Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/10/2013

A few days after the it surfaced in Britain, the horsemeat lasagna scandal has hit France and Luxembourg. The frozen meals were actually manufactured in Luxembourg, using meat shipped from France that was fraudulently labeled as beef, but was actually 60%-100% horsemeat.

In other news, a 13-year-old boy in Afghanistan was sentenced to a year in a reformatory for having sex with two adult men. There’s no word on what sentence the two men received, if any.

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

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

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

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
» India: Economic Growth Lowest in 10 Years
» Italy: MPS Shares Surge After Bank Announces Delay in Loan Payment
» Italy: Mortgage Lending Dips Further in December, Central Bank Says
» Italy: MPS CEO Viola Says There Are No More Derivatives Risks
» MPS CEO Surprised at So Much ‘Junk Under the Carpet’
 
USA
» America’s Future Belongs to Islam
» Christopher Dorner Becomes ‘First’ Human Target for Drones on Domestic Soil
» David Petraeus Was Brought Down After Betrayal by Vengeful CIA Agents and His Own Bodyguards Who Made Sure His Affair Was Exposed, Claims New Book
» Fun., Gotye and Mumford & Sons Take Top Honors at the Grammy Awards
» John Bolton: Hagel, Kerry Could Give Rogue Nation ‘Capability to Proceed Unimpeded’
» Man Arrested at Nashville, TN Gun Rally for Carrying an AR15
» National ID System Coming to United States?
» New Mystery Disease Strikes Young Women With Demonic Possession Like Symptoms
» Obama’s Carbon Dioxide Lies
» Obama, A Communist? Er… Yeah.
» School Nurse All But Calls Me a Murderer for Refusing to Vaccinate My Daughters
» The Amazing Grace Restored to America by Dr. Ben Carson
» The U.S. Supreme Court Should be Impeached
» Winter Storm Buries Northeast; Leaves 10 Dead, 700,000 Powerless
 
Europe and the EU
» EC Says Greece Facing Fines Over Landfills
» EU Budget Deal Sees Italy’s Net Contribution Cut
» EU Super Spies to Get Right to Snoop on Your Emails, Website Visits, Medical Data and Police Records
» Ex-Italian Premier Says Monti ‘Married’ To Centre-Left Chief
» Horsemeat ‘Lasagna’ Scandal Hits France and Luxembourg
» Italian President Tells Vatican Daily ‘Communism Failed’
» Italy: Berlusconi Asks Court to Postpone Mediaset Tax Fraud Hearing
» Italy: Berlusconi’s Brother Makes Up to Balotelli After Racist Slur
» Italy: Prodi Attacks ‘Disrespectful’ Comments on His Candidacy
» Italy: PM Mario Monti Denies Any Affinity With Leftist Vendola
» Italy: PM Monti Determined to Grab Lombardy, Says Northern League
» Preachers of Hate Who Spread Their Violent Word on British TV Channels
» The Attempted Assassination of Free Speech Advocate Lars Hedegaard
» UK: Mosque Terror Doc Fundraiser
» UK: Mosque to be Built on Cameron’s Doorstep Despite Residents’ Concern Over ‘Noise and Parking’
» UKIP Leader Says Prime Minister’s Deal to Cut EU Spending in Brussels is ‘Rotten’ As He Pledges Party Will Fight for First Commons Seat in by-Election
» Ursula and Sabina: A Madness Shared by Two
 
North Africa
» Egypt Court Orders YouTube Blocked for a Month
» Ruling Tunisian Ennahda Party Calls Rally in Tunis
 
Middle East
» Iraq: Shoe Wars II: Panic in the Commons as Protestor Hurls Pair of Size 8s at American Diplomat in Repeat of Bush Attack
» Turkey: Real Life Vampire Who Stabs and Bites Others is Addicted to Drinking Their Blood and His Own, Doctors Say
 
South Asia
» Afghan Teenager Sentenced for Having Sex With 2 Men
» India: Afzal Guru, Who Plotted the 2001 Parliament Attack, Executed
» Italian Military Vehicles for Afghanistan Seized
» Maoists Had Enough With Communism, Now Say Nepal to Go Capitalist
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Clashes Reported in Malian City of Gao
 
Immigration
» Italy: Tea and Narghile’ at the Arab Club in Rome
 
Culture Wars
» Feminism is Hateful & Hated — Let’s Kill It!
» Have Pastors Forsaken America?
» Tory MP Condemned as Homophobic After He Claims Being Gay is Just a Short-Lived Phase
 
General
» More People Bailing Out of Facebook; Is a FB Collapse Imminent?
» Muslim Views of the Apocalypse
» The Folly of the West’s Alliance With the Muslim Brotherhood
» We Are Being Pulled Into the Matrix Like Never Before

India: Economic Growth Lowest in 10 Years

For the founder of Dimensions, a Chamber of Commerce of Christian inspiration, government and banks need to streamline the rules and support social spending. The country will close the fiscal year with the GDP of +5%.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Support social spending, streamline bureaucracy that regulates businesses and create new jobs: this is the recipe that Freddy Mendonca, founder of Dimensions, Chamber of Commerce of Christian inspiration, suggests to AsiaNews to boost the economy India. According to the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), in 2012-2013 the growth will be the weakest ever recorded in the last 10 years. At the end of March (when the fiscal year closes) GDP will stop at +5%, compared to 6.9% last year

Inflation above 7% — one of the highest among emerging economies — and limited progress in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors are listed among the causes of this decline. For the Christian entrepreneur, however, the current economic stall is also produced by some short circuts that have emerged in the last decade: “Trying to sustain an expenditure that exceeds any real possibilities has created holes in each sector. People and companies have spent more than than they could afford “, also taking advantage of the complex bureaucratic mechanism that regulates the internal market.

“The solution — adds Mendonca — is in the hands of the government and the banks, which should streamline the rules that affect business and investment. As entrepreneurs we are the first to be affected: if growth is weak, companies are at a loss and people lose their jobs. “At a time, he adds, “when we should be creating new opportunities.”

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

Italy: MPS Shares Surge After Bank Announces Delay in Loan Payment

CFO says bank will repay tranche of government loan in 2016

(ANSA) — Milan, February 7 — Shares in troubled Italian lender MPS surged Thursday after the bank’s chief financial officer said it would pay back a government loan in 2016, one year later than previously scheduled.

Bernardo Mingrone said that, due to the effect of the bank requesting an additional 500 million euros as part of a 3.9-billion-euro bailout, it was prudent “to shift by one year the final deadline for the repayment of the same”.

Meanwhile the bank’s chief executive, Fabrizio Viola, who earlier Thursday had said there were no more high-risk derivatives on the bank’s books, said that “there is no deposit flight” from the lender.

At 12:30, shares in Milan-listed MPS were suspended following excessive volatility; they were re-admitted to trading at 12:36 and immediately gained 8.46%, at 0.25 euros.

Some 3% of the bank’s total capital traded hands.

MPS shares had opened trading up 3.34%, at 0.23 euros then later leapt as news of the loan repayment delay spread through the market.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mortgage Lending Dips Further in December, Central Bank Says

Fall in business loans eases up

(ANSA) — Bergamo, February 8 — Mortgage lending in December fell by 0.5% on a monthly basis, Italy’s central bank said Friday.

This compared to a 0.3% decrease the previous month and to a 0.1% drop in October.

Analysts attribute the fall in mortgage lending to several factors including the drop in disposable household income, tightening of loan criteria by banks and high interest rates. Instead business loans showed an opposite trend, with the drop in lending slowing to 2.2% in December on a monthly basis compared to 3.4% in November.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: MPS CEO Viola Says There Are No More Derivatives Risks

Finance should play only ‘residual’ role in commercial banks

(ANSA) — Rome, February 7 — Troubled lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank’s chief executive on Thursday said there are no more high-risk derivatives operations on the bank’s books.

During a conference call, Fabrizio Viola said that “in a commercial bank like MPS, finance must have a residual role and in any case it must be functional to the bank’s (main) activities”. Viola was referring to the derivatives scandal at MPS which has shaken Italy’s third-largest lender and scared off investors.

On Wednesday MPS said that total losses from failed high-risk derivatives operations at the 541-year-old bank reached 730 million euros.

During the conference call Thursday Viola said there were no other derivatives operations like Santorini — the complex operation which led to part of the bank’s huge losses — on the banks books.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

MPS CEO Surprised at So Much ‘Junk Under the Carpet’

Would not be ‘tragic’ if state became stakeholder

(ANSA) — Bergamo, February 8 — Fabrizio Viola, the CEO of embattled Italian bank Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), said on Friday that he was surprised by the “junk” he had found since taking helm of the bank.

“I didn’t expect so much junk under the carpet,” Viola told Radio 24, “But frankly, in view of recent events, I wouldn’t have expected to find such a serious situation”.

MPS was thrown into crisis in January when it emerged that a shady series of derivative and structured finance deals produced losses of 720 million euros.

It has since emerged that Siena prosecutors are conducting a series of probes into alleged bribery, corruption, tax evasion and other illicit operations at MPS, which were either related to the bank’s nine-billion-euro acquisition of rival Antonveneta in 2008 or the period following the takeover.

Before the scandal broke, the Italian government had approved a 3.9-billion-euro bailout loan to MPS, which may be converted into equity if the bank cannot make its payments to the State.

Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli told the Italian parliament in late January that, given the share price at the time, Grilli estimated the Treasury could wind up with 82% of the bank’s capital if it defaults. “It wouldn’t be tragic (if the Italian treasury became an MPS shareholder),” Viola said. “But we are working to avoid it.

“The final aim is to make the bank autonomous from a financial and economic perspective, over a time horizon that will certainly not be one year (but longer),” he added. On Thursday, the bank’s chief financial officer said it would pay back a government loan in 2016, one year later than previously scheduled.

Earlier Thursday, Viola had said there were no more high-risk derivatives on the bank’s books and that “there is no deposit flight” from Italy’s third-biggest lender.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

America’s Future Belongs to Islam

In any case, all demographers agree that throughout the coming decades, the faith of the Prophet Mohammed will continue to impact and transform all aspects of American life: social, political, and economic. They further maintain that, save for a cataclysmic sea-change in population trends, Islam by 2050 will emerge as the nation’s dominant religion.

Such an assertion may seem hyperbolic, save for these findings:

  • The US fertility rate is now below 2.1 per woman, meaning Americans are no longer giving birth to enough children to keep the population from dwindling.[vi] But this statistic does not hold true for the average Muslim American woman who displays a robust fertility rate of 2.8.[vii]
  • Muslims continue to pour into the country to occupy positions vacated by aging Americans as physicians, engineers, and scientists. Others arrive here to perform tasks that American workers are unwilling to perform in food processing plants, agricultural facilities, and telecommunications. In addition to the Muslims who come here with employment visas, thousands more arrive with student visas to enroll in colleges throughout the country. Still others arrive with “diversity” visas to enrich America’s racial composition. In 1992, nearly 50,000 Muslims arrived in the US and received permanent residency status. In 2009, that number soared to 115,000.[viii] In truth, no one knows for certain how many Muslims immigrants are presently living in the country.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Christopher Dorner Becomes ‘First’ Human Target for Drones on Domestic Soil

Police plan to use spy drones in the hunt for a Rambo-style ex-soldier and policeman who has murdered three people and vowed to kill again.

They believe burly, heavily-armed Christopher Dorner is holed-up in the wilderness of California’s snow-capped San Bernardino mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The burnt-out shell of his pick-up truck was discovered in the nearby resort of Big Bear, where residents and tourists have been warned to stay indoors as the search continues.

Yesterday, as a task force of 125 officers, some riding Snowcats in the rugged terrain, continued their search, it was revealed that Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

David Petraeus Was Brought Down After Betrayal by Vengeful CIA Agents and His Own Bodyguards Who Made Sure His Affair Was Exposed, Claims New Book

David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public, a new book claims.

MailOnline can reveal a new angle on the story that rocked Washington last fall. It comes from two retired special operations commandos — a Navy SEAL and a Green Beret — who say they discovered a plot against the former CIA director while doing research about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency — focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paul Broadwell and make it public, according to ‘Benghazi: The Definitive Report.’

‘It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coup to get Petraeus out of there,’ Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline…

Murphy and co-author Brandon Webb also revealed that the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, was retaliation by Islamist militants who had been targeted by covert U.S. military operations.

The book claims that neither Stevens nor even Petraeus knew about the raids by American special operations troops, which had ‘kicked a hornet’s nest’ among the heavily-armed fighters after the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fun., Gotye and Mumford & Sons Take Top Honors at the Grammy Awards

In an award year that seemed to tilt toward youth and new music, the Brooklyn trio Fun. won the Grammy award for best new artist and their song “We Are Young” won song of the year. “Somebody That I Used to Know,” by Gotye featuring Kimbra, won record of the year, while the British folk-rockers Mumford & Sons won album of the year for “Babel.”

[Return to headlines]

John Bolton: Hagel, Kerry Could Give Rogue Nation ‘Capability to Proceed Unimpeded’

The Obama administration says it is prepared to engage in direct talks with the Iranian government over nuclear weapons, but former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told WND the move is naive and will only give credibility and legitimacy to the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.

“I’m very worried with the new Secretary of State John Kerry and with a potential new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that these new kids on the block are going to say, ‘We can do better than everybody’s done before,” Bolton said. “‘We know how to deal with the Iranian leadership and we’re going to negotiate something on the nuclear weapons program.’

“You can always reach agreement with an adversary by giving away your position. I’m just worried that in their desire to be able to say, ‘See, we had a success. We cut a deal,’ that in effect we’ll legitimize the Iranian nuclear weapons program and give them the capability to proceed unimpeded toward their long-sought objective of deliverable nuclear weapons,” said Bolton, who warned an active nuclear program in Iran would be a direct threat to Israel, the region and the entire world if the nukes get in the hands of terrorist groups.

The concerns about Hagel’s views on Iran have been well-documented, but Bolton also dreads the type of approach Kerry will take on this as well.

“He has a record of naivete and faith in negotiations that’s almost theological, and unfortunately, not assertive and protective of American interests,” Bolton said. “I’m very worried that as bad as the first term was, the second term may be even worse.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Man Arrested at Nashville, TN Gun Rally for Carrying an AR15

A peaceful gun protest at Legislative Plaza was disrupted Friday because someone showed up holding a type of weapon the protesters were trying to protect.

Organizers often request that people who show up to rallies leave their weapons at home, but one man didn’t get that message and now faces a misdemeanor.

Troopers arrested Reggie Robertson of Byrdstown for carrying an AR-15 as about 100 people gathered to express their concern about the proposals in Washington to limit semiautomatic assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

National ID System Coming to United States?

America’s new national identification system is coming. President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators want to enact a national identification card that would link to a database containing your name, Social Security number, and biometric information such as pictures and fingerprints. The Washington Post editorial board wants one too.

Two points are central to their argument: 1) this identification system is a necessary, effective, and appropriate way to control illegal immigration, and 2) it will be used strictly for employment purposes. Both claims lack any credibility.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Mystery Disease Strikes Young Women With Demonic Possession Like Symptoms

It’s a mysterious, newly discovered disease that strikes mainly young women, and it’s often misdiagnosed. Doctors who discovered it, here in Philadelphia, say it’s like your brain is on fire. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl says it starts with personality changes. Young women dazed, restrained in hospital beds, acting possessed and then becoming catatonic. They’d been so normal, when suddenly their lives went haywire. “One minute I’d be sobbing, crying hysterically, and the next minute I’d be laughing, said Susannah Cahalan, of New Jersey. “I was very paranoid and manic. There was something wrong. I thought trucks were following me,” said Emily Gavigan, of Pennsylvania.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Carbon Dioxide Lies

nergy, indeed, energy independence and the wealth and prosperity that would be generated is within our grasp. The only person standing in the way is Barack Hussein Obama.

The utter desperation of the “Warmists”, the advocates of global warming — now called climate change — is evident in a recent “study” reported in the Daily Caller in which “an international team of researchers” concluded that “earthworms could be contributing to global warming.” Earthworms!

That’s how stupid they think the public is.

It is useful to know the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, the object of much fear-mongering by Greens and Warmists. According to Wikipedia, “Air is the name given to the atmosphere used in breathing and photosynthesis. Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1%. While air content and atmospheric pressure vary at different layers, air suitable for the survival of terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals is currently only known to be found in Earth’s troposphere and artificial atmospheres.”

The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is extraordinarily low compared to its other elements. Edmund Contoski, the author of the award-winning “Makers and Takers”, a study of how wealth and progress is created or thwarted, has noted that “Not only is carbon dioxide’s total greenhouse effect puny, mankind’s contribution to it is minuscule. The overwhelming majority (97%) of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere comes from nature, not from man.”

Not only are worms contributing to the CO2 in the atmosphere, but Contoski notes that “Volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined.” Contoski’s data is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy which also notes that 98% of all the carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed again by Nature.

[…]

Since 2008, the U.S. has wasted nearly $70 billion on “climate change activities.” A report by the Congressional Research Service revealed that, from fiscal years 2008 through 2012, the federal government spent $68.4 billion to “combat climate change.” In addition, the Department of Defense spent $4 billion on the same futile, idiotic efforts when, in fact, humans play no role whatever in the changes occurring in the Earth’s climate. The Earth has actually been COOLING since around 1998 and that is entirely the result of less solar radiation. Those billions are an obscene waste of taxpayer funding.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama, A Communist? Er… Yeah.

To answer yes to this question is to risk ridicule, and so most on the right disguise the affirmative response by calling him a socialist instead. Most on the left and many in the centre would say a flat-out no, thinking the idea absurd if not offensive.

But the reality is that not only is Obama a Communist, and an opponent of Capitalism, but he is surely one of the most talented in history — for he has managed to hypnotise even the most Conservative observer into stopping short of saying it.

True, Obama is far from a Communist of the old-style. But then that kind of Communism didn’t work so who would be?

No, Obama, together with our own EU labour movements, belongs very much to the movement of second-wave Communists; people whose philosophy can be backdated to the teachings of the New Left.

The words Socialist and Communist in this sense are not merely ‘connected’ but interchangeable.

How strictly does Obama play it?

Let’s see.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

School Nurse All But Calls Me a Murderer for Refusing to Vaccinate My Daughters

(NaturalNews) “I am a public health of official,” the nurse said with authority as she pointed to the hokey-looking certificate on the wall. “So it is my duty to inform you of the risks you are taking by refusing to vaccinate your children.”

My twin daughters go to public middle school and I do refuse to vaccinate them. In California this year, there is a mandatory whooping cough vaccination of seventh graders. Even though a child may have received the “Tdap” vaccine earlier in life, the new claim is that it is “wearing off.” So, they need to take it again.

At any rate, the school nurse laid into me for refusing. Here is my summary of how the conversation continued:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Amazing Grace Restored to America by Dr. Ben Carson

A phenomenon we all needed came into our view at National Prayer Breakfast 2013, and it couldn’t have come along at a better time.

The phenomenon in the person of Dr. Ben Carson didn’t just upstage President Barack Obama when he spoke at Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, he restored amazing grace to a loudly-lauded event.

How can we take to heart an event touted as “inspirational” and beneficial to federal government officials when they piously break breakfast bread before returning to careers duking it out in House and Senate?

[…]

Speaking openly about “the moral decay of America”, Carson issued a warning alert to all lemmings headed toward a Rome-like fate; confronted the danger of America’s debt and current fiscal policy — right in front of a sometimes frowning Obama, who was sitting just feet away from the speaker’s podium.

“Our deficit is a big problem,” he said to crowd applause. “Think about it — and our national debt — $16 and a half trillion dollars.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The U.S. Supreme Court Should be Impeached

“Let the future appointments of judges be for four or six years and renewable by the President and Senate. This will bring their conduct at regular periods under revision and probation, and may keep them in equipoise between the general and special governments. We have erred in this point by copying England, where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent of the King. But we have omitted to copy their caution also, which makes a judge removable on the address of both legislative houses.” — Thomas Jefferson to William T. Barry, 1822. ME 15:389

Impeach all nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Why? Let me count the ways for you.

Second only to the greatest heist in American history, the “Federal” Reserve Banking Act of 1913, is the continuing saga of an individual who has gone by five different aliases and lied and cheated his way into the White House. That would be a devout Marxist known as Barry Soetoro aka Barry Dunham aka Barack Dunham aka Barry Obama aka Barack Hussein Obama.

Those who have followed this incredible scam against we the people are fully aware of the massive distortion by the subset of the Democratic/Communist Party USA; that would be the disgraced “mainstream” media as well as cable networks. Even the so-called ‘fair and balanced’ FOX News Network refuses to address the lies and fraud. Instead, the best they can come up with is Bill O’Reilly slinging labels like tin foil hat folks or Kool Aid drinkers. Let me give you one example:

[…]

What is so important about Tom’s case? I urge you to read the Writ of Certiorari filed with the the United States Supreme Court. If not today, book mark and read over lunch or on a weekend until you get through it because it is very important. Tom and his wife paid for their beautiful homestead and acres with gold. The dispute is with appraisal of the property; gold vs worthless “Federal” Reserve Notes (the “money” in your wallet):

“The Texas Twelfth Court of Appeals held that the monetary value of a private “gold-clause contract,” which required payment solely in currently minted United States legal-tender American Eagle gold coins, is not the aggregate face value in “dollars” of the coins actually tendered; but rather is measured by those coins aggregate value in Federal Reserve notes, which is many times the value assigned by Congress.

“If this decision is allowed to stand, State courts can randomly set the value assigned to such U.S. legal tender based on the perceived “market value” of gold on any given day. This would result in widely fluctuating valuations of U.S. legal tender in different jurisdictions throughout the United states, nullifying the protections authorized by the use of “gold-clause contracts” and triggering profoundly negative effects throughout the United States.”

A critically important issue the U.S. Supreme Court simply ignored.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Winter Storm Buries Northeast; Leaves 10 Dead, 700,000 Powerless

New Englanders were digging out from 3 feet of snow and stranded motorists were still being reached by emergency crews early Sunday after one of the biggest blizzards in a generation left at least 10 people dead and over 700,000 without electricity across the northeast.

Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts bore the brunt of the howling winter storm’s fury on Saturday, with the highest snowfall of 40 inches in Hamden, Conn. Several motorists were stranded overnight on New York’s Long Island, and were being reached by emergency crews.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EC Says Greece Facing Fines Over Landfills

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 7 — Visiting European Commission inspectors said on Wednesday that Greece faces fines from Brussels for failing to close down 396 illegal landfills across the country despite a series of warnings, as daily Kathimerini reports.

The head of the EC’s task force in Athens, Georgette Lalis, noted that Greece had received European Union subsidies to finance the closure of the illegal landfills and the creation of new waste processing plants.

At a meeting of municipal officials from the region of western Macedonia in Thessaloniki, which was attended by EC task force chief Horst Reichenbach, Lalis noted that European officials “are beginning to run out of patience” and pressed for action at the local level to close the remaining illegal landfills.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU Budget Deal Sees Italy’s Net Contribution Cut

New European budget ‘significant improvement’ says premier

(ANSA) — Brussels, February 8 — Italian Premier Mario Monti said Friday’s deal on the EU’s budget for the next seven years was “satisfying” because it featured a “very significant improvement” in Italy’s contributions.

He said Italy’s net contribution — the difference between what it pays into the bloc and receives from it — will be 3.8 billion euros for the 2014-2020 period.

The net contribution was 4.5 billion in the 2007-2013 period, although it reached six billion in 2011, when Italy was the biggest contributor to the EU budget in relation to the size of its gross domestic product. “We negotiated very hard,” said Monti.

“I think it’s a significant, concrete start towards a reversal of the trend, but there will certainly be further battles”.

However, Monti failed in his bid to prevent the EU’s multi-annual budget being cut for the first time ever.

European leaders agreed to set a new budget ceiling of 960 billion euros, down from 1.03 trillion euros, after marathon negotiations. The cuts had been called for by Britain, Germany and other northern European countries.

Italy had been trying to combat them, saying the EU needed a higher budget to be able to promote economic growth.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday that the people of the UK could be “proud” of his government for “putting a limit on the EU credit card” by fighting for the bloc’s 2014-2020 budget to be limited. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the deal “shows to those looking from the outside that we are capable of achieving results”. She also said the bloc had “sent a signal of solidarity”. French President Francois Hollande said that the EU budget agreement was a “good compromise”. He added that getting the leaders to commit “to 960 billion euros (in spending) was undoubtedly the highest figure reachable”. But European Parliament (EP) Group leaders Joseph Daul (EPP), Hannes Swoboda (S&D), Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Greens) called the deal passed on Friday “unacceptable”. The parliament has the power to veto the EU budget.

But Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said he was confident the agreement would not be sunk by the EP.

“I think the European Parliament has acknowledged that the negotiations were difficult and probably we’ll reach an agreement,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU Super Spies to Get Right to Snoop on Your Emails, Website Visits, Medical Data and Police Records

A European super-spying agency is to be granted draconian powers to access a vast range of our personal information, including medical data, criminal records, emails and website visits.

The controversial move, demanded by Brussels in an EU directive, will sweep aside British privacy laws that protect UK citizens from intrusion into their personal lives.

Last night MPs, academics and privacy-rights groups warned that the new powers represented a great threat to individual security.

Under current UK law, requests for electronic data have to be made through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 on a case-by-case basis by a recognised authority.

But the Brussels plan to create a new ‘Interpol’ to fight cyber crime will give agencies across Europe ‘all necessary powers’ to order the disclosure of almost any online information.

Last night former shadow Home Secretary David Davis warned: ‘This is yet another unwelcome and surreptitious intrusion into the privacy of innocent citizens.’

[…]

But the new Brussels proposal could force internet companies and public bodies to disclose even more personal data.

At the heart of the plan is the little-known European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). It will co-ordinate a network of specially created security agencies in each EU member state who will have unprecedented powers to demand data from public bodies and internet companies.

In the UK these will include NHS trusts, police forces, councils, Google and Facebook. This information could then be shared with other European agencies but without the safeguards that protect British citizens.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ex-Italian Premier Says Monti ‘Married’ To Centre-Left Chief

Berlusconi goads out-going premier

(ANSA) — Rome, February 8 — Italian centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday that outgoing Italian premier Mario Monti hoped to be “assistant” to centre-left chief Pier Luigi Bersani whom Monti had “married” after an extended courtship.

“After a long flirtation from a distance, Monti and Bersani are finally united in marriage with the blessing of (German Chancellor) Merkel and her (finance) Minister (Wolfgang) Schaeuble. Thus Monti has become a politician like the others and now his biggest aspiration seems to be to become Bersani’s assistant,” Berlusconi told the television show ‘Coffee Break’ on Italy’s La7 TV channel, the only one not controlled by the State or Berlusconi. Mario Monti replaced Berlusconi as premier in November 2011, when Italy’s debt crisis looked in danger of spiralling out of control and the bond spread — a key measure of Italy’s borrowing costs — was over 500 points.

Berlusconi was pressured to resign and Monti, a respected economist, was given the task of steering Italy from financial catastrophe. Monti, Berlusconi and Bersani are now running in parliamentary elections to be held February 24-25.

Monti is running on a reform platform aimed at completing the work his technical government began to relaunch Italy’s economy.

The Italian bond spread climbed back to 300 points on Thursday after starting the week at just over 260 points. Some analysts have suggested the markets are spooked by the rise in opinion polls of Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition, which is now around 5% behind Bersani’s centre-left alliance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Horsemeat ‘Lasagna’ Scandal Hits France and Luxembourg

(AGI) — London, Feb 8 — With British supermarkets ordering the removal of frozen ‘lasagna’ meals from their shelves after discovering large percentages of horsemeat, health officials and distributors in France and Luxembourg also spotlighted the issue on Friday. Tests carried out on its frozen lasagna meals by Findus, revealed that the advertised all-beef filling had been mixed in with 60-100 percent horsemeat — produced by French supplier Comigel. It is understood that the meals themselves were produced in Luxembourg, where health officials revealed that the meat imported from France had been fraudulently labelled as beef.

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

Italian President Tells Vatican Daily ‘Communism Failed’

Napolitano is former member of Communist Party

(ANSA) — Rome, February 8 — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, a former member of the country’s Communist Party, has admitted in an article for Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano that the ideology he once believed in failed.

“It was impossible — except for small circles of people who were nostalgic on the theoretical level and hard-core political extremists — to avoid the historical certification of the failure of the Communist economic and social systems,” Napolitano wrote in an article that will be published in Saturday’s edition of the paper. After the fall of the Berlin wall, the rump of Italy’s Communist Party changed into a social democratic party, the Democrats of the Left (DS).

Napolitano was a DS member when he was named the head of state on 2006.

The DS merged with the centrist Margherita (Daisy) party to form the mainstream centre-left Democratic Party in 2007.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Asks Court to Postpone Mediaset Tax Fraud Hearing

Ex-premier engaged in multi appearances in election lead up

(ANSA) — Milan, February 7 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has requested a Milan court to postpone a hearing of his appeal trial regarding a one-year sentence for tax fraud on film rights for his Mediaset TV group.

Berlusconi’s defense team said the center-right leader’s election commitments constituted a “legitimate impediment” to his participation in the hearing.

In the lead up to February 24-25 elections, Berlusconi is conducting a media blitz and increasing public appearances.

The two members of the defense team are also political candidates for the ex-premier’s Peole of Freedom party (PdL) and involved in campaigning. Judges did rule in his favor regarding missing a court appearance due to a legitimate impediment in January, when the 76-year-old media tycoon was at a national convention for his PdL party in Rome.

It is not his only active trial.

Judges in a Milan court on Monday adjourned a hearing of the trial into allegations that Berlusconi had sex with an underage prostitute after the defence team petitioned “legitimate impediment” and postponed the trial until February 11. A trial into accusations Berlusconi was involved in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap has also been put on hold.

In the ongoing and several other previous trials, Berlusconi has always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for political reasons.

Berlusconi has been tried some 30 times but has only been convicted three times — verdicts that were either timed out or overturned on appeal — prior to the Mediaset fraud verdict.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi’s Brother Makes Up to Balotelli After Racist Slur

Italy forward ‘little black boy of the family’ said AC Milan VP

(ANSA) — Milan, February 7 — Paolo Berlusconi, AC Milan football club vice-president and brother of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, patched things up with striker Mario Balotelli on Thursday after being caught on tape calling him a “little black boy”.

The two reportedly exchanged words at Milanello, the club’s training facility, before shaking hands. The exchange came after Berlusconi ended a political meeting in Varedo, near Milan, on Sunday by suggesting the participants wrap up their business in time for the game against Udinese in which Balotelli, who moved to Milan from English champions Manchester City last week, was to score the double that earned his new side a 2-1 win.

“And now let’s see the little black boy of the family, the hot-head,” he is recorded as saying. Balotelli, a talented, temperamental striker who was born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, did not comment on the remarks.

However he recently noted that “racism is very difficult to fight…you have to hang in and eventually prevail”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Prodi Attacks ‘Disrespectful’ Comments on His Candidacy

(AGI) — Rome, Feb. 9 — Romano Prodi has condemned comments about his candidacy to be president as “disrespectful”. “It does not respect the Quirinale [presidency] and it does not respect me, as a person. I have accepted a very serious assignment at the United Nations for Sahel in the past couple of months,” he said.

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

Italy: PM Mario Monti Denies Any Affinity With Leftist Vendola

(AGI) Rome, Feb 10 — Prime Minister Mario Monti denied any affinity with the leftist SEL party led by Nicchi Vendola. “I have no affinity with a left that includes elements who don’t support the unemployed and workers, because they hold positions that weigh on Italy and prevent it from being competitive,” Monti said in an interview with TGCOM24 television, responding to a question about Vendola.

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

Italy: PM Monti Determined to Grab Lombardy, Says Northern League

(AGI) — Rome, Feb 10 — Prime Minister Mario Monti is willing to commit “incest” with centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani to “get his hands on Lombardy”, said Northern League leader Roberto Maroni, in a post on Twitter. “For Monti ‘the banks come first’, while for me ‘the North comes first’,” added the separatist party’s candidate for President of Lombardy Region.

(See link for news story)

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

Preachers of Hate Who Spread Their Violent Word on British TV Channels

Muslim fundamentalists have used British television channels to preach in favour of violent crime and killing “apostates”.

Zakir Naik said on the “Dare to Ask” program on Peace TV that if a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his new faith against Islam, the death penalty should be applied

The communications watchdog, Ofcom, has made a series of rulings against channels which allowed “inflammatory” material to be broadcast in breach of rules which forbid extreme opinions gaining a platform on British television.

The cases, disclosed today, include examples of an imam telling viewers that those who disrespect the prophet Mohammed should be killed, and another broadcaster saying homosexuals should be beaten and tortured.

The stations were found to have committed serious breaches of the broadcasting code by allowing the extreme opinions to be aired unchallenged.

Last night experts warned that the extent and seriousness of the broadcasting breaches raises questions over whether extreme Muslim speakers who were previously confined to small audiences in mosques are able to reach thousands more people by broadcasting intolerant teachings on television.

Although the channels have tiny audiences compared to the mainstream, they are targeted at Muslim communities, including people of Pakistani background, with some of the content being broadcast in Urdu and other languages.

The cases identified by Ofcom include:

  • An Islamic scholar who told viewers: “It is your duty … to kill those who insult Prophet Mohammed.”
  • A preacher banned from coming to Britain who used the channel — which he co-owns — to say anyone who left Islam should be put to death.
  • A phone-in presenter who advocated “eliminating” anyone who disrespected Mohammed.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

The Attempted Assassination of Free Speech Advocate Lars Hedegaard

On February 5, 2013 Lars Hedegaard went to his door in Copenhagen to face a person he thought was a mailman. After handing Hedegaard a package, the “mailman” immediately pulled out a gun and fired a shot barely missing Hedegaard’s head. When the assassin dropped the weapon, a scuffle ensued and the assassin retrieved the gun but failed to fire it a second time promptly fleeing the scene. The perpetrator of this attempted assassination has yet to be apprehended by Danish police. Such are the dangers of being the founder of both the Danish and International Free Press Society and prosecuted by Danish courts for something protected in the First Amendment of the US Constitution — the right to criticize a religion, Islam…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Terror Doc Fundraiser

BRITAIN’s biggest mosque is under investigation after it scheduled a fundraising event for a convicted would-be killer.

A rally is being staged in support of Aafia Siddiqui, inset, who is serving 86 years for the attempted murders of US soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan five years ago.

Siddiqui, a US-trained doctor, was one of America’s most wanted terror suspects.

The event, put on by the Justice for Aafia Coalition, will be at the East London Mosque in Whitechapel on February 23

It will include speeches from Islamic extremists including Shakeel Begg, who was recorded in 2006 urging British students to “wage jihad in Palestine”.

Last night, the Charity Commission said it had started a probe into the mosque which is a registered charity.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque to be Built on Cameron’s Doorstep Despite Residents’ Concern Over ‘Noise and Parking’

Muslims have been given permission to build a mosque in David Cameron’s home town.

Worshippers faced opposition from residents in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, who expressed concern about noise and parking.

However, councillors voted in favour of transforming a shop into a mosque a few miles from the Prime Minister’s home, although the market town has fewer than 40 practising Islamic residents, according to Census records.

The local council received 28 letters of objection and just two in support of the plans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UKIP Leader Says Prime Minister’s Deal to Cut EU Spending in Brussels is ‘Rotten’ As He Pledges Party Will Fight for First Commons Seat in by-Election

UKIP leader Nigel Farage described the EU budget reduction negotiated by David Cameron as ‘a rotten deal for Britain’.

He made the comments while pledging that his party would be fighting for their first House of Commons seat in the Eastleigh by-election.

Referring to the Prime Minster’s deal, negotiated in Brussels earlier this week, he said: ‘If you go and knock on 100 doors here in Eastleigh and tell them that they will pay £50 million a day to Europe for the next seven years they will think that’s not a good deal.’

Mr Farage said the party’s number one issue will be immigration, as they contest the four-way marginal fight for the seat vacated by Chris Huhne.

The Lib Dem resigned earlier this week after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife took speeding points for him.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ursula and Sabina: A Madness Shared by Two

[WARNING: ** Bizarre story with disturbing content and video. **]

The tale of identical twin sisters Ursula and Sabina Eriksson is stunning and incredible, but also terribly true.

The Swedish women gained international notoriety in 2008 after being filmed repeatedly and deliberately rushing headlong into speeding traffic.

As onlookers watched in astonished horror, the twins attempted suicide multiple times on the busy motorway, their bodies crushed and devastatingly injured by oncoming traffic, only to rise repeatedly from the ground to attack rescue police with diabolical fury. A documentary crew happened to be filming with police that shocking day, and was there to witness and capture the events. The now-famous BBC Documentary reveals the grisly and alarming first hand look at madness.

But is it madness that accounts for the inexplicable actions of the two women? Or something else?

[Comment: Regarding accounts of systematic sexual abuse — consider the Jimmy Saville case in UK (surely just the tip of the iceberg) — such horrors are indeed possible.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egypt Court Orders YouTube Blocked for a Month

A Cairo court on Saturday ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world, but the ruling can be appealed and based on precedent may not be enforced.

Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered YouTube blocked for carrying the film, which he described as “offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad).” He made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, killing more than 50 people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ruling Tunisian Ennahda Party Calls Rally in Tunis

(AGI) — Tunis, Feb 9 — The ruling Islamist Ennahda Party has called a rally in the centre of Tunis on Saturday, the day after the funeral of opposition leader Chokri Belaid. The demonstration will go down Avenue Bourghiba, the scene of violent protests against the government following the murder of the leader of the Democratic Patriots’ Movement last Wednesday.

The demonstration aims to “defend the legitimacy of the national constituent assembly” and rejects the “political violence” used by the opposition, said a press release.

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

Iraq: Shoe Wars II: Panic in the Commons as Protestor Hurls Pair of Size 8s at American Diplomat in Repeat of Bush Attack

A former top US diplomat had shoes thrown at him in the Commons last week in a re-run of the attack on George W. Bush when he visited Iraq as President.

There was panic as a protester hurled two shoes at Paul Bremer, ex-US envoy to Iraq, as he made a speech in a meeting room at the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Bremer, who was in charge of rebuilding post-war Iraq, ducked as the man accused the US of ‘f****** up’ and declared he had ‘a message from Saddam Hussein’ to deliver before throwing the first shoe.

Regaining his composure, Mr Bremer tried to catch the second shoe as security guards grabbed hold of the man, who said he was brought up in Iraq, and removed him from the room.

Before resuming his speech, Mr Bremer taunted the protester for missing him, saying: ‘You should improve your aim if you want to do something like that.’

He added: ‘If he had done that while Saddam Hussein was alive, he would be a dead man by now.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Real Life Vampire Who Stabs and Bites Others is Addicted to Drinking Their Blood and His Own, Doctors Say

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content. **]

Doctors in Turkey have described a man who became addicted to drinking human blood as having ‘vampirism’.

The 23-year-old married man started slicing his own arms, chest and stomach with razor blades, and gathering the blood in a cup so he could drink it.

He soon became addicted and started turning to other sources to feed his habit which he described as being ‘as urgent as breathing’.

The man, whose name was not revealed in the report, was arrested several times after stabbing and biting others to collect and drink their blood.

He also developed multiple personalities and suffered from amnesia.

The report said: ‘Possibly due to ‘switching’ to another personality state, he was losing track during the ‘bloody’ events, did not care who the victim was anymore and remained amnesic to this part of his act.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Afghan Teenager Sentenced for Having Sex With 2 Men

(AGI) Herat — A 13-year-old Afghan boy has been sentenced to a year in a reformatory for having sex with two adult men.

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

India: Afzal Guru, Who Plotted the 2001 Parliament Attack, Executed

Originally from Kashmir, he was hanged and buried in Tihar jail. On death row since 2004, he saw his wife’s plea for clemency finally rejected after many years. Fourteen people died during the attack.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Mohammed Afzal Guru, an Indian Kashmiri who plotted to attack India’s parliament in 2001, was hanged this morning. On 23 January, President Pranab Mukherjee had turned down his wife’s final clemency plea, setting off the countdown for his execution. The sentence was carried out at Tihar jail near Delhi and his body was buried in the prison’s cemetery.

According to Indian authorities, Afzal Guru, a fruit vendor by trade, was a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-backed group that advocates Kashmir’s independence.

On 13 December 2001, a group of terrorists entered India’s parliament, and killed a gardener and eight police officers, before they were shot dead. Azful was accused of supplying them with the weapons they used.

India’s Supreme Court rejected the appeal against his conviction in 2004. Scheduled for October 2006, the execution was stayed after his wife made a special plea for clemency.

Although included in the Indian Penal Code, executions are very rare in India. Afzal Guru’s was only the second since 2004, after Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving attacker from the 2008 Mumbai attack, was executed in November last year.

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

Italian Military Vehicles for Afghanistan Seized

Allegedly repaired with used, defective parts

(ANSA) — Cagliari, February 8 — Italian judicial authorities seized on Friday 26 Italian military vehicles destined to be used in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

Guardia di Finanza financial police in the northeastern Sardinian city of Sassari found the vehicles were repaired with used and defective parts by a Sardinian repair shop.

The vehicles consisted of Iveco VM 90 off-road patrol vehicles and ACM 90 trucks, used for transporting materials.

Four mechanics and one member of the Italian military are under investigation for corruption and fraud against the State.

The mechanics, who work for a repair shop in the town of Castelsardo, near Sassari, allegedly modified and repainted used parts for the repairs, and billed the work as though the replacement parts were new.

The financial police claimed it amounted to 100,000 euros of fraud, and that the mechanics worked in league with the military personnel overseeing the repairs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Maoists Had Enough With Communism, Now Say Nepal to Go Capitalist

A spokesperson for the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist makes the announcement at the party’s convention. Delegates from foreign Communist parties cannot hide their surprise. Nepal’s geopolitical situation required an economic revolution.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — Nepal is leaving Communism behind in favour of capitalism, this according to Agni Sapkota, spokesperson for the ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist.

“The global context and our local geo-political reality shows that socialism and communism will not benefit the country,” he told the party’s seventh convention. With this in mind, Maoists will now undertake a “peaceful transformation”.

At the first convention in 21 years, the party re-elected Pushpa Kamal Dahal as its chairman. In accepting his nomination, he called on party officials “to fight together to boost the country’s economy and bring prosperity to the poor.”

Delegates from foreign Communist parties welcomed the decision to undergo a “peaceful transformation” and give up extremist Maoist positions. However, many also voiced surprise at the party’s decision to go capitalist.

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

Clashes Reported in Malian City of Gao

(AGI) Gao — Clashes have been reported between Islamists and Malian troops in city of Gao previously thought to have been in the hands the of Malian army.

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

Italy: Tea and Narghile’ at the Arab Club in Rome

Open to everybody, it fosters integration

(By Cristiana Missori) (ANSAmed) — ROME, FEBRUARY 8 — ‘Al Nadi al arabi’ is the Arab club in Rome’s Via Cavour, just a few steps from the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. The club is a new cultural and social meeting point for communities from Egypt and other Arab countries in the capital. Open to everybody, the club is a place where books are presented and music is played — more often on Friday and Saturday. Everyday from 3 pm until 1 am it is possible to sit down here and read, play chess or backgammon, drink cinnamon or cardamom tea, smoke narghile or eat Middle Eastern specials. On the entrance door are written in Arabic the name of countries sharing the language of the Koran.

The club was set up less than a year ago by two leading members of the community. One is the president of the Egyptian community in Italy, Adel Amer, a 45-year-old architect who lives in Rome. ‘We invested some 110,000 euros in the renovation’, he said. Everybody ‘has access here. We give a card (which is free) only to people we consider to be honest’. People don’t go to the club to talk about religion or politics. ‘For religion, there are the mosques and connected cultural associations’, he said.

‘The principles we want to convey are those of solidarity, reciprocal respect and integration’.

Many members know each other in a place which gives a unique insight into the lifestyles of foreigners in Italy. A former boxing champion from Syria’s city of Aleppo, Saber Kremish, waits on tables. ‘From 1980 until 1987 I was a champion in middleweight boxing’, he told ANSAmed. He was 32 then. After being a leader in his category for three consecutive years, Kremish won a gold medal in the Mediterranean championship.

Today, at 46 and dressed in a traditional Syrian costume, he is a waiter at the club. ‘I have been in Italy since 2000’, he said, while his family has remained in Syria where he returns as often as he can in spite of the civil war. He last visited during Ramadan. His wife and five daughters have recently moved to Beirut. Next month he will return to Syria for a short visit.

‘My wife has to give birth’, he said. In spite of the great risk, they will be forced to have their child in Syria for economic reasons: ‘300 euros rather than the 2,500 demanded in Lebanon, too many’.

Meanwhile, he keeps training and hopes one say to become a boxing coach. His most recent pupil in Syria, Gheias Taifur, was a boxing champion like him ‘but last year he was killed. He was a supporter of Assad’.

After 5 pm the club, which includes two rooms, starts filling up. Many ask for a shisha (water pipe). A cook helps Saber and prepares dishes from the hummus to koftah, meatballs, falafel and kebab. Then the doorbell rings and the barber-hairdresser comes in. He travels through the city with his scooter to cut and dye the hair of his clients, men and women.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Feminism is Hateful & Hated — Let’s Kill It!

If you were to ask men off the record, most would express displeasure and disagreement with Feminism. Pressed, many would even confess open hatred of this ideology and a curse upon its originators. But don’t be surprised if many women feel the same way because of how it has confused gender roles and poisoned everyday discourse. This article is written to argue that feminism is unnatural, creates more harm than good, and has left generations of unhappy and lost persons in its wake, many still searching for their place in society and God’s universe.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of Feminism is how it engenders and encourages disrespect from women to men. While this can be regularly seen in popular culture, it has also been so widely dispersed that disrespect regularly courses through the everyday lives of many Americans. Shockingly, American women have been convinced through the strange, mindless alchemy of pop culture that by refusing to recognize or honor men for their unique merits, they have somehow bagged some great achievement. Unfortunately this unpleasant conviction has percolated down into the DNA of several generations of females, creating much of the rude culture dominating our society today. Such insipid rudeness will not easily be removed, but probably will need to be rooted out after a Christian revival which reminds us that all people deserve polite treatment and honor, as we are all made in the image of God the Father.

What is Feminism? Much debate has been levied at this question, leaving several possible answers. First, Webster’s offers this generic entry:

1. the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2. organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

But Suzanne Venker’s The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say, describes two kinds of feminist: Fringe and Elite feminists. The Fringe are simply a continuation of the old, histrionic and overly-dramatic feminists of yore who demand an unfettered right to abortion, and constant whining over sexism. The Elites, conversely, are found in the upper echelons of the political, media and academic worlds. Venker claims Elites are by far the more dangerous, since these pass off their ideology as if it were already established. Instead, the toxic and mostly invisibly poisonous ideology is disseminated like oxygen from plants, contaminating all who breathe its fumes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Have Pastors Forsaken America?

As we watch America spiraling down into oblivion we have to ask how this happened. How did we let America be turned into a nation of people who demand that government take care of them instead of the nation of hard working, independent and self reliant people that founded this nation?

To answer this we have to look at what influenced the Founders and what influences today’s society. Let’s begin with what influenced the Founders. During the education years of the Founders there was only one major influence in the lives of the Founders and that was the Pastors. In the 1600’s and early 1700’s the pastors were the most influential person in the community. These pastors were more than simple people who gave a cute sermon on Sunday mornings. They were the leaders of the community. They were the teachers. They carried so much influence in the community that the British labeled them The Black Regiment for the color of the robes that they wore.[1] These pastors did not beat around the bush with their interpretation of scripture. They used the Bible for their foundation of morals.

These men were men of honor and integrity. They preached that Christians should live in the fullness of God’s Word. There were sermons on the deity of Christ, on Christmas, on Easter, but there were also sermons on other varied topics that you would not hear preached today such as sermons on bridges [architecture], earthquakes, taxes, elections, even executions. Whatever was in the forefront of the people’s daily lives, the pastors would address it from a Biblical perspective. They were always out front in the fight for freedom. They helped write state constitutions, were the founders of most of our colleges and universities such as Yale, Harvard, Columbia [Kings College], Princeton, William and Mary, Dartmouth, and Rutgers University.[2]

[…]

The Christian ministers of the late 1600’s and early 1700’s were not weak preachers that we see today. They stood their ground under all conditions unrelenting in their fight for justice and resisting encroachments on the civil and religious liberties that they had helped secure.

[…]

Today’s kids are influenced by MTV and video games and soft to hard porn on TV. They aren’t allowed to learn America’s real history but they can learn about islam. When they get to college most of the professors are liberals that tear down America instead of teaching the great attributes of America that made her the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tory MP Condemned as Homophobic After He Claims Being Gay is Just a Short-Lived Phase

Conservative MP Sir John Stanley has been branded homophobic after claiming that being gay was just a passing fad.

The married MP said homosexuality was a ‘normal phase’ for youngsters before they became heterosexuals in later life.

Sir John, 71, made his comments following the the controversial Commons vote which legalised same-sex marriages

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

More People Bailing Out of Facebook; Is a FB Collapse Imminent?

(NaturalNews) Facebook caught on fast and furious to become the premier social networking platform in the world. In 2003, Mark Zuckerberg, depicted in the movie “The Social Network” as a brash Harvard sophomore who cared not about others’ thoughts and/or feelings, started a social networking interface called Facemash.

Facemash was initially for Harvard students. It’s name soon morphed into TheFacebook. Mark inspired technical help and financing from three other Harvard students who eventually sued him after TheFacebook became simply Facebook and went well beyond Harvard’s campus with investors’ money attached.

Zuckerberg settled with those other three students. Everyone made money, especially Mark. As Facebook’s popularity grew, other dot-com groups and individuals started buying shares at high prices, raising Facebook’s value. Then Mark started selling shares of Facebook publicly in 2012.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslim Views of the Apocalypse

(RNS) Muslim and Christian views of the Apocalypse bear remarkable similarities, albeit with a different ending.

As in the Bible’s Book of Revelation, Islamic tradition speaks of signs — unnatural disasters, wars and moral decay — that will portend the Last Days. And like Christians, many Muslims believe that Jesus, whom they call Isa, will return to defeat the Antichrist.

Contemporary Muslim apocalyptists have even borrowed from their Christian counterparts, such as Hal Lindsay, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, to discern the dates of the Antichrist’s arrival, said David Cook, an expert on Islamic eschatology and associate professor at Rice University.

“There are Muslim apocalyptic readings of the book of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation,” says Cook. “The only difference is the ‘good guys’ are Muslims, not Christians.”

The Muslim Jesus destroys the cross and the swine, symbols of Christian innovations, and converts Christians to Islam, said Abdulaziz Sachedina, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Virginia. Whether he does so violently or not is a matter of debate.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Folly of the West’s Alliance With the Muslim Brotherhood

By Janet Levy

A Mosque in Munich

By Ian Johnson

Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
336 pp., $15.95

The presence of Muslims in the West is not a recent phenomenon; on the contrary, it reaches back many decades, to Nazi Germany. Then, a group of former Soviet Muslims, seeking better treatment in Germany, defected and aided the Nazi effort. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) cohorts in the Middle East conducted a parallel effort. Later, under the control of U.S. intelligence, many of these same Muslims were harnessed as a bulwark against worldwide Communist domination during the Cold War. Eventually completely taken over by the MB, these German Muslim cohorts were courted by the West as a most curious partner to counter Islamic extremism. The locus for much of their activity, which they later used to spread Islam throughout Europe and plan major terrorist attacks in the West, including 9/11, was to become a beachhead in Europe — the Munich mosque.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Johnson details this history in his book, A Mosque in Munich. Johnson examines nearly 80 years of the Muslim presence in Europe and how America helped strengthen the very community dedicated to the destruction of the West. Most of it is on target, except for Johnson’s crucial underplaying of the Muslim Brotherhood’s key role in the mission to destroy America.

Muslims Fighting for Nazism

During World War II, the Nazis saw an opportunity to use disenfranchised non-Russian Muslim minorities to fight the Soviet Union. As victims of Soviet repression, Muslims were treated as an underclass. Their farms were collectivized, their assets were confiscated, they were persecuted for practicing their religion, and their mosques were shuttered. Thus, they became ripe for Nazi exploitation, and, as devalued soldiers, non-Russian Muslim minorities were eager to be captured by the Germans and fight against Stalin. In addition, since anti-Semitism was an intrinsic part of their religious doctrine, these Muslims naturally allied with Nazis efforts to exterminate Jews…

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We Are Being Pulled Into the Matrix Like Never Before

Technology has enabled modern mankind to enjoy a lifestyle that our ancestors could only dream of. Countless numbers of science fiction writers have warned for decades about the negative side to our advancing technology. Every new technology invented has the capacity to be used for the benefit or destruction of mankind. Even technologies originally intended for good can be misused.

Could many of our society’s ills be connected to our over dependency on technology? Is the answer, as transhumanist leader Ray Kurzweil says, to simply merge with it? If we do, will our humanity still be intact?

Let’s take a look at some statistics.

According to a 2010 LA Times report, young people spend on average 53 hours a week watching TV, playing video games, and sitting at the computer.

Facebook users spend about 15 hours a month on the social networking site.

People are walking — and driving — blindly while texting, sometimes walking into fountains and even falling off cliffs.

A literal matrix is being built around us. It hasn’t snatched all of us up yet, but there are warning signs everywhere. The food we eat is increasingly synthetic. Much of the news we watch has been shown to be a total fabrication. The virtual world offers endless hours of entertainment, pressing buttons in our brains to make us come back for more even when we don’t want to. It even offers virtual mates that some men end up finding more pleasurable than their real partners.

We are paying a high price for misusing technology.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/10/2013

  1. “…..using meat shipped from France that was fraudulently labeled as beef, but was actually 60%-100% horsemeat.”

    i remember the crap that britain cought from france over the “mad cow” disease issue.
    i wonder if our spineless government will hand out similar to frenchy boy over this?
    doubt it :(

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