Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/5/2013

Pragaash, the first all-girl rock band in Kashmir, has decided to disband. The group’s decision was prompted by a fatwa against them for indecency, which was issued by the Grand Mufti of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

In other news, the OIC summit has convened in Cairo, as Egypt assumes the rotating presidency of the organization. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is present for the occasion, which marks a historic moment in relations between Egypt and Iran.

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian government says that Hezbollah was implicated in last year’s terrorist attack on an Israeli tour bus in the town on Burgas.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, The Observer, 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
» Banking Group SNS Reaal Has Been Nationalised — What the Papers Say
» Ex-MPS Chief Mussari Refuses to Answer Prosecutors
» Guest Post: How I Reached My Breaking Point Ten Years Ago
» Italy’s Audit Court Warns Against More Austerity
» MPS Executives Face Charges of Criminal Association
» Obama Will Ask Congress for Budget Cuts to Head Off Automatic Reductions
» The Disappearing Gold
» The Putrid Smell Suddenly Emanating From European Banks
 
USA
» A Cabinet of Dunces
» Asian Americans the Fastest-Growing Racial Group in California
» Bernards’ Mosque Proposal to Again Face Oppon
» Big Sis for President in 2016?
» Bozell: Moderates With Their Disastrous Record Must be Rejected by GOP
» Court: NYTimes’s Request for New York City Gun Owners Violates Law
» Dear America; The Joke’s on You
» Dell in $24 Billion Deal to Go Private
» DOJ Memo Says Drone Strikes on U.S. Citizens Legal
» Nullification Deniers! What James Madison Really Said
» Obamacare Excise Tax Showing Up on Receipts for Sporting Goods
» Polish Refugee Warns of Communism Taking Over America
» Rockefeller Brother Fund: We’re Buying Off Evangelicals, Mayors, Governors… for the Earth
» Rove and Obama, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, …!
» St. Paul Police Join Muslims in Denouncing Photo
» Texas 6th Graders Design Flags for a New Socialist Nation
» The Battle for Bachmann
» The Joint Obama-Rove Betrayal Destined to Unite Conservatives
» Twinkies Union Issues Ultimatum: We Get Our Jobs Back or the Company Gets it Again
» US Marine Questions Narrative Behind Chris Kyle Murder
» US Uses Tony Blair Defence to Justify Drone Killings
» Video: Newtown Father Blasts Gun Control
» Welfare, Food Stamp Recipients Could Soon be Required to Get Microchipped With RFID Tags
 
Canada
» Controversy Over Walmart Canada Photo Centres Rights Grabby Terms
» ‘Mosque Buster’ Draws Small Crowd to Speech
 
Europe and the EU
» Berlusconi Speaks to Voters in German for Ad Campaign
» British Model, 25, Breaks Down in Tears of Joy as Moroccan Waiter Who Raped and Left Her for Dead is Jailed for 23 Years
» Bulgaria Implicates Hezbollah in July Bombing of Israeli Tour Bus
» Bulgaria: Hezbollah Behind 2012 Terrosist Attack on Israelis
» French Police Arrest Four on Jihadism Charges
» Greece: Consumers Saved 250 Mln Euros in Supermarket Offers
» Italy: Berlusconi Promises Massive Tax Refund if Elected
» Italy: Berlusconi Makes ‘Shock’ Proposal to Scrap Property Tax
» Italy: Northern League Leader Attacks Civic Choice Candidate
» Italy: Flight From Universities
» Italy’s Centre-Left ‘Very Ready’ To Work With Monti
» Italy: Berlusconi Says Center-Left Parties Fear Being Overtaken
» Spain: Judge Ruz Uncovers Yet Another Barcenas Swiss Acct
» UK: Bureau De Change Boss ‘Sammy the Kurd’ Jailed for Laundering £170million of Criminals’ Cash From Bogus Store in Upmarket Notting Hill
» UK: Company Director Stabbed in Front of His Family Outside KFC After Telling Swearing Skinheads to ‘Show Some Respect’ To Staff
» UK: Chipping Norton Mosque Plans Approved by Council
» UK: Husband’s Heartbreak After Hospital Bans Him From Visiting His Wife Suffering From Alzheimer’s
» UK: Mother Finds Heroin Addict’s Blood-Soaked Needle Inside Loaf of Bread From Tesco as She Made Sandwiches for Her Son
» UK: Polish Immigrant Jailed for Squatting After Refusing to Leave House When Told to by Police
» UK: Twenty Years After James Bulger Horror, Lawyer Recalls First Impression of 10-Year-Old Killer and the ‘Living Nightmare’ Of Representing Him
» UK: Times Refuses to Publish MCB’s Criticism of Islamophobic Reporting
» UK: Three in Court After ‘Bacon Thrown at Central Mosque’
» UK: Unlicensed Mini-Cab Driver Raped Female Passenger After Tricking Her Male Friend Into Getting Out of Car to Ask for Directions
» UK: Voters Won’t Listen if the Tories Talk Only Among Themselves
» UK: Why Are We Sending Child Benefit to Poland?
» Vatican Denies MPS Managers Held Funds in IOR
 
North Africa
» Egypt Takes Over Presidency of Islamic Summit
» Egypt: Iraqi PM to Visit Cairo for Summit of Islamic States
» Iran’s Ahmadinejad Arrives in Egypt on Historic Visit
» Muslim Fundamentalists Driving Christians From Libya
» Suez Canal to Hike Tolls on Crude Tankers by 5%
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Both Israeli and Palestinian Textbooks Demonize Other Side: Study
» Gaza Kids Put Netanyahu on Trial
 
Middle East
» Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Offers to be the First Iranian in Space
» Kuwait Arrests Several People for Emir Insults on Twitter
» Obama to Visit Israel This Spring, White House Announces
» Operation Radwan: The Hezbollah — Al Qods Connection to the Burgas Terror Bombing
» Saudi Arabian Cleric Declares Babies Should Wear Burkas
» Syria Becoming New Somalia, Islamist Preachers Warn
» Syria: The Former English Teacher Turned Aleppo’s Female Sniper
» Tough Penalties for Flouting Rules on Pork Sales
 
South Asia
» Afghanistan: Leaders Give Six Month Deadline to Find Peace With the Taliban
» David Cameron Invites Taliban to Talks Over Afghanistan’s Future
» Four People Shot Dead in Restive S. Thailand
» India: Kashmir: False Accusations on Facebook: Mob Tries to Lynch 12 Tourists
» Italian and Afghan Troops Complete Operation ‘Naweed 3’
» Kashmir’s All-Girl Rock Band Forced to Quit
» Prime Minister Julia Gillard Hands Indonesia $500m to Help Build Schools
 
Far East
» Papua New Guinea: Bureaucrats Warned of Prime Minister Impostors
 
Australia — Pacific
» Australian MP Ann Bressington Exposes Agenda 21, Club of Rome (Video)
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Mali: Senior Islamist Arrested Near Border With Algeria
» Mali: UN Genocide Adviser Warns of Reprisals Against Tuareg, Arab Populations in Northern Mali
» NBC News Covers for Muslims’ Vicious Destruction of Non-Islamic Artifacts
» South Africa: Gareth Cliff Cleared of Insulting Muslims
» Sudan Objects to Uganda’s Election at the OIC
» Sudan Served as a Hub for Receiving Al-Qaeda Suspects Nabbed by CIA — Report
 
Latin America
» Seven Spanish Tourists Assaulted and Raped in Mexico
 
Immigration
» Four Immigrant Children Treated for Hypothermia After Trying to Enter Britain Illegally by Stowing Away on -2°c Fridge Lorry Full of Cheese
» Legalizing Illegality: Americans Too Ignorant to Realize Their Fate
» Secret INS Report: Shocking Details on Amnesty
» Syrian and Coptic Christians Fleeing to Moscow, But Russia Lacks Shelters
 
Culture Wars
» Baker Faces Investigation for Refusing to Make Gay Wedding Cake
» British Commons Approves Bill Legalising Gay Marriage
» Gay Marriage Vote: Same-Sex Weddings Will ‘Make Society Stronger’ Claims David Cameron
» Italy: Nichi Vendola is ‘Afraid’ To Go Out Alone at Night in Rome
» Italy: Berlusconi Whip Warns of Drugs, Gay Marriage if Left Wins
» Look Which Companies Dumping Boy Scouts
» Rick Perry Tells Boy Scouts to Keep No-Gay Policy
» Tragic Consequences in Canadian Scouting
» UK: Testing the Tory Mood on Gay Marriage

Banking Group SNS Reaal Has Been Nationalised — What the Papers Say

With the bail out of SNS Reaal the Dutch state now owns two of the country’s four major banks. What the papers say.

The nationalisation of SNS Reaal is a unique step that no other European country has taken: using a recently approved intervention law, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has wiped out shareholders as well as subordinated debt investors, the Financieele Dagblad writes.

By imposing a special €1bn levy on banks, Dijsselbloem is trying to ease the pain for the taxpayer even further but, writes the FD, the state will still have to recapitalise and isolate the bank’s troubled real-estate division to the tune of €3.7bn. And that translates into a 0.6 % on top of the deficit.

Shareholders lobby VEB is going to court over the legitimacy of the implementation of the law as well as compensation for shareholders but the FD quotes financial law professor Danny Busch as saying that ‘the state has acted lawfully and disputing the intervention will be very difficult. However,’ he continues, ‘the state says SNS Reaal wasn’t worth anything but we will have to see about that.’

Undemocratic

The NRC quotes a number of economists who ‘sharply criticise’ the Dutch national bank for not being transparent enough about the criteria that lead to banks being qualified as a ‘systeem bank’, or major bank which would have to be saved under any circumstances.

Some economists doubt whether the bank should have been saved at all but as the central bank does not give out information about its decision making process, the grounds for its qualification remain unclear. This is ‘undemocratic’ NRC quotes macro-economist Roel Beetsma as saying.

Just

In its editorial, Elsevier says it is only just that ‘investors who have for years encouraged the risky property dealings of the bank are now left without a cent’.

The main thing now is to sort out SNS Reaal, Elsevier writes. ‘The bank has to be sold into the private sector as soon as possible. Apart from the cost of the bail out, the fact that three out of the four major Dutch banks is now in the hands of the state will hit the banks’ customers — all of us, that is — hardest. The result will be lack of competition, low interest rates, and high mortgage rates. The consumer pays no matter what.’

The Volkskrant makes an inventory of winners and losers. It seems the 6,700 strong staff at SNS Reaal is neither: there won’t be any immediate job losses, the paper writes, but if the state manages to sell off parts of the bank the new owners will almost certainly cut jobs.

The losers, the paper says, include shareholders and the FNV trade union federation, which is still owed over €20m following a loan it made to insurance group Reaal way back in 1997.

The big winners include the investors, such as Britain’s Black Rock, which had been speculating on share price fall. According to the FD, the Volkskrant states, they will have made some €26bn on the nationalisation.

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

Ex-MPS Chief Mussari Refuses to Answer Prosecutors

Rizzo again says senior managers took bribes

(ANSA) — Siena, February 4 — Giuseppe Mussari, the embattled ex-chairman of the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank, met prosecutors in Siena on Monday, but did not answer their questions, his defense lawyer Fabio Pisillo said. Pisillo said Mussari would speak, but not without the additional presence of his other defense attorney, who was busy with another case on Monday. Prosecutors called Mussari to question him about alleged fraud at MPS, which was thrown into crisis in January when it emerged that a shady series of derivative and structured finance deals produced losses of 720 million euros. There have also been reports of bribes and corruption by bank officials regarding, among other things, the nine-billion-euro acquisition of rival Antonveneta in 2008. In questioning with police in Rome, Antonio Rizzo, a former manager for Dresdner Bank, on Monday reiterated his allegation there was a “5% gang” of MPS managers at the time of the Antonveneta takeover who took an kickback on every bank operation. Mussari became chairman of the banking association ABI after he left MPS, but resigned from the post after news of the derivatives scandal broke in January.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Guest Post: How I Reached My Breaking Point Ten Years Ago

It all came crashing down ten years ago today. On February 5, 2003 Colin Powell, four-star general turned US Secretary of State, made a case to the United Nations that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Now, I won’t bother delving into the inaccuracies of the intelligence he presented. In Powell’s own words, making that presentation to the UN was “the lowest point in [his] life” and a “lasting blot on his record.”

For me, it was pivotal. At that instant, I knew without doubt that my government had reprehensibly lied through its teeth. And if they were lying about this… what else were they lying about?

Everything, it turned out.

The event set me down a path on which I never looked back. The fraud of the Iraq War soon led to the frauds of previous wars, our monetary system, taxes, the global banking system, the national balance sheet, the police state, etc.

It all unraveled so quickly, and I soon realized that I was not living in a free country… that all the loud, bombastic nonsense and pledges of allegiance were illusions masking modern day serfdom.

The subsequent ten years have only reinforced this trend. The political and banking elite have given us more war, inflation, and epic financial crises. They’ve turned Western civilization into a giant police state. And they’ve managed to brainwash the great masses so effectively that the people are crying out for more.

And yet, there are solutions.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Audit Court Warns Against More Austerity

Tax increases would create ‘further recessionary effects’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Italy’s Audit Court warned against further tax increases on Tuesday, saying the danger was that these would have recessionary effects and end up worsening, rather than improving, the public finances.

Tax hikes and spending cuts introduced by outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government have boosted the national accounts, raised investor confidence in the country and eased pressure on its borrowing costs.

But they have also deepened the recession and there has been speculation another austerity budget may be needed after this month’s general election to put Italy on course to hitting its target of balancing the budget in structural terms this year.

But the Audit Court President Luigi Giampaolino warned tax increases should not be considered an option, saying that the tax burden was already “out of line” and that the hikes would create “the conditions for further recessionary effects”.

Giampaolino added that austerity budgets produced the “danger of shrinking the economy”, stressed the need to focus on “factors in favour of helping growth” and the need to cut taxes for “a fairer distribution of the tax burden”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

MPS Executives Face Charges of Criminal Association

Mafia-style “cupola” alleged to have directed business policy. Public prosecutor will not release any news out of respect for savers

ROME — The Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank was run by a criminal association, according to public prosecutors who have laid this latest, extremely serious charge at the door of former chair Giuseppe Mussari, former director general Antonio Vigni, former finance head Gianluca Baldassari and his number two, Alessandro Toccafondi, and of the managers responsible for the Antonveneta acquisition and its financial aftermath. Investigators maintain that all those in their cross-hairs subscribed to the confidential agreement with Banco Santander to window-dress accounts and ramp the price, generating a capital gain of more than two billion lire. This adds to the specific offences of market-rigging, false communications, disturbance and fraud a further charge that knits the alleged unlawful behaviour into a single criminal design. A quickening in the pace of investigations now looks imminent.

Magistrates could obtain evidence as early as this morning when they question some witnesses believed to be crucial to the reconstruction of events from 2007 on. Starting from the preliminary contacts and agreements between MPS and Santander, investigators will explore the billion-euro contract signed with JP Morgan and then the derivative-based operations that were kept secret from shareholders. It was these speculative financial manoeuvres that created a black hole in the MPS accounts, forcing executives who remained in place till April 2012 to seek other, often even riskier, ways to make good the debt.

When this first stage of investigation is concluded, those in the firing line will have to give their own version of events and explain why in November 2007 they decided to pay €9.3 billion for Antonveneta — in addition to paying a billion in charges — when Santander had bought it just two months earlier for €6.3 billion. And it might not only be Siena-based managers who are called to account. Another case file, for the time being against persons unknown, has been opened at Trani. The possible offence is lack of supervision, which implies that the investigation will focus on the watchdog authorities, the Bank of Italy and the stock exchange’s CONSOB. In the wake of the stock exchange slump and with MPS shares in free fall, the Siena public prosecutor Tito Salerno stressed that “the investigation’s context is sensitive and complex exclusively insofar as it concerns the role of the previous management in the events under investigation”…

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

Obama Will Ask Congress for Budget Cuts to Head Off Automatic Reductions

President Obama on Tuesday will call on lawmakers to quickly pass a package of limited spending cuts that can head off the automatic, across-the-board reductions that are set to take effect on March 1, an administration official said.

The president will deliver the request in a statement on Tuesday afternoon at the White House. The official said Mr. Obama will acknowledge that a broader budget agreement is unlikely to be reached by next month’s deadline when the cuts to domestic and military programs will go into effect.

Asking for quick action to avoid the automatic cuts, often called the sequester, is a reflection of the impact that White House officials believe the cuts would have on the American economy and possibly around the world. Officials say the deep, indiscriminate cuts would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs as government agencies and contractors shrink spending and payrolls.

[Return to headlines]

The Disappearing Gold

During the Cold War, Germany moved much of its gold to New York in case the USSR invaded Germany. It was assumed at that time that the US would be a safer storage location, and of course, they could always ask to have it returned if they wished.

But German citizens have become increasingly worried about the security of the 1,536 tonnes of German gold reputedly held at the Federal Reserve in New York. This has resulted in the Bundesbank pursuing repatriation of the gold, beginning with a request to view it in the basement of the Federal Reserve Building, where it is claimed to reside.

Of course, the German government had received periodic assurances from the Fed that the gold is there; however, the issue began to get a bit sticky recently, when the Fed refused a request for inspection.

The world then raised a collective eyebrow, and, whilst not panicking over this development just yet, closer attention has come to bear, not only on the Fed, but on any institution that is entrusted with the storage of gold for other parties.

Concern spread to Austria, where a question arose in Parliament as to where Austria’s gold is stored. The answer provided was that 80% of it (224.4 tonnes) is in the UK. (It was claimed that the reason for this is that, if a crisis of some kind were to occur, it could be more easily traded from London than from Vienna.)

Seems reasonable enough, except that the return of the gold to Austria, if it were requested, may be a bit difficult, as the gold seems to have been leased out by the UK.

To many, a second eyebrow might go up at this point. Lease out the wealth of another nation? Isn’t this a bit… irresponsible? The New Gold Shuffle

Not to worry, it’s done all the time. In fact, the practice has been endorsed by none other than Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Fed. The gold is leased to a bullion bank, which typically pays one percent interest to the Fed, with a promise to return it on a specified date. The bullion bank then sells the gold on the open market and uses the proceeds to buy Treasury bonds, which will net a three to four percent return.

The nicest thing about such an arrangement is that the lessor continues to claim it on his balance sheet as a line item: “gold and gold receivables.” After all, an asset that we have leased out is still an asset, even if it has now been sold by the lessee.

In effect, this means that, if you bought a gold bar today, it is possible that it is a bar that was shipped from the Bundesbank to the Federal Reserve decades ago and is presently listed by the Fed on its balance sheet as “gold and gold receivables.”

Both you and the Fed are claiming to possess the same gold bar. The fly in the ointment, of course, is that only one bar can be the actual bar. The other is a receivable and therefore is an asset on paper only. This, of course, means that there is less gold in the world than has been claimed. How much less? That’s anyone’s guess.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Putrid Smell Suddenly Emanating From European Banks

By now we should have gotten used to the odor emanating from banks—bailouts, money laundering, Libor rate-rigging, the other misdeeds. But in Europe over the last few days, it was particularly dense.

A nauseating whiff came from Barclays today, when it leaked out that it has been under investigation by the Financial Services Authority and the Serious Fraud Office in Britain for illegal fundraising in 2008. Allegedly, the bank secretly loaned £5.3 billion ($8.4 billion) to one of Qatar’s sovereign wealth funds, which then turned around and with great public fanfare pumped that money back into Barclays—a scheme to raise capital on paper to escape a government takeover during the financial crisis.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Cabinet of Dunces

Deliberate destruction of jobs, delaying access to traditional sources of energy, a failed foreign policy.

A President reveals a lot about himself by his choices of his cabinet members to head various government departments and agencies. Some choices turn out to be historically significant such as Truman’s Secretary of State, George Marshall or Nixon’s choice of Henry Kissinger, but since the President sets policy, the blame or approval belongs to him.

Nor is it unusual for cabinet members to leave after a first term if a President is reelected. What has been unusual for President Obama’s first term has been the appointment of an entire shadow government of advisors known as his “czars”; people who functioned behind the scenes with unknown levels of power to influence and even determine policy.

One, Van Jones, was an avowed Communist and, when that became known, he resigned. The obvious problem with the czars is the total lack of transparency they represent and the fact that their appointments—not being cabinet-level, but deemed to be only advisory—by-passed the requirement of Congressional approval.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Asian Americans the Fastest-Growing Racial Group in California

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) — Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in California who are playing a more prominent role in the state’s businesses and politics, a report said on Monday. California’s Asian American population, now nearly 5.6 million, or 15 percent of the state’s population, grew 34 percent between 2000 and 2010. The state’s Latino population grew 28 percent, while its White population decreased 5 percent over the same decade, said a report released by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and Asian Law Caucus (ALC)…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Bernards’ Mosque Proposal to Again Face Oppon

A citizens’ group is again encouraging its neighbors to support its battle against the building of an Islamic mosque in a historic section of the township with their attendance, and their dollars. The Bernards Township Citizens for Responsible Development is asking its neighbors to attend the Bernards Township Planning Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Municipal Building in Basking Ridge to help convince the planning board not to grant a site plan approval to the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Inc. for a 4,250-square-foot mosque at 124 Church St. where a 1950s-style ranch house currently stands…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Big Sis for President in 2016?

So, what happens if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run in 2016?

It is hard to imagine the presidential field without a woman contender, and here’s one to keep your eye on: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Napolitano is quietly making it known that she is considering the race, and there is reason to take her seriously.

[Comment: Puff piece extolling Napolitano’s “qualifications”.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bozell: Moderates With Their Disastrous Record Must be Rejected by GOP

“Rockefeller Republicans” Also Called Ronald Reagan “Unelectable”

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — ForAmerica Chairman L. Brent Bozell III today released a statement in response to the announcement of the moderate GOP establishment’s efforts to oppose traditional conservatives and support moderates and liberals in the 2014 elections.

“The days of conservatives listening to the moderate GOP establishment are over,” Bozell said. “Their idea of the most ‘electable’ presidential candidate was Mitt Romney, and before him John McCain and before him Bob Dole, and we have all seen the results. The moderate GOP establishment record in Senate races last year was abysmal: every single one of their candidates lost. We don’t need a second Democrat Party in Washington. If we had listened to them, there would be no Pat Toomey, no Marco Rubio, no Mike Lee, no Rand Paul, and no Ted Cruz in the Senate today. In every case the moderates said they too were ‘unelectable.’ It’s these same Rockefeller Republicans who said Ronald Reagan was unelectable. Instead of lectures, these moderates should stand aside and let the conservative movement lead the party back to prominence. When the GOP is once again unabashed in its support for real conservative values like freedom, prosperity and virtue, only then will it succeed.”

“These fake conservatives need to go away before they do more damage.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Court: NYTimes’s Request for New York City Gun Owners Violates Law

A New York appellate court has ruled that the New York Times’s request for a list of gun owners in New York City, under the Freedom of Information Law, violates the state’s statute. The ruling overturns in part a lower court’s ruling.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dear America; The Joke’s on You

Let’s take a good look at the picture of Obama shooting skeet at Camp David. The picture, as released can be found here. Since we aren’t supposed to reproduce it, etc, open it in a separate window, so you can refer to it often as you read what follows.

[…]

When you pull in on a target, you align the rear sight, front sight and the target with your eye. Now look at the picture of Obama. If you draw a straight line from the top of the front sight—what Obama would be looking over as he lined up on his target, and Obama’s left eye, you will discover that the front sight is obscured by the rear sight on the gun. In other words, supposedly sighting down the barrel, Obama couldn’t even see the front sight of the gun, let alone the target.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dell in $24 Billion Deal to Go Private

Dell announced Tuesday that it had agreed to go private in a $24 billion deal led by its founder and the investment firm Silver Lake, in the biggest leveraged buyout since the financial crisis.

Under the terms of the deal, the buyers’ consortium, which also includes Microsoft, will pay about $13.65 a share. That represents a roughly 25 percent premium to where Dell’s stock traded before word of the negotiations of its sale emerged.

Dell’s board is said to have met Monday night to vote on the deal.

[Return to headlines]

DOJ Memo Says Drone Strikes on U.S. Citizens Legal

The United States can target its own citizens with drone strikes if they have recently been involved in violent attacks, a Justice Department memo says.

NBC News reported Monday it had obtained a copy of the confidential 16-page memo. The case made for targeting U.S. citizens in countries such as Yemen is similar to, but goes beyond, the one laid out by Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials.

“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nullification Deniers! What James Madison Really Said

This is The Age of Ignorance. Our “intellectuals” can’t think. Our “scholars” parrot each other. The self-educated fixate on idiotic theories. Our People despise Truth and disseminate lies.

Nullification deniers such as Matthew Spalding of Heritage Foundation, Jarrett Stepman of Human Events, law professor Randy Barnett, David Barton of Wallbuilders, and history professor Allen C. Guelzo, say that nullification by States of unconstitutional acts of the federal government is unlawful and impossible. They make the demonstrably false assertions that:

a.   States don’t have the right to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government because our Constitution doesn’t say they can do it;
b.   Nullification is literally impossible;
c.   The supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not; and The States and The People must submit to whatever the supreme Court says; and
d.   James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, opposed nullification.

Their assertions contradict our Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, our federal Constitution, and what James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton really said.

What are the Two Conditions Precedent for Nullification?

The deniers seem unaware of the two conditions our Framers saw must be present before nullification is proper and possible. These conditions are important — you will see why!:

1.   The act of the federal government must be unconstitutional — usually a usurpation of a power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution; and
2.   The act must be something The States or The People can “nullify”- i.e., refuse to obey: the act must order them to do something or not do something.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obamacare Excise Tax Showing Up on Receipts for Sporting Goods

(NaturalNews) The infamous Obamacare excise tax on medical devices that we covered back in December has officially come into effect as of January 1, and the fleecing has already affected some customers at a popular sporting goods chain. As reported by The Blaze, the 2.3 percent tax, which was only supposed to affect medical devices sold to hospitals and other healthcare entities, began to show up inexplicably on store receipts at a Cabela’s sporting goods store in Texas, catching some customers by surprise.

A screenshot of a Cabela’s store receipt that has widely circulated the internet in recent weeks shows purchases made for $279.67, with $26.69 of this total representing taxes. But further down on the receipt is a breakdown of this charge which shows $20.87 for “General Sales and Use,” and $5.82 for a “Medical Excise Tax.” Not only had the Obama administration previously indicated that medical devices sold at the retail level would be exempt from the tax, but Cabela’s does not even sell medical devices, which makes the appearance of anomalous charge highly confusing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Polish Refugee Warns of Communism Taking Over America

David Knight interviews polish refugee, Bert Pachulski who says america is very rapidly becoming like the soviet union he once lived in over 60 years ago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rockefeller Brother Fund: We’re Buying Off Evangelicals, Mayors, Governors… for the Earth

In its 2010 review of grants extended from 2005 to 2010, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund admits to buying off (quite literally) so-called “non-green voices”- meaning people outside the environmental community — to sell man-made climate change doctrine to their respective communities.

“(…) foundation dollars extended to support these non-green voices have grown dramatically (…). The RBF has supported “allied voices for climate action” that include businesses, investors, evangelicals, farmers, sportsmen, labor, military leaders, national security hawks, veterans, youth, and governors and mayors.”

This is an actual admission by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund of sustained funding for specific segments to promote the “green” cause. In the document we read that both religious leaders and state/local politicians have been subsidized into selling the myth of man made global warming The report goes on to say that:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rove and Obama, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, …!

It is time to kiss Rove, Obama and the global puppeteer mafia goodbye!

Were you really surprised when you learned of the war initiated by Karl Rove against the TEA Party Movement and other conservatives within the ‘Grand Old Party’? Doesn’t he dance at the direction of the same puppeteers that Obama and all of the other anti-conservatives do? All his declaration of war does is confirm the depth of the elites and/or Communists within the Republican Party. To paraphrase a playground song,

Rove and Obama, Sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G (puppeteers’ butts), First comes money, Then come votes, Then come citizen/taxpayers, By their throats!

The payoff in money, power and fame is especially seductive to those who lack deep roots of morality, ethics and principles. Mr. Rove must feel nearly as emboldened as our emerging Fuhrer. After all, he was the puppeteer of the assaults we experienced while we were under the GWB regime, and those assaults set the stage for the even more threatening and egregious assaults we have experienced under Obama.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

St. Paul Police Join Muslims in Denouncing Photo

Somalis call for discipline of officer, sensitivity training.

An Internet-spread photo of a St. Paul Police officer wearing lipstick and a hijab, the traditional outfit for Muslim women, has angered community activists and spurred a department investigation. “I was literally sick to my stomach,” said Ramla Bile of Minneapolis. “My identity is not a costume, and it’s not OK for cultures to be turned into caricatures.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Texas 6th Graders Design Flags for a New Socialist Nation

AUSTIN — You know America is changing when leftists have even infiltrated Texas schools.

According to the website txcscopereview.com, a lesson plan for 6th graders in government schools reads as follows:

“Notice socialist/communist nations use symbolism on their flags representing various aspects of their economic system. Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag. Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag. What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?”

Texas legislators looked none too kindly on this revelation as they questioned the curriculum’s creators at a recent hearing.

The Star-Telegram reports:

“Members of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday grilled the creators of a curriculum system used across Texas that critics say promotes anti-American values and stifles classroom flexibility.

“Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, called it ‘a mess.’ One witness compared the system to “mind control,” and an algebra teacher wept as he described quitting because he felt he was ‘aiding and abetting a crime’ by using CSCOPE in his classroom.

“CSCOPE is an electronic curriculum management system that offers Web-based lesson plans and exams designed to help teachers adhere to state education requirements. It is used in 875 school districts — more than 70 percent of districts statewide — and is supposed to be flexible enough for teachers to alter content to meet their individual needs.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Battle for Bachmann

From her position on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., dared to question the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of our government — and because of it, her job may be in danger…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Joint Obama-Rove Betrayal Destined to Unite Conservatives

Thank God for Mark Levin, who tells it like it is, depressing as it is.

American conservatives have an enemy every bit as destructive as President Barack Hussein Obama. Former Bush administration adviser Karl Rove should be renamed to identify who he truly is, ‘Karl Rogue’.

As Levin describes it, in real time the ship of state Titanic is heading full-speed toward the iceberg known as the Fundamental Transformation of America. Obama is the captain of the Titanic, but the “barnacles on the side of the Titanic” are “Karl Rove and his puppet Stephen J. Law”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Twinkies Union Issues Ultimatum: We Get Our Jobs Back or the Company Gets it Again

Following a brief infomercial for Gordian Group’s apparent skills in bringing dough-makers and yeast-cooking perfection to the table — arguing that they are here to preserve jobs (for skilled workers who have been apparently working for below-market wages) — and maximizing value for the Bakery Union; Peter Kaufman stops the pretense of helping and goes straight for the threat. “We are here to work with credible bidders to get started right away with a great work-force; on the other hand, if bidders don’t want to work with us (and re-hire Hostess employees), the union will ask the AFL-CIO to put any Hostess product on its ‘boycott product’ list.” But “we’re here to help,” he reminds the somewhat stunned CNBC anchor. It seems beggars are once again choosers… as the entitled roll on.

Of course, far be it from us to point out the incredible irony that it was the labor union’s unwillingness to negotiate that forced the company to run out of cash; and now that same union, that effectively blew up their employer, demands to have jobs restored as if nothing happened, and likely with the same (apparently higher comp) demands entitlements as before.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Marine Questions Narrative Behind Chris Kyle Murder

An active duty US Marine has contacted Infowars to express doubts about the narrative behind the death of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, alleging that the man charged with his murder, Eddie Ray Routh, may not have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

38-year-old Kyle, New York Times bestselling author of American Sniper, was credited with the most sniper kills in U.S. military history. He was shot at point blank range by Routh at a shooting range in Texas on Saturday, authorities say. Kyle’s 35-year-old friend Chad Littlefield was also shot dead.

The two men had apparently been helping Routh work through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD and after his arrest, “Routh told authorities he was a Marine veteran,” reports CBS News.

However, an active duty Marine has doubts about Routh’s story, telling us that he never saw combat and therefore is unlikely to have suffered from PTSD.

“My friend deployed to Iraq with Eddie Routh and this guy never even went outside the wire, so the PTSD from combat as the news is saying is unlikely, and this guy was no highly trained Marine as they are also saying in the news,” he added.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Uses Tony Blair Defence to Justify Drone Killings

A defence of Britain’s role in the war on terrorism given by Tony Blair’s government after the invasion of Iraq is secretly being used by the Obama administration to help justify its drone campaign against al-Qaeda, it has emerged.

In a classified memo arguing that its so-called “targeted killing” campaign is legal, the US cites remarks made in 2004 by Lord Goldsmith, then Mr Blair’s attorney-general, on why Britain’s right to defend itself should include the ability to take pre-emptive military action. “It must be right that states are able to act in self-defence in circumstances where there is evidence of further imminent attacks by terrorist groups, even if there is no specific evidence of where such an attack will take place or of the precise nature of the attack,” Lord Goldsmith said at the time, pointing to “new circumstances and new threats” since September 11…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Video: Newtown Father Blasts Gun Control

“You will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold dead hands”

In testimony that was universally ignored by the mainstream media, Newtown father Bill Stevens blasted attempts to use the Sandy Hook tragedy as a poster child for gun control, telling a public hearing, “You will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold dead hands.”

Last week, MSNBC deceptively edited a clip of Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, who was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, to portray second amendment activists as insensitive by claiming they were heckling Heslin when in reality they were answering a question he had asked them.

However, the network failed to broadcast statements given at the same hearing by Bill Stevens, father of a 5th grader who attends a school in Newtown and whose classmate’s little sister was killed at Sandy Hook.

Calling gun control bills currently proposed “asinine,” Stevens quoted the Connecticut state constitution, which reads, “Every citizen has the right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

Noting that inalienable rights could not be diluted by legislation, Stevens added that the final report on what happened at Sandy Hook would not be completed until the summer, and that the facts were not even known.

“Criminals and tyrants — tyrants especially — beware — lockdown is not an option at the Stevens residence and 911 will be dialed after the security of my home has been established,” said Stevens, adding, “Why is that same security my daughter enjoys at home with her Dad not available at school in Newtown — that is what you should be considering, not making her Dad a criminal.”

Stevens then quoted Charlton Heston, remarking, “I will tell you here today, you will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold dead hands,” before slamming his fist on the table as the audience cheered.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Welfare, Food Stamp Recipients Could Soon be Required to Get Microchipped With RFID Tags

(NaturalNews) For at least the past 15 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been actively trying to develop new ways to decrease fraud in the federal food stamp program, which currently covers nearly 50 million Americans and adds more than 10,000 new enrollees to its ranks every single day, according to reports. But one disconcerting method the agency appears to be considering involves the potential use of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to track and identify food stamp recipients at the national level.

Two separate reports quietly issued by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service program back in 1999 reveal that the agency’s ultimate goal is to develop new tracking protocols that will supposedly improve the integrity of the food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP). In both of these reports, the USDA explains how novel biometric identification technologies can help better verify the identities of food stamp recipients, and thus decrease fraud and “double-dipping.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Controversy Over Walmart Canada Photo Centres Rights Grabby Terms

If you’re the type of photographer who’s wary of the rights you sign away when using most photo-sharing services, you might want to avoid having your photos handled by Walmart Canada’s Photo Centre. Reddit user Plerophoria noticed the following section in the service’s Terms and Conditions:

You grant to Walmart Canada Corp. a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, unrestricted, world-wide right and license to access, use, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, perform, communicate to the public, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, and otherwise use such Materials (in whole or in part) in connection with the Site and/or the Products, using any form, media or technology now known or later developed, without providing compensation to you or any other person, without any liability to you or any other person, and free from any obligation of confidence or other duties on the part of Walmart, its affiliates and their respective licensees;

It’s fairly common these days for companies and services to grab more rights than they need for their operations, just to cover all their bases and protect themselves from painful lawsuits. Costco and Walmart USA don’t have such “grabby” terms, though.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Mosque Buster’ Draws Small Crowd to Speech

by Zev Singer

OTTAWA — Despite the advance controversy generated by news of a visit to Ottawa by British lawyer and self-proclaimed “mosquebuster” Gavin Boby, the city greeted the speech with a collective shrug. Boby, who advocates the use of legal tactics to prevent the construction of mosques in the U.K., spoke to about 60 people Monday night at an auditorium in the city’s central library branch. The event went off without incident…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Berlusconi Speaks to Voters in German for Ad Campaign

Ex-premier reaches out to electorate in South Tyrol

(ANSA) — Bolzano, February 5 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi is reaching out to the Italian electorate through a multi-lingual advertising campaign in which he speaks languages and dialects spoken in parts of northern Italy.

Michaela Biancofiore, a deputy from Berlusconi’s PdL party, said that the ads aim to show voters in South Tyrol-Alto Adige that the center-right coalition is interested in “growth and development in their region, and especially the cancellation of IMU (housing tax)”.

In commercials aired in German and Ladino, a language derived from medieval Castilian Spanish, Berlusconi explains that the problem in South Tyrol-Alto Adige is “not the language spoken, but the choices made”.

In South Tyrol, the majority language is German, but both German and Italian have co-official status.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

British Model, 25, Breaks Down in Tears of Joy as Moroccan Waiter Who Raped and Left Her for Dead is Jailed for 23 Years

[WARNING: Very disturbing content.]

A British model who was raped and left for dead by a waiter on the holiday island of Majorca today said she ‘couldn’t be happier’ after he was jailed for 23 years.

Morroccan Mohamed Fadel el Anssari, 31, tried to strangle Cheryl Maddison before stabbing her repeatedly in a prolonged attack in a flat in Magaluf in 2008. The model, now 25, only survived the ordeal because she pretended to be dead.

El Anssari was today sentenced to 11 years for the sex attack and a further 12 years for trying to kill her.

In a 52-page ruling released today, judges on Majorca said that the attack had taken place in a ‘terrifying context of violence and intimidation’ and that it warranted a lengthy jail sentence.

[…]

El Anssari was arrested in July 2011 following a lengthy undercover police investigation.

Detectives recovered a cigarette he discarded in the street and found his DNA matched that found at the scene of the crime.

The judges said that, after hearing evidence from a DNA specialist, there was only a one in a trillion chance that the match was wrong.

Judges today threw out his defence lawyer’s claims that his privacy had been breached by police when they tested his cigarette butt for DNA.

[…]

During a trial last month the court heard that he had twice confessed to raping and stabbing Cheryl and had admitted the attack on the second Brit after his arrest.

It also heard El Anssari, a waiter at Tom Brown’s bar in Magaluf, had been diagnosed as suffering from psychotic and manic episodes by a Moroccan doctor two months before the attack on Miss Maddison and had been prescribed mood-stabilising drugs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bulgaria Implicates Hezbollah in July Bombing of Israeli Tour Bus

The Bulgarian government said Tuesday that two of the people behind a deadly bombing attack that targeted an Israeli tourist bus six months ago were believed to be members of the military wing of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The announcement could force the European Union to reconsider whether to designate the group as a terrorist organization and crack down on its extensive fund-raising operations across the continent. That could have wide-reaching repercussions for Europe’s uneasy détente with the group, which is an influential force in Middle East politics, considers Israel an enemy and has extensive links with Iran.

Bulgaria’s interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said at a news conference that the investigation into the bombing in Burgas in July 2012 found that a man with an Australian passport and a man with a Canadian passport were two of the three conspirators involved in the attack, which claimed the lives of five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.

[Return to headlines]

Bulgaria: Hezbollah Behind 2012 Terrosist Attack on Israelis

Interior minister says Hezbollah organized Burgas massacre

(ANSAmed) — SOFIA, FEBRUARY 5 — Two people with Canadian and Australian passports linked with the Lebanese Hezbollah fundamentalist group were responsible for the July terrorist attack at the Black Sea resort of Burgas that left five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver dead, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Police Arrest Four on Jihadism Charges

PARIS, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday said at least four people suspected of having links with radical Islamists were arrested in Ile-de-France.

“There is an operation in progress,” the minister said. Asked if the presumed Jihadist supects would have ties with Islamist insurgents who are fighting French forces in Mali, Valls said “probably.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Greece: Consumers Saved 250 Mln Euros in Supermarket Offers

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 5 — The war of special offers raging between Greek supermarkets, including promotional activities in association with suppliers and customer reward programs, has worked out to the benefit of consumers to the tune of 250 million euros in 2012, a survey conducted by the Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA) has found. The survey, as daily Kathimerini reports, found that over the last couple of years offers have increased considerably in size, duration and form, with the benefits to consumers amounting to savings of some 1.4% on their original supermarket expenditures.

An estimated 38% of all price reductions at supermarkets last year were made via offers and promotional activities, the institute suggests. The products most affected by the war for more business were detergents, personal hygiene products, pasta and yogurt. Promotional offers are expected to grow further in the coming months as major retailers are trying to hold on to their slice of an ever-shrinking pie.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Promises Massive Tax Refund if Elected

PdL vows overhaul at national tax agency, cut penalties

(ANSA) — Rome, February 4 — A housing-tax refund worth four billion euros and dramatic changes to Italy’s taxation department are possible if ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Party of Freedom (PdL) is elected this month, a senior spokesman said Monday.

“These four billion euros will generate immediate consumption,” said Renato Brunetta, a former PdL cabinet minister and one of the party’s economic leaders, arguing that the overall value of the refund would be worth up to eight billion euros thanks to a multiplier effect. “That’s half a point added to our our gross domestic product”. Brunetta proposed “corrective action” for the Italian economy after the national election February 24 and 25.

That would include a refund of four billion euros in taxes charged in 2012 on an Italian’s principal residence, under the unpopular IMU levy introduced by outgoing premier Mario Monti.

A PdL government would also curtail the power of the national tax collection agency as well as reduce penalties and lower interest charges against tardy taxpayers, he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Makes ‘Shock’ Proposal to Scrap Property Tax

Investors jittery that ex-premier might win, FT says

(ANSA) — Rome, February 4 — Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi announced Monday he had a “shock” proposal as part of the centre right’s election campaign.

The three-time Italian premier promised to scrap the IMU property tax if his coalition wins the election, a prospect that is no longer as unlikely as it once seemed after a media blitz by the 76-year-old helped the centre right make massive inroads in the centre-left’s lead in the polls.

That much-hated tax was introduced last year by outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government to help Italy put its public finances in order and ease out of its debt crisis.

IMU’s predecessor ICI was abolished by Berlusconi’s 2008-2011 government, a move which many, including Monti, have said contributed to the financial crisis that forced Berlusconi to resign as premier in November 2011.

“This tax has caused Italian families worry, anxiety and fear for the future,” said Berlusconi, who has said he will be economy minister if his coalition wins the February 24-25 general elections.

A refund on IMU would be worth four billion euros, said Renato Brunetta, a former PdL cabinet minister and one of the party’s economic leaders.

“These four billion euros will generate immediate consumption,” said Brunetta, arguing that the overall value of the refund would be worth up to eight billion euros thanks to a multiplier effect. “That’s half a point added to our our gross domestic product”. Rosy Bindi, president of the centre-left Democratic Party, described the proposal as ‘dangerous electoral propaganda’. Monti, who is standing to keep office on a reform agenda backed by centrist parties, was even more scathing, saying it was a “nice try to corrupt Italians with their own money”. Berlusconi wants to “buy Italians’ votes with Italians’ money,” Monti said in an interview on RTL 102.5 radio. Berlusconi said he would raise the money needed to finance the scrapping of IMU by raising tobacco and gambling duties and by striking a deal with Switzerland to tax financial activities there by Italian citizens.

Puglia Governor and leader of the Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party Nichi Vendola on Monday compared Berlusconi to disgraced TV personality Wanna Marchi in the light of his “proposal”.

Marchi, who was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to nine years and six months on charges of fraud and extortion, became a household name in Italy for her aggressive sales pitches for health and dietary products, before she turned to the occult and selling ‘lucky’ lotto numbers.

Berlusconi also said that he favours a new tax amnesty after his last government passed a controversial one in 2009-2010 that brought home 104.5 billion euros in capital and other assets hidden abroad.

“I would absolutely agree with creating tax amnesty. I have always been against the left on this,” Berlusconi told the television station La7. “Absolutely yes. There is absolutely need for an amnesty. If I have a majority, it will be done”. Berlusconi’s comments provoked immediate reaction from the law-oriented Italy of Values (IDV) party.

The fact that his coalition is gaining in the polls — now only five points behind the leader center left — may be making investors nervous. The Financial Times on Monday attributed a plunge in the Milan bourse to Berlusconi’s climb in the polls ahead of general elections later this month.

According to the financial daily’s website, his ascent has “raised fears” surrounding the vote in Italy, which explains the sudden drop in the Milan bourse. Italy’s major stock market fell by a full 4.5% on Monday.

The uncertainly over Italy’s political future also pushed wider the spread between Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond and its ultra-safe German counterpart by 20 basis points, to close at 282 points.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Northern League Leader Attacks Civic Choice Candidate

(AGI) — Milan, Feb 2 — Northern League leader Robert Maroni has called Lombardy Civic Choice candidate Umberto Ambrosoli a ‘scheming lawyer’. Mr Ambrosoli had stated his support for a national alliance between outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti’s movement and the centre-left, in an interview with AGI. He also hoped the votes from Mr Monti’s supporters in Lombardy would transfer to him.

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

Italy: Flight From Universities

Equivalent of one university fewer in ten years. Enrolments down from 338,482 in 2003-2004 to 280,144 in 2011-2012. Shrinking teaching staff

Undergraduates, graduates, post-grads, teaching staff and funds are all on the decline as Italy’s universities struggle. The warning comes from the national university council (CUN) in a paper addressed to the current government, Parliament and political parties involved in the upcoming election “but above all to the nation”. The paper, entitled Dichiarazione per l’università e la ricerca, le emergenze del sistema [Declaration for Universities and Research, the System’s Emergencies], points out that since 2009, the ordinary finance fund (FFO) has fallen by 5% a year.

A UNIVERSITY’S WORTH OF UNDERGRADUATES FEWER- In ten years, the number of undergraduates has fallen from 338,482 (2003-2004) to 280,144 (2011-2012), a drop of 58,000 studenti (-17%). The CUN notes that this is the equivalent of losing a higher-education institute the size of the State University in Milan. Falling enrolments affect the entire country and most of its universities. Numbers of 19-year-olds have remained constant over the past five years but youngsters are losing interest in degrees. Enrolments have dropped by 4% in three years from 2007-2008’s 51% to 47% in 2010-2011…

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

Italy’s Centre-Left ‘Very Ready’ To Work With Monti

Bersani’s alliance may not have working majority if wins vote

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Berlin, February 5 — Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Tuesday said he would be willing to work with outgoing Premier Mario Monti after this month’s general election. Bersani’s alliance is in front in the opinion polls with over a third of Italians expected to vote for it, but ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition has been gaining ground in recent weeks.

The centre left, led by Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD), is still favourite to win the election, but it may not have a working majority in parliament.

This has led to speculation that Bersani could make a post-election pact with former European commissioner Monti, who took the helm of an emergency government in November 2011 and is standing for office on a reform platform backed by several centrist parties.

“We are very ready to cooperate with all the forces that are against the Northern League, against Berlusconi, against populism,” Bersani said in Berlin.

“And therefore certainly with professor Monti,” he added, stressing that the PD had wanted and supported Monti’s administration of unelected technocrats. The hypothesis of working with Monti could be problematic because the PD is allied with the left-wing SEL party, which was staunchly opposed to Monti’s government. Monti, whose ticket was fourth in a poll released Tuesday, has repeatedly said the PD’s ties with SEL will make it difficult for the centre left to govern effectively if it wins the election. Both SEL leader Nichi Vendola, the governor of Puglia, and the outgoing premier have said they would not be in the same government together.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Says Center-Left Parties Fear Being Overtaken

Says Premier Monti has ‘no credibility’ after entering politics

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Former premier and center-right political leader Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday said his rivals are “desperate” and said current Premier Mario Monti “let me down”.

Speaking during an interview on the Studio Aperto news program, run by a channel he owns, Berlusconi said that leaders of Italy’s left are “desperate because they thought they had victory in their hands. Instead, their program goes in the direction of continuity of the policies adopted by this government over the past 13 months,” a program of increased taxes and “robber taxes for companies,” Berlusconi said.

“They can’t see anything else but our closing in on them, we’re in the passing lane”.

In a separate interview with TGcom24 — another Berlusconi-owned broadcaster — the media magnate and leader of the People of Freedom (PdL) party said that the government of Premier Mario Monti disappointed him.

“He turned out to be a totally different person than we thought he was”.

Berlusconi said Monti had “no credibility” since he entered politics because he had promised to be an innovator but instead allied himself with center right and centrist leaders Gianfranco Fini and Pierferdinando Casini, “who were in parliament 30 years ago”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Judge Ruz Uncovers Yet Another Barcenas Swiss Acct

Ex PP treasurer repatriated 11 mln euros after tax amnesty

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, FEBRUARY 5 — High Court Judge Pablo Ruz has uncovered a new account in the name of former People’s Party (PP) treasurer Luis Barcenas at Geneva-based Lombard Odier bank, Europa Press news agency reported Tuesday.

The account was used to transfer approximately 11 million euros Barcenas declared under a tax amnesty, then repatriated the money into Bankia accounts, according to a report the judge submitted to Spain’s anti money-laundering agency. Barcenas subsequently withdrew 1.235 million euros, and also paid out 320,000 euros in corporate taxes in the name of a company called Tesedul.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Bureau De Change Boss ‘Sammy the Kurd’ Jailed for Laundering £170million of Criminals’ Cash From Bogus Store in Upmarket Notting Hill

A bureau de change boss who recruited his wife and son to help clean up nearly £170 million-worth of criminal cash has been jailed for nine years.

Ussama El-Kurd, 64, known as ‘Sammy the Kurd’ in underworld circles, was on bail pending an appeal for a previous money laundering conviction when he set up the business in 2006.

He enlisted his wife Randa, 51, and son Husain, 22, to help run the Kensington Money Exchange in upmarket Notting Hill, west London.

Their efforts allowed the proceeds of drug dealing, violent robberies and other major crimes to be spent freely by offenders.

The Palestinian-born family ran their ‘bespoke money laundering service’ in Kensington Church Street.

No records of the dodgy transactions were kept, but authorities say the business must have helped to wash at least £169m until it was shut down in 2010.

[…]

He was found guilty of a near-identical offence in 1999 and jailed for 14 years — though the conviction was later quashed on appeal.

The new venture was set up following his release in April 2006.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Company Director Stabbed in Front of His Family Outside KFC After Telling Swearing Skinheads to ‘Show Some Respect’ To Staff

A pair of thugs stabbed a father in front of his pregnant fiancée and baby outside a KFC takeaway after he told them off for swearing at staff.

Workshop manager Gary Cranley, 40, was knifed in the ribs after telling the two yobs to ‘show some respect’ after they began hurling vile abuse and demanding to be served more quickly.

They waited for him in the car park of the KFC in Trafford Retail Park, Manchester, before launching a vicious attack.

As Mr Cranley walked to the car with his food, the thugs confronted him and challenged him to a fight claiming he had ‘disrespected’ them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Chipping Norton Mosque Plans Approved by Council

Plans to turn a vacant shop into a mosque have been approved.

Muslims in Chipping Norton applied to use the Hitchmans Mews unit as a permanent place to pray. Objections were received over transport and fire safety, with the town council opposing the plan, but West Oxfordshire District Council granted permission. Proposer Tahirul Hasan, who is a member of the town council, said local Muslims were “very happy” about the decision and were grateful to councillors.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Husband’s Heartbreak After Hospital Bans Him From Visiting His Wife Suffering From Alzheimer’s

A husband has spoken of his heartbreak at being banned from visiting his wife in hospital where she is being treated for Alzheimer’s disease.

Ray Butcher, 65, says he has not been allowed to visit his wife Carole, 67, for six months after hospital staff told him to stay away.

But Mr Butcher is challenging the decision because he believes his wife said it as a result of her condition.

He said: ‘We have spent half our lives together and now within her final months I am prevented from visiting her.

‘I think it is something of an outrage. I think it’s morally abhorrent that I should be prevented from seeing her.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Mother Finds Heroin Addict’s Blood-Soaked Needle Inside Loaf of Bread From Tesco as She Made Sandwiches for Her Son

A mother opened a loaf of bread bought at a Tesco store to make a sandwich for her 10-year-old — only to discover it contained a blood-covered needle used by a heroin-taking grandfather.

The mother had taken two slices from the pack of Roberts wholemeal bread — which she had bought from the Tesco Express in Pendleton, Greater Manchester — when she made the shocking discovery.

The needle had been pushed through the plastic wrapper by David Rodgers, 61, when he visited the shop with his wife, in a desperate attempt to avoid her finding out he was back on the drug.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Polish Immigrant Jailed for Squatting After Refusing to Leave House When Told to by Police

A Polish man who moved to Britain to find work has been jailed under tough new anti-squatting laws for refusing to move out of an empty house where he had been sleeping.

Former soldier Michael Minorczyk, 27, was arrested by police after defying requests to move out of the empty property in Blackburn.

The Polish immigrant, who exploited EU border control policies to settle in the UK in 2005 only to end up homeless and an alcoholic, was prosecuted following the scrapping of squatters rights in September last year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Twenty Years After James Bulger Horror, Lawyer Recalls First Impression of 10-Year-Old Killer and the ‘Living Nightmare’ Of Representing Him

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

The lawyer for one of James Bulger’s murderers today revealed the ‘living nightmare’ of representing the notorious child killer.

Speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the toddler’s death, Laurence Lee recalled how he was convinced that ‘angelic-looking’ Jon Venables must be innocent of the brutal crime.

[…]

The solicitor has not seen Venables since 1994, and said he was shocked to hear that his client had been jailed again in 2010 for downloading child pornography, while Thompson had managed to stay ‘under the radar’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Times Refuses to Publish MCB’s Criticism of Islamophobic Reporting

Last week the Times published a report about a judge’s decision to allow a request from an Orthodox Jewish couple that a Beth Din court should be allowed to arbitrate in their divorce proceedings. Although the story concerned Jews rather than Muslims, the paper chose to run the report under the front-page headline “High Court opens way to Sharia divorces”. The Muslim Council of Britain, who took the view that the coverage “was sensationalist and would help fuel Islamopobia”, wrote a letter to the Times complaining about the report, which was published in the paper today, albeit in an edited version…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Three in Court After ‘Bacon Thrown at Central Mosque’

TWO men and a woman have appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after bacon was allegedly thrown at and stuck to the Central Mosque. Douglas Cruikshank, 37, Chelsea Lambie, 17, and Wayne Stilwel, 24, were charged with a racially prejudiced offence. All three, who are from the Lothian and Borders area, made a brief appearance, separately in private, before Sheriff James Scott today. No plea or declaration was made on their behalf and their cases were continued for further inquiry. All were released on bail with the special condition that they do not go within 100 metres of any mosque. It is alleged the Central Mosque, in Potterrow, had bacon thrown at it and stuck to certain parts of the building on January 31.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Unlicensed Mini-Cab Driver Raped Female Passenger After Tricking Her Male Friend Into Getting Out of Car to Ask for Directions

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

An unlicensed minicab driver who raped a female passenger after tricking her male companion to get out of the car and ask for directions has been jailed for nine years.

Ellie Feghaly, 44, had picked up the 33-year-old victim and her friend in central London after they left a bar in Leicester Square in August last year.

The pair thought he was a legitimate driver and got in to share the journey home.

But on the way Feghaly became increasingly aggressive and clearly did not know where he was going.

He then stopped at a Texaco garage in Shadwell, east London, and suggested the victim’s male friend got out to ask for directions.

As soon as he left Ferghaly drove off, locking all the doors and preventing her escape.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Voters Won’t Listen if the Tories Talk Only Among Themselves

by Benedict Brogan

Tomorrow will be a bad day for the NHS and the Tories. The report by Robert Francis QC into the failings that killed up to 1,200 patients who were treated — if that can be the word — by two hospitals of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust will mark a terrible low point for the health service. Its publication will dominate the news and pose an immediate challenge to David Cameron, who must work out how to respond without suffering collateral damage…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Are We Sending Child Benefit to Poland?

by Philip Johnston

A change in social security law is needed before a new wave of workers from Romania or Bulgaria targets soft-touch Britain

In a letter to this newspaper at the weekend, the Polish ambassador to London, Witold Sobków, defended the payment of UK benefits to thousands of children who live in Poland while one of their parents works in Britain. “All of these benefits are being paid in accordance with British law,” he wrote. “The parents of these children work in the UK and pay tax, therefore they are entitled to this financial support.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vatican Denies MPS Managers Held Funds in IOR

Spokesman says reports ‘not reliable’

(see related story) (ANSA) — Vatican City, February 5 — The Holy See on Tuesday denied reports that senior managers at the scandal-hit Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank held funds in the Vatican Bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Monday’s reports in daily newspaper the Corriere della Sera were “not reliable”.

Last week the former head of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was questioned by prosecutors investigating suspect operations at the MPS bank.

The prosecutors were especially interested in discussing MPS’s nine-billion-euro acquisition of Antonveneta in 2008 from Spanish bank Santander.

Gotti Tedeschi was in charge of Santander’s operations in Italy before becoming president of the IOR in 2009.

The IOR’s board ousted him from that post last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt Takes Over Presidency of Islamic Summit

Senegal handed over the presidency of the Islamic Summit to Egypt on Monday 4/2/2013, scheduled to be held in Egypt on February 6-7, 2013. The Bureau panel was elected to include: Somalia, Palestine and Uganda. Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said during the OIC Foreign Ministers meeting that the OIC worked over the past years to combat defamation of divine religions and Islamophobia.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Iraqi PM to Visit Cairo for Summit of Islamic States

BAGHDAD, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will lead a delegation to Cairo on Tuesday to attend the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an official newspaper reported. “Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will arrive in Cairo on Tuesday noon to participate the two-day OIC summit,” the state-run al- Sabah newspaper quoted the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Iran’s Ahmadinejad Arrives in Egypt on Historic Visit

CAIRO — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for the first trip by an Iranian head of state to Egypt since the 1979 revolution, underlining the more open ties that have developed since Egyptians elected an Islamist head of state. President Mohamed Morsi kissed Ahmadinejad as he disembarked from his plane at Cairo airport, footage broadcast by Egyptian state television showed…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Muslim Fundamentalists Driving Christians From Libya

In an interview with the Vatican missionary news agency Fides, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Martinelli, claimed that Christians are being driven out of the eastern Libya area of Cyrenaica by Muslim fundamentalists Vicar Martinelli called the situation “critical” and the “atmosphere very tense”. Martinelli said that two religious communities had already left after pressure from fundamentalists. The Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi had been advised to take shelter before a large-scale demonstration scheduled for February 20.

Martinelli said: “In past days, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto who had been there for nearly 100 years were forced to abandon Derna. In Barce [located between Benghazi and Derna] the Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus will leave their home in coming days.”Derna is east of Benghazi the main city in eastern Libya.

Martinelli also told Vatican Radio that Islamic fundamentalism now governs decisions in Libya. Before the overthrow of Gadaffi about 3% of Libyans were Christians but many hard-line Islamists were active in the battle against Gadaffi. Now in many areas they wield considerable power. Only a few thousand Christians now remain in Libya and many of them are expatriates.

Christian Copts, many from Egypt, have also suffered. In December 2012 two Egyptian Copts were killed in a blast at a Coptic Church in the town of Dafniya, with two other people wounded.

An article on “Religion in Libya” in Wikipedia claims more than a few thousand Christians as being in Libya but perhaps the data is out of date:There are over 60,000 Egyptian Copts in Libya, as they comprise over 1% of the population alone. There are an estimated 40,000 Roman Catholics in Libya who are served by two Bishops, one in Tripoli (serving the Italian community) and one in Benghazi (serving the Maltese community). There is also a small Anglican community, made up mostly of African immigrant workers in Tripoli; it is part of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt.

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

Suez Canal to Hike Tolls on Crude Tankers by 5%

The raging second Egyptian Spring isn’t quite the webcast ratings bonanza it was when it first struck in 2011, which makes sense as the current Muslim Brotherhood government has the full backing of the US and thus it is in “everyone’s best interest” to not follow how close to a counterrevolution the nation once again is. And while for the time being the country’s most valuable asset, the Egypt-controlled Suez Canal Authority is in “stable” hands, that does not mean that the government, which today announced its foreign reserves had dipped precariously to only $13.6 billion, can’t enforce inflation where everyone else says deflation reigns. As a result, as of May 1, the tolls for any crude oil and other liquid tankers will rise by 5%, while tolls for other commodities will increase by 2-3%. Expect said additional infrastructure costs to be promptly passed on to end consumers around the globe.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Both Israeli and Palestinian Textbooks Demonize Other Side: Study

JERUSALEM, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) — Both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks demonize the other side, charges a new study released on Monday, Israel’s Haa’retz daily reported. The study was jointly conducted by researchers in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian authority and funded by the U.S. State Department. The study analyzed 74 Israeli and 94 Palestinian books from the first to the 12th grade in various topics. “One of the main conclusions of this research is that each side sticks to its own narrative,” a source familiar with the study said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Gaza Kids Put Netanyahu on Trial

Televised children’s tribunal organized by Hamas ministry

(ANSAmed) — GAZA — Three months after Israel’s Operation Cloud Pillar against Hamas, Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were put on simulated trial by three 10-12 year-old Palestinian children, who called on them to answer for their actions.

Organized by the Hamas ministry of sport, the televised mock trial was designed to help kids overcome the traumas of the recent conflict, in which the Gaza Strip was pounded by bombs for eight days. Before proceedings began, the children were asked to memorize both prosecution and defense arguments.

On the stand, wearing masks of Netanyahu, Barak, and Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adrei, three other kids played the defendants. They were provided with attorneys, who found they had no attenuating circumstances to invoke on behalf of their clients.

“Why do you kill children? Why do you lay siege to Gaza?” asked prosecution witness Roan Abu Leila, 9. She was playing Rim al-Dalu, a little girl who lost most of her family in a single Israeli air strike on her home. Local media reported the court sentenced all three defendants to death. But young Roan, who is the self-assured, studious daughter of two teachers, later told ANSAmed in an interview that, while she agreed that all three did deserve capital punishment, in fact the child tribunal handed down no sentences. Rather, said Roan, the children’s trial was designed to try the case before world public opinion. In the months since the eight-day blitz, Hamas, which is the elected government of the Gaza Strip, has organized several activities “to help children overcome war trauma”, including concerts, drawing competitions and exhibits.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Offers to be the First Iranian in Space

Iran’s beleaguered president offered to be the first Iranian blasted into space, a week after the regime triumphantly claimed to have safety launched a monkey beyond earth’s atmosphere.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he would join the monkey, mouse, turtle and worms that Iran had sent into space, although his remarks betrayed a hint of nerves at the prospect. “I’m ready to be the first Iranian to sacrifice myself for our country’s scientists,” he said. Speaking during a ceremony in Tehran where two new Iranian-made satellites were unveiled, Mr Ahmadinejad predicted Iran’s space programme would be sending Iranians into space within five years…

[JP note: Cheeky monkey.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Kuwait Arrests Several People for Emir Insults on Twitter

(AGI) Kuwait City — The Emir of Kuwait has issued a series of arrests warrants for people accused of insulting him via Twitter .

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

Obama to Visit Israel This Spring, White House Announces

President Obama will visit Israel this spring, his first trip to the country since the start of his presidency, White House officials said Tuesday.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Obama’s plan came after discussing a visit with Benjamin Netanyahu on a call Jan. 28. He said details about the trip will come later.

Mr. Carney said the visit would provide the two leaders an opportunity to “discuss the way forward” on a variety of topics, including the security issues surrounding Iran and Syria.

The president will also visit the West Bank and Jordan on his trip to the Middle East, Mr. Carney said.

[Return to headlines]

Operation Radwan: The Hezbollah — Al Qods Connection to the Burgas Terror Bombing

At the time the Simon Wiesenthal Center put out a statement reminding the world media that July 18th was the 18th anniversary of the horrific bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community building in Buenos Aires perpetrated by the late Imad Mughniyeh , Hezbollah terrorist mastermind. Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 when he stepped into his Mitsubishi Pajero which promptly blew up. Mughniyeh was attending an event at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Republic takeover in 1979. The allegation was that Mossad did it. Mughniyeh’s assassination precipitated Operation Radwan by Hezbollah and Iran’s Qods Force. Mathew Levitt in a January 2013 Washington Institute for Near East Policy paper on Hizbollah and the Iran’s Qods Force outlined the scope of Operation Radwan: Operation Radwan (named for Mughniyeh, who was also known as Hajj Radwan) experienced a series of setbacks. These ultimately led Iran and Hezbollah to reassess how they would prosecute, both separately and together, a three-tiered shadow war targeting Israeli, Jewish, American, and sometimes British interests worldwide. With foiled terror incidents in Cyprus, Israelis opted for what they assumed would be a safer vacation environment in Burgas. Little did they realize that Hezbollah and the Qods Force already were already fomenting plans to hit unwary Israeli tourists on July 18, 2012. WINEP analyst Levitt noted the significance of the Burgas terror attack: As the attack in Burgas demonstrated, terrorists learn from their mistakes, evolve, and adapt, and with sufficient determination they may carry out successful attacks even after a long string of failures.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabian Cleric Declares Babies Should Wear Burkas

A Saudi cleric’s declaration that babies should wear burkas to protect them from sexual attacks has drawn widespread criticism.

Sheikh Abdullah Daoud said all female newborns should wear a full face veil in an interview with an Islamic television station. He told al-Majd TV that wearing a burka would stop incidents of sexual attacks on babies, and tried to support his claim by quoting unnamed medical and security sources. The interview took place last year, but it was picked up by Al Arabiya news and social media websites at the weekend, provoking outrage and comments that such claims damage the reputation of Saudi Arabia and Islam…

[JP note: If, on the other hand, you are a Goth, go to http://www.gothlings.co.uk/ for all your baby clothes.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria Becoming New Somalia, Islamist Preachers Warn

Warlords to control parts of the country

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, 5 FEB — Islamist preachers have warned that numbers of militants heading to Syria is bound to sky-rocket due to worsening humanitarian conditions and involvement of international powers in the conflict.

Abu Ammar, cellmate of former al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Mussab Zarq, said Syria is “slowly becoming a new Somalia,” with warlords competing with rebels to control parts of the country.

With the central government losing control over large swaths of land in the south, east and northern parts, Islamist groups have taken matters into their hands to impose order, including in areas in rural Damascus.

“If Bashar al Assad regime falls in the coming weeks, this would start a new stage of violence in Syria. Guns will be aimed at Islamist militias that currently fight Assad forces,” said Abu Ammar during an interview with ANSA.

“The new enemy will become Islamists who seek to fight western interest in Syria, so I expect a long battle in time to come,” he added.

Jordan has been providing large number of fighters against the Syrian government through Jabhat al Nusra group, which has strong links to al Qaedha on the ideological levels.

“Jabhat al Nusra was formed by a group of salafis who believe in Jehad to eradicate injustice. This line of ideology is having a strong base of support in Jordan, but not directly linked to al Qaedha” said Abu Ammar, who is currently working as mosque preacher east Amman.

Islamist leaders in Jordan said at least 350 have crossed borders to fight in Syria, but security sources believe the number could be much higher.

So far, 25 Jordanian militants have been killed in battles in Deraa, Damascus and Aleppo over the past few months, according to Islamists.

Most Islamist recruits come from poor areas in eastern Amman and the city of Ruseifa, one of the most densely populated areas in the country. Palestinian refugees from camps have also joined Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, according to informed sources.

Jordanian authorities have cracked down on Islamist groups that advocate for fighting in Syria and arrested key preachers in the past months to discourage fighters from crossing the borders.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood movement, Jordan’s strongest opposition group, has been also at odds with authorities over what the group says “lack of genuine reforms.” However, the MB does not support violence and has been advocating for peaceful reform in the country.

Abu Ammar said success of Islamist militias in Syria would not necessary translate into spillover of fighters to other countries, including Jordan. “Jordan is stable country and the leadership did not kill its people. Although the country is suffering from corruption and dictatorship, its hands are not stained with blood like the Syrian regime,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria: The Former English Teacher Turned Aleppo’s Female Sniper

Her fame has spread throughout Aleppo. Her comrades have nicknamed her ‘Guevara’, but to many of the city’s residents she is known simply as: ‘the female sniper’.

Standing stock still, her finger suspended over the trigger, she stared through the sniper sight of her Dragonov rifle. Her view framed by the jagged concrete edges of the fist-sized hole that has been cut into the wall of her hideout on one of the most dangerous front lines in Aleppo, Guevara, named after the revolutionary, watched the enemy — government soldiers — moving along the other side of the street. “I like fighting. When I see that one of my friends in my katiba [rebel division] has been killed, I feel that I have to hold a weapon and take my revenge,” she said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tough Penalties for Flouting Rules on Pork Sales

Dubai Municipality issues warning following public complaints about some hotels

Dubai: Authorities have warned food establishments to abide by the rules when handling and selling pork products to avoid facing hefty fines and having their licences revoked.

Some residents said they were shocked last week to find that restaurants in five-star hotels along the Jumeirah Beach Residence community failed to adhere to municipal standards and used the same kitchen equipment on halal products after slicing pork products.

“I ordered a halal pizza and, as we were seated by the open kitchen, I could clearly see that the same cutter was used for a pork pizza that was delivered to the table beside mine. The chef also did not use any gloves and did not wash his hands. How is it halal then if, after I requested to see the kitchen, the waiter clearly stated that they had a separate room to cut pork but were not using it,” asked a worried resident, who wished to remain anonymous.

When approached by Gulf News, an official from Dubai Municipality said severe action will be taken against any restaurant that does not strictly adhere to the rules and regulations pertaining to pork products.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Leaders Give Six Month Deadline to Find Peace With the Taliban

The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday used a critical UK-hosted summit to set a target of six months to reach a peace deal with the Taliban — the first time such a deadline has been offered.

Speaking after meeting David Cameron, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari committed to an all-out bid for reconciliation with the insurgents despite years of frustration and scant signs of progress. With time running out before the 2014 withdrawal of Nato troops, the summit signified a new urgency and willingness by Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

David Cameron Invites Taliban to Talks Over Afghanistan’s Future

PM hails talks in UK between Hamid Karzai and Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari and says extremists should take part

David Cameron issued a direct appeal to the Taliban to enter peaceful talks on the future of Afghanistan after hosting talks at Chequers with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Four People Shot Dead in Restive S. Thailand

BANGKOK, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — Police said unidentified gunmen killed four fruit traders in restive southern province of Yala on Tuesday, Thai News Agency reported. Four traders, a couple and two men from the eastern province of Rayong, were killed at a house in Yala’s Krongpinang district on early Tuesday morning. According to preliminary police investigation, a group of seven gunmen in black outfits arrived in a pick-up truck, tied the victims’ hands behind their backs and shot them dead. Police initially believed it is the work of an insurgent group. Police were investigating. More than 5,000 people have been killed and more than 9,000 hurt in over 11,000 incidents, about 3.5 incidents a day, in Thailand’s three southern border provinces — Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla — since violence erupted in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, which monitors the regional violence.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India: Kashmir: False Accusations on Facebook: Mob Tries to Lynch 12 Tourists

No injuries thanks to police intervention. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) condemns the increasing persecution in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. A photo appeared on the social network accuses Christians of practicing forced conversions.

Srinagar (AsiaNews) — On the basis of false allegations of forced conversions, more and more Christians in Kashmir are victims of persecution. This according to Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after the attempted assault on a group of 12 foreign tourists, accused via Facebook of practicing forced conversions in Tangmarg area north of Jammu and Kashmir. The incident occurred late in the evening of 2 February.

Around 10 pm a crowd of people gathered in front of a hotel in Srinagar, the capital, throwing stones against the walls and asking for the immediate trial of foreigners, eight Americans and four Koreans. Intervening on the spot, the police searched luggage and documents of the tourists. On finding nothing, the officers dispersed the protesters. When checking their passports, the police reported that the group has also visited other Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

The violent reaction was triggered by a photo published on the Facebook page Gulmarg News. The image shows three oriental girls, while the caption warns, “Caution Kashmir! Islam in Kashmir is under attack, Christians trying to convert Muslims,” ??recounting the testimony of a boy, who in exchange for chocolate would have been forced to recant Islam and convert to Christianity.

Sajan George notes, “The life of Christians in the country is difficult, and increasingly they are being forced to practice their religion in secret.” According to a report released by the GCIC, 2012 in Jammu and Kashmir has recorded five anti-Christian accidents. An exemplary case dates back to 2011, when Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Anglican Church, was arrested for having baptized seven Muslims and then indicted by an Islamic court for proselytism and forced conversions.

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

Italian and Afghan Troops Complete Operation ‘Naweed 3’

(AGI) Herat, Feb 4 — A contingent of Italian troops and Afghan security forces have completed Operation Naweed3 in the Shinland district. The Italian troops are from the Transition-Support Unit Centre (Tsuc), a unit belonging to the 3rd Alpini regiment which is engaged in supporting the transition process in the Herat province. The 4-day combined operation was a “success”, the Regional Command West said.

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

Kashmir’s All-Girl Rock Band Forced to Quit

(AGI) Srinagar, Feb. 5 — Pragaash (darkness to light), Kashmir’s first all-girl rock band has decided to split following the fatwa issued against them by the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashiruddin Ahmad. the band was targeted by fundamentalists, who labelled them indecent and launched a campaign against them.

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

Prime Minister Julia Gillard Hands Indonesia $500m to Help Build Schools

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has pledged $500 million toward new schools in Indonesia during her visit to the southeast Asian nation.

Ms Gillard came bearing gifts on her first prime ministerial visit to Indonesia, promising Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono $100 million for each of the next five years to boost his push to ensure all Indonesian children have at least nine years of schooling by 2015, The Australian said.

The money will be used to expand up to 2000 schools and to support 1500 Islamic schools to lift their standards to qualify for accreditation to national standards.

The funding continues previous Australian commitments to the Indonesian education system, including efforts to reduce radical teaching in Islamic schools.

           — Hat tip: The Observer [Return to headlines]

Papua New Guinea: Bureaucrats Warned of Prime Minister Impostors

Papua New Guinea’s civil servants have been warned to be wary of impostors claiming to represent the new prime minister, as the Pacific state aims to clamp down on corruption.

Politicians will also have to clock in and clock out of parliament under new measures to clean up the “dysfunctional” government. Following the unveiling of the anti-corruption measures by the Papua New Guinea government led by Peter O’Neill, thieves on Monday ransacked an office belonging to the Commonwealth nation’s anti-corruption task force…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Australian MP Ann Bressington Exposes Agenda 21, Club of Rome (Video)

Ann Bressington Exposes Agenda 21, Club of Rome, Sustainable Development, at the Lord Monckton Launch 2 Feb 2013 at the Adelaide Convention Center.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mali: Senior Islamist Arrested Near Border With Algeria

The number-three leader of the armed Islamist group that controlled Timbuktu in northern Mali until last week, Mohamed Moussa Ag Mouhamed, has been arrested near the Algerian border.

“The number three leader of Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith), the one who sowed terror, who ordered people’s hands cut off, who supported the strict application of sharia, was arrested by an armed group,” a Malian security source said. Mohamed Moussa, as he was known in Timbuktu, is being taken to the northeastern city of Kidal, the last bastion of rebels who controlled northern Mali for 10 months before being ousted in a French-led military operation launched on January 11, the source said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Mali: UN Genocide Adviser Warns of Reprisals Against Tuareg, Arab Populations in Northern Mali

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — A senior UN official on Friday warned of the risk of reprisal attacks against Tuareg and Arab civilians in various regions of northern Mali and urged the West African country’s military to protect all citizens regardless of their ethnic affiliation. “While the liberation of towns once under the control of the rebel and extremist groups has brought hope to the populations of northern Mali, I am deeply concerned at the risk of reprisal attacks against ethnic Tuareg and Arab civilians,” Adama Dieng, the UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said in a statement issued here…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

NBC News Covers for Muslims’ Vicious Destruction of Non-Islamic Artifacts

The mainstream media continues to align itself with the jihad force. NBC News finally decides to address the Islamic destruction of ancient documents in Timbuktu, but instead of dealing honestly with this problem of Islamic contempt for the artifacts of other religions, it dares to assign this vicious, anti-human destruction to other religions.

Ian Johnston, a Staff Writer for NBC News, writes this about the recent destruction of archaeologically important sites in Mali: “To many in the West, such actions are simply wanton vandalism. However, experts say the thinking behind it is actually part of a wider tradition of rooting out idol-worship and superstition found in Christianity and Judaism as well as Islam.” (Emphasis added.)

How dare they? Jews are not destroying religious symbols, idols, churches, or mosques, ever. And Christians do no such thing, either. But Muslims have been on a jihad to destroy the religious artifacts that non-Muslim believers hold precious. Only Muslims are doing this, and they are committing the greatest archaeological crimes in human history. They are doing this daily. The enemedia is silent on these crimes except when a crime is so egregious (i.e. Timbuktu’s ancient manuscript destruction) that they can’t ignore it, and only then do they obfuscate it (everybody does it!) and cover it to whitewash the motive.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

South Africa: Gareth Cliff Cleared of Insulting Muslims

Durban — The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa has dismissed a complaint against controversial 5FM presenter and Idols judge Gareth Cliff for making derogatory remarks about Muslims. The agency said it had received a complaint in September after Cliff, on his live breakfast show, had allegedly made comments about the suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, in which eight South Africans had been killed. According to Zaheer Ismail, who sent out a broadcast message on BlackBerry Messenger, Cliff had said: “There is nothing good in Afghanistan, nor is there anyone with any common sense. “Westerners should leave these 13th-century barbarians to blow themselves up.” Cliff came under fire on social networks where many expressed outrage. He allegedly went on to insult the Middle East and mimicked the Arabic language in an insulting way…

[JP note: Don’t mess with JIM.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sudan Objects to Uganda’s Election at the OIC

February 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government voiced its objection to Uganda’s election to a senior position at Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during its ministerial meeting in Cairo, Sudan state media reported…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sudan Served as a Hub for Receiving Al-Qaeda Suspects Nabbed by CIA — Report

Washington — The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) transferred five individuals suspected of having links to al-Qaeda from Malawi to Sudan in 2003, according to a report released on Tuesday. The revealing report titled “Globalizing Torture”, issued by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), provides a detailed account of assistance provided by more than 50 countries around the world to the United States in the wake of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Seven Spanish Tourists Assaulted and Raped in Mexico

(AGI) Madrid — Seven Spanish tourists have been assaulted and raped near Acapulco in Mexico.

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

Four Immigrant Children Treated for Hypothermia After Trying to Enter Britain Illegally by Stowing Away on -2°c Fridge Lorry Full of Cheese

Four child stowaways were treated for hypothermia after they were found trying to enter Britain illegally in a -2C (28F) refrigerated truck full of soft cheese.

The youngsters, aged from nine to 16, were found crouched in the chilled trailer at the port of Dunkirk in France along with three adults.

The group of four Afghans and three Iranians had been in the icy temperatures for hours and were facing another seven in the freezing lorry on its way to the UK.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Legalizing Illegality: Americans Too Ignorant to Realize Their Fate

However, as we Americans race into the 21st century, we see the march other tribes invading not from Europe, but from Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Africa and other disparate locations across the planet. They vacate their failed societies to come to America for a “better life.” They flee starvation, misery, conflict and suffering.

But they bring everything they fled into America. We see our English language changing to fit their needs such as, “Push 1 for Arabic” in Detroit, Michigan. Push “2” for Spanish in most cities in America. Push “3” for English. Menus run in Spanish/English. All Home Depot and Lowe’s stores feature everything in Spanish and English. Banks serve in Spanish and English. Soon, Arabic.

We now suffer “Black flash mobs” beating up on American citizens. We see Mexicans gangs killing Blacks in Los Angeles. We see honor killings, arranged marriages and female genital mutilation growing in America via our Muslim immigrants.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Secret INS Report: Shocking Details on Amnesty

Unreleased document assembled during Clinton era

A review of the unreleased Clinton-era Immigration and Naturalization Service report reveals that the 1986 amnesty caused a rise in the number of unauthorized entries into the United States in the years immediately following.

However, the report also concludes that the “public expressions of opposition to immigration,” in particular the California Proposition 187 measure, likely were contributing factors in the decline in the rate of illegal entry after 1990.

In addition to the hope for a second amnesty, the INS drew another conclusion from the data that it collected as to why the rate of illegal entry increased.

It said the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) was responsible for the increase in unauthorized entry to the United States in 1988-89 partly because during those years the rate of females entering the United States illegally increased to twice the 1987 rate.

These women entered the United States to join their male partners and family members who had been granted amnesty, in many cases bringing children with them, the report said. The addition of these families increased the strain on limited American resources, the report said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Syrian and Coptic Christians Fleeing to Moscow, But Russia Lacks Shelters

Human rights activists denounce inadequate facilities for the reception of immigrants and the bureaucratic obstacles. A Coptic tells AsiaNews of death threats of the Muslim Brotherhood for failing to convert to Islam.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — A flow of refugees from Syria and Egypt is pouring into Moscow to escape from wars and violence in their country of origin bringing to light the inadequacy of facilities for the reception of immigrants in Russia. The complaint has been made by a veteran in migrant assistance, the president of the ‘Civic Assistance Committee’, Svetlana Gannushkina. In the past week a family of 10 Coptic Christians, including a child a few months old, presented themselves in their office. The family say they fled religious persecution from Islamist groups taking place in f Marsa Matrouh, near the border with Libya. “They threatened us with death if we didn’t convert and make our women and girls wear a veil,” Reda, 26, who fled with his 19 year old pregnant wife told AsiaNews. “After the revolution many activists of the Muslim Brotherhood came — added his brother Viktor, 30, — who put pressure on us Christians to convert. Our problems started already in late 2011, but are getting worse ‘Last year, after an argument with the principal of the school who wanted to force my daughter to wear the hijab, we were told that the presence of Christians in the city was no longer welcome. “ “We sought shelter with a local priest — he concluded — but his church had already been burned once and so he did not want to further expose himself to attack.”

Now all 10 Egyptians, plus Iraqis and Sudanese, are forced to live in a room of 20 square meters, with only a few chairs and a table, because there is no temporary accommodation center for immigrants waiting to receive refugee status in the city.

“Everyone is waiting for an answer from the Federal Service for immigration — Gannushkina , who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times told AsiaNews, — which must decide on their possible transfer to Ochyor, in Perm region, where there is one of only three reception centres for refugees in the entire country. “

The process, however, can last for weeks and the authorities have not thought of any temporary accommodation for these people, who do not have a place to live. “The problem is much worse for the Copts — said Gannushkina — because for them here, unlike Syrians, there is no large community or network of countrymen ready to open their homes.” “It is winter, and in these conditions they are likely to die of exposure — she added — so we are forced to accommodate these people in our offices, but they are not adequate facilities.” The small child Cirillus, who arrived with his mother, father and sister also from Marsa Matrouh, is already sick and was visited by doctors from Doctors Without Borders.

Last year 700 people turned for help to ‘Civi Assistence’, including 80 Egyptian Copts. The new arrivals are in addition to about 30 Syrians who in January of this year already made a request to Moscow for refugee status. One hundred Syrians arrived in the last six months of 2012.

Reception centers for refugees fleeing persecution and war are provided in all countries that have signed the UN Convention on Refugees. In Russia — denounced the Gannushkina — formally, there are three centers, but in fact only one works, that of Ochyor for more than 80 people. “This integration does not exist and the sanitary conditions are very bad,” she added. According to rumors circulating in the press and among NGOs, the Immigration Service is considering even closing it down. The other two centers are located one in the Tver Region and the other in the south of Rostov, but are not working at full capacity. “In a country as large as Russia three centers for immigrants is virtually nothing, if you think that Poland, which much smaller than us, has 11,” added Gannushkina, who has always declared that if she ever wins the Nobel she will allocate the prize money to building at least another refugee centre near Moscow.

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

Baker Faces Investigation for Refusing to Make Gay Wedding Cake

The Oregon Attorney General is investigating Aaron Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Klein reportedly refused to make a wedding cake for two lesbians.

Klein, who is a Christian, told the couple that he would not sell them a cake based on his religious beliefs that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

“I believe marriage is a religious institution between a man and woman as stated in the Bible,” Klein told the Portland Oregonian. “When someone tells me that their definition is something different, I strongly disagree. I don’t think I should be penalized for that.”

One of the women filed a complaint alleging that his actions violated the Oregon Equality Act. If the baker is found guilty, he could face $50,000 in fines.

Klein said he’s got no problem serving gay customers — but he draws the line at creating wedding cakes for gay nuptials.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Commons Approves Bill Legalising Gay Marriage

(AGI) London, Feb 5 — The British House of Commons approved laws legalising gay marriage throughout the United Kingdom on Tuesday. The law allows the country’s various religious faiths freedom to choose whether to allow same-sex marriages at their premises. The bill follows the government’s earlier recognition of de facto couples.

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

Gay Marriage Vote: Same-Sex Weddings Will ‘Make Society Stronger’ Claims David Cameron

MPs tonight overwhelmingly backed David Cameron’s controversial plan to legalise gay marriage.

After more than six hours of bitter debate, the Commons voted in favour of same-sex weddings by 400 votes to 175, a majority of 225.

The Prime Minister suffered the embarrassment of having to rely on Labour and Lib Dem MPs to secure victory, with a total of 136 Tories voting against the measure, more than the 126 who voted in favour.

But tonight he took to Twitter to defend the policy in the face of the biggest Tory rebellion in history.

[…]

Ministerial aide David Burrowes said he had received death threats about his opposition to the measure and his children had been taunted and told ‘their dad’s a bigot’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Nichi Vendola is ‘Afraid’ To Go Out Alone at Night in Rome

Puglia’s gay governor criticizes climate of fear as vote nears

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Nichi Vendola, the gay governor of Italy’s Puglia region kicked up a storm on Tuesday when he said that he is afraid to go out alone at night in Rome. In an interview Tuesday with Il Fatto Quotidiano, Vendola — who is also the head of left-wing political party SEL — said that “this climate forces me to limit the spaces of my private life. I am forced to manage every move with caution. If I want to go out alone for a walk in Rome in the evening, I choose not to”. Vendola criticized what he said was a tolerance of anti-homosexual groups and acts in the country. “In Italy the fact that I am insulted by fascists and Nazis from various networks does not even solicit regret”. He also criticized the church, saying that a “certain ecclesiastic environment even impedes the making of rules to sanction violence” against gays.

Vendola, a controversial figure in Italy’s often conservative politics, also promised Tuesday to introduce “in the coming days” a law to legalize gay marriage.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Whip Warns of Drugs, Gay Marriage if Left Wins

‘Italy runs risk of State-sanctioned heroin dens’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Legalized drugs and same-sex marriage await Italy if the center left wins in elections this month, the Senate whip of former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s center-left People of Freedom (PdL) party said Tuesday.

“State-authorized heroine dens and gay marriage: this is what France’s leftist government is proposing, and it’s a risk for Italy in the unlikely event that the left wins,” said Maurizio Gasparri. The center-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani is currently the frontrunner in polls, but the center right is now within six points, according to an average of the latest surveys.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Look Which Companies Dumping Boy Scouts

Corporate donors quitting or directing cash to ‘tolerant’ BSA programs

The homosexual-rights group Scouting for All lists some of the corporations that have refused to fund the BSA’s national organization. They include IBM, Levi Strauss and Company, J.P. Morgan, American Airlines, Medtronic, Portland General Gas and Electric, Hewlett Packard, Textron, Fleet Bank, CVS/Pharmacy Stores and Carrier Corp.

At the time of the September report, shipping giant UPS, which gave $167,000 to the Scouts in 2010, insisted the “gay” policy would not impact its donations. But after a petition drive that month by another homosexual-rights group, Scouts for Equality, UPS changed its mind.

Scouts for Equality now lists UPS, Merck and Intel as corporate sponsors. Among the public figures who support the group’s aims, along with President Obama, are 2012 Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney and Washington state Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob McKenna.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rick Perry Tells Boy Scouts to Keep No-Gay Policy

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called on the Boy Scouts of America on Saturday to keep its strict no-gays membership policy, as the organization’s national executive board, scheduled to meet in Irving on Monday, is expected to discuss, and possibly vote on, changing the policy.

“Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make scouting this very important and impactful organization,” Perry said, according to The Associated Press. Perry, himself an Eagle Scout, made the comments after his speech at the Texas Scouts’ 64th Annual Report to State in the House Chambers at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

[…]

The Boy Scouts is a major corporation with revenues in 2010 of more than a quarter billion dollars, and has 3,771 employees with the chief executives getting lucrative salaries, Eastman notes. “So, when members of the national board, CEOs of major corporations like AT&T and Ernst & Young, start pressuring the executives at the national office… someone with his own million dollar salary at risk might, just might, have a personal stake at odds with the Boy Scout’s long-standing policy against interjecting homosexuality into a youth organization.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tragic Consequences in Canadian Scouting

A Canadian pro-family leader says one only has to look to his country to understand the devastating consequences of allowing homosexuals to be members and leaders in the Boy Scouts.

[…]

“They have the secret files [here in Canada] as they do have down there [in the U.S.] of guys that had abused kids that they hadn’t reported,” he tells OneNewsNow. “There were investigations into the abuse of boys, which really never produced anything in Canada.

“The notion that we need to protect homosexuals more than we need to protect children … has been a disturbing trend.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Testing the Tory Mood on Gay Marriage

David Cameron received warm applause when he said in his speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester in October 2011 that he was consulting on legalising gay marriage.

He told delegates: “I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.” He said it was something he passionately believed in and told the party it was about equality and commitment. But this angered a swathe of the party. Ann Widdecombe led the backlash and said members were furious at being labelled “bigots” by those campaigning for the legalisation of gay marriage. If David Cameron thought that anger would have dissipated by now it seems he was wrong…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/5/2013

  1. I thought akmadinnerhead was going into space..Outer space preferably..Perhaps he’d like to see his embryo.. When he was sane..

  2. LOL! So,
    1) the Iranians sent a monkey into space.
    2)Jews are like monkeys and apes.
    3)Iran sent a Jew into space.
    4)Jews are taking over the Iranian space program.

  3. What a joke Somalis complain about
    An Internet-spread photo of a St. Paul Police officer wearing lipstick and a hijab, the traditional outfit for Muslim women.

    Of course Somalis don’t practice murderous piracy and tribal warfare.

    “I was literally sick to my stomach,” said Ramla Bile of Minneapolis.

    Really, he was sick because of a non-violent, non-sexual photo. Better go to the doctor immediately. What would he do if he saw a video of Mahometans beheading someone?

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