Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/12/2013

North Korea’s third underground test of a nuclear weapon has drawn near-universal condemnation, even prompting critical comments from its “only friend”, China. The Norks say they are developing a compact nuclear device that can be launched on missiles capable of reaching the United States.

In other news, the Turkish state airline THY has announced that it will no longer serve alcoholic beverages on its domestic flights.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Erick Stakelbeck, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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


Financial Crisis
» Greece: Gov’t Focus Turns to State Staff, Unions
» Greece: Incomes of Retired MPS Drop by Over 50%
» Show This to Anyone That Believes That “Things Are Getting Better” In America
» Why the Banking Elite Want Riots in America
 
USA
» Anticipating Agenda 21
» Bill Gates Dodges Questions on Why He Owns 500,000 Shares of Monsanto
» Caroline Glick: Hagel, Hamas and the US Senate
» CNN Anchor Blames Asteroid on Global Warming
» Community Shows Support for Vandalized Nashville Mosque
» Congressional Hearings Show Obama Treading Dangerous Global Path
» Food Stamp Rolls in America Now Surpass the Population of Spain
» Government Certifiable Nincompoops
» Hagel Nomination is Sent to Full Senate After Panel’s Combative Debate
» Homeowner vs. EPA Home Invasion
» Is Christopher Dorner Another Psychiatric Killer?
» Judy Chu Exposed Part 1: Yes Soledad O’Brien, Judy Chu Probably “Is a Communist!”
» Limbaugh: Dr. Carson’s Refreshing Jolt of Good Societal Medicine
» Minority Students in Chicago: Hostages of the Democratic Party
» Obama Plans to Use Military Drones Against American Journalists, Freedom Activists and Critics of Government
» Obama Weighing Executive Actions on Housing, Gays and Other Issues
» Police Warn All Black Men: “You Could be Stopped and Questioned”
» Pope’s Possible Successor Promotes Marxist for Sainthood
» Rove vs. The Tea Party
» Solar Energy Actually Has a Big ‘Hazardous Waste Problem’ (and How Much Did Solyndra Contaminate?)
» The Catch All Mental Health Disorder… Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
» To Protect Citizens, Texas May Pass Toughest Anti-Drone Laws in America
» UCSD Partly at Fault for Students’ Ignorance of Islam
» Washington Post’s ‘Foreign Policy’ Mag Matches Newsweek With Obama as ‘The Second Coming’ Cover
» Winning the Minority Vote
» Yolo Deputy DA’s Briefed on Islam
 
Europe and the EU
» A Look at the UK’s NHS — A Cautionary Tale
» Berlusconi Campaigns Against High Taxes in Italy
» Ex-Italian Spy Shocked at 10-Year Jail Term
» Finmeccanica Chief Orsi Arrested in Italy
» Furore as Iran Ambassador is Caught on Video ‘High-Fiving’ Female German MP
» Italy: Court Orders Abducted Imam Should Receive One Million Euros
» Italy: Berlusconi Dismisses U.S. Ambassador Centre-Left ‘Support’
» Italy: Berlusconi Says Foreign-Contract Probes Economic ‘Suicide’
» Italy: Berlusconi Says he is ‘Very Credible in Europe’
» Italy: Alfano Premier of Centre-Right Victory, Says Berlusconi
» UK: ‘Nothing is Going to Stop Me’: Serial Criminal Convicted of 218 Offences Mocks Police After Getting His 43rd Driving Ban
» UK: A Long Overdue Counterblast to the Left’s Thinking on Islamists
» UK: A Child Branded ‘The Imp of Satan’ When He Became the Youngest Child in Britain Ever to be Given an ASBO Aged Just Ten-Years-Old Went on to Murder a Friend at a House Party.
» UK: Developer Dalbir Singh Sanger Has Revealed Interest From Mosque Builders
» UK: Douglas Murray Blames Hope Not Hate for Attempted Shooting of Lars Hedegaard
» UK: Fourteen NHS Trusts to be Investigated for Having Above Average Death Rates
» UK: Hiscox Backs Mosque and Islamic School Scheme
» UK: Horse on Menu But PM’s Hair is Mane Event
» UK: Labour Leads Conservatives by 12 Points in Poll
» UK: Nominees Sought for Asian Women’s Award
» UK: Operation Bullfinch: Day 18: Woman Cries in Witness Box as She Denies Lying About Rape
» UK: Two Brothers Who Swapped Houses to Con Taxpayer Out of £315,000 Walk Free After Judge Claims ‘Greatest Punishment Was Loss of Their Good Names’
» Vatican City: Pope Benedict’s Approach to Islam Was Sincere But Occasionally Indelicate
» Vatican City: It’s Time Cardinal Bertone and His Wrecking-Crew Were Run Out of Town
 
North Africa
» Algeria Dismantles Arms Trafficking Network
» Egypt: Two Years After Mubarak, The Protest Continues
» Egypt: Setback for Brotherhood as Its Choice for Grand Mufti is Rejected
» Egypt: Holier Than Thou: Extremism Against Islam
» Libya: Italy Among Top 3 Security Contributors, Terzi Says
» Libya: Italy to Reopen Consulate in Benghazi
» Tunisia in Crisis as President’s Party Rejects Government Plan
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Sarah Silverman’s Sister Arrested During Women of the Wall Protests
» Stakelbeck: The Truth About Israel’s “Settlements”
 
Middle East
» Daniel Pipes: Fashion at Turkish Airlines
» Gone in 30 Seconds: Dozens of Workers Scramble to Safety When 1,300-Ton, £25million Iranian Gas Rig Collapses in the Gulf
» Lebanon: EU Rewards 50 Palestinan Refugee Students
» New Turkish Airlines Uniforms Stir Controversy
» Saudi Arabia: Sister’s Last Tragic Text From Back of Taxi Before it Crashed, Killing British Muslim Family of Five on Pilgrimage to Mecca… But Baby Miraculously Survived
» Syria: After Muslim Rebels Seize Two Priests in Aleppo, There Are Fears for Their Life
» THY Stops Serving Alcohol on Domestic Flights
 
South Asia
» Obama to Announce Return of 34,000 Troops From Afghanistan by January 2014
 
Far East
» “A Smaller: Lighter, More Powerful” Nuclear Bomb Test by North Korea Shocks the World
» 40 Ways That China is Beating America
» China: Kunming, A Melting Pot of Disappearing Culture Where Islam Survives
» China Surpasses U.S. As Number One Global Trading Power
» North Korea is Believed to Have Conducted Third Nuclear Test
» World Shaken as North Korea ‘Conducts Underground Nuclear Test’ In Defiance of Its One Friend, China, And Multiple Foes
 
Australia — Pacific
» Australian Government Caught Spraying Highly Dangerous, Illegal Chemicals on Fragile Wetlands
» Political Correctness Allowing Imposition of Sharia Law
» Worthless Credits Dumped in New Zealand’s “Irrational” Emissions Trading Scheme: Expert
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Liberia: Revering Guinean Blood Shed Here
» Mali: Francois Hollande Vows to Rid Mali of ‘Terrorists’
» Namibia: 43 Acquitted in Treason Trial
» Sudan: Mali Militants on 200 Vehicles Arrive in Kutum, North Darfur — Sources
 
Latin America
» Venezuela Congratulates Iran on Anniversary of Revolution
 
Immigration
» Elections: Some “New Italians” Are Running
» Marco Rubio as the GOP Savior
» Minister’s Damning Silence on Migrants: Mark Harper Stonewalls Four Questions on How Many Romanians and Bulgarians Will Come to Britain
» UK: Planning Minister: Govt Must be Tough on New Migrants to Protect Housing From More Pressure
 
Culture Wars
» Is There a War Against Males in Our Current Culture and Society?
» Opening Up a Can of Worms: Gay Scouts of America
» Strasbourg Court Rejects Italy Appeal on Reproduction Rights
» UK: A Bit of Fry Has Become a Lorryload. Enough!
» UK: LGBT Activists Want No Part of Sharia

Greece: Gov’t Focus Turns to State Staff, Unions

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 12 — With pressure mounting from international creditors for a series of so-called prior actions to be implemented, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to focus on streamlining the bloated civil service sector as well as containing strike action on various fronts.

According to sources, as daily Kathimerini reports, the troika is keen for the government to press ahead with a plan to put 25,000 civil servants into a so-called mobility scheme which would see most of them dismissed and a minority being transferred to understaffed sections of the public service.

Sources at the Maximos Mansion (the government headquartes) said Monday that a recent wave of early retirements would likely satisfy creditors’ demands for cutbacks in the state sector. The troika has pushed for layoffs however. It is expected that authorities will focus on the dismissal of employees found to have seriously breached the code of conduct. Another thorn in Samaras’s side is the labor unions. Labor Ministry sources on Monday refuted reports that the government is considering making changes to labor regulations that would make it more difficult for unions to call strikes. The government has been heavy-handed against strikers, issuing civil mobilization orders against Athens metro workers and seamen, but it has taken a softer stance against farmers who are seeking concessions. In a bid to force the government’s hand, farmers, who have gathered at road junctions across Greece, said on Monday that they would hold one-hour protest marches every day.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Incomes of Retired MPS Drop by Over 50%

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 12 — Monthly pensions have been slashed by 54.7% since 2010 for former prime ministers and 51.1% for retired deputies, daily Kathimerini reports citing data data released by the Finance Ministry. Further cuts are expected as of April 1. The pension for a retired premier has dropped from 4,679 euros per month in December 2009 to 2,561 euros this February, according to the ministry report. The monthly pension of an MP currently stands at 1,976 euros, down from 3,866 euros three years ago. The pension cuts are in line with Greece’s attempts to reduce costs in the public sector as demanded by the country’s international creditors.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Show This to Anyone That Believes That “Things Are Getting Better” In America

How can anyone not see that the U.S. economy is collapsing all around us? It just astounds me when people try to tell me that “everything is just fine” and that “things are getting better” in America. Are there people out there that are really that blind? If you want to see the economic collapse, just open up your eyes and look around you. By almost every economic and financial measure, the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years. But most Americans are so tied into “the matrix” that they can only understand the cheerful propaganda that is endlessly being spoon-fed to them by the mainstream media. As I have said so many times, the economic collapse is not a single event.

The economic collapse has been happening, it is is happening right now, and it will continue to happen. Yes, there will be times when our decline will be punctuated by moments of great crisis, but that will be the exception rather than the rule. A lot of people that write about “the economic collapse” hype it up as if it will be some huge “event” that will happen very rapidly and then once it is all over we will rebuild. Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and once it completely bursts there will be no going back to how things were before. Right now, we are living in a “credit card economy”. As long as we can keep borrowing more money, most people think that things are just fine. But anyone that has lived on credit cards knows that eventually there comes a point when the game is over, and we are rapidly approaching that point as a nation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why the Banking Elite Want Riots in America

Although the likes of the IMF and the World Bank have pillaged half of the globe with their economic terrorism, America remains the ultimate prize. The first step of the four step process for bankster seizure of a country — privatization of state-owned assets — is already well under way in America, with infrastructure being sold off to foreign corporations, with the aid of Goldman Sachs, at a frightening pace.

A key component of the banking elite’s insidious agenda to bring about an economic collapse in America by design also centers around the process of de-industrializing the country, eviscerating the nation’s platform for self-sufficiency and replacing it with dependence on banker bailouts. This has already been largely achieved in Europe — with just about every major economy on the continent run by Goldman Sachs-affiliated technocrats.

In the United States, 32 per cent of manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000, while 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been mothballed since 2001. The Obama administration has also declared war on the coal industry, with Obama himself promising to “bankrupt” anyone who tries to build a new coal plant. Meanwhile, China builds a new coal plant every two weeks.

[…]

The Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies are actively engaged in spying on social media as well as news websites to look for reports or comments that “reflect adversely on the U.S. government and the DHS.” The government is on the lookout for the ‘tipping point’ when heated online rhetoric spills onto the streets in the form of unrest.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Anticipating Agenda 21

“Agenda 21, the action plan to implement the principles and agreements of Rio, is a blueprint for constructing the new world order called for at Rio. It is vital that people grasp this new vision of our future and understand how they can contribute to its realization. — Maurice Strong, Forward, The Earth Summit’s Agenda for Change1.

“With the end of the ideological conflict that dominated a generation of international affairs, a new world order, shaped by a new agenda, will emerge. If the physical degradation of the planet becomes the principal preoccupation of the global community, then environmental sustainability will become the organizing principle of this new order… For the first time since the emergence of the nation-state, all countries can unite around a common theme. — Lester R. Brown, speaking on the Rio Earth Summit.2

“What’s old is new again.

To some extent Agenda 21 fits this mold. Emanating from the 1992 United Nations Rio Earth Summit, officially known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), concerns were raised by political researchers during the mid-to-late 1990s about the dangers posed by federal agencies looking to implement Agenda 21 management principles, particularly as it related to property rights, energy and industry, and agriculture. Research articles were published, hearings took place, education campaigns were launched, and the topic was a talking point on some radio shows. Arguably, it wasn’t a mainstream issue — not in the sense of being a nationally recognized news story. Nevertheless, an energized effort to inform the public did make headway during that time.

Then came the “war on terror, instantly becoming the international talking point. Paralleling this was the intensified battle over climate change. Agenda 21, it appeared to many, had faded into the background. Ironically, and not unknown to the research community, the Kyoto convention on climate change was launched through the Earth Summit process and was an extension of the Agenda 21 concept. All of this said, researchers and environmental lobbyists understood the long-term relevance of Agenda 21, and a back-story political struggle continued between advocates of private property versus those pushing socialized management. In this sense Agenda 21 never went “out of style, although the general public was largely ignorant of the controversy.

Now, approximately 20 years after UNCED and the release of Agenda 21, it has once again become a political focal point, especially in the United States. Consider the following…

Agenda 21 is not a binding treaty. It does not have a legal and contractual mechanism in the same manner as multilateral treaties or conventions. However, this doesn’t mean it’s benign. Far from it.

Instead of being a treaty with enforcement mechanisms, this cornerstone UNCED document places the emphasis on voluntary implementation. Each country that signed Agenda 21 agreed to it as a framework, a structural instrument used by nations to shape their own domestic policies for a common “global good. In this sense it is a visioning blueprint meant to guide the planet’s citizens into “a new cooperative global partnership.3 Agenda 21, along with the other Rio agreements, act as a skeletal structure for global governance.

[Comment: Very informative article.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bill Gates Dodges Questions on Why He Owns 500,000 Shares of Monsanto

Bill Gates is primarily known as the multi-billionaire who Microsoft, the company behind the most popular computer operating system known as Windows. With this massive wealth, he has retired from leading Microsoft and now instead focuses his money and time on furthering genetically modified technology, geoengineering, experimental vaccinations, and preaching about how Monsanto is the answer to world hunger.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Gates owns 500,000 shares worth 23 million US dollars (or more) of Monsanto stock. The very same company that has been caught running slave rings in Argentina in which workers were forced to work 14+ hours a day while withholding payment, has used their massive finances to fund organizations that literally fake FDA quotes to support GMOs, and of course peddling through GMOs that have been linked to numerous health concerns.

This is not even taking into account the farmer suicides that occur around every 30 minutes due to Monsanto’s failing GMO crop yield bankrupting small-time farmers in India’s notorious ‘suicide belt’. [url]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Hagel, Hamas and the US Senate

Former Senator Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama’s nominee for US Defense Secretary will likely get confirmed by the Senate today when his appointment comes up for a vote.

Hagel supports US engagement with Hamas. He also allegedly received money from a Hamas-associated organization.

In all the verbiage we are exposed to everyday, sometimes it is hard to understand the significance of positions like this. On its face, when taken in isolation from reality, calling for the US to engage Hamas seems like an eminently reasonable position. After all, Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections. It seized control of Gaza in 2007. It is powerful. Why should the US refuse to legitimize it? Doesn’t America like the Palestinians? And didn’t the Palestinians choose to be led by Hamas? How can America support the Palestinians and disavow their democratically elected leaders?

But then, nestled up next to these arguments is a little thing called reality. And beyond Harvard-styled pseudo-sophisticated pontifications, it is important to consider the actual significance of a position like that of the soon-to-be-confirmed US Secretary of Defense. Who and what is Hagel seeking to legitimize by adopting this position? What is Hamas?

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

CNN Anchor Blames Asteroid on Global Warming

“Talk about something else that’s falling from the sky and that is an asteroid. What’s coming our way? Is this an effect of, perhaps, of global warming or is this just some meteoric occasion?”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Community Shows Support for Vandalized Nashville Mosque

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An act of vandalism at a Nashville mosque results in an outpouring of support from the community. The regular Monday evening prayer service at the Al-Farooq mosque featured a big crowd of people from other mosques, neighbors and community leaders. Mosque leaders said the community support is proof something good can come from the evil act. “Your presence here is a good answer to this event,” said Dr. Mohamed Badawi. “This event has done nothing but bring us all together.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Congressional Hearings Show Obama Treading Dangerous Global Path

There were two extraordinary disclosures in Thursday’s testimony of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

One is that there was no communication between them and Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the seven hours of Sept. 11, 2012, when Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were attacked and murdered in Benghazi.

This is a vivid contrast with those photos we’ve seen of the president and his leading advisers watching the video of the attack on Osama bin Laden.

At a 5 p.m. meeting, when it was first known that Stevens was under attack, Obama did issue Panetta and Dempsey a directive to do whatever they could to protect him. And then left the matter, in Panetta’s words, “up to us.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Food Stamp Rolls in America Now Surpass the Population of Spain

Since taking office in 2009, food stamp rolls under President Barack Obama have risen to more than 47 million people in America, exceeding the population of Spain.

“Now is the time to act boldly and wisely — to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity,” said Obama during his first joint session address to Congress on Feb. 24, 2009.

Since then, the number of participants enrolled in food stamps, known as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), has risen substantially.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Government Certifiable Nincompoops

Dr. Bill Wattenburg, an inventor, scientist, author and former San Francisco KGO talk show host coined the term, “Certifiable Nincompoops” in government employment and rightly designated those in charge of the California government, now in deep financial trouble, as certifiable nincompoops. The latest story I heard about California is there are not enough U-Hauls coming into California to fill the need of those wanting to leave and Oregon is #3 in the USA in foreclosures so there goes the tax revenue. While the examples I’ll use will be from Oregon because I’m most familiar with them, similar problems are in your state.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hagel Nomination is Sent to Full Senate After Panel’s Combative Debate

After a two-hour debate, the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday approved the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, sending it to the full Senate.

But the 14-to-11 vote, which broke down entirely along partisan lines, was just the beginning of a process this week that seemed certain to further expose a deep rift between Republicans and Democrats over President Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.

[Return to headlines]

Homeowner vs. EPA Home Invasion

Government’s new housing strategy appears to be more about home invasion than home health.

The Obama Administration bullied its way into your doctor’s office, now it is bullying its way inside your home. Claiming a need for “healthy housing,” new 2013 policies enacted by the Obama administration give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD) the right to decide the condition of your home.

While Obamacare is not about quality health care, the government’s new housing strategy appears to be more about home invasion than home health.

On February 4, 2013, the Obama government issued a press release on how it plans to gain access into your home. What follows is an edited snapshot of the government’s planned intrusions onto and into your private property:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is Christopher Dorner Another Psychiatric Killer?

Accepting on faith any part of the official scenario in this case is risky and ill-advised, but assuming Dorner is guilty of committing murders, his highly publicized manifesto may hold a clue.

Buried in the text, here is one of his statements. As usual, the major media are ignoring it completely:

“If possible, I want my brain preserved for science/research to study the effects of severe depression on an individual’s brain. Since 6/26/08 when I was relieved of duty and 1/2/09 when I was terminated I have been afflicted with severe depression. I’ve had two CT scans during my lifetime that are in my medical record at Kaiser Pemanente. Both are from concussions resulting from playing football. The first was in high school, 10/96. The second was in college and occurred in 10/99. Both were conducted at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in LA/Orange County. These two CT scans should give a good baseline for my brain activity before severe depression began in late 2008.”

So the question is, did Dorner ever see a doctor for his depression? Was he diagnosed? Was he given one of the SSRI antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.)?

Either taking one of these drugs or withdrawing from it can and does cause violent behavior, including suicide and homicide.

[…]

But if Dorner sought medical or psychiatric help for what he called “severe depression,” it’s almost certain he would have been diagnosed and prescribed one of the highly dangerous drugs that can cause a brainstorm and ensuing violence.

It is exactly this volatile situation that President Obama and other gun-control advocates are encouraging and implementing through their new program of expanding mental-health services across America: more treatment, more drugs, more murders.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Judy Chu Exposed Part 1: Yes Soledad O’Brien, Judy Chu Probably “Is a Communist!”

Judy Chu spent much of her younger years in the orbit of the Communist Workers Party, one of the most extreme and violent leftist groups ever active in the United States. More importantly, though the party is long defunct, Chu is still involved with a network of former comrades and seems intent on pursuing their agenda through her Congressional work.

More concerning again, the old CWP was loyal to Red China — America’ s number one rival. Elements of Chu’ s network remain pro-China to this day — raising serious questions about Chu’ s suitability for any Congressional Committees involving national security, trade policy, science and technology, and… well just about anything really.

Over a series of posts, I will examine Judy Chu’ s ties to this network. But first, I’ d like to examine the Communist Workers Party. Who were they? Why should we worry about a Maoist sect that went out of business many years ago?

[Comment: Read it all.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Limbaugh: Dr. Carson’s Refreshing Jolt of Good Societal Medicine

President Obama must have been stunned at the “audacity” of Dr. Benjamin Carson in challenging his core assumptions right to his face in front of thousands of people at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Obama is not used to being challenged, especially in public, even if indirectly and without being specifically named. From the look on his face, it was obvious Obama was none too pleased with Carson’s message or with his “presumptuousness” in presenting it in that forum, while he had to sit still and — remain silent.

I think we can best understand Carson’s message in light of his opening statements, which laid the foundation for the thematic body of this speech.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Minority Students in Chicago: Hostages of the Democratic Party

Union and Democrat-maintained status quo churns out decades of failing students.

In 2009, the Chicago Public School system (CPS) was rocked by a grade inflation scandal. A Chicago Sun-Times report revealed that one-fifth of the CPS teachers felt “pressured” to change grades. “There’s definitely a sense of, ‘We’ve gotta move these kids through.’ Even though they’re not even close to grade level,” said English teacher Caitlin Ring at the time. Apparently no one learned their lesson. In 2010, led by Hyde Park Academy High, a number of schools in Chicago changed the grades of thousands of students once again. NBC Chicago speculated the moves were made to avoid another round of controversial closures of failing schools similar to those that occurred in 2010. Such failure is endemic to the CPS — and once again, it is black and Hispanic students who overwhelmingly suffer the consequences of another failing Democrat-run, major metropolitan school system.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Plans to Use Military Drones Against American Journalists, Freedom Activists and Critics of Government

(NaturalNews) President Obama plans to use military drones in the skies over the United States to assassinate journalists, patriots and critics of his administration. That’s the inescapable conclusion from the emerging pattern of evidence now publicly available — keep reading for details.

Front and center in this pattern of evidence is the 16-page memo that was just released by Obama’s lawyers in the Department of Justice. This memo puts forth a “legal justification” for the President to order the drone assassination of any American citizen he names — anytime, anywhere, for any reason. This new power claimed by the President has no basis in federal law or the Constitution. It is an invented power of absolute tyranny that puts the power to decide who lives and who dies in the hands of one man. This document essentially legalizes the President acting as a serial murderer.

It is claimed that the purpose of this new power to simply name any American the President doesn’t like and immediately have them struck by a Hellfire missile launched from a drone is designed to “protect America.” Yet the 16-page memo that claims to justify all this was intentionally written to include Americans on U.S. soil as potential targets.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano explained just a few days ago on Fox News:

“This 16-page white paper is written so vaguely that the logic from it could… permit the President to kill Americans here in the United States.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Weighing Executive Actions on Housing, Gays and Other Issues

President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants, according to people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues.

One of the first orders is expected this week, when the Obama administration will call for the creation of new standards on what critical private-sector companies should do to protect their computer systems from hackers.

The moves underscore Obama’s increasingly aggressive use of executive authority, including 23 administrative actions on gun violence last month and previous orders that delayed deportations of young illegal immigrants and will lower student loan payments.

These and other potential actions suggest that Obama is likely to rely heavily on executive powers to set domestic policy in his second term. One White House official said that while the president does not see the actions as substitutes for more substantial legislation, he also wants to move forward on top priorities.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Police Warn All Black Men: “You Could be Stopped and Questioned”

San Diego Police Sgt. Benjamin Kelso is warning all African-American men that they could be stopped and questioned as the manhunt for Christopher Dorner continues.

The longer the search drags on, the more the case is being used as a poster child for making the evisceration of constitutional rights look rational and reasonable.

“If you’re an African American man, you could be stopped and questioned,” Kelso told Fox 5 San Diego. “There are many people that may look like Chris Dorner, myself included. If you are stopped and questioned its important to cooperate with officers.”

Attorney Doug Oden warned that all “large, black men, who have bald heads” should be “concerned,” adding that the $1 million dollar reward promised by the LAPD for information leading to Dorner’s apprehension could hinder rather than help the manhunt.

“There may be people thinking, there’s a large black man, it could be him, I could get paid, so I think that $1 million reward could be counterproductive,” said Oden.

Some heavily built, bald black men in the Los Angeles area have even begun wearing shirts with messages proclaiming they are not Christopher Dorner (see image above). Signs have also been placed on vehicles which read, “Don’t shoot, I’m not Chris Dorner. Thank you.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pope’s Possible Successor Promotes Marxist for Sainthood

American Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, reported to be in the running to replace Pope Benedict XVI as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, is usually described as a “conservative” because he has strongly criticized President Obama’s attacks on religious liberty and federal intrusions into church affairs. But Dolan is also the leader of the campaign to promote Marxist Dorothy Day for Sainthood.

One report asks, “Could Timothy Dolan Become The First American Pope?” Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB,) is considered the voice of U.S. Catholicism.

But Carol Byrne, author of The Catholic Worker Movement (1933-1980): A Critical Analysis, says Dolan manipulated a vote by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops last November to move forward with the canonization of Dorothy Day, even though The New York Times itself noted that some of the Bishops said “she had an abortion as a young woman and at one point flirted with joining the Communist Party.”

The Times story was headlined, “In Hero of the Catholic Left, a Conservative Cardinal Sees a Saint.” Day, a major figure in the “Catholic Worker” movement, died in 1980.

In a letter obtained by this journalist, Virginia State Senator Richard H. “Dick” Black was so disgusted by the push for sainthood for Dorothy Day that he told the Pope on January 7, 2013, that he was “appalled” that “a woman of such loathsome character” would be considered for sainthood.

Black, a retired Marine Corps colonel, noted that “Vatican archives are filled with reports of Christians martyred under the regimes that Dorothy Day supported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rove vs. The Tea Party

During the 2012 election cycle, Tea Partiers were told by their supposed betters that their ignorance of everyday politics meant that they should take a back seat to the Republican Party establishment. Brandishing the so-called Buckley Rule with quasi-religious fervor — the notion that Republicans should run the most conservative candidate who can win — the establishment GOP proclaimed that the only presidential candidate who could win was Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. They suggested that four-term former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson was a shoe-in for the Senate. They explained that the Tea Party was responsible for failed Senate candidates like Todd Akin (false) and Richard Mourdock (true).

They knew best.

The only trouble was, they didn’t…

But despite their 2012 losses, the establishment has decided that the problem in 2012 wasn’t their own incompetence — it was the dastardly Tea Party, which in its zealotry for conservatism, has ignored the need for victory.

Because, at root, there is a clash at the heart of today’s Republican Party. The Tea Party wants to change tactics. The establishment wants to discard principle.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Solar Energy Actually Has a Big ‘Hazardous Waste Problem’ (and How Much Did Solyndra Contaminate?)

Those who prefer to wait on “green energy” alternatives until they can compete on the free market without taxpayer assistance likely already know the drawbacks of the new technology: it is costly, inefficient, and in some cases, poses more harm to the environment than conventional energy sources.

It’s unlikely you’ll hear that from anyone in the media outside of Fox News or talk radio, though — until now. On Saturday, the Associated Press published a lengthy, definitive piece on the “hazardous waste” created as a result of solar energy.

The article begins:

What customers may not know is that there’s a dirtier side.

While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.

To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.

The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar’s carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to gauge a product’s impact on global warming the impression that solar is cleaner than it is.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Catch All Mental Health Disorder… Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

While digging through various articles on the recent unlawful detainment of veterans like in the Brandon Raub case, I came across the term Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Just the name alone activated the alarm bells in my brain, and so I dug a little deeper. ODD is a fairly new “diagnosis” being used to define people who basically go against the grain. This “disorder” is mainly used to identify children with behavioral problems, but what it stopping them from using this diagnosis against people like you and I?

Psychiatrics claim that sufferers have “a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists for at least 6 months” which includes:

  • Persistent stubbornness
  • Resistance to directions
  • Unwillingness to go along with the crowd
  • Deliberately annoying others
  • Testing limits by ignoring orders

So anyone standing up against tyranny… anyone standing up against the global banking cartel… and anyone not absolutely submissive to TPTB could be diagnosed with ODD. For those, like me, who are wondering just how exactly “they” will take firearms away from lawful citizens… here is the answer. Get diagnosed with ODD and I bet you fail a background check the next time you attempt to legally purchase a firearm.

[Return to headlines]

To Protect Citizens, Texas May Pass Toughest Anti-Drone Laws in America

(NaturalNews) Texas lawmakers are considering what would become the toughest anti-drone law in the nation, following revelations the Obama administration has legally justified targeting American citizens only suspected of engaging in terrorist activities with drones.

Under a measure filed by state Rep. Lance Gooden, a Republican, the bill would essentially outlaw the use of drones over Texas by individuals or by state and federal law enforcement agencies.

In an interview with San Antonio radio station WOAI, Gooden said his bill would contain exceptions but that those would be limited. For instance, it would allow drones within 25 miles of the Rio Grande river for use in interdicting drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. It would also allow use by law enforcement with a valid search or arrest warrant, with “probable cause to believe that a person has committed a felony.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UCSD Partly at Fault for Students’ Ignorance of Islam

Tabah Syed, Junior, Thurgood Marshall College

Dear Editor, Although I often joke about it, many of the UCSD students whom I talk to concerning Islam are still ignorant when it comes to which term (Islam or Muslim) designates the religion and which the follower. I don’t mean to discourage people from asking me this, or any other questions regarding Islam, but the failure to pass this basic litmus test makes me question how much the UCSD campus and the overall climate for and toward Muslims have changed over the years…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Washington Post’s ‘Foreign Policy’ Mag Matches Newsweek With Obama as ‘The Second Coming’ Cover

Foreign Policy, “a global magazine of politics, economics, and ideas,” has “just delivered its new issue, and like Newsweek before,” the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard noticed Friday afternoon, “FP dubs Obama ‘The Second Coming.’“ Three weeks ago, I observed:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Winning the Minority Vote

The Republican Party has two options on immigration. It can try to close it down. Or it can learn to play the same game as the Democratic Party.

After the 2012 Waterloo, Republican consultants retreated to some party boats and hotels, and began planning their comeback. Bereft of ideas, they took the media’s explanations for why they lost at face values. What they have delivered is a liberal’s eye diagnosis of why they lost and so they debuted a plan to win over Latinos with amnesty and to end their negative image with a new gentler look.

Mostly what they have proven is that they are even more clueless than they were a year ago.

Senator Marco Rubio seems like a nice guy, but if the Republicans are counting on him to deliver the Latino vote, they might want to take a closer look at his Senate win. While Rubio did indeed win the Cuban Latino vote, he only won 39 percent of the non-Cuban Latino vote. That’s the same Latino margin of victory as Rick Perry got. It’s the usual best score that Republicans get among Latinos.

Marco Rubio could be a guy named Mark Richardson for all the impact that he made among Latino voters. But that’s because the “Latino” vote is a ridiculous oversimplification. Latinos consist of Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, to name just a few. And they don’t necessarily align…

There are two types of minority groups in the United States. Segregated and integrated. The more integrated a group becomes, the less of a bloc vote it is. A bloc vote is not simply a consistent pattern, it is the result of a segregated community that interfaces with the rest of the country through its leaders and local media. And those two areas are key.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Yolo Deputy DA’s Briefed on Islam

Khalid Saeed, national president of the American Muslim Voice Foundation, spoke to 25 Yolo County deputy district attorneys over the lunch hour last Thursday. The goal of the discussion, Saeed said, “was to educate the attorneys about Muslims and Islam. Not the Islam they watch on TV, but the true Islam from the Quran.” Saeed asked Deputy District Attorney Mike Vroman to read translations from the Quran about commandments about peace and war in the world, terrorism, women’s rights, freedom of religion and personal relationships. That was followed by a question and answer session. Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig had asked Saeed to speak to his deputies about the Muslims and Islam to increase insight and raise sensitivity among his staff.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

A Look at the UK’s NHS — A Cautionary Tale

NHS Trust that oversaw the hospital focused on reducing expenses and not on patient care

The head of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), Sir David Nicholson, has refused to accept responsibility for the needless deaths that occur daily at NHS hospitals by claiming that these deaths are not a result of mismanagement but instead are due to inherent “systemic” failings.

A single payer health care system was the original goal of President Obama, and from his perspective while the Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, it fell short of what was needed. Should the Democrats regain control of the House in 2014, the President is likely to get the single payer system he desires. But some among his followers, and perhaps even the President himself, want to go even further and create a US National Health Service (NHS). In view of this, it is worth taking a look at the current state of the United Kingdom’s NHS.

The final report of the inquiry into the UK’s Stafford Hospital scandal was published on February 6 and contained 290 recommendations for improvement in hospital operations and staff training. It is generally accepted that between the years 2005 and 2008 as many as 1,200 persons died needlessly at the hospital, and that these deaths were due to shocking lapses in patient care. The horror stories do not need repeating, but what is clear is that the NHS Trust that oversaw the hospital focused on reducing expenses and not on patient care.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Berlusconi Campaigns Against High Taxes in Italy

Three-time premier on media blitz to reclaim premiership

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday pledged to reduce the tax burden in Italy in a bid to lead the centre right to victory in general elections on February 24 and 25.

“Everyone knows we think it is possible and necessary to reduce public spending in order to reduce fiscal pressure,” the three-time premier told a forum organized by ANSA. “Our aim is to reduce tax pressure by one percentage point a year and public spending by two,” with a possible savings of 16 billion euros a year, he said.

Berlusconi added that his coalition intends to introduce just two income-tax brackets instead of the present five in the event of election victory as part of efforts to shift the tax burden “from people to things”.

The centre right also plans to scrap the regional business tax IRAP entirely over four years, he said.

A series of tax promises and a recent media blitz by Berlusconi has allowed his centre-right coalition to narrow the gap with the centre-left coalition led by Democratic Party (PD) Secretary Pier Luigi Bersani, still the frontrunner as of last Friday when the last opinion polls to be published before the elections were released.

On Tuesday he continued his campaign assault on taxes, arguing that high rates in Italy were literally killing people as they were causing members of the business community to commit suicide.

“Some entrepreneurs have taken their lives because they could not find the money to pay the taxes,” Berlusconi told ANSA. Outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government introduced a series of tax hikes as part of austerity measures to steer Italy out of its debt crisis.

Monti is standing for office on a reform platform backed by centrist parties.

With just over 13% of projected votes, Monti’s coalition has said it will support any party, right or left, if it upholds the reform policies his government has implemented since replacing Berlusconi at the peak of the euro crisis near the end of 2011. United States Ambassador to Italy David Thorne told Italian media Monday that a center-left government would be desirable in Italy, a prospect which Berlusconi dismissed Thursday. “I have never taken ambassadors’ opinions 100% seriously” because it was the US government’s view that counted, he said, citing “extremely close” ties to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

He also shot down claims that he lacks credibility among European leaders.

It is “the thing that makes me most angry, that appears furthest from reality,” he told ANSA.

“Instead I am very credible within the European Union”. The three-time premier drew criticism from the European establishment particularly in the final stages of his last term in office as Italy’s debt crisis threatened to spiral out of control, and he was replaced by Monti, a respected economist and former EU commissioner for competition.

There is also footage of him in which he appears to be shunned by fellow participants at international summits.

According to an average of polls, Berlusconi’s center-right coalition is roughly 3.5% behind the center left.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ex-Italian Spy Shocked at 10-Year Jail Term

‘Everyone in Italy knows I’m innocent’ Pollari tells ANSA

(ANSA) — Milan, February 12 — Nicolo’ Pollari, the former head of Italy’s SISMI secret-service agency, said Tuesday he was shocked after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for involvement in the CIA abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr in Milan in 2003. “I’m disconcerted. A person who everyone in Italy knows is innocent has been convicted,” Pollari told ANSA.

Pollari pointed out that the late Italian TV presenter Enzo Tortora, the victim of a miscarriage of justice that saw him falsely accused of drug-trafficking and mafia association, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Finmeccanica Chief Orsi Arrested in Italy

Head of defence giant suspected of corruption

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested on Monday in relation to a probe into international corruption.

Orsi is suspected of involvement in the payment of bribes regarding the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters produced by Finmeccanica’s subsidiary AgustaWestland.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Furore as Iran Ambassador is Caught on Video ‘High-Fiving’ Female German MP

The female leader of the Germany Green Party and Iran’s ambassador to Berlin were left scrambling for explanations after video footage emerged of the two apparently “high-fiving” each other at a conference.

Claudia Roth has been an ardent critic of Iran, especially over its treatment of women, while religious custom dictates that Ali Reza Sheik Attar, the Iranian ambassador, should not shake hands with a woman. But this failed to prevent the two from slapping palms as Ms Roth passed a grinning and seated ambassador during a security conference in Munich. The snippet of footage of the high-five has received widespread coverage in the German press, and left both parties red-faced, as spokesmen sought to explain the unusual encounter…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Italy: Court Orders Abducted Imam Should Receive One Million Euros

Cleric’s wife should have 500,000 euros

(see related story) (ANSA) — Milan, February 12 — An Italian court on Tuesday said that a Muslim cleric abducted by the CIA in Milan in 2003 should receive one million euros in damages.

The decision was announced after the court gave the former head of Italy’s SISMI secret-service agency, Nicolo’ Pollari, a 10-year prison sentence for involvement in the snatching of Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr.

The court also provisionally set 500,000 euros as the damages the imam’s wife should receive.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Dismisses U.S. Ambassador Centre-Left ‘Support’

Thorne reportedly indicated preference for ‘stable’ govt

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Ex-Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday dismissed an apparent call for a centre-left government from United States Ambassador to Italy David Thorne.

Centre-right leader Berlusconi told an ANSA forum that he had “never taken ambassadors’ opinions 100% (seriously)” because it was the US government’s view that counted.

He recalled that he had always been “extremely close” to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, so “there are no worries on our part” concerning the US view on the February 24-25 Italian elections.

Thorne was quoted in the Italian media Tuesday as saying it would be desirable for Italy to have a stable centre-left government. The centre-left coalition is leading the polls but Berlusconi is closing the gap thanks to a media blitz and a series of tax pledges.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Says Foreign-Contract Probes Economic ‘Suicide’

Only governments, firms ‘should intervene’ in agreements

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday that probes by Italian prosecutors into contracts Italian firms sign abroad were a form of economic suicide.

Earlier on Tuesday Giuseppe Orsi, the head of Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica, was arrested as part of a probe into allegations bribes were paid to secure a contract for the sale to the Indian government of 12 helicopters. “Everyone knows that as well as the tenders, agreements between governments are also involved,” Berlusconi told ANSA.

“The fact that there is the risk of magistrates intervening I consider to be economic suicide”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Says he is ‘Very Credible in Europe’

Ex-premier denies lack of respect among EU establishment

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday denied having a credibility problem in Europe.

It is “the thing that makes me most angry, that appears furthest from reality,” he told a forum organized by ANSA.

“Instead I am very credible within the European Union,” Berlusconi added. The three-time premier drew criticism from the European establishment particularly in the final stages of his last term in office at the end of 2011 as Italy’s debt crisis threatened to spiral out of control.

He was eventually replaced by Mario Monti, a respected economist and former EU commissioner for competition, at the helm of a technocrat government.

The colourful media magnate has also been derided for his alleged antics with young women.

He is currently on trial for allegedly paying for sex with a minor and abusing his office as president at the time to cover it up.

There is also footage of him being shunned by fellow participants at international summits.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Alfano Premier of Centre-Right Victory, Says Berlusconi

Ex-premier also has ‘candidate for presidency’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 12 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday he would indicate former justice minister Angelino Alfano as the candidate for the premiership in the event of a centre-right victory in general elections on February 24 and 25.

Alfano, 43, is secretary of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, which is leading the centre-right coalition.

The three-time premier also told ANSA he had a nominee for president of the republic to replace Giorgio Napolitano, who finishes his term in May after seven years in office.

However, he said he wanted to keep the name a secret. Photo: Angelino Alfano

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Nothing is Going to Stop Me’: Serial Criminal Convicted of 218 Offences Mocks Police After Getting His 43rd Driving Ban

A serial criminal who has been banned from the road for the 43rd time told police that going back to jail would not stop him driving again.

John Moir, 46, has been jailed for ten months after boasting to officers who arrested him that he was playing a ‘game of cat and mouse’ with them.

He has been convicted of 218 separate offences, one of which involved him ploughing into a pedestrian who nearly died of his injuries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: A Long Overdue Counterblast to the Left’s Thinking on Islamists

by Shiraz Maher

A three year open sore within the human rights community will be closed this evening when Gita Sahgal officially launches her new organisation, the Centre for Secular Space, at Toynbee Hall. Sahgal will also be launching the group’s first report, ‘Double Bind: The Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights’ highlighting the ongoing scandal of the left’s promiscuous embrace of radical Islamists.

[Reader comment by AY on 11 February 2013 at about midnight.]

muslims are inseparable from islam

islam is inseparable from sharia.

sharia is inseparable from barbarity.

shiraz maher stop fooling yourself and others.

no amount or quality of islam will ever be acceptable in the West.

[JP note: See also http://www.centreforsecularspace.org/?q=news/get-our-new-book-double-bind-muslim-right-anglo-american-left-and-universal-human-rights-meredi ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: A Child Branded ‘The Imp of Satan’ When He Became the Youngest Child in Britain Ever to be Given an ASBO Aged Just Ten-Years-Old Went on to Murder a Friend at a House Party.

Robert Heneghan, now 19, made headlines after he was given the court order back in 2004 following a reign of terror in an area of Blackpool with 11-year-old friend Shaun Holt.

The pair threatened people in the street with ball bearing guns and knives, burgled houses, threw missiles at cars and set off shop alarms.

Nine years later, Heneghan has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 19 years after being found guilty of knifing teenager Sam Bee to death following a row at his sister’s birthday party.

Heneghan had been fighting with another guest when Mr Bee intervened and told them to calm down during the altercation at his sister Sarah’s flat on Dean Street, Blackpool, last August.

He turned on Mr Bee instead and stabbed him without warning as he stood in the kitchen.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Developer Dalbir Singh Sanger Has Revealed Interest From Mosque Builders

A mosque could be built on a green space after community opposition to plans for housing on the site. Dalco Developments, the owner of the space known as Evergreen Field in High Street, Wanstead, said it has been contacted by a interested party in the Middle East, which wants to build a place of worship. But Dalco’s Dalbir Singh Sanger said he still hopes to push ahead with his plan for seven houses, two flats and two shops, despite criticisms of the plan and calls for the space to be re-opened for community use. Redbridge Council has also said any development of the land would contravene its green spaces policy…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Douglas Murray Blames Hope Not Hate for Attempted Shooting of Lars Hedegaard

Douglas Murray of the Henry Jackson Society obviously fancies himself a very clever man, typically affecting a tone of patrician disdain towards those of his opponents — pretty well all of us, it would seem — whom he regards as his intellectual inferiors. But when it comes to the subject of Islam, Murray’s blinkered right-wing bigotry destroys any capacity he might have for intelligent thought…

Breivik himself made no secret of his admiration for the counter-jihad movement (which he dubbed the “Vienna school of thought” in tribute to the Gates of Vienna blog) or of its role in encouraging the violent hatred he developed towards the Muslim community and its allies. Breivik’s manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, which he published on the eve of the Utøya massacre as a justification for his acts of terrorism, contains 64 references to Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer and 114 references to Spencer’s writings. Breivik’s manifesto also reproduces several articles by his great hero, the Norwegian counter-jihad blogger Fjordman, in which Lars Hedegaard is held up as a leading authority on Islamisation…

It is also obvious that Hedegaard himself, given his history of making offensive and provocative comments about Islam and its followers, has provided sufficient motive for last week’s attack without any assistance from HNH…

[JP note: See also http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/counter-jihad/ ]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Fourteen NHS Trusts to be Investigated for Having Above Average Death Rates

Fourteen NHS trusts are to be investigated over their high death rates.

There is concern that more than 3,000 patients die ‘unexpectedly’ across these trusts every year.

They are being investigated after a report last week revealed up to 1,200 patients may have died from neglect at the Mid Staffordshire trust.

Inspections were initially ordered at five other trusts with high death rates: Colchester in Essex, Tameside in Greater Manchester, Blackpool, Basildon and Thurrock in Essex, and East Lancashire.

But another nine have now been added to the list: North Cumbria, United Lincolnshire, George Eliot in Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, the Dudley Group in the West Midlands, Sherwood Forest, Medway in Kent, and Burton Hospitals.

The investigation will be run by the board’s medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh.

The 14 trusts have been ‘outliers’ on the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) for two years running.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Hiscox Backs Mosque and Islamic School Scheme

Niche mosque scheme Faithsure, which is underwritten by Hiscox, has started providing wholesale access through brokers.

The scheme was developed by Inspire Risk Management, which worked with the Muslim Council of Britain to meet the demands of UK’s Muslim community. Faithsure client director Asif Khan said the firm had worked with mosques throughout the country to build knowledge of clients and their needs, and, while also working with the NSPCC to develop good practice and tools for all FaithSure mosques and Islamic schools…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Horse on Menu But PM’s Hair is Mane Event

David Cameron gave us the first sight of the way he has started to back-comb his hair from halfway across the top of his scalp.

The big statement was on the horsemeat scandal. Just before the discussion, one Labour backbencher texted me: “China has jumped on the Tesco bandwagon. They’re selling quarter-pandas.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Leads Conservatives by 12 Points in Poll

Guardian/ICM poll gives Ed Miliband’s party 41% of vote and David Cameron’s 29% — the biggest gap in almost a decade

Labour has forged a 12-point lead over the Conservatives for the first time in almost a decade, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. Ed Miliband’s party now stands at 41% of the vote, up three points on ICM’s January figure, and the Tories are on just 29%, having slipped back four from 33% last month. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have sunk two points, to 13%, whereas Ukip has inched up three to 9% — setting a new record for Nigel Farage’s anti-European outfit in the Guardian/ICM series…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Nominees Sought for Asian Women’s Award

The call has gone out for Yorkshire’s outstanding Asian women to come forward and be part of a contest recognising their achievements. The Asian Women of Achievement Awards showcase British Asian women across different industries. With Bradford’s rich Asian heritage, organisers hope there are plenty of entries from the area. One of the nominees last year was Sayyeda Kahn, shortlisted for her work in the development of equality and diversity policies in her role at HM Revenue and Customs. She is also a lay magistrate for the West Yorkshire bench and regional lead for the Association of Chief of Police Officers’ Shanaz Network…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Operation Bullfinch: Day 18: Woman Cries in Witness Box as She Denies Lying About Rape

A YOUNG woman cried in the witness box as she denied lying about being beaten, choked and raped to “avoid getting in trouble”. The 20-year-old was testifying at the Old Bailey trial of nine men accused of raping and selling young girls for sex in Oxford. Known as Girl 3 as she cannot be named, she claims she was raped by Bassam Karrar at the Nanford Guest House in November 2006. Last week she told the jury he threatened to kill her and urinated on her in the attack…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Two Brothers Who Swapped Houses to Con Taxpayer Out of £315,000 Walk Free After Judge Claims ‘Greatest Punishment Was Loss of Their Good Names’

Two brothers who fleeced taxpayers out of £315,000 in a house-swapping scam involving their wives walked free after a judge said the ‘greatest punishment’ was the loss of their good names.

Mohammed Amin, 40, and his wife, Kauser Aktar, 38, switched homes with Aftab Ahmed, 39, and his wife Sobia Shaheen, 32, so the women could pretend to be tenants and claim housing benefits.

The Pakistani couples — who have 11 children between them — submitted bogus tenancy agreements for 16 years, raking in £314,452.25, Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London heard on Friday.

But Judge Neil Sanders suspended their sentences due to their ‘exceptional circumstances’, including the fact they have now repaid all the cash and concerns over care of the 11 children.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vatican City: Pope Benedict’s Approach to Islam Was Sincere But Occasionally Indelicate

When he resigns from the papacy on February 28, Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pontiff since Gregory XII in 1415 to walk away from the post, rather than die in it.

In today’s world, “subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith”, he told his cardinals yesterday, strength of mind and body were required to fulfil the ministry that had been entrusted to him on April 19, 2005. Now he had “come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited”.

Among Muslim leaders he will perhaps be remembered as the pope whose heart was in the right place when it came to interdenominational harmony, but whose words sometimes let him down…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vatican City: It’s Time Cardinal Bertone and His Wrecking-Crew Were Run Out of Town

by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Although I never enjoyed being a Catholic, retired at 16, and became an atheist in my twenties, after another decade I grew out of being a practising anti-Catholic and began to see the Church’s virtues. I will not be returning to it, but with the rise of aggressive secularism — and even though I’m a social libertarian — I’ve found myself more and more defending a Church that opposes moral relativism and thinks that issues like abortion, stem-cell research and, indeed, gay marriage deserve thoughtful and intelligent debate. But while I appreciated Pope Benedict’s intelligence, spirituality and humility and would much rather spend time with him than with Richard Dawkins, there is no doubt that he proved to be completely incapable of controlling the cesspit that is the Vatican (the Holy See, that is, not the city state), dominated as it is by careerists, obscurantists and worse.

[….]

[Reader comment by bellebrise on 12 February 2013 at 2:37 am.]

The important thing is that we get a Pope who will really push the Christian message and defend the Christian view. This has not simple been soft-pedalled in the last few years(that is, the last thirty) but has all but been abandoned. A strong Christian stance by the Pope and bishops will result in real confrontation not least in the UK. Time for the Church Militant!

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Algeria Dismantles Arms Trafficking Network

Algerian security forces arrested ten suspected members of an arms and ammunition trafficking network in El Bayadh APS reported on Sunday (February 10th). The investigation reportedly began after a 35-year-old bus driver was arrested for selling ammunition at a weekly market.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Two Years After Mubarak, The Protest Continues

Still poor, same slogans, same hunger for ‘bread and justice’

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, FEBRUARY 11 — Two years after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and six months since Egypt’s first democratically elected president took office, the democratic transition is still in trouble and the same slogans once shouted at the 30-year dictator are now being hurled at the Muslim Brotherhood’s president, Mohamed Morsi. “Bread, liberty and social justice” was the demand that rose from Tahrir Square in 2011, and the same chorus still rises from demonstrations on the revolution’s second anniversary.

These are the latest in a long series of protests that first targeted the military council, then the Muslim Brotherhood and their spiritual guide, Mohamed Badie, whom many say is the country’s real president.

The latest clashes, which left more than 60 people dead, occurred in various cities, especially in Port Said, which has now become symbolic of a new Egyptian revolt. After Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests has now become the Ittahadeya presidential palace. The two years since February 11, 2011, have seen a barrage of unprecedented events in this country: its first free parliamentary elections, its first president culled from a clandestine movement that had been outlawed for decades, the military entrusted with transitional power then handing that power over to a newly elected head of state, and a new constitution approved by popular referendum.

These steps might point to a more democratic Egypt on paper, but on the ground they have polarized the country more and more, pitting secular liberals against Islamics, who are themselves further divided between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Salafists. The latter, while they are the second largest force in parliament, have been excluded from the cabinet. Albeit united under the National Salvation Front umbrella, liberal forces are struggling to come up with an effective party line, and have failed to become a vehicle for the growing rage on the street.

A call for non-violence from the well-respected Al-Azhar religious authorities has failed miserably, a measure of the distance between the political ivory tower and the dynamics of the street, where previously unknown formations such as the Black Bloc are cropping up. More and more, the grassroots accuse the powers that be of perpetuating Mubarak’s apparatus of repression, and of standing by while gang sexual assaults on women protesters have become a daily occurrence. An ongoing economic crisis adds fuel to the fire of political divisions: the latest data shows inflation has risen by 6.6% since January 2012, while fast-diminishing foreign currency reserves can cover just the next three months of imports as the Egyptian lira continues tanking. This spells trouble for Egypt, a country that is the world’s number one grain importer and which feeds millions of its citizens with subsidized bread. To ensure bread prices stay at 1980s levels, the state this year will spend an estimated 16 billion Egyptian lire (approximately 2 billion euros).

In another turn of the screw, current instability has slowed down concession of a multi-billion-euro loan from the International Monetary Fund, a further economic and political setback for the fledgling democracy on the Nile.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Setback for Brotherhood as Its Choice for Grand Mufti is Rejected

The Muslim Brotherhood suffered its first major setback in its domination of Egyptian public life Monday when a clerical selection panel rejected one of its most senior figures for the post of Grand Mufti.

The panel, comprising senior clerics from the Al-Azhar Islamic University, chose Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, a professor of religious jurisprudence and a compromise candidate not affiliated to any of the leading political or religious factions. The Grand Mufti, who until the fall of ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak was appointed by the president, is responsible for vetting fatwas, the religious advisory edicts issued by Muslim clerics…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Holier Than Thou: Extremism Against Islam

by Musa Furber

Statements from three popular Egyptian religious preachers have left the Egyptian public in an uproar. One of the statements justifies sexually assaulting female protesters, another calls for murdering leaders of parties in opposition to President Mursi, yet another calls on the president to crack down heavily on protestors — before private citizens take matters into their hands. The irony of this situation is that from a religious perspective, the uproar against these statements is far more justifiable than the statements themselves.

Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah justified the sexual assault of female protestors with a detailed “analysis,” including demographics: “they are going there to get raped”; 90% of them are Christian, and the rest are widows without husbands to keep them in line. How he knew any of this is unclear — but even if it were all true, how any of it would be justification for sexual assault is even more unclear. Moreover, he ridiculed statements from the opposition that attacking women is a “red line” that must not be crossed…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Libya: Italy Among Top 3 Security Contributors, Terzi Says

Libyan stability a priority for Eu and world, minister says

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, FEBRUARY 12 — Italy is among the top three contributors to security in Libya, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Tuesday at an international conference on security, justice and the rule of law in Libya.

The conference is co-presided by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his Libyan counterpart, Mohammed Abdelaziz.

“If you look at the UN master plan compiled with guidelines from each country, you can see how Italy is at the top of the list, one of three top contributors to Libyan security”, said Terzi.

The minister went on to explain that while France and the UK currently have 36 Libyan projects and Italy has 35, “if you count our projects in development, we have 80 for Libya, which is well above what all the others have in their pipeline,” the minister said. “I trust this is a realistic slate.” Italy’s projects focus mainly on border control, especially the southern ones, which are “the most strategic ones as far as Libya’s internal security is concerned. This is where former Gaddafi loyalists are still entrenched, creating instability as they infiltrate and move across the border,” Terzi explained.

“The situation on the ground is still a security issue, but we trust it can be overcome in the coming months,” the minister said, adding that Italy is a big supporter of today’s conference.

“We are deeply convinced that progress in stabilizing Libya, and for a solid democracy to lay down roots, depend in great measure on the level of international support and on the determination with which countries involved in the Libya issue are able to take action and to follow a common agenda,” Terzi said.

“Paris meeting confirms Italian line: Libyan stability a priority for Europe and international community” Terzi tweeted today. The next such conference, he said, will be held in Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Italy to Reopen Consulate in Benghazi

TRIPOLI, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — Italy will reopen its consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in the near future, a diplomatic source at the Italian embassy in Tripoli told Xinhua on Monday. A new Italian consul will also be appointed in Benghazi, the source said on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia in Crisis as President’s Party Rejects Government Plan

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki’s secular party has demanded the resignation of key Islamist ministers amid deepening political uncertainty.

We have decided to freeze our decision to withdraw our ministers from the government, but if in one week we don’t see any changes, we will quit the government,” said Mohamed Abbou, Congress for the Republic (CPR) party chief. The centre-left party is demanding the resignation of the interior, justice and foreign ministers from Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s Islamist party Ennahda, amid soaring political tensions after the brazen killing of a leftist opposition leader…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sarah Silverman’s Sister Arrested During Women of the Wall Protests

Ten women, including comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister, were arrested in Jerusalem yesterday after participating in a Women of the Wall religious rights protest. The women were detained by police for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall — an action which runs against the Orthodox rules that govern prayers at the site…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck: The Truth About Israel’s “Settlements”

After spending some time in Israel in December and getting tons of great footage and interviews with top government officials, I’ve been able to put together a bunch of reports on Israel’s Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria (plus one from Sderot) these past few weeks.

The media and the so-called international community like to portray the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria (known to the world as the West Bank) as lawless outposts filled with wild-eyed religious fanactics who have stolen Palesrtinian land and are making world peace impossible.

My latest CBN report (which is shorter and not show length) reveals that the truth about this region could not be more different.

Click the link above to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck [Return to headlines]

Daniel Pipes: Fashion at Turkish Airlines

In an upbeat 2008 article, “When fashion meets the skies!” the in-flight magazine of Turkish Airlines (Türk Hava Yollari, abbreviation: THY), called Skylife, celebrated 75 years of stewardess fashion with pictures and prose. Some excerpts from the airline’s fashion history:

Hostesses first graced our planes with their presence in the late 1940’s. Since that day fashions have come and gone in Turkish Airlines’ cabins, bringing everything from military-style uniforms to shocking pink mini-skirts, and now tulip motifs in shades of turquoise…

That was then. Now has the AKP era has descended on airline fashion, reports Hürriyet Daily News today in “New Turkish Airlines uniforms raise eyebrows”:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Gone in 30 Seconds: Dozens of Workers Scramble to Safety When 1,300-Ton, £25million Iranian Gas Rig Collapses in the Gulf

It cost £25million, weighs 1,300 tons and was part of Iran’s masterplan to double its natural gas production by the summer.

So when this vast rig plunged below the waves of the Persian Gulf in just 30 seconds, witnesses could only watch in horror.

They were, however, the lucky ones. Colleagues perched on top of the towering metal platform were forced to scramble upwards before diving into the choppy waters in a desperate bid to survive.

Some were still clinging to it as it went down though it is believed no-one suffered serious injury or died.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: EU Rewards 50 Palestinan Refugee Students

Fund enabled 418 people to pursue education since 2005

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, FEBRUARY 11 — The Head of the EU Delegation to Lebanon, Angelina Eichhorst and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, have awarded full university scholarships to 50 Palestinian students, who have successfully achieved the highest grades in Official Lebanese Baccalaureate II exams. According to the Enpi website (www.enpi-info.eu) the EU-funded Scholarship Fund for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon has enabled 418 qualified Palestine refugee students to pursue their higher academic education at universities in Lebanon since 2005.

“The knowledge you will gain during these years at University will be very important and useful to you. Equally important and useful will be the people you meet” said Eichhorst to the scholars. “I hope you will all become role models for the next generations” she added.

For the academic year 2012-2013, UNRWA received 457 applications for scholarships from Palestinian students throughout Lebanon. UNRWA continues actively to seek additional funds for the scholarship programme to give the opportunities to more Palestinian students to pursue their education.

The increase in the university tuition fees remains one of the programme’s biggest challenges. However, the Agency is continuing the efforts to strengthen the collaboration with its partners and establish agreements with Lebanese universities to maximise the capacity of this programme, hoping that next year a higher number of scholarships can be awarded. The European Union is UNRWA’s leading donor.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

New Turkish Airlines Uniforms Stir Controversy

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, FEBRUARY 11 — The new uniforms of Turkish Airlines (THY) hosts and hostesses have raised eyebrows in Turkey after the photos of the new designs have leaked to Twitter, as daily Hurriyet reports. The public has found the new clothing very conservative, stirring controversy on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The new outfits, which were created by famous Turkish designer Dilek Hanif, have been first published on Twitter and later on spread by Facebook.

Hanif told Hurriyet that the uniforms have not been fully completed and the design process is still ongoing. Lots of people have shared the photos and criticized the designs, saying that they are far too conservative. The most-criticized parts of the uniforms are the hats. Some have claimed the hats “along with the whole outfit” are reminiscent of costumes in the Ottoman-era TV serial ‘The Magnificent Century’. Hanif said the photos are only sample models and not the real designs. THY representatives have responded to the Twitter reactions, saying the uniform designs have not been finalized yet. Designer Vural Gokcayli said the clothes do not reflect Turkey. “The clothes look like they belong to Kuwait or Saudi Arabian Airlines.

However, they should reflect Turkey and Turkey is not this.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Sister’s Last Tragic Text From Back of Taxi Before it Crashed, Killing British Muslim Family of Five on Pilgrimage to Mecca… But Baby Miraculously Survived

A passenger who died in a car crash which killed five members of a British family on a pilgrimage to Mecca sent a desperate text message moments before the accident saying the car was travelling ‘too fast’.

Only one-year-old Mohammed Eisa Daniel Hayat, who was found cradled in the arms of his dying grandfather Shaukat Ali Hayat, 56, miraculously survived the crash after the taxi they were travelling in left a motorway and hit a concrete bridge.

Shortly before, his soon-to-be-married aunt Saira Zenub Hayat sent the text from her mobile phone saying the car was speeding.

Mr Hayat’s brother Sma said the one-year-old had been dubbed the ‘Saudi miracle baby’, and added that he was only alive because of his grandfather’s actions.

‘He saw what happened as the car went out of control,’ the 58-year-old said. ‘He grabbed the baby, clutched him in his arms and cushioned him.

‘His actions saved the child’s life. The boy has lost everyone but luckily he has pulled through.’

They set off from Mecca at around 5am on Friday. Shortly afterwards, Saira texted a relative to say that she was worried about the vehicle’s speed.

The taxi then ran straight into a concrete bridge, somersaulted off the road and came to rest on its roof in a ditch.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syria: After Muslim Rebels Seize Two Priests in Aleppo, There Are Fears for Their Life

An Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, and an Orthodox clergyman were abducted last Sunday in Aleppo’s Christian neighbourhood. Sources speak to AsiaNews about barbarous murders carried out my Islamic extremists. A car bomb explodes at the Turkish-Syrian border crossing of Cilvegozu.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) — A group of rebels close to Muslim extremists on Sunday abducted an Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, as well as a yet unknown Orthodox clergyman. Both were working in Aleppo. Sources, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews that the city’s Christian community is very concerned about the attack. “Extremist violence is getting worse day by day. Muslim militias are killing anyone suspected of ties with the regime, including women and children. People in the neighbourhoods are comparing these days to the Ottoman conquest five centuries ago.”

For several weeks, residents had complained about the presence of al-Nusra Front forces, Islamic extremists who want to turn Syria into an Islamic state, feared even by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

On 6 February, Front troops stormed the Christian neighbourhood of Jdeideh where extremists had already destroyed the city’s main Evangelical church in November.

Al-Nusra forces include many foreigners, including Muslims from Indonesia and the Philippines, as evinced by a statement posted online by the leader of Abu Sayyaf, an extremist Muslim group with ties to al-Qaeda operating in the Philippines. In it, Muslims are urged to go to Syria and sacrifice their lives for Islam.

“These fighters live for killing and violence. They act without pity and make distinctions among people,” sources said. “When they kill, they turn to God as if they were making a sacrifice.”

Meanwhile, clashes between the military and rebel groups continue across Syria with more than 60,000 people killed so far.

Yesterday, a car bomb killed 13 people near the Turkish border, at a road block in Cilvegozu, a border crossing some 100 kilometres northwest of Aleppo, the main route of escape for Syrian refugees fleeing the war. It has been in rebel hands for several months. (S.C.)

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

THY Stops Serving Alcohol on Domestic Flights

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, FEBRUARY 12 — Turkish Airlines (THY) will stop serving alcoholic beverages in business class during domestic flights except when flying to six specific destination points, as daily Hurriyet reports reports, claiming the demand was too low. After surveying the preferences of passengers over the last year, Turkish Airlines has decided to remove alcoholic drinks from the service menu except during flights to Istanbul, Izmir, Bodrum, Dalaman, Antalya and Ankara. Alcoholic beverages used to be served to business class passengers aboard domestic flights up until last week. Planes flying domestic routes will now not stock alcoholic beverages on board as part of austerity measures regarding service goods. Recently, THY aroused public criticism with several passengers having reported that when they asked for alcoholic drinks the cabin crew denied their requests, saying that alcohol had been forgotten to be loaded with the plane’s cargo. Turkish Airlines currently offers alcoholic drinks to both economic and business class passengers on international flights except en route to Iran and some Arab countries as demand is low. Two days ago THY was also under fire after photos of prospective new uniforms for crew members were leaked online. The public found the new designs ultra conservative, stirring controversy on social media channels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama to Announce Return of 34,000 Troops From Afghanistan by January 2014

President Obama plans to announce in his State of Union address on Tuesday night that half of the United States force of 66,000 troops in Afghanistan will be home by early next year, according to an administration official familiar with the speech.

The decision by Mr. Obama appears to be a careful balancing of political interests and military requirements. The announcement enables the White House to say that slightly more than half of the American force — 34,000 troops — will be home by a year from now.

But the plan appears to give the military command in Afghanistan the flexibility it has long sought in determining the pace of the reductions. It appears that the command would be able to keep the bulk of the American force through the next fighting season, which ends in September and October.

[Return to headlines]

“A Smaller: Lighter, More Powerful” Nuclear Bomb Test by North Korea Shocks the World

he US Geologic Survey and Japan’s Meteorological Agency at 11.57 AM KST, February 12th detected a ‘small earthquake recorded at 5.2 on the Richter Scale, with the epicenter located at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility in North Korea. The impending test had been previously announced by the hermit kingdom and its young hereditary leader, Kim Jong-un .Immediately following the underground blast, South Korea went on alert. Japan’s Defense ministry launched Air Self Defense agency aircraft to detect radiation. The world, including Iran disapproved of this wanton act . The Islamic regime didn’t want to be seen ‘involved’, given its fast track to complete development of its own nuclear weapons that could occur this spring. South Korea’s National Intelligence Director, Won Hei-Soon, in a briefing to legislators, indicated there may be another shoe to drop, a second nuclear detonation. Yesterday in a speech at a gathering of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization in Jerusalem, Israeli PM Netanyahu warned President Obama and others that Iran may have crossed red lines he dramatically forecast at the UN General Assembly last September. Clearly Netanyahu’s comments were a message to President Obama about to embark on a journey to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman. The White House agenda on display in tonight’s State of The Union Address has been turned topsy turvy by events beyond its and the world’s control by the Axis of Evil, North Korea, Syria and Iran.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

40 Ways That China is Beating America

China is wiping the floor with the United States on the global economic stage, and most Americans are so clueless that they have absolutely no idea what is happening. The number one global economic superpower is in anadvanced state of decline, and the number two global economic superpower is becoming stronger with each passing day. Unless something truly dramatic happens, it is only a matter of time before China overtakes America and become the dominant economic force on the planet. In fact, China is already exercising economic superiority over the United States in a whole host of ways. China produces more goods than we do, China does more total trade in goods with the rest of the world than we do, China produces more cars than we do, China produces more gold than we do, China consumes more energy than we do, China produces more coal than we do and China produces more steel than we do.

Every single year, we buy far more from them than they buy from us, and this has made them exceedingly wealthy. Our politicians regularly make trips over to China to beg them to lend us back some of the money that they have taken from us. Today, we owe China more than a trillion dollars and the Chinese are sitting on the biggest pile of foreign currency reserves that the world has ever seen. All of this wealth has fundamentally transformed the nation of China over the past couple of decades. Just check out the startling photographs of China from space in this article that show how China dramatically changed between 1992 and 2010. As China continues to become stronger and as America continues to become weaker, will our children some day wake up in a world where the Chinese are telling them what to do?

China became the number one exporter of goods back in 2009, but now China has reached another milestone on the road to global economic dominance.

When you total up all exports of goods and all imports of goods, China now conducts more total trade in goods with the rest of the globe than the United States does…

Sadly, Chinese dominance is already having very serious negative consequences in this country.

The following are 40 ways that China is beating America…Sadly, Chinese dominance is already having very serious negative consequences in this country.

The following are 40 ways that China is beating America…

[…]

#12 One of the reasons it is so hard to export stuff to China is because of their tariffs. According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China thanks to all the tariffs.

[Comment: Read all 40 points. China’s entry to WTO was allowed in order to shift US manufacturing to China. China’s rise is no accident — it was by design.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

China: Kunming, A Melting Pot of Disappearing Culture Where Islam Survives

by Eric Randolph

KUNMING // There was a time, not so long ago, when a stroll through the Muslim quarter of Kunming, deep in the remote south-west of China, could transport visitors back through centuries of Islamic tradition.

Racks of beef and mutton would hang out to dry in the trading thoroughfare of Shuncheng Street, while men in white caps stirred large vats of roasting coffee beans, flipped pitta bread and grilled halal kebabs. The call to prayer echoed between the crooked wooden buildings leaning in over the crowds. None of that remains today. The most prominent faces are not even Chinese any more. They are the gaunt, white faces of Calvin Klein and Christian Dior models, staring from glittering store windows in what is now the city’s most expensive shopping district…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

China Surpasses U.S. As Number One Global Trading Power

Back in 2008, at the onset of the derivatives and credit collapse, I wrote several economic editorials discussing what I saw as the single most vital trend in the global fiscal system, and how it would cause a disastrous upheaval that would leave the U.S. and the dollar financially sunk. This trend, which seemed to take serious root in 2005, was the massive shift by China from an export dependent source of cheap manufacturing and labor, into a moderate exporter, and consumer hub, and currency powerhouse. In my view at the time, the evidence suggested that China was positioning itself to decouple from its dependence on U.S. markets and the dollar. I was, of course, attacked as a “doom monger” and “conspiracy theorist”. Five years later, the critics have changed their tune…

For the past decade, China has been slowly but surely issuing Yuan denominated bonds and securities around the globe, while simultaneously forming bilateral trade agreements with multiple nations and cutting out the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. This process has gone mostly ignored by the mainstream financial media. However, I and many other independent analysts could not overlook the red flags. I tried to summarize as much of the situation and facts as I could in my article ‘How The U.S. Dollar Will Be Replaced’, which was published in May of last year:

www.alt-market.com/articles/784-how-the-us-dollar-will-be-replaced

The biggest question for me was, if China is one of the largest holders of Forex reserves on the planet, and had the largest savings of any nation, WHY did they feel the need or desire in 2005 to begin issuing Yuan denominated debt? Why begin borrowing capital from foreign creditors? They certainly didn’t need the money. Why were they moving away from export dependency and building a consumer base? And why attempt to proliferate their currency? Wouldn’t the pursuit of global Yuan circulation lead to an eventual increase in valuation? Didn’t the Chinese want their currency cheap so that they could maintain export superiority? What did the Chinese know in 2005 that we didn’t?

Well, apparently they were either psychic, or SOMEONE gave them advanced warning. They knew that there would be a crisis in American consumption and that this would lead to severe reduction in imports, which is why they began building trade deals within the ASEAN trading bloc to insulate themselves.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

North Korea is Believed to Have Conducted Third Nuclear Test

American and South Korean officials reported seismic activity in North Korea on Tuesday that appeared to be evidence of the country’s third and long-threatened nuclear test and a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

“We believe that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test,” said Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry.

The shock appeared to be centered in the same location where the North conducted tests in 2006 and 2009, and the United States Geological Survey said it was only a kilometer underground, all indications consistent with a nuclear blast.

[Return to headlines]

World Shaken as North Korea ‘Conducts Underground Nuclear Test’ In Defiance of Its One Friend, China, And Multiple Foes

North Korea today confirmed it had carried out its third and most successful nuclear test yet which triggered an artificial earthquake near the underground explosion site.

The test was an important step toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile that could reach United States.

North Korea made clear that the explosion of its third atomic device — which it claimed was smaller than the ones in its previous two tests — was a warning to what it considers a ‘hostile’ United States.

Its actions drew immediate condemnation from Washington, London, the U.N. and others — even its only major ally, China, voiced opposition.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Australian Government Caught Spraying Highly Dangerous, Illegal Chemicals on Fragile Wetlands

Former environmental director fired for refusing to poison Australia’s wetlands

Australia is often reputed as having one of the most effective regulatory systems in the world for ensuring the safe use of chemicals. But it recently came to our attention that a regional government body in the state of Queensland has decided to develop its own endocrine-disrupting herbicide solution, which it is now spraying across large swaths of the area’s coastal region to target an invasive weed species, that is also poisoning plants, animals and potentially even humans.

The government body is known as the Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC), and the chemical product in question is known as “Gloricide.” According to an insider tip, local officials from SCRC developed the solution several years ago without consulting an official chemical engineer, and without compiling a valid Material Data Safety Sheet (MDSS) in accordance with federal laws. The council also failed to gain a permit for the solution’s use, which technically makes it illegal.

Gloricide reportedly contains a dangerous mixture of both metsulfuron methyl, a highly-toxic herbicide, and 2,4-D, a major toxic component of “Agent Orange” that the Dow Chemical Company is currently trying to deregulate for use on genetically-modified (GM) corn (http://www.naturalnews.com). Together, these two chemicals are supposed to target an invasive weed species known as gloriosa lily, but they also mimic estrogen and have the capacity to disrupt hormone balance in humans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Political Correctness Allowing Imposition of Sharia Law

Political correctness is allowing the rapidly expanding Islamic population to impose Sharia law on non-Muslims, says suspended Katter’s Australian Party candidate, Bernard Gaynor.

Mr Gaynor’s comments came after it was reported that an Islamic school has told non-Muslim teachers that they will lose their jobs if they don’t wear the hijab (an Islamic veil) to school functions and outings. “Where is the hypocritical left on this issue and where are the politicians, so quick to condemn my comments defending the rights of Christian schools?” Mr Gaynor said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Worthless Credits Dumped in New Zealand’s “Irrational” Emissions Trading Scheme: Expert

WELLINGTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (ETS) is “more or less dead,” a forestry expert said Tuesday in the latest attack on the country’s environmental credentials. University of Canterbury Associate Professor Euan Mason said New Zealand had allowed unrestricted imports of credits, including many hot air credits from eastern Europe, becoming “a dumping ground for worthless credits.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Liberia: Revering Guinean Blood Shed Here

IT WOULD BE an understatement describing the death of 11 military officers of the Republic of Guinea a “big loss” to the people and Government of that country. The historic selflessness and superb military gallantry ingrained in the bones of the Guinean military as it has demonstrated over the years in the Sub region and beyond goes beyond a “big loss” to Guinea alone. Indeed, the plane crash of February 11, 2013 and its fatalities claiming nearly a dozen top brass of the army of Guinea is an epitome of the colossal human sacrifices characteristic of the Republic of Guinea Armed Forces since its formation in 1958. The trail of the bloods shed by Guinean soldiers has come afar and crisscrossed regions and peoples in search of peace, justice and freedom…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mali: Francois Hollande Vows to Rid Mali of ‘Terrorists’

Francois Hollande, the French president, has vowed to rid Mali of ‘terrorists’, as French soldiers and Malian troops were hunting from house to house for Islamist insurgents in the northern city of Gao.

Speaking in the wake of a surprise attack on Gao at the weekend, Mr Hollande said he would let “not one space of Mali’s territory be under the control of terrorists”. The brazen raid on Sunday caught French and Malian troops off guard, and posed the risk that France’s forces could become entangled in a messy guerilla war in the African nation…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Namibia: 43 Acquitted in Treason Trial

FORTY-THREE of the men who have been facing charges in the marathon Caprivi high treason trial were pronounced not guilty on all charges yesterday. Judge Elton Hoff discharged the 43 following the close of the prosecution’s case against them. Sixty-five accused persons now remain in the dock in the trial, facing a total of 278 charges in connection with allegations that they participated in a plot to secede the Caprivi Region from Namibia through armed means between 1992 and 2002…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sudan: Mali Militants on 200 Vehicles Arrive in Kutum, North Darfur — Sources

Kutum — Multiple sources assert that 200 Land Cruisers with Islamist militants from Mali fleeing the hostilities in their country have arrived in Kutum, North Darfur, in the past 10 days.

They told Radio Dabanga on Monday the groups are stationed in three different areas around Kutum, adding they are “inciting a state of fear and terror” among citizens…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Venezuela Congratulates Iran on Anniversary of Revolution

CARACAS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Venezuela Monday congratulated Iran on the 34th anniversary of its Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed regime of Shah and led to the founding of an Islamic republic under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In a statement released Monday by its foreign ministry, Venezuela said the Islamic revolution overthrew the “pro-imperialist monarchy in February 1979, becoming a model and revolutionary hope for all peoples who fight for their emancipation.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Elections: Some “New Italians” Are Running

A small group of North African descent

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 12 — A small group of young ‘new Italians’, many of North African descent, are running in Italy’s next legislative and regional elections in a bid to bring the ‘absent’ issue of immigration under the spotlight. “New Italians” Rania Ibrahim, Khalid Chaouki and Zack Fardes come from Egypt, Algeria and Morocco and all gained Italian citizenship recently.

Do they feel exploited? “Maybe.” “But the right to vote and stand for parliament is only the first step”, they say. “Italian society has changed and political parties are need to be aware of this”.

36 year old journalist Rania Ibrahim, who is of Egyptian descent, is a candidate in the Civic list for Monti in Milan. “It’s my first time voting in Italy and my first time as a candidate,” she told ANSAMed in a strong Milanese accent. “I’ve lived here for years but only obtained citizenship three years ago, because my husband is Italian”.

Pregnant with her fourth child and armed with a degree in Political Science, Ibrahim’s experience lies in volunteering. “I’ve always focused on social issues revolving around the family, women, youth and immigrants who are born and raised in Italy”.

Also on the list are members of the Community of Sant’Egido association. These are people who “have always rolled up their sleeves and worked with the weakest groups”, said Ibrahim. And while she knows she has little chance of winning, she is thrilled to be taking part. “The real victory is that there are candidates of foreign origin in the electoral roll. It doesn’t matter which party we belong to. I’m rooting for us all.” Another of the four ‘new Italians’ is thirty year old journalist Khalid Chaouki, a Democratic Party candidate of Moroccan descent. Chaouki co-founded the Young Muslims of Italy society in 2005 before becoming a member of the Council for Islam at the Interior Ministry, falling spectacularly from grace, and in 2008 beginning his political career in the Democratic Party. A candidate in the Campania region, Chaouki outlined his policies on immigration. “First off is an adoption of a law on citizenship, followed by legislation regarding religious freedom”. Italy’s future, he warns, “is multi-ethnic and multi-religious,” and his experience with the Young Muslims, he adds, means he can’t ignore the plight of fellow Muslims. “I can’t pretend nothing has happened. We need a law — that comes before a state legislation, that protects the rights of everyone.” Although there are around 1.5 million Muslims in Italy, the group is fractured.

“We need a new, more transparent approach, which gives a sense of responsibility to our community and autonomy from the pressures placed on our countries of origin,” he said. Fardes Zack, a forty year old entrepreneur of Algerian origin is a candidate in Lazio on the Zingaretti (Pd) list, as a member of the Arab Community in Rome.

“I intend to represent everyone: Christians and Muslims”, he said. Zack gained Italian citizenship 10 years ago but has long been involved with immigration and citizenship. Among his concrete proposals is an idea to help companies to invest in the southern Mediterranean and Algeria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Marco Rubio as the GOP Savior

We have had a series of establishment Republicans offering a “new version” of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.

Senator Marco Rubio’s recent interview by Time magazine has the expected liberal spin. Is Senator Rubio so obsessed with his message on Immigration Reform that he does not realize how Time has used him? The Senator appears on the cover of Time magazine with the words “The Republican Savior.” I find that image offensive.

In the interview, Senator Rubio mentions the “loving advice from his mother” who told him not to mess with the “pobrecitos” (poor little people), that is, the “undocumented who work hard and get treated horribly.” Why did the Senator allow Time to use the words of his mother to promote a liberal agenda? The Senator’s love and respect for his mother should have nothing to do with his duty as a legislator. The “pobrecitos” are not the legal immigrants our Country has received in the past. Those “pobrecitos” have broken the law of our country knowingly and most of them bring their socialistic culture from their failed countries. What about the American pobrecitos? Should they not be the number one concern of our legislators? Our Country should not be in the business of social welfare for the rest of the world. Most of the illegal immigrants come from Mexico, a wealthy country that can well afford to take care of these “pobrecitos” but instead encourages them to cross the border and have the American taxpayers take care of them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Minister’s Damning Silence on Migrants: Mark Harper Stonewalls Four Questions on How Many Romanians and Bulgarians Will Come to Britain

Ministers threw a cloak of secrecy yesterday over how many Romanians and Bulgarians they expect to flood into the country.

To fury at Westminster, the Immigration Minister snubbed four MPs who asked him to reveal the figures — saying he did not want to scare people.

Mark Harper said it would not be ‘helpful’ to let the public know what to expect when border controls are lifted in less than 11 months. It is feared the wall of secrecy will leave town halls, schools and hospitals unable to prepare properly.

Tory MPs said it was ‘madness’ to throw open the UK’s borders without giving voters an idea of what to expect. The Government has carried out a study on how many of the 29million citizens of Romanian and Bulgaria might move to the UK when they get full EU rights in January.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Planning Minister: Govt Must be Tough on New Migrants to Protect Housing From More Pressure

MPs’ concerns about how many Bulgarian and Romanian migrants might come to this country when transitional controls are lifted aren’t going away any time soon, by the looks of things. There were six questions on the order paper from Conservative MPs about the matter at Home Office questions yesterday, for starters. But I’ve also spoken to a minister who is uneasy about the impact that the end of the controls will have on his own sector…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Is There a War Against Males in Our Current Culture and Society?

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: The Noisy Room: Well, the short answer is “yes.”

A quick survey of advertising over the last few decades shows a clear trend toward a “women are smart, men are dumb” meme, along with a companion “kids are smart, adults are dumb” meme.

There are racial as well as “gender targeted” biases laid in with this, but for now I’ll just address the “gender targeting” portion. Oh, and we’ll acknowledge that the correct term is actually “sex” not “gender” (since gender refers to parts of speech), but culturally, as part of the social neutering process, “sex” is now a four-letter word and “gender” is proper, even if wrong.

Several years ago, the headshrinkers introduced the concept of a “feminine side” to men, which men were obliged to investigate, inspect and adopt for proper integration with the “new, improved” social order.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Opening Up a Can of Worms: Gay Scouts of America

Thank you to over 250 readers who wrote their histories of homosexual assaults and to the readers who feel spitting angry over the “Gay” community’s attack on the Boy Scouts of America.

This is a sampling of reader responses:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Strasbourg Court Rejects Italy Appeal on Reproduction Rights

Court of human rights won’t change decision to strike down law

(ANSA) — Strasbourg, February 11 — Italy’s bid to appeal a ruling last summer striking down parts of its restrictive reproductive law was rejected Monday by the European Court of Human Rights, sources tell ANSA.

Italy had asked for a review of a judgement made by the court last August.

In that judgement the court, based in Strasbourg, said parts of Law 40 that forbid families from screening embryos for ailments were too restrictive and violated the rights of an Italian couple that wanted to screen for cystic fibrosis.

However, the remaining elements of the law still ban the use of embryos for scientific research.

Last summer’s ruling had been cheered by scientists and supporters of the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process.

The four-year-old law had led to many infertile Italian couples seeking treatment in fertility clinics abroad.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: A Bit of Fry Has Become a Lorryload. Enough!

by Stephen Pollard

The Yiddish word “chutzpah” is usually defined as a man who kills both his parents, then pleads for a lighter sentence on the grounds that he is an orphan. No more. From now on, I’ll define it in just two words: Stephen Fry. We Brits love our national treasures. They come in all shapes and sizes, from mad-Lefty-turned-loveable-granddad Tony Benn, to everyone’s favourite Jewish uncle, Lionel Blue, and the nation’s naughty sweetheart, Barbara Windsor. Mr Fry is the most recent addition to their ranks. Somehow, he has morphed from jobbing comedian and actor to a guru whose wit, wisdom and all-round general cleverness we are supposed to adore and admire in equal measure. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t…

[Reader comment by quickswimmer on 12 February 2013 at about 10:45 am.]

He is chief of the Liberal Aetheist Comedian Cult, Smugger and with more twitter followers he reigns supreme and is who they all look to for inspiration. They hate god with a special hatred of Catholics, they love gay marriage, everything is flippant to them, they want to legalise drugs and take exception to society being tough on drug barons, they cry about the plight of murderers’ harsh jail conditions, they hate any type of nationalistic feeling or opinion, they live in leafy suburbs, they have very fragile egos, they do not like to be insulted but like to insult other people that do not meet their high chattering class standards.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: LGBT Activists Want No Part of Sharia

Britain’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists are lashing out at the potential of applying Sharia, or Islamic law, in the United Kingdom. Muslim LGBT activists have told Bikyanews.com that any semblance of Islamic law would threaten their rights in the European country and hope that the government will understand that any implementation of Islamic law would threaten their rights…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/12/2013

  1. The UK has become such a tolerant nation. Really.
    Tolerant of barbarism, every kind of evil there is.
    Break the law a hundred times, a hundred times more, and their mercy is infinite.
    Show an obvious sociopathic temper and the authorities move aside for your next performance.
    Claim devotion to your demon and watch them part like the waves in front of Moses.
    They have become Godless, and yet they are trying to be God!
    Wow. What more can I say?

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