Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/22/2013

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Sunni mosque in Syria, killing a prominent imam — a supporter of the Assad regime — and 41 other people. The Syrian rebels have denied any responsibility for the attack.

In other news, violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma have claimed at least 20 lives, and prompted the Burmese president to declare a state of emergency.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, JP, Mary Abdelmassih, Steen, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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


Financial Crisis
» Bernanke Fails to Answer Concerns About a Cyprus-Style Seizure of American Bank Deposits
» Cyprus Bank Insolvency Crisis Quickly Escalating; May Set Off EU Bankageddon
» Cyprus Says No to Bank Raid and Turns to Russia: Two in Three Islanders Now Want to Leave the Eurozone
» Mass Panic in Cyprus: The Banks Are Collapsing and Atms Are Running Out of Money
» Slovenia Must Issue Bond by June 6 to Avoid Trouble: Former PM
» Spaniards Spooked by Cypriot Savings Grab Turn to Virtual Currency to Hide Money From Cash-Strapped Government
» The Streets of America in the Very Near Future
 
USA
» Constitutional Convention Call Redux, Part 3
» Contesting Certain Foreign Laws Can be Dangerous
» Family’s Home Raided Over Facebook Photo of Child’s Rifle
» FEMA Federalizing Police for Domestic War
» Former Attorney General Urges Probe of Al Jazeera
» Is America a Republic or an Empire?
» Islamic Center Open House to Feature Speakers on Islam and Terroism
» Judy Chu Exposed, Part 5: Judy Chu — “I Am a Daughter of China, Now I Am Coming Home”
» Massachusetts Principal Calls Off Honors Night Because it Could be ‘Devastating’ To Students Who Missed Mark
» NASA’s Chinese Spy Problem
» Red Arizona!!! Help Keywiki Expose the Grand Canyon State’s Pro-Communist Politicians
» Support Gun Makers Who Support You — Buy More Guns!
» There is Zero Evidence for Zero Tolerance Policing
» Toxic Bayou Corne Sinkhole in Louisiana Slowly Swallowing Up State: Another Three Acres of Land Disappear Into Abyss
 
Canada
» Canadians Warn US Not to Fall for National Registration of Firearms Lie (Video)
 
Europe and the EU
» British Gas Reserves Could Run Dry in 36 Hours After Freezing Householders Turn the Heating Up
» Bulgaria Orders Psychological Support to Prevent Self-Immolations
» EU Confirms it is Taking Italy to Court Over Lazio Rubbish
» German Spies Accused of Racism, Islamophobia
» ‘I Am Justin, Servant of Christ’: Welby the Most Modern Reverend Becomes 105th Archbishop of Canterbury
» Italian Jews Should Go to Israel Due to ‘Fascist’ Grillo
» Italy: M5S Retains Lead But Loses Ground, Pollster Says
» Italy: Berlusconi Open to Govt With Centre-Left — Minus PM
» Muslims Are an Integral Part of the Bulgarian Nation, Caretaker PM Tells Chief Mufti
» Netherlands: Minister to Get Tough on Mosque School Safety
» Netherlands: Confiscate Jihadist Passports, MPS Tell Justice Minister
» UK: Author Criticizes British Muslims for “Deeply Anti-Semitic Views”
» UK: Counter-Terror Police Foil Bomb Plots as Big as 7/7 Every Year, Says Met Assistant Commissioner
» UK: How Pushy Middle-Class Parents Are Turning Their Children Into Sleep-Starved Zombies
» UK: Killer Copied Torture Scene From Horror Film Saw
» UK: Lessons From the Censorial Past
» UK: Major Terror Attack on Scale of 7/7 Foiled Every Year in UK, Police Reveal
» UK: Mosque Plans for Gillingham
» UK: Police Explain Reason for Abu Qatada Re-Arrest
» UK: Striving for Harlow
» UK: Somehow, I’m Agreeing With Mehdi Hasan
» Vatican: Pope Urges Dialogue With Muslims and Atheists
» Vatican: Pope: Dialogue With Islam, Olive Branch to China
 
North Africa
» Egypt: Hundreds of Imams Protest Against Muslim Brotherhood
» Egypt: Salvation Front Youths to Protest Against Fascist Regime Friday
» Egypt Bedouin ‘Kidnap Norwegian Tourist’
» Egytian Muslims Accuse Priest of Using Black Magic on Muslim Girl
» Gaddafi’s Widow and Sons Said to Have Left Algeria
» Registration of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as NGO Trick to Avoid Judicial Challenges
» While Beating a Man to Death, Egyptian Muslims Take Time Out for Dawn Prayers
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Abbas, Obama Regard Settlement Issue as Obstacle to Peace
» At Memorial, Obama Urges Action Against Racism and Anti-Semitism
» Barack Obama’s Arafat Blunder is an Embarrassment for the Leader of the Free World
» Barack Obama’s Israel Speech: Transcript
» ‘Most Palestinians Hate Obama’; US President Gets Heated Reception in West Bank
» Obama Calls on Israel to Stop Building Jewish Settlements
 
Middle East
» Al-Qaida Militants Ambush Pro-Gov’t Militia in Southern Yemen, 3 Killed
» Iran’s Leader Threatens to Level Cities if Israel Attacks, Criticizes US Nuclear Talks
» Iraq Ten Years on: A Tourists’ Guide to the Garden of Eden and the Film Set of the Exorcist
» Iraq: Christians in the Middle East: Ever More Fearful
» Kurds Call for Ceasefire in 30-Year Struggle With Turkey Which Has Left More Than 30,000 People Dead
» Nouman Khan: The One-Man Qur’an Movement
» Saudi Prince Jailed in Britain for Sexually Abusing and Murdering His Male Servant Flies Home to Serve the Rest of His Life Sentence
» Suicide Bomber Kills Syria’s Most Senior Sunni Cleric
» Syria: Sunni Cleric and Dozens of Worshipers Killed in Suicide Attack on Damascus Mosque
» The Saudis Oppress Their People and Expect Visitors to Look the Other Way
» Turkey: Erdogan Committed to Solving Kurd Crisis Through ‘Islam’
 
South Asia
» Burma: Deadly Clashes in Burma Between Buddhists and Muslims
» Burmese Sectarian Violence Kills 20
» Five Dead and a Mosque is Burned to the Ground in Myanmar After Argument Between Muslim Shop Owner and Buddhist Customers Sparks Riot
» India to Set Up Special Tribunal for Italian Marines
» Indonesia: West Java: Bekasi Church Demolished to Gain Islamist Consent Ahead of Elections
» Italy to Return Marines to India in Diplomatic Tug-of-War
» Nepal: Govt Introduces Secret Amnesty to Save War Criminals
» Now Terrorists Are Targeting Refugees: 12 Killed as Car Bomb Rips Through Pakistani Camp (Photos)
» One NATO Soldier Killed in Blast in E. Afghanistan
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Giraffic Park! Terrified Safari Tourists in Jeep Chased for Two Miles by Crazed Animal
» Nigeria: Nine Feared Killed in Plateau Reprisal
 
Immigration
» Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Disguised Amnesty
» Lib Dems Were Wrong to Offer Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants, Clegg Admits as He Unveils New £1,000 ‘Bonds’ For Foreigners
» McCain: Media Leaks Damaging Gang of 8 Immigration Talks
» UK: Cash Bonds to Ensure That Immigrants Return Home
» UK: Vince Cable Attacks Theresa May’s Immigration Goal and Defends His Talks With Labour
 
Culture Wars
» £25,000 Sex Swap Ops for Two Convicts: Taxpayers Foot Bill Before Transfer to Women’s Prison
» Dem Party Official Makes Students ‘Stomp on Jesus’
» Former Director of English National Ballet Asked Dancer to Consider Aborting Unborn Baby So He Could Cast Her as Sleeping Beauty
» Homosexuality & Humanity
» Little Sisters of the New World Religion
» Senator Rob Portman’s Homosexual Descent
» UK: Generation X-Rated Owns the Net

Bernanke Fails to Answer Concerns About a Cyprus-Style Seizure of American Bank Deposits

The government of Cyprus wants to grab bank deposits, and the chief economist of the German Commerzbank has called for private savings accounts in Italy to be similarly plundered, and other nations may be moving in that direction as well.

The American government has seized private assets before, and President Obama authorized seizure of property again last year. (The Argentinian government grabbed 401k assets; and some in the American government have mulled the same thing. And the U.S. government’s take-down of Megaupload was also an exercise of the power to seize all of the legal property held in a storage facility because a handful of crooks have illegal property in theirs. )

Zero Hedge has been warning for years that Western governments — including the U.S. — would eventually seize bank assets.

Bernanke was asked yesterday whether a Cyprus-style grab of bank deposits is possible in the U.S. :

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Bank Insolvency Crisis Quickly Escalating; May Set Off EU Bankageddon

(NaturalNews) As you may have suspected, there’s far more to the Cyprus bank crisis story than meets the eye. It turns out the shutdown of Cypriot banks has caused a large-scale financial shutdown of the Russian government which uses Cyprus banks for most transactions.

On top of that, the EU central bank (ECB) has now issued an ultimatum that threatens to revoke all financial support and crash the Cypriot banks if they can’t come up with 5.8 billion Euros by Monday. Reuters reports:

The European Central Bank, which has kept Cyprus’s banks operating with a liquidity lifeline, said the government had until Monday to get a deal in place, or funds would be cut off — putting not just the Cypriot economy in jeopardy but billions of euros held on the island by foreigners, notably from Russia.

USA Today reports, “If it does not find a way by Monday, the European Central Bank said it will cut off emergency support to the banks, letting them collapse. That would throw the country into financial chaos and, ultimately, cause it to leave the eurozone, with unpredictable consequences for the region.”

Until then, the banks remain closed, and everybody knows the minute they open, every account holder will immediately transfer their money out of the banks, causing a near-instant bank run and a collapse.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Cyprus Says No to Bank Raid and Turns to Russia: Two in Three Islanders Now Want to Leave the Eurozone

Cyprus was on the brink of going bust last night as its teetering government faced a growing clamour to ditch the euro.

As horrified islanders faced new limits on cashpoint withdrawals and a ban on taking money out of the country, a poll showed more than two-thirds now want to leave the single currency and turn to Russia for help.

Last night, as one bank was said to have just a ‘few hours’ left before it runs out of cash, politicians were scrambling to cobble together a ‘Plan B’ to avoid a bankruptcy that would send shockwaves through the European banking system.

They insisted they will not go ahead with a plan drawn up in Brussels to confiscate up to 10 per cent of every bank deposit, branded the ‘great EU bank robbery’.

There was growing concern that Germany’s attempt to strongarm the Mediterranean island, already blamed for undermining confidence in banks across the Continent, is turning into a geopolitical blunder of historic proportions.

Yesterday there were extraordinary reports that Cypriot leaders were refusing to take calls from the European Central Bank. Instead, they were locked in talks with Vladimir Putin’s government about a Russian bailout.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mass Panic in Cyprus: The Banks Are Collapsing and Atms Are Running Out of Money

European officials are openly admitting that the two largest banks in Cyprus are “insolvent”, and it is now being reported that Cyprus Popular Bank only has “enough liquidity to cover the next few hours”. Of course all banks in Cyprus are officially closed until Tuesday at the earliest, but there have been long lines at ATMs all over Cyprus as people scramble to get whatever money they can out of the banks. Unfortunately, some ATMs appear to be “malfunctioning” and others appear to have already run out of cash. You can see some photos of huge lines at one ATM in Cyprus right here. Some businesses are now even refusing to take credit card payments. This is creating an atmosphere of panic on the streets of Cyprus. Meanwhile, the EU is holding a gun to the head of the Cyprus financial system. Either Cyprus meets EU demands by Monday, or liquidity for the banks will be totally cut off and Cyprus will be forced out of the euro. It is being reported that European officials believe that the “economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what”, and that it would be okay to let the financial system of Cyprus crash and burn if politicians in Cyprus are not willing to do what they have been ordered to do. Apparently European officials are very confident that the situation in Cyprus can be contained and that it will not spread to other European nations.

Unfortunately, European officials are losing sight of the bigger picture. If the largest banks in Cyprus are allowed to fail, it will be another “Lehman Brothers moment”. The faith that people have in banks all over Europe will be called into question, and everyone will be wondering what major European banks will be allowed to fail next.

Meanwhile, European officials have already completely shattered confidence in deposit insurance at this point. Everyone now knows that when there is a major bank failure that depositors will be expected to share in the pain. Expect to see “bank jogs” all over southern Europe over the coming weeks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Slovenia Must Issue Bond by June 6 to Avoid Trouble: Former PM

Slovenia, which is struggling to avoid a bailout, must issue a bond by June 6 to meet its financial obligations, former Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Thursday.

Analysts already expect Slovenia to issue a bond of at least one billion euros in coming months because of outstanding debts falling due for repayment in 2013 which officials have estimated to total at least two billion euros.

Slovenia’s new government has so far declined to say anything about its borrowing plans. Officials in the outgoing administration previously said new issuance would be needed in mid-year to avoid problems, but Jansa’s remark was the first to give an exact date.

Jansa, whose conservative government was replaced on Wednesday by the new center-left cabinet of Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek, said Slovenia had no liquidity problems at the moment.

“The Slovenian state is liquid and can meet its obligations without any problems for now, but the situation can change significantly on June 6 unless we issue new bonds by then,” Jansa told reporters while handing over power to Bratusek.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spaniards Spooked by Cypriot Savings Grab Turn to Virtual Currency to Hide Money From Cash-Strapped Government

Spaniards scared of a savings raid like the one threatened by the cash-strapped Cypriot government last week are turning to a ‘virtual’ currency called Bitcoin to hold onto their cash.

A trio of Bitcoin apps have soared up Spain’s download charts as people in the country move their money away from banks to avoid any attempt by the government to tap them for funding.

Bitcoin is a alternative currency popular online that, unlike conventional currency, has no central bank…

That savers are more willing to invest their cash in an unstable, experimental currency like Bitcoin has been seen as a seen as a sign of growing uncertainty over European banking.

Bitcoin has only been in circulation since 2009, and in that time it has experienced wild fluctuations in value and occasional hacking and account thefts.

The anonymous, encrypted nature of the currency has made it a favourite for black-market transactions, including online illegal drugs purchases at the Silk Road marketplace.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Streets of America in the Very Near Future

We’ve seen it time and again over the last five years. Governments overstepping their authority and punishing their people because of the actions of elite banking conglomerates, dirty politicians and bought-off regulators.

Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal have all been pillaged in the name of purported recovery and stability.

Today we’re seeing it in Cyprus, where Euro Zone financiers have threatened to not only rob the populace of their personal savings, but shut off access to bank accounts indefinitely. And, as we’ve seen elsewhere, the people are having none of it.

Like the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it took a mere 72 hours of restricted access to funds, and thus essential goods, before the people took to the streets in mass protest and rioting.

The following pictures depict what’s in store for the United States in the very near future, when our own banking system re-collapses and Americans are left with no ability to access their money or are restricted to how much cash they are able to withdraw.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Constitutional Convention Call Redux, Part 3

There are numerous organizations promoting a Constitutional Convention under the guise of a Balanced Budget Amendment. Tom DeWeese wrote about the 10 Amendments for Freedom, Inc, chaired by William Fruth, President of POLICOM Corporation. He covered this in his articles, “Powerful Forces Calling for a Constitutional Convention,” and “Constitutional Convention Cannot be Controlled.”

Back in 1995, model resolutions for the Conference of States (COS) came from the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), the organization that indoctrinates liberal (mostly Democratic) legislators, just as American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) does the conservatives (Republicans). The NCSL is presently backing the internet sales tax, and the rotten E-Verify.

ALEC passed a resolution supporting the COS resolution, and Republicans joined the fray. Thankfully, the 1995 attempt was defeated, again because patriots were alert. (As an aside, the Governor of New Mexico was then Gary Johnson, Libertarian Candidate for President in the 2012 race, and he backed the COS resolution.)

[…]

The CSG is a private, international organization funded originally with Rockefeller money through the Spelman Fund (John D. Rockefeller’s wife, Laura Spelman) (see CSG’s Book of the States Volume I — 1935) and currently receives millions of dollars from states’ dues — our tax dollars. As early as 1935, the CSG had already called for gun control and the creation of 10 REGIONS for America. Today, America has 10 Federal Regions from which the federal government controls our money and therefore our states, counties, townships and municipalities. Regionalism is Communism! The money from the block grants coming into the states is fed into the Federal Regional Planning Commissions, HUD, HEW, EPA, Departments of Labor, Commerce, DOE, etc., which in turn doles it out to our local governments in return for their “obedience” in passing whatever laws and ordinances the federal planners dictate (think Agenda 21, Smart Growth). If they do not comply, money is withheld until they do…

Here we are, eighteen years later, and they’re still at it. In this present assault on our Constitution the roles are reversed: ALEC wrote the model resolution; and the NCSL is solidly behind the scheme, as indicated by the letter that was sent to every Governor, Senate President, and House Speaker in this country by Florida Senator Jeff Atwater, from the NCSL. So, let’s take a closer look at ALEC.

American Legislative Exchange Council

The subject of ALEC deserves a three-part article alone, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll just give an overview. It’s not just a lobby or front group, ALEC is one of the most powerful unelected councils in the country.

[Comment: A must read for EVERY American!]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Contesting Certain Foreign Laws Can be Dangerous

Tuesday evening Tom Clements went to his front door at his home in Monument, Colorado responding to a door bell. He opened it and was shot several times in his chest killed by an unknown assailant. A massive manhunt is underway to find the perpetrator. According to the El Paso County, Colorado sheriff conducting the Clements murder investigation it may not have been a random event. Clements was Colorado’s Prisons Chief and oversaw the State Parole Board. He had been appointed to the post by Governor John Hickenlooper in 2011. The 58 year old Clements was in charge of the 20,000 prisoners in the Colorado system. One prisoner in particular, a Saudi Royal Prince, Homaidan al-Turki, might have been the cause of his murder by the unknown assailant. Al-Turki had been convicted in 2006 on charges of false imprisonment and sex slavery of an Indonesian house keeper at his home in Aurora, a Denver suburb. He had done graduate work at the University of Colorado in Boulder on Arabic linguistics. He formed a company that produced audio tapes by the late American born Sheik Anwar al Awlaki of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed in a 2011 drone attack in Yemen. Clements had refused to approve an application for the transfer of al-Turki to Saudi Arabia to serve out the rest of his term. In the wake of Clements’ murder al-Turki has been sent to solitary confinement for his own protection. . . The al-Turki conviction in Colorado in 2006 and the late Colorado Prisons Commissioner Clements’ grounds for rejection of al-Turki’s transfer to Saudi Arabia might also be reflected in objections to the various American Law for American Courts (ALAC) legislation now pending a number of state legislatures. . . It would appear from the Clements murder and the current debate over adoption of ALAC in state legislative proceedings that contesting foreign laws can be dangerous.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Family’s Home Raided Over Facebook Photo of Child’s Rifle

“Someone called family services about the photo,” said Evan Nappen, an attorney representing Shawn Moore. “It led to an incredible, heavy-handed raid on his house. They wanted to see his gun safe, his guns and search his house. They even threatened to take his kids.”

The family’s trouble started Saturday night when Moore received an urgent text message from his wife. The Carneys Point Police Dept. and the New Jersey Dept. of Children and Families had raided their home.

Moore immediately called Nappen and rushed home to find officers demanding to check his guns and his gun safe.

Instead, he handed the cell phone to one of the officers — so they could speak with Nappen…

But the person who reported the false allegations of abuse cannot be held liable, she noted.

“You can’t be prosecuted for making an allegation of child abuse — even if it’s false,” she said.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

FEMA Federalizing Police for Domestic War

It is a heavily documented fact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has bought 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition (much of which is outlawed by the Geneva Convention and includes a startling amount specialized for snipers), fully automatic assault rifles, heavily armored assault vehicles with gun ports, and scores of riot gear.

As DHS is a domestic operation, it would almost seem the organization is prepping for a war against the American people, and it now has 30 years worth of ammunition with which to do so.

To further back up that hypothesis, on FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness site, a listing for Program J, known as “Field Force Operations,” details how DHS has been training state and local law enforcement “to prepare for and successfully mitigate threat incidents involving civil disorder” should “National Special Security Events” or NSSEs occur…

While these courses have been available for several years now, it puts all of these bulk weapons, ammo and riot gear purchases into much clearer perspective in regard to exactly what DHS is gearing up and training our law enforcement for: mass arrests of the American people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Former Attorney General Urges Probe of Al Jazeera

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s call for a congressional “inquiry” into Al Jazeera’s purchase of Al Gore’s Current TV gives hope that the controversial transaction benefiting the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood can still be derailed.

At a Breitbart News-sponsored forum during last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Mukasey said, in response to a question from this writer, “I think if an American medium is controlled by a political force from abroad, that’s a proper subject for inquiry.”

That political force is the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Its financial backer, which owns Al Jazeera, is the undemocratic and authoritarian government of Qatar. Mukasey’s speech to the Breitbart event was about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is America a Republic or an Empire?

The Constitution is designed to empower the people not the government. Though today it is stretched and interpreted to give the government the power to do whatever it wants whenever it wants originally it was constructed to limit government.

We the People could vote the Congress in or out, we could choose our own president, and if the Supreme Court said something was unconstitutional that we wanted we could change the Constitution using a mechanism embedded within the document itself. For the first time no leader or oligarchy owned the state, instead the state belonged to the citizens.

What do we see in America today? We have a president who says, “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.” When Congress after deliberation decides not to pass the Dream Actgiving amnesty to millions, the President uses an executive order to make it law by decree. When the Congress refuses to pass a cap-and-trade law that many believe will hamstring our industry and hobble us in the race with other nations, the president orders his EPA department to enforce it anyway. Without consulting Congress the President takes us to war against Libya and deposes a government.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamic Center Open House to Feature Speakers on Islam and Terroism

ORONO, Maine — A California marriage and family counselor will outline the “Psychology of a Terrorist” at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the annual open house at the Islamic Center of Maine, 151 Park St. Yassir Fazaga of Mission Viejo, Calif., will talk about what factors, including religion, shape a terrorist. He also will discuss “Misconceptions About Islam” at 9 a.m. Friday, March 22, at the Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Judy Chu Exposed, Part 5: Judy Chu — “I Am a Daughter of China, Now I Am Coming Home”

All this would seem quite natural. Why would a Congress member of Chinese extraction not want to build ties to her ancestral homeland?

The concerning factor here is Chu’s background with a violent pro-China sect called the Communist Workers Party.

In the mid-1980s, Judy Chu led a major CWP front, the Federation For Progress, and is still involved today with a network of former Party members. Some former WCP members in Chu’s network, including Director of the Center for Labor Research and Education at UCLA Kent Wong and Oakland California Mayor Jean Quan, have done everything they can to build US/China labor union and commercial ties respectively.

This is completely in line with Communist Chinese policy to use ethnic Chinese politicians to advance Chinese foreign policy and commercial interests.

The official Chinese newspaper, the People’s Daily Nov. 3, 2012, published an article on what it called the participation of “overseas Chinese” in politics:

“The reason for China’s interest is not difficult to discern. “In order to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China, more and more overseas Chinese are needed to participate in the local political life,” the paper said.

That is to say, from China’s viewpoint, these ethnic Chinese politicians serve China’s national purpose, even though they are elected officials of other countries.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Massachusetts Principal Calls Off Honors Night Because it Could be ‘Devastating’ To Students Who Missed Mark

A Massachusetts principal has been criticized for canceling his school’s Honors Night, saying it could be ‘devastating’ to the students who worked hard, but fell short of the grades.

MyFoxBoston.com reports that David Fabrizio, principal of Ipswich Middle School, notified parents last week of his plan to eliminate the event.

“The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade-point average,” Fabrizio penned in his first letter to parents, the station reported.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NASA’s Chinese Spy Problem

Gee, someone was a very naughty little spy who got caught trying to flee the country back to the Chinese homeland. It’s to the woodshed for Bo Jiang who is (or was) a national scientist employed by a NASA contractor for work at the space agency’s Langley Research Center. We owe our thanks to Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA, who has doggedly gone after this issue for some time. I wrote just recently on NASA’s teeny-weeny spy problem here. Looks like NASA is suffering from a massive infestation of Chinese spies.

So, let me get this straight (and I’m not being funny here):

  • We’ve got radical Islamists in our government, committing a soft coup from within. Check.
  • We’ve got Commie radicals in our unions, schools and major institutions. Check.
  • We’ve got Commies, radical Islamists and spies in our political ranks. Check.
  • We’ve got Commie spies from China throughout our scientific communities. Check.

The only surprise here, is that we haven’t been totally destroyed from the enemies within yet. But, hey… they’re working hard at it. And we have a treasonous Marxist President merrily helping them steal our scientific and military secrets. Peachy. Our Red Dawn is actually occurring very slowly, but it is progressing nevertheless.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Red Arizona!!! Help Keywiki Expose the Grand Canyon State’s Pro-Communist Politicians

Few people would suspect that the Communist Party USA has considerable political influence in Arizona, but unfortunately it does.

The Party is actually comparatively strong in Arizona, because of its former base in the mining industry and more recently its work in stifling opposition to illegal immigration over the Mexican border.

For many years, the late Lorenzo Torrez (died 2012) chaired the Communist Party’s Mexican-American Equality Commission — the Party body charged with agitating among Latino communities and getting them out to vote for Democrat candidates.

The Party even has a school in Tuscon, the Salt of the Earth Labor College.

The Communist Party has also managed to heavily infiltrate the Arizona Democratic Party at the highest levels and has close relations with several Arizona elected officials — from Congress members on down.

Congressman Raul Grijalva was elected with Communist support — he has even written an article for the Communist newspaper Peoples Weekly World — back in 1993, when he was a humble Pima County Supervisor.

Eva Carillo Dong, of the Governing Board of the Sunnyside Unified School District, has some Communist Party ties, as also does Adelita Grijalva, (Raul’s daughter), from the Governing Board of the Tuscon Unified School Board.

[Comment: Parents, government schools are being run by Communists! Move your kids to a private school or homeschool.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Support Gun Makers Who Support You — Buy More Guns!

So… while radical leftists in America spent the last fifty years infiltrating the Democrat Party, conservatives placed their trust in Republican Party leaders who, incrementally and through attrition, were becoming big-government statists while paying lip service to the Constitution and conservative ideals. Now, despite those espousing radical leftist ideology being in a definite minority, America finds herself at the brink of a wholesale transformation into a fascistic socialist state.

While some GOP leaders continue to pay lip service to the Constitution and conservative ideals, they are evidently unmotivated to resist socialism, and have telegraphed this heretofore veiled intent via their actions, as well as the sickening, recently-released Growth and Opportunity Project report. This treatise outlines the intention of GOP leaders to throw conservatism under the bus once and for all, citing such things as a dated message and poor public perception. All of their negative self-analysis is either outright fallacy, or notions that have been advanced by the left, and which Republicans have done nothing to defend themselves against.

Why would the GOP leadership capitulate to such a scant minority, even within the Democrat Party? Working backward, we can see that this is because the intent all along was gravitation toward the left of the political continuum. We have seen the Republican establishment increasingly marginalizing the conservative base within the party. Rank-and-file Republicans gape in horror as they watch their most prominent lawmakers golf and break bread with a communist president who maintains that in not increasing the national debt by $2 trillion, he has actually reduced the debt by that amount.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

There is Zero Evidence for Zero Tolerance Policing

City Journal has a fantastic profile by John Buntin of Bill Bratton, whose inspired leadership of the New York Police Department famously restored law and order to America’s largest city. Bratton’s police career began in Boston, where he first developed the ideas that would characterise his approach to law enforcement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Toxic Bayou Corne Sinkhole in Louisiana Slowly Swallowing Up State: Another Three Acres of Land Disappear Into Abyss

(NaturalNews) Last summer, a rural area of southeastern Louisiana known as Assumption Parish was changed forever following the unexpected formation of a giant sinkhole that suddenly appeared one day out of nowhere. This mysterious sinkhole, which was later dubbed the “Great Louisiana Sinkhole,” has been gradually gaining in size now for about seven months, and it appears to be picking up speed, having reportedly swallowed up an entire acre of land in just one day, and three acres of land in under a week.

If this is the first time you are hearing about the Great Louisiana Sinkhole, you can thank the mainstream media for keeping the general public in the dark about its existence, and the very serious threat it poses not only to Louisianans but to all of humanity. An apparent product of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010, this anomalous sinkhole appears to be connected to underground salt domes that are collapsing, releasing toxic gases, oil, and possibly other materials.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Canadians Warn US Not to Fall for National Registration of Firearms Lie (Video)

Brian Lilley gives an important warning to his American friends: Registration of firearms will lead to the confiscation of firearms.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Gas Reserves Could Run Dry in 36 Hours After Freezing Householders Turn the Heating Up

Britain’s gas reserves could run out in 36 hours — leaving the country dependent on costly foreign imports.

The UK’s gas stores have less than two days’ supplies remaining after plunging temperatures forced millions of householders to turn up their heating.

And today there were warnings from energy giant SSE of the ‘very real risk’ of the lights going out in Britain.

With more snow forecast today and the unseasonable freeze to continue into next week, the UK could be left relying on expensive imports from Norway through an under-sea pipeline.

The shortfall is likely to push up the long-term price of gas and could result in household tariffs rising by up to 15 per cent before next winter, adding more than £200 on to family bills, analysts warned.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Bulgaria Orders Psychological Support to Prevent Self-Immolations

SOFIA, March 21 (Xinhua) — The Bulgarian Ministry of Health on Thursday ordered health authorities in the country to provide psychological support for suicide prevention, in the wake of self-immolations since February…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

EU Confirms it is Taking Italy to Court Over Lazio Rubbish

Region failed to implement correct rubbish treatment procedures

(ANSA) — Brussels, March 21 — The European Union is formalizing the measures it will take to refer Italy to the European Court of Justice for failing to resolve the trash situation in the central Italian region of Lazio, where the capital is based.

The environment ministry announced last Friday the nation had been indicted to the European Court for the “situation of waste management in the Lazio region” around Rome.

The correct rubbish treatment procedures were not implemented in landfills in Malagrotta and elsewhere in Lazio, according to the EU.

Last fall, rubbish started piling up in Rome’s streets in a crisis reminiscent of the problems Naples has had in recent years due to lack of landfill areas. Amidst the ongoing crisis, Environment Minister Corrado Clini said that it would be inevitable for the nation to be referred to the European Court if a new dump site were not found in a timely manner. Rome’s huge dump at Malagrotta is filled well beyond capacity, and local administrators, environmental groups and residents unable to agree on an alternative at the time.

In January, 1,000 people demonstrated in front of a southern Italian garbage-disposal facility in Colfelice, located near Frosinone, to protest the importation of 430 tonnes of rubbish per day from Rome. A State decree signed by environmental minister Corrado Clini designated the landfill to relieve Rome’s rubbish emergency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

German Spies Accused of Racism, Islamophobia

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is a hotbed of “institutional racism,” where Islamophobic, racist and offensive remarks are an everyday occurrence, a newspaper reported on Friday.

Germany’s security service the Verfassungsschutz is a hornet’s nest of conflict, envy, jealousy and inappropriate insults, wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung, citing inside sources.

And they aren’t just innocent office jokes. Employees of the department tasked with observing militant Islamists reportedly throw around deeply offensive, Nazi-affiliated words in private of the kind which would be unthinkable in a public setting.

These range from Herrenrasse, the German for “master race” to Muselmann — originally a German word meaning “Muslim man” later used by the Nazis as a slang word for emaciated death camp inmates who had surrendered to their fate — to Ölauge, a derogatory name for “greasy” dark-eyed foreigners.

In one case currently the subject of an internal investigation, an agency employee is said to have offended co-workers in his office by positioning a doll of a Teutonic Knight with his sword pointing at a miniature mosque, wrote the paper.

The highly secretive intelligence agency declined to comment on the investigation into the doll incident, but the paper reported mixed views among internal sources.

While some insisted the incident was an isolated, one-off occurrence, others told paper the issue of racism was not being dealt with at all within the agency.

Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Community in Germany told the paper he believed there was “institutional racism” at work in the agency, even if every individual employee was not themselves racist. Kolat pointed to the lack of diversity among intelligence agents — and described the service as a “purely German institution.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘I Am Justin, Servant of Christ’: Welby the Most Modern Reverend Becomes 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

With African drummers, Punjabi music and passionate sermon against slavery

Justin Welby was officially enthroned as head of Church of England in ceremony at Canterbury cathedral today

Justin Welby today took his place on the throne of St Augustine, as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, and called for ‘our courage to be liberated, for God to act among us and for human beings to flourish’.

Rapturous applause thundered through Canterbury Cathedral as the new head of the Church of England was enthroned — the leader of 77million Anglicans worldwide and the head of church in turmoil.

And in a moment of history, the Venerable Sheila Watson, archdeacon of Canterbury, took a central role in the proceedings. It is the first time an Archbishop has been enthroned by a woman.

Arriving in the historic building, the Archbishop was greeted by 17-year-old Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a young member of the Anglican Communion.

As he stood just inside the West Door, the teenager asked a number of questions about himself and the purpose on seeking admission to the cathedral.

She said: ‘We greet you in the name of Christ. Who are you and why do you request entry?’

The 57-year-old Archbishop replied: ‘I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God, to travel with you in his service together.’

The service began shortly before 3pm with the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who were greeted at the West Door by the Dean of Canterbury, Robert Willis…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Italian Jews Should Go to Israel Due to ‘Fascist’ Grillo

Rome leader Pacifici says ‘moment right’ to move

(ANSA) — Tel Aviv, March 22 — The rise in Italy of the “radical” 5-Star Movement (M5S) led by former comedian Beppe Grillo has helped create the conditions for Italian Jews to slowly begin packing their bags and heading for Israel, the president of Rome’s Jewish community said Friday.

“Grillo says political parties are not important and this is exactly what Hitler claimed before coming to power,” Riccardo Pacifici said in an interview with Tel Aviv daily Haaretz.

“Grillo’s party is more dangerous than the fascists because it does not have a clear platform, we don’t know its limits. We don’t know many of the people in the movement, but we know that there are extremists on both left and right, fascists and radicals, and that both are opposed to the constitution, opposed to democracy,” he argued.

Pacifici also criticised the failure of Italy’s political system to obstruct the rise of M5S, pointing the finger at the centre-left Democratic Party (Pd) in particular.

“The Pd is afraid to criticise Grillo because it wants his support in government,” he said. The leader of Rome’s Jewish community also cited the rise in Islamic fundamentalism and the economic crisis as other reasons to relocate to Israel. Pacifici denied wanting to be “alarmist” but said this was a “good moment” to make such a decision in terms of Jews’ standing within Europe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Retains Lead But Loses Ground, Pollster Says

Centre right and centre left both make gains

(ANSA) — Rome, March 22 — The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) remains the biggest party in Italy but is losing ground to its centre-left and centre-right competitors, an opinion poll said Friday. The party founded by Genoa comedian Beppe Grillo lost 3.1% over the previous week to stand at 26.9%, followed closely by Pier Luigi Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD) at 26.4% and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party at 24.2%, according to pollster SWG.

The PD and PdL saw their consensus grow by 1.3% and 0.9% respectively.

The centrist formation Civic Choice led by outgoing technocrat Premier Mario Monti lost 0.4% to stand at 7.9%.

M5S, Pd and PdL are contending the right to govern after inconclusive general elections at the end of February resulted in a hung parliament. President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano was due to announce who would be tasked with forming an executive on Friday. Pundits say any government may be short-lived and Italy could go back to the polls within a year at the most.

One scenario sees a reform to the much-criticised electoral law and Bersani’s replacement at the PD helm by the younger, more media-savvy and centrist mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi.

Renzi is the leader Italians have most confidence in, the SWG poll found.

He enjoyed an approval rating of 49% compared to Grillo’s 36% and Bersani’s 32%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Open to Govt With Centre-Left — Minus PM

Rome, 21 March (AKI) — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said he was open to forming a coalition government with the center-left Democratic Party, but ruled out a centre-left prime minister or president.

“They already have the Speakers,” said Berlusconi after Thursday talks with Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano, whose term ends on 15 May.

Napolitano, has since Wednesday been meeting Italian party leaders one-to-one in a bid to form a government after February’s inconclusive national election produced a hung parliament.

The centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani won a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament but lacks a majority in the upper house Senate, where the anti-establishment Five Star movement of former comic Beppe Grillo is the kingmaker.

Five Star has asked Napolitano either to give them the premiership or control of two important parliamentary commissions that oversee the secret services and state broadcaster RAI.

“We’re the biggest single party in the House and we deserve to run the government. Otherwise we want the commissions,” Senate whip Vito Crimi and House whip Roberta Lombardi told reporters after meeting Napoitano.

Senate speaker Pietro Grasso and House Speaker Laura Boldrini, both from Bersani’s Democratic Party were elected last week with a crucial handful of votes from Five Star senators, sparking the ire of Grillo who has repeatedly rebuffed offers of an alliance with Bersani.

Bersani, who has in turn ruled out a coalition with Berlusconi’s centre-right has said he would ask Napolitano to give him the mandate to form a new government at a meeting later Thursday.

No party currently seems likely to be able to win a confidence vote in the Senate, raising the prospect of another technical government or a short-term government possibly led by Bersani.

Such a ‘government of the president’ would pass key reforms including a new electoral law, paving the way for a clear winner to emerge from fresh polls held in around a year, observers say.

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

Muslims Are an Integral Part of the Bulgarian Nation, Caretaker PM Tells Chief Mufti

Muslims are an integral part of the Bulgarian nation, irrespective of their ethnicity, and should have the assurance that no one would allow the “wounds of the past” to be exploited, caretaker Prime Minister Marin Raykov said during talks with Bulgaria’s Chief Mufti, Mustapha Hadzhi. Raykov’s administration has stewardship of the country pending the formation of an elected government after ahead-of-term parliamentary elections scheduled for May 12 2013, called amid Bulgaria’s national political and social crisis…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Minister to Get Tough on Mosque School Safety

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher is to start talks with local councils to ensure mosque-run boarding houses for children meet the same minimum standards as other boarding schools…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Confiscate Jihadist Passports, MPS Tell Justice Minister

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten is to investigate whether it is legally possible to confiscate the passports of young Dutch nationals who plan to fight with rebel forces in Syria, Nos television reports.

‘We have to prevent them from travelling,’ Opstelten is quoted as saying after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

A majority of MPs earlier called on the cabinet to look at the possibility of taking the passports of would-be jihadists.

VVD parliamentarian Klaas Dijkhoff has also asked the minister to find out if they can be stripped of their Dutch nationality on returning to the Netherlands and could be prosecuted for war crimes, news agency ANP said.

The terrorism threat in the Netherlands has been raised from ‘limited’ to ‘substantial’ following reports that up to 100 young Dutch men have gone to fight overseas. Two are now known to have been killed in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Author Criticizes British Muslims for “Deeply Anti-Semitic Views”

An author and former editor at the British publication the New Statesman took the bold step of admonishing the Muslim community in his home country for its “Judaeophobia.” Writing in the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan addressed a recent controversy surrounding Lord Ahmed, a British Labor party peer and one of the most powerful Muslims in England, saying, “To claim that your jail sentence for dangerous driving is the result of a Jewish plot is bigoted and stupid”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Counter-Terror Police Foil Bomb Plots as Big as 7/7 Every Year, Says Met Assistant Commissioner

Counter-terror teams are foiling a plot as big as the July 7 attacks every year, a senior police officer has revealed.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne also said the threats against the UK are constantly changing and Islamic extremists are now planning in smaller groups in a bid to avoid detection.

He said: ‘On average we’ve probably had about one potential attack planned with an intent to create something similar to July 7 every year.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: How Pushy Middle-Class Parents Are Turning Their Children Into Sleep-Starved Zombies

As 12-year-old Isabella’s mother reeled off her daughter’s after-school activities, I tried to disguise the look of horror on my face.

Every single evening was taken up with one club or another: violin, ballet, Kumon maths, French, swimming, Girl Guides…you name it, this girl does it.

But despite all this hot-housing, the little girl was falling behind at school.

‘She can’t settle to do a task properly and her teachers say she isn’t concentrating. I just don’t know what the problem is,’ the mother wailed.

Luckily, I did. The poor child was being tortured by lack of sleep. By the time she got back from her clubs and finally finished her homework, it was midnight, and she was snatching just six hours sleep.

Sadly, Isabella is far from alone in this. As a sleep expert who treats children with chronic sleep problems, in the past few years I have seen a terrifying explosion in the number of middle-class children whose lives are being wrecked by lack of sleep. And — I’m sorry to say — it is their parents who are responsible.

Hardworking, ambitious parents who want the best for their children are unwittingly causing them terrible damage by not ensuring they get the one thing they desperately need: sleep.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Killer Copied Torture Scene From Horror Film Saw

[WARNING: ** Disturbing content **]

A killer who mimicked a torture scene from the notorious horror film Saw by chopping through his victim’s spine was jailed for at least 30 years today.

Matthew Tinling, 25, knifed former soldier neighbour Richard Hamilton 17 times in the head, neck and legs in a ‘savage and prolonged’ murder.

At the climax of the frenzied attack, he aped a brutal moment from the famed horror franchise by trying to sever the 45-year-old’s spinal cord.

Tinling tortured Mr Hamilton to get him to hand over the PIN for his bank account and later withdrew £240 to spend on crack cocaine.

Tinling was brought to court in handcuffs after attacking a prison officer while on remand following his conviction.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Lessons From the Censorial Past

by Peter Hoskins

What would you do if a band released a single called ‘How Does it Feel to be the Mother of a Thousand Dead?’ in reference to Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War? Would you lap it up? Would you listen to it first, and try to judge it on musical, rather than political, grounds? Would you dislike it by default? Or would you try to have it banned?

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Major Terror Attack on Scale of 7/7 Foiled Every Year in UK, Police Reveal

Police and MI5 are foiling a plot as big as the July 7 attacks every year, the country’s second most senior terror officer has revealed.

Officers also fear a hybrid of terrorist and criminal gangs could bring a new threat on the UK. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne warned that the country is facing the most complex terror threat in its history. He said the threat is constantly changing with al-Qaeda inspired Islamic extremists now plotting in smaller, harder to detect groups…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Plans for Gillingham

A mosque with a dome and minaret could soon be built next to Gillingham railway station. The plans have been lodged by the Kent Muslim Welfare Association, whose headquarters are currently in Canterbury Street. Members launched a huge fundraising drive to bankroll a striking new mosque on the site of the Croneens car park in Railway Street. Medway now has more than 5,000 Muslims, 2% of the entire population, and the existing Canterbury Street centre can no longer handle the numbers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Explain Reason for Abu Qatada Re-Arrest

The recent re-arrest of radical cleric Abu Qatada was linked to an investigation into extremist internet material, the Met Police have said.

They are investigating whether he was involved in the material’s publication. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne said counter-terrorism officers were investigating a range of online publications in multiple languages. Abu Qatada was detained earlier in March after an urgent Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Striving for Harlow

by Bagehot

George Osborne’s budget is dedicated to the hard-up middle classes. They may not notice

THE view from the council offices in Harlow, a 1950s “new town” in Essex, suggests its creator’s vision for a fair and prosperous post-war society. A tinkling Chinese water garden is fringed by a spacious car park, beyond which a tower block rises from a tranche of undisturbed green fields. Harlow is grandiose yet functional. Its main architect, Frederick Gibberd, was so delighted with his creation that he moved to Harlow along with a flood of bombed-out, working-class Cockneys, drawn by the promise of a good factory job and a council house with a garden and indoors privy…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Somehow, I’m Agreeing With Mehdi Hasan

by Douglas Murray

I won’t often say this, but there is a must-read article at the Huffington Post today. Titled ‘The Sorry Truth Is That the Virus of Anti-Semitism Has Infected the British Muslim Community’ it is a reflection on the recent anti-Semitic outburst by Lord Ahmed of Rotherham. It an admirably honest piece of writing the author says: ‘It pains me to have to admit this but anti-Semitism isn’t just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it’s routine and commonplace’

Sounds like the writing of some terrible ‘Islamophobe’ doesn’t it? Except that you’ll be relieved to know that as author goes on he writes: ‘Any Muslims reading this article — if they are honest with themselves — will know instantly what I am referring to. It’s our dirty little secret.’

Phew! ‘Our dirty little secret.’ Thank goodness the author is a Muslim…

[Reader comment by darwins beard on 21 March 2013 about 9:30 pm.]

The great thing is he’s getting loads of muslims on twitter saying he’s a sell out for

a) supporting “Islamophobes”

b) supporting the international Jewish agenda

Point made all round, pure gold

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Pope Urges Dialogue With Muslims and Atheists

Pope Francis on Friday called for the Roman Catholic Church to “intensify” its dialogue with Islam and with non-believers, condemning the “spiritual poverty” of the developed world.

“It is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam,” the new pontiff said in an address to foreign ambassadors at the Vatican…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Pope: Dialogue With Islam, Olive Branch to China

Pope Francis has called for more dialogue with Islam and offered an olive branch to China and other countries that don’t have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Francis met Friday with ambassadors from the 180 countries that have diplomatic relations with the Holy See and told them he wanted to work for peace, the poor and to “build bridges” between peoples. He noted that even his title “pontiff” means bridge-builder…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Hundreds of Imams Protest Against Muslim Brotherhood

The protest has been going on for days in front of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Dozens of imams replaced with Islamist preachers. A move to contain the crisis of consensus of the Muslim Brotherhood in the upcoming elections.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Hundreds of moderate imams are protesting against the hegemony of the Muslim Brotherhood and the hegemony of Islamic mosques. The protest has been going on since yesterday in front of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Ministry of donations). They accuse the Minister Talaat Afify of wanting to control the words and behavior of the imams, punishing and marginalizing those who deviate from purely Islamist thought.

The Ministry of donations or awfaq (religious offering), manages the allocation of funds to all the mosques, Islamic organizations engaged in helping the needy and the spread of Islam. The institution is an integral part of the government, it manages a total of 106 thousand religious structures, is responsible for the appointment of imams and verifies their behavior. Until now, the appointment was made in accordance with the Islamic University of Al-Azhar, but with the rise to power of Islamists that practice has stopped.

A few days ago Afify replaced some key officials of the ministry with members of his choice without any given reason. In a press release issued yesterday he justified his decision by saying that I “did not choose to become a minister, but was simply appointed and my actions are for the good of Islam and all the mosques.” Afify also denounced the smear campaign launched by some religious authorities against the Muslim Brotherhood. However, for the imams, especially those closest to the moderate positions of al-Azhar, the minister is instead doing everything to politicize religious sites, concerned about the decline in support for the Islamist government, which is likely to lose the next election scheduled for July. The propaganda campaign has been running for months, and the ministry has already placed Salafi imams in different mosques in Cairo who became famous for their sermons in television and radio programs.

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

Egypt: Salvation Front Youths to Protest Against Fascist Regime Friday

Youths of the National Salvation Front will participate tomorrow in demonstrations touted as “Friday of Restoring Dignity” at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo’s Mokattam.

We will participate with the people in their peaceful protests tomorrow to confirm the continuance of our noble revolution and declare our rejection of a fascist, dictatorial regime that abuses religion to reach power, the front’s youths said. “We did not wish to live during such hard times. Since Mursi and his group ruled the country, things have been going from bad to worse.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt Bedouin ‘Kidnap Norwegian Tourist’

Armed Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Friday kidnapped two tourists, a Norwegian woman and an Israeli man, as they travelled between two beach resorts, police said.

Six gunmen intercepted the tourists’ car and forced them into their truck, the officials said. The pair had been travelling between the southern resort of Taba, on the border with Israel, and Dahab.

Norway’s foreign ministry confirmed one of its citizens was abducted but gave no details, while an Egyptian police official said the woman was a 31-year-old Norwegian, after having earlier identified her as Belgian.

A spate of such hostage takings, which usually last for no longer than 48 hours, broke out in the restive Sinai after an uprising in early 2011 forced out president Hosni Mubarak and battered his security services.

The kidnappers are normally Bedouin who want to trade the hostages for jailed tribesmen.

In Israel, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP: “We received unconfirmed information that a Norwegian tourist and an Arab-Israeli man resident of Eilat, originally from the Nazareth region, were kidnapped” in the Sinai.

Israel has repeatedly warned its tourists of threats of attacks in the Sinai, where Islamist militants have waged a low-level insurgency against the military and police as well as attacks on Israel.

But Friday’s kidnapping did not appear politically motivated, with Bedouin sources in the area saying the kidnappers wanted to exchange the hostages for jailed relatives.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egytian Muslims Accuse Priest of Using Black Magic on Muslim Girl

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — Hundreds of Muslims marched for the second day through the street of the Egyptian town of El-Wasta, 90 kilometers south of Cairo in Beni Suef Province, to protest the disappearance of a young Muslim girl, Rania Shazli, and accuse the priest of St. George’s Church in Wasta of using black magic to lure her to Christianity.

The girl’s uncle lead a group of Muslims to force the Copts in town to close all their businesses until the girl is brought back to her family. Coptic owners who refused were forcefully shut down. The Shazli family, supported by local Salafists, threatened to kidnap a Christian girl if their daughter is not brought back and vowed to destroy the church after prayers on Friday, March 22nd.

During yesterday’s march a number of Muslims hurled stones at St. George’s church. They had intended to stage a sit-in in front of the church, but were persuaded by some Muslim elders to dispense. They also hurled stones at Coptic-owned homes. The demonstrators roamed the streets of the city starting from the home of the girl and chanted “Why are you keeping silent, is she not like your sister.”

The church instructed Copts to close their businesses after a delegation of Muslims and Christians went to the Police Department after security failed to find the girl.

Security Directorate in Beni Suef had sent forces to secure the church, after threats to the priest and the Copts were received from the girl’s father, Hatem Kamal El-Shazly. Rania, a 19-year-old college student, disappeared three weeks ago. Her father accused the priest Father Makkar to be behind his daughters Christianization through “black magic,” by means of some special bible readings and smuggling her out of the country. The priest was threatened through loudspeakers all over town.

Watani newspaper reported that Rania has sent an open letter to her family, which she posted online, explaining that she ran away from home because of family problems, including sexual abused by her uncle some years ago, and because she was to be forcibly married to someone she did not want to marry. She added that she left Egypt and is married to a Muslim man.

Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Hodeib, head of Beni Suef Security, said the girl has contacted her father more than once to inform him that she is out of the country and married to a Muslim man named Ahmed. He added that security forces are stationed in front of the church buildings, and warned against rioting, and that he would deal firmly with any violation of the law.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih [Return to headlines]

Gaddafi’s Widow and Sons Said to Have Left Algeria

Algiers, 21 March (AKI) — Members of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s family who fled to Algeria during the 2011 revolt that toppled him from power have left the country, according to Algerian media reports.

The reports did not say where Gaddafis’ widow Safia and three of his sons, Acha, Hannibal (photo) and Mohamed, had gone or when they left Algeria.

Saad Gaddafi is in Niger, while the ousted dictator’s anointed heir Saif al-Islam is detained in Libya.

Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, a cousin and close aide of Gaddafi’s was arrested in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Tuesday after a siege which lasted several hours in the upscale district of Zamalek.

Gaddaf al-Dam is wanted by Libya’s authorities, who accuse him of crimes against humanity and had issued an Interpol warrant for his arrest.

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

Registration of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as NGO Trick to Avoid Judicial Challenges

CAIRO, March 21 (Xinhua) — The registration of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group as a legal civil society body is seen by many as “a trick” to avoid judicial challenges about its legal status and to quench opposition calls to dismantle the group. “The MB registration as an NGO was just meant to circumvent the law,” political expert Ammar Ali Hassan, head of the Middle East Center for Political Studies, said. He described the group’s move as “more like a political propaganda rather than a proper legal action.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

While Beating a Man to Death, Egyptian Muslims Take Time Out for Dawn Prayers

From a story on the latest act of mob vengeance in Egypt:

A security official said villagers caught the unidentified man trying to steal a car at gunpoint. But one villager who participated in the attack said the man was roaming at street where cars were parked at dawn when residents descended on him and started beating him up, believing he intended to steal a car…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Abbas, Obama Regard Settlement Issue as Obstacle to Peace

RAMALLAH/GAZA, March 21 (Xinhua) — Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday agreed that Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territories are an obstacle to the peace process and to the principle of the two-state solution. President Obama told a joint news conference held in the West Bank city of Ramallah in the aftermath of his meeting with President Abbas, which lasted for about two hours, that the Israeli settlement activity “is unconstructive and complicates the process of achieving peace in the region.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

At Memorial, Obama Urges Action Against Racism and Anti-Semitism

JERUSALEM — After rekindling the eternal flame and laying a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, a solemn President Obama spoke on Friday of a collective “obligation not just to bear witness but to act” against racism “and especially anti-Semitism” as he wrapped up his three-day visit here with a trio of symbolic pilgrimages…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Barack Obama’s Arafat Blunder is an Embarrassment for the Leader of the Free World

by Nile Gardiner

As Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard has reported, Barack Obama took part in a joint press conference with President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank this morning under a beaming banner of Yasser Arafat, also known as the “father of modern terrorism”. The Standard piece quotes from an extensive timeline of Arafat’s reign of terror, drawn up by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, reminding its readers of Arafat’s grim track record

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Barack Obama’s Israel Speech: Transcript

Barack Obama, the US president, went over the heads of Israeli leaders to make a direct appeal to the country’s citizens today, exhorting them to put themselves in the shoes of Palestinians. Here is the full text of his speech.

Shalom. It is an honor to be here with you in Jerusalem, and I am so grateful for the welcome that I have received from the people of Israel. I bring with me the support of the American people, and the friendship that binds us together…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

‘Most Palestinians Hate Obama’; US President Gets Heated Reception in West Bank

The two presidential choppers landed in the Palestinian presidential compound in Ramallah twenty minutes ahead of schedule. The force of their landing blew plumes of dust and litter over thin lines of ceremonial guards and bagpipers saluting the arrival.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, hit the red carpet first, followed by Barack Obama. The welcome ceremony lasted five minutes, with time for only solemn-faced handshakes and a reedy rendition of the Star Spangled banner before presidential entourage disappeared into Muqata’a building. The red carpet rolled up promptly behind them…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Obama Calls on Israel to Stop Building Jewish Settlements

JERUSALEM, March 21 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama called on the Israeli government Thursday to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying continued settlement activity is “counterproductive” to peace. Obama, who is in Israel on a three-day visit, was delivering a keynote speech to Israeli students which was nationally televised. In the emotional speech, Obama said an independent and viable Palestinian state is the only way to guarantee the peace and security of Israel and he believed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is a “true partner” for peace with Israel…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Al-Qaida Militants Ambush Pro-Gov’t Militia in Southern Yemen, 3 Killed

ADEN, Yemen, March 22 (Xinhua) — About three members of pro- government militia were killed Friday in an ambush by al-Qaida militants in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan, a security official told Xinhua. The al-Qaida militants set up a well-planned ambush for a convoy of the pro-government militiamen in Maraksha area in Abyan province, killing at least three people, the local security official said on condition of anonymity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Iran’s Leader Threatens to Level Cities if Israel Attacks, Criticizes US Nuclear Talks

Iran’s leader said in a speech that the country would annihilate the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if it were attacked by Israel, and criticized the U.S. over nuclear talks.

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all key decisions in Iran, says Israel is too small to be called an enemy, and that the United States is the “center of animosity” toward the Islamic republic.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iraq Ten Years on: A Tourists’ Guide to the Garden of Eden and the Film Set of the Exorcist

Earlier this month, Iraqi Airways relaunched its Baghdad to London connection, the first time it has flown the route since 1990, when Gulf War One brought the airline’s UK activities to a halt. The plane arrived at Gatwick with a VIP delegation including the British ambassador to Baghdad, Simon Collis, who Tweeted excitedly that it was a “big day for UK Iraq relations”…

[Reader comment by vladtheinhaler on 21 March 2013 at 9:29 am.]

Holidays in Iraq — Like a more interesting version of Dignitas but with the same end result…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Iraq: Christians in the Middle East: Ever More Fearful

ON A crisp Sunday morning, the start of the Muslim week, a burgeoning congregation of Christians files into a church in Ankawa, a suburb of the Iraqi Kurds’ capital, Erbil, to which several thousand Christians have fled in the past decade from the violence of Baghdad. Though physically fairly safe in their new abode, it is hardly a happy haven. Many are struggling to survive. Jobs are scarce, so some make the perilous journey back to the Iraqi capital every week to work.

The lot of Iraq’s Christian population is particularly glum. Though a steady trickle had been leaving for decades, the exodus became a flood after the American invasion in 2003, when radical Islamists unleashed a sectarian onslaught against Shia Muslims, Christians and others. The ferocity of attacks such as the one against the church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad in 2010, which left at least 58 Christians dead, speeded the departure of many more. In the past decade as many as two-thirds of Iraq’s 1.5m Christians are thought to have emigrated…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Kurds Call for Ceasefire in 30-Year Struggle With Turkey Which Has Left More Than 30,000 People Dead

The jailed Kurdish rebel leader today called for an immediate ceasefire and for thousands of his fighters to withdraw from Turkish territory in a major step toward ending one of the world’s bloodiest insurgencies.

Hundreds of thousands were gathered to hear the message in Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, where Abdullah Ocalan’s rebel group has been waging a 30-year battle against the Turkish government for autonomy and greater rights.

‘We have reached the point where the guns must be silenced and where ideas must speak. A new era has started, where it is politics, not guns, which is at the forefront.

Kurdish rebels have declared cease-fires in the past, but these were ignored by the state, which vowed to fight the PKK until the end.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nouman Khan: The One-Man Qur’an Movement

WHETHER it’s tafseer of Surat Al-Rahman, fundamentals of classical Arabic course, or ‘Story Night,’ it’s always the same — hundreds of men, women and children line up to listen to Nouman Ali Khan. His eloquence and humor as a Qur’an and Arabic teacher motivate and inspire people to learn the Book of Allah. Khan hopes to bring a basic understanding of the Qur’an to every Muslim household. His lectures and speeches, often witty and wise, have garnered attention from YouTubers across the world. The father of six relates well to youth, discussing important but often under-addressed topics like gender relations, peer pressure, partying and losing interest in religion.

Khan is the CEO and founder of the immensely popular Bayyinah Institute for Arabic and Qur’anic Studies. Spread over 11,000 square feet in Irving Texas, Bayyinah is the first brick-and-mortar Islamic institute that does not rely on ‘fund raisers.’ Khan is confident that his school is good enough to sustain itself. “I want top notch,” he says. He pays his fulltime instructors salaries at par with those in Harvard, NYU or Columbia. Khan believes that if a program is good enough people will pay for it and it will continue to improve. The Bayyinah Institute also offers Bayyinah TV, an online repository of videos and notes for self-study…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Saudi Prince Jailed in Britain for Sexually Abusing and Murdering His Male Servant Flies Home to Serve the Rest of His Life Sentence

A Saudi prince jailed for life in Britain for murdering his servant has been flown back to the Middle Eastern country to serve the rest of his sentence, the British government said Wednesday.

Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasir, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, was jailed in 2010 for killing Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz in a London hotel after subjecting him to a ‘sadistic’ campaign of violence and sexual abuse.

But Britain’s Ministry of Justice confirmed that the 36-year-old royal flew back to Saudi Arabia on Monday after he was granted a transfer to a prison in his homeland.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Suicide Bomber Kills Syria’s Most Senior Sunni Cleric

A suicide bomber yesterday killed dozens, including the most senior pro-government Sunni Muslim mufti, Sheikh Muhammad al-Bouti, when he penetrated the regime’s ring of steel in Damascus.

While attacks in the capital during Syria’s two-year-long rebellion have become almost commonplace, an attack on a mosque was deeply shocking to both sides in the conflict.

The health ministry said at least 42 people had been killed in the blast at the Iman Mosque, with 84 wounded…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: Sunni Cleric and Dozens of Worshipers Killed in Suicide Attack on Damascus Mosque

Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, moderate Koranic professor, was a supporter of Assad. He was killed during a religious lesson along with his grandson. The opposition rejects all responsibility. But suspicions point to jihadists.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) — At least 42 people have been killed in a suicide attack on the Iman mosque in the center of Damascus. Among the victims was a leading Sunni figure Dr. Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti (see photo), a supporter of the Assad regime, and his grandson. Another 84 were injured. Al Bouti, 84, was killed as he was holding Koran lessons with his students.

In Syria, the majority of the population is Sunni Muslim, with a good presence of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the 80s these radical groups were prosecuted and often eliminated by Hafez el Assad. Al Bouti, a Sunni moderate, supported the policy of Assad and even sung the Koranic prayers during the funeral of his Bashar’s father, Hafez, in 2000.

At the announcement of his death, Syrian television aired music and prayers as a sign of mourning. Suspicions over responsibility for his assassination fall on the opposition rebels. Al Bouti, who had plenty of space in the state media, often asked Muslims to support the Assad government and declared oponents as “mercenaries” and “scum.”

His fame and the esteem he enjoyed, however, throws a bad light on the opposition. A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army has declined any responsibility for the attack. The President of the Syrian opposition, Ahmed Al-Khati Moaz said that the opposition “categorically condemns the murder.”

But suspicions remain on the jihadist fringes fighting in the country.

The Syrian opposition is often confused and divided in its allegations against the regime, to which it has attributed massacres, or criminal actions. A few days ago the opposition accused the army of using chemical weapons against civilians in Aleppo. The regime in turn blamed the opposition.

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, condemned the use of chemical weapons and has promised an international inquiry, but many quarters say it will be very difficult to come to any conclusion.

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

The Saudis Oppress Their People and Expect Visitors to Look the Other Way

by Shiraz Maher

Prince Charles visited Saudi Arabia this week; one of several high-profile visitors to the kingdom in recent weeks, following separate trips by John Kerry and US Attorney General Eric Holder. Most repressive states usually try to behave when hosting Western dignitaries — but not the Saudis. Despite all these visits, the country executed seven men by firing squad for a robbery committed while they were still juveniles. One had originally been sentenced to death by crucifixion although King Abdullah intervened to bring his sentence in line with that of his peers…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Erdogan Committed to Solving Kurd Crisis Through ‘Islam’

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is committed to solve almost three decades of an armed campaign for self-rule by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), through one common point Islam. “Motivated by an ideological point of view, Erdogan believes he can manage the process through one big common point: Islam,” Nihat Ali Ozcan, an academic from Ankara’s private TOBB University told AFP…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Burma: Deadly Clashes in Burma Between Buddhists and Muslims

State of emergency declared in Meikhtila, where mosques and houses were burned in revival of sectarian hostilities

Burma’s president has declared a state of emergency after two days of sectarian violence in a central town that has killed at least 20 people. The the town of Meikhtila remains tense and dangerous and residents are too scared to walk the streets, said Win Htein, a politician from the opposition National League for Democracy. Fires set to Muslim homes continued to burn as angry Buddhist residents and monks prevented authorities from putting out the blazes, he said. At least five mosques were set on fire during the violence that started on Wednesday, reportedly triggered by an argument between a Muslim gold shop owner and his Buddhist customers. A Buddhist monk was among the first killed, inflaming tensions that led a Buddhist mob to rampage through a Muslim neighbourhood. Meikhtila is about 340 miles (550km) north of the main city of Rangoon with a population of about 100,000 people, of whom about a third are Muslims, according to Win…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Burmese Sectarian Violence Kills 20

Two days of Buddhist-Muslim violence has killed at least 20 people in Burma amid growing fears the country’s latest bout of sectarian bloodshed could spread.

The government’s struggle to contain the unrest in Meikhtila is proving another major challenge President Thein Sein’s reformist administration as it attempts to chart a path to democracy after nearly half a century of military rule that once crushed all dissent…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Five Dead and a Mosque is Burned to the Ground in Myanmar After Argument Between Muslim Shop Owner and Buddhist Customers Sparks Riot

At least five people died and a mosque was burned to the ground after a riot was sparked in Myanmar following a confrontation in a shop.

The town of Meikhtila has seen two days of violence, after the clashes were sparked when a Muslim shop owner is believed to have had a group of Buddhist customers beaten up.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

India to Set Up Special Tribunal for Italian Marines

Anti-piracy servicemen arrive in New Delhi for homicide trial

(ANSA) New Delhi, March 22; Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday his government intended to press ahead with the creation of a special tribunal to examine the case of two Italian marines on trial in India on homicide charges as established by the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

The declaration follows a surprise climbdown by the Italian government, which on Thursday decided to send Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone back to India to face justice for allegedly shooting two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in February 2012 after earlier announcing that the pair would be staying in Italy when a four-week permit for home leave expired.

The men arrived in New Delhi on Friday. In January the Supreme Court ruled that the case should be taken out of the hands of the southern state of Kerala, where the shooting took place, and referred to a special tribunal in New Delhi to assess jurisdiction.

Italy has always claimed that India should not have jurisdiction over the matter as the incident took place in international waters. Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola are due to report to parliament on the matter next Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: West Java: Bekasi Church Demolished to Gain Islamist Consent Ahead of Elections

Orders issued by the authorities Carried out, despite the pleas of the faithful. Christian leaders call for calm and to avoid “hostile” gestures. Behind the demolition of the shadow of the elections and the attempt to win Islamic extremist fringe votes. Yasmin Church also at risk.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Christian leaders are inviting the faithful to remain calm and avoid any “hostile” act that could exacerbate a delicate situation even more. However, tension is very high and violent episodes could exlode in response to the demolition of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestant (Hkbp) Setu Church in Bekasi, in the Indonesian province of West Java, the demolition of the building was carried out late yesterday evening despite the appeal of the community that took to the streets to defend the place of worship. The authorities did not want to listen to the arguments of the Christian minority, destroying — after a standoff that lasted months — a church used for over 13 years for weekend services.

For the Bekasi Regency administration, the demolition is legitimized because the church lacked the proper building permits, the infamous IMB (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan). The procedure for the construction of a church in Indonesia — Catholic or Protestant — is complicated and it can take five to ten years to obtain all permissions. The written resolution that allows the opening of a construction site is issued by the local authorities. The process is even more complicated if it is a place of Christian worship: permission for the construction of the building must gain the approval of a majority of local residents and the local group for Interreligious Dialogue. And often “unspecified reasons” come in to play that lead officials to halt projects, under pressure from radical Islamic movements.

The Protestant Church of Setu apparently does not have the proper papers, although representatives of the Christian community have repeatedly applied for the necessary authorizations without any response.

According to Hkbp Setu Church sources, yesterday’s demolition — branded as “serious violation of religious freedom” — was motivated by “political opportunism”. Episodes of tension and inter-faith attacks on the Christian minority are frequent in West Java, now the situation is being compounded by “electoral calculations” ahead of the upcoming regional vote for a new mayor. To gain the consensus of the Muslim majority nation, especially Islamic fundamentalists, politicians attack the rights and freedoms of minorities, especially Christians.

Pastor Leonard Nababan, head of Hkbp Bekasi, invites the faithful to remain calm and avoid any act of violence. At the same time, he promises to make “every necessary effors to defend the right to free practice of religion.”

Now the attention of activists and observers will move to the GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java regency, which is also at risk of demolition like the one that took place in Bekasi.

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

Italy to Return Marines to India in Diplomatic Tug-of-War

Italian govt says it has guarantees on treatment of two men

(ANSA) — Rome, March 21 — Italy is set to return to two anti-piracy marines to India on Friday to stand trial on murder charges after a diplomatic tug-of-war escalated between the two countries.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the refusal to turn over the two men, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who had been granted leave “casts a shadow” over the two countries’ relations. Italy’s government said it has asked and obtained from the Indian authorities written guarantees of the treatment and the recognition of the two marines’ fundamental rights as recognized by international law. India’s justice minister earlier on Thursday said the two men had until tomorrow to return to the Asian nation where they are due to stand trial before escalating the situation further.

The two marines had been held in India since February 2012 after a shooting incident in international waters in which two Indian fishermen, Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki, were killed. Italy has always denied that India has jurisdiction over the case, as it took place in international waters. As a sign of goodwill, the two marines were allowed to return to Italy to spend Christmas with their families and — after returning to India as agreed between the two governments — were allowed back to Italy again to vote in February elections, after which they never returned.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nepal: Govt Introduces Secret Amnesty to Save War Criminals

United Nations comes out against the move, which blocks trials against party officials accused of crimes against humanity, many of whom now sit in parliament.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — In a surprise move, the new Nepali government has changed the terms of reference for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission guaranteeing amnesty for people guilty of crimes against humanity committed during 11 years of civil war between the Hindu monarchy and Maoists.

Prime Minister Khil Raj Regmi’s decision is expected to speed up trials against former Maoist and royalist officials that have hindered the reconciliation process so far, but the new rules, adopted in secret, have provoked a wave of criticism from the United Nations and the European Union, which accuse the new government of acting irresponsibly and in complicity with those responsible for crimes.

“You cannot, and should not, force people to reconcile. Reconciliation, by its nature is a voluntary act,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said. “Such amnesties would not only violate core principles under international law but would also weaken the foundation for a genuine and lasting peace in Nepal,” she added.

Ms Pillay questions also the process by which the new decree was adopted, without consultation with civil society groups, especially the associations representing the victims’ families.

Yesterday, United Nations and European Union representatives, who have been supervising the reconciliation process, have called on the government to step back from its plan.

To convince growing opposition, Foreign Affairs Minister Madhav Ghimire met with European Ambassadors this morning to explain Nepal’s position on the controversial law.

According to government sources, Nepali diplomats to United Nations and other international missions, including Shankar Bairagi in Geneva, will register a note with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights against Pillay’s statement.

Reconciliation and war crimes trials are among the main factors that led to the fall of the previous government led by Maoist Prime Minister Baburan Bhattarai.

In February, he blocked a number of cases in order to save Maoist officials involved in massacres during the civil war. One of them involved the investigation into the death of Dekendra Thapa, a journalist killed by Maoists fighters in August 2004 in Dailekh.

Despite the creation in 2007 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in cooperation with the United Nations, Maoists, Communist and major leaders in rightwing parties involved in crimes refused to hand over officials accused of crimes against humanity committed during the country’s civil war. Many of them are now career politicians, lawmakers or holders of high government office.

Since trials began, leftwing parties in power have tried to undercut the process. In 2008 and 2009, the ruling Maoists had 282 cases dropped; in 2010, the Communist government that replaced them had 309 cases dropped.

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

Now Terrorists Are Targeting Refugees: 12 Killed as Car Bomb Rips Through Pakistani Camp (Photos)

[WARNING: ** Disturbing Content. **]

Twelve people were killed when a car packed with explosives blew up inside a refugee camp in northwestern Pakistan.

At least another 20 people were injured when the device exploded as hundreds queued for food today at Jalozai camp on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The camp mainly hosts Pakistanis who have been displaced by fighting between the army and the Taliban on the border with Afghanistan.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One NATO Soldier Killed in Blast in E. Afghanistan

KABUL, March 22 (Xinhua) — One soldier with the NATO-led coalition forces was killed in a blast in restive eastern Afghanistan on Friday, the coalition confirmed in a press release.

“An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today,” the ISAF said in the release…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Giraffic Park! Terrified Safari Tourists in Jeep Chased for Two Miles by Crazed Animal

This is the moment terrified safari tourists were attacked in their jeep by a two-and-a-half tonne giraffe.

The 13ft giant chased and barged the vehicle through two miles of South African savannah — in scenes reminiscent of the T-Rex in the film Jurassic Park.

Giraffe attacks are rare and this male is thought to be suffering from an ‘hormonal imbalance’.

[Comment: See article for complete chase captured on video.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Nine Feared Killed in Plateau Reprisal

About nine persons have been feared killed and scores of others seriously injured in an attack alleged to be a reprisal on Fili Mavou village of Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State. Two Tarok men were on Sunday shot dead at Kadarko village in Wase, while returning from Langtang, where they had gone to celebrate Tarok Day. While the Fulani were suspected to be the killers, the Wase Local Government Area Assistant Secretary of Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Abdullahi Abubakar, denied it, blaming the attack on the aftermath of a misunderstanding among the Tarok kinsmen during the Tarok Day celebration…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Disguised Amnesty

Politics and court decisions are driving the immigration debate. It is no longer considered illegal to cross the border into our country, it is economical, moral, and “socially just” to inhabit a country that you have no legal claim to, a country that gives you the title of “undocumented, in the shadows” citizen, with all the benefits and no responsibility, a country whose language you have no desire to learn, whose history, traditions and culture you reject.

Every time I enter a store or my local bank, I am greeted by signs in Spanish. If I go to my local hardware store, every isle is labeled in Spanish. It is a resume enhancement if you seek a job and speak Spanish, other languages, not so much. “A house divided cannot stand” and neither does a nation without a common language.

Bill Clinton made it easy for illegal immigrants to take up shop in our country, vote, and work illegally by signing Executive Order 13166, “Access to Services for Persons with Limited English” on August 11, 2000.

The order was designed “to improve access to federally conducted and federally assisted programs and activities for persons who, as a result of national origin, are limited in their English proficiency (LEP).” Was the order intended for legal immigrants? Perhaps the intentions were to help the old who could not learn English although they may have tried. The order assured that the recipients of federal financial assistance with limited English proficiency (LEP) could not be discriminated against.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Lib Dems Were Wrong to Offer Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants, Clegg Admits as He Unveils New £1,000 ‘Bonds’ For Foreigners

Nick Clegg today dramatically admitted he was wrong to offer an amnesty to illegal immigrants.

The Lib Dem leader used his first speech on immigration since the general election in 2010 to ditch his party’s policy of allowing foreigners to ‘earn’ British citizenship by living in the UK for a decade without being caught by the authorities.

He said the policy, included in his party’s last manifesto, risked undermining public confidence in the entire immigration system.

One Tory source said Mr Clegg appeared to be ‘purloining Conservative ideas’ in an attempt to shift perceptions of his party’s position on a key issue.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

McCain: Media Leaks Damaging Gang of 8 Immigration Talks

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday said leaks to the media have hurt the progress of the Senate’s closed-door talks on immigration reform.

McCain said the leaks are damaging because they don’t give the public the whole picture of how the negotiations are proceeding.

He is a member of the Gang of Eight senators involved in protracted discussions over an immigration deal that the group hopes will be completed by the end of the month.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Cash Bonds to Ensure That Immigrants Return Home

Immigrants seeking to work or study in Britain will have to deposit “cash bonds” that will be returned only when they return to their home countries, Nick Clegg will announce.

The Deputy Prime Minister will say that the growing problem of people overstaying their visas must be addressed and that “innovative” tactics are needed. Those coming from countries deemed to be high-risk may have to deposit at least £1,000 under the plans…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Vince Cable Attacks Theresa May’s Immigration Goal and Defends His Talks With Labour

In an interview with the House Magazine Vince Cable has attacked Theresa May’s ambition to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands:

“The reducing to under 100,000 is not Government policy and it would be unattainable without, if it was attainable enormous damage would be done, notably through overseas students, which is one of the biggest components, actually.”

Mr Cable — on the Left of his party — also uses the interview to defend his regular conversations with Labour

[…]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

£25,000 Sex Swap Ops for Two Convicts: Taxpayers Foot Bill Before Transfer to Women’s Prison

Taxpayers are forking out more than £25,000 so that two dangerous inmates can have sex swap operations.

The criminals, who are at high-security Full Sutton Prison, told officials they wanted to become women courtesy of free treatment on the NHS.

Under Labour’s Gender Recognition Act, the Ministry of Justice had no option but to agree.’

The inmates — whose identities are being kept secret — have now begun a treatment programme.

Once complete, they will be switched to a women’s jail to reflect their change of gender.

Staff have been trained to support the convicts as they go through the process, which costs £13,500 each.

Last night, Robert Oxley, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, expressed shock that the surgery was going ahead at a time of budget cuts.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dem Party Official Makes Students ‘Stomp on Jesus’

‘Gee, I wonder if the instructor would dare do this with the name of Muhammed’

A Florida college professor causing national outrage for requiring students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then put it on the floor and stomp on it, turns out also to be a top official in the local Democratic Party — the latest in a string of acute leadership embarrassments.

Although one student who refused to participate claims he was punished by being suspended from the class, Florida Atlantic University is defending the controversial assignment.

The dissenting student, Ryan Rotela, told the local CBS TV affiliate WPEC that his instructor, associate professor Deandre Poole, told everyone in the class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper in bold letters, then put it on the floor and stomp on it.

Rotela, a junior from Coral Springs, said some of his classmates complied, but he refused.

“Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value,” he told WPEC.

A religious Mormon who attends church every Sunday, Rotela complained to school officials but said they responded by suspending him from the class.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Former Director of English National Ballet Asked Dancer to Consider Aborting Unborn Baby So He Could Cast Her as Sleeping Beauty

A former director of the English National Ballet and notoriously demanding choreographer asked his star dancer to consider aborting her unborn child, it has emerged.

When prima ballerina Daria Klimentova told Derek Deane OBE she was pregnant he made it clear it was ‘an inconvenience’, the Czech dancer claims in her autobiography.

‘I was happily married and approaching 30, and yet he asked me immediately, “Are you going to keep it?”‘ she writes…

Ms Klimentova returned to the English National Ballet just a week after having her baby, and was back on stage as prima ballerina three months later.

In her book she says she feared she was ‘done at ENB’ after the incident, but that Mr Deane ‘bore no grudge towards me whatsoever’.

The ballerina remains principal dancer at the company today.

Mr Deane stepped down from his post as the English National Ballet’s artistic director in 2001 following allegations he had harassed a male dancer. At the time he declined to comment.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Homosexuality & Humanity

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — One of the most common ideas on offer in the cultural discussion of homosexuality is this: “humanity.” As in something like, “Senator Rob Portman now affirms same-sex marriage because he has seen the humanity of his son.”

The implication of this statement, at least by some, is that considering homosexuality a sin per Romans 1 and Leviticus 19 (among other biblical texts) is inhumane. If you hold that position — some say — you are seeing a homosexual person as an abstraction, not a fellow human. What you and I need to do, they say, is to give up on the ideology that dehumanizes people and embrace them in all their humanity, their interests, their predilections, their desires.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Little Sisters of the New World Religion

This immediate past Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, Sixty Minutes presented a portrayal of American Nuns, or at least those represented by the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) as allegedly ‘persecuted’ victims of a new Catholic Church “Inquisition. It featured LCWR President Pat Farrell talking plaintively with correspondent Scott Pelley. The American nuns were being “persecuted” for alleged lack of religious orthodoxy…

What is the LCWR and just what do they stand for?

“LCWR” is the acronym for Leadership Conference of Women Religious.” It purports to represent Catholic women religious, e.g. Sisters or nuns of various religious orders. It’s president appeared on that 60 Minutes program this past Sunday, March 17, 2013. I suspect Saint Patrick himself would have cried in dismay at what was presented there on his feast day.

The nuns were, per Farrell and Scott Pelley “persecuted” e.g. criticized and asked to reform, because of their alleged lack of religious orthodoxy. Just what was this alleged religious orthodoxy? Was it failing to say rosaries? No! Was it for eating steak on Lenten Fridays? No!

It was instead for their blatant radical feminist as well as New Age agenda and theologies. It was for having openly New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard as their 2012 Convention speaker telling all that “God is not 3 Guys in the Sky.” The theme of that convention was “MYSTERY UNFOLDING: LEADING IN THE EVOLUTIONARY NOW.”

It was further for taking Barbara Marx Hubbard as a religious mentor, indeed as the keynote speaker for the 2012 St. Louis, Missouri convention. You can watch segments for yourself by going to this link…

Well, the same Catholic with a very small “c” New Agers are emboldened and they are back. It is amazing how many of the same old players are in the game. Now they are “much longer in the tooth” and angry at their nearly 30 year delay of their plans for inaugurating their “New World Religion” with its “New Christ” for “the New Age.” As before they are attempting to use the Roman Catholic Church as well as evangelical subverts and cohorts to do their business.

[…]

Well, since 60 Minutes raised the subject of “Inquisition,” I thought we might explore what Barbara Marx Hubbard whom they sponsored and endorsed had in mind as inquisition punishments for those not accepting her own “New Gospel.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Senator Rob Portman’s Homosexual Descent

In another case in the annals of conservative “adaptation” to yesterday’s liberal innovation, Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman has just announced that he now supports faux marriage. The change was motivated, he said, by his son having come out to him and his wife as a homosexual.

Well, it’s a good thing his son didn’t announce that he was involved in bestiality.

Talk about a pandering parent.

We can also talk here about letting your personal life influence your public policy. If I were a statesman and learned that a child of mine were hooked on cocaine or had joined the Taliban, I wouldn’t change my position on drug policy or terrorism. Of course, Portman has said that his son’s revelation inspired some soul searching, and, true, life events can spur thought and intellectual growth. But is his decision really the fruits of sound intellectual analysis?

Regardless of what genetic and intrauterine factors one may consider relevant (I treated this in-depth here), any sane person understands that there is an enormous psychological component to man’s sexuality. This is why it’s so destructive when, through the schools and popular culture, we send kids the message that sexual experimentation is okay. “Hey, try it; you may like it. It’s all genetic, anyway, so you need to discover what you really are.” The fact is that a young person’s sexuality can be twisted with relative ease, but, unfortunately, cannot be straightened out nearly as easily, which is why sexual problems can be so intractable.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Generation X-Rated Owns the Net

by Rafael Behr

Never has it been so easy for young children to watch violent pornography. Can politicians who grew up in the analogue age do anything about it?

Most British children growing up in the age of the internet will never go hungry for information. They may hear older generations talk about a time before search engines and social networks, but imagining what that was like will be as hard for them as it is for their parents to picture life before electricity…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

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