Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/7/2013

A former LAPD police officer who shot and killed at least three people in what seems to be a spree of revenge is now thought to be at large after abandoning and torching his truck on a snow-covered mountain east of Los Angeles. The killer’s Internet “manifesto” reveals him to be a pro-gun control supporter of Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein. He seeks to revenge himself and deal out punishment to his former colleagues on the police force, whom he considers corrupt.

In other news, when farmers came to Athens to hand out free food and vegetables, they were mobbed by unemployed and destitute Greek citizens, who were so hungry and desperate that they tussled with each other to get at the food.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, LN, Lurker from Tulsa, Vlad Tepes, 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
» Currency War Follows Financial Crisis
» Do Wall Street Insiders Expect Something Really Big to Happen Very Soon?
» Finance: Cyprus Seeks EU Money Laundering Audit
» Greeks Scrabble for Food Handouts in Streets
» Inspectors Check Siena’s Accounts Amid MPS Turmoil
» Sign of a Financial Armageddon?
» Spain: Treasury Sells 4.6mln High Interest Bonds
» Video: MSNBC: “I Love the CFR”
» What’s Behind the Punishment for Fake Guns in Schools?
 
USA
» A Tribute to Ronald Reagan, In the Words of His Great Friend Margaret Thatcher
» Aubrey McClendon and the Destruction of the Natural Gas Market
» DHS Purchases 21.6 Million More Rounds of Ammunition
» DOJ Memo Outlining Obama’s Plan to Kill US Citizens at Will
» Elections Have Consequences. Here Come the Drones
» Exclusive: Reverend Deacon Robert Spencer of Our Lady of the Cedars Maronite Church
» Ex-Cop Manhunt: Fresh Tracks Found in Big Bear Snow
» Foreign Agent Piers Morgan Talks About Repealing 2nd Amendment
» Former LAPD Officer on Rampage, Still at Large; Media Deletes Half of His Manifesto, Which Reveals Him to be a Racist, Gun Control Fanatic, And Obama Fanboy
» If You Are Going to Take a Stand, You Must Take it Now!
» Is Obama Pushing for Civil War?
» LAPD Whistleblower Targeting Suspected Corrupt Cops for Assassination
» Leaks From Iranian Diplomats and Western Intelligence Appear to Confirm Fordow Blast
» MIT Professor Reveals Lost History of Bengali Muslims in Harlem
» Robert Spencer and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
» Safety Group Blows Lid on ‘Secret Virus’ Hidden in GMO Crops
» Sanity Test for Gun Buyers and Lots of Other People
» Study Suggests Chicken Pox Vaccine Responsible for Triggering Nationwide Shingles Epidemic
» Tony Bennett: If Americans Keep Firearms, “Rest of the World Will Really Take Care of Us”
 
Europe and the EU
» Bitter Taste of Italy’s Bill From Brussels
» Denmark: The Far-Left and the Attempted Assassination of Lars Hedegaard
» France: “The City of Lights”
» Hidden, Deadly Viral Gene Found in Commercial GMO Crops
» Italy: Audit Court Says Proposed Tax Amnesty Could Bring Revenues
» Italy: Monti Sees Tax Cuts Coming in 2013 Without Need to Raise VAT
» Italy: Monti’s Civic Choice Platform Promises Tax Cuts
» Italy Fighting for ‘Growth, Fairness’ At EU Summit
» Netherlands: Armed Robbers Who Shot Dead Jeweller Jailed for 13, 11 Years
» UK: ‘If They’D Treated a Dog Like Dad, The RSPCA Would Have Blown the Hospital Apart’: Families of Victims of Stafford Hospital Scandal Tell Their Stories
» UK: 3,000 More Patients Have Died Needlessly in Hospital
» UK: David Cameron is Trashing His Own Party, And It’s Not a Pretty Sight
» UK: David Halpern: ‘We Try to Avoid Legislation and Ordering’
» UK: Grantham Not Sure it Wants Baroness Thatcher Statue
» UK: Hope Note Hate Counter-Jihad Seminar
» UK: The Ex-Communist NHS Chief, The Young Wife He Fast-Tracked and a Very Lavish Lifestyle
» UK: Why Was She Ever Released? Schizophrenic Found Guilty of Decapitating Grandmother Just Six Years After Killing Her Own Mother
» UK: Yo Gramsci! Michael Gove Takes the Fight Deep Into Labour Territory
 
Balkans
» Greece: Italy and Albania to Sign TAP Agreement
 
Mediterranean Union
» Libya: Italy to Support New Police Force, Defence Minister
 
North Africa
» Egypt: Women March Carrying Blades on Anti-Harassment Protest
» Egyptian PM Blames Outbreak of Diarrhoea on Women Not Keeping Their Breasts Clean
» Ennahda Slams Jebali’s Decision to Dissolve Government
» Libya: Foreign Office Admits British Guns Lost During Benghazi Attack
» Tunisia in Turmoil as Prime Minister Offers to Dissolve Parliament
» Tunisia: Summit at Presidential Palace, Nation-Wide Unrest
» Tunisia: Islamic Sites Extol Belaid Assassination
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israel on the Brink of Change: An Interview With Israeli Ambassador (Ret.) Yoram Ettinger
» Stalled Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks to Dominate Obama’s Visit
 
Middle East
» America’s Secret Drone Base in Saudi Arabia Revealed
» Blonde, 34, Who Died After Being Raped Twice and Beaten in Turkey Ironically Told Family She ‘Felt Safer There Than in UK’
» Celebrity Saudi Preacher ‘Raped’ And Tortured His Five-Year-Old Daughter to Death
» Explosion at Military Camp Kills 10 Civilians in Northwestern Yemen
» Lebanon: Racism Against Syrian Refugees Rising
» Sicily & Dubai Sign Megatronics Partnership Pact
» Turkey Concerned About More Acts of Terrorism
» Western Conservatives Need to Engage Positively With Democratic Islam
 
South Asia
» 2 Blasts Rock 2 Afghan Northern Towns, Wounding 2
» Britain Will Leave 3,000 Military Vehicles Worth £2 Billion Behind on the Frontline When Pulls Out of Afghanistan
» India Halts Human Safaris in Andamans
» Sharia Law Swallowing Indonesia
 
Far East
» Asian Astrologers Warn of Stormy Year of Snake
» North Korea’s Secret Gulag Prisons Serve as Model for Where Obama is Taking America
» Red Obsessions: Film Business Moves From Hollywood to Asia
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Kenya: Bandits Kill One, Displace 15,000 in Baringo County
» Khartoum University Professors Demand Students’ Release, Sudan
 
Immigration
» 30,000 Circumcised Women in the Netherlands
» Britain’s Now the Migrant Magnet of Europe: 600,000 Come Here in One Year… Twice as Many as Go to France
» Canada: Kenney Suggests Stripping Citizenship in Terrorism Cases
» Greece: Fewer Illegals Cross the Evros Border
» Three Immigrants Drown in Texas Police Chase
 
Culture Wars
» 43% of French ‘Uncomfortable’ Around Same-Sex Couples, Survey
» UK: David Cameron’s Push for Gay Marriage is the Death Knell for the Conservative Party
» UK: It Isn’t Those Who Oppose Gay Marriage Who Are the Bigots — it is the Liberals Who Demonise Them
» UK: My Baby Was Perfect. Why Did Doctors Push Me to Abort Her?
» UK: There is a Lot of Illiberalism Amongst So-Called Liberals and a Lot of Intolerance From Those Who Once Preached Tolerance
 
General
» Citizen Presents Eloquent Defense of 2nd Amendment Before Bureaucrats: Video
» Death and Fear Are at Center of Islamic Society

Currency War Follows Financial Crisis

Brazil’s finance minister first spoke of a currency war in 2011. Now the battle lines are hardening as Japan opens a new round in the race to see which country can weaken its currency fastest.

“I do not want to say that I can look at Japan at the moment without any concern,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

What the chancellor is concerned about is Japan’s intention to flood the market with yen as a way of ending deflation in the country. By throwing the printing presses into high gear, the Bank of Japan makes the yen cheaper, which helps the country’s exports.

Japan is not the only country to take a relaxed view of monetary policy. The US Federal Reserve found a new name for printing up new batches of dollar bills: quantitative easing. Since the beginning of the financial and economic crisis, the US central bank has dropped interest rates to close to zero and bought up trillions of dollars in government bonds.

“The danger is that we all loosen our currency policy to try and get out of the crisis,” Achim Wambach, director of the Institute for Economic Policy at the University of Cologne, told DW.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Do Wall Street Insiders Expect Something Really Big to Happen Very Soon?

Why are corporate insiders dumping huge numbers of shares in their own companies right now? Why are some very large investors suddenly making gigantic bets that the stock market will crash at some point in the next 60 days? Do Wall Street insiders expect something really BIG to happen very soon? Do they know something that we do not know? What you are about to read below is startling. Every time that the market has fallen in recent years, insiders have been able to get out ahead of time. David Coleman of the Vickers Weekly Insider report recently notedthat Wall Street insiders have shown “a remarkable ability of late to identify both market peaks and troughs”.

That is why it is so alarming that corporate insiders are selling nine times as many shares as they are buying right now. In addition, some extraordinarily large bets have just been made that will only pay off if the financial markets in the U.S. crash by the end of April. So what does all of this mean? Well, it could mean absolutely nothing or it could mean that there are people out there that actually have insider knowledge that a market crash is coming. Evaluate the evidence below and decide for yourself…

For some reason, corporate insiders have chosen this moment to unload huge amounts of stock. According to a CNN article, corporate insiders are now selling nine times more of their own shares than they are buying…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Finance: Cyprus Seeks EU Money Laundering Audit

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, FEBRUARY 7 — Eurozone Finance ministers will discuss on Monday a Cypriot proposal to order an independent report on whether the country is fully complying with laws against money laundering, Cyprus Mail writes quoting a senior EU official.

The report would be a response to German, and others’, concerns that Cyprus, which asked the eurozone for financial help last June, has been a tax haven for rich Russians. Eurozone finance ministers, called the Eurogroup, will meet on Monday in Brussels to review progress on the 17.5 billion euros bailout negotiations for Cyprus, whose banks have been hit by Greece’s debt restructuring.

The senior EU official said yesterday that Cyprus made the recommendation in the Eurogroup Working Group, a body that prepares eurozone finance ministers’ meetings. The official explained that Cyprus already had a positive report on its laws from the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee MoneyVal. The new report could focus more on the actual application of the legal framework in place in Cyprus than was positively verified by MoneyVal, the official said.

Choosing a private auditor for the job, rather than an international institution, would mainly be guided by the need for speed, the official said. Eurozone ministers want to take a final decision on the Cyprus bailout in the second half of March, possibly in a special teleconference, the official said, and commissioning a report from an institution would take longer than that.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greeks Scrabble for Food Handouts in Streets

Free fruit and veg — even the rich are queuing up

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — When a group of farmers handed out free fruit and veg in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Athens Wednesday, they couldn’t have predicted the ensuing chaos. In just two hours hoardes of hungry Greeks scrabbled to get their share of 50 tons of hand-outs, which led to skirmishes in the streets and comparisons with Nazi occupied Greece in the 2nd World War.

Families and the unemployed queued up to catch rations given out from vans. “Look”, an old man gestured on local TV, “they’re pulling supplies out of the trucks. It’s like war time.” “My pension is worth 600 euro”, said another elderly woman, “and me and my three unemployed kids have to live on that”.

A former electrician said, “I’ve been out of work for three years. I’ve done everything possible to find a job. A bag of tomatoes and some broccoli will last me and my wife a week”.

Aside from those Greeks who are open about their new found poverty, a separate social group called the “kryfoptochi” is emerging. The kryfoptochi are too embarassed to even admit to friends that they are poverty struck, and rather than heading for soup kitchens, forage for food in dumpsters in the dead of night. In evidence of the fact that the crisis is hitting everyone hard, Giorgos Apostolopoulos, former chief of the Athen’s homeless body, said that well known artists and even women from rich areas of the city come to get food handouts too.

“Some pretend that they’re collecting food to give to the poor”, he said. But a silent form of solidarity is taking shape. Those who can afford it hang baskets of food on their bins for the poor.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Inspectors Check Siena’s Accounts Amid MPS Turmoil

Municipal inspection linked to scandal at Siena-based lender

(ANSA) — Siena, February 6 — A financial inspector from Rome was expected to spend several days examining the 2011 budget of the City of Siena, sources said Wednesday. It’s not clear what agency the inspector represents but it’s thought to relate to the unfolding scandal at Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), Italy’s third-largest bank.

Bank board members meeting Wednesday were scheduled to update shareholders on total losses at the world’s oldest bank, stemming from a series of high-risk and failed derivatives trades and other structured financial deals.

The extent of those losses had previously been hidden from investors and were recently estimated at about 720 million euros.

However, Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported the bank would reveal losses of 920 million euros from the three derivative trades, plus a further loss of 120 million in “personnel costs”. The bank has denied that report.

The news comes on the same day that former chief executive Antonio Vigni entered a Siena prosecutor’s office for questioning into alleged fraud at the troubled bank.

There have also been reports of bribery and corruption by bank officials regarding, among other things, the costly nine-billion-euro acquisition of rival Antonveneta in 2008.

The scandal comes amidst a national election campaign and could damage the prospects for the left-leaning Democratic Party, which has longstanding ties to MPS and its lucrative foundation.

But politicians across party lines all have some connection to the bank, which have requested and received government assistance in recent years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sign of a Financial Armageddon?

Something happened this week that brings back haunting memories of the 2001 put options of airline stocks, except this “bet” is against the entire U.S. economy. This week, an anonymous trader bought 100,000 put options on the ETF, which is an acronym for an exchange-traded fund. One commonly traded ETF is XLF, which, in the most unscientific and basic terms, is a group of funds that is like a barometer for the stock market.

Now, such trades involving ETF-XLF are common, except when the put options (bets that the value of an asset is going to go down) are so large and so significant that they scream of insider knowledge with big flashing lights and arrows. This is one of those. In this case, it is a bet against the stock market, although this is admittedly a rather oversimplified explanation — but you get the idea.

According to professionals who watch this activity for a living, normal single trades involve maybe 500 contracts at most. That’s why certain professionals took notice of an order this week of 100,000 put options, or 200 times the high trade volume of 500. It become even more curious when one considers that the trader is “betting” that the market will take a significant hit by the end of April.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spain: Treasury Sells 4.6mln High Interest Bonds

First auction since Rajoy corruption scandal broke

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, 7 FEB — Interest rates are on the rise as the Spanish treasury goes to auction for the first time since allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Rajoy and his Partido Popular first broke.

Spain placed 4.61 billion euro of bonds against a maximum of 4.5 billion euro. A climate of instability caused by the scandal and the recent escalation of the spread between bonos and German 10-year bunds — which has risen around 385 basis points, hasn’t dented investor confidence. The treasury sold 1,948 billion euros of two year bonus, 2,070 billion euros worth of five year bonus, and 593 million euros in obligations set to expire in 2009 with respective interest rates of 2.823%, 4.123% and 5.78%. These were up from 2.476%, 3.77% and 4.849% at previous auction.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Video: MSNBC: “I Love the CFR”

Treasury Secretary Geithner Joins Council on Foreign Relations as Corporate Media Continues Globalist Coverup

The CFR is the American Branch of a society which originated in England, and which believes that national boundaries should be obliterated, and a one-world rule established.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and one of the architects of the bailouts that gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the big banks (including foreign-owned banks) Timothy Geithner has rejoined the globalist Council on Foreign Relations.

In a move that should have been seen a mile away, the CFR has brought their puppet Geithner onboard as a “distinguished fellow,” which apparently happens after you have worked for the big banks and the idea of a world government long enough to distinguish yourself among the globalists that occupy this organization.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What’s Behind the Punishment for Fake Guns in Schools?

In the latest episode of Ban Fake Guns, we have a boy suspended from school in Florence, Arizona, for carrying, yes, a picture of a gun on his computer. Screen saver. This is surely a sign of complete mental breakdown by school officials. And yet one more reason to home school.

Steve Watson, writing at infowars, runs down the recent litany of fake gun crimes at schools across America, resulting in student suspensions, suspension hearings, and actual school lockdowns:

[…]

Can you hear the typical response to these school suspensions and lockdowns? “Well, everybody in the community is on edge these days, after Sandy Hook.”

That remark garners a “Mmm, well, sure.”

Then, the follow-up: “It’s unfortunate that school officials and police MAY HAVE overreacted. Suspension from school is PROBABLY too much. These kids need some form of LESSER DISCIPLINE, and, of course, EDUCATION about the dangers of guns.”

And there you have it. It’s a sleight-of-hand trick. Go completely overboard with an officially certified insane action (suspension, lockdown), and people will ask for something slightly less insane instead.

[…]

What we’re seeing here is a mandate to change the culture. Teach these kids that any reference to, symbol of, or thought about guns is wrong.

Welcome to operant conditioning.

These fake-gun busts are really about thought crimes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Tribute to Ronald Reagan, In the Words of His Great Friend Margaret Thatcher

by Nile Gardiner

Ronald Reagan was born 102 years ago today in Tampico, Illinois. He stands tall as the greatest U.S. president of the 20th Century, a fearless defender of liberty, and an unflinching patriot who revived a superpower after decades of decline. In one of her last speeches on the world stage, Margaret Thatcher paid tribute to President Reagan at a dinner organised by the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C. on March 1, 2002. Her beautifully crafted words are a fitting reminder of a truly great man who dedicated his life to serving his country and leaving the world a better place…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Aubrey McClendon and the Destruction of the Natural Gas Market

Aubrey McClendon is gone — or at least he’s on his way out from Chesapeake energy (CHK). But the destruction of the natural gas market, where he was the ringleader in the shale gas land grab and cratering well price, is his real legacy, and not likely to be recovered from anytime soon. While Aubrey will now go into a very wealthy retirement, he leaves behind a decimated market and a long road to making natural gas a true transition fuel to energy independence and a renewable future.

The market failed us, failed all of us as a nation — because it couldn’t prevent McClendon and Chesapeake from poking holes randomly through Texas and Western Pennsylvania in search of shale gas and ultimately flooding the market with it, cratering the price and its profitability. And it is margins and profitability that make markets work.

And while McClendon made himself the best paid CEO in the nation, he assured us that our necessary and important transition to natural gas would be made much more difficult, if not impossible: you just cannot support innovation without profits. It is not just “cheap gas” that is the answer to spurring economic growth, grow manufacturing and sell natural gas as a transport fuel or even as an export fuel here in the US — it is margins and it is profits.

And Chesapeake destroyed that for everyone in the gas game (and destroyed themselves too), with forced development of leases, multiple joint ventures with foreign oil companies, over leverage, over production and destruction of shareholder value to the benefit of the CEO. Natural gas is no longer a good business to be in, there are too many players, too many wells and no ready demand sources to soak up the surplus. We are further away from a natural gas future, a cleaner, greener and more independent future, and we have Aubrey McClendon to thank.

So, good riddance to the “Bernie Ebbers of Energy” — but where does that leave us in natural gas? We have a surplus not likely to end anytime soon and a price that will languish well under “excitement” levels for those that explore and produce. Without that excitement, you’ll not see any incentive to fundamentally move any closer to a natural gas future, either as a transport or as a further supplement into the electrical grid. It may be counterintuitive but true: cheap gas hasn’t done anything to promote gas. Recent proposals to convert LNG import terminals into export plants are a bizarre market reaction to a natural gas BUST — and a silly solution to what really is a US natural resource bonanza.

But that legacy is what we’re saddled with now, and makes practically everything in the natural gas space difficult to invest in. I haven’t recommended a natural gas company (save for EnCana at an opportune low) and won’t until the numbers in the market can generate some excitement again. I have no interest in E+P in natural gas, or even transport and do not believe in much in the projected export business, save for Cheniere (LNG), the lone working export terminal here in the US.

[…]

[Return to headlines]

DHS Purchases 21.6 Million More Rounds of Ammunition

Federal agency has now acquired enough bullets to wage 30 year war

The Department of Homeland Security is set to purchase a further 21.6 million rounds of ammunition to add to the 1.6 billion bullets it has already obtained over the course of the last 10 months alone, figures which have stoked concerns that the federal agency is preparing for civil unrest.

A solicitation posted yesterday on the Fed Bid website details how the bullets are required for the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico.

The solicitation asks for 10 million pistol cartridge .40 caliber 165 Grain, jacketed Hollow point bullets (100 quantities of 100,000 rounds) and 10 million 9mm 115 grain jacketed hollow point bullets (100 quantities of 100,000 rounds).

The document also lists a requirement for 1.6 million pistol cartridge 9mm ball bullets (40 quantities of 40,000 rounds).

An approximation of how many rounds of ammunition the DHS has now secured over the last 10 months stands at around 1.625 billion.

[…]

To put that in perspective, during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, US soldiers used 5.5 million rounds of ammunition a month. Extrapolating the figures, the DHS has purchased enough bullets over the last 10 months to wage a full scale war for almost 30 years.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DOJ Memo Outlining Obama’s Plan to Kill US Citizens at Will

By now, most of you are likely aware of the 16-page DOJ memo outlining Obama’s plan to kill US citizens at will…whenever and wherever he likes. The “rules of law’ the Obama syndicate members appear to be using are those laws consisting of Obama’s plans to bring them into existence via Executive Orders and existing law that he and his attorneys will deem — whether they are or not — supportive of their master’s “right” to kill anyone he says is a terrorist, a potential terrorist or someone he thinks might be a terrorist in the future.

In other words, via Obama and New World Order ‘logic’, Obama can kill anyone he deems dangerous…even ideologically to himself, personally. That, of course, includes anyone and everyone who opposes him. Currently, the memo pertains to killing US citizens without charges or a trial or even legal assistance for the targeted citizen outside of the country. Under the US Constitution killing US citizens without due process of existing law is not allowed — whether in or out of the country. All it would take for Obama to decide to kill US citizens in their homes — those who “offend” him — would, apparently, be another swipe of his pen in the form of yet another illegal Executive Order; the same type of Executive Order that most members of Congress have, thus far, patently ignored.

Note: Please remember that in the 1970s ObamaFriend and real terrorist Bill Ayers (via FBI informant Larry Grathwohl) said that over 25,000,000 (that’s 25 millions, folks) Americans would likely have to be exterminated because they would be too loyal to the US Constitution, too capitalistic and would not be able to be “reeducated” Soviet style. It would seem that, in true Obama fashion for his friends, one of Bill Ayers’ fondest wishes is about to be realized. By the way, in that same video (see source material below) the references to giving China and Russia US land on US homeland soil was, and still is, one of Ayers’ desires. Via Obama dictate — and a willing and/or cowed Congress — China is already setting up camp in various portions of the USSA and is planning to set up more of them. Colleague Eric Rush offers excellent insight into portions of this and Obama’s determination to disarm the American public in his recent column “The Darkest Design of Barack Obama.”[www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/52504]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Elections Have Consequences. Here Come the Drones

Are you government-approved in every area of your life? As radio host Mark Levin recently pointed out, we all operate within the strangling decrees of oppressive federal regulations: government-approved light bulbs, government-approved washers and dryers, government-approved refrigerators, government-approved automobiles, etc.

The list goes on and on. We can’t even go to the bathroom in our own homes without having to flush a government-mandated commode — twice — which, of course, defeats the whole purpose of a “low-flow” toilet. And coming soon to the domicile of the future: smart thermostats that will monitor the temperature in your home and automatically regulate it if you are using too much energy.

Now Big Brother has decided he has the right to scrutinize your life through the use of his latest toy, the drone, the high-tech equivalent of Winston Smith’s telescreen, which monitored his every move in George Orwell’s chilling 1949 novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Exclusive: Reverend Deacon Robert Spencer of Our Lady of the Cedars Maronite Church

For quite some time it has been known that Robert Spencer, according to his own testimony, is a Catholic of the Maronite Melkite tradition. However what has not been discussed has been the extent of his involvement with the Church. Spencer attempts to portray himself as a “freedom fighter” (nothing could be further from the truth), fighting “Islamization” and the “savage” Muslims. Presenting himself as an “objective” scholar (though he has no qualifications when it comes to Islam) and a blogger while downplaying his other prominent roles in life…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Ex-Cop Manhunt: Fresh Tracks Found in Big Bear Snow

Authorities in Big Bear have spotted fresh tracks believed to be those of a fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer wanted in connection with a series of shootings and are combing the area for him, a Fire Department official told The Times.

Big Bear Lake Fire Department Asst. Chief Mark Mills also said the burning pickup discovered on a forest road has been linked to Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33, sought in connection with a series of shootings that have left three people dead and two wounded.

TV helicopters showed the pickup being readied to be towed from the scene.

The truck was discovered hours into an intensive manhunt for Dorner that spanned Southern California. Although sources said there had been multiple reported sightings of Dorner’s truck in the Big Bear area on Thursday, the burnt truck was too badly charred to immediately confirm it was his.

Meanwhile, the mountain community locked down schools and closed the nearby Bear Mountain Resort as a fatigue-clad SWAT team walked through the woods, rifles drawn.

Sean Jacques, director of loss prevention for Big Bear Mountain Resorts, said that after the burning truck was discovered on a forest service road, local law enforcement told resort officials to keep an eye out for Dorner and provided a description of the suspect.

“They said maintain vigilance,” he said.

Several law enforcement agencies are involved in the manhunt for Dorner and alerts have been issued all across California and in Nevada. The Los Angeles Police Department had dispatched units across the region to protect at least 40 officers and others named in a rambling online manifesto that law enforcement officials attribute to Dorner.

Dorner, who was fired from the LAPD in 2009, is suspected of shooting three police officers, one of whom died, in Riverside County early Thursday.

Dorner also is suspected of killing a couple in Orange County earlier this week who were found shot in a car. One of the victims was the daughter of a former LAPD captain named in the purported manifesto…

[Return to headlines]

Foreign Agent Piers Morgan Talks About Repealing 2nd Amendment

Despite Piers Morgan’s attempt to obfuscate what the founders had to say about the Second Amendment, its wording is direct and unambiguous:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The founders and their contemporaries wrote extensively on the Second Amendment. James Madison, known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” said “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed — unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “little more can be reasonably aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed.”

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself,” wrote George Washington. “They are the American peoples’ liberty teeth and keystone under independence.”

“The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it,” advised Thomas Jefferson, as if anticipating the likes of Piers Morgan and the gun-grabbers over two hundred years ago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Former LAPD Officer on Rampage, Still at Large; Media Deletes Half of His Manifesto, Which Reveals Him to be a Racist, Gun Control Fanatic, And Obama Fanboy

[…]

So far, he has executed the daughter of a former police captain and her fiancee, killed one LAPD officer and has wounded two more (one seriously) as the manhunt widens. He claims to own .50 BMG rifles and even more incredibly claims to have SA-7s, which are first generation man-portable surface-to-air missiles of Russian design.

The LAPD is freaking out in result to Dorner’s rampage and have already shot up two vehicles… […]

The only thing more chilling than the Dorner manifesto linked above, is the partial Dorner manifesto (PDF) being misrepresented as a complete document, where his gun-control loving, pro-Hillary, pro-Obama, rants are completely edited out. Yes, like the Occupy terrorists, Floyd Corkins, and Nkosi Thandiwe, Christopher Dorner is another radical left wing terrorist the media is trying hard to cover up for, even as they are forced to cover his crimes.

It’s highly unethical, dishonest, and well, your media folks. They’ll cover up whatever they deem fit to protect their narrative.

[Note: This URL has good links to similar tactics by MSM where they trim the reality to fit their narrative]

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

If You Are Going to Take a Stand, You Must Take it Now!

The SPLC Collaborates With The DOJ: It Is NOT A Coincidence!

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama, has long been used by the federal government and the national press corps to paint conservative organizations as “extremists,” “anti-government,” “hate groups,” etc. No sooner would the SPLC issue some attack piece in their newsletter and police agencies all over the country would be issuing bulletins to their officers regurgitating what the SPLC had just spewed out. No private organization has this kind of connection to, and influence over, police agencies nationwide without collaboration with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. Well, now, we have evidence that such a collaboration exists.

Brietbart.com has just released a report by Judicial Watch confirming that the DOJ and the SPLC are intricately tied to the hip. The report states, “Judicial Watch (JW), a Washington D.C. based non-partisan educational foundation, released some two dozen pages of emails it obtained on Tuesday revealing connections between the Department of Justice Civil Rights and Tax divisions and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is Obama Pushing for Civil War?

Over the last four years, the Obama administration has violated nearly every Article of the US Constitution and every Amendment in the Bill of Rights. They have worked to ignite racial tensions, class warfare, religious confrontations and political divisions far worse than those that led to the first American Civil War.

Over 70% of Americans oppose ObamaCare… so of course, Obama rammed ObamaCare through in an unprecedented misuse of executive power that shut out the entire legitimate legislative process, as spineless Republicans sat quietly on their hands watching it all happen. The people said “no more deficit spending…and no more raising the debt ceiling…” so, Obama ignored the debt ceiling and ran up the federal debt by more than 60% in one term.

The ideological divide in America is not only deeper than ever in history, it is now galvanized. With the leftist gun grab underway, the moment when push comes to shove is fast approaching.

[Comment: Good article — a must read for Americans.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

LAPD Whistleblower Targeting Suspected Corrupt Cops for Assassination

Former LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33, is in the middle of a brutal retribution campaign against what he says are lying, racist and criminal members of the LAPD and their Board of Rights, according to a so-called manifesto allegedly posted to Facebook by the ex-officer.

According to an edited nine-page version of the manifesto posted by KTLA.com, Dorner was relieved of duty by the LAPD after filing a report against an officer who kicked a handcuffed suspect twice in the chest and once in the face.

Dorner infers he was the target of retaliation because of this and that reporting such activity must have crossed “their supposed blue line,” a reference to the “blue code of silence,” an unspoken code of conduct cops are rumored to adhere to which demands they stand up for each other at all times.

[…]

Thousands of state and local police are now looking for the man who says he will not stop until the department comes clean about his innocence: “The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocence, PUBLICLY!!!”

However, police seem more intent on eliminating the threat rather than admitting any wrongdoing, even to the point of firing on innocent victims in vain efforts to capture him.

According to the Huffington Post, “Officers from the Hollywood division of the LAPD shot two people who turned out to have no connection to Dorner’s crimes. They were transported to the hospital with gunshot injuries.” The LA Times reports that the two women shot were delivering newspapers when police riddled their pickup truck with bullets, shooting one in the hand and the other in the back.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leaks From Iranian Diplomats and Western Intelligence Appear to Confirm Fordow Blast

More leaks by Iranian diplomatic and Western intelligence sources are building a credible case for the Fordo uranium enrichment blast on January 21st. Credit that to the indefatigable sleuthing and publication on World Net Daily (WND) by Reza Kahlili ex-CIA spy who infiltrated Iran’s Revolutiuonary Guards, author of A Time to Betray, and Hamidreza Zakeri, Iran Intelligence Officer defector and star witness in the Iran and 9/11 Havlish Federal trial in Manhattan. This most recent WND report by Reza Kahlili compiles corroborating information from Iranian diplomatic sources, Western Intelligence agencies with satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe revealing activity at Fordow on the day of the alleged underground explosion. A high-ranking Iranian diplomat serving in an Iranian consulate in Asia, whose name cannot be revealed due to security, told WND that an order from Iran’s Foreign Ministry was issued days after the explosion to all of its embassies, ambassadors, deputy chiefs and spokesmen that no interviews on Fordow can be given to news agencies and that any response to queries by reporters should refer only to a statement by the White House and a report by news agencies on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Islamic regime, while preparing for talks with the 5-plus-1 powers and bilateral talks with representatives of the Obama administration, is also preparing to retaliate against the U.S., some European countries and Israel, according to an officer in a Latin America intelligence agency who confirmed the explosions to WND.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

MIT Professor Reveals Lost History of Bengali Muslims in Harlem

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, harsh restrictions and laws prevented many Indians and other Asians from entering the U.S. and becoming citizens. While many South Asians lost a sense of being part of the fabric of the nation, some forged bonds with local ethnic communities in New York and other U.S. cities. In his new book, “Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America,” Vivek Bald, an assistant professor of writing and digital media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unravels the lost histories of South Asian immigrants who jumped ship and settled in the boroughs of New York, Detroit and Philadelphia…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Robert Spencer and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

News that Robert Spencer has been dis-invited from speaking at a Roman Catholic Men’s Conference in the US Diocese of Worcester has prompted renewed interest in Spencer’s own Catholicism

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Safety Group Blows Lid on ‘Secret Virus’ Hidden in GMO Crops

Yet another disturbing reason has emerged as to why you should be avoiding health-devastating genetically modified organisms, and it may be one of the most concerning yet. We know that GMO consumption has been linked to a host of serious conditions, but one thing we are not so sure about is the recent discovery of a hidden viral gene deep within genetically modified crops.

For years, GMOs have been consumed knowingly and unknowingly around the globe, with Monsanto and the United States government claiming that the altered franken crops are perfectly safe despite very limited (or virtually none in some cases) initial testing and scientists speaking out against the dangers. One such danger that has actually not been spoken about has been revealed in a recent report by a safety watchdog group known as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Another Dirty Secret of Monsanto

In the EFSA report, which can be read online, you can find (within the scientific wording) that researchers discovered a previously unknown viral gene that is known as ‘Gene VI’. What’s concerning is that not only is the rogue gene found in the most prominent GMO crops and about 63% of GMO traits approved for use (54 out of 86 to be precise), but it can actually disrupt the very biological functions within living organisms. Popular GMO crops such as Roundup-Ready soybeans, NK603, and MON810 corn were found to contain the gene that induces physical mutations. NK603 maize, of course, was also recently linked to the development of mass tumors in rats.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sanity Test for Gun Buyers and Lots of Other People

Crazy people shouldn’t have guns. Everybody agrees with that. But what if someone isn’t crazy when he buys the gun? Or maybe he is crazy, but you can’t tell because he hasn’t done anything crazy yet.

No problem — just make a law that says everyone who wants to buy a gun has to pass a sanity test first. Congress seems receptive to that idea. Why not? They could set up an enormous bureaucracy to administer the tests, keep records, do follow-up, etc. So many new government employees! So many public employee pensions! So many Democrat votes.

But why should you have to be demonstrably sane to buy a hand gun, when any slobbering psycho or cement-headed oaf can be elected president and have a whole nuclear arsenal to play with? Not to mention soldiers, fighter jets, warships, and tanks.

Why do we allow lunatics, dolts, whoremasters and other perverts to serve in Congress, where they can do almost as much harm as a batty president? You don’t think sane people saddled America with a $16 trillion debt, do you? Sane people don’t hire left-wing think tanks to write 2,500-page laws and then enact them without even reading them.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Study Suggests Chicken Pox Vaccine Responsible for Triggering Nationwide Shingles Epidemic

(NaturalNews) For the past several years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been actively promoting the shingles vaccine as the solution to what some experts say is a building shingles epidemic. But a new study published in the German medical journal Der Hautarzt, or “The Dermatologist” in English, has revealed that the childhood vaccine for chicken pox, a common viral disease related to shingles, may actually be directly responsible for triggering this epidemic.

Also known clinically as varicella-zoster virus (VZV), chicken pox is a relatively mild form of herpes virus that typically manifests itself during the early childhood years. Nearly all children who develop the condition at a young age, in fact, never develop it again, and are also usually imparted with lifelong immunity to both VZV and its relative, herpes zoster, a more severe form of the disease commonly referred to as shingles…

A five-year-old girl, it turns out, was found recently to have developed severe symptoms of shingles not long after being vaccinated for chicken pox. Researchers from Helios Klinikum in Germany conducted a direct immunofluorescence assay on the child to look for evidence of the vaccine strain in the infection, and found that the vaccine strain had, indeed, caused the child to become infected with the much more severe shingles virus.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tony Bennett: If Americans Keep Firearms, “Rest of the World Will Really Take Care of Us”

A semi-coherent Tony Bennett said during a “Demand A Plan” press conference yesterday that if the government does not prevent violence it associates with the possession of firearms, “the rest of the world’s going to really take care of us, in a very bad way.”

Bennett says outlawing firearms in America will “show the rest of the world how to behave.”

[…]

Bennett mentioned the Nazis during his remarks about firearms ownership. “It’s the kind of turn that happened to the great country of Germany, when Nazis came over and created tragic things, and they had to be told off,” he said. “And if we continue this kind of violence and accept it in our country, the rest of the world’s going to really take care of us, in a very bad way.”

Mr. Bennett failed to mention that the Nazis outlawed and confiscated firearms from politically ostracized minorities, most notably the Jews. The Nazi Weapons Law, notes Jews for the Preservation of Firearms, “gave Hitler’s Nazi party a stranglehold on the Germans, many of whom did not support the Nazis. We found that the Nazis did not invent ‘gun control’ in Germany. The Nazis inherited gun control and then perfected it: they invented handgun control.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bitter Taste of Italy’s Bill From Brussels

Net payment of €22 billion. Past five years and risks of Thursday’s negotiations. Last-minute deal in 2005 secured €1.4 billion in structural funds

In the night of 16 December 2005 and with European Council president Tony Blair and Angela Merkel looking on, Silvio Berlusconi probably reckoned he had limited the damage. The European budget had grown a tad but would be divided among the eight former Soviet-bloc countries plus Cyprus and Malta. In fact, the Italian delegation had actually secured an extra €1.4 billion in structural funds, destined for disadvantaged areas, and a further €500 million for rural development.

But there are two things about Europe’s medicine. It can be bitter-tasting if the stronger partners get the better of negotiations and above all it has a slow-release mechanism and needs time to take effect. Today with negotiations over the “financial perspectives” for 2014-2020 at full swing, what matters can be summed up in a table extrapolated from official European Commission figures. From 2007 to 2011, Italy paid €22 billion into Europe, only two billion less than France, which has a national income 25% greater than Italy’s, and five billion less than the United Kingdom with its 10% higher GDP. To put things in perspective, €22 billion in five years is roughly the expected revenue from the IMU property tax. Objectively, this is not a good result, particularly if we take into account that the European budget, despite two decades of attempts to change it, still suits Italy well. Two items soak up about 91% of expenditure in the 2011 budget: agriculture and sustainable growth, in other words cohesion funds for deprived areas.

So who is does better than us? Poland, Hungary and the other new arrivals from the East, of course, but why France? And why, since we are about it, Spain? When France’s Nicolas Sarkozy took over the helm of the European Union, he presented himself to the European Parliament at Strasbourg on 10 July 2008 as the enemy of inaction and started with the budget, just as Tony Blair had when he was speaking to the parliament chamber in Brussels on 23 June 2005. As you read them again today, what is striking is how similar those swearing-in speeches are from a liberal-democrat, modernist Frenchman and a liberal socialist, modernist Briton. Both call for more spending on research, innovation and competitiveness, and less on assistance programmes or conserving the existing state of affairs…

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

Denmark: The Far-Left and the Attempted Assassination of Lars Hedegaard

by Douglas Murray

The participation of far-right groups in stirring up hate-crimes is rightly and often written about. Less noted is the way in which the far-left demonises figures with whom it disagrees.

A far left group called ‘Hope not Hate’ (which has previously done some good anti-BNP work) has in recent years attempted to draw their own particular political lessons from the atrocious murders committed by Anders Breivik in Norway. Among other things they have compiled a helpful list of a ‘Top Dozen players’ in what they call their ‘Counter-Jihad Report’. Their title-line subtly uses a photograph of Breivik with his rifle alongside images of their self-selected ‘Top Dozen’ guilty men and women.

That ‘Top Dozen’ list includes the ex-leftist American conservative David Horowitz, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders and a number of bloggers. It includes Lars Hedegaard. ‘Hope not Hate’ describe him as:

‘Journalist and historian. As founder of the International Free Press Society (IFPS) he leads one of the most important international ‘counter-Jihad’ networks and has championed the cause of Dutch politician Geert Wilders.’

Among the list of reasons they include him in their list is the fact that Hedegaard is: ‘Founder and President, Danish Free Press Society’. I do not see why this should warrant ‘Hope not Hate’ placing his picture alongside that of the mass-murderer Anders Breivik…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

France: “The City of Lights”

Paris: Socialized welfare lifestyle is grand until the government runs short of money, corners are cut, and the lavish generosity must be scaled back.

President Hollande is not backing down on his promise to tax those who make 1 million euros or more a year at 75 percent even though France’s Constitutional Council declared the tax unconstitutional. The French government announced a revised tax version for 2013.

Gérard Depardieu, actor and producer, has had enough of the outrageous fleecing, so he decided to turn in his French passport and move to a sleepy little village in Néchin, Belgium. Vladimir Putin offered him a Russian passport, although it is unclear if Mr. Depardieu accepted. A flat tax of 13 percent in Russia seems more appealing than the 75 percent marginal tax rate for the rich in France. Gérard Depardieu, who owns about a dozen vineyards around the world, a wine label, and a superb movie career, is not a tax dodger; the 64-year old movie producer has paid his lion’s share of taxes in the last 45 years, $192 million to be exact.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hidden, Deadly Viral Gene Found in Commercial GMO Crops

(NaturalNews) Just a few months after a now-famous Italian study found that Monsanto’s NK603 genetically-modified (GM) corn causes serious organ damage and tumors in mammals, a report issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has uncovered that most GMOs in commercial use today contain a hidden viral gene that appears to be unsafe for human consumption.

Entitled Possible consequences of the overlap between the CaMV 35S promoter regions in plant transformation vectors used and the viral gene VI in transgenic plants, the landmark report highlights that fact that 54 of the 86 GMO traits currently approved for use, or roughly 63 percent, contain a strange viral gene known as “Gene VI” that researchers have found alters the normal function of crops…

Up until this point, the biotechnology industry has maintained that GMOs are virtually identical to natural organisms, and that there is no structural or functional difference between GMOs and natural crops in the way they are processed by the human body. But the presence of Gene VI in the vast majority of GMOs completely debunks this myth.

Since natural crops do not possess Gene VI, they are not susceptible to the same viral infections as are GMOs that contain it. According to ISN’s analysis of the function of Gene VI, the genetic defect not only facilitates the assembly of potentially deadly viruses in plant tissue, but it also suppresses natural anti-pathogenic defenses, making crops, and potentially the humans that eat them, more susceptible to disease…

Scientists have known about the presence of similar viral genes in GMOs for years, but they have never pinpointed exactly how these genes and the massive genetic changes they induce affect human health. And none of the governments that have approved viral gene-containing GMOs for commercial use have ever required that proper safety tests be conducted to identify any potential health threats, which means humanity is the collective guinea pig for this massive biotechnology science experiment.

“[T]he relevant information on the existence of Gene VI has been freely available in the scientific literature since well before the first biotech approval,” adds ISN about the scandal.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Audit Court Says Proposed Tax Amnesty Could Bring Revenues

Court cites ‘intuitive and well-founded’ reasons

(ANSA) — Rome, February 5 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s call for a broad tax amnesty to bring in revenues has merit, an official of the Audit Court said Tuesday.

A tax amnesty has both “intuitive and well-founded” rationale, Salvatore Nottola, attorney general of the court, told a news conference, adding that he did not want to become involved in a political debate.

A tax amnesty could mean less litigation between the State and taxpayers, as well as a rapid jump in national revenues, he said.

The downside is that an amnesty can mean that tax evasion is tolerated, rather than punished, said Nottola.

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

“I would absolutely agree with creating tax amnesty. I have always been against the left on this,” Berlusconi told the television station La7. “Absolutely yes. There is absolutely need for an amnesty.

If I have a majority, it will be done”.

Berlusconi is campaigning for election in the national vote February 24 and 25.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Sees Tax Cuts Coming in 2013 Without Need to Raise VAT

Premier says reducing fiscal pressure ‘possible and necessary’

(ANSA) — Padua, February 5 — Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti on Tuesday said that personal and corporate taxes would have to gradually decrease in the coming year.

On the sidelines of a campaign event in Padua, Monti said: “It is possible and necessary to have a gradual reduction in Irpef (personal income taxes) and Irap (a regional corporate tax) already in 2013 and it’s not necessary to have increases in value-added taxes”.

Monti, who was brought in as head of a technocratic government at the end of 2011 to help restructure Italy’s massive national debt amid worries the country was heading the way of Greece, has been battered by political leaders of the right and left for his tax policies, which critics say have strangled Italy’s economy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti’s Civic Choice Platform Promises Tax Cuts

Financial cover to be provided by fight against evasion

(ANSA) — Rome, February 7 — The election manifesto of outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s Civic Choice platform includes reductions to income tax and the regional levy on businesses, it emerged Thursday.

The leader of Italy’s technocrat government, an economist, says he would slash income tax (IRPEF) by over 15 billion euros by the end of the next parliament starting from taxpayers in the low- and middle-income bands should he win the upcoming elections on February 24 and 25.

He also intends halving the regional business tax (IRAP) on private-sector companies by 2017, with a saving of over 11 billion euros for businesses. These two measures would be covered by funds recovered in the fight against tax evasion. Monti has also confirmed his plan to extend tax breaks on the new IMU property levy on primary residences.

Other proposals contained in the manifesto include introducing a new kind of permanent job contract confirming existing social-security benefits for employees but costing employers less; tax reductions for companies employing young people and women; and new measures in favour of paternity leave, child care and care for the elderly. In the event of election victory, Monti says he would also sell off State property to the tune of 130 billion euros over the course of the next parliament, which is scheduled to run until 2018. The premier has instead ruled out introducing a much-contested wealth tax or further pension reform given unpopular changes to the system made by his present government. Meanwhile he has promised an increase in spending on education to the tune of nearly 8 billion euros over five years and the “rationalisation” of spending in the health sector. Monti took office in November 2011 in an attempt to shore up Italy’s struggling economy at the peak of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone. He is now leading a centrist and largely Catholic formation of reformers that is currently polling around 13%, behind the centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD), followed by a centre-right bloc led by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) of Genoa comedian Beppe Grillo.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Fighting for ‘Growth, Fairness’ At EU Summit

Monti set to combat calls for lower budget

(see related story) (ANSA) — Brussels, February 7 — Premier Mario Monti said Thursday that Italy will be fighting for the promotion of “growth and fairness” at the Brussels summit on the European Union’s budget for the next seven years, which starts later in the day.

Italy is against calls from Britain, Germany and other northern European nations for cuts to the European Commission’s proposed budget for the the 2014-2020 period. The 27-state EU failed to reach an agreement on the budget at a summit in November.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Armed Robbers Who Shot Dead Jeweller Jailed for 13, 11 Years

Two youths who shot dead a jewellery shop owner during an armed robbery that went wrong have been sentenced to 13 and 11 years in jail.

Ruud Stratmann, 47, was killed during a robbery at his shop in The Hague last April. Police released security camera footage of the incident showing the two suspects which led to over 50 tip-offs.

Sandro Grigolia, who was 19 at the time, was jailed for 13 years for shooting Stratmann. His accomplice Ziya Borukcu was given an 11 year sentence.

A third man, who drove the getaway car, was jailed for five years, as judges ruled he could not beheld responsible for the killing.

The sentences are all well below the public prosecution department demands.

Borukcu was arrested following a public appeal from his mother to turn himself in, shortly after the murder. Grigolia fled to Georgia, where he later turned himself in to the Dutch embassy in the presence of several family members.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘If They’D Treated a Dog Like Dad, The RSPCA Would Have Blown the Hospital Apart’: Families of Victims of Stafford Hospital Scandal Tell Their Stories

[WARNING: *** Very disturbing content ***]

Families of victims of the Stafford Hospital scandal have revealed harrowing details of how their loved ones died. Here are some of their stories:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: 3,000 More Patients Have Died Needlessly in Hospital

More than 3,000 people may have died unnecessarily at five NHS trusts in a crisis that could dwarf the horrors at Mid Staffordshire, which were detailed in a devastating report on Wednesday.

An investigation began on Wednesday night into excessive mortality rates at the five trusts — the same warning sign that exposed the needless deaths of up to 1,200 patients at Mid Staffs. The trusts in Lancashire, Essex and Greater Manchester have been “outliers” on an index of expected death rates for two successive years to 2012. Within hours of the publication of a report which described the “disaster” at Mid Staffs as the worst scandal in the history of the NHS, the Department of Health released figures which raise the possibility that the “appalling” lack of care may still be going on at hospitals around the country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron is Trashing His Own Party, And It’s Not a Pretty Sight

by Peter Oborne

Gay marriage is an admirable cause, but if Conservative membership keeps falling at this rate, we will soon enter a new political era

When David Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party, it was hard to be certain what he stood for, or how he would conduct himself in office. This was because there were two contradictory Camerons. On the one hand, he marked a reversion to a type of politician that was assumed to have become extinct. He came from a similar social and educational background to the men who governed Britain during the Conservatives’ post-war ascendancy: Eden, Macmillan, Douglas-Home. Indeed, he is the first Tory leader since Sir Alec even to have been educated at a public school.

In this sense, the election of Mr Cameron as Tory leader marked the re-emergence into public life of the former ruling class, assumed by many to have been wiped out thanks to the economic and social revolutions of the Fifties and Sixties. This is a phenomenon of great interest and importance that is also observable in other spheres, most recently with the appointment of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.

However, it has always been misleading to attach too much significance to Mr Cameron’s Establishment credentials. This is because he is also one of the core members of the professional political class that has seized control of the commanding heights of all three mainstream parties over the past quarter-century. Indeed, having gone into politics straight from university, both he and George Osborne were, by the mid-1990s, among the most luminous members of that modernising, metropolitan, politically androgynous clique, which was dominated by New Labour…

[Reader comment by whythehecknot on 7 February 2013 at about 9 am.]

The good thing here is that by becoming part of the androgynous miasma that is Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative he leaves the door open for a party that truly represents the country as a whole. What this party is I don’t know but if there’s space then they’ll come through.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: David Halpern: ‘We Try to Avoid Legislation and Ordering’

The head of the government’s ‘nudge unit’ plans to save the state billions by getting us to change our behaviour

Within a few minutes of meeting David Halpern, he claims his team will save the government billions of pounds. “It is in the little details that no one in Whitehall usually gets into that the savings will be made,” says Halpern, who heads the government’s behavioural insights team. Examples range from altering the wording on tax forms, to changing what happens when you walk into a job centre and giving consumer’s data on their weekly food shopping…

[JP note: I expect the government is too busy nudging itself into fudge for this unit to be anywhere near as effective as it might wish to be.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Grantham Not Sure it Wants Baroness Thatcher Statue

She is Grantham’s most famous daughter, but when a statue of Baroness Thatcher was offered to the local museum, it was considered by some to be a dubious honour.

The £150,000 white marble work was famously decapitated by a protester in 2002 but has since been restored. Not everyone in her home town is sure they want to honour Britain’s first female prime minister, however, and Grantham Museum is yet to welcome the statue with open arms. Jayne Robb, the manager of the volunteer-run museum, said: “It does need to go somewhere, but how the town responds to the life of Margaret Thatcher has to be a town decision. “It is exceedingly heavy at two tonnes in weight and eight feet tall.”

One Labour councillor went further, suggesting that displaying a monument to Lady Thatcher in a prominent place could actually be “asking for trouble” and invite further attacks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Hope Note Hate Counter-Jihad Seminar

HOPE not hate held its first seminar on the ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement today. Called The ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement: Analysing the threat and developing community responses, the event brought together thirty-two people — from academics, researchers, practictioners, policy makers, Muslim, Jewish and Christian organisations and campaigners.

To my knowledge it was the first ever event looking specifically at the ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement in the UK…

[JP note: More hate than hope. Feeble.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Ex-Communist NHS Chief, The Young Wife He Fast-Tracked and a Very Lavish Lifestyle

As a young NHS trainee at the height of the Cold War, David Nicholson idolised Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

At the same time as starting work in a mental health unit, the Bristol University graduate joined the Communist Party in 1977.

He was no ordinary revolutionary. He was on the hardline, so-called ‘Tankie’ wing of the party which backed the Kremlin using military action to crush dissident uprisings.

Today, David Nicholson is the £270,000-a year chief executive of the NHS.

The one-time radical who used to regard political honours as elitist symbols of bourgeoisie government was happy to be knighted in 2010.

Nicknamed the ‘Big Beast’ of the NHS because of his abrasive management style, his rise up the management ladder saw him take control of the strategic health authority responsible for supervising Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2006.

It was during this period that patients needlessly died because of appalling standards of care.

Today’s damning report into the scandal could yet bring an end to his career — during which he forced through the last Labour government’s controversial ‘target culture’ that fatally undermined the ethos of care that has traditionally been a hallmark of NHS hospitals.

It has been a remarkable journey for a man who was a Communist for six years until his membership lapsed in 1983.

Critics say that the ‘uncaring culture’ that has developed in some aspects of healthcare can be likened to the one that prevailed during the godless Soviet regimes.

But Nicholson, 57, won’t discuss his Communist past.

A reader comments to the article:

“BRITAIN is at WAR , if you did not know it, it is time the PEOPLE OF BRITAIN woke up……. The entire PUBLIC SECTOR, which includes the NHS is run from the top by COMMUNISTS and all of them ecouraged by the COMMUNIST UNION BARONS, and promoted daily by the BBC, none of them give a damm about anyone but themselves, not until the people of BRITAIN wake up to this threat will you ever move on” Comment by dumber123 , chicago

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Why Was She Ever Released? Schizophrenic Found Guilty of Decapitating Grandmother Just Six Years After Killing Her Own Mother

[WARNING: * Very disturbing content. *]

A schizophrenic was today convicted of knifing a grandmother to death in the street — six years after killing her own mother in a stabbing frenzy.

Nicola Edgington, 32, pinned Sally Hodkin, 58, to the ground in Bexleyheath, south London, and slashed her throat with a butcher’s knife, virtually decapitating her.

Moments before, she had attacked artist Kerry Clark at a bus stop, but fled when the 22-year-old wrestled her weapon from her.

Edgington took two buses to Bexleyheath, south east London, and bought a large knife from Asda before attacking Miss Clark.

Miss Clark told the court how she fought for her life in the street…

Edgington used the same defence at her trial for the murder of Mrs Hodkin as she had after killing her mother.

But this time, psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph concluded she was only suffering from a borderline personality disorder and had probably never been mentally ill.

[Comment: Miss Clark describes her escape in detail from the assault in the sidebar.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Yo Gramsci! Michael Gove Takes the Fight Deep Into Labour Territory

by Richard Preston

Our report on Michael Gove’s speech yesterday to the Social Market Foundation, in which he accused Labour of being the Downton Abbey party — happy to let working class children stick to their station in life — could only give a flavour of the rhetorical savaging he doled out to the Left. This is a speech worth reading in full as a reminder both of how committed he is to his reforms and how aggressively he will argue for them…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Greece: Italy and Albania to Sign TAP Agreement

Document to be signed in Athens

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 5 — Greece, Italy and Albania will sign on February 13 in Athens an agreement that seals their support for the building of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) gas pipeline, which is planned to carry gas from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field to the three countries and beyond to western Europe, a spokesman for Greece’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, as BNE website reports. TAP is one of two competing projects to carry gas from Shah Deniz to Europe, which is keen to reduce its dependence on existing suppliers including Russia.

TAP’s shareholders are Swiss energy company Axpo (42.5%), Norway’s Statoil (42.5%) and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany (15%). Its rival Nabucco West includes Austria’s OMV, Germany’s RWE, Hungary’s MOL and Turkey’s Botas. The Shah Deniz consortium, which comprises BP, Statoil, Azeri energy firm SOCAR and Total, has a 50% equity option in both rival projects. It is expected to choose one of the two pipeline contenders by mid-2013.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Italy to Support New Police Force, Defence Minister

Vehicles, training and border control assistance

(ANSAmed) — TRIPOLI — Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola said on Wednesday in Tripoli that “we share economic relations with all of Libya’s sectors. In order to develop them a security framework is required, and thus we are prepared to help the new government by providing vehicles, training and a border control system”. Di Paola was taking part in the delivery of 20 Italian PUMA vehicles to the Libyan capital for country’s armed forces. Italy’s defense chief met with his Libyan counterpart Al Barghani as well as Prime Minister Ali Zidan. He said that “I am certain that today’s meeting will mark a resumption in security cooperation between our countries”. Whatever government emerges from the next elections, the minister said, “Libya is strategically important to Italy. WE want the country to be stable and secure. We were among the first — under Prime Minister Mario Monti — to come here immediately after the liberation to reaffirm our friendly ties. There are several agreements for cooperation projects which have already been signed, such as the one on integrated surveillance of Libya’s borders.” Al Barghani said that “Libya is very big. We find it difficult to keep clandestine immigration under control and we need your help. Today’s meeting has been positive. There are many contracts between the two countries in the process of being reactivated, and we strongly support Italy’s support for the February 17 revolution. We are seeking to integrate rebel fighters into our new armed forces and we have sent over 3,000 students to a number of countries in the world — especially Italy — who will become our officials. Italy is a technologically advanced country and we will give it priority status for new armaments acquisitions”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Women March Carrying Blades on Anti-Harassment Protest

Hundreds of women on Wednesday organised an anti-harassment protest and marched while carrying bladed weapons to defend themselves. Several activists, rights groups, and anti-harassment campaigns had called for a march to declare their rejection of the policies of intimidation and violence in protests and peaceful demonstrations…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egyptian PM Blames Outbreak of Diarrhoea on Women Not Keeping Their Breasts Clean

The Egyptian prime minister has blamed a diarrhoea epidemic sweeping through rural areas on women not keeping their breasts clean.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said he had witnessed children suffering from diarrhoea immediately after they had been breastfed because their mothers hadn’t cleaned themselves probably.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ennahda Slams Jebali’s Decision to Dissolve Government

“We don’t need a technocrat gov’t, we need a political one”

(ANSAmed) — TUNISIA — Tunisia’s Ennahda party has slammed Hamadi Jebali’s decision to dissolve the government and form a cabinet of technocrats, saying that the Prime Minister didn’t consult the party first. According to a high ranking Ennahda spokesperson, Abdelhamid Jelassi, his party is against the creation of a caretaker government.

Tunisia doesn’t need “a technical government”, he said, “it needs one made up of politicians”. It is understood that Mr Jebali’s decision took Ennahda by surprise, who gathered for an emergency party meeting late Wednesday night.

Some messages on websites and Facebook pages in Tunisia are extolling yesterday’s killing of Chokri Belaid, the secularist opposition leader who was assassinated shortly after leaving his house, according to Popular Front member Abdennaceur Aouini. In the messages Belaid is referred to as the leader of the “kouffars”, or unbelievers. Meanwhile, the decision by Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to dissolve the government and form a cabinet of technocrats has been met with support from Ettakatol, who, together with Ennahda and the Congress for the Republic, form a majority. Ettakol spokesman, Mohamed Bennour gave his party’s backing to “an independent national government,” particularly in regards to sensitive areas such as justice and the interior, in which the party has called for non political representatives.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libya: Foreign Office Admits British Guns Lost During Benghazi Attack

A cache of British guns and a Foreign Office vehicle were lost when extremists overran the US consulate in Benghazi, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

A US official posted at the consulate said that British security officers had stored 9mm handguns and possibly a pair of sub-machine guns at the diplomatic site before it was attacked on September 11 last year. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also disclosed new details of the assassination attempt on Britain’s ambassador to Libya, which prompted the Foreign Office to withdraw its team from Benghazi in June last year. They said that Sir Dominic Asquith’s vehicle was spared a direct hit with a rocket only because one of the cars in his convoy suffered motor problems shortly before the ambush and changed positions…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia in Turmoil as Prime Minister Offers to Dissolve Parliament

Tunisia’s Islamist prime minister on Wednesday night offered to dissolve parliament and form a unity government after the assassination of a leading secular politician set off the country’s worst crisis since the Arab Spring.

Thousands of protesters rampaged through cities yesterday after Shokri Belaid, 48, head of the small left-wing, anti-Islamist Democratic Patriotic party, was shot three times in the head and chest as he left his home in the capital Tunis. A figure wearing the traditional Tunisian hooded robe, the burnous, was seen running away from the shooting. Mr Belaid had been a vocal critic of Islamist violence, accusing the ruling party, Ennahda, and its leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, of secretly sympathising with the perpetrators and not doing enough to tackle them. His family quickly blamed Ennahda for his assassination, with his wife, Basma, saying he had received daily death threats. “I saw his blood flowing, I saw his little smile. I saw that they want to kill democracy,” Mrs Belaid told France’s Europe 1 radio.

[….]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Summit at Presidential Palace, Nation-Wide Unrest

Belaid’s funeral on Friday, threatened by Salafis on web video

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 7 — A government summit led by President Moncef Marzouki got underway on Thursday at Tunisia’s presidential palace. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, Constituent Assembly President Mustapha Ben Jaafar, the ministers of defence, the interior and justice and high-ranking officers of the armed forces and police were all in attendance, reports a government statement. The meeting was called after Prime Minister Jebali’s decision on Wednesday to dissolve the government and set up a technocratic one in its place, a decision strongly opposed by the main government party, Ennahdha.

Meanwhile, unrest continues throughout the country. The police have shot tear gas at protestors approaching the Sousse Governorate offices as well as those in Tunis on Bourghiba Avenue who had been attempting to reach the interior ministry. Incendiary bombs have been thrown by the crowd in Gafsa, and dozens of protestors have broken into the Jendouba Governorate building but have not carried out any acts of violence.

Despite the bad weather conditions, thousands have accompanied Chokri Belaid’s casket from the Charles Nicolle hospital (where the autopsy was carried out on Wednesday) to his parents home in Djebel Jelloud, in the Tunis suburbs. Following the afternoon prayer on Friday, his casket will be taken from his parents’ home to the Djellaz cemetery, the most important one in the capital, for his funeral.

Tunisia’s largest union UGTT has called a nationwide strike on Friday and a day of national mourning for the assassinated leader.

A video making the rounds on the web shows that as far back as last year Belaid, the secular political leader assassinated in Tunis on Wednesday, had been targeted by Islamist fundamentalists. The video, which is thought to have been filmed in the summer of 2012, shows young Salafis in front of the Zarzis mosque in southern Tunisia insulting members of the opposition. Their threats were addressed especially Belaid, who they dared to come to Zarzis and said would be killed.

The city has become known as the stronghold of the most fundamentalist strains of Islamism. It has recently invited the fundamentalist Kuwaiti preacher Nabil Al Awadhi for a sermon. Al Awadhi has been pushing for girl children to be forced to wear headscarves.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Islamic Sites Extol Belaid Assassination

He is branded as ‘leader of the unbelievers’

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS- Some messages on websites and Facebook pages in Tunisia are extolling yesterday’s killing of Chokri Belaid, the secularist opposition leader who was assassinated shortly after leaving his house, according to Popular Front member Abdennaceur Aouini. In the messages Belaid is referred to as the leader of the “kouffars”, or unbelievers.

Meanwhile, the decision by Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to dissolve the government and form a cabinet of technocrats has been met with support from Ettakatol, who, together with Ennahda and the Congress for the Republic, form a majority. Ettakol spokesman, Mohamed Bennour gave his party’s backing to “an independent national government,” particularly in regards to sensitive areas such as justice and the interior, in which the party has called for non political representatives.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel on the Brink of Change: An Interview With Israeli Ambassador (Ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Chazak v Ematz (Be strong and of good courage in Hebrew) “for it is you who shall go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their fathers to give them, and it is you who shall apportion it to them.” (Deuteronomy 31.6) These were the instructions of Moses to Joshua and Caleb before they crossed the Jordan to reconnoiter the Promised Land. Millennia later those ancient instructions are prophetic given more secular developments for Israel, the Middle East and the US as 2013 begins. Against this background “Your Turn” hosts Mike Bates, of radio station 1330AMWEBY in Pensacola, Florida, Senior Editor Jerry Gordon of the New English Review, and Israeli Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger held a radio round table discussion. Israeli Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger publishes The Ettinger Report and is Director of The Second Initiative. Ambassador Ettinger is a noted lecturer, writer and analyst of Israel and US relations. Ettinger has been a consultant to Israel’s Cabinet Members, to Israeli legislators and to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on US-Israel bilateral relations, US policy and Mideast politics. He has briefed US legislators and their staffs. Ettinger has frequently been interviewed on Israeli TV and radio and published in Israel’s dailies, as well as US media. He is Executive Director of “Second Thought — A U.S. Israel Initiative,” dedicated to generate out-of-the-box thinking on US-Israel relations, Middle East politics, the Palestinian issue, Jewish-Arab demographics, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. His columns appear frequently in Israel Hayom and USA Today. He will speak at a series of events co-sponsored by B’nai Israel Synagogue and First Pentecostal Church, Pensacola, Florida over Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 15th to 17th, 2013.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Stalled Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks to Dominate Obama’s Visit

JERUSALEM, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Israel in March or April as part of a wider tour of the Middle East, with the stalled peace talks between Israelis and the Palestinians possibly be the main agenda. He did come to Israel in July 2008 before being elected president later the same year, but he has not visited since, stating that he will only do when there is an opportunity to make real progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. According to Israeli TV Channel 10, Obama has been assured that he could be able “to accomplish great things” and to move the negotiations forward…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

America’s Secret Drone Base in Saudi Arabia Revealed

The United States has been operating a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia for the past two years as a launch pad for attacks on terror targets in Yemen, it emerged on Wednesday.

The revelation came after a news blackout on reporting the existence of the base was broken by two US newspapers. The blackout had been agreed by American media organisations and the Obama administration bceause of the national security issues involved. The first pilotless CIA mission flown from the base killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric and senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and a deputy in September 2011, reports said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Blonde, 34, Who Died After Being Raped Twice and Beaten in Turkey Ironically Told Family She ‘Felt Safer There Than in UK’

[WARNING: * Disturbing content. *]

A British woman who was living abroad because she thought it was safer than the UK was repeatedly beaten and raped twice before she died in Turkey, an inquest has heard.

Beverley Mitchell moved to Turkey after she was offered a job working in the picturesque resort town of Fethiye which is popular with many British tourists and ex-pats.

Despite her parents telling her to come home on a number of occasions, the 34-year-old thought it was safer to stay in Turkey.

But an inquest into her death heard that Miss Mitchell was repeatedly beaten up by her Turkish boyfriend, raped twice — once by two men — and later died in hospital after her partner delayed taking her there.

Her boyfriend, referred to in the inquest only as ‘Shahin’, then disappeared leaving Turkish police and British authorities little hope of finding out what had happened to her.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Celebrity Saudi Preacher ‘Raped’ And Tortured His Five-Year-Old Daughter to Death

A Saudi preacher who tortured his five-year-old daughter to death has been released after agreeing to pay ‘blood money’, activists said.

Lama al-Ghamdi died in October having suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns.

The child had also been repeatedly raped and the burned.

Her father Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a prominent Islamist preacher who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, served only a few months in jail despite admitting having used a cane and cables to inflict the injuries.

Activists from the group Women to Drive said the preacher had doubted Lama’s virginity and had her checked up by a medic.

Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said the girl’s back was broken and that she had been repeatedly raped.

Her injuries were then burned.

Rather than the death penalty or a long prison sentence, the judge in the case ruled the prosecution could only seek ‘blood money’, according to activists.

The money is compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law.

Activists said the judge ruled the few months al-Ghamdi spent in prison since his arrest in November was sufficient punishment.

He has reportedly agreed to pay £31,000 ($50,000), which is believed to have gone to Lama’s mother.

The amount is half that would have been paid if Lama had been a boy.

Activists say under Islamic laws a father cannot be executed for murdering his children. Husbands can also not be executed for murdering their wives, the group say.

Three Saudi activists, including Manal al-Sharif, who started the women’s right to drive campaign, have raised objections to the ruling.

A social media campaign is now gaining momentum after the ruling was publicised.

Manal al-Sharif has launched a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag ‘Ana Lama’, which is translated as I am Lama, calling for better protection for children and women.

Local reports say public anger in Saudi Arabia is also growing and authorities have said they will create a 24-hour hotline to take calls about child abuse.

           — Hat tip: LN [Return to headlines]

Explosion at Military Camp Kills 10 Civilians in Northwestern Yemen

SANAA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — A huge explosion occurred at a weapon depot in a military camp in Yemen’s northwestern province of Hajjah on Thursday morning, killing 10 civilians and injuring several others, a security official told Xinhua. A series of explosions occurred at a weapons depot in a military camp which is adjacent to a populated area, a security official told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Racism Against Syrian Refugees Rising

250,000 refugees, equal to over 5% of Lebanese population

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 7 — Competition for jobs, State expenditure on essential services and an increase in crime are common complaints about foreign immigrants, and the same are being heard with growing frequency against Syrian refugees in Lebanon. At 250,000 and rising, of the number Syrian refugees in the country is equal to 5% of Lebanon’s total population. Coming to their defense, though, is the Lebanese NGO Anti-racism Movement, which is circulating a video online in which it refutes the all of the above arguments. “Over the past few weeks,” the movement’s coordinator, Farah Salka, told the Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star, “we have seen racist attitudes and incitement to hatred against refugees.

We wanted to apologise to the refugees and say that these people do not represent most of the Lebanese population”. Lebanon, with its population of about four million people, opened its borders to Syrians fleeing the violence in their country, most of whom women and children. The authorities decided not to set up camps for them (unlike Jordan, Turkey and Iraq) and therefore the refugees have been taken in by families or stay in makeshift lodgings, such as garages, factories, construction sites or abandoned schools. “There is no political or national consensus on how to deal with refugees in Lebanon,” underscored Minister for Social Affairs Wael Abu Faour in an interview. This problem is largely due to concerns that the arrival of such a large number of refugees, most of whom Sunni Muslims, might alter the country’s equilibrium. It has been estimated that about a third of the Lebanese population are Sunni, a third Shiite and a third Christian. Clashes between Lebanese Shiite supporters of the Syrian regime — which occupied the country militarily for almost 30 years until 2005 — and Sunni opponents of it have led to a number of deaths, especially in the northern city of Tripoli. These concerns add to those of the influence of the Palestinian community and armed militias in refugee camps — an issue highlighted in another video making the rounds on the web recently — during the 1975-90 civil war which tore the country apart, leading to over 100,000 deaths and the destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The subject has become almost entirely taboo but has left still visible marks on the country — such as in the faulty power and water grids, especially in the poorer areas and in sharp contrast with the luxury and consumerism of Beirut’s wealthier ones. The lengthy Syrian occupation also resulted in a high level of immigration of Syrian workers, employed mostly in Lebanon’s building sector. And so it is little wonder that the recent tidal wave of refugees has awakened fears never entirely quelled.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sicily & Dubai Sign Megatronics Partnership Pact

‘An exchange of expertise and joint research’

(ANSAmed) — PALERMO, 5 FEB — The Mechanical District of Sicily — a megatronics agglomerate, signed a partnership with the American University of Dubai Tuesday which will see the two enterprises swap expertise and research projects in the field of megatronics.

Megatronics comprises mechanics, electronics and computer science and the collaboration is focused on technological innovation in the field. Renewable energy for homes, the creation of remote sensing systems for installations, and energy efficiency software for buildings are just a few of the projects in the pipeline.

35 operators in the mechanics, mechatronics, tourism and agri-business sectors from the United Arab Emirates and Oman have already signed up.

The initiative is part of a wider “Gulf Countries” project and came at the bequest of the Department of International Affairs and Regional Productivity which promotes Sicily internationally. Part of the plan is to have foreign operators visit Palermo, Trapani, Caltanissetta, Ragusa and Catania where they will meet with 42 Sicilian companies, 14 of which are in the megatronics sector, 19 in agriculture and food, and 9 in tourism.

Another group of entrepreneurs from the Gulf in the stone industry are on standby for April.

The agreement represents a “platform for dialogue”, said Antonello Mineo, President of the Mechanical District of Sicily, and will be followed in the next few months as Sicilian industry workers visit Dubai. Dubai’s Union of Engineers and the University of Kalifa in Abu Dhabi have also shown interest in the scheme. “The approach between the two realities in the fields of megatronics and renewable energy is one of comparison.

Comparison of common interests in order to develop innovative products together under one name and bring them to a shared market. This will be the real innovation”, said Mineo. ßßInterchanges between Italy and the United Arab Emirates tripled between 2000 and 2008 and Italy’s positive trade surplus grew from 1.7 billion euro to 4.8 billion.

Sicily is a fertile land for the fields of mechanics and megatronics. Its Mechanical District may turn over the comparatively small sum of 10 million euro a year, but it has grown around 8% on average over the years.

Exports stand at around 30%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey Concerned About More Acts of Terrorism

Following the suicide bombing at the US embassy in Ankara, Turkish authorities are warning of the danger of further terrorist attacks. Media reports are also saying that the investigation trail leads back to Germany.

Wearing a vest filled with explosives and carrying an automatic pistol, Ecevit Sanli posed in front of two flags depicting a hammer and sickle and the red star of the Communists, his left hand clenched around a switch with a red button — the very red button he would later push down at the reception gate of the American embassy in Ankara shortly after the photograph was taken.

The photograph of Sanli is part of the claim of responsibility announced on a website by the left-extremist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) for the Ankara attack on February 1. In its announcement, the DHKP-C insults the United States, calling the country a “monster” that is “directly responsible” for “every drop of blood” that has flowed in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. In addition, the attack by the DHKP-C organization, which is classified as a terror organization in Turkey, the United States and the European Union, was directed at the government under Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who serves as a “minion” of the United States, the group claimed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Western Conservatives Need to Engage Positively With Democratic Islam

by Daniel Hannan

Here’s a fascinating vignette: every regime toppled by the Arab Spring had modelled its constitution on that of the French Fifth Republic. The region’s strongmen defined their states as centralised, secular and presidential. They justified their dictatorships by telling their citizens that they were the only alternative to Islamic fundamentalism. They made much the same argument in the West. Don’t push us too hard on human rights, was their message, for we are the only thing that stands between you and terrorism — to say nothing of mass migration…

You can be certain that the comment thread which follows will be filled with furious screeds to the effect that there is no such thing as democratic Islam, and that I want to bring the Janissaries back to the gates of Vienna. A surprising number of people spend their days searching the web for articles containing the word ‘Muslim’ so that they can start trolling.

Paradoxically, those who take the line that Islam is incompatible with pluralist democracy are reinforcing the arguments of the jihadi loons. Nothing is more likely to push some Muslims towards extremism than being repeatedly told that they want to overthrow society. These statements, as I say, have a tendency to be partly self-fulfilling.

[JP note: Daniel Hannan would be better off reading GoV rather than writing ill-informed opinion pieces for the Telegraph.]

[Reader comment by danoconnor on 7 February 2013 at about 10 am.]

Hannan quote:

“Paradoxically, those who take the line that Islam is incompatible with pluralist democracy are reinforcing arguments of the jihad loons. Nothing is more likely to push some Muslims towards extremism than being repeatedly told that they want to overthrow society.”

You have just adopted the “jihadist loons” (Islam’s) circular closed loop argument, which is “shut up and stop criticising, scrutinising insulting or “defaming” orthodox Islam as an ideology based on fear, oppression, intimidation, violence, malignant narcissism, inferiority, deceit, lies, conquest by the womb, and that we “want to overthrow society” — — and just submit passively to all our demands of being a highly sensitive special status privileged ideology which is beyond any criticism, or it could drive us to violence at any moment because Islam “is a religion of peace and tolerance”.

Oh Jeeeez, if only I had a £ for every time I’ve had to hear this endlessly regurgitated word play mantra, this desperate exercise in self-deceit, of intellectual suicide. In relation to Islam and mass immigration, both the neo-Conservatives, the Left elite and Western society in general have suffered a massive failure of cognitive disonnance. This utter failure in being able to understand the true nature of what they are dealing with in their assesment of mainstream orthodox Islam, is because they are attempting to examine it through a Western psychological prism. They project themselves and attempt to understand Islam from a Western perspective. This has created a false reality, a false consciousness. Try using that same argument with Nazism, International Revolutionary Bolshevism.

What if the BNP, The French National Front of any other ethno nationalist party used the same argument that you use here? You’d have a fit, wouldn’t you? I know what the problem is Mr Hannan, I know what is bothering the Western political elite and why they have gone to extraordinary measures to prevent the counter-jihad movement from having a platform within the public sphere, and why they have every intention of betraying the principals enshrined in the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights and the US 1st Amendment to comply with the OIC’s “defamation of Islam” UN motion, even if it means they must do it by guile and deception in through the back door with new Public Order Acts and Racial and Religious speech code leglislation.

I know what the dilemma is Mr Hannan. It is that if all those “angry screeds” turn out to be true, it would be too horrific to contemplate. There is one thing which the Western political elite and their liberal progressive “anti-racist “ intelligensia fear more than watching us being consumed by Islam and third world mass immigration, and that is a fear of repudiation, because then they would lose their iron grip on goverment, media and the universities. We MUST be wrong, no matter what acrobatic contorsions of willful criminal denial and dispension of wisdom, common sense, logic, caution and integrity are necessary. In other words, moral and intellectual suicide.

(Edited by author 11 minutes ago)

[Reader comment by JoBennets on 7 February 2013 at about 9:45 am.]

‘Nothing is more likely to push some Muslims towards extremism than being repeatedly told that they want to overthrow society.’ You learn the sound bites of the islamists well, Daniel — you could have shoe horned the one about western women bringing rape on themselves because they don’t cover up…described colloquially as ‘uncovered meat.’ Maybe next time, eh?

[Reader comment by persephone25 on 7 February 2013 at about 9:45 am.]

A worrying development here in the Netherlands has been the refubishing of apartment blocks by housing associations to create ‘haram’ dwellings for Muslims. The major change has been the installment of extra doors to separate the men’s zone (the main reception room) from the women’s zone (the kitchen). When questioned about this, the Dutch Home Secretary, Ronald Plasterk, loftily declared that this was ‘quite acceptable’ and ‘people should stop making such a point of everything’. How strange that a former campaigner for gay rights should condone the segregation of women in a western European country … Even my most ‘progressive’, left-leaning friends are shocked.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

2 Blasts Rock 2 Afghan Northern Towns, Wounding 2

KABUL, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — Two blasts rocked two cities, both provincial capitals in northern region of Afghanistan on Thursday, wounding two people, both civilians, according to officials. In the latest shocking incident which occurred in Pul-e-Khumri city, the capital of Baghlan province 150 km north of Afghan capital Kabul, two civilians sustained injures, police asserted. “A bomb attack organized by militants and targeted police vehicle in Pul-e-Khumri city at 11:50 a.m. local time today left two people injured, both civilians,” deputy to provincial police chief Mohammad Sadiq told Xinhua…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Britain Will Leave 3,000 Military Vehicles Worth £2 Billion Behind on the Frontline When Pulls Out of Afghanistan

Britain is planning to leave military equipment worth more than £2billion in Afghanistan when it withdraws from the war.

Around 40 per cent of hardware — including up to 1,200 protected trucks and personnel carriers — will be scrapped, sold or given away by the Ministry of Defence.

Military chiefs are preparing to bring home 6,500 containers of kit from the frontline. But some 4,500 loads will remain in the warzone.

Some equipment will be gifted to the Afghan National Army and Police so they can maintain security when the UK leaves in December 2014.

Other pieces of kit deemed surplus to requirement will be destroyed so it does not fall into the hands of insurgents.

But the planning assumptions, revealed by the MoD, have fuelled concern that sensitive equipment could inadvertently fall into the Taliban’s clutches.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

India Halts Human Safaris in Andamans

Andaman authorities have halted tourist safaris to save members of an endangered tribe that has lived in the forests for tens of thousands of years. Activists say the ban is in best interests of the Jarawa.

The Jawara are believed to be related to the southern Africa’s Kalahari bushmen

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sharia Law Swallowing Indonesia

Although Indonesia, “the world’s largest Muslim country” with an 87% Muslim population, was once considered a moderate Muslim country, day by day it has been leaning more and more towards conservative Islam and Sharia laws. Initiated in 2009, bylaws in the light of Sharia rulings were implemented that conflict with the values of human rights, and are creating a difficult land for minorities to live in.

[…]

Sharia law is spreading throughout all of the provinces of Indonesia; citizens are enacting their own variations of Islamic laws, and applying then to non-Muslims as well.

[…]

Although Western leaders have praised Indonesia as a model of “Muslim democracy,” as Muslims become more intolerant of its Christian minority, the increased Islamization of Indonesia renders these Christians more vulnerable. A few days ago, six Catholic schools in East Java finally gave in to a local ordinance that requires all Muslim students to be able to read and write Koranic verses, and said it will provide Islamic lessons for their Muslim students.

It is not only governmental initiatives that are disrupting the lives of Christians, Shiite Muslims, Bahais, Ahmadiyyans, Sufis and atheists. Individuals and groups have been engaging in terroristic attacks against non-Sunni Muslims. In August 2011, Muslim militants burned down three Christian churches on Sumatra. In an attack, in west Java in February 2011, three Ahmadiyyans were killed. A cameraman recorded the scene, posted on YouTube. In September 2010, Islamist militants burned down two churches, and stabbed an elderly Christian as he tried to defend the third site.

[…]

[You Tube link is at the URL above]

[Return to headlines]

Asian Astrologers Warn of Stormy Year of Snake

A stock market slide, escalated conflict between Japan and China and more Gangnam-styled success for South Korean singer Psy will shape the incoming Year of the Snake, say Asian soothsayers.

Those who make predictions according to the study of feng shui — or literally “wind-water” — are influential in many parts of Asia, where people adjust their lives or renovate houses and offices based on the advice.

As they bid farewell to the Year of the Dragon, the fortune tellers warn that the “black water snake” that emerges to replace it on February 10 — the first day of the Lunar New Year — could be a venomous one that brings disaster.

Previous Snake years have been marked by the September 11, 2001 terror strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people, the crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The 1929 stock market plunge that heralded the Great Depression also occurred in a snake year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

North Korea’s Secret Gulag Prisons Serve as Model for Where Obama is Taking America

[WARNING: Disturbing content on N.Korea gulags in article.]

“In light of a newly uncovered U.S. Army document that outlines plans for prisoners, including U.S. citizens, to be re-educated in detention camps, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the fact that Barack Obama’s political mentor, Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, once called for precisely the same thing,” writes Paul Joseph Watson for InfoWars.com.

He said according to former FBI agent Larry Grathwohl, who was assigned to infiltrate the Weather Underground’s Central Committee, the domestic terrorist group Ayers headed that carried out bombings targeting the Pentagon, State Department and other federal and police buildings, the goal of the president’s longtime associate was to bring down the U.S. government and allow Cuban, North Vietnamese, Chinese and Russian troops to occupy the country.

Grathwohl said the Weathermen told him the camps would be used to “re-educate people into the new way of thinking.”

In May, the site published details of a leaked U.S. Army document that laid bare plans for “political activists” to be pacified by “PSYOP officers” into developing an “appreciation of U.S. policies” while detained in prison camps inside the United States.

The document, FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations, was once accessible online, but when Natural News attempted to access the site for this story, we discovered the U.S. Cyber Command is now blocking it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Red Obsessions: Film Business Moves From Hollywood to Asia

The movie industry is increasingly shifting toward Asia, especially China, striking fear in the hearts of Hollywood studio executives. The two cultures are about to clash at the Berlin International Film Festival, which opens with the Chinese epic film “The Grandmaster” by Wong Kar-wai.

Ms. Cheng is proud of how she bought a bottle of Bordeaux wine, a Château Lafite, at an auction in Hong Kong. At some point, she says, she lost patience, around when the bidding had reached 700,000 Hong Kong dollars (€67,000, or $91,000). “Suddenly I shouted ‘1.5 million!’ and the bottle was mine.”

Kelly Cheng is one of several very wealthy Chinese wine enthusiasts portrayed in the documentary film “Red Obsession.” One of the characters in the film, which will be shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, or Berlinale, which opens on Thursday, says: “The Chinese love to swallow Western civilization.”

The film tells the story of how the wine business is shifting to the East. It depicts French winemakers bravely defending their wine cellars against the greed of their Asian customers. “Red Obsession” gives the viewer a foretaste of what could also happen in the film industry.

A study by the management-consulting firm Ernst & Young predicts that China will replace North America as the world’s largest film market by 2020. “I think it’ll happen before that,” says Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick. “If the Chinese open up their market, there will be no holding back.”

This year Kosslick is showing the Chinese epic “The Grandmaster” as the opening film. The director, Wong Kar-wai, is the jury president at this year’s Berlinale. “The Grandmaster” tells the love story of martial arts master Ip Man, who trained Bruce Lee.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kenya: Bandits Kill One, Displace 15,000 in Baringo County

One more person was shot dead yesterday as bandits raided Kiserian area in Baringo. This came just a day after bandits killed three police officers and a villager in Pokot East.

Speaking to the press, Baringo County Commissioner Benard Leparamarai said GSU personnel were deployed in the area. He however noted that the terrain in the area is difficult making it hard for police to effectively deal with the bandits. He said because of this, police have asked to use police choppers in pursuing the raiders who have displaced more than 15,000 people from their homes…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Khartoum University Professors Demand Students’ Release, Sudan

Khartoum 6 Feb

Professors of the Khartoum University in the Sudanese capital are demanding the release of students who were arrested last Friday after security forces reportedly invaded the campus beating and arresting dozens of undergraduates. In a statement, professors are further demanding that perpetrators are brought to justice, that injured students are treated and that those who lost their properties receive compensation. They also ask that the university’s administration puts an end to this type of violence by gathering academics to inform the public about the facts of last week’s occurrence. Meanwhile, members of the students union of the Khartoum University demanded on Monday that government authorities reimburse “without delay” all students who have lost their properties. The union pointed out that security services had the support of undergraduates loyal to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), who they call Rabbatah, during last Friday’s offensive. They further demanded that those involved in the assault are held accountable and that the University Mosque Committee be dissolved…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

30,000 Circumcised Women in the Netherlands

THE HAGUE — An estimated 30,000 women are living in the Netherlands who have suffered genital mutilation by circumcision, according to research by the Pharos knowledge centre for migrants, refugees and health commissioned by the health ministry.

Most of the girls in the high-risk group come from Somalia and Egypt. They are often circumcised in their home country before their arrival in the Netherlands. At the same time, every year an estimated 40 to 50 girls living in the Netherlands are genitally mutilated, mostly during a visit to their country of origin with their parents.

Female genital mutilation is a criminal offence in the Netherlands. If it is carried out on underage girls, it comes under child abuse.

The number of circumcised women would be even higher without the present policy of combating circumcision, the researchers believe. They advise that this policy should be continued.

“The criminal law approach to circumcision of girls will be extended,” said Health State Secretary Martin van Rijn in a reaction. “Following a legislative amendment, it will be possible to prosecute for carrying out circumcision of girls abroad in our country. Additionally, there will be special sessions for circumcised women at six locations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Britain’s Now the Migrant Magnet of Europe: 600,000 Come Here in One Year… Twice as Many as Go to France

Britain has become the biggest magnet for migrants in Europe, EU officials revealed yesterday.

The highest total recorded — 590,950 — came to live here in 2010, their figures showed. This intake was more than twice the 251,159 migrants who opted to go to France.

It means that this country has overtaken Spain and Germany, where levels fell sharply, as the top target for immigrants seeking jobs and a new home.

The rise in numbers coming here marks a historic immigration landmark and comes as a new wave of incomers from Romania and Bulgaria is expected in 2014.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canada: Kenney Suggests Stripping Citizenship in Terrorism Cases

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the government should “consider” expanding a Tory MP’s bill to strip Canadian citizenship from those who commit acts of terrorism.

He was speaking after confirmation Tuesday that a Lebanese-Canadian dual national was involved in the 2012 bombing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

Conservative MP Devinder Shory’s private member’s bill, C-425, had its first hour of debate in the House of Commons on Jan. 29.

As currently written, it seeks to amend the Citizenship Act in two ways:

  • Speeding up Canadian citizenship for permanent residents who serve in the Canadian Forces.
  • Triggering the renunciation of Canadian citizenship for those who engage in acts of war against the Canadian Forces.

Shory says his bill’s measures are in line with those in other countries like Australia and the United States and that polls suggest there’s broad support for stripping citizenship in such cases.

“I think that perhaps we should consider working with Shory to broaden the scope of his bill to include not just acts of war against Canada by Canadian citizens, but perhaps we should also consider acts of terrorism,” Kenney said.

“Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing one’s sense of loyalty than going and committing acts of terror,” he said.

“Right now under the current Canadian law we have no power to revoke or to deem renunciation of citizenship on the part of a dual citizen terrorist of this nature, although every other western democracy I’ve studied does have a similar power to revoke citizenship effectively from dual citizens who are terrorists,” the immigration minister said. “So I think we should study the international precedence and perhaps look at expanding Mr. Shory’s private member’s bill.”

In a statement provided to CBC News, Shory said he was “open to any amendments that strengthen my bill.”

“Punishing those who commit acts of terror is certainly consistent with the spirit of my bill, and as such Minister Kenney’s proposal is an attractive one,” the Tory MP said.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Greece: Fewer Illegals Cross the Evros Border

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 7 — An ongoing government sweep to round up illegal immigrants, Operation Xenios Zeus, has also deterred them from trying to enter Greece across the Evros River on the Turkish border, GreekReporter writes citing Greek police sources. The influx in the region has been reduced significantly with police patrols as well as a new fence along the border.

Based on data from arrests, the number of illegal immigrants trying to enter the area has been cut 95%. According to figures made public yesterday, between August last year and January this year, 1,710 immigrants were arrested at the Evros border, compared to 35,258 in the previous six-month period. The police also said that the first six months of the Xenios Zeus operation aimed at tackling illegal immigration led to 77,526 migrants being detained. Of those, 4,435 were found to be lacking residence papers and were arrested. Officials though said they believe immigrants may be choosing other routes, such as the many islands not far from Turkey although a number of them have died in boat capsizings. Xenios Zeus has been underway since August 2, 2012 in the area of Evros and in central parts of the city of Athens. The operation’s objectives are pushing back illegal immigrants from Evros and sealing of the borders, and deporting illegal immigrants.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Three Immigrants Drown in Texas Police Chase

HOUSTON, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — Three young men died Wednesday as a sport utility vehicle carrying them and at least 10 other suspected illegal immigrants plunged into a stock tank during a police chase in Texas. The incident happened about 2 a.m. near the town of Poth, southeast of the Texas city of San Antonio, police said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

43% of French ‘Uncomfortable’ Around Same-Sex Couples, Survey

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, FEBRUARY 6 — A high percentage of the French population do not feel at ease around same-sex couples. A recent IFOP survey conducted shows that some 43% feel “uncomfortable” around male couples, while 41% feel the same around female ones.

The survey’s results were released today amid parliamentary debate on a draft law to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. Men feel more uncomfortable than women, both as concerns male homosexuality (48%, compared with 38% of women) and female homosexuality (43% and 40%, respectively). Most of the French, however, have no problem with same-sex couples: 57% of those surveyed said that they felt at ease in the presence of a male couple and 59% the same for female couples. The survey was conducted January 12-15 on a representative sample of 1,215 people over the age of 18.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron’s Push for Gay Marriage is the Death Knell for the Conservative Party

From the beginning David (just call me Dave) Cameron has been pounding the Conservative party into a leftist direction. He failed to win a majority in the last general election what with his wishy washy liberal views of a Rooseveltian Big Society, confusing fiscal packages and seeming love affair with the failed European Union project. He promised a referendum on the EU at that time and then reneged. Now he is promising an in/out referendum but only if we vote for him again in two years time. Meanwhile the country is on fire with a staggering debt of about 400% of GDP if one includes private debt on top of national debt, our bond market is about to explode, there are no sensible moves on curbing welfare, the national health service is dangerously failing the citizenry, and another uncontrolled surge of immigration is due next January when 30 million Bulgarians and Romanians will be eligible to enter the UK.

Hard on the heels of Cameron’s announcement in late January of an in/out referendum on the EU, which he has vowed to campaign in favour of staying in, we now find out via rival party UKIP that the gay marriage legislation is being driven by an EU proposal called the Berlinguer Report. This calls for all marriage and civil contracts conducted in any EU country to become legally binding in all member states, and who would need to provide all benefits, legal recognition and tax breaks afford to a married couple, even if such a marriage does not exist in their own legal system. In essence the report seeks to establish EU-wide rights to same sex marriage. The fact that gay marriage was not part of the Conservative manifesto and the zeal that Cameron has pushed the bill through parliament, only serves to show how much in lockstep with Brussels he really is.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: It Isn’t Those Who Oppose Gay Marriage Who Are the Bigots — it is the Liberals Who Demonise Them

Isn’t Mr Cameron correct to say that marriage is such a splendid institution that it should be enjoyed by homosexuals, too?

Then I heard a Tory MP whom I hadn’t heard of speak in the Commons debate on Tuesday. David Burrowes, a leading opponent of gay marriage, described how he had been called a Nazi and a bigot and subjected to death threats because of his views. His children had been told that their father is a bigot and a homophobe.

I thought of Polly Toynbee, and her ‘nest of bigots’. What nasty, intolerant language to use. The language of a bigot, in fact. I asked myself whether anyone I knew, or had heard, spoke about the supporters of gay marriage in such terms. I couldn’t think of any.

Then I took another look at the YouGov poll so freely cited by the BBC. It’s true that 56 per cent of respondents said that they were in favour of gay marriage, but there were 38 per cent against. That’s a substantial minority, and perhaps the figures would be different if the question were asked in a different way.

For example, a ComRes poll commissioned by a group called the Coalition for Marriage asked whether ‘marriage should continue to be defined as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman’. This poll found 53 per cent in favour of this proposition and 36 per cent opposed.

I wonder how often this poll was mentioned by the BBC. I’ve heard no reference to it. To a large extent, the question frames the answer. YouGov put it one way, ComRes another.

My guess — no, it is closer to a conviction — is that only very few people are passionately in favour of gay marriage. Indeed, the YouGov survey found that only seven per cent of voters rate the issue as one of their most important concerns…

How brilliant the secular liberals are at stigmatising the mainstream beliefs of moderate people, and trying to frighten them into believing that they are extremists who must change their ways. But it is the liberals, in their intolerance and caricaturing of their opponents, who are the real extremists.

There’s nothing new about this. Over the past 50 years, similar tactics have been used to introduce one revolutionary social reform after another, often with undesirable consequences, though usually presented at the time in a spirit of measured reasonableness.

As a result, we’ve got abortion on demand, pornography accessible to every child with a computer, and contraceptives handed out to 14-year-old girls like lollipops, without their parents having the right to know.

What next? The legalisation of drugs, perhaps.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: My Baby Was Perfect. Why Did Doctors Push Me to Abort Her?

Watching my nine-year-old daughter Rosalie disappear through the departure gates at Heathrow to board a flight to France last month, I felt a surge of intense love and pride.

Rosie is the happiest, most fun-loving child any mother could wish for. You name it, she will have a go at it. She writes poetry, plays the harp, sings in the church choir and is a demon on ski slopes. She’s a total joy to her siblings — Serena, Bink, Alexander and Benjamin, who are all in their 20s.

Rosie is spending six weeks in Lyons to develop her language skills, and is living with a family she’s never met. That’s the sort of confident girl she is. Of course I’m biased.

But there’s a very real reason why I thank my lucky stars every day that I have her: if I’d given in to pressure from doctors, in all likelihood Rosie would not be here.

When I was pregnant, I was told she’d be born with a club foot. What’s more, the doctors said this was a strong indication that she was suffering from a chromosome disability such as Down’s syndrome. My husband Shaun — a school chaplain — and I were expected to consider a termination. I will never cease to thank God that we didn’t.

Rosie, as it turns out, is physically perfect. She is living proof that doctors can get it wrong. And had we gone down that terrible route, we’d have had no way of knowing that the diagnosis was mistaken.

That’s the frightening truth, and it’s also why I was so appalled to read this week that babies are being aborted just because doctors suspect they may have minor disabilities.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: There is a Lot of Illiberalism Amongst So-Called Liberals and a Lot of Intolerance From Those Who Once Preached Tolerance

By Tim Montgomerie

I was occupied with other things for most of Tuesday and missed the debates on the same-sex marriage legislation. It was, overall, a very high quality debate with both sides making important points. It contrasted with much of the preceding ‘debate’ in the media, on Twitter and in veiled threats to ‘out’ MPs who didn’t vote the right way. David Burrowes MP used the debate to talk about some of the abuse he has faced. Some of it directed at his children. He worried that this intolerance of his own opposition to gay marriage was a sign of things to come:

“I do not have a monopoly on victimhood. The homosexual community has been subject to abuse which, sadly, has characterised debates about sexuality. It is intolerable, however, that as soon as Members of Parliament put their heads above the parapet and speak to the media, they are called “a homophobe”, “a Nazi”—I have been called that—”a bigot”, and many other expletives that I would not dare to read out. I have been told to be ashamed of myself, and to die: I have received specific death threats relating to my travel plans. I have been told that I am a disgrace, and that I have no right to express my opinion on this subject. My children have been told that their dad is a bigot and a homophobe.

That is only the tip of the iceberg of rude and offensive comments that many Members have received via Twitter. I have broad shoulders, and I can continue to stand up and support marriage in Parliament. Today’s debate has not been characterised by hatred and vitriol—we have shown ourselves in a good light—but I fear for the liberty of the conscience of my constituents who may not have such broad shoulders: public sector workers, teachers and others in the workplace who see no protection in the Bill.”

It is a great shame that the Coalition has not done enough to address the fear of religious people that they’ll soon live in a country where more traditionalist views might be banished from the public square. There is a lot of illiberalism amongst so-called liberals and a lot of intolerance from those who once preached tolerance. While it’s true that Maria Miller and other ministers have done much to address concerns about the narrow implications for religious liberty of the equal marriage bill there has not been a bolder, broader recognition that a whole series of equality laws and cultural changes are causing religious people and communities anxiety. There is, of course, no room for hateful attitudes but there must be room for the great faiths to enjoy freedom of conscience and association…

[Reader comment by tarpapershack on 7 February 2013 at about 9:45 am.]

I have read comments which have really disturbed me although I am sure that was the writers’ intention. Many people claiming to be Cameron supporters are beyond question the worst. Their foaming hatred is directed beyond those in the Christian Community and at all “old” people in general. That is one reason why this Bill should never have been passed, especially in such haste.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Citizen Presents Eloquent Defense of 2nd Amendment Before Bureaucrats: Video

Citizen Presents Eloquent Defense of 2nd Amendment Before Bureaucrats

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Death and Fear Are at Center of Islamic Society

by Nonie Darwish

The main concern of Muslim citizens in any Islamic state is staying safe, alive and away from being accused of doing or saying anything against Islamic teachings.

The most influential Sunni leader in the Middle East has just admitted what many of us who grew up as Muslims in the Middle East have always known: that Islam could not exist today without the killing of apostates. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the most respected leaders of the Sunni world, recently said on Egyptian television, “If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment [often death] for apostasy, Islam would not exist today.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

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