Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/6/2013

Masked gunmen entered a tourist facility in Acapulco and attacked the fourteen residents there, thirteen of whom were from Spain. Of the seven women at the residence, six were raped by the attackers. The seventh announced that she was Mexican, and as a result was spared from sexual assault.

In other news, Chokri Belaid, the a leader of the political opposition to Tunisia’s Salafist government, was shot to death outside his home. In response, demonstrations and riots have erupted in Tunis, and police are reported to have give up control of the streets in the capital.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Erick Stakelbeck, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, KGS, Lurker from Tulsa, McR, Nilk, Steen, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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


Financial Crisis
» As the World’s Monetary System Inches Its Way Towards Collapse, Winds of War Sweep Asia
» Egyptian Currency Reserves Running Critically Low
» Fraud Deprives Italian Economy of One Billion in EU Funds
» Globalist Funded Think Tank Says Poverty Will Save Planet
» Greece: Gov’t Orders Dock Workers to Get Back on the Job
» Italy: Bersani Says Europe Important, But Funds Should Not be Cut
» Italy: Trani Prosecutors Probe International Bankers
» Spain: Bankrupt Families and Companies Up 40%
» Valencia: Spain’s Most Indebted Region Per Capita
 
USA
» Are All Those Guns and Ammunition for Obama’s Civilian National Security Force?
» ATF vs the Constitution
» Attorneys File Response in Public Notice Dispute Over Tennessee Mosque
» Beware: A President Who Justifies Secret Drone Killings of Americans Can Justify Anything
» Celebrities and Gun Rights — Who Makes More Sense?
» Chicago Voters Keep Electing Mentally Ill Judge
» Closest Earth-Like Planet May be 13 Light Years Away
» DHS Insider: Obama’s Cyber Warriors & Preparing for Collapse
» Facebook Reportedly Developing ‘Not Creepy’ Location-Tracking App We Can All Totally Trust
» Governor Urges Handgun Licenses for Residents
» How the Post-Sandy Hook Gun Control Push Spectacularly Backfired in America
» Judge Who Shoved Deputy Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity
» Killing Us Softly
» Labor Unions Feel Betrayed by Obamacare
» Majority of Federal Government is Bogus, Not Constitutional
» Making of a Totalitarian State
» Microchips Everywhere: A Future Vision
» Mosque Traffic Expert Presents Case for Fewer Spaces
» NASA Spy Telescopes Won’t be Looking at Earth
» Obama Orders Release of Classified Drone Documents to Lawmakers
» Obama Praises New NARAL Prez
» Parents Sue Over ‘Child Sex at Preschool’
» Plans Emerge for First Ithaca Mosque
» Seven Million Will Lose Insurance Under Obama Health Law
» The Numbers on Plastic Bottles: What Do Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?
» Vote on Hagel Defense Nomination Postponed
 
Europe and the EU
» Denmark: An Assassination Attempt on Lars Hedegaard
» Diana West: Lion Among the Dhimmi
» France: Flashback Horror for Toulouse Jewish School
» France: Student Nearly Stabbed at Toulouse Jewish Day School
» Holy See Has Received 600 Reports a Year of Sexual Abuse
» Ingroia Claims Left’s Mantle as Italian Elections Near
» Is the Universe a Computer Simulation?
» Italy: League Leader ‘Kept Grip’ Books, Senator Tells Prosecutors
» Italy: Monti Says Berlusconi’s Tax-Refund Pledge is ‘Poisoned Bait’
» Italy: Berlusconi’s Party Says Monti Deliberately Rattling Markets
» Italy: Monti Says Ready to Ally With Centre Left for Reform
» Italy: Mayor Rebukes Vendola’s Remark on Feeling Unsafe in Rome
» Italy: Berlusconi’s Brother Accused of Racist Slur on Balotelli
» Italy: Monti Promises to Cut Parliament in Half if Elected
» Italy: Monti Gives Centre Left Ultimatum Over Alliance Partner
» Italy: Centre Left Warned Not to Ally With Monti by Partner
» Italy: Ancient Pompeii to Get 105 Mn Euro Makeover
» Italy: Milano Assicurazioni, Fonsai Boards May Sue Ligresti Family
» Monti, Bersani Signal Post-Election Alliance in Italy
» Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs an ‘Apocalyptic Threat’ To Humanity, Say Experts
» Sicily’s Regional Council Revokes MUOS Authorisations
» Suicide Attack: German Prosecutors Were Probing Ankara Bomber
» ‘The Bullet Flew Past My Ear’: Danish Anti-Islam Writer, 70, Narrowly Survives Doorstep Assassination Attempt
» The Philosopher and the Terrorist: When Sartre Met RAF Leader Andreas Baader
» Tunisia: Protests Erupt After Opposition Member Killed
» UK Government Plans to Track All Web Use: MI5 to Install ‘Black Box’ Spy Devices to Monitor British Internet Traffic
» UK: “Christianity Can Go to Hell” Says New Muslim Patrol Video
» UK: 1,200 Deaths, A Damning Report on ‘Failings at Every Level’ And 290 Recommendations for Reform.
» UK: All Puppies to be Microchipped in Plans to Crack Down on Dangerous Dog Attacks
» UK: Community Groups Unite in Reaction to Far-Right Plans for Berwick Demo
» UK: Churchill Insurance Has Appealed Against Paying Up to £1million Compensation to a Teenager Left Brain Damaged in a Car Accident — Because She Wasn’t Wearing a High-Visibility Jacket.
» UK: Doncaster Mayor Quits English Democrats ‘Because of BNP’
» UK: East London Mosque Hosts a Rally for Terrorist Lovers
» UK: Gay Saudi Prince Who Killed Manservant to Serve Jail Term at Home
» UK: Girl, 13, Arrested on Suspicion of Murder After Man Found Dead in Remote Country Lane
» UK: Julia Manning: Notes on a Scandal — How the Staffordshire Public Rose Up to Seek for Justice
» UK: Knights of Malta to Open Soup Kitchens in Britain
» UK: Lithuanian Mugger Tracked Down by Footprints in Snow After Attacking Student Just 48 Hours After Arriving in UK to Start New Life
» UK: Racist Jibes Prompt Saga to Scrap Its Social Network ‘Facebook for the Over 50s’
» UK: Sharia Law Has No Place in Britain or Anywhere Else
» UK: Senior Met Police Chief Quits With Race Crisis Parting Shot
» Viral Gene in Genetically Engineered Foods Could Promote Disease
» Where Evil Lurks: Neurologist Discovers ‘Dark Patch’ Inside the Brains of Killers and Rapists
 
North Africa
» Anti-Islamist Tunisia Politician Shot Dead
» Clashes in Tunis: Protestors Erect Barricades
» Egypt: Iranian President Appears to Have Shoe Thrown at Him
» Egyptian Women March Against Harassment on Wednesday
» Egypt: Maspero Massacre: Military Court Sentences Two Christians to Three Years in Jail
» Egypt’s Elbaradei Accuses Islamists of Religious Bullying
» FGM: Concerns Over Potential Backslide in Egypt
» Tunisia: Live Updates: Fallout From Leftist Politician Chokri Belaid’s Assassination
» Tunisian Opposition Leader Shot Dead
» Tunisia: Opposition Party Leader Killed
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israel Urges World Leaders to Declare Hizbollah a Terrorist Group
» Stakelbeck Show From Hebron, Israel
 
Middle East
» Daniel Pipes: Is Turkey Leaving the West?
» Evidence of Hamas Fighters Working With Assad
» Iran’s Ahmadinejad Seeks Strategic Axis With Egypt
» Lebanon Will Work With Bulgaria, Premier Miqati
» Losing the Battle With Islam
» Police Defuse Bomb Near Army Base in Yemen’s Aden
» The Woman Sniper of Syria: Rebel Fighter Nicknamed ‘Guevara’ Takes Revenge on Assad’s Troops After Her Children Were Killed in Airstrike
» Turkish PM Calls for Closer Economic Ties With Hungary
» Turkish Parliament Considers Converting Hagia Sophia to Mosque
 
South Asia
» Blast at Restaurant Kills Five in Afghanistan
» India: Orissa: Hindu Extremists Have Christians Arrested on False Accusations of Proselytism
» India Ready to Nominate Left’s Favorite Whipping Boy
» Indonesia: Moderate Muslims and Islamists Clash Over Chinese New Year
» Indonesia Still Struggling With Violence, Religious Intolerance
» Norway Pledges More Aid to Afghanistan
» Talks Between Stoltenberg and Karzai on the Future of Afghanistan
» Thousands Flock to Bangladesh’s Shahbag Square to Demand Death Penalty for War Crimes
» War Crimes Trial Verdicts Put Bangladesh on Edge
 
Far East
» China: One-Child Policy Enforcer Crushes Baby to Death After Parents Refuse to Pay “Fine”
» Leftist Rebels Kill 1 Civilian Every Week in 2012: Philippine Military
 
Australia — Pacific
» Fear Doesnt Need a Visa, And It’s on Tour Already
» Huge Victory Against Fluoride in Australia
» Muslims Condemn Ethnic Gun Crime Focus
» Sam Ekermawi Who Accused Alan Jones for Racially Vilifying Muslims is Facing Bankruptcy
» Sergio Redegalli’s Latest Mural: Stop the Cover Up Muslim Riots
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» France is Engaged in a ‘Real War’ With Terrorists in Mali
» Nigeria: A Monument to Profligacy
» People of Timbuktu Save Manuscripts From Invaders
 
Latin America
» Mexico: Police Hunt for Attackers of 14 Tourists
» Peru Looks to Asia, Arab Countries for Development Aid
 
Immigration
» Is This the Future for Britain? German Cities Plead for Help From Berlin as ‘Social Peace’ Is Threatened by Large Number of Romanian and Bulgarian Immigrants
» ‘No Plans’ To Tighten Sweden’s Asylum Policy
» UK: Immigrants to be Banned From Taking Driving Tests in Foreign Languages in Bid to Stop Cheating and Boost Road Safety
» UK: Stunned Jobseeker Finds Vacancy for a Workman Advertised Entirely in Polish
 
Culture Wars
» A Wealth of Words
» Al Sharpton Drops ‘God’ From Pledge
» America, Look Across the Border to Canada
» Cameron Humbled by Gay Marriage Vote Rebellion: More Tory MPS Vote Against Cameron Than for Him as PM’s Bill Gets Through Thanks to Labour and Lib Dems
» Netherlands Expresses Concern About Gay Rights in Russia
» Sweden: No Hitch in Gay Marriage Debate
» UK: How ‘Progressive’ Teaching Methods Destroy Words and the Life Chances of the Poor

As the World’s Monetary System Inches Its Way Towards Collapse, Winds of War Sweep Asia

The world’s hotspots in the Far East and North Africa parallel the deep crisis of the US and world economies. As Barack Obama’s Keynesian plans fail, the US dollar could experience hyper-inflation at a time when real market values and trust in central banks are at an all time low.

Milan (AsiaNews) — Israel’s air strikes in Syria, the attack against the US Embassy in Turkey and, before that, the killing of the US ambassador during the attack in Benghazi after he met with the Turkish ambassador to discuss supplying (smuggling?) weapons to Syrian rebels are signs of a tense world scene. If we consider other areas of tensions (China vs Japan, Israel vs Iran, North Korea and its nuclear weapons, and Western Africa), it appears that a large-scale conflict might break out. Yet, a big war could not occur without an underlying economic imbalance. Sadly, many factors point towards the possible if not imminent collapse of the existing financial and economic system.

The failures of Obama, Bernanke and Geithner

Five years after the US real estate and the subprime mortgage crises, and four years since the financial meltdown caused by the collapse in September 2008 of Lehman Brothers, it is clear that the world economy is far from recovery. The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), i.e. the price of moving dry bulk commodities, is currently at around 750, somewhat higher than the low points of mid-September (662) and late December (698) last year but still far lower what it was on 21 January (838). It is however close to the index’s lowest point (since 1986) of 5 December 2008 (663), far from its high point in May 2008 (11,793). The index is important because it measures the movement of basic commodities like iron, grains (f. ex. soya) and coal, the main source of energy for China, the world’s second, if not first, largest economy.

This marks the failure of Keynesian economics as implemented in the past 50 years, since Kennedy’s election in 1961 that is, when it became the new economic-religious orthodoxy in Western nations. In fact, based on the advice of complacent Nobel Prize winners for economics like Krugman and Stiglitz, Obama’s policies have followed the same principle: liquidity and more liquidity. Under Bernanke, a huge amount of liquidity has been injected-QE, QE2, QE more-with the help of US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (Stimulus I and II), and a united cabinet (Obamacare and the green economy) picked by an apparently Hawaiian-born president. To all this, we must add the wilful support of spending requests coming from the CIA and the Pentagon, in what amounts to a military form of Keynesianism (wars in Africa, the Arab spring, Libya’s “liberation” and other “country outings”, not to mention Afghanistan and the indirect involvement in Iraq).

If the sacred texts of the venerable Keynes are to be believed, a deluge of liquidity and deficit spending should have boosted the recovery. However, the much vaunted ‘Yes, We Can!’ promised and guaranteed by the propaganda of the new black Kennedy [1] did not materialise as the country’s sluggish employment and growth rates show.

In January 2009, unemployment stood at 7.8 per cent of the labour force against 7.9 per cent in January 2013 (hitting 10.10 per cent and 9.8 per cent in October 2009 and 2010 respectively). Such figures are based on official statistics calculated in accordance with a method introduced in 1994 that excludes long-term unemployed workers who have become discouraged from seeking jobs. If the all the figures were put together, the real unemployment rate would be around 23 per cent. If we applied the same principle to economic growth and factored in the official inflation rate, we would find that the nominal growth rate of 2.2 per cent in 2012 was much lower. Considering that the actual rate of inflation is far higher-Ask any homemaker in the United States as elsewhere!- then that figure would have to be lower.

The current econometric methods tend in fact to underestimate price hikes. If we apply the methods used until the 1980s, we would find that inflation is much higher. US economic growth would have been negative last year, around -2 per cent [2], something already visible in the last quarter official rate, which was negative (-0.1 per cent). This is a sign that recession is probably just around the corner.

Thus, despite the greater fire power and the rise in the public debt, Obama, a hero to the dispossessed, backed by most of Hollywood’s wise mummers, the ever present TV experts, the grim bureaucrats and university barons of the politically correct, has effectively failed.

Sky-high public debt

The Nobel Peace Prize winning Obama has had nevertheless some brilliant results thanks to his Keynesian consiglieri. In fact, he has built up the largest government debt-to-GDP ratio in peace time. At the end of 2008, the ratio stood at 40.2 per cent; by the end of 2012, it had reached about US$ 16.432 trillion, or 105 per cent of GDP. This does not include the spending commitments without financial cover, which future generations will pay, or government aid to the banking and financial systems, nominally under the Fed’s control, which altogether represent twice the GDP.

Another brilliant result has been the rise of S&P 500 index. After dropping to 752 on 20 November 2008, its lowest point since 1997, it bounced back and now stands at 1,513, close to its high point before the crisis. In this, Obama did a good job, diligently protecting the interests of his real electoral backers, not the masses of the dispossessed, but the big Wall Street financial firms and hedge funds who funded to the tune of millions his rise to power [3].

However, those who do not want to rely on homemakers’ common sense can at least look at the BDI as a measure of reality. The gap between the S&P 500, share values and the BDI is truly staggering. One of them is at its highest levels; the other is closer to its lowest. Which one fits reality best is not hard to see. According to current market reports (by Clarkson’s, a leading provider of integrated shipping services), activity in dry bulk shipping is substantially low, not due to a slowdown associated with the Chinese New Year. Hence, it is makes sense to think that the S&P 500 will eventually have to adjust downward once the injections of liquidity from the Fed ends. In fact, it is hard to imagine that the Fed might continue to supply the markets with liquidity without causing inflation at a time when the price of benchmark Brent crude is at US$ 116, not far from the US$ 150 per barrel of 2008, just before Lehman Brothers went under. What is likely to happen is that as soon as the Fed starts slowing its injections of extra funds at near-zero cost, interest rates will jump and share values will plunge from their current artificially high levels.

If we use the BDI as a measure of the real economy, it is plausible that the S&P 500 could drop to its low point of November 2008, half of what it is worth now. If the index does plunge from 30 to 50 per cent, it would have a negative impact on world shares and non-energy commodities, especially ferrous and non-ferrous metals. This could trigger a new derivatives crisis, affecting interest rates, share values, financial ratios, commodity prices and currencies.

A new derivatives crisis could lead to a new deep crisis in the financial and banking systems, causing the fall of the dollar and destroying the credibility of central banks whose balance sheets are full of toxic bonds, worthless securities held by people who live up to their obligations.

[1] A black Kennedy, progressive and libertarian, who has authorised late term abortion (i.e. infanticide), and continues to fight for his gay brothers and lesbian sisters.

[2] See John Williams, “Alternate Gross Domestic Product Chart,” in Shadow Government Statistics, consulted on 5 February 2013.

[3] See d’Orlando, Maurizio, “Obama, world crisis and the new world order,” in AsiaNews.it, 14 November 2008, consulted on 5 February 2013.

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

Egyptian Currency Reserves Running Critically Low

By Matt Bradley

Egypt’s foreign currency reserves dipped to the critically low level of $13.6 billion at the end of January, the central bank said Tuesday, a day after it took more steps to prop up its battered currency.

The number falls short of the $15 billion in foreign currency that the International Monetary Fund recommends countries maintain to cover imports for three months, adding to Egypt’s economic desperation…

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

Fraud Deprives Italian Economy of One Billion in EU Funds

Audit Court bemoans corruption over last decade

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Fraud has deprived the Italian economy more than one billion euros in European Union funding over the past decade, an official with the national Audit Court said Tuesday.

Despite the efforts of Italy’s financial police, fraud related to the illegal use of EU funds has led to the billion-euro losses, said Salvatore Nottola, attorney general of the court.

Fraud is often found at the intersection of local authorities and local companies, who take on projects beyond their management abilities, he said.

“The adverse effects of mismanagement or illegal behaviour, sometimes even criminal,” contribute to the waste of EU funds, Nottola said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Globalist Funded Think Tank Says Poverty Will Save Planet

The Center for Economic Policy and Research, described as a liberal think tank, has produced a study claiming less work will save the planet from global warming. Economist David Rosnick , who produced the analysis, says the world should adopt a “more European” work schedule as a way to reduce carbon emissions.

If implemented, Rosnick’s scheme would translate into more poverty and suffering, although he does not address that consequence. Instead, he writes that a European system of less work would require a “trade-off” of up to one-quarter of “income gains” in exchange for “increased leisure time and vacation.” Of course, the average worker, deprived of “income gains” in addition to falling wages and monetary inflation wouldn’t be able to afford a vacation and would instead likely look for ways to make up for the lost income.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Greece: Gov’t Orders Dock Workers to Get Back on the Job

After islands were cut off from mainland for the sixth day

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 5 — The Greek government later on Tuesday issued civil mobilization orders to striking dock workers who said that they would continue their action unless the government met their demands for a new collective labor contract and the full payback of arrears from ferry companies.

The decision to issue striking workers with orders to return to the job or face imprisonment came as the country’s islands were cut off from the mainland for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday and following a meeting of seamen’s unions in which they decided to extend their strike until Friday. The strike, as Kathimerini online writes, has already had an impact on islanders, many of whom rely on the mainland for basic everyday supplies. On Monday, an island trade and commerce association warned that the seamen’s walkout poses a substantial threat to small businesses in the archipelago, which already face severe pressure due to Greece’s three-year financial crisis. Dock workers are demanding back pay from ship owners, a collective labor agreement and an end to undocumented and uninsured employees. They also want the government to cancel a plan to regulate the minimum number of dock workers required in each crew, saying that would lead to layoffs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bersani Says Europe Important, But Funds Should Not be Cut

European Council summit starts Thursday in Brussels

(ANSA) — Rome, February 6 — Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said on Wednesday that continuing a pro-European stance was a priority, but that it was important the EU funds for reviving Italy’s lagging economy are not cut in upcoming budget negotiations.

“We cannot accept cuts for work and growth, research and sectors like agriculture,” Bersani said in a radio interview on Radio Anch’io.

Outgoing Premier Mario Monti will attend European Council summit on February 7-8 to try to reach agreement on the financial framework for 2014-2020.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Trani Prosecutors Probe International Bankers

Investigations into Euribor manipulation of trend-setting rate

(ANSA) — Trani, February 4 — Prosecutors in the southern Italian city of Trani are looking to Britain in their investigation into the manipulation of the trend-setting Euribor interest rate, sources said Monday.

Prosecutors are focusing on managers of five international banks — London-based Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, RBS and Societe’ General — as well as seven financial traders from various countries who have worked in the City of London, the country’s financial centre.

Their probe around the Euribor began last summer at the request of consumers’ groups in Italy, following a major scandal involving the Libor interbank lending rate.

The Euribor is the euro-priced counterpart of Britain’s Libor, and three-month Euribor rates are a primary gauge of unsecured bank-to-bank lending.

It, in turn, sets the trend for other types of interest rates, trickling down to the consumer level.

Adusbef and Federconsumatori complained to the Trani prosecutors’ office, which specializes in investigating financial crime, after financial authorities in the United States ordered Barclays to pay a $200-million fine for “attempted manipulation of and false reporting concerning Libor and Euribor benchmark interest rates” at the end of June 2012.

The consumer groups estimate that the alleged manipulation of Euribor has cost Italian borrowers at least 3 billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Bankrupt Families and Companies Up 40%

According to National Statistics bureau

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, FEBRUARY 6 — Spain’s recession has led to an increasing number of families and companies which declared bankruptcy, obtaining the suspension of payments to creditors, according to data published on Wednesday by national statistics bureau Ine. Only in the fourth trimester of 2012, 2,584 declared bankruptcy, up 57% on the previous trimester and up 38.4% compared to the same period in 2011 — the highest increase in the last five years.

In the last trimester of 2012, 2,444 declared bankruptcy, 39.7% more than the same period last year. Bankrupt companies increased by 42.4% in 2012 on an annual basis, 2,349 in total, 60% more than the previous third trimester; 28.2% of companies which went bankrupt between October and December 2012 operated in the construction sector while 19.4% were in retail and 18.7% in industry and energy. Ine’s data indicated that in the last trimester of last year small and medium-sized companies with an annual turnover under 2 million euros were most hit by the crisis as they represented 70.2% of the companies which obtained the suspension of payments.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Valencia: Spain’s Most Indebted Region Per Capita

In Valencia, the legacy of the boom years is an altered skyline, miles of high-speed train tracks and a big pile of bills.

VALENCIA, Spain — A 2009 snapshot shows the president of Spain’s Valencia region cruising along in a $200,000 Ferrari.

It was Francisco Camps’ victory lap, after presiding over the Formula One European Grand Prix and the America’s Cup yacht race. Valencia was dubbed the “California of Spain” for its gorgeous coastline, modern architecture and mind-set. Construction of upscale homes and resorts was booming.

Four years later, that Ferrari photo has become an embarrassing reminder of Valencia’s heady growth years — and how much has gone awry since then.

Camps resigned as regional president in 2011 to defend himself — successfully — against allegations that he accepted expensive suits as bribes. Dozens of other politicians and businessmen caught up in a sweeping corruption investigation still face trials. And Valencia ranks as Spain’s most indebted region per capita — more than $28 billion in the red.

“Probably we are the main example of every single sin that has been committed in the Spanish economy for the last 15 years,” said Vicente Pallardo, an economist at the University of Valencia.

With the advent of the euro, Spain saw the interest rates at which it could borrow money drop from about 15% to 3%, a rate until then enjoyed only by Germany and a few other northern European countries. With Spanish inflation relatively high, borrowing was practically free and Valencia officials could not resist.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Are All Those Guns and Ammunition for Obama’s Civilian National Security Force?

Speculation abounds surrounding the 2 billion rounds of ammunition purchased by the Department of Homeland Security and other national alphabet agencies in recent years. Moreover, as the White House and their cohorts in Congress contemplate the disarming of American citizens, the very assault weapons purported to be so dangerous in the hands of law abiding gun owners are being purchased in mass quantities by local and federal law enforcement agencies.

So what is the purpose and motivation behind the government’s continued efforts to stockpile so much firepower?

[…]

The official explanation?

Target practice.

As for concern about the type of bullets — hollow points, which expand upon impact — the statement said the type is “standard issue” and is used during “mandatory quarterly firearms qualifications and other training sessions.” (link )

While the majority of Americans will take this explanation at face value, there are some key facts that suggest the Department of Homeland Security is mobilizing for a significant future action against the American people.

1. The US military has been actively war-gaming worst-case scenarios that include economic collapse and civil unrest, going so far as to simulate wide-scale food riots.

2. Just last month the military deployed gunships over Miami [10] and executed a training exercise with local police departments. A few days later, similar exercises were held in Houston, TX [11]. Last year these “exercises” also included ground forces, armored personnel carriers and tanks [12] on the streets of St. Louis.

3. Despite overwhelming opposition, there is an overt and focused movement to disarm Americans of their right to bear semi-automatic personal defense rifles and any other firearms deemed dangerous to the public. Those calling for this disarmament qualify their positions by claiming these weapons are not necessary for sporting, hunting, or personal defense. As if this provision of the US Constitution doesn’t even exist, there is a total blackout on the fundamental intent of the Second Amendment [13], which allows for citizens to bear arms to protect themselves against tyrannical government.

4. Heavily armored vehicles have been spotted all over the country [14], and many local law enforcement agencies have taken possession of these vehicles, normally reserved for military engagements, and have put them to use in neighborhoods and communities around America.

5. Congress has authorized the deployment of some 30,000 surveillance drones in the skies of America [15], to be available for use by intelligence agencies by 2015.

[Comment: Read the whole thing.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

ATF vs the Constitution

In the United States, under a republican form of government, power is divided between the states and the central government. Within the central government, as is within the states, that power is further sub-divided between branches of the government. All of these government organizations have charters or documents that govern what power they have and the boundaries each organization must adhere to. The fundamental document outlining these powers and duties are the constitutions for their respective governments. Any action by these organizations that does not have a basis within their founding constitutions is unconstitutional and therefore constitutionally illegal.

In this article we will be dealing primarily with gun laws and the primary organization of the central government that enforces national gun laws the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The main areas I wish to present are the historical evolution of the ATF, their constitutional footing, and whether national gun laws are truly constitutional.

[…]

From 1938 to 1968 everything went along fairly well until the government decided to play a little shell game, and they switched the Firearms Act from Title 15 to Title 18. Title 18 is entitled “Crimes and Criminal Procedures.” Why would the government switch the code section from Title 15 to Title 18 after having been codified under Title 15 for thirty years? The only rational reason is jurisdictional obfuscation, or hiding what would otherwise be apparent as to the limits the government could act upon us, the citizens. You see, under Title 15, the government was within its rightful jurisdiction of “Commerce and Trade”. However, if you are bound by “Commerce and Trade”, you cannot enact laws on normal citizens who are not acting in the “trade.” Therefore, the government changed, with the stroke of a pen, their Constitutional powers from commerce to crime.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Attorneys File Response in Public Notice Dispute Over Tennessee Mosque

MURFREESBORO (AP) — Attorneys say the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County government should not be exempt from giving notice of public meetings under religious land use laws. According to The Daily News Journal (http://on.dnj.com/11Fp5mv), the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission is appealing a Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling that said the county failed to provide adequate public notice prior to approving the Muslim congregation’s 2010 plans to build a bigger mosque…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Beware: A President Who Justifies Secret Drone Killings of Americans Can Justify Anything

There’s no other way to say it: This is tyranny. A President who has the power to kill anyone he wishes, completely outside of law and the Constitution, is a dictatorial tyrant. He is a “king.” This is precisely the kind of thing our Founding Fathers fought against in breaking away from the King of England. Our ancestors were fed up with secret trials, secret executions, secret court proceedings and suffering under the whims of one man whose power was completely unchecked.

“If you believe the president has the power to order U.S. citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it’s truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable,” writes constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald. He goes on to explain:

The memo isn’t justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo — and those who defend Obama’s assassination power — willfully ignore it.

This isn’t even an Obama issue, by the way: it’s an issue of the next President who comes to power, and the one after that. With this Justice Department memo, the office of the President is being granted permanent power to order the killing of any person added to a list. This power is wildly unconstitutional and illegal, yet if it remains unopposed, it is a power that will be retained by the office of the President and used by future Presidents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Celebrities and Gun Rights — Who Makes More Sense?

When celebrities open their mouths the world listens. This is a fact. It may be a sad fact, but nevertheless, it is a fact. So with two celebrities talking about gun control in the media today, it is interesting to take a peek and find out if either of them makes any sense.

In comments to reporters , Die Hard star Bruce Willis noted that gun control laws pose a direct threat to wider freedoms under the bill of rights:

“I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone,” Willis told The Associated Press.

“If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?” the star added.

[…]

Now consider an opposing opinion from comedian Chris Rock, who today took to the podium at a press conference for the “Demand A Plan” movement, which is lobbying to support the Obama administration’s proposals for strict gun control laws.

Rock said:

“I am just here to support the President of the United States. The President is our boss, but he is also… you know, the President and the First Lady are kinda like the Mom and the Dad of the country. And when your Dad says something you listen, and if you don’t it can bite you on the ass later on. So, I’m here to support the President.”

So, who makes most sense? Who has the most considered opinion? Not by any coincidence, it’s the guy who isn’t jumping on any kind of political bandwagon.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Chicago Voters Keep Electing Mentally Ill Judge

Bar associations have recommended since 2000 that Brim be tossed from her $182,000-a-year job, but voters have kept returning her to the bench. Experts have said Brim’s case highlights the difficulty of unseating a judge up for retention in Cook County.

[…]

Testimony revealed that Brim has been hospitalized five times after suffering mental breakdowns in the 18 years since she was first elected. In 2004, Brim was carried off the bench at a suburban courthouse after she froze while addressing her courtroom before starting the day, standing mute until someone called paramedics, her attorney said.

Brim, 54, was diagnosed years ago with a bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder, which means she experiences delusions and hallucinations, psychiatrist Mathew Markos testified. The symptoms can be kept in check with medication, he testified.

[One commenter to the article says:: I don’t remember if it was here on FOTM, or another venue, but they suggested a new state slogan for Illinois that goes as follows — “Illinois, where even our Governors make license plates.” ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Closest Earth-Like Planet May be 13 Light Years Away

Let’s take a peek at the neighbours. The closest Earth-like planet is probably orbiting a dim red star just 13 light years away. While that’s too far for a visit, future telescopes might be able to see it and probe for signs of life.

At a press event today, Courtney Dressing of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics presented a new analysis of planets orbiting red dwarf stars seen by NASA’s Kepler telescope. Kepler looks for exoplanets by watching stars dim as their planets pass in front of them, or transit, as seen from Earth.

Finding smaller, rocky planets this way is a challenge, since they block out less of a star’s light. But red dwarfs are relatively cool and dim, making Earth-sized worlds easier to spot.

Abundant dwarfs

Sifting through thousands of stars in Kepler’s catalogue, Dressing found 95 possible planets orbiting red dwarfs. Of these, three are Earth-sized candidates in the habitable zone — the region around a star where liquid water can exist. Statistically, that means 6 per cent of all red dwarfs in our galaxy should have rocky planets in the habitable zone, Dressing says.

Most of the stars nearest to us are red dwarfs, including the closest, Proxima Centauri. Based on the distribution of red dwarfs in the Milky Way, Dressing estimates that a potentially habitable planet is only 13 light years away. “If we’re looking for life in the galaxy, we don’t have to look as far as we thought we had to,” she says.

“I think it’s one of the more important results to come out of the NASA Kepler mission,” says John Johnson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who was not involved in the new research. The main goal of the Kepler mission, slated to last until 2016, is to determine how many planets exist in the habitable zones of stars, but many astronomers have so far focused on sun-like stars.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

DHS Insider: Obama’s Cyber Warriors & Preparing for Collapse

The following information was provided to me by my DHS contact on two different occasions. Information from my first contact was previously published in two parts (here and here). I was asked to withhold the final portion of the information that was provided to me at that time until after the inauguration. The following resumes where part II left off. At the request of this source and for the sake of continuity, the following combines the information withheld and the information from our most recent contact on 4 February 2013.

[…]

RB: First of all, two days after the inauguration, at exactly 7:00 a.m. on January 23, something called “the Cyber-Warriors for Obama Project” was activated. I heard about this the week after the election, but only saw a hardcopy draft in late December. From what I was told, I believe this is a project that is being paid for through funds from Obama’s political corporation, the 501(c)4 Organizing for Obama, I believe it’s called. I can’t be sure, but that’s what I was told.

Now I only had the binder for a minute, and could not take it from the room I was in, so this is strictly from memory.

It was tabbed, and one section with the word “targets” had a list of religious web sites, web sites I recognized as Christian. Another section was a listing of conservative Internet sites. There was another tab with the label “problem sites” that seemed quite extensive. I looked at that section, and it was broken down further into “birther” sites, “pro-gun” sites, “anti-abortion” sites, just to name a few.

DH: Go on.

RB: The instructions seemed very specific. Infiltrate web forums, collect screen names, avatars, and posters’ tag lines, and attempt to resolve these to their actual identities. I read one paragraph that listed circumstances when the “asset” was only to monitor but do not disrupt without authorization. There was another section titled “Divert, Disrupt and Destroy,” listing “how to’s” in certain cases.

There was also a section on maintaining a social media presence, and another on the most effective use of Twitter.

Lastly, there was a “reference section,” which included statistics, specific language to use to marginalize different posters, and effective methods to discredit people while maintaining a sense of legitimacy.

It was surreal, to say the least.

Oh, one more thing that’s important. As I said, these “kids,” or young people I believe, are known collectively as “Cyber-Warriors for Obama.” The subheading was “And the truth shall set you free.” Truth? Really? They were hired on their hacking abilities, or more precisely on their abilities to make postings through proxy servers and effectively use alternate identities and multiple e-mail addresses. Their purpose is to spread disinformation, not truth.

There were also motivational statements on various pages, including one that referred to Obama as the “Pharaoh of the Internet,” which I thought was an odd characterization.

[…]

Now listen to what I am telling you. This is a continuing operation that involves many of the same people on both sides of the aisle in Washington. This is one of the reasons why no one wants to talk about Obama’s past. He is the product of a continuing intelligence operation, put in power to oversee the dismantling of the U.S., with the economy being the lynchpin of our destruction.

[Comment: Read the whole thing.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Facebook Reportedly Developing ‘Not Creepy’ Location-Tracking App We Can All Totally Trust

A company that everyone trusts wholeheartedly with the troves of personal data you’ve turned over is reportedly developing an app that will further engender great faith and confidence from the public.

Just kidding, it’s Facebook. Facebook is doing another creepy thing because it is a day that ends in “y.”

Bloomberg reports that a number of sources close to the company revealed that Facebook is planning to roll out a location-tracking app in mid-March. The app would use GPS data to help users find nearby friends—hold back the tears, Foursquare!—but really it would allow the company to serve more specific ads.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Governor Urges Handgun Licenses for Residents

(WASHINGTON TIMES) Maryland Gov. Martin O’ Malley will urge state lawmakers on Wednesday to pass legislation requiring residents to obtain a license before purchasing a handgun, but Second Amendment advocates hope to drown out his message.

Mr. O’ Malley, a Democrat, will testify before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in favor of his bill, which would also ban assault weapons, limit magazine capacities to 10 rounds and require prospective gun buyers to complete a safety course and pay a $100 application fee.

However, gun-rights advocates will descend upon Annapolis to rally against a bill that they say tramples on gun owners’ rights and won’t stop criminals who carry illegal guns.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How the Post-Sandy Hook Gun Control Push Spectacularly Backfired in America

(NaturalNews) In the aftermath of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting, the gun grabbers across America unleashed a full court press to try to wholly disarm American citizens. With the help of the incessantly anti-gun mainstream media, people like Biden, Bloomberg, Cuomo, Feinstein and Obama managed to stir up a frenzy of fabricated fear that promised all our children would be violently gunned down if we didn’t immediately agree to turn in all our guns and ammo magazines.

The push for gun control, however, has spectacularly backfired. In reality, it has hardened the positions of gun rights advocates while massively increasing the number of AR-15s and other firearms sold across the country.

The backfire is far worse than the gun grabbers could have possibly imagined when they launched their efforts on the graves of the dead Sandy Hook children. Here’s my analysis of what has factually happened on the gun control front since Sandy Hook.

  • Instead of reducing sales of AR-15s and other firearms in America, the gun grab dramatically increased sales of nearly all firearms beyond any previous record. In essence, the American people bought nearly every gun available anywhere in the country, leaving gun store shelves empty. The upshot of all this? 10+ million new firearms in the hands of citizens and a one-year backlog of gun orders with manufacturers.
  • Instead of shrinking the influence of the NRA, the gun grab vastly expanded NRA membership. More than 300,000 new members have been added to the NRA’s roster in just the last few months, and the association has become more steeled in its position than ever before. The NRA has shifted even more dramatically against gun restrictions than ever before, even reversing itself on the issue of “gun free school zones” after learning that such zones don’t work. Gun Owners of America has also seen its membership numbers soar.
  • The backlash against Obama, Biden, Piers Morgan and others has been so powerful and persistent that Obama had to stage a photo op of himself shooting a shotgun in order to create the impression that he was “pro gun.” Similarly, anti-gun CNN host Piers Morgan has now broadcast a video of himself shooting an AR-15 in Katy, Texas, while softening his position and saying he was never against the Second Amendment in the first place. (Yeah, right…)

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Judge Who Shoved Deputy Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

A Democratic Party-backed judge who won re-election in November while facing battery charges was found not guilty Monday — by reason of insanity.

The insanity verdict could aid the judge’s effort to return to the bench.

Not long after Judge Cynthia Brim was charged in March with misdemeanor battery for shoving a deputy outside the Daley Center, a panel of supervising judges effectively suspended her, banning Brim from the county’s courthouses without a police escort.

Bar associations have recommended since 2000 that Brim be tossed from her $182,000-a-year job, but voters have kept returning her to the bench. Experts have said Brim’s case highlights the difficulty of unseating a judge up for retention in Cook County.

On Monday, less than a year after the judge embarked on what attorneys described as a delusional journey across the city that ended with her in handcuffs, Brim sat at a wooden table marked “Defendant” on the 13th floor of the Daley Center for a highly unusual bench trial.

Testimony revealed that Brim has been hospitalized five times after suffering mental breakdowns in the 18 years since she was first elected. In 2004, Brim was carried off the bench at a suburban courthouse after she froze while addressing her courtroom before starting the day, standing mute until someone called paramedics, her attorney said.

Brim, 54, was diagnosed years ago with a bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder, which means she experiences delusions and hallucinations, psychiatrist Mathew Markos testified. The symptoms can be kept in check with medication, he testified.

Prosecutors argued that Brim was “criminally responsible” for her actions last spring as she had chosen once again to stop taking her medications. Her attorney said a psychiatrist had advised her to only take the drugs when she needed to.

“She made the choice, despite numerous hospitalizations, to go off her medications,” Assistant State’s Attorney Maria Burnett said.

DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan — who was brought in to hear the case — said his verdict is separate from the larger question of Brim’s fitness to be a judge. The state’s Judicial Inquiry Board is investigating Brim for multiple alleged violations of the code of professional responsibility, an inquiry that could ultimately end with her removal from the bench, her attorney James Montgomery said.

“This is not about the wisdom of allowing this defendant to serve as a judge,” Brennan said.

Legal expert Warren Wolfson, who spent 15 years as a trial judge, said the board will want to be sure that Brim is capable of performing her duties on the bench. The board would consider other incidents as well, including the disruption in her own courtroom.

“The issue is whether she has the ability to perform her duties,” Wolfson said.

Brim’s November re-election campaign was backed by the Cook County Democratic Party as well as the Committee for Retention of Judges in Cook County, a campaign committee funded by judges. Judges need 60 percent of the vote to be retained; failing to meet that mark is rare.

On March 8, Brim was asked to leave the Markham courthouse after going on a tirade while presiding over traffic court, sources told the Tribune last year. The next day, she read a newspaper story about a Cook County judge who was using lots of sick leave and decided to complain to the judicial board, which disciplines judges, about what she viewed as an unfair story.

But she took the wrong bus and ended up on 47th Street, so she decided to make a “march for justice” up to the board’s Loop offices, Markos said. After walking more than 5 miles, she at some point went to her attorney’s building, but got off at the wrong floor and refused to leave a different attorney’s offices, Montgomery said.

That attorney later filed a complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Board, he said.

Brim also went to the Daley Center. After standing in the lobby for about 15 minutes, she asked deputies if any keys had been left at the security station that day, officers testified.

She then left with a set of keys and returned a few minutes later, throwing her own keys on the floor as a protest against the unjust judicial system, Montgomery said. Deputy Nicholas Leone testified that he noticed Brim’s set included special security keys for opening courtrooms and judge’s chambers in the building.

“I wanted to know why a civilian had those keys,” Leone said.

           — Hat tip: McR [Return to headlines]

Killing Us Softly

[WARNING: ** Disturbing content. **]

Euthanasia is a long, smooth-sounding word, and it conceals its danger as long, smooth words do, but the danger is there, nevertheless. —Pearl S. Buck

Condemned German: “But we didn’t think it would go that far.” American judge: “It went that far the very first time you condemned an innocent human being.” —Conversation in the American motion picture “Judgment at Nuremburg.”

“From the Soviet gulag to the Nazi concentration camps and the killing fields of Cambodia, history teaches that granting the state legal authority to kill innocent individuals has dreadful consequences.” —Pete Du Pont, former Delaware governor

Passive Euthanasia

My dear mother died on July 19, 1994. She had Alzheimer’s, but her death was hurried along because she was deprived of food and water. My baby sister had medical power of attorney and was convinced by the nursing home physicians that mother would feel no pain. When I found out, I called the nursing home in Illinois and spoke to the medical director. I told him I did not want my mother starved and dehydrated to death. He told me she wouldn’t feel anything. He never said she was receiving any pain medication. I responded that there wasn’t much difference between what he was doing to my mother and what was done by the Nazis to concentration camp prisoners. He answered that my mother could feel nothing because she didn’t have her brain function any longer. Of course, being starved and dehydrated doesn’t help with brain function of prisoners either. I hung up and wept bitter tears. Momma died three days later. I later found out that what was done to my mother had been common practice for several decades. My mother did not deserve this end. Hydration would have kept her body comfortable until God took her home.

This is called “Passive Euthanasia.” Euthanasia is Greek for “good death,” but there is nothing good about dying from a lack of hydration.

[…]

Three people have told me about deaths in their family and what has happened with hospital employees and Hospice care. My mother’s experience was in an Alzheimer’s nursing home. Their stories are going to become more common with Obama Care.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Labor Unions Feel Betrayed by Obamacare

Employees of scorpion Al Gore’s Current TV discovered, too late, the righteous-spewing global warmist is a hypocrite.

Now labor unions also discover, too late, that they’ve been betrayed by scorpion Obama.

Tyler Durden writes for ZeroHedge, Jan. 31, 2013, that the same labor unions who enthusiastically had supported Obamacare now realize — Suprise! — their healthcare plan costs are about to go up. And, as the WSJ puts it, they are now “turning sour”:

[…]

But does this mean labor unions will stop voting for the POS and stop voting Democrat?

Not likely.

Just as it’s the nature of deceiving manipulative scorpions to behave like deceiving manipulative scorpions, it’s the nature of stupid servile delusional frogs to behave like stupid servile delusional frogs.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Majority of Federal Government is Bogus, Not Constitutional

Seventy percent of Government actions that are impoverishing and enslaving you are Unconstitutional Marxist Programs and must be terminated. Know this, most Government Officials, Judges and Employees, except for Whistleblowers, are corrupt or cowardly Traitors to our Constitutional Republic. These Traitors from both political parties, along with the Media, Public Employee Unions, Educational Institutions, and many Teachers take their orders and blood money from the very same “Establishment Elite Families and Fellow Travelers” who direct the Treason and theft by both political parties, all the major banks, tax free foundations, corporations, private federal reserve bank and the government

Most of this control and theft started in 1913 with the advent of the Private Federal Reserve Bank, the Income Tax and Tax Free Foundations. The first major result of these changes was the Great Depression which impoverished everyone but the elites who profited greatly by stealing and owning even more of the country. The Federal Reserve Chairman admitted that they caused the Great Depression. You should know they are enriching the Elites again at the people’s expense, but on a much larger scale of massive unconstitutional theft, along with destruction of our currency which will force most Americans into a much higher level of poverty and hunger than in the Great Depression.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Making of a Totalitarian State

This is probably one of the most contentious times in the history of the United States as the gun control issue has moved back into the national spotlight with great fervor. Whether one is for it or against it is not the issue of this writing. Thanks to the well-defended First Amendment we have the luxury of saying what we believe in. The point of this article is to do just that, to make a few points.

The Emperor in Chief would just relish in the disarming of every law abiding citizen. This is his belief in line of his notion of transforming America. This transformation would not be for the best, I can assure you.

Countries where the citizens have turned in their weapons now regret taking that step. They realized the hard way that the only people who turned in their weapons were the ones who had legally obtained it. The criminal element will not…I repeat not…turn in their weapons…no matter how nicely asked or how much money is offered. With a disarmed population, it will be Saturday night at the OK corral every night. For the criminal element, it will be easy pickings. You can’t deny the statement that the police can’t be everywhere at the same time. There will be some serious losses in the civilian world…but that will all be for the security of the country…in the vision of the Emperor in Chief.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Microchips Everywhere: A Future Vision

Here’s a vision of the not-so-distant future:

  • Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items _ and, by extension, consumers _ wherever they go, from a distance.
  • A seamless, global network of electronic “sniffers” will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, “live spam,” may be beamed at them.
  • In “Smart Homes,” sensors built into walls, floors and appliances will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine cabinets — all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager for a peek into the occupants’ private lives.

Science fiction?

In truth, much of the radio frequency identification technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists — and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed.

[…]

Chips could be embedded in other controlled or potentially dangerous items such as firearms and explosives, to make them easier to track. This was mentioned in IBM’s patent documents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mosque Traffic Expert Presents Case for Fewer Spaces

Expert’s report counting parked cars during services at other mosques in New Jersey doesn’t satisfy Bernards Planning Board.

A traffic expert told the Planning Board on Tuesday that his count of how many vehicles actually were parked during the main Friday service at two other mosques in New Jersey indicates that the proposed mosque in Liberty Corner would need a maximum of 70 spots — not the 110 advised by board professional last month. The board’s members did not seem convinced and scheduled the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge’s traffic engineer to return on April 25 with further information, additional details on certain points in the report and an additionalvehicle count for a mosque in South Brunswick…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

NASA Spy Telescopes Won’t be Looking at Earth

What science can you do with a couple of ex-spy satellites? The twin telescopes, recently donated to NASA from a scrapped surveillance mission, have inspired the space agency to hunt for intriguing ideas — starting with a two-day brainstorm that kicks off today.

“We’re looking at issues such as, is it doable? Is it interesting, unique or compelling?” says George Fletcher at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, who is heading up the ideas search. “We want to do more than just, ‘OK, we have a space telescope, let’s go point it at a star’.”

One thing NASA won’t do with the telescopes is use them to look at Earth, he says, though studying the upper atmosphere is allowed. “We don’t want it to appear like NASA is now a spy agency.”

Last year, the US National Reconnaissance Office offered NASA two sets of optics similar to those on the Hubble space telescope but with a slightly wider field of view. The parts have been in storage while NASA decides what to do with them.

Previously NASA officials had suggested using one of the telescopes as part of a planned mission to investigate dark energy, the mysterious entity that is accelerating the universe’s expansion. Now they say they are willing to consider alternatives.

Thirty-three possibilities are due to be presented at the two-day workshop in Huntsville, including sending a telescope to orbit Mars, either to stare out to space from that unique vantage point or to image the planet’s surface in high resolution.

Other options to be presented are using the telescopes to search for and photograph exoplanets, to take pictures of the cosmos in ultraviolet wavelengths, and to map space debris or asteroids zooming around near Earth.

Fletcher’s team will choose up to six ideas for further study, and will release a full report in May.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama Orders Release of Classified Drone Documents to Lawmakers

The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release classified documents discussing the legal justification for the use of drones in targeting American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists to the two Congressional intelligence committees, according to an administration official.

The White House announcement appears to refer to a long, detailed 2010 memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who had joined Al Qaeda in Yemen. He was killed in a C.I.A. drone strike in September 2011. Members of Congress have long demanded access to the legal memorandum.

[Return to headlines]

Obama Praises New NARAL Prez

(DAILY CALLER) President Barack Obama sent a video message to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America dinner Tuesday night, welcoming incoming NARAL president Ilyse Hogue — an activist who has called the Tea Party “racist” and suggested Mitt Romney wants rape victims thrown into the water.

Obama’s 2012 deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, spoke at the event, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that paved the way for contemporary abortion rights. The dinner was held at the Washington Hilton. Tables ranged from $3,000 to $25,000.

“Tonight we celebrate the historic Roe v. Wade decision handed down 40 years ago, but we also gather to recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care,” Obama said in his video message

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Parents Sue Over ‘Child Sex at Preschool’

[WARNING: * Disturbing content.* ]

CARSON (CBSLA.com) — At least six parents have sued a Carson preschool following revelations that their children were allegedly involved in sexual acts with each other on school grounds.

Attorney Greg Owen filed the lawsuit Tuesday against First Lutheran Church of Carson School on behalf of the parents, who claim staff members failed to supervise the students and allowed them to engage in the inappropriate behavior.

Richard McCarthy said his 5-year-old son was molested in an unlocked bathroom in Oct. 2012.

“A teacher opened the door and saw this girl performing oral sex on my son,” he said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Plans Emerge for First Ithaca Mosque

After almost 30 years of planning and fundraising, Ithaca’s Islamic community has raised enough money to build the first mosque in the area — something it hopes to see happen within the next three months. “We’ve been trying to raise money for the mosque since the 1980s,” said Ahmed Ahmed, a senior research associate in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Ahmed said that the Muslim population in Ithaca and at Cornell consists of approximately 400 people. Fundraising within the small community — which he said is made up of “mostly students” — to build a mosque was difficult, he said. Now, with funds in place, Ahmed said that community members have decided to purchase a small building or piece of land, perhaps near The Shops at Ithaca Mall, to establish their mosque…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Seven Million Will Lose Insurance Under Obama Health Law

President Obama’s health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.

CBO said that this year’s tax cuts have changed the incentives for businesses and made it less attractive to pay for insurance, meaning fewer will decide to do so. Instead, they’ll choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Numbers on Plastic Bottles: What Do Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?

Have you ever wondered what the numbers, or recycling symbols mean at the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? Did you know that, while the use of all plastics should be limited if at all possible, some are safer than others? It’s time to learn a little bit about the various plastics you use and drink/eat from every single day, and what impact they have not only on you, but also the environment.

Every plastic container or bottle has a recycling symbol. The symbol is a number, ranging from 1 to 7, within a triangle. While you may think nothing of these symbols, they can actually offer a great deal of information regarding the toxic chemicals used in the plastic, how likely the plastic is to leach, how un-bio-degradable the plastic is, and ultimately the safety of the plastic.

Here is some information on the various recycling symbols and numbers:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vote on Hagel Defense Nomination Postponed

Bravo to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) for bringing the Hagel nomination to a halt with his letter to his Senate Armed Services Committee colleagues. Hagel did himself in when he refused to disclose foreign contributions to non-profit groups he joined since leaving the Senate in 2009. Credit for the halt issued by Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) also goes to Secure America Now that has been relentless in lobbying Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and leading Republican Minority members, including John McCain (R-AZ), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Cruz. Hagel’s refusal to disclose and Chairman Levin’s hold on a confirmation vote for Hagel may reflect more than just his poor presentation at his nomination hearing. Powerful Jewish lobby? It looks more like neutered cats, unwilling to face up to pressure from the Obama White House. A White House bound and determined to hollow out our military imperiling our national security and that of our only democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Denmark: An Assassination Attempt on Lars Hedegaard

by Douglas Murray

It has just been announced that my friend Lars Hedegaard, a Danish journalist and frequent critic of Islamic fundamentalism, has narrowly survived an assassination attempt at his home in Denmark. The BBC is reporting:

‘Police said a gunman in his 20s rang the doorbell at Mr Hedegaard’s Copenhagen home pretending to deliver a package and then fired a shot to the head which missed. TV2 News reported that the gun then jammed, there was a scuffle and the attacker ran off.’

Thankfully Lars has not been hurt in the attack. The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, has condemned the attack, saying:

‘It is even worse if the attack is rooted in an attempt to prevent Lars Hedegaard using his freedom of expression.’

One irony of which is that the Danish state did everything it could over recent years to prevent Lars using his freedom of expression. I’ll try to post more on this story when more is known.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Diana West: Lion Among the Dhimmi

Writing at Frontpagemag.com, Bruce Bawer discusses Scandanavian press coverage of yesterday’s attempt on the life of Lars Hedegaard. A veteran Danish journalist and historian, Hedegaard is editor of the new weekly newspaper Dispatch International, for which I am DC correspondent. I invite readers to visit our English-language site where all content is free this week in view of the apparent jihadist attack (with a gun) on a lion of liberty (who uses a laptop).

People should see exactly the kind of articles and opinon pieces that “causes” assassination attempts today in Europa Islamica — Islamized Europe. I also invite you to subscribe to DI’s English-language online edition, now more than ever, to support Lars, liberty and a free press (simply email Dispatch International and someone will contact you with subscription information: [email protected]). The media reaction, from here to there, illustrates why. We live in untenable, unbearable times due directly to the deep and wide incursion of Islam’s culture of violence and draconian law into Western society and the media don’t know how to or want to report it. This becomes terrifying clear in the reportage (or lack thereof) on a fellow journalist and historian — who happens also, at age 70, to pack a powerful punch — when he was very nearly killed this week most likely for refusing to bow to that culture and that law.

Not so our colleagues in the press, as case coverage demonstrates.

Bruce Bawer, a resident of Norway, highlights local media’s perfectly disgusting reaction, which comes in two parts: demonizing Lars for writing “hateful,” “reprehensible” things about Muslims, then standing by, smugly Voltaire-like, Lars’s right to write such “hateful,” “reprehensible” things. Yes, he’s a sewer, they insist (to placate Islam), but let the sewer flow (to pat themselves on the back). How empty.

Bawer writes:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

France: Flashback Horror for Toulouse Jewish School

The Jewish community in Toulouse has suffered an unpleasant flashback to last year’s killings by Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah with an incident in which a school student was briefly confronted by a woman brandishing a knife.

The incident occurred on Tuesday evening, outside the Ohr Torah school where Merah shot dead a rabbi and three children on March 19, 2012.

The student, who fled back into the school, was not hurt and the woman turned out to be a well-known local with a history of psychiatric problems.

But the confrontation nevertheless served to underline the sense of insecurity that haunts the community as the first anniversary of the attack approaches.

“Fear is everywhere,” said Arie Bensemhoun, the chairman of Toulouse’s Jewish community. “With every passing day we become more convinced of this: that Mohamed Merah, there was not just one of him.”

Nicole Yardeni, the regional head of the Jewish representative group CRIF, said: “There is no doubt this was an anti-Semitic act, even if you have to distinguish between anti-Semitic mania and acts with an ideological objective.”

The Ohr Torah school is better know by its previous name, Ozar Hatorah.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Student Nearly Stabbed at Toulouse Jewish Day School

Woman arrested after trying to stab a student at the Otzar HaTorah school in Toulouse, where a terror attack killed four last year.

A woman was arrested on Tuesday after trying to stab a student at the Ohr HaTorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, France.

The school was the target of a terror attack last year which left four people dead, including a rabbi and three students. It was known at the time as the Otzar HaTorah school, but has since changed its name.

Tuesday’s incident took place as a 16-year-old student walked out of the school, when he was suddenly attacked by a knife-wielding woman who tried to stab him while calling out anti-Semitic insults.

The boy managed to escape and flee back into the school compound, where he called for help. Police who were called to the scene and collected testimonies from about the incident were able to arrest the attacker at her home shortly afterwards.

According to reports in France, the attacker is known to the authorities as mentally disturbed.

Last March, terrorist Mohamed Merah murdered Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Aryeh and Gavriel and Miriam Monsonego. Before that, he murdered three Muslim paratroopers of North African heritage. Merah was ultimately killed when he tried to flee a raid on his apartment.

France has seen a surge of 45% in the number of anti-Semitic incidents over the past year.

The Otzar HaTorah school itself was the target of several anti-Semitic attacks since Merah’s terror attack. In the week after the attack, the school received a wave of anti-Semitic phone calls and emails.

Eight days after the Toulouse attack, a student from the Otzar HaTorah campus in Paris was lightly injured in an attack by anti-Semites.

The 12-year-old boy fell victim to violence by a group of unknown assailants who ambushed him outside the school and called out anti-Semitic slurs.

Last week French police arrested two men in connection with the Toulouse terror.

A source close to the investigation said the two men, aged 28 and 30, were arrested in Toulouse and brought to Paris for questioning.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Holy See Has Received 600 Reports a Year of Sexual Abuse

(AGI) Vatican City, Feb 5 — The Holy See has received 600 reports a year from all over the world involving sexual abuse.

In 2004 there were 800 cases filed, while the average for the following years was 600 with some concerning cases up to 40 years old. Figures were reported by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s new Promoter of Justice, Father Robert W. Oliver.

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

Ingroia Claims Left’s Mantle as Italian Elections Near

Former magistrate ‘personally favors’ liberalizing soft drugs

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — The new political party headed by former judge Antonio Ingroia will be the only real force on the left, according to Ingroia.

At a forum hosted Tuesday by ANSA, Ingroia said that his Civil Revolution party “will be the only true force of the left in the next parliament”.

Ingroia was refering to the leftist SEL party headed by Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola, which is part of the center-left bloc led by Democratic Party (PD) secretary Pier Luigi Bersani.

Sharing some of his ideas at the forum, Ingroia also said that he is “personally favorable” to the idea of liberalizing the use of soft drugs. Ingroia said that the current law, which makes no distinction between heavy- and light-drug use, is “unjust and wrong”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Is the Universe a Computer Simulation?

A recent scientific study undertaken by the University of Bonn in Germany suggests that the universe could be one giant computer simulation.

Cosmic rays offer clue our universe could be a computer simulation — [url]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: League Leader ‘Kept Grip’ Books, Senator Tells Prosecutors

Maroni followed party funds personally, says Stiffoni

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — A Northern League Senator told Rome prosecutors investigating a financial scandal that the party’s leader Roberto Maroni personally followed the procedures for the use of the group’s funding.

Piergiorgio Stiffoni said that Maroni made it his “practice not to communicate year-end numbers” to other party members.

Maroni, as the League’s whip in the House in 2006, “believed that the management (of party books) was up to him,” Stiffoni told investigators during questioning last November.

Stiffoni, who had a role in party administration, has been under investigation for more than a year as prosecutors probed the illegal use of party funds.

He was charged with embezzlement in January.

Investigators are further probing transferred party funds to personal accounts resulting in the alleged misappropriation of more than 955,000 euros.

Investigators had previously accused members of the scandal-hit Northern League of using public party funds to buy diamonds worth 400,000 euros and gold bullion worth 200,000 euros.

The accusations were part of an investigation into former League treasurer Francesco Belsito for allegedly channelling public funds to the family of ex-leader Umberto Bossi, who stepped down at the beginning of April 2012.

Belsito is accused of buying the jewels along with former Senate deputy speaker Rosy Mauro, expelled from the party in April, and Stiffoni.

Probes were also launched into Northern League activities by investigators in Milan, Naples, Reggio Calabria, Reggio Emilia, and Genoa.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Says Berlusconi’s Tax-Refund Pledge is ‘Poisoned Bait’

Outgoing premier blames predecessor for sharp climb in spread

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Monday’s convulsions in the Italian financial markets, including a jump in borrowing costs, are the result of irresponsible election campaign promises by Silvio Berlusconi, outgoing Premier Mario Monti said Tuesday.

Monti described ex-premier Berlusconi’s pledge to eliminate the hated IMU housing tax and return four billion euros of IMU payments made in 2012 if the centre wins the February 24-25 election as “poisoned bait” for Italians.

“It is poisoned bait, because then there would be financial consequences,” Monti, who is standing for office on a reform platform backed by centrist parties, said in a video chat posted on the website of La Stampa newspaper.

In early trading Tuesday, the spread between the 10-year Italian bond and the German benchmark yo-yoed after climbing sharply Monday.

The spread between Italian and German bond yields — a key measure of Italy’s borrowing costs and of investor confidence in the country — rose to 293 basis points, although it eased back to 287 points with a yield of 4.48%. On Monday, the spread jumped by over 20 points to close at 285 basis points while Milan’s main financial market plunged by fully 4.5% in trading.

Some analysts blamed investors’ fears over Berlusconi’s intentions to unravel Monti’s reforms, which have been popular with international financial markets.

But Berlusconi claimed that markets were more upset about problems at Italy’s third-largest bank, the scandal-plagued Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS).

“The stock market goes down because there is a big scandal of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena,” said Berlusconi, founder of the centre-right People of Liberty (PdL) political party.

The MPS scandal has given Berlusconi a political weapon as MPS has traditionally been linked with Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party, the PdL’s main opponents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi’s Party Says Monti Deliberately Rattling Markets

Alfano says premier driving up spread for political gain

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti is deliberately upsetting financial markets for political gain in the national election campaign, Silvio Berlusconi’s Party of Freedom (PdL) said Tuesday.

“Rather than reassure markets (Monti) has raised the spread for political purposes,” PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano told a press conference.

He spoke shortly after Monti, who is seeking election later this month, blamed convulsions in Italian financial markets this week on ex-premier Berlusconi’s election-campaign promises.

In early trading Tuesday, the spread between the 10-year Italian bond and the German benchmark yo-yoed after climbing sharply Monday.

The spread between Italian and German bond yields — a key measure of Italy’s borrowing costs and of investor confidence in the country — rose to 293 basis points, although it eased back to 287 points with a yield of 4.48%. On Monday, the spread jumped by over 20 points to close at 285 basis points while Milan’s main financial market plunged by fully 4.5% in trading.

Alfano suggested that markets had previously been calm because the end of Monti’s technocratic government is coming with the national elections February 24 and 25.

The latest turmoil shows that Monti has been shaking up markets for his advantage, claimed Alfano.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Says Ready to Ally With Centre Left for Reform

Outgoing premier responds to opening from Bersani

(see related story) (ANSA) — Pordenone, February 5 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti responded positively on Tuesday after centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said he was open to the possibility of working with the former European commissioner after this month’s vote in Italy.

“I appreciate all openings, including that of Bersani,” said Monti, who is standing on a reform ticket backed by centrist parties.

“I will be willing to ally with all of those, and only those, who work for structural (economic) reforms”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mayor Rebukes Vendola’s Remark on Feeling Unsafe in Rome

Alemanno says gay president of Puglia ‘offends’ the city

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno on Tuesday said Nichi Vendola, the gay president of Italy’s Puglia region, offended Rome when he said that he felt unsafe walking alone at night in the Italian capital.

In a statement via Twitter, Alemanno — who hails from Italy’s conservative political camp — said “Vendola offends Rome. >From the Europride in 2011 to every Gaypride, our city as always guaranteed a welcome and respect for everyone”. In an interview Tuesday with Il Fatto Quotidiano, Vendola — who is also the head of left-wing political party SEL — said hostility towards gays made him feel insecure in Rome.

“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 Italy. “In Italy the fact that I am insulted by fascists and Nazis from various networks isn’t even the object of 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’s Brother Accused of Racist Slur on Balotelli

Paolo Berlusconi calls player ‘little black boy’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 6 — Paolo Berlusconi, AC Milan vice-president and brother of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, has caused a racism furore after being caught on tape calling Italy forward Mario Balotelli a “little black boy”.

The video clip has been making the rounds on Italian newspapers’ websites, including Tuttosport, La Repubblica and Corriere TV.

His words came the same day that Balotelli, who had moved to Milan from English champions Manchester City last week, made an instant impact by scoring the double that earned his new side a 2-1 win over Udinese on Sunday.

The slur is likely to feed concerns about racism in Italian soccer.

Silvio Berlusconi, Milan’s owner, supported his players when Ghanaian midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng led the team of off the field following racist chants from fourth-tier Pro Patria fans during a friendly on January 3.

Paolo Berlusconi’s comments came at the end of a political meeting Sunday in Varedo, near Milan, where he suggested the group of men he was with wrap up their business in time for the Udinese game.

“And now let’s see the little black boy of the family, the hot-head,” said Paolo Berlusconi, who — like his brother Silvio — is campaigning for election in this month’s national vote.

“All the young ladies are invited, as well — you can even have a chance to meet the president (Berlusconi),” he added.

Balotelli, a talented , temperamental striker who was born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, has not commented on the remarks. He was due to play for Italy in a friendly in the Netherlands later on Wednesday.

Recently he noted: “racism is very difficult to fight…you have to hang in and eventually prevail”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Promises to Cut Parliament in Half if Elected

Outgoing premier to make changes ‘in first cabinet meeting’

(ANSA) — Oderzo, February 5 — Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti promised to cut the number of parliament members in half if elected when Italians go to the polls this month.

Monti, who is leading a centrist coalition, vowed to make the change “in the first cabinet meeting”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Gives Centre Left Ultimatum Over Alliance Partner

Prospect of Berlusconi’s alliance returning gives PM ‘shivers’

(see related story) (ANSA) — Verona, February 6 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti gave centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani an ultimatum on Wednesday, when he suggested Bersani would have to drop his alliance with the left-wing SEL party if he wants to have a post-election pact with the former European commissioner.

“I image that if Bersani is interested in cooperating with the forces that I represent, as he said he is, he will have to make choices inside his pole,” said Monti, who is standing on a reform platform backed by centrist parties. He added that the prospect of the alliance between ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party and the right-wing devolutionist Northern League returning to government “gives me the shivers”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre Left Warned Not to Ally With Monti by Partner

SEL leader Vendola says ‘incompatible’ with outgoing premier

(ANSA) — Rome, February 6 — Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani was warned on Wednesday not to consider making a post-election pact with outgoing Premier Mario Monti by coalition partner Nichi Vendola.

Bersani and Monti, who is standing on a reform platform backed by centrist parties, made overtures to each other on Tuesday, with political pundits saying Bersani is likely to win the February 24-25 election but may not have a working majority in parliament.

Vendola, the governor of Puglia and the leader of the left-wing SEL party, told Bersani that he and Monti were “incompatible”.

“I hope Bersani does not want to take the responsibility of breaking the centre-left alliance,” added Vendola, whose party was staunchly opposed to Monti’s emergency technocrat government unlike Bersani’s Democratic Party, which supported it.

“A vote for the SEL is an insurance policy for centre-left supporters. It’s a guarantee that there won’t be the heavy influence of Monti”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ancient Pompeii to Get 105 Mn Euro Makeover

The long-neglected Roman city of Pompeii will get a 105-million euro ($142-million) makeover partly funded by the EU starting on Wednesday, a day after former site managers were put under investigation for corruption.

The project, which is being funded to the tune of 41.8 million euros from the European Union, is seen as crucial for the survival of Pompeii after a series of collapses at the 44-hectare site in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

The erupting volcano devastated Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago in 79 AD but the ash and rock helped preserve buildings almost in their original state, as well as forming eery shapes around the curled-up corpses of victims of the disaster.

The hugely popular site near Naples has come to symbolise the decades of mismanagement of many of Italy’s cultural treasures, as well as the fallout from recent steep cuts in budgets for culture because of austerity measures.

The repairs are aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to the elements, reinforcing the ancient Roman buildings, restoring Pompeii’s famous frescoes and increasing video surveillance at the site where security has been lax.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Milano Assicurazioni, Fonsai Boards May Sue Ligresti Family

Family members, auditors, accused of millions of euros of losses

(ANSA) — Milan, February 5 — Members of the Ligresti family, the former majority owners of the nearly-defunct Milano Assicurazioni and Fonsai insurance companies, will likely face lawsuits by the companies themselves after having caused hundreds of millions of euros of damages to the companies’ former shareholders.

The boards of directors of the two companies, who almost collapsed last year, have called for shareholder meetings on the 13th and 14th of March, respectively, to determine actions against former company administrators and auditors, according to a statement released Tuesday.

The meetings will determine what actions to take against Ligresti family members Salvatore, Jonella, Giulia and Paolo, former Chief Executive Fausto Marchionni as well as councilors and auditors who served with the two companies.

In the statement Tuesday Matteo Caratozzolo, Fonsai’s administrator, said that in real estate transactions he investigated the group “was subjugated to the will of the Ligresti family, through the action of yes-men administrators.

The value of the damages caused is huge, in the order of hundreds of millions of euros”.

Caratozzolo also said in his report that Salvatore Ligresti was paid “abnormal compensation for the purpose of making the Fonsai group purchase real estate owned exclusively by connected companies”.

The family will also be called to answer for its use of the firms’ financial resources to pay for some 4.76 million euros in sponsorships for horses owned by Ionella Ligresti — “a further way to unjustly drain resources from the Fonsai group for the benefit of the Ligresti family,” according to Caratozzolo.

Separately Tuesday, negotiations on redundancies between unions representing employees of insurer Unipol and Fonsai, which was absorbed into Unipol as part of efforts to salvage the Ligresti companies, got off to a bad start.

According to a joint union statement, Unipol is attempting to get dodge “fundamental guarantees” for workers by not deliberately excluding from its proposal for integrating the two firms’ work forces references to individual or collective firings.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Monti, Bersani Signal Post-Election Alliance in Italy

‘I appreciate center left’s opening’ says outgoing premier

(ANSA) — Pordenone, February 5 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti responded positively on Tuesday after centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said he was open to the possibility of working with the former European commissioner after this month’s vote in Italy.

“I appreciate all openings, including that of Bersani,” said Monti, who is standing on a reform ticket backed by centrist parties.

“I will be willing to ally with all of those, and only those, who work for structural (economic) reforms”.

Earlier Tuesday centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said he would be willing to work with Monti after the election February 24 and 25.

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 favoured 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.

Meanwhile Bersani’s centre-left coalition stopped its slide in the opinion polls on Tuesday when it increased its lead over Berlusconi’s centre-right alliance.

The centre left saw its lead over the centre right rise to 5.5% in the latest SWG poll, 0.5% higher than in the previous survey on Friday.

The centre left had 33.6% of the projected vote, compared to 32.8% on Friday.

Support for Berlusconi’s alliance also increased, but by less, gaining 0.3% to reach 28.1%.

The centre left’s once mighty advantage in the polls has been whittled down in recent weeks after Berlusconi embarked on a media blitz.

The centre-left coalition also saw its standing in the polls fall last week following a derivatives scandal at the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) bank, which has historic ties to the PD.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (MS5) of comedian Beppe Grillo was steady in third place at 18% in Tuesday’s poll.

Monti’s centrist coalition dropped 0.9% with 13.3% of projected votes.

Civil Revolution, a new party led by Palermo anti-Mafia magistrate Antonio Ingroia, fell 0.1% to 4.9%, still above the 4% threshold needed in order to qualify for seats.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs an ‘Apocalyptic Threat’ To Humanity, Say Experts

(NaturalNews) In the very near future, an “apocalyptic scenario” will more than likely emerge in which simple infections become deadly killers that are completely untreatable using modern medicine. This is the opinion of several prominent medical experts, including the U.K.’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, who recently made these and other chilling statements about the future of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” and their threat to humanity.

As reported by the U.K.’s Guardian, current antibiotic options could become completely obsolete in as few as 20 years, triggering a national emergency that can only be compared to something like a large-scale terrorist attack, or pandemic flu. As doctors continue to indiscriminately dole out antibiotics to their patients, and factory farmers inject their livestock with antibiotics to offset filthy conditions, antibiotic resistance is reaching a critical tipping point.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sicily’s Regional Council Revokes MUOS Authorisations

(AGI) Palermo — Sicily’s regional council has revoked the authorisations to set up the U.S. satellite defence system .

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

Suicide Attack: German Prosecutors Were Probing Ankara Bomber

Before he blew himself up in front of the US Embassy in Ankara on Friday, Ecevit S., a 40-year-old Turk, spent years living in Germany, where he was under investigation by federal prosecutors for membership in a terrorist organization.

The suicide bomber who blew himself up in front of the US Embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday had been known to German criminal investigators for years.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office had been investigating Ecevit S. since early 2011 because it suspected him of being a member of a foreign terrorist group. A spokesman for the office said S. was suspected of having been a member of the left-wing extremist group “Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front” (DHKP/C), which is banned in Germany.

S. is accused of having helped to obtain funding for the organization. But the prosecutor’s office said it had had no information about his whereabouts or activities since mid-October 2012.

S. is believed to have lived in Germany for years. The Berlin state prosecutor’s office had investigated him in 2009 after he was found to be in possession of leaflets and other publications by DHKP/C. But proceedings against him were dropped.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘The Bullet Flew Past My Ear’: Danish Anti-Islam Writer, 70, Narrowly Survives Doorstep Assassination Attempt

A writer and outspoken critic of Islam narrowly escaped being shot dead after he opened his door to a would-be assassin posing as a delivery man at his home in Denmark.

The gunman rang the doorbell of 70-year-old Lars Hedegaard’s apartment in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, under the pretext of delivering a parcel, but when the writer opened his front door the hitman pulled out a weapon and fired a shot that just missed Mr Hedegaard’s head.

According to Mr Hedegaard, who described how the bullet ‘flew past’ his right ear, said the sniper fled after the writer punched him in the face causing him to drop his gun.

[Comment: More details on the attempted assassination. ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Philosopher and the Terrorist: When Sartre Met RAF Leader Andreas Baader

Jean-Paul Sartre’s meeting with RAF leader Andreas Baader was long considered to be one of the philosopher’s great missteps. A transcript of the meeting, which has only now been released, shows the Nobel laureate actually wanted to persuade him to stop murdering people.

A large entourage of journalists gathered at the Stuttgart airport, awaiting the arrival of the short-statured intellectual. French star philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s visit to Andreas Baader — the top terrorist of Germany’s Red Army Faction (RAF), the radical left-wing group also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang — was a worldwide sensation. It was Dec. 4, 1974.

A Peugeot brought the 69-year-old Sartre to a high-security prison in the Stuttgart suburb of Stammheim. The thinker was initially reticent, but at a press conference after the meeting with Baader, he leveled heavy accusations against the West German government, then under the chancellorship of Helmut Schmidt.

The RAF prisoners were being held in solitary confinement in sound-proofed cells with constant artificial lighting. It was not “torture like that of the Nazis,” but “another torture, a torture that leads to psychological disturbance,” he said.

Sartre’s critique suited Baader and his comrades, who hoped that this prominent visitor from Paris might bring on a wave of solidarity. But the public reaction was devastating. Word spread quickly that the philosopher never even saw the cells at the newly constructed Stammheim Prison, which were equipped with television sets and small libraries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Protests Erupt After Opposition Member Killed

Ministry besieged, thousands march in ‘revolution’s birthplace’

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 6 — Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Tunisia after a leading member of the country’s opposition, Chokri Belaid, was killed on Wednesday morning, shot dead as he was leaving home in the residential El Menzha area in the capital Tunis.

Belaid was gunned down at close range, with one shot reaching his head and another the back of his neck. A first reconstruction of the assassination still lacks key clues including the number of assailants and how they reached Belaid’s home.

After the first reports on the assassination emerged, thousands of people besieged the interior ministry on avenue Bourghiba, in front of which were deployed hundreds of police officials to protect the building. Other demonstrators staged a wake in front of the hospital where the politician was brought in critical condition and where he eventually died. Meanwhile thousands of people took to the streets in a number of cities across the country including Sidi Bouazid, the epicentre of an uprising which in 2011 led to the fall of Ben Ali’s regime. A number of attacks have also been reported against offices of Ennahdha — Tunisia’s Islamist ruling party — which were set on fire by protesters.

Belaid, 48, an attorney, was a member of the Popular Front and backed a secular state against the religious offensive promoted by Ennahda which is championing a growing influence of Islam in Tunisia. He had received threats in the past connected over his campaigns.

On Tuesday, he attacked Ennahdha on television blaming the party for the recent resurgence of violence in Tunisia.

Ennahda President Rached Gannouchi immediately condemned the murder of Chokri Belaid, calling on all political forces in the country not to fight and urging police to bring the killers to justice.

From Strasbourg, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki slammed the murder as ‘odious’, blaming unspecified ‘enemies’ who want the revolution to fail. The President of the European parliament Martin Schultz condemned the assassination on the EU’s behalf, telling Marzouki that the crime cannot remain unpunished.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK Government Plans to Track All Web Use: MI5 to Install ‘Black Box’ Spy Devices to Monitor British Internet Traffic

UK spy agencies want to install ‘black box’ surveillance devices across the country’s communications networks to monitor internet use, it emerged today.

A report by an influential committee of MPs tells how spooks are keen to implement a nationwide surveillance regime aimed at logging nearly everything Britons do and say online.

The spy network will rely on a technology known as Deep Packet Inspection to log data from communications ranging from online services like Facebook and Twitter, Skype calls with family members and visits to pornographic websites.

The report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, published on Tuesday, gives UK intelligence agencies’ perspective on the government’s draft Communications Data Bill, which is intended to update surveillance powers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: “Christianity Can Go to Hell” Says New Muslim Patrol Video

‘Muslim Patrol’ returns with a seventh video, directly addressing David Cameron

Having been exposed, here on The Commentator in January, the group responsible for the now infamous ‘Muslim Patrol’ videos has been subject to police action, resulting in five arrests last week. Since then, however, a seventh ‘Muslim Patrol’ video has come to light (see below). Though it is not possible to say with certainty that the newest video was recorded after recent media and police interest, the video features a number of comments which would suggest that the latest clip is indeed a reaction to the public backlash:

Those people attacking Muslim Patrol because of our activities against Western society are clearly misguided away from the understanding of worship of Allah“, remarks one particpant. “Islam is here in London, Mr. David Cameron, Mr. police officer, whether you like it or not. We are commanding good and forbidding evil on this Saturday night, while the police, they try to get us through the media“, says another…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: 1,200 Deaths, A Damning Report on ‘Failings at Every Level’ And 290 Recommendations for Reform.

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

Now families of the Stafford Hospital victims and union chiefs call for the head of the NHS to resign.

QC says NHS is too focused on business, cash and targets, not patients.

The head of the NHS should resign for presiding over the ‘appalling care’ that led to at least 1,200 patient deaths at Stafford Hospital, victims’ families claimed today.

As Robert Francis QC’s damning 1,782 page report was finally published and found ‘failures at every level’ which led to the scandal, the Prime Minister revealed that not a single nurse or doctor has been disciplined or struck-off.

Patients at Stafford Hospital were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases, given the wrong medication or sent home with life-threatening conditions.

But despite hundreds of people dying needlessly over four years, Francis’s report does not blame anyone for the dismal care as problems ‘cannot be cured by finding scapegoats or sacking individuals,’ he said.

Meanwhile it was announced this afternoon that five other NHS trusts running eight hospitals are to be investigated because they have ‘persistently high’ death rates over the past two years.

[…]

Christine Dalziel, 68, from Rugeley, Staffs, whose 64-year-old husband, George, died in Stafford Hospital in 2007, said her husband had been ‘starved’ after being operated on for bowel cancer at the hospital, she said.

He was also left in agony because of mistakes over his pain relief.

‘I hope that this report will make people realise that we are doing this for everyone else’s sake,’ she said.

‘We don’t want other people suffering like our family did. This has left us with a life sentence.’

She said on the day her husband died she had helped him into his jacket in the presence of a junior doctor.

‘His bones were sticking out of his back. I was in shock,’ she said.

‘I said: “What are you doing with my husband?” and she would not answer me.’

[…]

Loved-ones of the 1,200 people who died after entering two ‘hell-hole’ hospitals are calling for nursing staff and management to face prosecution for their appalling standards of care.

Patients were forced to sit in their own excrement, drink water from vases to stay alive while others were sent home with life-threatening injuries or died following routine operations.

[…]

David Cameron is appalled by the findings of a long-awaited report into the deaths of up to 1,200 people between 2005 and 2008 because of poor care in hospitals run by the Mid Staffordshire trust.

It is expected to blame managers who cut costs and reduced staffing levels in an attempt to hit Labour’s ‘efficiency’ targets and win foundation status.

[…]

One of Barack Obama’s health tzars is going to help reform the NHS, it was revealed today.

[Comment: A preview of Obamacare….and a real jaw dropper: an Obama Health czar to help reform NHS.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: All Puppies to be Microchipped in Plans to Crack Down on Dangerous Dog Attacks

Every newborn puppy will be microchipped under plans to crack down on dangerous dog attacks.

Ministers announced measures that will require all owners to have their pets undergo the procedure. They will have three years to comply.

The owner’s details can then be accessed using a handheld device, making it easier for the police to trace the owners of violent dogs.

[Comment: Owners, medical reports point to link between RFID chips and cancers in canines. www.antichips.com ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Community Groups Unite in Reaction to Far-Right Plans for Berwick Demo

Community groups from both sides of the border are preparing to unite in the face of provocation from a right-wing pressure group. Bodies including the transport union RMT, the Berwick upon Tweed and District Trades Union Council and Unite Against Fascism have banded together to form the Berwick & Borders Anti Fascist Alliance. The move comes ahead of a protest by the Scottish Defence League (Borders Division) scheduled to take place in Berwick on Saturday, February 16. On that day the Alliance will hold a counter demonstration in the High Street, from 11am…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Churchill Insurance Has Appealed Against Paying Up to £1million Compensation to a Teenager Left Brain Damaged in a Car Accident — Because She Wasn’t Wearing a High-Visibility Jacket.

Bethany Probert, then 13, was mowed down while walking home from a horse-riding lesson down a country lane in Silverstone, Northamptonshire.

The schoolgirl, now 16, suffered a broken collarbone, lung damage, and devastating head injuries which have caused permanent brain damage.

A judge found the driver 100 per cent liable for the crash on the evening of December 3, 2009 and insurance giant Churchill was ordered to pay up to £1m in compensation to fund Bethany’s full-time care.

But the company has now launched a ‘disgraceful’ bid to wriggle out of paying the cash — claiming the accident was Bethany’s fault.

The Court of Appeal has allowed the insurers to appeal the original ruling, which means the teenager could be left with nothing if they find her to be at fault.

Churchill’s lawyers plan to tell the court Bethany should have known to wear reflective clothing because she was an experienced horse rider.

But her family have slammed the claims as ‘ridiculous’ — arguing that Bethany was just a child.

They have already been forced to sell their house to accommodate the teenager’s disabilities.

The rise is exacerbated by the euro crisis, which has forced Bulgarians and Romanians to seek a better life in their nearest big economy.

A report by the German Association of Cities says they face ‘significant costs as a result of this poverty migration’.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Doncaster Mayor Quits English Democrats ‘Because of BNP’

Peter Davies, the mayor of Doncaster, has resigned from the English Democrats claiming there has been a big influx of new members joining from the British National Party.

Mr Davies, who was elected to the post in 2009, had planned to stand for a second term at May’s local elections. He will now continue in office as an independent until the poll…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: East London Mosque Hosts a Rally for Terrorist Lovers

You have seen the East London Mosque’s latest lie, prompted by the “Muslim patrols” in East London: The East London Mosque is committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough.

The truth is that the mosque is a home for vicious hate preachers and extremists who support terrorists. Consider yet another extremist event due to be held at the mosque’s London Muslim Centre later this month. It will champion Aafia Siddiqui. First, some background. In 2010, Siddiqui was convicted in open court in New York of attempting to murder American and Afghan soldiers and officials in 2008…

[Reader comment by Lamia on 5 February 2013.]

This has been going on for far too long. East London Mosque should be closed down and razed to the ground. Its managers and trustees should be prosecuted for promoting terrorism, anti-semitism and homophobic hatred, Those responsible for funnelling public money to it for years should be sacked. And those public figures and organisations who have tried to whitewash it for years, hoping to gain favour with one group by betraying others, deserve to be boycotted or held up for public scorn.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Gay Saudi Prince Who Killed Manservant to Serve Jail Term at Home

A homosexual Saudi prince jailed for life in Britain for killing his manservant is to serve the rest of his sentence in his home country, it emerged today.

Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah II, was jailed in 2010 for killing Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz at their five-star hotel suite in London.

He was convicted at the Old Bailey, after the court heard he had subjected his aide to a “sadistic” campaign of violence and sexual abuse, which culminated in the “brutal” assault…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Girl, 13, Arrested on Suspicion of Murder After Man Found Dead in Remote Country Lane

A 13-year-old girl has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man’s body was found in a remote country lane.

A 47-year-old woman and three men, aged 31, 27, and 21, have also been arrested and are being questioned by detectives.

Nottinghamshire Police today launched a murder investigation after the man was found in countryside near the village of Everton on Saturday.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Julia Manning: Notes on a Scandal — How the Staffordshire Public Rose Up to Seek for Justice

Julia Manning is Chief Executive of 2020Health

In September 2007, Mrs Bella Bailey was admitted to Mid-Staffordshire NHS Hospital Trust. She was ill, but not dying. After the first few days her family were so shocked at her treatment and the neglect of other in-patients they started a 24 hour vigil by Mrs Bailey’s bedside. Despite this constant watch, after eight weeks Mrs Bailey had a fall in the hospital and was given a massive overdose of blood thinner by mistake. She died on November 8th 2007. Julie Bailey, her daughter, was sure that what she had witnessed were not isolated incidents. Julie wrote to the local press, asking whether other families had had similar experiences…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Knights of Malta to Open Soup Kitchens in Britain

They were once warrior monks who tended to fallen crusaders and sick Christian pilgrims amid the burning desert scrub of the Holy Land.

But nearly 1,000 years later, the Knights of Malta, once known as the Hospitallers, are opening soup kitchens and shelters across Britain and the rest of Europe in response to rising poverty and homelessness caused by the economic crisis. The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta — as the chivalric order is officially known — is this week celebrating 900 years since it was given official recognition by the Vatican, with a ‘bull’ or decree issued by Pope Paschal II in 1113, in the midst of the crusades.

The order’s 98,000 members and volunteers, who long ago swapped their chain mail and tunics for doctor’s coats and emergency worker overalls…

[JP note: More pork please.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Lithuanian Mugger Tracked Down by Footprints in Snow After Attacking Student Just 48 Hours After Arriving in UK to Start New Life

A Lithuanian who mugged a student just 48 hours after arriving in the UK was tracked down after police followed his footprints in the snow.

Margiris Jogela, 22, began his new life in Britain by punching and robbing his drunk victim just after 4am at the University of East Anglia.

The frightened student was trying to unlock his bike in Norwich when he was pounced on by Jogela and an accomplice.

The two thugs hit him in the head before fleeing with his wallet, mobile and cash, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.

But they were captured on CCTV and Jogela was caught after officers tracked him down in the snow.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Racist Jibes Prompt Saga to Scrap Its Social Network ‘Facebook for the Over 50s’

Saga has closed the social networking website it set up as a rival to Facebook for the over fifties because of what it said were “racist, homophobic and anti-semitic comments”. Paul Green, a spokesman for the company, explained: “There were some particularly vicious exchanges recently about the Middle East and some people were banned after accusations of making anti-semitic or anti-arab comments.”…

[Reader comment by scaroth on 6 February 2013 at about 10 am.]

So the generations that gave their lives, and lost their fathers and grandfathers, in confronting the most racist, homophobic, anti-semitic regime in European history, can now be defined as racists, homophobes and anti-semites, by the generations of twerps they have sired. Something wrong surely?

[Reader comment by bladebone on 6 February 2013 at about 9:30 am.]

I suppose these outspoken pensioners should consider themselves lucky that they haven’t been arrested and prosecuted under “hate speech laws” for bemoaning the ruination of their country by mass third world immigration. Telling the truth is a revolutionary act these days and, consequently, banned by the authorities.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Sharia Law Has No Place in Britain or Anywhere Else

Out of seven people interviewed, I was the only one who was against sharia and for a secular state. My interview has subsequently triggered a debate in Sudanese media, both at home and in the diaspora, from which campaigns have emerged inciting people against me, calling me a ‘Kafira’ (infidel) and ‘Murtadda’ (a person who has left Islam) .

The Facebook page of the Sudanese Armed Forces’ has also posted my picture, declaring me an infidel and a apostate

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Senior Met Police Chief Quits With Race Crisis Parting Shot

One of Britain’s most senior Asian policemen, Chief Superintendent Dal Babu, has accused chief constables of failing to understand the importance for more ethnic minority recruits.

The 49 year-old is today quitting the Metropolitan Police after being rejected for promotion to chief officer rank.

He was considered unsuitable to assume the top rank because his media interview skills were not of a suitable standard despite having a glittering CV, the Guardian reported.

He speaks four languages, holds a master’s degree, was awarded an OBE for services to police and community in 2010 and is thought to be behind rising public confidence ratings in the North London borough he is in charge of.

Today, Ch Supt Babu, 49, who retires from Britain’s biggest police force after 30 years’ service, attacked his colleagues who he claimed “don’t get it”, when it came to understanding the need for more black and Asian recruits.

The officer, originally from Walsall, West Mids, said “radical measures” were needed so police had a better understanding of different cultures but added that the Met had made “good progress” over ethnic recruitment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Viral Gene in Genetically Engineered Foods Could Promote Disease

The European Food Safety Authority has discovered a hidden viral gene in 54 of 84 commercially approved genetically engineered crops—a finding that highlights deep flaws in the regulatory process.

Plant pathologists speak out about the potential dangers of the viral gene fragment in GE plants, stating it may confer “significant potential for harm,” and call for a total recall of affected crops.

Plants expressing the viral gene fragment exhibit gene expression abnormalities, which indicate that the protein produced by gene functions as a toxin. The known targets of its activity are also found in human cells, so there is potential for this plant toxin to also have toxic effects on humans.

At present, the only way to avoid GE foods is to eliminate processed foods from your grocery list, and buy primarily whole foods grown according to organic standards. The need for labeling of GE foods is also becoming more apparent in order to allow for health monitoring.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Where Evil Lurks: Neurologist Discovers ‘Dark Patch’ Inside the Brains of Killers and Rapists

A German neurologist claims to have found the area of the brain where evil lurks in killers, rapists and robbers.

Bremen scientist Dr Gerhard Roth says the ‘evil patch’ lies in the brain’s central lobe and shows up as a dark mass on X-rays.

He discovered it when investigating violent convicted offenders over the years for German government studies.

‘We showed these people short films and measured their brain waves,’ he said.

‘Whenever there were brutal and squalid scenes the subjects showed no emotions. In the areas of the brain where we create compassion and sorrow, nothing happened.’

The dark mass at the front of the brain, he says, appears in all scans of people with records for criminal violence.

[Comment: be sure to check out the related links just below Stalin and Hitler pictures.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Anti-Islamist Tunisia Politician Shot Dead

Shokri Belaid, a campaigning politician who warned of the dangers of Islamist groups, has been shot and killed in Tunisia.

Thousands of people flocked to protest outside the interior ministry in Tunis, in the aftermath of the execution-style assassination. The demonstrators accused the governing Ennahada party of failing to prevent the proliferation of violent fundamentalist factions inspired by al-Qaeda. Shokri Belaid was shot in the head and chest as he left his home in Tunis.

Belaid was part of the secular opposition Popular Front movement that opposes the Islamist-led government that emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring revoluton. “My brother was assassinated. I am desperate and depressed,” Abdelmajid Belaid, brother of the dead leader said. “I accuse [Ennahda leader] Rached Ghannouchi of assassinating my brother,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Clashes in Tunis: Protestors Erect Barricades

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 6 — Clashes have once again broken out in Tunis and protestors are erecting barricades in the streets. The rioting in Avenue Bourghiba has shifted to nearby streets, but tear gas remains thick in the air as police continue to shoot dozens of canisters to disperse protestors.

Many of the demonstrators are very young and are throwing stones at the police behind the acrid smoke. Meanwhile, in the city of Beja a manhunt is underway for the most prominent supporters of the Islamic government party Ennahdha. ‘Patrols’ of demonstrators protesting the killing of a secular opposition party leader have taken to the streets in search of the party’s local supporters, taking advantage of the fact that, as the Tunisie Numerique site reports, the police have given up control of the streets and the Army is guarding access points to the city while staying away from its central areas.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Iranian President Appears to Have Shoe Thrown at Him

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to have a shoe thrown at him during a visit to a mosque in Egypt on Tuesday. The shoe did not hit Ahmadinejad, but the president was quickly ushered away to his car outside the ancient al-Hussein mosque. Security officials said the protester, believed to be Syrian, had been arrested by police. Showing the sole of your shoe to someone in the Arab world is considered a sign of extreme disrespect — and throwing your shoe is even worse.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Women March Against Harassment on Wednesday

A number of women’s rights groups and activists have called for a march against sexual harassment under the slogan “The Street is Ours” from Sayeda Zeinab to Tahrir Square on Wednesday. In a statement, the feminist groups said that the march is a response to the increasing cases of sexual harassment and assaults on activists during protests that took place in the past two weeks as Egypt commemorated the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. “Egyptian women will not be intimated by terrorist attempts,” the statement said, adding that women will not give up on their duty to struggle for rights and freedoms…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Maspero Massacre: Military Court Sentences Two Christians to Three Years in Jail

Michael Farag and Michael Shaker were accused of stealing a machine gun. They were among the 30 Christians arrested on 9 October 2011 for inciting violence and destroying military vehicles. For the families of the 28 Christians killed in the incident, the verdict is an insult. So far, no military officer has been tried or convicted for the massacre.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Sixteen months after the Maspero building massacre that left 28 people dead, a court in Cairo sentenced two Christian Copts to three years in jail for stealing a machine gun from a soldier during the incident. Michael Farag and Michael Shaker were among the 30 civilians arrested on 9 October 2011 on charges of inciting violence, destroying military vehicles and deliberately attacking soldiers. For the Coptic community, the conviction is an insult to the victims.

This Friday, the Maspero Youth Organisation, which represents victims’ families, as well as pro-democracy political movements and other victims of associations plan to march from Cairo’s Dawaran Shubra neighbourhood to Talaat Harb, where the Egyptian Supreme Court is located, to demand the conviction of armed forces leaders, deemed the real culprits in the massacre.

Military police chief General Hamdi Badeen and his deputy General Ibrahim Damati as well as other officers are on trial for their role in the crackdown. A number of accusations have been filed in the past few months against members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for issuing the order to fire on the crowd.

So far, the military court has tried and convicted only three soldiers, sentencing them to three years in prison. Court papers make no mention of the attempted massacre against Copts. They also do not contain the autopsy reports showing that 12 of the victims were crushed by armed vehicles and 16 died from gunshot wounds.

The paradox is that Egyptian prosecutors claim that Christians shot at their own co-religionists even though video footage shows soldiers opening fire on peaceful demonstrators and attacking people in the square.

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

Egypt’s Elbaradei Accuses Islamists of Religious Bullying

(AGI) Cairo — Mohamed ElBaradei accused the country’s Islamic political majority on Wednesday of turning religion against rivals .

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

FGM: Concerns Over Potential Backslide in Egypt

Women left behind after revolution, says former minister Khattab

(ANSAmed) — ROME, FEBRUARY 6 — Former Egyptian minister Moushira Khattab commented on Wednesday on the Supreme Court’s decision to reject an appeal by Islamist lawyers to lift the ban on female genital mutilation (FGM). She called it a “historic” decision”, given the “present situation in Egypt”. The ban was initially brought in under Nasser and supported by numerous civil society organisations. A widespread social and cultural campaign focusing on rural areas was later conducted by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, led by Khattab from 2001. The former minister was in Rome for a conference on FGM which drew to a close yesterday. “Remarkably, in the span of 5 years we succeeded in changing what was a socially accepted practice into a crime punishable by law”, Moushira Khattab said speaking to ANSAmed. “A success made possible by our role as a catalyst for a courageous grass roots movement that declared their categorical refusal of this harmful practice”. But presently, she added, “the great role played by the mass media to raise awareness on the negative impact of the crime has completely disappeared. The role model has changed and the message is now different. Prosecution has faded away. It all points towards regression to early 20th century discourse”. Thanks in part to the position taken by such high-profile religious authorities as Grand Mufti Mohammed al-Tantawi, opposed by the opinion of other accredited Islamic scholars, the campaign sought to raise awareness that genital mutilations were not a divine order but an attack on the physical integrity and rights of the individual, and that they also pose a serious health risk. She noted that while 97% of women in childbearing age had undergone the procedure in 2000, the percentage has since been brought down substantially among girl children, including those in rural areas. The former minister said that the “ultimate goal” of the campaign was to make female genital mutilation a crime under article 242 of the Penal Code. The law was introduced in 2008 and calls for fines and prison sentences of up to two years for those who break the law, and the attempt to repeal the law recently rejected by the court dates back to those days.

However, over the past two years there has been “a setback” as concerns prior achievements. Women’s “heroic role was pivotal for the success of the January 25th revolution”, she says. “Today they have been left behind”, and “have been denied their rights to participate in shaping post revolution Egypt. They were excluded for the group that made the constitutional amendments in March 2011, then marginalized in the Constituent Committee that wrote the 2012 constitution. Their representation in the Post revolution Parliament has been shameful with less than 2%”.”Post-revolution Egypt is becoming increasingly difficult for women’s rights. This is due to the deep-seated patriarchal customs and the association of past authoritarian regimes.

Dormant conservative value systems have surfaced in the midst of political change. Critical among them are the conservative religious discourse that gained ground by stealth”. “More serious of all is women against women’s rights. Leading women in the post revolution regime both as members of parliament or Islamist party members speak publicly against women’s rights.

They advocate FGM and child marriage. The media is now hogged by leading figures of political Islam who are pushing women back to their medieval role. During the presidential campaigns part of the efforts to buy the support of voters, some candidates sent caravans to circumcise girls free of charge, in violation of the law that criminalized FGM”, said Moushira Khattab, now a Public Policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, a visiting professor at Perugia University, and a member of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Affairs.

As concerns what effects the new Constitution could have on this issue,”it stipulates for broad principles and still awaits a battalion of laws to fill many constitutional gaps. It all depends on who will formulate and pass these laws”. “Many articles in the constitution can push women to the back seat (article 2, 4, 219, 10 and 11). Together these articles can establish a theocratic state and set a strategy that subjects legislation to religious leaders and gives the judge to make ruling based on some vague constitutional clauses such as “keeping the morals of the society”, said Moushira Khattab. She went on to speak about the future of the struggle against FGM in the rest of the world and after the historic December 20 UN resolution, noting that “with increasing immigration, FGM has become a global issue. The adoption of the UNGA resolution marks a milestone in the global fight against violence and discrimination against women and girls in general and FGM in particular. This milestone wouldn’t have been possible without the sincere and courageous efforts of Senator Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate and founder of “No Peace without Justice” Emma has lent this cause her unwavering support to the eradication of FGM. The government of Italy has lent enormous support, setting an example for other European countries. The UNGA resolution is not the end but rather a beginning, and the Rome conference has achieved solid results by drawing up a roadmap for the future”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Live Updates: Fallout From Leftist Politician Chokri Belaid’s Assassination

Leftist politician and leader of the Popular Front coalition Chokri Belaid was shot to death this morning, and his body was subsequently taken to the Cité Ennasr clinic. Shortly after news of his death consumed the airwaves and social media, protesters took to the streets to express their indignation over Belaid’s assassination. Tunis’ main thoroughfare, Habib Bourguiba avenue, is on lockdown, and there is currently a growing crowd in front of the Ministry of Interior…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisian Opposition Leader Shot Dead

Murder of Chokri Belaid, leader of Unified Democratic Nationalist party, triggers 1,000-strong protest outside interior ministry

A Tunisian opposition party leader who had been critical of the Islamist-led government and radical Muslim violence has been shot dead. Chokri Belaid, leader of the Unified Democratic Nationalist party, was shot outside his home in Tunis on Wednesday morning and died in hospital shortly after. President Moncef Marzouki cut short a visit to France and cancelled a trip to Egypt scheduled for Thursday after the killing, which triggered a 1,000-strong protest outside the interior ministry. Chanting for the fall of the Islamist-led government, demonstrators shouted “Shame, shame Chokri died”, “Where is the government?”, and, “The government should fall”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Opposition Party Leader Killed

Chokri Belaid shot down in front of his home

Chokri Belaid, the leader of the Unified Democratics Patriots Party, died after being shot as he was leaving his home in Tunis on Wednesday morning

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — The leader of the Unified Democratics Patriots Party, Chokri Belaid, a member of Tunisia’s opposition, died after being shot as he was leaving his home in Tunis on Wednesday morning. According to the first reports, Belaid was killed with four short-range gun shots.

Belaid was a leading member of Nidaa Tounes, a new political bloc which is today Tunisia’s main opposition member. Nidaa Tounes has been repeatedly targeted by militia supporting the National League for the Protection of the Revolution which backs the government. According to the first reports following his death, Belaid was gunned down and intentionally assassinated.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel Urges World Leaders to Declare Hizbollah a Terrorist Group

Israeli prime minister Bejamin Netanyahu has urged world leaders to declare Hizbollah a terrorist organisation.

Shortly after Bulgarian authorities blamed the group for a deadly bus bombing in 2012, Mr Netanyahu said Hizbollah has built a “worldwide terrorist” network and was planning attacks in more than 20 countries. Five Israeli tourists died in the bombing in July 2012 in a Black Sea resort. The announcement from Bulgaria that they believed the Lebanese group to be behind the attack prompted a swift response from Israel. “This is further corroboration of what we also know, that Iran and Hizbollah have built a worldwide terrorist network,” Mr Netanyahu said. “I believe that is what is required right now… is to call it what it is. It’s time to name Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation, to take action against it.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck Show From Hebron, Israel

First we took you to Samaria. Now we’re in Judea—the other half of Israel’s Biblical heartland. We visit the ancient city of Hebron—burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah, Sarah, and Leah.

Also, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy Yuli Edelstein joins us to discuss the importance of Judea and Samaria to Israel’s heritage and its security.

Plus: we sit down with Itamar Marcus, with Palestinian Media Watch, to discuss what Mahmoud Abbas really wants with a Palestinian state.

Click the link above to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck [Return to headlines]

Daniel Pipes: Is Turkey Leaving the West?

Recent steps taken by the Government of Turkey suggest it may be ready to ditch the NATO club of democracies for a Russian and Chinese gang of authoritarian states.

Here is the evidence:

Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times unsuccessfully to join as a Guest Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (or SCO, informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three (and in 2001 a fourth) former Soviet Central Asian states, the SCO has received minimal attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO, to democracy, to displacing the U.S. dollar as reserve currency. After those three rejections, Ankara applied for “Dialogue Partner” status in 2011. In June 2012, it won approval.

[Comment: Interesting reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Evidence of Hamas Fighters Working With Assad

The military hospital in Port Sudan received a group consisting of (60) element fighters belonging to the Assad regime in Syria. The group includes wounded and badly wounded.

Several sources indicate that the group includes Palestinians fighters belonging to Hamas working with the Assad regime in secret, noting that the group according to the status of wounds includes fighters were “field injuries.”

There were conflicting stories about the sources and means of transport of the group to port Sudan military hospital, where some sources indicated that the group was transferred from Damascus to Khartoum airport and from there to Port Sudan, while others confirmed the group moved from a field naval hospital base of the Russian military in Syria through naval frigate to Port Sudan.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

Iran’s Ahmadinejad Seeks Strategic Axis With Egypt

(Reuters) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the first visit to Cairo by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, called for a strategic alliance with Egypt and said he had offered the cash-strapped Arab state a loan, but drew a cool response.

Ahmadinejad said outside forces were trying to prevent a rapprochement between the Middle East’s two most populous nations, at odds since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and Egypt’s signing of a peace treaty with Israel in the same year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Lebanon Will Work With Bulgaria, Premier Miqati

To shed light on July terrorist attack that killed 5 Israelis

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 5 — Lebanese authorities are ready to collaborate with their Bulgarian counterparts to find those responsible for the deadly terrorist attack on Israeli tourists last July, Al Arabiya cited Lebanese Premier Najib Miqati as saying Tuesday. This follows on a Bulgarian government statement earlier today that the attack was organized by the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is part of Miqati’s government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Losing the Battle With Islam

We are losing the battle is Islam and, unless this is reversed, we shall end up being its slaves “Egypt, the largest Arab state, the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid, and our second most important ally in the Middle East, is now in the hands of a hostile regime—an elected one at that—which we continue to treat as a friendly one,” says Raymond Stock in a recent article published by the Middle East Forum.

When President Obama gave a speech in Cairo on January 25, 2009, it was portrayed as an outreach to the Middle East and Islam. Seated in the front row at Cairo University, however, was the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. The speech asked Muslims to define themselves “not by national or ethnic identity, but by their religion.”

What followed was the overthrow of the Mubarak regime and the election of Mohamed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood as president, a victory for its 84-year struggle for power in the land of its birth. How radical is the Muslim Brotherhood? In January on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a key figure in Morsi’s government, Fathi Shihab-Eddim, called the Holocaust a hoax cooked up by U.S. intelligence operatives, saying that the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II had simply moved to the U.S.

[…]

The U.S. is not alone, however, it supporting a regime dedicated, along with the rest of Islam, to the destruction of the West. Morsi is expecting a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, plus $5 billion in emergency aid from the European Union. More billions have been pledged by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

[Comment: Read the whole article. By the way, didn’t the international banks also support Hitler financially? Looks like the world is being conned again as another enemy of the west is being built up. The stage is being set.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Police Defuse Bomb Near Army Base in Yemen’s Aden

ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — Yemeni police troops managed to defuse a bomb near an army base in the southern port city of Aden on Tuesday, a military official told Xinhua.

Experts of the bomb detection and disposal squad defused an improvised explosive device at the back of the air forces headquarters in Aden, the local military official said on condition of anonymity. “An improvised explosive device near the headquarters of the air forces was successfully removed and detonated at a safe location,” the military official said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

The Woman Sniper of Syria: Rebel Fighter Nicknamed ‘Guevara’ Takes Revenge on Assad’s Troops After Her Children Were Killed in Airstrike

Originally from Palestine, the sniper told the Telegraph that she first picked up a gun at a military training camp in Lebanon run by Palestinian militants from the Hamas group.

Even before the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in the spring of 2011, Guevara says that she was staunchly opposed to his rule, helping to create an underground opposition newspaper while studying at Aleppo University.

She was even part of an underground political party for Palestinians who met to plot the defeat of al-Assad’s regime.

Her first marriage broke down because her husband was not revolutionary enough and she threatened to leave her new husband, the leader of her rebel brigade, when he initially refused to let her fight.

[Comment: The slant of the article is sure to leave you slack-jawed. A commenter at end of article “This smacks of propaganda”.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkish PM Calls for Closer Economic Ties With Hungary

BUDAPEST, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — Visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for closer economic ties between his country and Hungary. Erdogan made the remark at a news conference he held here with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban following a meeting between the two. Erdogan said Hungary and Turkey were cooperating in the military field as NATO allies. He also expressed thanks to Hungary for its permanent support for Turkey’s EU accession…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkish Parliament Considers Converting Hagia Sophia to Mosque

In a surpise move, a commission of the Turkish Parliament last week accepted a petition from a Turkish citizen to reopen the Hagia Sophia as a place of worship for Muslims.

The center of Orthodox worship in the Eastern Roman Empire for over a thousand years (360 — 1453), the Church of the Holy Wisdom, more commonly known by its Greek name Hagia Sophia, has been a museum since 1935 and draws millions of visitors every year. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, it became the first imperial mosque of the Ottoman Empire, and the call to prayer sounded from its minarets for almost 500 years.

The decision by Atatürk’s government to designate the building as a museum was an obvious attempt at reconciliation between the Turks and Greeks, who had been feuding for centuries.

The fact that the Turkish Parliament would consider opening the building for use as a mosque may reopen old wounds. The former church still prominently features six gigantic green medallions with the names of Allah, the Prophet, and Islam’s first four caliphs.

Conservative groups in Turkey, such as the Anatolia Youth Association, have been conducting campaigns to have the structure rededicated to Islamic worship. It’s conversion to a museum has long been viewed as a betrayal of the Ottoman Empire by Muslim groups.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Blast at Restaurant Kills Five in Afghanistan

KABUL: A bomb hidden in a pressure cooker exploded inside a restaurant in northern Afghanistan Tuesday, killing five people, senior officials said.

The explosion, which occurred shortly before noon in Faryab province, was targeting a former militant commander, according to the provincial governor Mohammadullha Batash.

The former militantcommander, Mohammad Nadir, was among seven people wounded in the blast in the upscale district of Khwaja Sabz Poshi Wali, Batash said, adding that two suspects had been arrested. Nobody claimed responsibility for the blast.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India: Orissa: Hindu Extremists Have Christians Arrested on False Accusations of Proselytism

Since 18 January, two faithful are in prison, following a police raid on a private home. The raid resulted from trumped up charges of local fundamentalists. “Political” pressure preventing their release on bail. Christian activist: project for state “Hinduisation” underway.

Delhi (AsiaNews) — The arrest of “innocent Christians”, in jail under the pretext of “false accusations” of “forced conversions”, says Sajan K George, president of the activist network Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemning the latest case of violence against the religious minority in Orissa, the Indian state already known for the anti-Christian pogrom of 2008 which killed over 500 people. The fact dates back to January 18, when two followers of a Protestant community were imprisoned on (false) accusations of proselytism and forced conversions, according to the “draconian” — as defined by activists — Orissa Freedom of Religion Act ( Ofra) enacted in 1967, but often used to commit abuses and violations.

Local sources said that the police disrupted a prayer meeting that was taking place in the village of Gudikhamari, Baripada district in the state of Orissa. The raid took place at 11:30 am on January 18, in the house of a convert (from Hinduism), who had always offered his homes to celebrate the functions. At the time of the police raid, inside there were seven families who were forced to stop the service.

Members of a Hindu extremist movement who, previously, had denounced the believers for “proselytizing” in violation of OFRA accompanied the police in the raid against the small Christian community. The charges are unfounded, but were enough to trigger police actions which led to the arrest and imprisonment of Bahadur Murmu, 23, leader of the small Christian community, along with 21-year-old Rama Soreng.

The prayer meeting was held in the home of a former Hindu faithful who, five years ago embraced Christianity. At the time of the attack the extremist Hindu group was drunk and threatened to strike the faithful gathered in prayer. Only the presence of police prevented further violence. Pro human rights groups and Christian movements have called for the release on bail of the two arrested so far in vain because of pressure from local leaders of the judiciary and police.

Christian activist Sajan K George tells AsiaNews that there are many cases of faithful affected by OFRA, jailed on “baseless” charges and allegations made by Hindu extremists who “perpetrate their reign of terror and oppression undisturbed.” A situation which continues thanks to the lack of “political will” to resolve the issue, leaving extremists a free hand to implement their project for the “Hinduization of Orissa”.

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

India Ready to Nominate Left’s Favorite Whipping Boy

Indian Conservatives are about to do what US Conservatives refused to do for the last eight years.

For months, there had been a great deal of debate and speculation that the BJP would nominate the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi as their candidate for Prime Minister and as the face of the party. The position of Chief Minister is roughly the same as a US Governor, and under Modi’s ten-year rule and the strength of his character, Gujarat has become India’s state with the most consistently increasing prosperity. That is a big part of his appeal. Very early in his tenure, Modi took a strong hand in scrapping entitlements and big government programs in favor of a pro-growth, pro-business agenda. He also helped eliminate India’s notorious corruption in his state. The results have become canon here with Gujarat’s per capita income in the most recent measure rising by 17 percent.

[…]

Modi, however, has been a demon to the left both in India and worldwide. They share an article of faith that Modi was somehow responsible for the 2002 inter-religious riots that killed 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus (although Modi’s vilifiers rarely mention the latter). At the insistence of groups like the Congress on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others, the US State Department refused Modi entry to the US on the basis of these accusations. Even though every Indian court, including the Supreme Court, has exonerated Modi (as have the millions of people—Hindus and Muslims alike—who consistently vote for him); former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently re-affirmed the administration’s position.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Moderate Muslims and Islamists Clash Over Chinese New Year

Controversy surrounds the celebration. For extremists, it is a non-Islamic, Buddhist celebration, and should therefore not be observed. For moderates, it is part of the country’s tradition and culture. President Yudhoyono is criticised for failing to protect minorities and stopping fundamentalism.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A few days before Chinese New Year, known as ‘Imlek’ in Indonesia, moderate and extremist Muslims are embroiled in a row over the celebration. For the former, there is nothing more natural than to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which begins this Friday and marks the start of the Year of the Snake. For the latter, the event can only lead people astray, and as a Buddhist celebration, it is un-Islamic and should be banned. For most Indonesians however, it is a “great celebration,” a family affair when schools, offices and businesses are closed.

The controversy began when some radical Muslim clerics in Solo and Surakarta, central Java, made public statements against the observance, first among them, Zainal Arifin, head of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Surakarta. In his view, Imlek is unworthy of celebration because “it is not Islamic, but Buddhist.” Many other radical Muslim clerics share his view, and are planning a campaign against feast days that are not part of the Islamic tradition.

Moderate Muslim leaders disagree. For them, it is “both legitimate and understandable” that Muslims may want to mark the start of the Year of the Snake. In Indonesia at least, the event does not have only religious connotations but is a major cultural event with dances, songs and shows, like ‘barongsai’, the dragon dance. In fact, for Kiai Hajj Abdul Muhaimin, president of Yogyakarta’s Interfaith Forum, Muslims can celebrate Imlek.

Conversely, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has come under criticism for failing to protect minority cultures as part of the country’s heritage. For many years in fact, Indonesia’s Chinese community had not been allowed to celebrate their New Year.

In 1967, General Suharto issued a decree banning all Chinese cultural practices in the country following the death of seven top military officers on 30 September 1965, which was pinned the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). For decades thereafter, anything that was Chinese (objects, celebrations or events) was outlawed, including Imlek (AKA Sin Cia, Chinese day in Indonesian).

In 2000, the late reformist President Abdurrahman Wahid (AKA Gus Dur) lifted the ban and allowed Chinese-Indonesians to celebrate openly their traditions.

Since then, many Indonesians began studying traditional Chinese dances, like the dragon dance, as well as Mandarin.

For the past three years, Imlek has been a national holiday.

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

Indonesia Still Struggling With Violence, Religious Intolerance

The year 2012 was a turbulent time for minority rights in Indonesia. Incidents of violence, sometimes resulting in death, were frequent and countless communities are still being denied the opportunity to practice their religion, despite laws guaranteeing their inherent rights.

An annual report by Human Rights Watch released this week suggested that very little effort was being made to protect religious minorities’ rights in Indonesia. The watchdog organization says that radical decentralization as well as discriminatory and ineffective legal infrastructure are major obstacles to achieving equality.

The report focused on Indonesia’s religious violence, discriminatory local bylaws and the imprisonment of Papuan and Moluccan activists as inhibiting Indonesia’s path to becoming a “rights-respecting democracy.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Norway Pledges More Aid to Afghanistan

Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has pledged to continue to offer aid to Afghanistan, during President Hamid Karzai’s official visit to Oslo.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Talks Between Stoltenberg and Karzai on the Future of Afghanistan

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Afghan President Hamid Karzai had talks in Oslo yesterday on the political developments in Afghanistan.

“As we now wind down our military presence in Afghanistan, we will still continue to support progress in the country,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

At the same time as the international military forces are preparing to leave the country, the Afghan authorities are planning next year’s presidential election. The election will determine who is to be President Karzai’s successor, because after two presidential terms he cannot stand for re-election…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Thousands Flock to Bangladesh’s Shahbag Square to Demand Death Penalty for War Crimes

DHAKA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — Frustrated at a war crimes verdict, thousands of people, mostly pro-ruling party men, flocked to Shahbag square, an iconic place in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, for the second consecutive day Wednesday demanding death penalty for crimes against humanity in 1971. Under the banner of “Bloggers and Online Activist Network”, hundreds of people started to gather in the square since Tuesday afternoon after the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party, to life term imprisonment for his war crimes. Apart from ruling partymen including many ministers of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet, scores of noted personalities joined the sit-in program Wednesday morning to drum up their demand…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

War Crimes Trial Verdicts Put Bangladesh on Edge

Tension is soaring in Bangladesh as a war crimes trial set up to investigate atrocities committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence draws to a close, with the first of the verdicts announced last month and another expected on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians died in the war many of them at the hands of Islamist militia who opposed independence and wanted Bangladesh to remain part of Pakistan. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government set up the war crimes tribunal two years ago and pledged it would adhere to standards of international justice.

But Bangladesh’s opposition parties say the tribunal has been politicized. All of the ten people on trial for war crimes are opposition politicians. Eight are senior leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party that is an electoral ally of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Protests have built since the tribunal on Jan. 21 sentenced Abul Kalam Azad, a well-known cleric and a former member of Jamaat-e-Islami, to death for crimes including genocide, murder, rape and arson. Mr. Azad was sentenced in absentia and his whereabouts are unknown. Rights groups criticized the failure of Mr. Azad’s state-appointed lawyer to call any witnesses in his defense.

Verdicts are imminent in separate cases against two other Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and Abdul Quader Molla, who face charges including murder, rape and arson. The court is likely to hand down Mr. Molla’s verdict on Tuesday, according to lawyers working at the tribunal.

Both men, who are in custody in Bangladesh, deny wrongdoing. Their sentencing is likely to be met by protests from party workers.

The Jamaat-e-Islami called for a nationwide strike on Tuesday ahead of the verdict against Mr. Molla, who holds the post of assistant secretary general in the party.

In the past two weeks, Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP supporters have attempted to enforce strikes and shop closures, leading to clashes with police.

Police said they shot and killed two Jamaat-e-Islami activists last week in fighting across the country. The party said four of its members were shot dead by police.

Over the weekend, 12 people, including five policemen, were injured after supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, clashed with police in a suburb of Dhaka.

Shafiqul Islam Masud, a member of the Majlish-e-Shura, or central council that runs the Jamaat-e-Islami, claimed the government was unfairly targeting his organization.

“We do not accept this trial, which we’re afraid is nothing but judicial killing with a political motive,” he said. “The Jamaat-e-Islami has 10 million members and we will exercise our right to protest. We will lay down our lives on the street before we let this government punish our leaders for crimes they did not commit.”

He claimed the police had used undue force against protesters.

Monirul Islam, a police spokesman, denied opposition activists were being unfairly targeted. “When someone is out to create anarchy, the security forces have a duty to act,” he said.

The BNP, led by Khaleda Zia, a former prime minister, has stopped short of calling for the trials to be stopped, but has accused Ms. Hasina of using war crimes as a pretext for targeting the opposition.

“The Awami League forged an electoral understanding with the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1996 to win the election,” said Rizvi Ahmed, a senior BNP leader. “They did not talk about war crimes then. This time they’re targeting Jamaat because it is allied with us.”

Ms. Hasina, the prime minister, has denied politicizing the war crimes tribunal. On Saturday, she said street agitation would not stop the trials, a process she said was “necessary to rid the nation of stigma,” according to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, the state-owned news agency.

Muhammad Musa, a political analyst and former newspaper editor, said there was a risk that street violence might spiral out of control and threaten Bangladesh’s fledgling democracy. “Unless good sense prevails and the Jamaat-e-Islami restrains its rank and file, violence might destabilize the state,” he said…

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa [Return to headlines]

China: One-Child Policy Enforcer Crushes Baby to Death After Parents Refuse to Pay “Fine”

[WARNING: *** EXTREMELY DISTURBING CONTENT. ***]

A Chinese official from Wenzhou, China, crushed a 13-month old baby-boy to death by driving over him after the parents refused to pay a fine for violating China’s one-child policy.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leftist Rebels Kill 1 Civilian Every Week in 2012: Philippine Military

MANILA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — The Philippine military accused Wednesday the leftist New People’s Army (NPA) of killing one civilian every week in 2012. The Armed Forces of the Philippines issued the statement by citing the atrocities committed by the rebels last year. The leftist rebels were responsible for 374 violent incidents last year, which caused the death of 53 civilians over the country, military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said. “Rounding up the statistics, an innocent civilian is killed by the NPA every week last year,” he said. Aside from the killings of civilians, he said that the violent incidents perpetrated by the rebels also resulted to the death of 81 military personnel, eight policemen, and 22 para-military…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Fear Doesnt Need a Visa, And It’s on Tour Already

What is not contested is that a dangerous Islamic fringe is active in numerous countries. Wilders will be accompanied to Australia by five Dutch police officers. He lives under permanent 24-hour security.

Fear has arrived here before him. On Wednesday, the organiser of the tour, Debbie Robinson, told me yet another venue had cancelled and there had been another act of corporate suppression directed at the tour.

“This morning the venue in Sydney cancelled. There was a meltdown. The events manager at the venue was screaming. Right now we have no Sydney venue.”

It was not her only setback. “Yesterday PayPal froze the funds in the account that is processing ticket sales. They will not tell me why. All staff keep saying is the account is under review. It’s been like an Orwellian nightmare.”

This follows a refusal by Westpac to allow her to set up a payment system and refusal by more than a dozen venues to host a Wilders event, citing security concerns.

The first attempt at a lecture tour last year was cancelled due to visa problems. The then minister for immigration Chris Bowen delayed granting a visa until after the cancellation.

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Huge Victory Against Fluoride in Australia

(NaturalNews) Nearly 200,000 Australians have been released from the medical slavery that is artificial water fluoridation thanks to a major governmental policy change. The Liberal National Party (LNP) government of the Australian state of Queensland has not only cut $14 million of funding that had previously been used for fluoridation, but has also decided to allow local councils to decide for themselves whether or not to fluoridate, a move that has already prompted the northern city of Cairns to end its water fluoridation program.

As reported by The Australian, former “One Nation” member of parliament (MP) Rosa Lee Long, who is now mayor of the north Queensland Tablelands Regional Council, successfully lobbied LNP to end a longstanding policy that compelled local communities to fluoridate without approval from local residents. The government of Queensland last year also ended a policy that required larger communities to fluoridate their water, which is similar to existing fluoridation mandates in California and elsewhere.

So by the middle of March, Cairns’ more than 150,000 area residents will no longer be exposed to fluoride chemicals in the water, making it the seventh community in Queensland to end water fluoridation so far this year. Murgon, Wondai, Kingaroy, Nanango, Blackbutt, and South Burnett have all ended their water fluoridation programs since January which, combined with the area population of Cairns, represents nearly 200,000 people who will no longer be forcibly medicated with an unapproved drug.

“If people want to have access to fluoride, they need to take that up with their dentists,” said a local Cairns council spokeswoman about the policy change. “The decision has been made … [fluoride] shouldn’t be forced on people without consent.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslims Condemn Ethnic Gun Crime Focus

THE Muslim community says the move by NSW Police to put the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (MEOCS) in charge of gun crime investigations will split the community instead of solving crime.

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Keysar Trad says it’s wrong to focus on ethnicity and police would do better to use a title that reflects the geographic focus of the operation. More than 130 shootings occurred in NSW last year, by the state opposition’s count, with most located in Sydney’s west. “By constantly telling people that this is about ethnicity then you are excluding the majority of Australians from participating in solving this problem,” Mr Trad told AAP. “The only way to unite Australian society is to make sure you don’t use divisive labels,” he said. Michael Kennedy, a police detective for 18 years who now heads the University of Western Sydney Bachelor of Policing program, said the sentiment behind the shift was “pretty legitimate”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sam Ekermawi Who Accused Alan Jones for Racially Vilifying Muslims is Facing Bankruptcy

A SYDNEY father who claims shockjock Alan Jones racially vilified Sydney’s Muslims three days before the Cronulla riots in 2005, is facing bankruptcy.

Sam Ekermawi, of Moorebank, took legal action against Alan Jones and 2GB after hearing Mr Jones’ comments on his breakfast program on 2GB on December 8, 2005. Mr Ekermawi first lodged his complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Board in 2005, and seven years later he is still waiting for it to be heard in the ADT…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Sergio Redegalli’s Latest Mural: Stop the Cover Up Muslim Riots

Sergio Redegalli, the fearless Australian sculptor who originated the “Say No to Burqas” mural, keeps finding it defaced by Leftists and Islamic supremacists, and keeps repainting it. Here is the latest version

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France is Engaged in a ‘Real War’ With Terrorists in Mali

(AGI) — Paris, Feb 6 — France has deployed the maximum number of 4,000 troops in Mali. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France’s Europe 1 Radio that France will not deploy more troops and confirmed that clashes broke out on Tuesday around the town of Gao, the last stronghold of Islamist militants.

French troops fought jihadists who had been left behind. Mr. Le Drian said that French forces are embroiled in a “real war” with “terrorists.

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

Nigeria: A Monument to Profligacy

The African First Ladies Peace Centre that began last year as an outlandish joke appears to be taking the shape of a huge financial strain on the resources for the federal government.

The centre was conceived when Nigeria’s first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan hosted a meeting of the Africa First Ladies Summit in the capital. She was elected its president. That event itself was not without controversy, given the fat bill that the government had to foot after the guests had departed…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

People of Timbuktu Save Manuscripts From Invaders

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) — For eight days after the Islamists set fire to one of the world’s most precious collections of ancient manuscripts, the alarm inside the building blared. It was an eerie, repetitive beeping, a cry from the innards of the injured library that echoed around the world.

The al-Qaida-linked extremists who ransacked the institute wanted to deal a final blow to Mali, whose northern half they had held for 10 months before retreating in the face of a French-led military advance. They also wanted to deal a blow to the world, especially France, whose capital houses the headquarters of UNESCO, the organization which recognized and elevated Timbuktu’s monuments to its list of World Heritage sites.

So as they left, they torched the Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research, aiming to destroy a heritage of 30,000 manuscripts that date back to the 13th century.

“These manuscripts are our identity,” said Abdoulaye Cisse, the library’s acting director. “It’s through these manuscripts that we have been able to reconstruct our own history, the history of Africa . People think that our history is only oral, not written. What proves that we had a written history are these documents.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mexico: Police Hunt for Attackers of 14 Tourists

ACAPULCO, Mexico, Feb. 6 (UPI) — Investigators are following leads in the attack on 14 people, including the rape of six women, at a vacation villa in Acapulco, officials said Wednesday.

Guerrero State’s Attorney Elva Martha Garzon said investigators have “strong evidence” concerning the men who attacked the 14 vacationers Monday, raping six women and tying up seven men, El Universal reported.

Thirteen of the victims were from Spain. The 14th victim was a Mexican female who was not sexually assaulted, Garzon said.

Garzon said during a radio interview five armed men, wearing hoods, entered the villa where the tourists were staying and attacked them. Besides the assault, the men stole laptop computers, cellphones, credit cards and other items.

The prosecutor said the search has expanded but “significant progress” has been made, adding he expected “positive results” soon.

Asked why the Mexican woman wasn’t raped, Garzon said she identified herself as Mexican, asked not to be raped and “hence was not touch,” he said.

He said municipal, state and federal offices were involved in the search for the assailants. The Spanish victims have been in contact with their country’s diplomatic officials in Mexico.

[Return to headlines]

Peru Looks to Asia, Arab Countries for Development Aid

LIMA, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — Peru is looking to Asian and Arab countries for development aid as the country’s European partners scaled back support amid the ongoing debt crisis, a Peruvian official said Tuesday. Lima is especially keen to strengthen ties with China, South Korea and Japan, Luis Olvera, director of the Agency for International Cooperation (APCI), told the official news agency Andina. Olvera said ties with China have already resulted in several projects funded with Chinese support, and other “options are opening” for the Asian giant to forge closer ties with Peru. According to the official, Arab countries have also expressed interest in aiding Peru, especially since Peru hosted the 3rd Summit of South American-Arab Countries last year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Is This the Future for Britain? German Cities Plead for Help From Berlin as ‘Social Peace’ Is Threatened by Large Number of Romanian and Bulgarian Immigrants

Cities in Germany have warned that ‘social peace’ there is at risk due to an influx of economic migrants from Bulgaria and Romania.

In a stark warning to the UK, reports tell of an epidemic of illegal working, chaos in schools because so many children can’t speak German, and an alarming increase in organised crime since the migrants arrived.

Dortmund, Hanover, Berlin and Hamburg say they are struggling to absorb a six-fold increase in economic migration from the two countries since 2006.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘No Plans’ To Tighten Sweden’s Asylum Policy

The Swedish government has no plans to tighten asylum policy, Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag said on Tuesday in the wake of comments by Migration Minister Tobias Billström that current immigration levels are “unsustainable”.

Billström caused a stir at the weekend when he called for a reduction in the “volumes” of immigrants coming to Sweden.

“Today Sweden is one of the countries that receives the most immigrants in the EU. That’s not sustainable,” he told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

Despite Billström’s comments, made in the context of his Moderate Party’s efforts to revamp Sweden’s current immigration and integration policies, Ullenhag, a member of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), said on Tuesday that no changes in government policy were in the works.

“It’s important for the Liberal Party to defend a humane asylum policy and for us to be open to the world,” he said at a conference about Somalis’ integration in Sweden arranged by the Fores think tank, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).

“Different parties have different policy programme groups. There are no plans from the government to tighten asylum policy.”

Ullenhag went on to discuss the challenges facing Somalis who have come to Sweden in the last two decades, explaining that one of the impediments to integration has been the difficulty they’ve had reuniting with relatives in Sweden.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Immigrants to be Banned From Taking Driving Tests in Foreign Languages in Bid to Stop Cheating and Boost Road Safety

Immigrants are to be banned from taking driving tests in 19 foreign languages in a bid to stop cheating and boost road safety, it was announced Tuesday.

As well as beating fraud and keeping unsafe drivers off UK roads, the move to end foreign translations and translators will increase ‘social cohesion and integration’ in Britain and cut costs, the Government said.

Those learning to drive can currently take their theory and practical driving tests in any of 21 languages.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Stunned Jobseeker Finds Vacancy for a Workman Advertised Entirely in Polish

A vacancy for a labourer advertised on a Government website left a young jobseeker confused — because it was written entirely in Polish.

The advert, looking for a workman to take on a job at London’s Docklands with rock bottom pay in return, had been posted on the Jobcentre Plus website.

But the Department for Work and Pensions, which operates the site, has taken the advert down after it confirmed that all posts must be in English.

A spokesman for the website said that it had also removed the post.

He said: ‘We flagged this up with the recruiter who explained that the employer who owns the construction site is a Polish man who doesn’t speak any English.

‘Due to health and safety reasons he therefore needs to employ someone who speaks Polish.’

The spokesman added that it was explained to the recruiter that an advert can be placed in English but that it can state that applicants must speak fluent Polish.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Wealth of Words

E D Hirsch, JR.

The key to increasing upward mobility is expanding vocabulary.

A number of notable recent books, including Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality and Timothy Noah’s The Great Divergence, lay out in disheartening detail the growing inequality of income and opportunity in the United States, along with the decline of the middle class. The aristocracy of family so deplored by Jefferson seems upon us; the counter-aristocracy of merit that long defined America as the land of opportunity has receded…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Al Sharpton Drops ‘God’ From Pledge

In a recently released commercial for the network, part of its “Lean Forward” series, MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” host and Baptist minister Rev. Al Sharpton is featured, expressing the need to renew the fight against discrimination. And at the end of his plea, he cites the Pledge of Allegiance, but omits the phrase “under God” from it.

“We must have a renewed fight for many of the things we fought for because voting rights, and women’s rights, and the rights of people against discrimination, whether they’re African-American, Latino, lesbian and gay must be protected, until we have a nation that is really living up to the creed of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” Sharpton said. “Not all of one kind, but all.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

America, Look Across the Border to Canada

“The notion that we need to protect homosexuals more than we need to protect children…has been a disturbing trend.” — Brian Rushfeldt, president, Canada Family Action

As you may know, the radical homosexual lobby is using totalitarian methods in an attempt to bully the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) into submission by changing their long-standing policy of banning homosexuals from admission into the BSA.

It would do well for the American people to look across the border to Canada and see the disastrous consequences of such a decision.

In 1998, Canadian Scouts (CS) decided to allow females, atheists, agnostics, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals to join the CS. In 1999, they approved the establishment of an all-homosexual troop, which now marches in Canada’s “gay pride” parades. Within five years, scouting membership dropped over 50 percent, many scouting camps and offices were closed, and staff was laid off.

More importantly is the tragic sexual abuse by leaders in scouting.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cameron Humbled by Gay Marriage Vote Rebellion: More Tory MPS Vote Against Cameron Than for Him as PM’s Bill Gets Through Thanks to Labour and Lib Dems

David Cameron suffered a humiliating reverse last night when more than half his MPs rejected his 11th-hour appeals for support for same-sex marriage.

On an extraordinary day in the Commons, 134 Tory MPs took advantage of a free vote to oppose the plans. Only 126 backed the legislation, with 35 abstaining.

But with the help of the majority of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs Mr Cameron saw the measure passed easily, by a margin of 400 to 175. The first gay marriages are likely to be conducted within 12 months.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Netherlands Expresses Concern About Gay Rights in Russia

THE HAGUE, 02/02/13 — Foreign Minister Frans Timmerman has expressed concern on behalf of the Netherlands to Russia about a legislative bill that would make the dissemination of “homosexual propaganda” a criminal offence.

“If the bill becomes law, it will have a discriminatory effect on gays and lesbians. Anti-gay discrimination is unacceptable,” said Timmermans in a statement on Friday.

The minister “conveyed his concerns” to the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands. “Gay rights are human rights, and Russia must uphold its international obligations. I call on the Russian parliament to vote against this law,” Timmermans stated.

Earlier in the week, the Netherlands endorsed a statement on behalf of the European Union. On 26 February Timmermans will visit Russia, where he intends to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

The bill was adopted by the Duma, the Russian lower house, last Friday on its first reading. There will be two more votes before it is passed on to the upper house and to President Putin. “Human rights experts at the United Nations have called on the Duma to vote against this anti-gay bill,” Timmermans added.

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

Sweden: No Hitch in Gay Marriage Debate

Libération Paris

A wedding celebration in a Lutheran church in Gothenburg in 2001, even before a law was passed making such ceremonies legal

In a Europe where “marriage for all” has opened up a bitter divide in France, and at time when the Polish parliament has recently rejected civil union legislation, Sweden stands out as a country where lesbian bishops can legally get married without sparking controversy.

Anne-Françoise Hivert

On the big day, the bells in the village church in Dalby in southern Sweden seem to be ringing out for them alone. Anna and Christina Roeser first met in 2005. A few months later, they moved in together before announcing their engagement. Anna, who works in a childcare centre, and Christina who is a theology student, dreamed of founding a family. To have the right to participate in an assisted procreation programme, they needed to register their “partnership”. They had wanted a big church wedding, but resigned themselves to tying the knot at a civil ceremony.

The wedding took place in the courthouse in 2007: “We were received by the judge while he was on a break from a corruption hearing,” says Anna. At the time, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, to which 70 per cent of Swedes belong, was considering the possibility of allowing homosexual couples to marry. “We knew it was going to happen, but we didn’t know when,” explains Christina. Instead of requesting a religious blessing for their partnership, they decided to wait until they could get married. On April 1, 2009, the Swedish parliament adopted a “gender-neutral” law on marriage. Six months later, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which had ceased to be the state Church in the year 2000, did likewise, thus becoming the first majority Church in the world to marry couples of the same sex.

Monumental victory

For Sweden’s Christian homosexuals, who had fought for the change for 30 years, it was a monumental victory. For the two women, it was a logical decision. Neither of them had ever had to defend their sexual orientation to family or colleagues. In October, they became mothers to two daughters, Théia and Esther, who have recently been baptised. Anna, 37, is the biological parent. “No one feels this is bizarre in Sweden,” they say. No more than their church wedding, which was celebrated in August 2010. “For me, it was very important to have our love blessed by God,” explains Christina, 28, who was ordained a priest a year ago…

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

UK: How ‘Progressive’ Teaching Methods Destroy Words and the Life Chances of the Poor

At once accessible and complex, the writings of George Orwell are frequently misinterpreted. For instance, the concept of ‘Newspeak’ (the variant of the English language promoted by the fictional one-party state in1984) is often alluded to in condemnations of government jargon and official gobbledegook in the real world, which misses the point that the purpose of Newspeak was not to create words that no one could understand, but to radically simplify the language so that people would lack the ability to articulate thoughts that ‘Big Brother’ didn’t want them to have. As one loyal member of the Party says in the novel, “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

2 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/6/2013

  1. I live in Tunis, and have been here for ten months. Police have not given up control of the streets, and there is at this time, no curfew. Wednesday and Thursday there were protests and police cleared these. One policeman died on Thursday in the melee. That having been said, today is Friday. The ruling party’s offices in several provinces were attacked or vandalized after Wednesday’s shooting, and those in the mosques will be incited to violence this afternoon in all likelihood, like when the US embassy was burned in September.

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