Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/1/2013

Prompted by the financial crisis and the collapse of the Greek economy, doctors are leaving Greece in droves, looking for better professional opportunities elsewhere. Their preferred destinations are mainly in Northern Europe and the United Arab Emirates. Another consequence of the Greek debt crisis is a reduction in the number of dogfights between Greek air force jets and their Turkish counterparts. These encounters are so expensive that the Greek military has cut back on them drastically.

In other news, the convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has complained to the authorities in Norway that his treatment in prison constitutes aggravated torture. He says that body searches and being kept in isolation are a violation of Norwegian law.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Kitman, 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.

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


Financial Crisis
» 15 Signs That You Better Get Prepared for the Obama Recession of 2013
» 4,000 Greek Doctors Flee Country, Survey Shows
» Fiat Says Italian Plants Remain Secure Despite Tough Market
» Greece: Privatizations, US Company Invests 23 Mln Euros in Corfu
» Italy: MPS Could be Nationalized if it Can’t Repay Government Loan
» Leftists Demand 100 Percent Tax on the Rich
» Monti Makes Case for ‘Fair, Transparent’ EU Budget
» Spain: Catalonia Asks for New 9 Bln Bailout
» Stagnation, The New Normal
» Trani Prosecutors Probe Derivatives Deals at 5 Italian Banks
» Turkey-Greece: Dogfights Over Aegean Hit by Athens’s Crisis
» U.S. Adds 157,000 Jobs; Unemployment Rate Edges Up to 7.9%
 
USA
» Catholic Diocese Boots Anti-Muslim Speaker
» Congress Fails to Act Against Gore’s Terror TV Deal
» Decorated Combat Veteran Arrested: Charged With 5 Felonies for Possession of AR Magazines
» Inside the Ring: New Al Qaeda Threat
» Morningland Dairy Destroyed by Feds, $250,000 Inventory Stolen by Government Thugs During Armed Raid
» Obamacare to Soon Cost the Average American Family $20,000 a Year, Announces IRS
» State Dept. Recruits Muslim Foreign Service Officers at Jihadist Conference
» The United Nations
 
Europe and the EU
» Asylum-Seeking Muslim Men Re-Start Hunger Strike Today in Vienna, Austria Church
» Breivik Says is Being Tortured in Norwegian Prison-Lawyer
» France: Headteacher Abused Over Lesson on Islam
» France: Paris Crowds Greet Notre Dame’s New Bells
» France: Notre Dame Receives New Bells to Mark 850 Years
» France Deports One Moroccan Islamist on Terror Allegations
» Italy: Berlusconi’s Alliance Pulls Within 5% of Center-Left
» Italy: Fiat Industrial’s Trading Profit, Sales Gain in 2012
» Italy: Restoration of Historic Pompeii Slated to Begin Next Week
» Norway: Breivik Files Complaint Over “Aggravated Torture”
» Sweden: ‘Serial Killer’ Gets Retrial for Three More Murders
» Tourists Warned About Rising Baggage Thefts on Swiss Trains
» UK: Addict Who Got Hooked on Heroin at Nine Leaves Church Organist, 90, With ‘Stomach Churning’ Injuries After Robbing Her to Fund Habit
» UK: Breaking News: Richard Dawkins Doesn’t Like Religion or ‘Islamic Barbarians’. Well, He Kept That One Quiet
» UK: Brothers Who Conned Hundreds of Vulnerable Victims in £250,000 Bank Fraud Spent Proceeds on ‘Jet-Set Lifestyle and £1,000 Pairs of Flip Flops’
» UK: Caretaker, 51, Tricked Parents Into Letting Girls as Young as 10 Attend Sleepover Parties at His Home Where He Abused Them
» UK: Evil Couple Filmed Kissing Passionately in a Lift Moments After Clearing Bank Account of Property Developer They Had Just Murdered
» UK: Good Samaritan Given Parking Ticket When She Stopped in Disabled Bay to Help Woman Who Collapsed in the Street
» UK: Harriett Baldwin MP and Justice for England #littleguyconservatism 5/6
» UK: It’s Islamic? Don’t Panic
» UK: Islam Exhibition Hopes to ‘Break Down Barriers’
» UK: Mosque Plan is Opposed [Chipping Norton]
» UK: Maths Teacher Pretended to be Gas Man After He Was Caught With Girl
» UK: Mother, 32, Suffocated Family Dog With Plastic Bag Because She Didn’t Want to Spend Her Benefits Buying it Food
» UK: Now Even Drug Barons Are Going Green as Police Raid Solar-Powered Cannabis Factory Growing £500,000 Worth of Plants
» UK: Posing With a Killer and a Gangster, ‘Family Man’ Mark Duggan Whose Death Led to 2011 Summer Riots
» UK: Property Manager Given Curfew After Smashing Windows and Racially Abusing Staff at Exclusive Mayfair Members’ Club
» UK: Rotherham Mosque Plan Deferred for More Talks
» UK: Rapist Who Attacked Teenager After Forcing Her to Drink Alcohol Awarded Compensation Because His Human Rights Had Been Breached
» UK: Swansea Man Sent Racist Tweets About Muslims and Pakistanis Court Told
» UK: The Crisis of Conservatism on Both Sides of the Pond
» UK: Victoria’s Secret Worker Scarred for Life When Niqab-Wearing Attacker Threw Acid in Her Face as She Walked Home From Shop
 
North Africa
» David Cameron Greeted With Cries of ‘Allah Akhbar’ In Surprise Visit to Libya
» Egypt: ‘Azhar Document’ Big Step on Path to Stability — Presidency
» Egypt: UN Concerned About Rising Violence Against Female Protesters
» Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet Expresses Deep Concern Over Escalating Violence Against Women in Egypt
» Tunisia: Survey: Ennahda Overtaken by Nidaa Tounees in First
» Tunisia: Little Girls With Islamic Veil, Revolt in Country
» Tunisia: Protecting Ben Ali’s Feminist Legacy
» UK Police Investigating Lockerbie Cleared to Visit Libya for the First Time, Cameron Reveals During Latest Leg of African Tour
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israel Busts Hamas Cell in West Bank Plotting Abduction
» Israel — You Don’t Have a Right to Exist or Defend Yourself
» UN Report Says Israel Could be Prosecuted for War Crimes Over Settlements
 
Middle East
» Diplomat: Real Target of Israeli Attack Was Syrian Base
» Greece’s Muslims Like Erdogan’s Mosque Proposal
» Italy: 5 Lebanese Soldiers Dead in Clashes at Syria Border
» Saudi King ‘Names Brother Deputy Premier’
» UAE: Vishwaroopam Banned in UAE as Content ‘Links Islam With Terrorism’
 
Russia
» Four at Once: Volcano Quartet Erupts on Kamchatka
 
South Asia
» Pakistan: Islam Gives Eternal Message of Peace: Altaf
» Suicide Bomber Outside Mosque Kills 19, Wounds 45 in Pakistan Northwest
 
Far East
» China’s New Militancy
» Two Soldiers Killed in S. Philippine Ambush
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Gambia: State House Mosque Committee Grateful to President Jammeh
» Mali: Dioncounda Traoré Rules Out Talks With Islamist Ansar Dine
» Nigeria: Boko Haram’s Questionable Ceasefire
» Somalia: Puntland Political Associations Sign Joint Code of Conduct
» South Africa: Over Fifty Rhinos Killed
» South African Witchdoctor, 57, Marries His Epileptic Patient, 13, As Part of Her Treatment
» U. S. Air Force Continues Support to France in Mali
 
Latin America
» Argentina Pulls Out of Falklands Talks
» Huge Blast Kills at Least 25 in Mexico Tower Block
 
Immigration
» Children of the Crisis: German Schools Struggle With Wave of Immigrants
» Ethnic Groups in L.A. Demand Legalization of 11 Mln Immigrants
» Immigration Reform Favors Illegal Aliens Ahead of Americans
» UK: 79% Say We Must Ban EU Migrants
» UK: If We Don’t Have a Common Language We Will All Suffer
» UK: We Should Welcome Poles: They Undermine the ‘Right-on’ World View
 
General
» Population Control Propagandist: “We Get Very Little Opposition From the Public”
» Qaradawi, Khan and Qadhi: Scholars of the Year

15 Signs That You Better Get Prepared for the Obama Recession of 2013

You better get ready, because there are a whole host of signs that economic trouble is on the horizon. U.S. economic growth slipped into negative territory during the fourth quarter of 2012. That was the first time that has happened in more than three years. Several important measures of manufacturing activity have also contracted in recent weeks, and consumer confidence is way down. There is a tremendous amount of economic pessimism in the air right now, and Americans are pulling enormous amounts of money out of our banks and they are buying up precious metals at unprecedented rates. Meanwhile, our “leaders” seem very confused about what is happening. For example, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to insist that we are “in a recovery”, and some other Democrats are calling the latest GDP numbers “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see”.

On the other hand, the Federal Reserve says that economic growth has “paused” in recent months, and therefore a continuation of their latest quantitative easing scheme is necessary. Well, no matter how hard any of them try to spin the numbers, there is no way that they are going to get them to look good. Despite four years of outrageous “stimulus” spending by the federal government, despite four years of record low interest rates, and despite four years of unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy continues to perform miserably. Later this year the federal government will probably finally acknowledge that we have entered another recession, even though the truth is that if the federal government used honest numbers they would indicate that we are already in one. In any event, nobody should have ever expected that our debt-fueled prosperity would last forever. When the debt bubble that we have been living in completely bursts, a “recession” will be the least of our worries.

Hopefully this little stretch of false economic hope that we have been living in will last for a little while longer. I don’t think that too many people are very eager to repeat the horrible economic pain that we experienced back in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, we never fully recovered from that last downturn and now the incredibly foolish decisions that our “leaders” continue to make have made another major economic downturn inevitable.

Personally, I would very much prefer for 2013 to be a year of peace and prosperity for America. But at this point there appears to be a great deal of downward momentum for the economy.

The following are 15 signs that you better get prepared for the Obama recession of 2013…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

4,000 Greek Doctors Flee Country, Survey Shows

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JANUARY 31 — Many Greek doctors, fearing a dead-end future with pay cuts and limited opportunities, are leaving to find jobs and better life in other countries, GreekReporter website writes citing recently-published statistics.

The wave of migration that began in 2010 has now grown into a tsunami that leads day by day more and more doctors into fleeing Greece in hope of finding a job or complete their training/speciality elsewhere. The favored choices are northern European countries or the United Arab Emirates. The Medical Association of Athens (ISA) alone has witnessed 4,000 doctors leaving Greece within the past three years. More particularly, 62.5% of the migrated doctors are skilled professionals who have completed their education and specialty and are desperately looking for employment. While the National Healthcare Service (ESY) and the private sector seem unable to absorb the new qualified doctors due to the ongoing crisis, doctors are let with very few career choices to make. ISA official data reveal the extent of the phenomenon in numbers: in 2010 835 doctors (318 unskilled and 517 skilled) left the ISA, while in 2011 1,280 doctors followed their colleagues example. In 2012, another 1,808 doctors left the Association (642 unskilled and 1,166 skilled). From 2007 to 2009, some 1,635 doctors in total have left the biggest medical association of the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Fiat Says Italian Plants Remain Secure Despite Tough Market

Carmaker’s profits boosted by profitable Chrysler subsidiary

(ANSA) — Grugliasco, January 30 — Even though the slump in the European car market that has badly hit auto sales may not yet be over, Fiat said Wednesday that it has no plans to close any plants in its Italian homeland.

“I confirm that we will not close plants in Italy,” despite the tough market, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the opening of a new Maserati factory at Grugliasco, near Fiat’s Turin base.

In a later conference call, he elaborated on his concerns about the market outlook.

“The pressure on prices in Europe has not loosened,” said Marchionne. “We do not expect an improvement in medium term”.

Marchionne’s comments came as the automaker announced that its fourth-quarter net profit reached 102 million euros, up from 43 million euros in the same period last year, boosted by its profitable Chrysler subsidiary. The Fiat Group closed 2012 with a net income of more than 1.4 billion euros, beating analysts’ expectations. Fiat owns 58.5% of Chrysler, which earned $1.7 billion US last year. At the moment, Marchionne and Fiat are relying on profits from Chrysler to overcome losses at the Fiat’s European operations.

Fiat also announced it would not pay any dividend on 2012 results to preserve cash.

Despite the financial woes, Marchionne’s comments on Fiat’s Italian future were echoed by Fiat Chairman John Elkann, one of the heirs of the Agnelli family that founded the company and made it into an international auto giant.

“It has been 10 years since my grandfather (former Fiat chief Giovanni Agnelli) passed away and since then our commitment to Italy and to Turin has never faltered,” Elkann said.

“That is because my family and Sergio Marchionne wanted this, despite the market difficulties. “We took tough decisions to be able to continue producing in Italy”.

Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, which the Italian firm took over in 2009, said he was hopeful Fiat’s European business could break even by 2015 or 2016. “We are working at the speed of light to achieve this,” Marchionne said. “The goals we’ve set for the year ahead reflect a common desire by everyone from leadership to the shop floor to succeed and sustain the power of the house we are building,” Marchionne said in a statement. He added that he has plans to have the two automakers merged by 2015, based on improving the Fiat brand’s performance in Europe.

Meanwhile in New York, Chrysler Group LLC reported its $1.7 billion US profit was sharply higher than the $183 million reported in 2011.

Turnover at the Fiat-controlled carmaker increased by 20% to $65.8 billion in 2012 compared to $55 billion the previous year.

Chrysler forecast turnover in 2013 would rise to at least $72 billion, with profits reaching $2.2 billion.

“While we are pleased to have achieved strong financial results in 2012, the enterprise we are crafting is not complete,” Marchionne, who is also Chrysler Group chief executive, said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Privatizations, US Company Invests 23 Mln Euros in Corfu

NCH to develop 490,000 sq meters of beachfront land

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 1 — Delayed and postponed for years, the Greek privatization program appears to be raising money at last, with NCH Inc. agreeing to take and develop 490,000 beachfront square meters near the idyllic village of Kassiopi, on the Ionian island of Corfu, for 99 years at 23 million euros.

Mandated by the troika (EU-ECB-IMF) as a non-negotiable precondition to a bailout, the government’s privatization programs aim to raise 19 billion euros by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020. Privatization agency Taiped has recovered just 1.8 billion euros so far, arousing speculation as to its competency.

Following the December sale of an initial stake in state-controlled gaming operator Opap, the government is tackling the public land trust, which makes up 50% of the privatization program. Taipei’s sale of the Corfu concession to NCH Capital, with overall NCH investment to reach 75 million euros, is the first such deal made in Greece in 15 years. Based in New York, NCH Capital manages 2.5 billion euros, mostly in real estate, according to Athenian business daily Kerdos. As a way to reduce public debt and balance the state budget, Taiped last year drew up a list of 40 islands and uninhabited islets it aims to rent out to companies or individuals for 30-50 years. In September, the first of these islets, Kaltsonissi and Paxi, went to Cyprus-based Roundview Holding Limited. Turkish entrepreneur Fikret Inan has expressed interest in buying Vouvalos Island, in the Gulf of Arta, while other investors are queuing up to get their hands on Aghios Nikolaos, Alexandros, Kytros, Mavros Oros and Bella Vraka islands, all of them close to the towns of Preveza and Meganisi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: MPS Could be Nationalized if it Can’t Repay Government Loan

Treasury stake would rise to 82% in troubled lender, Grilli says

(ANSA) — Rome, January 29 — Italian Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli on Tuesday hinted that troubled lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena could face nationalization if the bank fails to reimburse a 3.9-billion-euro government bailout. During a parliamentary hearing, Grill said that if the bank were to fail to reimburse the so-called “Monti Bond” government loan, “considering the current price of MPS shares, the Treasury’s stake would increase to 82% of the bank’s capital.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Leftists Demand 100 Percent Tax on the Rich

Germany’s socialist Left party want a 100 percent tax on anyone earning over €500,000 and will be including the policy in their general election campaign platform, a newspaper reported on Friday.

“We are suggesting that no-one should earn over 40 times the societal minimum,” said The Left’s co-leader Katja Kipping in the party’s draft election platform, which was seen by regional newspaper the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung.

The party paper said the total tax on those taking home over €40,000 per month would be used to fund social welfare and investing in the country’s future.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Monti Makes Case for ‘Fair, Transparent’ EU Budget

Italian premier on campaign to quash spending cuts

(ANSA) — Berlin, January 31 — Italian Premier Mario Monti continued his campaign for a European Union budget decision on Thursday, telling Germany that the European Union’s policy needed to be more “fair and transparent”. After meeting in Brussels with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy earlier Thursday, Monti was in Berlin discussing with Chancellor Angela Merkel the 2014-2020 budget, which has been stalled in talks over cuts in spending, which Italy opposes. Making his case before the meeting, Monti said that Italy had been “the top net contributor” to the European budget, and that “in the past 10 years it has paid more than what was justified”.

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on February 7 and 8 to discuss the 2014-2020 budget, which Monti has argued must be focused on boosting growth, which he says is not feasible by reducing EU spending.

He said Wednesday that a growth pact was “probably at risk of being undermined” at the budget meeting next month. Monti will continue his campaign around Europe as he tries to rally support.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Catalonia Asks for New 9 Bln Bailout

The money will be used to pay debts and meet deficit

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — The government of Catalonia has asked the Spanish central government for an extra 9,073 billion euros in bailout money, Generalitat sources said on Wednesday. The money requested from the regional liquidity fund (Fla) for 2013 almost doubles the amount sought in 2012, 5,37 billion. The regional administration said it would use the money to pay debts and meet deficit reduction targets. The regional fund was created by the central government with 23 billion euros available this year for debt-stricken regions.

The region governed by Artur Mas (CiU) has not ruled out a further application for aid if the finance minister will not accept a request to cut down its deficit target for 2013 from the 0.7% of GDP set by the fiscal and financial policy council to the 1.5% indicated by the Generalitat.

Out of the 9 billion requested, 7,684 would go to cover expiring debts with foreign banks. In order to reach the 0.7% target set for 2013, Catalonia’s government would need to cut by 4 billion the regional deficit which was reduced in 2012 by 3,484 billion until 2.3% of the region’s GDP, compared to the 1.5% GDP level established by the central government. This target will be harder to reach after the Constitutional Court recently ruled against a one euro tax on medical prescriptions, judicial taxes and a tax on bank deposits introduced by the autonomous community.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Stagnation, The New Normal

So, U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly plunged in January to its lowest level in more than a year. The U.S. economy unexpectedly posted a contraction in the fourth quarter of 2012 — for the first time since the recession — “defying” expectations that economic growth is in our future.

If the economy were as vibrant as President Barack Obama has told us it is, a belt tightening in a single sector of government surely wouldn’t be enough to bring about “negative growth.” But one did. Unexpectedly. No worries, though. Pundits on the left tell us that this contraction was good news — possibly the best contraction in the history of all contractions. The White House blamed Republicans and, I kid you not, corporate jet owners because — well, who else? But mostly, the left is bellyaching about the end of temporary military spending and a brutal austerity that’s enveloped a once great nation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Trani Prosecutors Probe Derivatives Deals at 5 Italian Banks

Officials and managers suspected of usury and fraud

(see relates stories) (ANSA) — Trani, February 1 — Prosecutors in the southern city of Trani have placed dozens of people under investigation on suspicion of usury and fraud in relation to derivatives operations at five major Italian banks including the troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS).

The probe, opened several months ago, also reportedly involves BNL, Unicredit, Intesa San Paolo and Credem.

Prosecutors are investigating bank officials and managers believed to have traded in junk bond derivatives resulting in significant losses to investors. Some foreing money market traders are also under investigation.

They are also trying to identify the representatives of the two main supervisory bodies, the Bank of Italy and stock-market regulator Consob, responsible for ensuring the genuineness of the derivatives deals.

They could now face charges of lack of proper oversight.

MPS came under public scrutiny last week following revelations of previously undisclosed losses of 720 million euros as a result of at least two shady derivatives deals. The scandal triggered a rush of criminal investigations and a political storm over the alleged interference of political parties in the banking sector. The centre-left Democratic Party (Pd) has a big presence in the foundation that controls MPS, headquartered in its historical stronghold of Siena.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey-Greece: Dogfights Over Aegean Hit by Athens’s Crisis

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, FEBRUARY 1 — Dogfights between Turkish and Greek aircrafts over the Aegean Sea have significantly decreased due to the economic crisis Athens is struggling with, daily Hurriyet has reported, citing data from the Greek General Staff. The number has decreased from 34 to nine, when January data is compared with last year. The report said Greek F-16 jets engaged Turkish F-16s for a total of 61 minutes in January 2012, which had decreased to 14 minutes in January 2013. The longest interference of the Greek side this year was measured on January 17, when Greek aircrafts engaged Turkish jets for 12 minutes over the island of Chios. Greek media reported that each hour of a dogfight costs 11,000 euros, and “expensive” dogfights are seen as being among the causes of the current economic crisis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

U.S. Adds 157,000 Jobs; Unemployment Rate Edges Up to 7.9%

American employers added 157,000 jobs in January compared to a revised 196,000 jobs the previous month, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December.

The report came in the midst of a series of gloomy economic data, showing that the nation’s output unexpectedly shrank at the end of 2012 and that consumers were becoming increasingly pessimistic about their finances and job prospects.

Dysfunction in Washington over the fiscal budget and higher tax rates that kicked in last month could further dampen consumer confidence and hiring early this year.

[Return to headlines]

Catholic Diocese Boots Anti-Muslim Speaker

by Alex Seitz-Wald

A diocese in Massachusetts disinvites Robert Spencer

Add this to the increasing marginalization of radical anti-Muslim views: A Catholic diocese in Massachusetts today rescinded its invitation to Robert Spencer, a prominent anti-Muslim writer and activist, to speak about Islam at an upcoming conference. “Although the intention of the conference organizers was to have a presenter on Islam from a Catholic’s perspective, we are asking Robert Spencer to not come to the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference, given that his presence is being seen as harmful to Catholic—Islamic relations both locally and nationally,” diocesan spokesman Raymond Delisle said in a statement to the Boston Globe…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Congress Fails to Act Against Gore’s Terror TV Deal

It is fun to watch Big Oil critic Al Gore squirm as he is questioned about selling out to the oil-rich dictatorship in Qatar. But his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera is not a laughing matter. This transaction is a homeland security threat that violates numerous U.S. laws.

To his credit, funnyman David Letterman got close to the truth when he asked the former Democratic vice-president, “Now why do we think of Al Jazeera as something not right going on there in terms of, in terms of the good for Americans? Why do we think that they may be propaganda for Muslim violence and terrorism?”

….despite what Al Gore implies, the Arabic and English versions of Al Jazeera are paid for by the same dictatorship. Even Hillary Clinton’s State Department admits that, adding that Qatar controls the news policies and personnel of the channel.

Gore was on Letterman promoting his new book, The Future, which was obviously written before his deal with Al Jazeera was finalized. This is why his mentions of Al Jazeera in the book are so important. He refers to Al Jazeera in the book as the “relatively independent” network that played a role in the so-called “Arab spring.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Decorated Combat Veteran Arrested: Charged With 5 Felonies for Possession of AR Magazines

In the latest attack on the American people, a decorated War Hero has been arrested and charged with five counts of third degree criminal possession of a weapon, for having empty 30 round AR-15 Magazines in his vehicle.

On Sunday January 6th Staff Sgt. Nathan Haddad, a decorated combat veteran, was driving through Jefferson County New York when he was randomly pulled over for a vehicle check. Haddad, who had five 30 round empty magazines in his possession, was arrested by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and charged with five felony counts.

According to Haddad’s brother, Michael Haddad, Nathan thought these magazines were legally made before the New York Assault Weapons Ban. When Nathan Haddad was arrested the new ban had not even been fully enacted yet.

This is not a criminal, this is not some thug looking to hurt people; this is a decorated combat veteran who was recently honored by the Philadelphia chapter of Blue Star Mothers and the Union League’s Armed Services Council for helping disabled vets get back on their feet. What’s happening to Army veteran Nate Haddad is an absolute attack on liberty. Here we have a man who honorably served his country, who was trusted with weaponry that far exceeded anything he was carrying, that now finds himself facing the possibility of spending years in prison.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Inside the Ring: New Al Qaeda Threat

A jihadist website posted a new threat by al Qaeda this week that promises to conduct “shocking” attacks on the United States and the West.

The posting appeared on the Ansar al Mujahidin network Sunday and carried the headline, “Map of al Qaeda and its future strikes.”

The message, in Arabic, asks: “Where will the next strike by al Qaeda be?” A translation was obtained by Inside the Ring.

“The answer for it, in short: The coming strikes by al Qaeda, with God’s Might, will be in the heart of the land of nonbelief, America, and in France, Denmark, other countries in Europe, in the countries that helped and are helping France, and in other places that shall be named by al Qaeda at other times,” the threat states.

The attacks will be “strong, serious, alarming, earth-shattering, shocking and terrifying.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Morningland Dairy Destroyed by Feds, $250,000 Inventory Stolen by Government Thugs During Armed Raid

(NaturalNews) There is a reason why America’s founding fathers were willing to shed their own blood to gain independence from the crushing authoritarianism of the Crown of England. Nearly three years after first becoming a target for destruction by state and federal government agencies, Morningland Dairy of Mountain View, Missouri, has officially and forcibly been driven out of business by a rogue police state that recently confiscated, at gunpoint, most of the farm’s inventory of perfectly safe, raw cheese, which was valued at roughly $250,000.

Morningland first found itself entangled in a government-initiated war against raw food back in 2005 when undercover agents targeted Rawesome Foods, a Venice, California-based private food buying club, for the “crime” of selling wholesome food to health-conscious club members. Five years later, in 2010, armed officials from local, state, federal, and even foreign government agencies came and raided the club at gunpoint, stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of farm-fresh food products, including raw milk cheese products made by Morningland.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamacare to Soon Cost the Average American Family $20,000 a Year, Announces IRS

(NaturalNews) Under Obamacare, American families are forced to buy conventional health insurance that primarily benefits the pharmaceutical industry. By 2016 — just three years from now — the cheapest health insurance plan available will cost a typical American family $20,000 a year, the IRS has now announced.

Here’s the news: The IRS just published descriptions of the financial penalties American taxpayers will pay if they fail to purchase the rip-off health insurance mandated under Obamacare.

“The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan,” reports CNS News.

It goes on to report, “The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

State Dept. Recruits Muslim Foreign Service Officers at Jihadist Conference

The Obama administration is covertly recruiting Muslims to work at the State Department as Foreign Service officers representing the United States in one of 265 American embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions worldwide. It appears to be part of the administration’s Muslim outreach effort, which includes a variety of controversial moves. Among them Homeland Security meetings with extremist Islamic organizations, sending an America-bashing mosque leader (Feisal Abdul Rauf) who blames U.S. foreign policy for the 9/11 attacks on a Middle Eastern outreach mission and revamping the way federal agents are trained to combat terrorism by eliminating all materials that shed a negative light on Muslims. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even signed a special order to allow the reentry of two radical Islamic academics whose terrorist ties long banned them from the U.S…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The United Nations

“Prior financial dealings with the United States proved that America would not be penetrated easily. The original founders of the United States Constitution had masterfully erected individual, separate institutions to guard against an assault. These independent institutions made it difficult for an enemy to attach their mechanical linkages and frail bridges that were designed to weaken a country’s structure and force its collapse. The only recourse was to directly confront the United States Constitution and dismantle it piece by piece.

“Through the establishment of the Federal Reserve, the road was paved for the United Nations (UN). It was through this United Nations organization that the Elite international bankers intended to conquer the world. This was Global Government and the start of the New World Order.

A huge campaign that spared no effort was orchestrated to misinform the American public regarding its direction and purpose. Senate opposition was rendered so impotent that there was no significant support against the enactment of the United Nations Charter. Subsequently, forty-two members of the United States delegation adopted the United Nations Charter.

[…]

The ability to make treaties provides an extraordinary power that opens the door for subversion. Treaties create international law, and they also make domestic law. They’re superior to ordinary laws since congressional laws are invalid if they don’t conform to the Constitution, whereas treaty law can override the Constitution.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Asylum-Seeking Muslim Men Re-Start Hunger Strike Today in Vienna, Austria Church

As you read through the news account, their big problem is that many, especially the Pakistanis, don’t even qualify as refugees and are in fact economic migrants (at minimum).

Since I reported on the protesters last, we are told in the news from The Vienna Review that they had taken ten days off from their hunger strike to eat and are now, Feb. 1, resuming their fasts as the media swarms the place to tell the mean old Austrian government about them. All-the-while they are being protected by the Catholic Church and are being coached by Georg Burstmayr an asylum lawyer!

[…]

Austrian government position so far is that they are “asylum shoppers:”

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner met with the asylum seekers on 2 January to discuss their demands, but she remained unmoved. The Austrian asylum system is “one of the best asylum systems in the whole of Europe,” she said, adding that changing the laws on fingerprints and relocation would contradict the EU. The Dublin Regulation prevents simultaneous claims by the same person in different EU member states — known as “asylum shopping”. Bürstmayr explained that “every decision made by a country in the EU is valid for all other member states. They have no second chance.”

They do not fit the definition of refugees because they could safely live in some portion of their home country, that is especially so for the Pakistanis…

[Return to headlines]

Breivik Says is Being Tortured in Norwegian Prison-Lawyer

OSLO (Reuters) — Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik says he is being tortured in prison because he is held in isolation and subjected to body searches, and has made a formal complaint to police about his treatment, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Police will now investigate the complaints made by Breivik against Norwegian Justice Minister Grete Faremo and Knut Bjarkeid, director of the maximum security Ila prison on the outskirts of Oslo where he is being held.

“Breivik has made a complaint to the police of torture,” his lawyer, Tord Joret, told Reuters.

“Breivik believes they are trying to make his situation in prison as unlivable and unbearable as possible so as to pressure him to commit suicide.”

In July 2011, the far-right militant killed 77 people in a bombing in central Oslo and a shooting spree on a nearby island in attacks that stunned Norway’s five million inhabitants.

Since then he has been held in solitary confinement inside the prison where his cell comprises of three rooms: one to sleep, a second for study and a third for exercise, each measuring about eight square meters (86 square feet).

“Breivik says he has been totally isolated from other inmates for one-and-half year, that he has been subjected to degrading body inspections and that he has had no possibilities to get fresh air nor to have recreational activity,” said Joret.

He added Breivik believed his freedom of speech had been infringed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Headteacher Abused Over Lesson on Islam

The principal of a Catholic primary school in the east of France received a torrent of abusive phone calls, letters and emails, all because one of her teachers gave a history lesson on Islam.

Christelle Lainet — head-teacher of the Notre Dame primary school in Saint-Mihiel, a town in the north-east of France, was bombarded with threats after reports of the lesson were placed on an anti-Islam website.The site also published the school’s address and phone number, and Lainet’s email address.

“My mailbox has been inundated with 300 letters, and the school telephone hasn’t stopped ringing,” the headteacher told Europe 1 radio.

“I’ve been the target of some very violent and insulting mail,” said the principal, who said she felt “frightened.”

The hate-mail was in response to a lesson given last December when a teacher distributed hand-outs on the origins and history of Islam. One of the pages contained a ‘surah’ (verse) from the Islamic holy book the Koran, “by way of illustration”, regional daily La Républicain Lorrain reported.

Some parents were offended, however, and registered their unhappiness with Lainet. On January 9th, one child’s mother, who held “extremely racist views” had a heated exchange with the principal in the school yard.

Two days later, the same student’s father asked that his child be allowed to leave the history class without punishment, a request that Lainet agreed to.

On January 29th, however, the French website ‘Islamisme’ — which describes its goal as “to defend our freedom of expression and our values” — published a damning account of the history lesson, accusing the school of “poisoning” the children with “Muslim propaganda.”…

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

France: Paris Crowds Greet Notre Dame’s New Bells

Driven through the streets of Paris with a police motorcycle escort, nine new bells arrived at the Notre Dame Cathedral on Thursday to be installed for the landmark’s 850th anniversary.

The bells, named Dame de Paris (lady of Paris) Maurice, Gabriel, Anne-Geneviève, Benôit-Joseph, Jean Marie, Etienne, Marcel, Marie and finally Dennis, were given a warm welcome as they were delivered to the iconic cathedral in the heart of Paris.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Notre Dame Receives New Bells to Mark 850 Years

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Paris near Notre Dame Cathedral on Thursday to witness the arrival of nine new church bells that will be installed to celebrate the iconic landmark’s 850th anniversary.

Driven through the streets of Paris with a police motorcycle escort, nine new bells arrived at Notre Dame Cathedral on Thursday to be installed for the landmark’s 850th anniversary.

Hundreds lined the streets of the French capital to watch the bells be carried on two trucks to the iconic church, where they were greeted by gathered crowds to the sounds of its old bells ringing.

Four of the old bells, in place since 1856, had deteriorated because of the low-quality metals used, rendering them out of key with the main tenor bell, Emmanuel, considered one of the finest examples in Europe.

The nine new bells will be installed overnight Friday and on display for a month from Saturday, before they will be rung for the first time on March 23 to mark the beginning of the Holy Week before Easter.

Eight of the bells were made in a foundry in Normandy, but the largest, Marie, weighing six tonnes, was made in Asten in the southeastern Netherlands.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Deports One Moroccan Islamist on Terror Allegations

PARIS, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Thursday ordered the deportation of a Moroccan man on charges of having links with terrorist cells in France and promoting violent jihad. Ali Benhammou was deported to Morocco as “the facts alleged against him are particularly serious” and “are likely to affect the fundamental interests of the French state,” the minister said in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi’s Alliance Pulls Within 5% of Center-Left

Gap narrows after media blitz, Five Star Movement in 3rd place

(ANSA) — Rome, January 31 — For the first time since the Italian national election countdown began, the distance between the two main coalitions dropped below the 5% threshold, an opinion poll said Thursday. The centre-right coalition led by the People of Freedom (PdL) party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has inched closer to its rival centre-left coalition led by the Democratic Party (PD) and its secretary Pier Luigi Bersani with less than five weeks before Italians are due to go to the polls to elect their new parliament.

The centre left stands at 33.6%, down 0.2% over the same time last week, according to the latest survey by pollster Tecne’ for the Sky TG24 news program.

The centre-right coalition, led by Berlusconi’s (PdL) party gained 0.1% to come in at 28.7%.

The populist, anti-establishment Five Star Movement of Genoa comedian Beppe Grillo continued its positive performance, gaining 0.5% to stand at 15.7%.

The centrist coalition led by outgoing Premier Mario Monti gained 0.2% to stand at 13.8%.

Civil Revolution, a new party led by Palermo anti-mafia magistrate Antonio Ingroia, dropped 0.1% to 4.7%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fiat Industrial’s Trading Profit, Sales Gain in 2012

Firm announces big dividend, sales growth seen slowing in 2013

(ANSA) — Turin, January 31 — Fiat Industrial SpA reported healthy 2012 results Thursday with trading profit at 2.07 billion euros, a 23.3% jump on 2011, and with revenues up 6%, at 25.8 billion euros.

The company, spun-off from carmaker Fiat SpA at the beginning of 2011, forecast its sales growth in 2013 would slow, to +5%, while operating margin would be between 8.3 and 8.5%.

Net industrial debt in 2012 reached 1.6 billion euros, up by 400 million euros, and is forecast to be drop to between 1.1 and 1.4 billion euros this year.

Fiat Industrial said strong sales at its agricultural and building machines unit CNH drove 2012 results, thanks to the unit’s strong exposure to the U.S. market, where strong demand helped make up for the weaker performance in Europe.

The Iveco commercial vehicles unit saw sales decline in the just-ended year, hit also by “weaker market conditions in Latin America”.

The company said it would pay a dividend of 275 million euros to shareholders — or 0.225 euros per share — in contrast to the Fiat auto unit, which on Wednesday said it would not pay a dividend in order to conserve cash because it wants to purchase the shares it already does not own in U.S. carmaker Chrysler.

Last year the dividend take was set at 240 million euros, or 0.185 euros per ordinary share. Both companies are controlled by Italy’s Agnelli family.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Restoration of Historic Pompeii Slated to Begin Next Week

Minister says restoration of ancient site to start February 6

(ANSA) — Rome, January 30 — The long-awaited restoration of the Pompeii archaeological site will begin on February 6, the authorities said Wednesday.

An agreement on how to proceed at the UNESCO World Heritage site has been finalized and more details will be coming, said Fabrizio Barca, minister for territorial cohesion.

The so-called the Grande Progetto Pompei or Great Pompeii Project is to secure and improve access to the ruins of Pompeii.

It has financial backing from the European Commission, as well as the Italian government.

That includes about 105 million euros for restoration and conservation works at the world-famous site which has come to symbolize the failings of the Italian state after some of the area’s most famous buildings collapsed in November 2010.

More recently, a piece of a modern wall structure bordering the ancient site of Pompeii collapsed following heavy rains, which shifted some of the ground underneath the wall section.

The site has been falling into decay for some time and after recent collapses in the past two years, there has been growing concern about Italy’s ability to protect it.

Last spring, Italian Premier Mario Monti pledged that the project will “secure the site’s damaged areas and … ensure that this is done using capable, honest businesses, not organized crime”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Files Complaint Over “Aggravated Torture”

Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who is serving a 21-year jail sentence for killing 77 people, has complained to the Norwegian government over prison conditions akin to “aggravated torture”, his lawyer said Thursday.

In his complaint to Justice Minister Grete Faremo and the governor of the Ila high security prison, Knut Bjarkeid, Breivik complained over being kept in isolation for too long.

For safety reasons, the 33-year-old has been kept away from other prisoners in a cell that has its own exercise yard, where he’s entitled to spend one hour each day.

Breivik also lamented the lack of activities on offer, countless body searches and an “almost total” ban on expressing himself — all of which, according to his lawyer, violate Norway’s law that prohibits acts of “aggravated torture.”

“No matter what crime you have committed, you shouldn’t be subjected to degrading treatment that there is no justification for,” Breivik’s lawyer Tord Jordet said.

“There are rules governing imprisonment and they should apply to all,” he added.

In November, the killer sent a 27-page letter to prison authorities with a list of complaints ranging from everyday annoyances, like cold coffee and a lack of butter, to more serious issues, such as censorship of his correspondence, body searches and being kept in isolation.

But the letter only prompted some minor changes, his lawyer said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Serial Killer’ Gets Retrial for Three More Murders

A court in northern Sweden has granted Thomas Quick, who had previously been found guilty of eight murders, a retrial for the last three killings for which he had been convicted.

The convictions to be reviewed include those for the murder of a Dutch couple near Gällivare in 1984 and the murder of Charles Zelmanovits in Piteå 1976.

“What we’ve believed all along has been verified and confirmed, that Quick didn’t have anything to do with these murders,” Björn Asplund, the father of 11-year-old Johan Asplund, who Quick had previously been convicted of killing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tourists Warned About Rising Baggage Thefts on Swiss Trains

Switzerland’s fast and efficient rail service may be the envy of the world but while the trains still run to time they are no longer as safe as they once were. Foreign visitors are being warned to mind their bags.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Addict Who Got Hooked on Heroin at Nine Leaves Church Organist, 90, With ‘Stomach Churning’ Injuries After Robbing Her to Fund Habit

[WARNING: **Disturbing content.**]

A heroin addict who became hooked on the drug when he was just nine years old robbed a 90-year-old woman to fund his habit.

Michael Thomas, 24, attacked the frail church organist in the centre of Llanelli, south Wales — leaving her with head injuries, a broken shoulder and an injured arm.

Annie Morgan is still recovering in a nursing home and may never play her instrument again.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Breaking News: Richard Dawkins Doesn’t Like Religion or ‘Islamic Barbarians’. Well, He Kept That One Quiet

by Tom Chivers

Why are we still surprised that Richard Dawkins doesn’t like religion? Also, will people now stop saying about the good professor that “he wouldn’t dare say that about Islam”? Please?

I should explain. The latest furore comes after Islamist extremists burned down a sacred library in Timbuktu, Mali, during the ongoing conflict there. Prof Dawkins tweeted “Like Alexandria, like Bamiyan, Timbuktu’s priceless manuscript heritage destroyed by Islamic barbarians.” Cue much clutching of pearls and fainting. “He’s been mean about a religion!”

A few things worth noting. One, Dawkins is on record describing Islam as “one of the great evils of the world”. Not, it’s worth noting, “Muslims”, but “Islam”, the set of beliefs and practices. He feels similarly about the Catholic Church (he’s gently fond of the milquetoasts of the C of E), following the Steve Weinberg quote that “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion”. Whether or not you agree with Dawkins (or Weinberg), it’s frankly silly to get all upset about it now…

[Reader comment by stag on 31 January 2013 at 5:47 am.]

Quite right, Tom. Dawkins should be able to say what he wants about religion without all the faux offence-taking. He’s not anti-semitic, Islamophobic, or anything else. He’s just wrong. Right in this case, though, it must be said.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Brothers Who Conned Hundreds of Vulnerable Victims in £250,000 Bank Fraud Spent Proceeds on ‘Jet-Set Lifestyle and £1,000 Pairs of Flip Flops’

Two brothers who masterminded a £244,000 fraud from their council house bedroom have been jailed for a total of 10 years.

Shilu Miah, 31, and his sibling Dulu Miah, 26, used confidential information passed on from a bank ‘insider’ to steal elderly and vulnerable people’s life savings from 218 accounts.

The criminals spent most of the cash from the 12-month scam on luxury holidays, cars and designer clothes, including Louis Vuitton flip flops ‘ to the tune of £1,000 a pair’, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

The brothers also went on shopping sprees at Selfridges and Harrods as well as drinking champagne at nightclubs in London’s West End.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Caretaker, 51, Tricked Parents Into Letting Girls as Young as 10 Attend Sleepover Parties at His Home Where He Abused Them

[WARNING: **Disturbing content.**]

A caretaker who abused girls as young as nine by luring them into his home and holding ‘sleepover parties’ has been jailed for four years.

Malcolm Hicks, 51, tricked parents into letting their children stay over at his home after he used his job at a doctor’s surgery to win their trust.

He then groomed young girls by taking them on trips to the seaside, teaching them how to bake cakes and let them stay up late to watch horror films. He also gave one of them a smartphone.

But after winning their trust he would molest them during ‘play fights’, call them ‘baby’, touch their bottoms and was accused of pinning one youngster against a wall.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Evil Couple Filmed Kissing Passionately in a Lift Moments After Clearing Bank Account of Property Developer They Had Just Murdered

[WARNING: **Disturbing content.**]

A killer couple was caught on CCTV celebrating the murder of a wealthy property developer with a passionate kiss.

Emma Bate, 26, and Parmajit Singh, 33, broke into property developer Richard Sherratt’s apartment in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, and battered him before stabbing him to death.

They then took his bank cards and cleared the 57-year-old’s account before sharing a passionate embrace.

A post mortem examination revealed that he had suffered 38 separate injuries including five blows to the head.

He had also been stabbed in his arm, face and neck, and died after suffocating from blood blocking his airways following the attack in June last year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Good Samaritan Given Parking Ticket When She Stopped in Disabled Bay to Help Woman Who Collapsed in the Street

When Lesley Mair leapt out of her car to help a collapsed woman, most bystanders saw her as a Good Samaritan.

But it appears that Edinburgh’s notorious parking attendants saw her as nothing more than an errant motorist, and gave her a ticket for leaving her vehicle in a disabled bay.

Miss Mair, 43, abandoned her car in the city’s Portobello High Street as she rushed to the aid of a young woman sprawled face down on the pavement.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Harriett Baldwin MP and Justice for England #littleguyconservatism 5/6

by Paul Goodman

A fortnight ago, Harriett Baldwin MP asked the following question to Tom Brake, the Deputy Leader of the Commons, during Business Questions:

“I am delighted to hear that we will get the report in this session of Pariament. Does the Deputy Leader of the House share my aspiration that by the end of this Parliament we will ensure that English-only legislation is voted on with a majority of English MPs?”

Brake replied:

“I am aware that my hon. Friend is pursuing this matter vigorously—indeed, she made her own submission—but it is right that we wait until we have carefully considered the arguments and options in the report before taking a view. I am sure the House will want to do the same.”

That question-and-answer highlighted an injustice to England; a Coalition tension; an uneven playing field — and a campaign by a tenacious backbencher…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: It’s Islamic? Don’t Panic

by David Shariatmadari

Parts of the media seem to fear Islamisation above all. Their arguments are rooted in prejudice

Muslims. They’re everywhere. Muttering in foreign languages, obscuring their faces, and yet somehow managing to shove their way of life down our throats. Patrols of youths intimidate gay people in the name of Allah. Even suburbia isn’t safe: Arabic calligraphy on a house in Newport has caused the kind of fuss your average leylandii could only dream of. At the same time, some find Islam seductive. Just ask the female converts on BBC3’s Make Me a Muslim. Others look at this as all the evidence you need of a dangerous takeover: sharia’s back, and this time it knows where you live.

Certain newspapers emit a hum of panic when it comes to Islam. This week the Telegraph published the lament of a “reluctant racist”. Its author pined for a lost England (a lost Acton, to be precise) in which she did not feel like a stranger. She laid many pernicious developments at the door of Islam, including the habit shopkeepers have of talking on their mobile phones while serving you. Panic, of course, inhibits clear thinking. I don’t want to deny the tumult of our times: yes, it would be better if we all had at least one language in common. Big cities, where we mix with people who dress differently and have different customs, can be alienating places. Homophobic bullying is vile. But how much of this is Islam’s fault?

[…]

[Reader comment by Keo2008 on 31 January 2013 at 4:26 pm.]

Unconvincing article. I read the Telegraph article. The author picks one tiny example from it to mock it, whilst ignoring all the serious points made in the article about the intolerance demonstrated by many Muslims in Acton towards non muslims.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Islam Exhibition Hopes to ‘Break Down Barriers’

A SPECIAL three day event has been organised to offer people in Burton a ‘greater insight’ into the Islamic Faith. Exhibition Islam is the brainchild of Shaid Hussain and the Midlands Muslim Community in an effort to ‘remove the divide’ between people of different faiths in the town…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Plan is Opposed [Chipping Norton]

PLANS to convert an empty shop into a mosque in Chipping Norton have not found favour with town councillors. Members voted to oppose the application put forward by fellow town councillor Tahirul Hassan at their meeting on January 21. The plans to convert a former chiropodist’s premises on Hitchmans Mews, off West Street, into a Muslim place of worship, are currently being considered by West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC). The father-of-three intends to rent the ground floor room for prayers five times a day, seven days a week and wants the mosque to be open from sunrise to sunset…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Maths Teacher Pretended to be Gas Man After He Was Caught With Girl

Ilford, Essex A maths teacher pretended to be the gas man when he was caught having a secret affair with a 13-year-old girl, a court heard. Abdul Mossobir, 36, kissed and cuddled the teenager after the pair began their six-week romance on his birthday — October 1, 2011. The pair met about three times a week, enjoying trips to a park close to his home in Ilford, Essex.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Mother, 32, Suffocated Family Dog With Plastic Bag Because She Didn’t Want to Spend Her Benefits Buying it Food

[WARNING: **Disturbing content.**]

A mother who suffocated her family’s dog with a plastic bag because she could not afford to feed it has been jailed.

Tracy Barker, 32, received an 18-week prison sentence after horrified RSPCA inspectors found the emaciated body of German Shepherd Milo stuffed into a wheelie bin outside her home.

A court heard that unemployed Barker refused to spend any of her benefits on food for the dog — and instead locked him outside and ignored his pleas to be fed.

She starved the dog for weeks before finally wrapping a carrier bag around his head and holding his jaw shut until he stopped breathing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Now Even Drug Barons Are Going Green as Police Raid Solar-Powered Cannabis Factory Growing £500,000 Worth of Plants

The environmental craze is not limited to trendy politicians and sandal-wearing tree-huggers — it seems that even drug producers are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Police have discovered a huge cannabis factory powered by more than 100 environmentally friendly solar panels.

The factory contained 500 cannabis plants, with a street value of around £500,000.

[Comment: Electricty usage is used to find these grow-ops, this is why the criminals are now using solar panels, its not really because of the carbon footprint.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Posing With a Killer and a Gangster, ‘Family Man’ Mark Duggan Whose Death Led to 2011 Summer Riots

This picture unearthed by the Mail of Mark Duggan — whose death sparked the 2011 riots — suggests his links with the criminal underworld are deeper than first thought.

Following his death his supporters claimed he was an innocent father assassinated by police.

But to Duggan’s right in the picture is Junior Cameron, a career criminal serving a life sentence for shooting a man after a minor prang between their cars.

Cameron pulled a semi-automatic pistol on Gary Guthrie in Streatham, South London, and shot him in the back as he tried to escape. The 39-year-old died in hospital.

Cameron committed the murder in October 2007 — six months after being freed early from prison.

The man to Duggan’s left is Darrell Albert, who was in the same car as Cameron that night.

During the confrontation he shot Mr Guthrie’s friend Rowan Williams with a Baikal 9mm pistol — now the weapon of choice for gangsters.

Duggan was known by his gangster name Starrish Mark and was considered to be a ‘major player’ in the gang

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Property Manager Given Curfew After Smashing Windows and Racially Abusing Staff at Exclusive Mayfair Members’ Club

A property manager has been given an all night curfew and told to wear an electronic tag after a drunken row with door staff at an exclusive Mayfair club during which he kicked a bouncer, smashed windows and racially abused staff.

Doormen asked Shahin Hashemi-Haeri, 45, to leave the Home House club in Portman Square at around 2am in October last year for being too drunk, a court heard today.

But he refused to leave the £1,840-a-year members’ club, which has been visited by celebrities including Cheryl Cole, Noel Gallagher and Myleene Klass, shouting ‘I’m not leaving you black motherf*****’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Rotherham Mosque Plan Deferred for More Talks

PLANS for a new £3m Rotherham mosque have been put on hold again. Members of Rotherham Council’s planning board today deferred consideration of the proposals for more discussions between the Rotheham Mosque Trust and the operator of the neighbouring Simms Wood Garage about lorry access. The councillors visited the Chapel Walk site today.

It is the second time in two months that the plans have been defererred.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Rapist Who Attacked Teenager After Forcing Her to Drink Alcohol Awarded Compensation Because His Human Rights Had Been Breached

A fairground worker who raped a young teenager after forcing her to drink alcohol won damages today after a European court ruled his human rights had been breached.

Samuel Betteridge, 58, from Mablethorpe, was jailed after he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one of attempted rape at Lincoln Crown Court in 2005.

A 13-month delay between the end of Betteridge’s minimum term and his first parole hearing was a breach of his right to a speedy hearing, the European Court of Human Rights found.

In the meantime, Betteridge brought judicial review proceedings challenging the delays in fixing a Parole Board hearing in his case.

A High court judge found in 2009 that that there had been a violation of Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights — the right to a speedy hearing.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: Swansea Man Sent Racist Tweets About Muslims and Pakistanis Court Told

A FINANCIAL adviser who aimed grossly offensive tweets at Muslims and Pakistanis was told he had “thinking deficiencies and old racist views”. Ricky Lee Davies of St Thomas, Swansea, committed the Twitter offence after watching a television documentary about Muslim extremism…

Wales Probation officer Sharon Griffiths said Davies had let his anger get the better of him following the documentary. “He has made a concerted effort to increase his knowledge about other cultures,” she said. Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard that Davies had a previous conviction when, as a juvenile, he referred to a man with a turban and beard outside Sainsbury’s as “bin Laden” during an altercation. The defendant, of St Leger Crescent, was yesterday handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with a supervision requirement for 12 months. He was also told to do 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 costs. Chairwoman of the bench Chantal Patel said: “You clearly have thinking deficiencies and old racist views.”

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Crisis of Conservatism on Both Sides of the Pond

by Melanie Phillips

The agony of the US Republicans, engulfed by an existential crisis since the second term victory of Barack Obama, reminds me so much of the UK Conservatives’ similar crisis after the accession of Tony Blair to power in 1997. That victory ushered in a three-term Labour hegemony. The Tories, aghast at the inversion of the natural order by which they assumed they had a divine right to rule, looked in bewildered mortification upon the upstart Blair whom they found it impossible to dislodge — and arrived at precisely the wrong conclusion about both conservatism and British society. It was a fundamental error that I believe the Conservative Party is still making — and if they aren’t careful, the US Republicans will fall into the same trap.

[….]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Victoria’s Secret Worker Scarred for Life When Niqab-Wearing Attacker Threw Acid in Her Face as She Walked Home From Shop

[WARNING: ** EXTREMELY Disturbing content.**]

A Victoria’s Secret shop assistant was scarred for life when a mysterious figure wearing a niqab threw acid in her face as she walked home from work.

Naomi Oni, 20, was left with severe burns on her head, neck, arms, legs and body after she was attacked in Dagenham, east London.

She has spent the past month having skin grafts and almost went blind, although she has now recovered her vision in her left eye and has partial sight in her right.

The shop assistant — who is sole carer for her disabled mother Marian Yalekhue, 52 — was making the five-minute journey back to their flat from the bus stop when she heard someone behind her.

She had just finished a late shift at the Westfield Stratford store and was on the phone to her boyfriend Ato Owede, 23, at 12.40am.

‘I’d been working a late shift and was talking to my boyfriend about what we were going to do for New Year when I saw this Muslim woman wearing a niqab covering her face,’ she told the Evening Standard.

The store assistant has been told she faces months if not years of skin grafts and further plastic surgery and even then is likely to be left with severe facial scarring.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said acid attacks were ‘extremely rare’ and that detectives were keeping an ‘open mind as to the motive.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

David Cameron Greeted With Cries of ‘Allah Akhbar’ In Surprise Visit to Libya

David Cameron today flew into Tripoli in defiance of the deteriorating security situation.

Earlier this week Britain warned of a “potential threat” to its embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli, days after the Foreign Office urged British nationals to leave Benghazi.

However the Prime Minister flew today from Algiers to Tripoli, for his second visit to the capital in 15 months…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: ‘Azhar Document’ Big Step on Path to Stability — Presidency

Egypt’s presidency on Thursday welcomed the articles of al-Azhar document to put an end to violence, describing it as a “big step on the path to achieve stability in Egypt”. In a statement published earlier today on the presidency’s spokesman Facebook page, the presidency said it welcomes the principles endorsed in the document. These principles include “the necessity of renouncing all forms of violence as well as firmly and directly condemning it … and affirming the state’s responsibility in safeguarding the security of the citizens and protecting public and private properties”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: UN Concerned About Rising Violence Against Female Protesters

The top United Nations official tasked with advancing gender equality today expressed “deep concern” about the escalating violence against women in Egypt, particularly those protesting in the days following the second anniversary of the revolution. “UN Women is deeply disturbed by the gravity of recent attacks against women, including the reports of sexual assault, many of which occurred in the same Tahrir Square in which women rallied to contribute to a better future for their country,” the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Michelle Bachelet, said in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet Expresses Deep Concern Over Escalating Violence Against Women in Egypt

Statement by Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet

In the days following the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, I note with great concern the escalation of violence and alarming reports of rising violence against women in public spaces. Two years ago, the world witnessed Egyptian women and men in Tahrir square and across Egypt calling for change and exercising their political and civil rights to public assembly and expression. As a vibrant force in civil society, women continue to press for their rights, equal participation in decision-making, and the upholding of the principles of the revolution by the highest levels of leadership in Egypt…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Survey: Ennahda Overtaken by Nidaa Tounees in First

33.1% for secular party, 33% for government force

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 1 — A survey polling Tunisian would-be voters showed secular opposition party Nidaa Tounes overtaking leading Islamic party Ennahda for the first time, though by a marginal 0.1%.

According to the poll by 3C Etudes, 33.1% of would-be voters would cast their ballots for the party led by Beji Caid Essebsi if elections were held today while Ennahda would follow with 33%. Nidaa Tounes would thus go beyond the 33% threshold, with 4.7% more votes than in a previous poll registering the political barometer, while Ennahda lost 0.9% of would-be votes on the previous survey.

The poll also showed that Essebsi would get a relative majority at 9.9% if he were to run for president while President Moncef Marzouki garnered 7.1% of would-be votes in a poll carried out in December.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Little Girls With Islamic Veil, Revolt in Country

Preacher issued fatwa against Sponge Bob,’homosexual, pervert’

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 1 — A dozen little girls, the older not even eight years of age, wore the Islamic veil when they posed around a Kuwaiti preacher who is visiting Tunisia to preach conservative Islam. The photos led to vibrant protests across the country with even 70 lawmakers in the Constituent Assembly signing a motion to condemn what the Tunisian association for the rights of minors slammed as a ‘crime against children’. The little girls, the rights association said, were ‘used to convey an idea which is far removed from our culture and the noble precepts of Islam’ with a clear intention to indoctrinate the population.

The preacher at the centre of the controversy, Kamil Al Awhadi, said he did not come to Tunisia to change its society or impose religious choices.

Al Awadhi is known across the Middle East and North Africa thanks to his ability to use television to broadcast his ideas.

He is also well known for issuing a fatwa against cartoon character Sponge Bob accused of ‘homosexuality’ and of ‘inducing children to pervert behaviour’.

His visit, which kicked off a week ago, has caused a major controversy in Tunisia with secularists accusing Al Awadhi of trying to exert an influence on Tunisians with his radical sermons. Meanwhile the cleric is continuing his tour from Zarzis — where the controversial photos were taken — to Sousse and Sfax in a tour ‘surrounding’ the capital until Carthage where he spoke at a mosque. Meanwhile in the capital Tunis, the el Fath mosque considered a haven of the Salafite movement would be reportedly ready to receive him with open arms. Al Awadhi has been warmly welcomed in his tour — with people in Cite’ Kabaria acting like football fans — and seems to have reached his objective of broadening consensus in Tunisia around Wahhabism, a conservative form of Sunni Islam which is a minority in Tunisia but enjoys great financial wealth thanks to Gulf kingdoms. This strategy has political as well as religious implications as Tunisia still needs the help of allied countries like Kuwait and, even more, Kuwait. The help does not appear to be without its implications.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Protecting Ben Ali’s Feminist Legacy

State feminism prospered under the authoritarian rule of Bourguiba and Ben Ali. What are the prospects for women’s rights following the 2011 revolution?

Ever since independence from colonial rule, emancipation and feminist measures have been crucial elements of Tunisian politics. The most famous example of this is the Tunisian Personal Status Code, which regulates issues pertaining to marriage, divorce and inheritance. And unlike reforms in other countries in the region, the code deviates significantly from certain Islamic legal traditions such as polygamy, child marriage, forced marriage and repudiation.

However, debates on what the ‘new’ Tunisia should look like following the revolution of January 14, 2011, have called some of these gains for women’s rights into question. What, then, will be the lasting legacy of these advances that were made under the authoritarian regimes of Habib Bourguiba (1956-1987) and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (1987-2011) and what are the prospects moving forward?

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK Police Investigating Lockerbie Cleared to Visit Libya for the First Time, Cameron Reveals During Latest Leg of African Tour

British detectives investigating the Lockerbie bombing are to travel to Libya for the first time.

Under a deal sealed by David Cameron on his surprise visit to Tripoli yesterday, officers from the Dumfries and Galloway force in Scotland will travel to the Libyan capital next month.

The team of detectives hope to track down the masterminds behind Britain’s worst ever terrorist atrocity, in which 270 people died in 1988 after the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel Busts Hamas Cell in West Bank Plotting Abduction

JERUSALEM, Jan. 31 ( Xinhua ) — Israeli forces have busted a Hamas militant cell operating in southern West Bank and plotting to kidnap an Israeli soldier, the army announced Thursday. Israeli army and Shin Bet security service carried out a joint operation in recent months, which led to the interception of a 20- member Hamas cell in Hebron area.

According to a statement by Israeli army, the group of militants had planned to abduct a Israeli soldier so as to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel, and sought to establish a Hamas command center in Hebron for future attacks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Israel — You Don’t Have a Right to Exist or Defend Yourself

The U.N. continues its anti Semitic tirade against Israel demanding Israel completely withdraw from Judea and Samaria where at least a half a million Israelis live and work. The Muslim controlled and agenda laden U.N. screams and quotes endless clauses, article 49, ‘preconditions’ highlighting Palestinian persecution at the hands of the dreaded Israelis.

When one looks at the anti Semitic history of the U.N. and its Islamic handlers, you vividly get the game. Cry victim, war crimes, Apartheid evil of Israel, while stealing and manipulating chunk after chunk of Israeli sovereign land and putting it in the hands of the Palestinians and other Muslim strong holds.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UN Report Says Israel Could be Prosecuted for War Crimes Over Settlements

UN human rights investigators called on Israel on Thursday to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes.

A three-member UN panel said private companies should stop working in the settlements if their work adversely affected the human rights of Palestinians, and urged member states to ensure companies respected human rights…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Diplomat: Real Target of Israeli Attack Was Syrian Base

A western diplomat has told the Iraqi daily Azzaman that the real target of Israel’s attack on Syria was a facility housing 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and that reports about a weapons convoy on its way to Lebanon being hit were merely a diversion.

Shortly after news of the air strike emerged yesterday, reports centered around the target being a convoy of lorries carrying weapons into Lebanon. However, Syrian authorities disputed this narrative, claiming instead that a research facility northwest of Damascus had been destroyed.

It now appears the Syrian version of events has been vindicated after a western diplomat told the Iraqi daily Azzaman that eight guided missiles were used to hit a scientific research facility in Jamraya.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece’s Muslims Like Erdogan’s Mosque Proposal

Turkish Pm offered to build an Islamic prayer house in Athens

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JANUARY 31 — More than 200,000 Muslims living in the Greek capital of Athens, the only European capital that has no mosque, are hopeful now thanks to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has recently suggested his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras to fund the construction of the first Islamic prayer house in Athens — if the Greek government sanctioned it — but they say need for a grave yard to bury their dead is even more pressing. “We are very grateful to Mr Prime Minister. His offer has made us utterly pleased. But apart from a mosque, there is a more important issue of a Muslim grave yard. We could always find a place to pray but we can’t find anywhere to bury our dead,” Mazen Rassas, deputy chief of the Muslims Association of Greece, told the Anadolu Agency. In a bilateral meeting in Doha, Qatar, earlier this week with Greek Prime Minister Samaras, Erdogan suggested that Turkey could fund the construction of a mosque in Athens. Rassas, a Palestinian immigrant, said grave yard was a more pressing issue for the Muslim community in Athens. “When they died I couldn’t send the remains of my father and mother to Palestine and I had to bury them in Western Thrace. We bury our dead in Xanti and Komotini,” Rassas said.

An estimated 500,000 Muslims live in Greece, with about 40% of them in the capital. Athens has around 100 makeshift mosques and the Greek government has long delayed plans to build an official one. The country has not allowed construction of a mosque since 1883, the year when the Ottomans evacuated the city.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: 5 Lebanese Soldiers Dead in Clashes at Syria Border

Clashes with anti-Assad militias in Bekaa Valley, one rebel dead

(ANSAmed) — ROME, FEBRUARY 1 — Five Lebanese soldiers and one Syrian rebel were killed on Friday in clashes between the Lebanese army and Syrian opposition militias in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border, Al Jazeera TV reported. A Lebanese colonel was among those killed today, according to Syrian state TV. Six Lebanese soldiers were wounded in the clashes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saudi King ‘Names Brother Deputy Premier’

AFP — Saudi King Abdullah appointed one of his brothers, Moqren bin Abdul Aziz, as deputy prime minister, on Friday, making him second in line to the throne, the official SPA news agency said.

“Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz, adviser and special envoy of the king, has been named second vice president of the Council of Ministers,” said the SPA report.

The king, 89, is the president of the Council, and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, 77, is the first vice president.

In the event of the king’s death, the 68-year-old Moqren could then become crown prince.

Like Prince Salman, Moqren is a son of Abdul Aziz bin Saud, who founded Saudi Arabia and died in 1953.

He has served as an adviser and special envoy of King Abdullah since July, previously serving as the head of Saudi intelligence.

The monarch’s age and frequent hospitalisation have raised concerns about the future leadership of the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom, a key player in the Middle East and a major exporter of oil.

The post of deputy premier had been vacant since Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, a half-brother of the king, became crown prince in October 2011 following the death of Prince Sultan and then died himself last June.

Under the rules of succession in Saudi Arabia, power passes from brother to brother, respecting the law of birthright among the sons of the kingdom’s founder.

So far, five sons of the late king Saud have ruled since the kingdom’s founder died. Eighteen of Saud’s sons are still alive, although experts say few could be considered future monarchs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UAE: Vishwaroopam Banned in UAE as Content ‘Links Islam With Terrorism’

DUBAI // The controversial Indian film, Vishwaroopam, will not be shown in UAE cinemas, the media regulator said yesterday. A week after its global release and screening in some parts of India, Jumaa Leem, director of media content for the National Media Council (NMC), said the Tamil film will not be shown here because it “links Islam with terrorism”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Four at Once: Volcano Quartet Erupts on Kamchatka

A unique show is taking place on Kamchatka these days: Four separate but nearby volcanoes are erupting simultaneously on the Russian peninsula. A Moscow film crew has produced an awe-inspiring 360-degree video of the natural fireworks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Islam Gives Eternal Message of Peace: Altaf

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said that Islam is the religion of peace and gives the eternal message of peace for the followers of all religions.

MQM chief expressed these views on Thursday while talking to Jamaat-i-Isha’at-i-Tauheed-o-Sunnat Pakistan head Maulana Muhammad Tayyab Tahiri on telephone. Hussain inquired about well-being of Maulana Tahiri and shared his views with him…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Suicide Bomber Outside Mosque Kills 19, Wounds 45 in Pakistan Northwest

(Reuters) — A suicide bomber killed 19 mostly Sunni Muslims and wounded 45 on Friday in a crowded market outside a mosque in Pakistan’s restive northwestern town of Hangu, police and officials said.

Hangu, part of Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan, has been racked by sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi’ite tribes…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

China’s New Militancy

“We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully—not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear,” President Obama said in his second inaugural address.

How exactly does the international community “engage” hostile states? Take China, for instance.

Xi Jinping, named Communist Party general secretary in November, reflects a new militancy. On Tuesday, he delivered a hard-edged speech to the Politburo in which he effectively ruled out compromise on territorial and security issues. His tough words were in keeping with the ever-more strident tones of his messages to the People’s Liberation Army about being ready to plan, fight, and win wars. Chinese leaders have traditionally addressed the army and urged improvement in general readiness, but, as veteran China watcher Willy Lam notes, Xi has put a special emphasis on it. Moreover, his calls on preparing for conflict go well beyond those of his two predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

In the past, the military’s war talk contrasted with soothing words from senior civilian leaders. Now, with Xi, the aggressive comments from flag officers are consistent with what he, as top leader, is saying. Worse, as the Financial Times notes, Xi’s words of war are now “being bundled” with his rhetoric, which seems calculated to “fan nationalism.”

In this environment, Chinese military officers can get away with advocating “short, sharp wars” and talking about the need to “strike first.” Their boldness suggests, as some privately say, that General Secretary Xi is associating with generals and admirals who think war with the U.S. might be a good idea.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Two Soldiers Killed in S. Philippine Ambush

DAVAO CITY, Philippines, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — Two people were killed in a series of attacks by leftist rebels in southern Philippines, authorities said Friday. A soldier was killed after a dozen of New People’s Army guerrillas assaulted two army detachments in the eastern province of Compostela Valley early on Friday, according to Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Gambia: State House Mosque Committee Grateful to President Jammeh

The State House Mosque Committee has expressed gratitude and appreciation to the president of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, for his efforts towards the promotion and advancement of Islam. Writing on behalf of the committee, WO2 Alhagie Basainey Camara, the Amir of the Mosque said President Jammeh’s interventions towards the advancement, promotion and development of Islam in this country and beyond cannot be over-emphasized…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mali: Dioncounda Traoré Rules Out Talks With Islamist Ansar Dine

In an exclusive interview with RFI, Mali’s interim president ruled out talks with Islamist groups who ruled the north for nine months, but said he was ready to meet Tuareg activists from the region. President Dioncounda Traore set out his position after France called for peace talks between Mali’s government and “legitimate representatives” from the north.

Traore said he was ready for talks with the secular Tuaregs of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). But he would not meet any of the three Al Qaeda-linked groups that seized northern Mali last year, including the homegrown group Ansar Dine, (Defenders of the Faith)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Boko Haram’s Questionable Ceasefire

by Andre Colling

An alleged Boko Haram commander has called a unilateral ceasefire. Why now? And will it stick?

On 28 January, Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, alleged commander of Nigeria’s Islamist militants Boko Haram, called for the group to halt attacks on state, security and civilian interests. Boko Haram attacks are thought to have left as many as 3,000 people dead across Nigeria since the uprising began in 2009…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Somalia: Puntland Political Associations Sign Joint Code of Conduct

Garowe — Political associations in Somalia’s northern autonomous region of Puntland have jointly signed a Code of Conduct to manage the electoral process in Puntland, Garowe Online reports. The Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) organized the event on Thursday at Puntland Development and Research Center (PDRC) in Garowe

TPEC Chairman Mohamed Hassan Barre opened the event by thanking all the representatives of the six political associations registered by TPEC. PDRC Director Abdirahman Abdulle Shuke addressed the event, saying that Puntland is moving forward on the track of multiparty political system and democratic elections. TPEC member Abdirizak Ahmed Shoole read the new Code of Conduct prepared by TPEC and the six political association’s representatives discussed the Code before it was unanimously agreed and Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole was the first to sign, as caretaker chairman of Horseed political associations…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

South Africa: Over Fifty Rhinos Killed

Pretoria — About 57 rhinos have been killed this year by poachers in South Africa, with 42 of these being in the Kruger National Park (KNP). According to the latest data released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, six rhinos have been poached in KwaZulu-Natal, six in North West, two in Limpopo and one in Mpumalanga…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

South African Witchdoctor, 57, Marries His Epileptic Patient, 13, As Part of Her Treatment

[WARNING: **Disturbing content.**]

A 13-year-old schoolgirl has married a 57-year-old witchdoctor as part of his prescribed treatment for her epilepsy.

The girl, a grade six pupil at Magene Primary School in Limpopo, the northern most province of South Africa, became the witchdoctor’s second wife following their wedding earlier this month.

Her mother, 57, accepted a R5,000 dowry (£350) in exchange for her daughter who was said to ‘faint at any time’ until she started treatment with the healer, known in South Africa as a ‘sangoma’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

U. S. Air Force Continues Support to France in Mali

(AGI) — Washington, Jan 30 — The Pentagon said there is currently no plan for the U.S. to join French troops in combat against Mali Islamists. The U.S. military has been in constant contact with France over its operations in Mali, a Pentagon spokesman said. The U.S. has backed the French with logistical support, including intelligence sharing, refuelling and airlifts for the other countries involved in the offensive, such as Chad and Togo.

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

Argentina Pulls Out of Falklands Talks

A diplomatic dispute has erupted over the Falkland Islands after the Argentine foreign minister pulled out of talks with William Hague because the UK Government insisted that islanders should be able to take part.

Hector Timerman has refused to meet representatives of the Falkland Islands government, which Argentina does not recognise as legitimate. The islanders were expected to tell Mr Timerman that Buenos Aires should respect islanders’ rights and leave them in peace…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Huge Blast Kills at Least 25 in Mexico Tower Block

The number of people killed by a blast in Mexico City at the headquarters of the state oil company, Pemex, has risen to 25, the interior minister has said. At least 100 people were injured and an unknown number remain trapped in the rubble at the base of the 54-storey tower. Searches for survivors continue. The cause of the blast is under investigation, Pemex says. Last September, 30 people died in an explosion at a Pemex gas plant in northern Mexico. Will Grant reports.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Children of the Crisis: German Schools Struggle With Wave of Immigrants

Germany is experiencing a well-documented boom in immigrants from countries hard-hit by the euro crisis. Less visible, however, are their children. They rarely have any knowledge of German, and schools are struggling to meet their needs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ethnic Groups in L.A. Demand Legalization of 11 Mln Immigrants

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Ethnic groups led by Latino organizations in Los Angeles on Thursday called for united actions to push forward a just immigration reform to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The call was made in response to this week’s announcements by U.S. President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators known as the “Gang of 8” proclaiming that immigration reform is a national policy priority…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Immigration Reform Favors Illegal Aliens Ahead of Americans

You must understand the duplicity of our U.S. Congress and President Obama. They place the interests of illegal aliens and businesses who hire them over and above American citizens. The White House and Congress place illegality of businesses who hire illegal aliens and the illegality of the alien migrants— above 47 million Americans who cannot secure jobs, but must live on taxpayer funded food stamps.

Ironically, Obama and Congress import 100,000 legal immigrants every 30 days in light of the fact that we suffer 14 million unemployed Americans. They import green card-holding Somalian, Congolese, Sudanese and Indian immigrants who displace and take jobs from our own minority working poor. When those immigrants can’t find jobs, they apply for and receive welfare in free food, housing, medical and allowances. It costs you billions of dollars as a taxpaying American. With 100,000 immigrants added every 30 days, there is no let-up.

Yet, Congress and Obama want to legalize 20 million illegal aliens to give them access to our Social Security, housing, food stamps, medical and schools. In a swoop of the pen, our financially broken and $16 trillion in-debt country will take on 20 million dish washers, nannies, gardeners and unskilled and uneducated poor. The Heritage Foundation projected the total cost of legalizing 12 million illegals at over $3 trillion. With greater numbers, it will rise to $5 trillion. It defies anyone’s imagination.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: 79% Say We Must Ban EU Migrants

VOTERS sent a forceful message to David Cameron last night not to relax border controls with Romania and Bulgaria.

Nearly eight out of 10 — 79 per cent — quizzed for an opinion poll wanted visa restrictions on the Eastern European countries to stay.

The results follow widespread fears that the UK will be flooded with a new wave of immigrants after controls are dropped to meet European Union freedom-of-movement rules.

The poll was commissioned by anti-Brussels campaign group Get Britain Out who said it proved Britons want to take back control of their borders.

           — Hat tip: Kitman [Return to headlines]

UK: If We Don’t Have a Common Language We Will All Suffer

by Stephen Pollard

IT’S easy to get lost in the forest of immigration statistics that seem to emerge almost weekly. One week it’s fears that tens, even hundreds, of thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians could arrive on our shores thanks to the freedom of movement allowed under EU rules. The next week it’s a report on the huge backlog of cases left to be considered by the UK Border Agency. But if you only remember one statistic make it this: more than four million migrants do not speak English as their main language. The impact of this finding, which comes from newly released details in the 2011 Census, is profound…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: We Should Welcome Poles: They Undermine the ‘Right-on’ World View

by Cristina Odone

I’m not surprised Polish is now Britain’s second language. Last Monday I was in Aldershot in Hampshire. It’s a small town, that reaches 200,000 inhabitants only when you add in the surrounding areas. Yet it boasts not one, or two, but three Polish delis. On the bus journey home from Clapham Junction I heard schoolchildren speaking in Polish (just like slurry Russian to my untutored ears) behind me. Polski is all over the place — and it’s a good thing it is. The Poles undermine the “right-on” view of the world…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Population Control Propagandist: “We Get Very Little Opposition From the Public”

During a recent lecture the head of the elite-funded, soap opera-producing Population Media Center admitted that his organization encounters “very little opposition of the public because of the very gradual evolution of the characters”.

The US-based Population Media Center, which produces soap operas worldwide with the aim of reducing populations, said that his organization hardly encounters any resistance from both governments and audiences in the nations where its melodramas are aired:

In answer to a question by an audience member if his organization experiences any opposition from the governments in the nations concerned, Ryerson stated:

“Hardly any. (…) One of the things about this strategy is: because we’re working to support the governments’ policies, they are very enthusiastic about it.”

“We get very little opposition of the public because of the very gradual evolution of the characters.”, Ryerson said.

[…]

In his recent speech, Ryerson stressed that his organization is “working with the Hollywood community” with the stated goal of convincing audiences in the US to stop producing children because “Americans have the highest per capita output of greenhouse gas”.

Ryerson’s Population Media Center is involved in the writing and producing of soap operas with embedded messages designed to convince people all over the world to cut the number of children. He recently bragged that its population control brainwashing campaign in developing nations has been “a smash hit.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Qaradawi, Khan and Qadhi: Scholars of the Year

As a token of appreciation to scholars and da’iyahs (Muslims preachers) who did great efforts in 2012 to spread Islamic knowledge, promote Islamic values and morals and mobilize Muslim’s youth efforts, Onislam.net launched the 2012 Scholar of the Year campaign. Our users positively suggested and voted for the scholar they nominate as 2012 Scholar of the Year…

[JP note: Psychotic creeps more like.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

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