Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/11/2013

Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will resign his papal office at the end of this month, due to the increasing debility of old age. This is the first time in 600 years that a pope will have left office before his death. The College of Cardinals will meet in conclave to elect a new pope.

In other news, the culprits behind the European horsemeat scandal have been traced to a consortium of the Italian and Polish mafia, who intimidated workers in meat supply warehouses into mislabeling horsemeat as beef.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, McR, Russkiy, 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
» Argentina’s Regime Leader Kirchner Freezes Food Prices, Pushes Country Toward Food Shortages and Riots
» As Egypt Runs Out of Dollars, Is it Next on the Devaluation Bandwagon?
» Italian Councils Complain Cuts Make Budgets Impossible
» Italy: Grilli Tells Wall Street Journal MPS Bank is Still ‘Solid’
 
USA
» British Hospital Report Should Wake Up America
» Chris Kyle, Ron Paul, And Liberal Doublethink
» Civil War
» Killer Dorner’s Supporters Are Par for the Left’s Course
» Michael Moriarty: The History of World War III
» The Global Warming/Climate Change Alarmists: Forward or Bust
» Trevor Loudon: Major Exposé Coming [Of Communist Infiltration in Congress]!
» What Our Society Has Become
 
Canada
» Canadian PM Reflects on Country’s Racist Past Toward Chinese
 
Europe and the EU
» A Signal From Above? Lightning Hits St Peter’s Hours After Pope Benedict Stuns Cardinals With First Resignation in 600 Years
» Bat Yeor: How Many Europeans Still Have to Live in Fear?
» Bomb Blasts, Street Battles in Mali City Following French Declaration of Success
» France Wakes Up to a Socialist Reality: Will America?
» German Prosecutors Probe Left Candidate’s Stasi Contacts
» Germany: 74-Year-Old Woman Collecting Petitions Against Mosque Sentenced to Pay 1000 Euros to Amnesty International
» Horse Meat Scandal Extends Across EU
» Italian and Polish Mafia Gangs Are Blamed for Horsemeat Scandal as Government Warns More British Products Will be Contaminated
» Italy: Lombardy Will be Mafia-Free, Says Maroni
» Italy: Bersani’s Comment on EU Summit ‘Childish’, Says Monti
» Italy: Monti Believes He Has Been ‘A Good Prime Minister’
» Italy: Fini Says Memory of ‘Foibe’ Atrocities Must be Preserved
» Italy: Riccardi Says Foibe Killings Were Ethnic Cleansing
» Italy: Centre-Left Promises Conflict-of-Interest Law if Elected
» Italy: University Professor in Pavia Arrested for Corruption
» Italy: Center-Left Leader Blasts Rivals
» Munich: Woman Condemned for Placard Warning of Turkish and Muslim Threat to Europe
» Muslim Fanatics Spouting on British TV: Extremists Use Fringe Stations to Call for Terror, Murder and the Torture of Gay People
» Playmobil Set Re-Enacting a Bank Robbery Goes on Sale at Toys R US
» Pope Benedict XVI Will Resign, Vatican Spokesman Says
» Shock Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
» Snow Blankets Much of Italy
» The Viennese Swamp: Corruption and Attacks Mark Austrian Election Year
» UK Warned — CIA Will Access All Government Data
» UK: Daily Star Sunday Witch-Hunts East London Mosque
» UK: Doctors Call for Dr David Kelly Inquest to Resume
» UK: Government Giving Millions to Badly Performing Aid Organisations
» UK: Is This the Fox That Savaged Month-Old Baby? Brazen Creature Seen Prowling Through a Garden Just Yards From Where the Child Was Attacked
» UK: If These Disease-Ridden Vermin Kill a Child Next Time, Blame the Fools Who Think They’re Cuddly
» UK: London’s East End: A Melting Pot Simmers Closer to the Boil
» UK: Plans for Chipping Norton Mosque Scrapped After Threats
» UK: Serial Thief Finally Jailed After Being Convicted of 182nd Crime
» UK: Social Worker Took the Wrong Child Out of Primary School for a Supervised Visit With Another Child’s Father
 
North Africa
» Arab Springs: Hope Gives in to Problems
» Tunisia in Chaos: Why is Islam Taboo?
» Western Sahara: Saharawi National Council Follows With Great Concern Trail of Gdeim Izik Group
 
Middle East
» Armed Rebels Attack Ancient Village, Church in Northern Syria
» Bahrain: National Dialogue Kicks Off
» Familes of Lebanese Hostages Taking Matter Into Own Hands
» Japan to Help Saudi Arabia Build Nuclear Power Plants
» One Killed in Clashes Between Police, Protesters in SE Turkey
» Syria: 14 Security Agents Killed by 2 Suicide Car Bombs
» Worsening Violence May Push Iraq Back to Civil War
 
Russia
» Putin Turns Black Gold to Bullion as Russia Outbuys World
» Russia Will Tighten Its Visa Regime for Muslims
 
Caucasus
» Chechnya’s Kadyrov Calls for Sorcery Crackdown, Touts Islam as Defense Against the Dark Arts
 
South Asia
» India: Hindu Scholar Terms Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Greatest Person in History, Urges to Study Prophet’s Life for Understanding Islam
» Indonesia: South Sulawesi: Molotov Cocktail Attack on Protestant Church, Fear Among Christians
» Kumbh Mela Festival Stampede Leaves More Than 30 Dead in India
» Roadside Bomb Strikes Afghan Army Van, Kills 1, Wounds 1
 
Far East
» Is China Mobilizing for a War With Japan?
 
Australia — Pacific
» New Machine Guns to Extend New Zealand Military Capabilities
» New Political Party Rise Up Australia Wants ‘Muslim Intake’ Cuts
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Over 100 Shepherds Killed by Livestock Bandits in S. Sudan
» Somalia: Suicide Bomber Targets Puntland Deputy Police Chief
» South Sudan: Jonglei — Hundreds Feared Dead or Missing in Akobo County Attack
» Timbuktu: Al-Qaeda’s Terrorist Training Academy in the Mali Desert
» Zimbabwe: Appointment of New Hangman Raises Concern
 
Latin America
» Luis Fleischmann: Review of Joel Hirst’s Novel “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio”, Universe, Inc, 2012
 
Immigration
» Crime & Incompetence: Guide to America’s Immigration Crisis
» Immigration Must Serve British Interests
» Incredibly Stupid Questions of Our Time: No. 1 — is Immigration Good or Bad for Britain?
» UK: Only 15 of 200 Foreigners Who Took Part in 2011 Riots Have Been Deported
 
General
» Software That Tracks People on Social Media Created by Defence Firm
» The Unverifiable World

Argentina’s Regime Leader Kirchner Freezes Food Prices, Pushes Country Toward Food Shortages and Riots

(NaturalNews) A few days ago, Argentina’s populist female president Cristina Kirchner ordered a price freeze on food products. This price freeze was levied against the largest food retailers in the country, and it is just the latest example of utterly insane economic policies made by populist national leaders who inevitably end up causing massive suffering and economic damage to the nations they claim to lead.

In case you’re not familiar with Kirchner, this woman is a mafia-style criminal, a populist political hustler who has, for years, fabricated economic data to claim Argentina has low inflation. (In truth, the inflation rate there is over 25%.) She has been caught using government-created money to pay off political bribes. She has been slapped on the wrist by the IMF for falsifying economic data, and now she is about to thrust her country into nationwide food shortages that may very well be followed by riots.

The people of Argentina deserve better than Kirchner. Argentinians are, by and large, extremely friendly and capable people, yet they have suffered under the most absurd dictatorial rulers for at least a generation, possibly longer. Kirchner is just the latest in a long line of thuggish betrayers of the people who elected her.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

As Egypt Runs Out of Dollars, Is it Next on the Devaluation Bandwagon?

Late on Friday Venezuela shocked the world when instead of reporting an update on the ailing health of its leader, as many expected it would, it announced the official devaluation of its currency, the Bolivar by nearly 50% against the dollar yet still well below the unofficial black market exchange rate. By doing so, it may have set off a chain reaction among the secondary sovereigns in the world, those who have so far stayed away from the “big boys” currency wars, or those waged by the Big 6 “developed world” central banks, in an attempt to also “devalue their way to prosperity” and boost their economies by encouraging exports even as the local population sees a major drop in its purchasing power and living standards. So in the game, where the last player to crush their currency inevitably loses, the question is who is next. The answer may well be America’s latest best north African friend, and custodian of the Suez Canal: Egypt.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian Councils Complain Cuts Make Budgets Impossible

Local authorities now unable to draw up proper budgets, reps say

(ANSA) — Rome, February 8 — Representatives of Italy’s regional and city administration on Friday voiced concern over the difficulties created by new spending regulations introduced as part of government austerity measures for local budgeting.

“It is largely impossible to draw up a proper budget in compliance with the obligations of the domestic stability pact and considering the major spending cuts,” said the President of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), Graziano Delrio, and the President of the Conference of the Regions, Emilia-Romagna Governor Vasco Errani, in a letter to outgoing Premier Mario Monti and Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli. The representatives described the financial and budget situation faced by local and regional authorities as “unsustainable”.

Specifically they highlighted the problems created by the decision to delay payment of a new council rubbish tax (Tares) until July, with resulting cash-flow problems for municipalities needing to pay providers for services; by cuts to spending in the health sector, leaving regions unable to guarantee essential services; and by the lack of resources for social policies.

Monti took office at the helm of a technocrat government in November 2011 to shore up the national economy amid a spiralling sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone. His government has introduced a series of austerity measures and spending cuts that detractors say hit local and regional authorities and low and middle-income earners the hardest.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Grilli Tells Wall Street Journal MPS Bank is Still ‘Solid’

Lender’s CEO says there is no deposit flight

(ANSA) — Rome, February 11 — Monte dei Paschi di Siena is still a “solid” bank, Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said in an interview Monday with the Wall Street Journal. Speaking on the sidelines of an Italy-United States business forum in New York, Grilli noted that the framework for bank supervision is changing Europe, to become more centralized.

Supervision of the troubled bank has become a central issue since 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. In fact, the amount of “junk” on the bank’s books came as a surprise, Fabrizio Viola, the bank’s new chief executive, said last Friday.

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

Still, Grilli repeated his reassurances on the bank’s solidity in an interview Monday with the Reuters news agency, suggesting that the potential losses of MPS won’t affect the overall solid standing of the bank.

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.

Grilli told the Italian parliament in late January that, given the share price at the time, 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”.

Viola has also 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]

British Hospital Report Should Wake Up America

In an article published in New York Times International on February 7th 2013, Sarah Lyall reports “Appalling Suffering” in British Hospitals. This should be a wake-up call to all Americans to stop the insanity of Obama’s destruction of the American system, which is already in a disgraceful state of degradation.

Shockingly bad care and inhumane treatment at one hospital led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths and stripped countless patients of their dignity and self-respect, according to a government report which examined conditions at Stafford Hospital. The report cites example after example of horrific treatment: patients left unwashed and lying in their own urine and excrement; patients left so thirsty that they drank water from vases; patients denied medication, pain relief and food by callous and overworked staff members; patients who contracted infections due to filthy conditions; and patients sent home to die after being given the wrong diagnoses.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chris Kyle, Ron Paul, And Liberal Doublethink

Our government has more in common with a bloated criminal enterprise, than with the lean watchdog for the republic it was designed to be.

Definition of Doublethink:”The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them…to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies.” — George Orwell (1903-1950)

Liberals (i.e. Progressives, Democrats, and all too many Republicans) harbor so many conflicting concepts and beliefs that they would suffer the discomfort of cognitive dissonance if they did not have the mental bolt-hole of doublethink to turn to. Unlike cognitive dissonance (holding two contrary beliefs at the same time), doublethink does not cause discomfort, or certainly not as much, and is therefore the preferred way for those who hold irreconcilable positions simultaneously to deal with the internal stress caused by that state of affairs. Daniel Greenfield addressed this liberal dichotomy in his recent article “So God Made Democrat:”…

Let us move on to the other side of the coin — the “America right or wrong” stance. I like Mark Twain’s sentiment of “Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.” I like even more Heinlein’s take on the same issue — “Love your country, but never trust its government” or as George Washington put it, “Government is…a dangerous servant and a [fearsome] master.”

It is crucial that “we the people” recognize the difference between love of country, and unquestioning obeisance to its government, and not conflate or confuse the two things. We must recognize that America is no longer the bulwark against tyranny and oppression that it was designed to be, and for so long was…

Screw being politically correct! Can I hear an amen? Speaking of political correctness and “amens,” if you have not yet done so, you should watch the video of Dr. Benjamin S. Carson’s recent speech at the “National Prayer Breakfast.” What chutzpah! He talks about controversial issues not with anger, but with a passionate yet understated resolve. Bravo Dr. Carson! (//pitchforkpatriots.com/2013/02/08/dr-benjamin-s-carson-at-national-prayer-breakfast-a-must-watch/)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Civil War

Karl Rove and his American Crossroads PAC have declared war on the grassroot conservatives.

Karl Rove and his American Crossroads PAC have declared war on the grassroot conservatives. The growing numbers who associate themselves with the Tea Party, Agenda 21, School Choice activism and a host of other groups seeking a return to smaller government are a threat to the establishment element of the Grand Old Party. Rove is architect-emeritus of the establishment, make no mistake.

The utter arrogance of Rove and his ilk has blinded them to the realities of life. Their notion is that “money talks and the rest of us have to walk.” There is some truth to that, but it does not change the facts on the ground. Independents, social conservatives and those who can discern no difference between parties stayed home by the millions in this last election cycle. Does Rove actually think that by picking candidates the establishment can right the GOP ship? I think he has it exactly backwards. Why would he want to alienate the very people who will staff the army of volunteers needed to counter the Democrat ground game? Perhaps he knows something the rest of us don’t. However, I doubt he knows anything about dealing with the Tea Party or other activists.

Rove’s actions have hit close to home in Iowa. He and his minions have already fired the opening salvo in what is likely to be a bloody war between Steve King and his loyal (and active) followers in Iowa and the so-called Republican establishment. Steve is just the kind of guy to make a run at Iowa’s upcoming open senate seat just because someone said he shouldn’t. I am not sure how this will all turn out, but there are already many lessons to be learned from this idiocy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Killer Dorner’s Supporters Are Par for the Left’s Course

Modern liberalism is moral dysfunction

While I was a conservative by age 12, for some time thereafter I viewed liberalism as most do — as just another ideology. Sure, it was an irritating ideology, but an ideology nonetheless. But then something happened. I don’t quite remember if I was 20, 21, or 22, but some experiences in my life and much pondering of the issues and the human condition led to an insight. It hit me like a bolt of lightning:

Liberalism is what evil is masquerading as in our time.

I won’t go into the labyrinthine details of the matter here, but it was a life-changing epiphany that ultimately led to a transition from secular-conservative/libertarian to man of faith and walking, talking anachronism. And it made me realize that liberals aren’t just misguided, which they are — they’re also in bed with evil.

This is apparent in much of what they do, and the support that murdering fugitive Christopher Dorner is receiving from the left is a good example.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Michael Moriarty: The History of World War III

The last time I was as arrogantly certain of myself as President Barack Hussein Obama has been for the last four-plus years, I was drunk.

I was inevitably beaten up just outside one of my regular bars.

Thank God I wasn’t President of the United States at the time.

Such arrogance in a head of state within the Free World inevitably provokes Civil War.

Obama and his Progressively Marxist, New World Order, Obama Nation of America are all drunk with power.

The tragic inevitability within America’s plight under Barack Obama?

A Second American Civil War.

President Obama knows The Second American Civil War is coming. He and his Homeland Security are utterly and completely prepared for it.

However, 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition are apparently not enough of an edge for Federal troops over state and local police. They need more… and more… and more.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Global Warming/Climate Change Alarmists: Forward or Bust

Global warming proponents deliberately interchange weather events with climate in order to confuse their low information followers.

As the huge winter storm Nemo (“nobody” in Latin) blanketed the Northeast with 40 inches of snow, causing power outages to 650,000 homes and a spectacular snow, thunder, and lightning show in New York, the global warming/climate change alarmists were preparing to gather in D.C. on February 17 to “pressure President Obama to stop the flow of tar sands through the Keystone XL Pipeline, and build real momentum to address climate change.”

It was never about climate change — it was about powerful and moneyed elites controlling our economy and setting our lifestyles back to the stone age under the guise of preserving the planet from human destruction because, in their vaunted opinion, humans are the enemy.

Environmentalists have changed their agenda’s name from global warming to climate change because every time they gather to protest, Nature slaps them in the face with frigid weather and snow. As far as climate change goes, of course climate has been changing for eons and it will change randomly long after we are gone for reasons other than human activity.

Liberals love to manipulate and control everything, deluding themselves that they can regulate Nature. They see themselves as infallible, know-it-alls, omnipotent gods when in reality they are ordinary human beings with feet of clay.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Trevor Loudon: Major Exposé Coming [Of Communist Infiltration in Congress]!

What if a former supporter of a violent communist organization was now a respectable member of the US Congress — a highly influential rising star in the Democratic Party?

What if this communist group had a deliberate policy of infiltrating the Democratic Party to serve communist ends?

What if this person was still working closely with members of this communist network, even while serving as a member of Congress?

What if the communist party in question was allied to a foreign power known for its hostility to the interests of the United States?

What if this congressperson was still associating with senior officials of this hostile regime?

What if this person was appointed to several key committees in the US Congress?

What if this person was a major supporter of President Barack Obama?

Would you be concerned?

For the answers and much more, stay tuned to this blog.

Beginning this week, New Zeal will be publishing a series of posts exposing the Congress member in question.

The results of this research will also be loaded onto our sister site KeyWiki, as it is released to the public.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What Our Society Has Become

We have two choices. Fight using the tools available to us in the existing system now, or fight a bloody revolution later.

Today’s democrats are often called “socialists” by their opposition, and though that is probably true, what today’s progressive liberals truly are is something worse. These people are statists, which are people who believe that only the ruling elite understand how a society should be run, and that it is up to them to engineer that society so that eventually it becomes a peaceful utopia equipped with equality, fairness, and a share-and-share alike attitude. Heaven on Earth, I suppose you could say.

Samuel Adams called the concept “utopianism.”

Karl Marx called it communism.

In order to achieve this wonderful world of peace and understanding, the statists need to convince the people to stop thinking like individuals, and for them to put the overall collective above their own personal needs and desires. The people must be taught to act in a manner that is good for the community, through governmental programs and policies. The problem for the social engineers is, people often have a tendency to want to hang on to pesky little things like individualism, self-reliance, personal responsibility, freedom, and their own pursuit of happiness.

To transform a society, the ruling elite realizes they must do what the military does during boot camp. The individuals must be torn down to nothing, and then rebuilt in a manner acceptable to the body politic. In this way, the members of society become a homogeneous mass of followers willing to do as they have been programmed.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canadian PM Reflects on Country’s Racist Past Toward Chinese

VANCOUVER, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reflected on discriminatory practices toward early Chinese settlers and called for stronger ties with China for the economic benefit of both countries. Speaking at the Canada-China Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Chinese New Year celebration here Friday, the Canadian leader told the gathering of more than 400 people in suburban Burnaby that Canada “cannot change the past, but we can learn from it and build a better future together.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

A Signal From Above? Lightning Hits St Peter’s Hours After Pope Benedict Stuns Cardinals With First Resignation in 600 Years

The Catholic church was thrown into turmoil today after Pope Benedict XVI made the shock decision to quit the papacy because of his deteriorating health.

In a decision that has surprised even his closest aides, the 85-year-old Pontiff said his strength was ‘no longer adequate to continue in office due to his advanced age’.

He announced his resignation in Latin to a meeting of Vatican cardinals this morning, saying he did not have the ‘strength of mind and body’ to continue leading more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bat Yeor: How Many Europeans Still Have to Live in Fear?

How many broken lives, ruined careers, wasted talents caused by the defamation networks criminalizing writers, by the boycott of their works and by powerful politically correct censorship. Will the public at large and the younger generations ever know that if Europe triumphs over barbarism, it would be at the sacrifice of Guy Milliere, Bruce Bawer, Geert Wilders, Magdi Cristiano Allam and Hedegaard among others who didn’t compromise with the fundamental values ​​of humanity? As Alain Wagner aptly said: how many deaths will it take? Today it is Lars Hedegaard, who is fighting for your freedom. He has already been tried and narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. But tomorrow it could be anyone else, and maybe you in the bloody twilight of democracy …

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Bomb Blasts, Street Battles in Mali City Following French Declaration of Success

Blasts and street violence continue in Mali’s largest northern city after Islamist insurgent guerrilla raids. France has responded with an air strike, according to AFP. The violence throws into question claims of stability after the city’s recapture…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France Wakes Up to a Socialist Reality: Will America?

After five years of service from President Nicolas Sarkozy, a leader who sought to reduce government controls of the economy and to stimulate private enterprise, French voters tossed him aside last May in favor of a presidential candidate who was nominated jointly by both the French Socialist Party, and France’s “Radical Left Party.” Francois Hollande campaigned with a set of 60 propositions — referred to as his “manifesto” — which included raising taxes on corporations; raising taxes on banks; raising taxes on “rich” individuals; lowering the official retirement age back down to age 60 from 62; hiring 60,000 new government school teachers; and establishing government subsidized “youth jobs programs” in regions of high unemployment (does any of this sound familiar?).

Today, many French citizens seem horrified that — shock! — President Hollande is doing precisely what he pledged to do. “The situation is very serious” noted Laurence Parisot, head of France’s largest labor union MEDEF in an interview with the London Telegraph. “Some business leaders are in a state of quasi-panic” he claimed, as the Telegraph reported that “France is sliding into a grave economic crisis and risks a full-blown ‘hurricane’ as investors flee rocketing tax rates.”

Within his first six months in office, French President Hollande managed to raise national capital gains taxes from 34.5% to 62.2%, and now the French people are freaking-out. Juxtapose that with the hatred that American Golfer Phil Mickelson experienced when he acknowledged last month that, between federal and California state income taxes, he’s having “62, or 63%” of his earnings taken away each year, and the reality-check is even more striking.

In short, the French apparently now believe that this level of taxation is a dangerous and destructive thing. In America, however, “rich guy” Phil Mickelson is a dangerous and destructive thing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

German Prosecutors Probe Left Candidate’s Stasi Contacts

(AGI) Berlin — The Bundestag has removed immunity from Left candidate Gregor Gysi, under investigation for contacts with the Stasi.

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

Germany: 74-Year-Old Woman Collecting Petitions Against Mosque Sentenced to Pay 1000 Euros to Amnesty International

Freedom isn’t free. And when you’re being sentenced to pay 1000 Euros to a human rights organization for speaking out, then you know that your freedom is gone and your human rights have gone with it…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Horse Meat Scandal Extends Across EU

The labyrinthine nature of the horse meat scandal was further emphasised over the weekend with the French authorities indicating that companies from Romania, Cyprus, France and the Netherlands were part of a supply chain that led to horse meat ending up in ready meals sold across the European Union.

France’s junior minister for consumer goods, Benoit Hamon, said French companies had bought frozen meat from a Cypriot trader who had received it from a Dutch food company supplied in turn by a Romanian firm.

Lasagne meals and burgers suspected of containing horse meat have been removed from supermarket shelves in Ireland, Britain, Sweden and France.

Aldi and Tesco have taken several products off their shelves in the Republic. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) warned consumers not to eat Findus beef lasagne, samples of which were found to have been contaminated with horse meat.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is to publish results of a second round of tests it has ordered food producers to conduct on a wider range beef products this week.

British environment secretary Owen Paterson said more contaminated products could be discovered.

He described the crisis as “an issue of fraud and a conspiracy against the public, I think probably by criminal elements, to substitute a cheap material for that which was marked on the label”.

Legal action

Findus said it is considering legal action after an internal investigation “strongly” suggested the contamination of its products was “not accidental”. The company said it was considering pursuing a case against its suppliers over what it said was their “failure to meet contractual obligations about product integrity”.

UCD associate professor of public health Dr Patrick Wall said the FSAI’s role in uncovering the presence of horse DNA in products labelled as beef should be acknowledged.

He said that while the authority had been criticised in some quarters in the early stages of the crisis it had “uncovered a huge, Europe-wide scam. If it had not been for the FSAI this could have gone unchecked for years and it has set the standard others across Europe will have to follow”.

Dr Wall said dealers stood to make vast profits if they swapped horse meat for beef.

“Beef sells for around €4 a kilo while horse meat costs no more than 90 cent,” he said.

“So what we are seeing here is fraud on an absolutely huge scale. And the people behind this fraud would have been making enormous sums of money.”

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Italian and Polish Mafia Gangs Are Blamed for Horsemeat Scandal as Government Warns More British Products Will be Contaminated

Mafia gangs are suspected of orchestrating an ‘international criminal conspiracy’ worth millions of pounds by passing off horsemeat as beef.

Mobsters from Italy and Poland are believed to be behind the illegal trade which has led to British consumers eating horse when they believed they were buying beef.

The gangs are said to intimidate vets and workers in slaughterhouses and food production plants into signing off cheap cuts of pork and horse as beef.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Lombardy Will be Mafia-Free, Says Maroni

(AGI) Rome — Northern League leader Roberto Maroni said he will rid Lombardy of the Mafia, if he is elected president.

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

Italy: Bersani’s Comment on EU Summit ‘Childish’, Says Monti

(AGI) Rome, Feb 10 — Italian premier Mario Monti said on Sunday that Pier Luigi Bersani’s comment that the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s win at the EU summit in Brussels was a pyrrhic victory was “childish”. “We know the results Berlusconi brought home from Europe as a statesman, we do not yet know Bersani’s,” Monti told Italian news show TGCOM24.

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

Italy: Monti Believes He Has Been ‘A Good Prime Minister’

(AGI) — Rome, Feb 10 — Mario Monti, speaking in Milan said, “I believe I have been a good prime minister.” “When I was called, there was not much desire to occupy that post and he who was there withdrew,” he underlined. “When I was called I said ‘yes’, and I believe we have pulled the country out of the crisis.” “I think that as Italians we have re-found our dignity and pride in being Italian.”

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

Italy: Fini Says Memory of ‘Foibe’ Atrocities Must be Preserved

(AGI) — Rome, Feb 10 — Gianfranco Fini has expressed his hope that the memory of the World War II “foibe” atrocities will be preserved. “I wish to join in spirit with all those who are taking part in the celebrations to remember the victims of the foibe, of the Julian-Dalmation exodus and the events along the eastern border — in keeping alive the memory of those terrible events which have left unspeakable pain and a deep wound in many Italian families,” the Senate Speaker said.

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

Italy: Riccardi Says Foibe Killings Were Ethnic Cleansing

(AGI) Rome — Riccardi has said Italians in Istria and Dalmatia were the victims of real political and ethnic cleansing .

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

Italy: Centre-Left Promises Conflict-of-Interest Law if Elected

Ex-premier Berlusconi criticised for media empire

(ANSA) Rome, February 8. Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Friday that a law addressing the conflict of interests between politicians’ political and business activities would be among the first initiatives taken by a future government under his leadership.

The Democratic Party (PD) secretary, who is currently leading polls just two weeks ahead of parliamentary elections on February 24 and 25, made the statement during a conference on press freedom in Rome.

Over the years the lion’s share of criticism for conflict of interest has gone to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, owner of a massive media empire.

However, he has not been the only politician to allegedly benefit from the lack of legislation on the matter and successive governments on both sides of the political divide have consistently failed to tackle it.

Berlusconi is now leading the election campaign for the centre-right coalition led by his People of Freedom (PdL) party.

His campaigning has included many appearances on his own Mediaset television network.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: University Professor in Pavia Arrested for Corruption

Used campus property to build and sell flats

(ANSA) — Pavia, February 7 — A University of Pavia professor was arrested by police Thursday morning for alleged corruption. Angelo Bugatti, who also held a management position in the university, is accused of helping a builder working on a university construction site use part of the site for commercial ends.

According to investigators, Bugatti allowed the builder to construct, and put up for sale, apartments on land that belonged to the university and was supposed to be used to house new student facilities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Center-Left Leader Blasts Rivals

Bersani says Berlusconi sees women as blow-up dolls

(ANSA) — Milan, February 11 — Leader of the Italian center left, Pier Luigi Bersani, swung hard at rivals on Monday, questioning the sanity of the center right and the loftiness of moderates, as the countdown continues to national parliamentary and regional elections February 24-25. “Between Berlusconi, who considers women to be like blow-up dolls, Maroni who proposes a Lombard currency, and Storace who used the celtic cross, I say, ‘But where are we going?’ One has to watch out,” Pier Luigi Bersani said on Radio 105, making reference to centre-right chief Silvio Berlusconi, the Northern League candidate for the presidency of Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, and the centre-right candidate for the presidency of Lazio, Francesco Storace.

Bersani even skewered outgoing Premier Mario Monti, who is running in the current parliamentary elections in alliance with centrist parties. “I respect Monti but he always looks down from on high and is a bit thin-skinned. There is absolutely no agreement with moderate and centrist forces,” said Bersani on Radio Montecarlo, expressing worry that the centrist parties may seek to interfere with non-sectarian, “European” civil rights reforms.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Munich: Woman Condemned for Placard Warning of Turkish and Muslim Threat to Europe

by Cheradenine Zakalwe

Maria Frank, a 74-year-old woman, who leads an organisation called “Association for the Future of Germany” peacefully gathers signatures calling for a referendum on whether an “Islam in Europe” centre should be built in Munich. She is constantly mobbed by antifa, green and trade union activists, so her placards are hardly visible. Despite that, she is prosecuted for incitement to hatred.

In Rotkreuzplatz the 74-year-old pensioner exhibited a placard on this day, which among other thing said that after the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman empire in 1683 now “the arrogant Turks and Muslims … [are threatening] Europe again”. The accused thus established and suggested the reference to a war of aggression, at least “implicitly accepting” that fear of Islam and Turks would be generated, argued the state prosecutor. She thus disturbed the public peace.

Source: Süddeutsche.de

She was placed under caution and ordered to pay 1000 euros to Amnesty International! She said she had nothing to do with this organisation and asked to be allowed to pay the money to a charity for persecuted Christians instead. The judge said no, it had to go to Amnesty International!

In addition he warned Frank, who has made numerous negative statements about Turks and Muslims on the internet, sometimes in a much more drastic way than on the placard.

“You need to stop that and become aware of what is acceptable and what isn’t.”

If she commits a similar “offence” within the next three years, she has to pay a fine of 3,600 euros.

[Return to headlines]

Muslim Fanatics Spouting on British TV: Extremists Use Fringe Stations to Call for Terror, Murder and the Torture of Gay People

Hardline Islamic extremists are using fringe British TV channels to call for terrorism, murder and the torture of homosexuals.

A series of little-known channels have been severely criticised for allowing ‘inflammatory’ material to be broadcast.

Among the cases is an Islamic scholar who told viewers that it is their ‘duty’ to ‘kill those who insult Prophet Mohammed’.

In another a woman presenter said homosexuals should be beaten and tortured for the ‘evil, shameful act.’

Ofcom, the communications watchdog, found the stations broke the broadcasting code by allowing the extreme opinions to be aired unchallenged.

But the breaches highlighted fears that extreme Muslim speakers, previously confined to mosques, could reach larger audiences.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Playmobil Set Re-Enacting a Bank Robbery Goes on Sale at Toys R US

A Blond robber in dark glasses casually points a gun at a terrified bank manager as she claims a stack of gold bullion.

It may sound like the kind of scene you would hope to shield youngsters from — but this is actually a toy set aimed at children from four to ten.

Anti-gun campaigners have hit out at Playmobil over its Bank and Safe pack, which comes with all the pieces needed to stage a violent heist, including a safe that opens to reveal a haul of valuables and armed bank robber figurines.

The German manufacturer claims the toy, on sale for around £35, encourages children to ‘imagine, invent, create’.

But Danny Bryan of Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime, which works to help youngsters avoid lives of violence, said: ‘We don’t want to be encouraging young people to look at these sorts of things.

‘I think it is horrendous that young people are given all these images to shape them. It is sending out the wrong message.’

Aimed at children aged four to 10, the set includes gold bars, cash, a big bag to put the loot in, a pistol and a screwdriver to wrench open the cash point machine.

[Return to headlines]

Pope Benedict XVI Will Resign, Vatican Spokesman Says

Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who took office in 2005 following the death of his predecessor, said on Monday that he will retire on Feb. 28, the first pope to do so in six centuries.

[Return to headlines]

Shock Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

A Holy Father whose name we don’t know by this Easter?

A sudden change in the Church of St. Peter announced two days before Ash Wednesday?

BBC News Europe headlined this morning’s story: Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation.

“Because the Pope has not died, there is no need for the traditional nine days of mourning, but there will be a Conclave (a meeting of Cardinals to select the new Pope),” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told the Daily Telegraph.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Snow Blankets Much of Italy

Heavy transport and trailers banned on many roads

(ANSA) — Milan, February 11 — Heavy snow, which moved in Monday morning, will continue across much of Italy through early Tuesday, according to an Italian aeronautical military weather forecast.

The northern regions of Liguria, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and southern Lombardy are expected to be particularly hard hit.

Eleven regions banned tractor-trailers from travelling in 11 Italian regions due to the snow.

The prefect of Florence confirmed its 48-hour injunction on Monday afternoon, but introduced exceptions for trucks carrying fuel, perishable goods, live animals, provided they are outfitted with snow chains or tires.

Emergency and street maintenance vehicles were also allowed to circulate. On Monday, 500 farming tractors were rallied to plough snow by the agricultural association Coldiretti in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna.

The tractors are clearing roads to ensure food transport to towns and cities, as well as the delivery of animal feed and other supplies to farms. Ferries for the Tuscan tourist-destination Elba island were suspended from the port of Piombino.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Viennese Swamp: Corruption and Attacks Mark Austrian Election Year

By Björn Hengst

Austria’s political leadership has been mired in a swamp of scandal in recent months. With four state elections and a national poll scheduled for this year, the mudslinging has thus far been intense. The campaign has become particularly absurd on the far right.

Carinthia, the state in southern Austria, is in the grip of a group of political leaders who are just as bad as some of the worst dictators and war criminals recent history has produced. That, at least, is the message delivered by an advertisement recently created by the right-wing populist party Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ).

The ad, developed to be shown primarily in movie theaters ahead of a regional election in March, is called “Path to Freedom” and it portrays state political leaders interspersed with images of a handful of well-known dictators, including Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, Slobodan Milosovic of Serbia, East German leader Erich Honecker and the recently deposed Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“The time has come for us too,” the ad intones. “Now!” It ends with an image of the famous raising of the US flag on the island of Iwo Jima in World War II. Instead of the American flag, however, the soldiers are raising the gold, red and white flag of Carinthia. “Free Carinthia on March 3, 2013,” is the final message.

The advertisement is nothing if not overwrought. But as Austrians prepare for a quartet of state elections this year in addition to the general election set for September, its shrillness demonstrates the degree to which politics in the country has decayed in recent years…

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

UK Warned — CIA Will Access All Government Data

U.S. intelligence agencies will soon be able to trawl through all British government documents stored online including ministerial files, local authority records and public sector data thanks to an unchallenged amendment to a spy law in Washington.

Britain’s ambitious plans to store all government data on the so-called G-Cloud have led to warnings from the European Union that security will be compromised now that U.S. intelligence agencies have the legal right to survey all data held on U.S. owned Cloud services.

At least four U.S. companies are involved in the U.K. government’s G-Cloud project which Whitehall hopes will slash costs and “deliver fundamental changes in the way the public sector procures and operates.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Daily Star Sunday Witch-Hunts East London Mosque

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, 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…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Doctors Call for Dr David Kelly Inquest to Resume

A group of doctors which has been investigating the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly wrote to the Chief Coroner today calling for his inquest to be resumed and the suicide verdict re-examined.

In a letter to Judge Peter Thornton QC, they said there had been ‘‘deficiencies in legal processes’’ which meant Dr Kelly’s inquest had never been formally closed, no final death certificate had been issued and no cause of death had been confirmed by a coroner. They also said that the first police officer at the scene of Dr Kelly’s death had changed his account of how his body was positioned, bolstering claims that it had been moved…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Government Giving Millions to Badly Performing Aid Organisations

The Government has given £48 million to four foreign aid organisations despite describing their performance as “poor”, a report has disclosed.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have called on the Department for International Development (DfID) to point “its funding gun” at the organisations’ heads and demand that they immediately improve the performance of their Third World programmes. DfID spent £3.6 billion last year funding the activities of 43 so-called “multilateral organisations”, nearly half of the UK’s total aid budget…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Is This the Fox That Savaged Month-Old Baby? Brazen Creature Seen Prowling Through a Garden Just Yards From Where the Child Was Attacked

[WARNING: *** Disturbing Content. *** ]

Last night Denny’s aunt said she believed the fox had been trying to ‘drag the baby out of the house’ when the child’s mother came across the horrifying scene.

Mother-of-three Miss Cawley, 28, wrestled with the fox and fought it off, but her baby son was left soaked in blood and had gashes to his face and a black eye where the fox hit him against the door frame.

Denny had to have his finger reattached in surgery and needed stitches to his cheek, as well as treatment for injuries to his face and head.

His mother was said to be ‘shaking’ and ‘traumatised’ yesterday and keeping a vigil by her baby’s bedside at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in central London with her 28-year-old partner Paul Dolan…

A hospital baby unit has put up ‘Fox Alert’ warnings following reports that one of the animals had been spotted in the maternity wing’s main lobby.

Thousands of pregnant women use the unit at Manchester’s Wythenshawe Hospital (pictured below), but the warning states patients, visitors and staff must exercise caution when leaving the maternity unit late at night.

The warning poster (pictured right) was in place just days after five-week-old Denny Dolan had his finger ripped off by a fox that tried to drag him from his family’s home in Bromley, south-east London.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: If These Disease-Ridden Vermin Kill a Child Next Time, Blame the Fools Who Think They’re Cuddly

Today, experts reckon something like 33,000 foxes are running wild in our towns and cities.

[…]

Compared with their rural cousins, who have lush golden-brown coats, urban foxes are pathetic, unhealthy specimens. Where a country fox has a magnificent brush, town ones tend to grow thin, hairless tails.

They are, however, very good at one thing: reproducing.

In the country, a vixen might have a maximum of two or three cubs each year, knowing that will be the maximum she will be able to feed. In towns, where every bin liner holds another slap-up meal, they will have six or seven.

This prolific breeding is behind the exponential explosion in our urban fox population. The more fox numbers grow, the less healthy their population becomes, and the more likely they are to attempt to get one up on peers by venturing indoors in search of food.

You would think all this would mean councils were doing their utmost to solve the problem by controlling urban foxes.

Yet while some councils spend hundreds of thousands of pounds attempting to do so, others refuse to do anything to reduce their numbers, on animal welfare grounds.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: London’s East End: A Melting Pot Simmers Closer to the Boil

What do East Enders locals think of the rising religious and racial tension in the area highlighted by vigilantes calling themselves the Muslim Patrol

There are only a few hours left before Sally Cox calls time for the last time at the Queen’s Head. As she draws pints, she discusses with the handful of regulars gathered to celebrate her last night whether the Grade II status of the historic East End hostelry is sufficient to protect the fittings, or whether they will be stripped out when the premises are sold. The pub, which has stood on a corner of Flamborough Street in Limehouse since 1855, is said to be the inspiration for the Queen Vic in EastEnders. In 1987, the Queen Mother visited. A framed article on the wall reports that she supped a pint of beer and joked with locals that, although she watched EastEnders, it was much nicer to see the real thing.

Now it is one of three pubs in the area owned by Tower Hamlets Council (which leases them to landlords) that have been put up for sale, in order, according to the council, to raise revenue to invest in priorities such as affordable housing. The decision was made in September by the mayor of the borough, Lutfur Rahman, who has close links to the fundamentalist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). Rahman, who denies links to the IFE, was deselected by the Labour Party and elected mayor as an independent in 2010 on a turnout of 25 per cent. He has been accused of presiding over an administration that is seeking to “Islamicise” Tower Hamlets by, among other things, clamping down on strip clubs and a gay bar.

With its faded furnishings and empty tables, the Queen’s Head is a place out of time in the new East End. Nowadays the largest ethnic group are Bangladeshis, mainly from the rural Sylhet region, who embrace conservative Islam. But on the streets, men and women in traditional dress rub shoulders with a new and transient population of white, twentysomething professionals who pack out the hip bars of Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green every night of the week. This is the coolest part of the capital — and a disturbing extremist undercurrent has erupted on the streets in response…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Plans for Chipping Norton Mosque Scrapped After Threats

A MOSQUE will not open in Chipping Norton after its landlord received a threat that it would be burnt to the ground. The town’s Muslim community had been celebrating after they won permission to open the permanent home on Monday. But their 79-year-old landlord Georg Wissinter has received a threatening phone call and pulled out of the deal…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Serial Thief Finally Jailed After Being Convicted of 182nd Crime

A serial thief has been sent to prison after clocking up her 182nd criminal conviction.

Despite having been given repeated chances to keep out of trouble, Claire MacGarva has persistently re-offended.

The 32-year-old even embarked on a crime spree just two weeks after she was spared prison, stealing a computer and raiding high street shops for more than £400 worth of goods.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Social Worker Took the Wrong Child Out of Primary School for a Supervised Visit With Another Child’s Father

An investigation has been launched after a social worker took the wrong child out of school for a supervised visit with another boy’s father.

Four-year-old Kenzie Joe Jubb was removed from his nursery classroom, and sent with a stranger to ‘see his father’ — along with a two-year-old girl they mistakenly thought was his sister.

He was away from his class at Francis Askew Primary School in Hull, East Yorkshire for more than 10 minutes and driven to social services offices before teachers realised the mistake.

Now, his parents are demanding a full explanation as to why Kenzie, who has no dealings with social services, was taken.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Arab Springs: Hope Gives in to Problems

Egypt and Tunisia between freedom and chaos. Bloodbath in Syria

(ANSAmed) — ROME, FEBRUARY 8 — Those hoping that the fall of autocrats in nations at the center of the ‘Arab spring’ was enough to improve the situation in the region have been disappointed. The governments of the new ‘democracies in embryo’ — in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya — have inherited serious problems of a different nature. They have to deal with issues ranging from finance to organization, information, the lack of coordination between the education system and labour market and illiteracy. All these factors together make a real and quick transformation unlikely as such problems have been part of Arab societies for decades. Unemployment is a further, key matter and the main cause which has led to the vicious circle seen in Egypt and Tunisia. The lack of foreign investments due to political instability makes matters worse, leading to more protests and discontent and the malfunction of essential services.

The general situation in Egypt further complicates talks over crucial aid from the International Monetary Fund to Cairo.

In spite of all this, freedom remains, according to analysts, one of the most important conquests for countries at the centre of the 2011 revolt. A conquest which enabled citizens to say no and to set themselves free from submission. The situation in Tunisia appears as serious as in Egypt and exploded with the assassination on Wednesday of secularist opposition member Chokri Belaid.

The total lack of experience of government members elected in Egypt and Tunisia benefits no one. Rashid al Ghannushi, the current president of Islamic government party Ennahda spent over 30 years in prison and exile before returning home after the fall of former leader Ben Ali.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was jailed several times for his role in the Muslim Brotherhood and lived partly as a clandestine in the Mubarak era. Both have more experience as opposition rather than government members and need more time to show they are able to fulfill their role.

If Egypt and Tunisia continue to be in a difficult situation, the scenario in Syria is much more dramatic with an increasingly violent civil war between insurgents and forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad which has claimed over 60,000 lives. In this context, world powers like China and Russia are keeping the UN Security Council in check and the West seems willing to give rebels only limited support — of a moral nature rather than from a material and financial standpoint.

Iran meanwhile continues to massively support its ally Assad and the crisis risks a bloody impasse as neither a military nor a diplomatic solution have so far appeared viable.

The only political hope, if a military operation will not end the matter, has glimmered in the past few days after the president of the opposition coalition Muath Al Khatib said he was ready to negotiate with members of the Syrian regime ‘whose hands are not bloodied’ provided they set political prisoners free. But this statement has had no consequences so far especially since the military wing of the insurrection together with leading opposition members like Haithem Al Maleh have rejected it. The Kurdish issue is further complicating matters.

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party has gained control of a number of cities and villages in north-east Syria and a few districts in Aleppo but appears to be focusing more on defending its ethnic identity than on Syria’s destiny.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia in Chaos: Why is Islam Taboo?

Extremism is a threat to moderate Muslims and the West, but it is shrouded by a mysterious taboo. In Tunisia, birth place of the Arab Spring, the assassination of Chokry Belaid, the non-Islamic opposition leader, has led a revolt of the population fearful of a religious dictatorship. No country with a Muslim majority government is democratic and respectful of human rights and religious freedom. The Regensburg address of Benedict XVI only path for a true dialogue between Islam and the West.

Milan (AsiaNews) — On 6 February, the murder of Chokry Belaid, a lawyer who protested the government’s human rights violations, led to a revolt of the Tunisian people, who fear an Islamic dictatorship and would like a democratic and secular government. The picture of the “Arab Spring” in Sunni countries is becoming increasingly incomprehensible, there seems to be a return to the autumn and winter of democracy in Islamic countries.

The situation today is this: no country with a Muslim majority (and there are more than thirty) has a tolerably democratic government, many of these are in a state of civil war: Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Nigeria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, in no country with a Muslim majority is there full religious freedom for Christians and other religions in some countries where the faithful of the Koran are sizeable minority, there are separatist guerrillas and terrorism: Philippines, Thailand, India, China, Burma, Indonesia.

We all know the latest news, the events of that day-to-day confirm this situation. What is surprising is the fact that the West does not question, does not ask itself where the Islamic world’s instability originates and how it propagates, the uprisings, guerrilla warfare, terrorism that breaks out in all or almost all Islamic countries and what can be done to get to the root of this violent extremism, this loose cannon that threatens world peace. When before World War II, Nazism was already an expanding power, the free world discussed it at the popular level, studied the ideology and visited Germany, trying to make deals, it summoned international conferences for world peace. After World War II, when International Communism began to expand, from the 40s to 1989, the danger of contagion was perceptible, measures were discussed to prevent the spread of this ideology-religion, studying the roots of Marxism-Leninism and what to do to counter its spread in the free world. Communism was a threat, it was discussed a lot.

The same does not happen with Islamic extremism, condemned by all but which remains like a mysterious object. I do not mean aversion for Islam and even less Muslims. I am convinced that Islam is a great religion that has had the valuable historic merit of bringing many people from polytheism to the monotheism of Abraham, the father of all believers and from tribalism to unity in faith: it gave divided people and enemies a Book , a Law and a community that united and joined them. Today, however, Islamic extremism has taken over the vast majority of the followers of Islam and represents a new threat to humanity and our West demonized as the “great American Satan”, claimed as the sworn enemy. In short, Islam is not spoken of. Wars, revolts, terrorism, dictatorships, are all denounced but the root cause of all this is shrouded in silence in the Western press and in meetings and cultural debates. It is a taboo subject. At the most they mask the problem by writing, for example, that the Salafists persecution of Christians in Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria, “is not religiously motivated, but by economic interests,” a half-truth that nobody believes.

What can we do? Many things, but I think that in Italy there are about two million Muslim workers and students, generally good people who only seek a job, a home, the warmth of relationships, security, social peace, well-being. The theme of the roots of Islamic extremism must be publicized, discussed, debated, brought to popular attention, to involve ordinary people and Muslim guests in an atmosphere of respect and effective brotherhood. In the “lectio magistralis” in Regensburg (September 12, 2006) Pope Benedict XVI had made it clear that Islam has to deal with human reason, according to which “violence in God’s name does not exist.” No less than 200 imams and Muslim academics responded to the Pope saying they agreed and starting a dialogue on this crucial issue for Islam today.

During his journey to the Holy Land as a “pilgrim of peace” (8-15 May 2009), Benedict XVI returned to the theme when he gave a clear indication of how the followers of the three monotheistic religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims could live in harmony. On the plane taking him to Jordan he said that the key of getting along is “talking to reason and supporting positions that are truly reasonable.” And then, in meetings with Muslims in Jordan he insisted on this: religion is reasonably against violence. This view of religion, he added, “rejects all forms of violence and totalitarianism: not only on principles of faith, but also of right reason.” The reason leads to “serve the common good, to respect the dignity of man, which gives rise to universal human rights.”

But afterwards it was no longer spoken of or discussed, not even in Western democracies where there are millions of Muslims and there is freedom of thought and of press. In a democratic and free nation like our own, there should be no taboo subjects, because they never produce any good.

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

Western Sahara: Saharawi National Council Follows With Great Concern Trail of Gdeim Izik Group

The Saharawi National Council (parliament) follows with great concern phases of the unfair military trial of 24 Saharawi political prisoners, known as Gdeim Izik group, which opened on Friday. The Council condemned, in a statement issued Sunday on the sidelines of its autumn session, the arrest and bringing this group to a military court, considering that putting them in prison for more than two years “is another crime against them Moroccan regime should be held accountable for.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Armed Rebels Attack Ancient Village, Church in Northern Syria

DAMASCUS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Armed rebels have wreaked havoc on an archeological village in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, the pro-government al-Watan daily said Monday. Gunmen attacked the archeological Brad village, some 40 km north of Aleppo. The village, inhabited by 5,000 Kurds and annually visited by Christian pilgrims, combines a tomb and church of Saint Maroun, the patron saint of the Maronites, according to the report. Quoting local villagers, al-Watan said the Mar Maroun Church was vandalized and its windows were smashed…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bahrain: National Dialogue Kicks Off

MANAMA, Feb. 10(Xinhua) — Bahrain’s much-awaited National Consensus Dialogue started on Sunday with the participation of major political societies including the opposition groups.

Sunday’s session aimed to achieve a final agenda that will give shape to the crucial talks aimed to end the political stalemate in the Arab country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Familes of Lebanese Hostages Taking Matter Into Own Hands

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — After a fruitless eight months, the families of nine Lebanese Shia pilgrims kidnapped by an armed group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army are fed up with the lack of action, and are taking matters into their own hands. The hostages’ families began 2013 by sealing shut the entrance to the Turkish Airlines office in Beirut with red wax. A week later, they staged a protest outside the Qatari embassy, accusing the Gulf state of being complicit in the kidnapping and detention of their loved ones in Syria. They have even threatened to boycott Turkish products and interests in Lebanon unless their family members are released…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Japan to Help Saudi Arabia Build Nuclear Power Plants

(AGI) Riyadh — Japan has offered to help Saudi Arabia build nuclear power plants.

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

One Killed in Clashes Between Police, Protesters in SE Turkey

ANKARA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — At least one person was killed in clashes between the police forces and protesters in southeastern Turkey, local media reported on Monday. Clashes erupted when people took to the streets to protest against the capture and imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) who was captured on Feb. 15, 1999 in Kenya, said the local newspaper Today’s Zaman…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: 14 Security Agents Killed by 2 Suicide Car Bombs

Intense fighting, bombing raids on Damascus outskirts

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 11 — Fourteen Syrian security services agents were killed Monday by two suicide car bombs that targeted military and state security branches in the city of Al-Shadada in northeastern Hasakah province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.

The attack was carried out by a rebel jihadist group called the Al-Nusra Front, according to SOHR.

Also on Monday, rebels and government forces clashed fiercely on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus, eyewitnesses told ANSA in a telephone interview. Government planes carried out intense bombing raids over southern rebel neighborhoods, the eyewitnesses said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Worsening Violence May Push Iraq Back to Civil War

BAGHDAD, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — Waves of violence sweeping Iraq killed and wounded hundreds of people across the country in a few weeks, raising fears that the escalating sectarian and ethnic tensions may bring the country back to civil war. The recent attacks not only targeted prisons, security forces, anti-Qaida Sunni paramilitary group members but also used silenced weapons, roadside and sticky bombs to assault civilians and government employees. The deadly attacks, particularly suicide ones, killed and wounded hundreds of Iraqis. Some of the attacks’ responsibilities were claimed by al-Qaida members in Mesopotamia militant group, which showed signs of renewed strength and proved that it can still recruit suicide bombers in large numbers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Putin Turns Black Gold to Bullion as Russia Outbuys World

When Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is endangering the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly, he’s not just talking. He’s betting on it.

Not only has Putin made Russia the world’s largest oil producer, he’s also made it the biggest gold buyer. His central bank has added 570 metric tons of the metal in the past decade, a quarter more than runner-up China, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. The added gold is also almost triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

“The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there’s a cataclysm with the dollar, the euro, the pound or any other reserve currency,” Evgeny Fedorov, a lawmaker for Putin’s United Russia party in the lower house of parliament, said in a telephone interview in Moscow.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia Will Tighten Its Visa Regime for Muslims

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — The decision was taken on February 8 at a special meeting of Russian security departments where Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly criticized the work of the Russian Interior Ministry. According to Russian media, Putin was reviewing work of the ministry in connection with reforms that were initiated by the department, at the time former President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, who is now Prime Minister of the country. The main objectives of the reform were to improve the efficiency of law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism, corruption, and improve the image of law enforcement.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Presidential administration, the State Duma, the Federation Council, the heads of the FSB, the Federal Drug Control Service, the Prosecutor General, Ministry of Emergencies, the Investigative Committee, and other ministries and departments. In response to this special meeting and instructions from the Russian President, a crackdown against suspected terrorists, mostly Muslims, has started all over the country. Special operations have begun and several Muslims belonging to the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and an Egyptian citizen, and a citizen of Afghanistan, were arrested in St. Petersburg. Around 271 people were arrested and brought to the Central Investigation Department. “Ten detainees found documents with evidence of forgery, 20 individuals have no documents. Six of the detainees are to be deported out of Russia,” confirmed a DND correspondent.

[JP note: What joy it would be to read a similar headline for any Western country.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Chechnya’s Kadyrov Calls for Sorcery Crackdown, Touts Islam as Defense Against the Dark Arts

MOSCOW — The leader of Chechnya, in Russia’s mountainous Caucasus, has ordered a crackdown on faith healers, psychics and sorcerers. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed strongman who runs the overwhelmingly Muslim region, over the weekend called on Chechens to steer clear of people claiming to have magic powers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India: Hindu Scholar Terms Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Greatest Person in History, Urges to Study Prophet’s Life for Understanding Islam

Patna (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Islam is a wonderful religion and Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is the greatest person in the history of mankind. This claim was not surfaced by a Muslim but said by a well-renowned Hindu scholar in India. He also said that for learning and understanding Islam, Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) life and teachings are the best source…

[JP note: We have been told. Time to pack up stumps and head to the pavilion.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: South Sulawesi: Molotov Cocktail Attack on Protestant Church, Fear Among Christians

The Toraja Mamassa attacked in Makassar, the provincial capital. Three unidentified persons hurled crude bombs against the front of the building, which suffered minor damage, no one has so far claimed responsibility. The authorities have tightened security levels in the area.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A group of unknown assailants attacked the Protestant Church Toraja Mamassa in Makassar, the capital of the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi with Molotov cocktails. The episode took place at 4 this morning and so far, nothing is known of the authors of the act and there are no official claims. In an attempt to set it on fire, the unknown assailants caused minor damage to the building. Investigators are focusing on Islamic extremist factions in the area, but there is no physical evidence so far.

Local authorities have tightened controls and the level of security around the Christian place of worship and throughout the area. Local witnesses reported that, in the night, three unidentified people hurled Molotov cocktails at the building, then they hastily abandoned the scene of the crime. The act has caused minor damage to the walls of the structure.

The area of ??Makassar has long enjoyed peace and tranquility, without serious incidents linked to Islamic fundamentalism or religious tensions. However, towards the end of last year the situation changed so much that the authorities had to raise the alert level. In November, an Islamic extremist faction targeted the governor of South Sulawesi Sahrul Yasril Limpo, targeting him with a rudimentary bomb during a sporting event. In early January 2013 two members of a Muslim extremist group engaged in a shootout with police inside a mosque. The battle ended with the death of two terrorists.

From 1997 to 2001 the island of Sulawesi and the nearby Moluccas were the scene of a bloody Muslim-Christian conflict. Thousands of victims and houses were razed to the ground, hundreds of churches and mosques destroyed, and almost half a million people made refugees, of which 25 thousand in Poso alone. On 20 December 2001 a truce was signed between the two sides in Malino, South Sulawesi, through a peace plan promoted by the government. However, the truce has not stopped sporadic episodes of terror against innocent victims. Among the various cases the beheading of three girls on their way to school, at the hands of Islamic extremists in October 2005 (see . AsiaNews 29/10/2005 Indonesia: three Christian schoolgirls beheaded) raised global indignation.

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

Kumbh Mela Festival Stampede Leaves More Than 30 Dead in India

A stampede has killed at least 36 people and injured a dozen more in an Indian train station flooded with people during a Hindu festival that attracts millions.

Indian Railway Minister Pawan Bansal said the stampede took place in the Allahabad train station on Sunday evening. News reports said tens of thousands of people were in the station when a section of a footbridge there collapsed, leading to the stampede…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Roadside Bomb Strikes Afghan Army Van, Kills 1, Wounds 1

JALALABAD, Afghanistan, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Roadside bomb hit a vehicle of Afghan army in the eastern Nangarhar province 120 km east of Kabul on Monday, leaving one person dead and injuring another, a local official said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Is China Mobilizing for a War With Japan?

We don’t know if it is merely a coincidence that a story has emerged discussing a Chinese mobilization in response to the ongoing territorial feud with Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands (and the proximal massive gas field) the very week that China celebrates its new year (and days after news that a Chinese warship was very close to firing on a Japanese destroyer). We don’t know how much of the story is based in reality, and how much may be propaganda or furthering someone’s agenda. What we do know is that the source of the story: offshore-based, Falun Gong-affiliated NTDTV has historically been a credible source of information that the China communist party desperately tries to censor, such as breaking the news of the SARS epidemic in 2003 some three weeks before China publicly admitted it. Its motto is “to bring truthful and uncensored information into and out of China.” If that is indeed the case, and its story of major troop movements and mobilization of various types of military vehicles and artillery into the Fujian and Zhejian provinces, bordering the East China Sea and closest to the Diaoyu islands, is accurate, then hostilities between China and Japan may be about to take a major turn for the worse.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Machine Guns to Extend New Zealand Military Capabilities

WELLINGTON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — New Zealand military personnel have begun training with new Belgium-made light machine guns that will extend their operating capabilities, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced Monday. The new 7.62 mm Light Support Weapon (LSW), manufactured by FN Herstal, replaced the NZDF’s old 5.56 mm C9 light machine gun, which had come to the end of its life, said Major Shane Ruane, program manager for the weapons replacement program…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

New Political Party Rise Up Australia Wants ‘Muslim Intake’ Cuts

A “POLITICALLY incorrect” party run by a Sri Lankan-born pastor has vowed to abolish multiculturalism in the unlikely event that it wins power.

Controversial evangelical preacher Danny Nalliah is the president of the Rise Up Australia Party, which launched its federal campaign in Canberra yesterday.

RUA will reportedly run 52 Lower House and 12 Senate candidates.

“Pastor Daniel”, of Catch the Fire Ministries, says a conversation with Jesus that went from 3.40am to 6am one morning prompted his move to Australia.

Since arriving here he has claimed that Victoria’s abortion laws caused the Black Saturday bushfires and that his prayers have brought dead people back to life.

He declared Prime Minister Julia Gillard a heathen “living in sin” and former Greens leader Bob Brown an “openly practising homosexual” and said that he felt sick to the stomach watching them shake hands.

Rise Up Australia will push for cuts to Australia’s “Muslim intake”, for an end to multiculturalism and for protection of Australia’s Judaeo-Christian heritage…

           — Hat tip: Russkiy [Return to headlines]

Over 100 Shepherds Killed by Livestock Bandits in S. Sudan

(AGI) Juba, Feb 10 — Over 100 people were killed by a group of rebels in South Sudan’s turbulent state of Jonglei in order to steal their livestock. The victims were shepherds from Walkak who were taking their herds southward from the wet northern regions. “They were being escorted by an army platoon when they were attacked by a sizeable force of rebels armed with automatic weapons, who killed 103 people,” stated Jonglei’s governor, Kuol Manyang.

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

Somalia: Suicide Bomber Targets Puntland Deputy Police Chief

Galkayo — A suicide car bomb attack targeting Deputy Police Chief Gen. Muhyadin Ahmed Musse near the central Galkayo station occurred Monday morning, Garowe Online reports.

According to eyewitnesses, a sedan packed full of explosives rammed a convoy carrying the deputy police chief on Sunday outside the central police station in Galkayo. Gen. Muhyadin survived the car bomb attack however unconfirmed reports say that many police and people were injured in the blast…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

South Sudan: Jonglei — Hundreds Feared Dead or Missing in Akobo County Attack

Bor — At least 103 civilians and 14 South Sudan army (SPLA) soldiers were killed on Friday when unknown people attacked a village in South Sudan’s Jonglei state county of Akobo, eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune. The incident occurred in the remote Walgak village of Akobo. The state governor, Kuol Manyang, however said only 14 people, including 8 SPLA soldiers were wounded, while the whereabouts of hundreds of children remain unknown…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Timbuktu: Al-Qaeda’s Terrorist Training Academy in the Mali Desert

Al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch created an academy for terrorists during its occupation of Timbuktu, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) used a two-storey building on the edge of the ancient city which they turned into a sophisticated training centre which continued operating until it was destroyed by a French air strike three weeks ago. America and its allies have always tried to make it impossible for al-Qaeda to run permanent, dedicated training camps. After years of effort, they had come close to eradicating any centres of this kind…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Zimbabwe: Appointment of New Hangman Raises Concern

Harare — Reports by Zimbabwean state media that a new hangman has been appointed raises fears that the country may be preparing to start executions again after a seven year hiatus, Amnesty International has said. Zimbabwe has not conducted any executions since 2005, the same year that the country’s last hangman retired…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Luis Fleischmann: Review of Joel Hirst’s Novel “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio”, Universe, Inc, 2012

What a novel can do that a rigorously academic or even journalistic piece cannot do is to involve the reader in the day to day impact of living under an authoritarian revolutionary regime like the one Venezuela is experiencing today.

“The Lieutenant of San Porfirio” is not merely a fictional drama or a parody of contemporary Venezuela. Through the novel we can understand the why and how of Venezuela’s everyday reality.

Hirst grasps, through his intimate familiarity with a country where he spent part of his life, the major transformation of a society once considered to be one of the most prosperous and free in Latin America.

The novel focuses on a number of characters, each of which represents something different: The resented and socially underprivileged lieutenant, Juan Machado who finds in the revolution a way to achieve the power and dignity he never had while at the same time pursuing his desire for revenge against the upper class. Machado becomes an effective instrument of revolutionary repression and a ruthless character that does not hesitate to use cruelty and murder if necessary…

[Return to headlines]

Crime & Incompetence: Guide to America’s Immigration Crisis

The book that shows you all that the politicians and bureaucrats never wanted you to know.

Just as the powers that be in Washington, DC are about to open the”bi-partisan” path for amnesty via 11+ million illegal immigrants, along comes Whistleblower author Marinka Peschmann to open the pandora’s box called the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Investigative journalist Marinka Peschmann’s eye-opening book, Crime & Incompetence: Guide to America’s Immigration Crisis takes the reader into the world of crime, corruption, and incompetence that run an uninterrupted daily course at the USCIS.

From its opening pages that shine the spotlight on the politicians and faceless bureaucrats, allowing it to happen, Crime & Incompetence readers will see what really goes on at the citizenship and immigration services. The legions of people left in the purgatory of waiting for a process that never comes may see a mountain between them and freedom, but Pechmann’s research and investigative skills show that USCIS’s is a run with nowhere to hide…

Dare to see big government at its worst. See what legal immigrants have known all along-how devastating life can be at the mercy of unelected bureaucrats while stuck in a broken, state-run agency. This could be your future in Obama’s America. Heed Peschmann’s documented warning: should any type of amnesty become law, America will be fundamentally transformed into a one-party nation. This is a must read for anyone who cares about America’s future.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Immigration Must Serve British Interests

by David Goodhart

Last week saw two notable interventions in Britain’s rolling debate about immigration and integration. Both of them felt rather anachronistic, almost historical commentaries on a debate that has since moved on. First was another speech from Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, which had nothing new to say by way of analysis or proposals—beyond the usual plea for newcomers to learn English. This is despite the fact that he was speaking just a few weeks after a vast deluge of new information emerged about integration, or the lack of it, from the 2011 census. More of Pickles later…

[JP note: In a bit of a pickle to be sure.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Incredibly Stupid Questions of Our Time: No. 1 — is Immigration Good or Bad for Britain?

It is a well-known fact that over 99 per cent immigrants to Britain come from just one country called Immigrantland (this is why they are called immigrants). Moreover, Immigrantland is remarkable for the homogeneity of its population — any one of its citizens is culturally and economically indistinguishable from any other. There’s no need to verify these facts, they can be deduced from the British debate over immigration, in which the leading participants have clearly dismissed the possibility that immigrants might actually come from different places and from different backgrounds, and thus have different impacts on the different communities in which they settle…

It should be obvious that there are many important distinctions to be made in immigration policy. The key question, however, is this: In whose interest should these distinctions be made?

For an intellectual figure of the centre-left, Mr Goodhart has a remarkably provocative answer:

“I would guess that it remains the common sense assumption of 90 per cent of British citizens that public policy should give preference to the interests of citizens before non-citizens should the two conflict: That does not mean you cannot be an internationalist, or believe that it is a valuable part of our tradition to offer a haven to refugees, or believe that all humans are of equal moral worth and if they are in British space are entitled to certain basic rights. But it does mean that the first call on our resources and sense of obligation begins with our fellow citizens.”

Britain’s immigration policy in the British interest? Well, you never know, it might just work!

[Reader comment by Sandy Jamieson on 11 February 2013 at about 9:30 am.]

I wish our ruling metropolitan elite would just understand we just don’t want these people in this country-end of story.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Only 15 of 200 Foreigners Who Took Part in 2011 Riots Have Been Deported

Only 15 of the hundreds of foreigners who took part in the 2011 summer riots have been deported, according to new figures.

More than 200 cases were passed to UK Border Agency after ministers promised to get tough on those who were arrested over the looting and arson attacks which brought misery to English cities. However, the vast majority have not been removed due to EU legislation and human rights laws while there are fears more will be given permission to stay…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Software That Tracks People on Social Media Created by Defence Firm

A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.

A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an “extreme-scale analytics” system created by Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Raytheon says it has not sold the software — named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology — to any clients.

But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Unverifiable World

Politics is innately tribal. The politicization of everything is also the tribalization of everything. It is the beginning of savagery and the end of civilization.

The advancement of civilization depended on developing methods of sorting ideas based on objective standards while the program of the left has been the politicization of objectivity. Without standards there is no way to agree on anything without resorting to force. This force does not necessarily have to be physical, it can simply mean seizing control of enough institutions to distribute a manufactured consensus to everyone under the control of those institutions.

That is how the left works for now, but that’s just a sophisticated version of Lenin’s plan to take control of Russia by seizing all the banks and telegraphs. And no legitimate consensus can be achieved through this method, only the perpetuation of a cultural war fought between those who control the institutions and those who do not. This war is not really about the truth, because no argument can ever be settled when the tools to settle an argument are no longer a part of our politicized institutions; it’s always about control.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

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