in Tower Hamlets began, in March 2010, when I made a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary describing how Lutfur won the then council leadership with the help of the IFE, an extremist Islamic group which wants to turn Britain into a sharia state. (For a full list of Lutfur’s controversies, see here.)

One of Lutfur’s key actions after taking control was to appoint a man with close links to the IFE, Lutfur Ali, as assistant chief executive of the council, its second most important job. We showed the absurdity of this hire by quoting a leaked headhunter’s report of his job interview, which described him as a “marginal,” “limited,” “superficial” and “one-dimensional” candidate who might “struggle intellectually” with the job. The CV submitted by Mr Ali was also leaked, showing he’d given false dates for a previous post and had omitted the fact that he’d been forced to resign from it for breaching the local authority code of conduct. After we revealed his links to the IFE, and after it also emerged that he was moonlighting for a second public-sector employer, Mr Ali was forced to resign from Tower Hamlets, too…

[Reader comment by wicker on 23 January 2013 at 9:40 am.]

From what the non-Muslim people I know who still have the courage to live in Tower Hamlets tell me, it’s true that Tower Hamlets is almost there — it’s becoming an Islamic caliphate in the midst of our capital city. That’s why Andrew Gilligan’s courage in speaking out is to be applauded. It’s heartening that so many posting here have woken up to what’s happening, and that our own political parties are complicit in the rise of racist, hate driven Islamism. I believe the only way to stop the destruction of our non-Muslim communities and of everything we stand for is to use what rights we have left of freedom of speech to keep holding the mirror up to Cameron’s/Clegg’s/Milliband’s despicable failure to stop it because of the UK’s servitude to the European masters of the EU.

Isabella Freeman’s no fool, she’s got her snout in the trough and she’ll guzzle all she can. I don’t believe the question of how she’s still in her job is the only one that needs to be asked — we need to know exactly how she came to be a councillor in the first place, given some of the Tower Hamlets electorate are not above election fraud.

Tower Hamlets is one of the more worrying examples of how our local councils have become weapons in the cause of jihad, along with Social Services Departments’ woeful record in protecting young non-Muslim girls from sexual abuse by Muslims. This case is far from unusual, my own local council is becoming more and more entranced by Islam and Islamism. Its version of commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day has as one of its centre pieces how the poor Muslims of Kosovo have been persecuted by those evil Christian Serbs. That compatriots of these same Muslims have been complicit in the torture and murder of thousands of Serbian Christians doesn’t even enter into it, nor does the fact that because the West aided Kosovo in the Balkans war, Kosovo is the hub of the jihad movement in the Balkans, all chafing at the bit to get into Europe and cause real damage. The Serbs were the only ones between them and the Islamisation of Europe (it’s happening as we speak). I’d also like to know why my local council thinks council tax payers should foot the bill for housing Muslim asylum seekers en masse to the detriment of families who have been on the housing waiting list for months.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Man in Court Accused of Killing Student Kieran Crump Raiswell

Imran Akhtar Hussain, 26, made a two-minute appearance charged with the murder of the 18-year-old in Whalley Range last week

A man has appeared in court accused of stabbing a gap-year student to death in the street in Manchester. Imran Akhtar Hussain, 26, made a two-minute appearance charged with the murder of Kieran Crump Raiswell last week. Unshaven and wearing a dark blue sweater and trousers, Hussain, of Tilehurst Lane, Bracknell, Berkshire, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address from the dock at Trafford Magistrates’ Court. The court heard he is a student living in Coventry but his family home is in Bracknell. He was also charged with common assault by beating Paul Kershaw in Nottingham on January 4. No pleas were entered. Lynn Rogers, prosecuting, told the court: “The common assault, the crown say, there is a nexus between the two offences and they are linked.” There was no application for bail and Hussain was remanded into custody by Anne Marie Evans, chairwoman of the bench, to appear at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.

Mr Crump Raiswell, described as a “caring and quiet” teenager, died after he was stabbed in the heart while walking along the street in broad daylight in an apparently motiveless attack. On a gap year before starting university, his family said the youngster “had his whole life ahead of him”, and may have been intending to hand out his CV to shops and businesses when he was attacked while walking through Whalley Range in south Manchester on January 16. He was given first aid by a passing fire crew but his injuries proved too severe and he died in hospital. A post-mortem examination concluded he died from a stab wound to the chest. Mr Crump Raiswell lived with his father, an interpreter, and mother, a council worker, along with a younger brother and sister in the Chorlton area of south Manchester. He was due to go to Sheffield Hallam University in the autumn to study history.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Notorious Killer Who Wants to Move to Open Prison Granted Anonymity by High Court Judge Using Human Rights Laws

A judge has used human rights laws to ban the identification of a notorious killer who wants to be set free.

The man — whose crimes shocked the public years ago — is currently challenging a Parole Board decision refusing him a transfer to an open jail with limited security.

This is typically the last step taken by killers before they are freed back on to the streets.

Yesterday the high court sparked fury by saying the man might be in danger if other inmates found out his identity.

Mr Justice Simon, sitting in London, rejected submissions from the Press that granting the killer anonymity was setting a precedent for other high-profile prisoners to seek anonymity.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Pupils Aged Just Twelve Given Nicotine Patches by Nurses on Visits to Schools Without Telling Their Parents

Nicotine patches are being handed out to schoolchildren as young as 12 on the NHS without their parents’ knowledge, it has emerged.

Nurses employed by NHS South West Essex have been distributing patches to young pupils during fortnightly visits to schools, where they speak to children confidentially.

One mother said parents should have been consulted on the decision to hand out the powerful substitute patches.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Quick-Thinking Boy, 11, Dubbed a Hero After Saving His Mother From Plastic Surgery by Packing Snow on Her Arm When She Burned it on Car Radiator

An 11-year-old boy has been hailed a hero for rubbing snow into the wounds of his screaming mother moments after she had been badly burnt.

Debbie Pyett, 41, was driving to Stevenage with her son Tommy when the temperature gauge of her BMW shot up.

She pulled over to check the car’s radiator but as she lifted up the bonnet the tank lid blew off splashing red hot water onto her face, right arm and hand.

Stunned Debbie began to scream in pain and shock as her skin began to peel away but brave son Tommy kept his cool and began collecting snow to put on her burns.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Head of Egypt’s Shoura Council Calls for Stopping a ‘Hot Movie’ On a Plane Trip

The head of Egypt’s Shoura council caused a stir during a flight from Sudan to Egypt when he called on the plane’s staff to stop screening a movie featuring “Hot Scenes,”, according to an Egyptian daily.

Ahmed Fahmy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and parliament’s upper house speaker, wanted to put a stop to the screening of the movie on the flight. However, passengers on the flight rejected his requests to do so, according to the Egyptian privately owned Arabic daily Al Masry Al Youm.

A brief verbal altercation took place during the flight between the crew and the council delegation which was resolved when the captain intervened and lifted the television screens in front of the council members.

Fahmy was on a visit to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to stress the importance of revitalizing relations between Egypt and Sudan.

The speaker claimed that Egypt’s parliamentary body had established a new committee to serve mutual Egyptian and African interests in the region, reported Arab Today.net.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Some Algeria Attackers Are Placed at Benghazi

ALGIERS — Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.

The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kidnappers, the official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians’ role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said.

If confirmed, the link between two of the most brazen assaults in recent memory would reinforce the transborder character of the jihadist groups now striking across the Sahara. American officials have long warned that the region’s volatile mix of porous borders, turbulent states, weapons and ranks of fighters with similar ideologies creates a dangerous landscape in which extremists are trying to collaborate across vast distances.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday about the Libyan attack that killed the American ambassador and three staff members, raised the specter of regional cooperation among extremists soon after the mission in Benghazi was overrun.

In particular, she said the Islamist militant takeover of northern Mali had created a “safe haven” for terrorists to “extend their reach” and work with other extremists in North Africa, “as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” though she offered no clear evidence of such ties.

Now the Algerians say the plot to seize the gas complex in the desert was hatched in northern Mali as well. Indeed, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the veteran militant who has claimed overall responsibility for the siege, is believed to be based there.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No Enemies to the Left

The disastrous results in Israel’s election are yet another example of the right cannibalizing itself. It’s not the first time this happened in Israeli political history or American political history or European political history. It’s an ongoing theme whose motto is still, “No enemies to the left.”

What the “mainstream” conservatives fear most of all is a drift to the right. Some of this is the whimper of whipped dogs. Every party to the right of Stalin has had to spend decades fending off accusations that it was the second coming of the Third Reich, the KKK and Genghis Khan. The Pavlovian training has taken hold and every conservative echelon is expert at going into damage control mode when it senses that its own right might do something that would give the left fuel for their accusations.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Palestine — Morsi Minces Two-State Solution

Any hope of a negotiated two-state solution being achieved under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map has been blown away following the publication of statements made by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in September 2010 — which have recently surfaced and come back to haunt him in January 2013.

President Obama must rue the day he made the following reported comment in the New York Times after the Gaza ceasefire on November 21:

“Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence . He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology.”

To the contrary — Morsi’s 2010 statements reveal a great deal of ideology concerning the two-state solution and Jews.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Shoah: Survival is Our Revenge, Says Chief Rabbi Lau

‘The dead don’t give us the right to forgive,’ at Rome synanogue

(ANSAmed) — ROME — “Our revenge is survival. The Jewish people live,” Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Ysrael Meir Lau said to thundering applause at Rome’s synagogue on Thursday.

The rabbi, 75, is on a visit to the Italian capital ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, which was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005 to commemorate the genocide of 6 million Jews, 2 million Gypsies (Roma and Sinti), 15,000 gays, and millions of others by the Nazis and their collaborators. A Holocaust survivor, the rabbi was accompanied by the highest Roman Jewish authorities and reached the synagogue in Rome’s former ghetto to find it packed to the rafters, including some politicians, former deportees, and most of all, throngs of children and young people, come to hear of his concentration camp experiences first-hand.

“I was liberated from Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, by the Americans,” commenced the rabbi, who lost most of his relatives to extermination in the camps. “I was eight years old, and my brother Naftali was with me. They sent us to a sanatorium in France, where they tried to rehabilitate us, both physically and spiritually.” But while the body’s wounds heal, those of the soul continue to fester: Lau and the other 220 children in the sanatorium, future activist and Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel among them, felt like “the dried bones described by the Prophet Ezekiel”, unable to cry. One day, the children were asked to meet with the city authorities who were sponsoring the sanatorium.

“We were angry,” said the rabbi. “Those people had forgotten about us and our families while we were being trapped in ghettos, deported, killed. We decided to keep our eyes to the ground for the entire visit.” The protest lasted until the last person in the city delegation began to speak: a Jewish former internee who lost his wife and kids in the camps. “He was so overwhelmed, all he could say were two words, in Yiddish: ‘dear children’. We raised our eyes in unison, and saw that he was crying,” said Lau. “We all burst into tears. For five minutes, we all cried. Then one of us spoke up and thanked him on behalf of all of us, because he’d given us the greatest gift: the ability to cry again. At last we were no longer dried bones, unable to shed a tear. We were human again.” But this, said the rabbi, does not mean forgetting, or forgiving.

“Who gives me the right to forgive?” asked Lau. “Is it my family, whom the Nazis slaughtered in the fullness of their lives? Our revenge is that in spite of everything, we are still here, and we have our state. Everywhere in the world, every yeshiva (Hebrew school), every synagogue are proof that the people of Israel live.” The rabbi’s words are sealed by the chanting of children from the local yeshiva chorus, as they sing to a misty-eyed congregation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

American Pastor Jailed in Iran Now Missing

Officials promised transfer for ‘better medical care’

A report coming from Iran today says the location of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini is unknown.

American Center for Law and Justice spokesman Gene Kapp said Iranian officials claimed they were moving the pastor to provide him better medical care.

“The judge in the case told Pastor Saeed’s attorney that he would transfer Pastor Saeed to another ward at the Evin Prison to receive better medical care,” Kapp said.

The pastor’s family and attorney have not been able to confirm his transfer or current whereabouts, according to Kapp.

The ACLJ said in a statement that the judge giving the order to move Abedini is a “hanging judge.”…

Sekulow told WND despite the single statement by the State Department official, the U.S. government is nearly MIA on Abedini’s case.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Government Loyalists Win Jordan Elections

Opposition boycotted the vote

(By Mohammad Ben Hussein) (ANSAmed) — AMMAN, 24 JANUARY — Traditional loyalists of king Abdullah unsurprisingly swept majority of the new parliament seats, according to initial results, despite victory of handful of independent candidates in Wednesday’s elections.

Early results in the parliament elections, boycotted by the opposition, were no different to the previous two elections in 2008 and 2010, with loyalists from the security, business and tribal base dominating the 17 the parliament.

A fragmented group of two dozens of independent liftists and Islamists MPs also won, the only force that could make noise in the parliament, said observes.

The Independent Elections Commission (IEC) said 1,23 million or around 56.69 per cent of the 2,3 million registered voters took part in the polls.

Final results were due later Thursday, as the polls were tainted by accusation of vote rigging by the opposition.

Rula Heroub, one of the few women to win in the open contest, said she will resign in protest against vote counting measures adopted by the commission.

The Islamist movement said it has proof that the elections were marred by fraud, including participation of the security forces in voting.

Describing the polls as a milestone in reform, officials from the commission said the polls have received applause from western observers.

Meanwhile, prime minister Abdullah Nesour is poised to resign as officials from the independent election commission prepare to announce final results.

The king is expected to meet MPs to discuss appointment of a new prime minister, a new protocol in line with recent constitutional amendments endorsed by the monarch.

The polls were marred by clashes between rival tribes and attacks on polling stations in rural areas. Police officials said a total of 46 incidents were reported in the first 11 hours of voting.

Two members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who broke ranks with the group and ran in the polls, won. They are likely to be fired from the group in the near future.

The Islamist movement refused to participate in the polls that it describes as repetition of same political narrative in previous two decades, where the royal court is in control of the country’s political destiny.

An international observation delegation fielded by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) said Wednesday’s parliamentary elections saw a marked improvement in procedures and administration from past polls. But it also found election day shortcomings and irregularities, as well as a number of systemic distortions.

“The unequal size of districts and an electoral system that amplifies family, tribal and national cleavages limit the development of a truly national legislative body and challenge King Abdullah’s stated aim of encouraging ‘full parliamentary government,’“ the mission said in a statement received by ANSA.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iran: Syria and North Korea Step Up Work on Biological Weapons

The sectarian war in Syria reportedly has claimed more than 60,000 lives and spawned concerns in the Middle East and the West about access to chemical weapons by non-state actors such as al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. Syriaâ€(tm)s chemical weapons stockpiles are of immediate concern to Israel, Jordan and the United States, whether in Syrian President Bashar Assadâ€(tm)s hands or those of terrorist organizations. Yet the locations of chemical weapons munitions and Scud missiles equipped with chemical warheads in Syria have been identified and are continually monitored. That is not the case with the arguably more dangerous biological weapons being developed by the nexus of Iran, Syria and North Korea.

More than 167 nations have signed the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention. Syria is a signatory but has not ratified the treaty. Iran, also a signatory, has ratified it, but is pursuing development of microbial agents with the aid of Russian and North Korean scientists who may be graduates of the Soviet-era Biopreparat program that created some of these dangerous biological agents.

Among the more than 16 biological agents that Iran reportedly is developing are anthrax, Ebola, encephalitis, biological toxins, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), cholera, smallpox and plague…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Gov’t Nixes First-Ever Civil Marriage

To challenge sectarianism, couple marries on a technicality

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, JANUARY 22 — Khulud, 30, and Nidal, 29, have been on the front pages of Lebanese newspapers for days: they are the first couple ever to marry via civil union in a country where such marriages are only recognized if they have been registered abroad, and it has become common for mixed-faith couples to marry in nearby Cyprus.

Counseled by activist lawyer Talal Husseini, the couple was able to circumvent the ban on civil marriages through a technicality, and thus challenge the law of the land in an effort to change social customs. Both of mixed Shiite-Sunni parents, Khulud and Nidal are observant Muslims from the Bekaa Valley.

“Civil weddings are not against religion,” says Khulud, who wears a veil and directs a language school. “We are believers, but we want Lebanon to be free from sectarianism, which divides instead of uniting the Lebanese people.” Her sentiment was echoed on Sunday by the Lebanese president himself, Michel Suleiman, who is a Maronite Christian. “We should work on drafting a civil marriage law. It is a very important step in eradicating sectarianism and solidifying national unity,” Suleiman wrote on his new Twitter profile.

While the Lebanese constitution enshrines equal rights among all Lebanese with no ethnic or religious distinctions, the country is de facto divided into myriad religious communities, whose leaders invariably oppose reform. As was the case in 1998, when clerics blocked then-president Elias Hrawi’s draft civil marriage bill. To please their families, Khulud and Nidal also had a religious wedding, but did not register it with the sharia, or Islamic law, tribunal. Interior Minister Marwan Sharbil, however, nixed their effort at civil union. “We don’t have laws regulating civil unions. Even if they got a notary public to sign off on it, who will judge possible future disputes over inheritance or divorce, and how?” the minister asked. Ahead of parliamentary elections in June 2013, few politicians are likely to stick their necks out over such radical reform.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Exiled Sociologist Pinar Selek Sentenced to Life

In fourth trial, for fatal 1998 explosion in Istanbul bazaar

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, JANUARY 24 — An Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced Turkish sociologist in exile, Pinar Selek, to life in prison on charges stemming from a 1998 explosion in that city’s Spice Bazaar that left seven people dead.

Selek has previously been tried and acquitted three times for complicity in the explosion, which was initially blamed on a Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) bomb, but which forensic experts two years later concluded had in fact been caused by a gas leak.

The sociologist, renowned for her work on Turkey’s conflict with its Kurdish minority, was first arrested in 1998 at the age of 28. She now lives in Strasbourg and did not return to Turkey to withstand trial, but today’s sentencing provoked an outcry among her many supporters in the courtroom, including cries of “Fascists!” from some foreign women activists. The country’s Supreme Court of Appeals at the end of last year overturned Selek’s prior acquittals, provoking an outcry in Turkey and internationally, with numerous Turkish artists and intellectuals taking her side. Actress Deniz Turkali called the proceedings a “farce trial” and the Socialist mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, denounced the “politically motivated judicial harassment” of the academic.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UAE: Alfa Romeo Presents Giulietta and MiTo

Gulf region latest part of Fiat Chrysler group expansion plan

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI — With an excursion from the flat desert scenes of Dubai to the rocky, more jagged panoramas of Hatta 160 km further north, Alfa Romeo’s MiTo and Giulietta have officially made their entrance into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market, the latest step in Fiat Chrysler’s consolidation and expansion strategy in the Middle East.

“In 2012 it was Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s turn, and they then enriched our regional presence in Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon and Palestine,” ANSA was told by Jack Rodencal, Fiat Chrysler’s director for the Middle East. He added that “Oman, Jordan and Iraq are scheduled to come onboard in 2013.” The group’s presence in the Middle East has undergone steady consolidation over the past three years, with 68% growth in 2012 compared with average growth in the market of 24%. The two Alfa Romeos will be distributed by the 24 concessionaires in the region. While retaining the concept, design and unique features of the Giulietta and MiTo global versions, the models have been modified to meet the climatic challenges of the oil-rich Gulf countries, where temperatures rise above 50 degrees Celsius during the summer months. Giulietta and MiTo, stars of the day, “are only the beginning of the Alfa Romeo offensive” in the region. “The aim is to double the 2011 sales volume and reach 4,200 vehicles,” said Louis Carl Vignon, Alfa Romeo director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In this internet era of ours, the strategy also focuses on social networks, with the Facebook page for the Middle East in Arabic and English.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

What’s Behind the ‘Attack’ On German Soldiers in Turkey?

The recent attack on German soldiers by a group of Turkish nationalists in Iskenderun reveals the distrust some Turks feel toward the West, NATO and the US. It seems likely that more protests will follow.

For the German soldiers deployed in Turkey to work on Patriot missile installations, there’s good reason to feel a bit confused. First the Turkish government demanded the assistance of NATO allies to defend itself against potential rocket attacks due to the turmoil in neighboring Syria.

Yet barely had German soldiers set foot on Turkish soil when they were met by protests and physical attacks by Turkish citizens. For weeks now, a colorful smattering of political groups, made up of nationalists, communists and Islamists have been protesting against the installation of Patriot missiles in Turkey. The attack on German soldiers in Iskenderun this week was the culmination of those demonstrations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Indonesian Ulema in Favour of Female Circumcision: A “Human Right”

The practice is “recommended” and according to “tradition”, although it can not be made compulsory. For the head of the MUI it is within the “human rights” and is “guaranteed by the Constitution.” Judge who “joked” about rape of women risks expulsion from judiciary.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — The Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) is in favour of female circumcision (and men) that, although it can not be considered mandatory, it is still “morally recommended.” This is shown by the words of the leader of the largest Islamic organization in the most populous Muslim country in the world. He warns, however, to avoid “excesses”, coming to the removal or cutting of the clitoris. In the meantime, has come under investigation and will be prosecuted by a court “ethical” the judge who, in recent days, he “joked” about sexual violence to women, causing a veritable wave of outrage (see AsiaNews 15/01 / 2013 Ordinary Indonesians against judges and politicians who “justify” sexual violence).

The reference point for Islamic issues (such as the legality of a food and a drink), a “consultor” to the government in matters of faith, the body responsible for issuing fatwas — the answers on Muslim questions of faith and morals — the MUI has taken a position on female circumcision. And by the mouth of his head, Kiai Hajj Amin Ma’ruf, pointed out that it is an”advisable practise on moral grounds”, at the same time, he rejects any attempt to declare this practice illegal or contrary to the principles. It comes under the sphere of “human rights,” said the Islamist leader, and is “guaranteed by the Constitution.”

“Female circumcision — said Amin — is commonly practiced by cutting out parts that cover the clitoris” and, at the same time, he invites believers to refrain from “excessive circumcision” that ends up becoming a real mutilation genital. He recalled that the Mui can not make this practice “mandatory”, but “strongly rejects” the possible cancellation of this “tradition” which is performed in a “ritualistic ceremony” and also applies to men.

Meanwhile, a committee has called for trial before an “ethical” court for the judge Daming Sunusi. During a question and answer session — in the context of a competition for a few places in the Supreme Court, headed by a parliamentary committee — responding to a question regarding a rape, the judge had stated that “both the rapist because the victim ‘enjoyed’ sexual intercourse .. For this reason the death penalty should not be applied to rapists”.

Colleagues have branded the words of the judge Sunusi as “reprehensible”, which have outraged the country’s civil society and women’s rights groups, rape and abuse victims. The proposed sanctions include expulsion from the judiciary. Following his statement he has tried to tone down the controversy by saying that it was a “joke” in order to ease the tension of the exam.

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

Is the Thai Tradition of Buddhism on the Decline?

Imagine a picture of Thailand and you might well come up with a scene of beautiful scenery and the Buddhist monks that are seen all over the country. Yet that might soon change. Numbers of those in the monkhood are a quarter of what they were twenty years ago; even those serving today don’t know if they will continue in the long term. The decline is being blamed on modernity and materialism, with the Thai people increasingly turning away from traditional religious practises.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

China Colonel Raises Nuclear Spectre

A CHINESE military officer has warned Australia not to side with the United States and Japan if war breaks out in the East China Sea.

Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu said the US and Japan had provoked the ire of the Chinese people for “violating the security, peace and stability of the Asia Pacific”.

He said China was a peace-abiding nation but would fight “to the death” if sufficiently provoked.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

N. Korea Vows Nuke Test Aimed at U.S.

Responds to U.N. resolution expanding sanctions

(FOX NEWS) SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea warned Thursday it plans to conduct more long-range rocket launches and carry out a “high-level” nuclear test targeted at the United States in response to a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning its December rocket launch and expanding sanctions.

The National Defense Commission, North Korea’s top military body, denounced Tuesday’s U.N. resolution to censure and sanction the regime for conducting missile activity that violates U.N. rules, according to a Reuters report.

The commission reaffirmed in its declaration that December’s rocket launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space, but also said the country’s rocket launches have a military purpose: to strike and attack the United States.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Korea Threatens Third Nuclear Test

North Korea has threatened the United States with a third nuclear test and further rocket launches. The threat comes after the UN Security Council expanded sanctions against the communist nation earlier in the week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Secret Horror of North Korean Prison Camps… and How Google Earth Has Helped to Unmask Them

The secret network of North Korean prison camps are being mapped out in unprecedented detail thanks to Google Earth.

The freely available application is being utilised by human rights activists to unmask the scale of the forced labour camps where more than 200,000 people are imprisoned.

Amnesty International is among the organisations that have praised the use of Google Earth in helping to reveal the truth in one of the world’s most secretive states.

Google Earth has also been used to reveal details about everyday life in North Korea — such as mosques in the capital Pyongyang and schools, roads and train stations.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hate Speech Warning as Dutch MP Geers Wilders Faces Protests

CONTROVERSIAL anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders will face protests from Muslims and others in Melbourne next month.

The Baillieu Government has also warned that Mr Wilders could fall foul of the state’s hate speech laws if he incites tensions.

Mr Wilders had been due to visit Australia last year but had to postpone the trip following delays in processing his visa.

He opposes the “Islamisation” of the Netherlands and has called for the banning of the Koran, which he equates with Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf.

Mr Wilders was invited to Australia by a nationalist group called the Q Society.

A meeting is planned for Melbourne on February 19, and there are appearance dates in Sydney and Perth.

Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad said he had been approached by Leftist groups about protests against the Right-wing politician.

Q Society spokesman Andrew Horwood said details of meetings would be released with only 48 hours’ notice, for security reasons…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Hillary Clinton Tries to Silence Bindi Irwin on Population Growth

Bindi Irwin has gotten into a biff with one of the world’s most powerful women.

The 14-year-old has stood her ground after an essay she was invited to write for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-journal was drastically edited before it was to be published.

The young conservationist, daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, was asked to write 800-1000 words on why she had chosen to devote her life’s work to wildlife conservation.

The piece was supposed to be published in the December issue titled Go Wild Coming Together for Conservation as part of Secretary Clinton’s endangered species initiative.

But after writing exactly 1000 words urging society to address overpopulation, the former first lady’s department returned it for final approval with most of it edited out…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

When it Comes to Law Reform, There’s No Pride in Ruling on Prejudice

EVERYONE harbours prejudice — I might avoid eye contact on the train with a stranger I consider looks threatening.

You might choose one product over another because of where it is made.

You might change your way of speaking based on someone’s ethnicity or garb.

I might seek another doctor’s opinion because I am worried about the youth of the first.

Discrimination, discernment and bias are part and parcel of being human and living in a nation where we feel free to make choices.

Not all discrimination is unlawful. And that’s how it should be.

But the proposed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill proposes to blow that principle wide open.

It aims for the impossible and goes too far — further than any other country has sensibly sought to go.

It not only seeks to blend and mix society up to the point where we are nothing but a big, gelatinous blob of nothing distinguishable, but it trips itself over.

The new legislation seeks to define discrimination as conduct that offends or insults and that is where its lofty aims come crashing down.

This definition flies in the face of the stated purpose of the proposed legislation to roll together and simplify what already exists.

It is impossible to have a single, simple definition to determine what is discriminatory because what offends or insults one might not incite those feelings in another.

The Bill is too big, too broad and too open to interpretation.

Already, too many of us have our dukes up with regard to discrimination.

We look to be wronged, offended, slighted on the grounds of some attribute like our gender, or skin colour, or relationship status and scream at the first hint someone is looking sideways at us in a way we don’t like.

If the Bill is enacted, we will be able to take our offence all the way to a legal forum.

While we all harbour prejudices, most of us do not act on them in a way that is unlawful: to break the law as it stands, we have to treat others with particular attributes differently from other people in a specific area of public life.

It is ironic that the Federal Government’s move to take the anti-discrimination legislation to the extreme would ultimately limit our rights to be free to choose because that expression of choice could break the law by offending another.

In an effort to make all people equal in all circumstances, the Government risks gagging us all…

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

Angolan Isabel Dos Santos is Richest Woman in Africa

(AGI) Luanda, Jan 24 — The oldest daughter of Angolan president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Isabel dos Santos, is the richest woman in Africa, according to Forbes magazine. The 40-year-old business woman is considered by Forbes to be worth at least over the USD 1 billion.

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

France Will Send Troops to Protect Niger’s Uranium Mines

(AGI) Paris, Jan. 24 — The French government intends to send special forces to protect Niger’s uranium mines.

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

Not Surprisingly, Castro’s Take on Gun-Control Coincides With Our Rulers’

My Texan friend, Bill Martin, sent me this link to a speech Fidel “Commie” Castro made on January 9, 1959, the day after his “victorious post-revolution entry into Havana, Cuba.” Although the reasons Commie lists for stealing Cubans’ guns differ from those of American politicians (instead of hiding behind “the children” a la his northern colleagues, Commie indignantly pooh-poohs the idea of defending oneself from his benevolent “revolutionary government” ), the two firmly agree that only cops and soldiers, rather than their victims, enjoy the right to be armed:

“All the arms that were found by the rebel army are stored and locked in barracks, where they belong. What are these arms for? Against whom are they going to be used?

“Against the revolutionary government that has the support of all the people? Do we have a dictatorship here? Are we going to take up arms against a free government that respects the rights of the people? We have a free country here. … There is no tormenting of political prisoners [well, that puts Commie’s Cuba one up on the US, doesn’t it?], no murders, no terror. When all the rights of the citizens have been restored … why do we need arms?

***Unclosed Item!***”We are never going to use force, because we belong to the people. Moreover, the day that the people do not want us we shall leave. {Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!] As soon as possible I will take the rifles off the streets. There are no more enemies, there is no longer anything to fight against, and if some day any foreigner or any movement comes up against the revolution, all the people will fight. The weapons belong in the barracks. No one has the right to have private armies here.”

As the blogger who posted the speech points out, “Castro’s regime began collecting guns and disarming the population” mere hours after he delivered this harangue, and “within days of Castro’s promises of civility, a wave of executions was underway.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Germany: Catholic Hospitals Refused Rape Victim Help

Two Catholic hospitals in Cologne refused to examine a woman who said she had been raped to avoid having to offer her advice on abortion or the morning-after pill.

The German doctors’ association has sharply criticized the hospitals — St Vinzenz-Krankenhaus and Heilig-Geist-Krankenhaus, while an investigation is being conducted to see if they broke the law.

The 25-year-old woman was seemingly drugged with knock-out drugs in her drink at a party in Cologne in December, and then raped. She woke up on a bank in the Kalk district of the city the morning afterwards, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

An emergency doctor who treated her sent her to a hospital for examination and for the collection of potential evidence. But she was turned away from the one Catholic hospital after another. They had both adopted policies banning doctors from conducing such procedures — because it would entail offering advice about abortion.

Doctors who ignored this rule could expect to be sacked, the Frankfurter Rundschau said.

They even refused to help when the emergency doctor assured them she had already given the woman the necessary advice, and had already prescribed her the morning-after pill to prevent a pregnancy.

A spokesman for the Cologne archbishopric told the paper that Catholic hospitals had a general policy of not offering even emergency contraception. But he said he could not understand why the hospitals concerned had also refused to take the possible evidence from the woman.

On Friday, the Marburger Bund doctors’ association (MB) sharply criticized the hospitals, and said they should have at least offered her some counselling. Potential legal steps against the doctors involved were also being checked, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

Rudolf Henke, chairman of the MB, said he had never heard of such a thing, and that he assumed there was at best a serious lack of communication between the hospital managers and the doctors.

“One owed this young woman at least the counselling — and all the counselling,” Henke told broadcaster ARD’s Morgenmagazin show.

The Catholic foundation which operates the hospitals, the Cellitinnen zur heiligen Maria has apologized to the woman, and said the rules had not been understood by some staff.

The North Rhine-Westphalia state Health Ministry has started an investigation to work out whether the hospitals had broken the law.

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

Italy: Church & Gov Lock Horns Over Sex Education in Schools

Holy See tries to mediate in Croatian row

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JANUARY 22 — Croatia’s social democrat government and the Catholic Church have locked horns over plans to introduce compulsory sex education into the school curriculum. Sex education classes would include discussions on gender differences, homosexuality, masturbation as well as how to use contraceptives. “The government is trying to indoctrinate the new generation with an ideology that goes against the Catholic values that are typical of the majority of Croatians”, a statement from the Church said after the plan was presented. The new syllabus teaches that masturbation is an ‘integrated and normal part of sexuality’, that homosexuality is a ‘natural variation’, and that ‘children should learn the difference between sex and socially determined gender’ — all subjects that have irked the Church. The battle got particularly ferocious at Christmas time when Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb, branded the government plan “a project that will bring the destruction of man”. Thousands of anti government leaflets were later distributed in churches and supermarkets. This was slammed by government minister Jovanovic, “ as a grave manipulation, full of lies and the unacceptable interference of the Church in state matters”.

According to Globus, the Church has ordered around two thousand priests to organize meetings to encourage parents not to send their children to sex education classes. Press reports suggest that the Vatican could intervene in the unwelcome “culture war”. Monsignor Alessandro D’Errico, who is based in Croatia, said that the Vatican asked that priests reign in their tone and assure the authorities in Zagreb that the Vatican hasn’t intervened on behalf of the Croatian Catholic church.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Primary School Bans Six-Year-Old Boy From Wearing Christian Wristband in Class for ‘Health and Safety Reasons’

A furious dad has slammed a school after his six-year-old son was banned from wearing a Christian band in class on health and safety grounds.

Peter Thompson’s son Eddie had been wearing the band, decorated with the Christian symbol of a fish, discreetly out of sight for six months.

But when a teacher spotted Eddie scratching his ankle she noticed the band, covered by his sock, and ordered him to hand it over.

Now he is being kept at home after he was banned from wearing the band at school on health and safety grounds…

‘When I complained about this to the school they were very blunt and said bands like this were banned. I think they’re discriminating against him because he’s a Christian. This is a symbol of his faith.

‘I’m particularly angry and upset at the school because during the summer they were actually selling rubber charity bands to raise money.

‘It doesn’t make sense to me that now they say they are banned yet in the summer they were selling them on school property.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pro-Life Display Destroyed at Catholic University

‘It is a sad thing to see that liberal minded students aren’t more tolerant’

(Fox News Radio) As many as 20 vandals destroyed an elaborate pro-life display at DePaul University, the nation’s largest Catholic university.

The Young Americans for Freedom chapter received permission to erect 500 blue and pink flags to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The flags represented the number of unborn children aborted every day.

YAF spokesperson Kate Edwards told Fox News that surveillance video shows as many as 20 people ripping up the flags and stuffing them into trash cans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Report in Highschool on Christianity by 16-Year-Old Monica — Dr. Laurie Roth’s Daughter

This week my 16-year-old daughter Monica was asked in a history class to write a report on Christianity. Below is what she wrote on her own referencing the Holy Bible — the Home base of Christianity, the story of Creation and life of Jesus Christ.

When she turned it in, she was told to rewrite the whole thing because the teacher said the Bible was ‘faithbased’ so she had to refer to Jesus from sources other than the Holy Bible.

Monica’s report isn’t perfect but it is good and to demonize the Bible as ‘faith based’ the most read and sold book in all the world is insane. It has untold manuscripts and sources that have verified its history, events and facts.

Now, Monica is to throw out her whole report and start again with mystery sources so the power and impact of Jesus Christ and Christianity can be greatly muted and minimized in her writing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Asteroid Mining Could Pave Way for Interstellar Flight

Exploiting the many resources of our solar system may enable humanity to venture beyond its confines for the first time, and blaze a trail to other stars.

Building a spaceship that can travel to other star systems on human timescales — over the course of mere decades — will be a challenging and expensive proposition, with costs likely running into the hundreds of billions of dollars. But the economic and technological hurdles won’t be so steep if our species has begun tapping the vast riches locked up in asteroids and other bodies beyond Earth orbit, advocates say.

“A solar-system-wide economy could kickstart research and development of the technologies that will allow us to engage in interstellar flight,” said Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a nonprofit group devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Multiple Vaccine Doses Have Resulted in Up to 145,000 Child Deaths in Past 20 Years

(NaturalNews) The recommended childhood vaccination schedule has changed dramatically over the years, with children now receiving upwards of 30 vaccines, including multiple combination vaccines, before the age of six. And in many cases, doctors and nurses administer half a dozen or more vaccines all at once during a single visit to make sure children get all these shots and to save time. But according to data compiled from the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), as many as 145,000 children or more have died throughout the past 20 years as a result of this multiple vaccine dose approach, and few parents are aware of this shocking fact.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Quran vs. Bible (And the Vast Contradictions Between the Two)

First and foremost this topic is for those who either believe and follow the teaching of the Bible, or those who believe and follow the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (Quran/Hadith/Islam)

[…]

We can already clearly see the discrepancy. Same supposed Angel Gabriel, delivering very similar messages but with one BIG flaw.

In the Bible the angel Gabriel tells Mary Jesus shall be called “the Son of the Highest” but in Quran the angel Gabriel say’s it is “not befitting for Allah to take a son”.

[Comment: An interesting online forum discussion.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Year of the Comets: 2 Dazzling Comets Heading Our Way

The year 2013 may someday be known as “the year of the comets.” If all goes well we may see two of the brightest comets in many years, and possibly one of the brightest in history.

However, astronomers are being very cautious in their predictions because of past disappointments. As comet specialist David Levy says, “Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want.”

Once thought of as harbingers of doom, comets are now known to be normal members of our solar system. They are small bodies similar to asteroids. The majority spend most of their lives in the Oort Cloud, a mysterious region on the outer edge of the solar system. Now and then they venture close to the sun, and undergo a strange transformation.

The heat of the sun causes the comets’ ice, which is their main component, to vaporize. The solar wind streaming off the sun forces this vapor into a huge tail, which flows away from the sun. No matter what direction they are actually traveling, comets’ tails always point away from the sun.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/24/2013

  1. Haghia Sophia in Istanbul is not a mosque. Technically it is a museum. “Haghia Sophia” means “Holy Wisdom” and it is really a church, built originally in the 6th century Constantinople by the Emperor Justinian. It was the holiest of churches to Orthodox Christians for almost 1,000 years until Constantinople was conquered in 1453. The Christians took refuge in Haghia Sophia and the savage Turks committed atrocities of murder and rape against both priests and people. Then the conqueror declared it a mosque. It was a mosque for over 400 years when Kemal Ataturk declared it a museum in (I think) the 1920′s. It is still a museum, but of course spiritually it is the greatest church of Orthodox Christianity. Its magnificent frescoes and mosaics have been whitewashed over and an several ugly medallions with Arabic script still remain in the sanctuary.
    Turks are shameless.

  2. We sent two emails, the hubby and I , to LEGO USA giving them the history of the CHURCH , the GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH of Hagia Sofia and saying that UNTIL the day comes that the Turks recognize their OWN racist and genocidal records in regard to the MILLIONS they have murdered in GENOCIDAL RAGES over the centuries , LEGO should just overlook any complaints they (the Turks) have about LEGO or any other products theTurks deem”racist”!

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