Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/6/2013

Britain’s EU-skeptical party UKIP has picked up 30 local council seats over the past three months. More than 20 of those had previously been Conservative seats, but several were taken from the Lib-Dems, and others had belonged to independents.

In other news, the Australian government is making plans for the evacuation of 7,000 Australian citizens from South Korea in the event the bellicose behavior of North Korea becomes an imminent danger.

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

Thanks to Diana West, DS, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, JP, Mary Abdelmassih, Nilk, 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
» Cyprus: Dramatic Increase 18, 3% y-o-y for Unemployment
» Finmeccanica’s Selex to Shed 2,529 Jobs by 2014 in Italy, UK
» Hotel Owner Commits Suicide on Aeolian Island Lipari
» Italy: Gucci Bids 13 Million Euros for Historic Ginori
» Italy’s Tax Burden Reached Record High of 52% in 4th Quarter
» Italy: Three Commit Suicide Over Economic Hardship
» Italy: Deficit/GDP Ratio Improves to 3% in 2012
 
USA
» “Taking Our Temperature”
» Armed Grandmother of 10 Stops Home Invader
» Army Labels Evangelical Christians, Catholics and Some Jews ‘Religious Extremists’
» As Predicted, James Holmes Was Taking Violence-Linked Antidepressant Drugs
» ‘Bachmann and Gohmert on Mission From God to Hunt Muslims’
» Beretta Leaves Maryland Because of Stricter Gun Laws
» Leftist “Media Reform” Conference Underway in Denver
» Obama to Host Leaders of Qatar, Jordan, Turkey at White House
» Our Rights Shall Not be Infringed
» Police Militarization, Abuses of Power and the Road to Impeachment
» The Key Word in Opposing a Con Con
 
Europe and the EU
» Academic Boycott of Israel Approved by Irish Union
» British Man Wins Small Victory for 9/11 Truthers
» Europe: Mosque Building Shifts Into High Gear
» France: Socialists as Scandal-Ridden as Predecessors
» French President Hollande’s Popularity Drops to All-Time Low
» Italian Wine Exports Continue to Shine, Up 9.4% Since 2011
» Italians See Third ‘Shape-Shifting’ Neutrino
» Italy Pardons U.S. Airforce Officer in CIA Snatch Case
» Italy: Pensioner Dies Trying to Renew Prescription Fee Exemption
» Italy: Rubbish Protesters Halt Lorries at Waste Plant South of Rome
» Italy: Buffalo Mozzarella Producers Threaten Production Halt
» Italy: Rome Mayor Rejects Interference in Colosseum Marines Demo
» Italy: Uffizi Calls for Area of Vandalised Statue to be Sectioned
» Italy: Police Officer Critical After Shooting Self in Head
» Italy: Mediolanum Facing 344-Million-Euro Fine From Tax Authorities
» Italy: Fiat Records Jump in March Sales Helped by Panda and Punto
» Italy: Priest Cited for Drunk Driving After Highway Accident
» Spain: Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Islamic Veils in Class
» Sunderland’s Di Canio Says ‘Basta’ To Fascist’ Flap
» UK: ‘Harlem Shake’ Video by Pupils at Blackburn Muslim Girls’ School is Removed From YouTube
» UK: Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary Heart Unit Said There Was No Hope for My Baby Girl… Now After a Second Opinion My Daughter is Nine and Living a Normal Life
» UK: Et Tu, Shakespeare?
» UK: Labour Has Completely Lost the Plot on Philpott
» UK: Mohammed Amin: In Praise of Ethnic Monitoring
» UK: Osborne Was Right to Link Philpott and Welfare
» UK: Pictured on Her First Day at Work: WPC Who Tripped on 999 Call is Now Suing Her Own Force for a Prang in Her Panda Car
» UK: Polish Wife Who Killed Husband by Stamping Repeatedly on His Head, Can’t be Deported Under EU Rules
» UK: The Philpott Case Shows That, Under Labour, We Outsourced Our Moral Judgement to Uncaring Algorithms
» UK: The Labour Party is Trapped in the Past
» UK: Teacher Savaged by Out-of-Control Dog Has Emergency Operation to Save His Testicle After Owner Walks Off Leaving Victim in Agony
» UKIP Defections Surge in Local Election Threat to Tories
 
Mediterranean Union
» Shulz: Relaunching of the Med Union Through Parliaments
 
North Africa
» 10 Christians, 1 Muslim Killed in Sectarian Clashes in Egypt
» Egypt: El Baradei Denounces Call to Strip Him of Nationality
» Egypt: Activist Ziada: Sad to Say Things Better Under Mubarak
» Tunisia: Femen Launches ‘Topless Jihad’ To Support Amina
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Israelis and Palestinians Clash After Prisoner’s Death
 
Middle East
» Lebanon Turmoil Sign of Growing Peril in Region
» Syria: U.S. And Jordan Readying Buffer Zone
 
Caucasus
» Azerbaijan: Azeri Muslims Protest Theologian’s Arrest
 
South Asia
» India’s Supreme Court Rules for Cheaper Cancer Drugs
» Marines to Get ‘Special’ Court, India Assures
» Pakistan Officials Bar Candidates Using Rarely Used Religious Rule
» Suicide Bomber Attacks Provincial Governor’s Convoy in Southern Afghanistan, Killing a Doctor
» Thai PM Orders Protection for Officials in Restive Deep-South
» US Embassy: Va. Contractor Released in Afghanistan
 
Far East
» Evacuation Plans for 7000 Australians Living in South Korea as North Prepares for Nuclear Strike Against US
» US Secretly Deploys B-1 Strategic Bombers, E-6 “Doomsday” Planes Near North Korea
» What if It’s Not About North Korea?
 
Australia — Pacific
» Mourners Were Told They Were “Not Welcome” By a Cleric at a Former Policeman’s Funeral Because They Were Non-Muslims.
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ghana: Muslims in Wa Prays for Nation
» Nigeria: Jonathan Raises Committee on Amnesty for Boko Haram
» Uganda: Govt Persecuting Us — Muslims
 
Immigration
» Communists in the Thick of the Immigration “Reform” Movement
» Indonesia: Australia-Bound Asylum Seekers Detained
» Man Arrested in Italy for Whipping Son With Extension Cord
» Weekly Featured Profile — Margaret Chin
 
Culture Wars
» MSNBC Host: Your Kids Belong to the Collective
» Whatever Happened to Faith?
 
General
» Diana West: On Language
» Facebook and Twitter-Linked Sex Crimes Quadruple in Four Years as Paedophiles Exploit Social Network Users
» Narratives of War

Cyprus: Dramatic Increase 18, 3% y-o-y for Unemployment

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, APRIL 5 — The unemployed persons in the Republic of Cyprus, registered at the District Labour Offices on the last day of March 2013, reached 44.283 persons as local media report. Based on the seasonally adjusted data that shows the trend of unemployment, the number of registered unemployed for March 2013 increased to 40.951 persons in comparison to 40.567 in the previous month. In comparison with March 2012, an increase of 6.840 persons or 18,3% was recorded which was mainly observed in the sectors of trade (an increase of 1.865 unemployed persons), accommodation and food service activities (an increase of 1.050), public administration (an increase of 1.043), manufacturing (an increase of 538), financial and insurance activities (an increase of 391), construction (an increase of 352), as well as to newcomers in the labour market where an increase of 301 unemployed persons was recorded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Finmeccanica’s Selex to Shed 2,529 Jobs by 2014 in Italy, UK

Some 24 sites also to be shut down

(ANSA) — Rome, April 5 — Finmeccanica’s Selex Elsag unit is to shed 2,529 jobs in the UK and Italy by the end of next year, according to a new business plan that the state-controlled defense giant presented to trade unions on Friday.

Some 1,938 job cuts will involve personnel in Italy, according to UILM trade union representative Mario Ghini. The company will also shut down some 25 sites in the UK and in Italy, including of 22 of the 48 it has in Italy, according to trade unions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hotel Owner Commits Suicide on Aeolian Island Lipari

Man experiencing economic difficulties, say police

(ANSA) — Lipari, April 2 — A leading tour operator on the Aeolian Islands near Sicily committed suicide on Tuesday, police said.

Edoardo Bongiorno, 61, was found in the Orient hotel, which he owned, dead with a pistol in his hand.

Police said that the man was experiencing economic difficulties and that on Monday two of his historic hotels had undergone foreclosure.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Gucci Bids 13 Million Euros for Historic Ginori

Tuscan ceramics producer filed bankruptcy in January

(ANSA) — Florence, April 5 — Florentine fashion giant Gucci said on Friday that it has made a bid of 13 million euros for the troubled Tuscan ceramics producer Richard Ginori. Gucci said that its offer was “irrevocable” and came with a “long-term plan” to protect the historic tablewear company and save its employees. Ginori, like Gucci, is based in Tuscany.

In January, a court in Florence declared the ceramics maker bankrupt, ending a lengthy struggle and eliminating more than 200 jobs.

Italian labor union CGIL said the news “opened an authentic industrial prospective for a historical Florentine company” and welcomed it as “good news”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Tax Burden Reached Record High of 52% in 4th Quarter

Average for whole of 2012 44%, up 1.4% on 2011

(ANSA) — Rome, April 5 — Italy’s tax burden hit a record high of 52% in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 1.5% on the same period in 2011, Istat said on Friday.

The national statistics agency added that the average burden for the whole of 2012 also reached a record of 44%, up 1.4% on 2011.

The burden has risen after tax hikes contained in austerity measures by outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency government to steer Italy out of the centre of the eurozone crisis.

The tax burden is usually higher in the fourth quarter because this is when many end-of-year payments are due.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Three Commit Suicide Over Economic Hardship

Brother jumps into sea after couple found hanged in garage

(ANSA) — Macerata, April 5 — Three people committed suicide Friday in the northeast Marche region in a case that has been linked to economic difficulties.

A couple were found hanged in their garage in the coastal town of Civitanova Marche. As soon as the news broke, the dead woman’s brother threw himself into the sea and drowned.

The husband, 62-year-old former builder Romeo Dionisi, was one of thousands of so-called ‘esodati’ (‘exiled ones’) left without a pension or wages because of the government’s hike in the retirement age 16 months ago.

Police told reporters there was “no doubt” the couple killed themselves out of desperation at their inability to survive economically. Neighbours who found the bodies told police the pair were unable to get by on the small pension of the 68-year-old wife, Annamaria Sopranzi. “They couldn’t even pay the rent,” neighbours said. Sopranzi’s brother, 70-year-old former shoe-factory worker Giuseppe Sopranzi, threw himself into the harbour.

His body was recovered but attempts to revive him failed.

Suicides have risen during Italy’s worst recession in years, deepened by outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s austerity policies.

The government passed a law to help 40,000 esodati through till retirement but unions say their overall number is much higher, at least 150,000.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Deficit/GDP Ratio Improves to 3% in 2012

Italy hits EU-mandated target

(ANSA) — Rome, April 5 — Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio, an important parameter in its European Union budget obligations, fell 0.7% to 3.0% in 2012, exactly the limit set by the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), Istat said Friday.

The ratio would have been even lower, 2.9%, without derivatives swap operations, the statistics agency said.

The outgoing government, led by caretaker Premier Mario Monti, recently raised its deficit target for 2013 to 2.9% of gross domestic product — a dramatic increase from its earlier target of 1.8%.

Monti called European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn Wednesday to assure the European Commission that Italy will honour its budget commitments under the SGP.

Monti told Rehn that Italy’s plan to pay 40 billion euros of public-sector debt to private firms, to be examined by cabinet Saturday, will not affect its commitment to keeping its deficit for this year under the threshold of 3% of GDP.

Rehn asked Monti for “full details” of the debt pay-back plan, which was to be approved by the cabinet this week.

It will now be approved by Monday at the latest, sources said, because of the need for further discussions in the wake of disagreements in parliament.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

“Taking Our Temperature”

Progressive talking heads, including President Obama, recently adopted the idiom “a majority of the American people” in order to misrepresent public sentiment concerning their radical positions; suffice it to say that, in these cases, the truth has been quite the opposite.

They know that of course, and this is why their rhetoric remains so spirited. To Obama and his co-conspirators on the left, lying comes as naturally as breathing.

Though radicals appear to be on the verge of a wholesale usurpation of political power in America, they realize that their end game is not going to endear them to that majority of the American people. Thus, their tone, declarations, and allegations have reached epic proportions in terms of outrageousness…

In Denver this week, President Obama openly mocked those who are concerned about the erosion of their rights under the Second Amendment. He and others on the left relish representing these people as fringe elements, yet, according to a recently-released Rasmussen poll, 44% of likely U.S. voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that the government will try to confiscate all privately owned guns. That high a number does not typically constitute a “fringe element” in the eyes of most people.

Once again, Obama fallaciously cited the desires of “a majority of the American people” who want children to be safe in his advocacy for draconian measures in the area of firearms.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Armed Grandmother of 10 Stops Home Invader

Sandra Mize confronted an intruder breaking into her north Spokane home early Wednesday morning. She fired one shot in his direction and held him at gunpoint until officers arrived. Police arrested the man and said they do not believe it was his first burglary of the night.

Sandra Mize has a motto: “You don’t get do-overs.”

That’s why the 63-year-old grandmother of 10 keeps a gun by her bed, a canister of mace in her living room, and reinforces the doors in her north Spokane home with deadbolt locks and metal jambs before she goes to sleep every night.

Her preparedness may have saved her life just after midnight Wednesday when she held off a burglar — at one point firing a wayward shot at the intruder — until police arrived.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Army Labels Evangelical Christians, Catholics and Some Jews ‘Religious Extremists’

A U.S. Army training instructor listed Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, Fox News has learned.

“We find this offensive to have Evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church to be listed among known terrorist groups,” said Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization.”

The incident occurred during an Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief on extremism. Topping the list is Evangelical Christianity. Other organizations listed included Catholicism, Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Ku Klux Klan, Sunni Muslims, and Nation of Islam.

The military also listed “Islamophobia” as a form of religious extremism.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

As Predicted, James Holmes Was Taking Violence-Linked Antidepressant Drugs

It likely comes as no surprise to those who have been following the disturbing trend of mass shooters over the years, but a new Los Angeles Times report has confirmed that Holmes had been taking the prescription psychotropic drugs Zoloft and Clonazepam (Klonopin) — one of which is the same drug that the Columbine shooter Eric Harris was on.

For months now the alternative news media has been predicting that Holmes was most certainly on antidepressant drugs as we know 90% of school shootings have links to psych meds, but until now it has only been announced that certain prescription medication was seized (and listed as Vicodin by some sources). Ultimately, we received a large degree of flak and downright hate for predicting that Holmes was on these drugs like to aggression and suicide, but it’s simply following a very blatant pattern.

As the LA Times reports, the following prescription medication was found:

“…prescription medication for sertraline, a generic version of Zoloft used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and Clonazepam, usually prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks”…

And once again, these were side effects that up until 2005, when Harvard psychiatrist Martin Teicher blew the whistle on the cover up, were completely hidden from the public. As detailed in the USA Today article on the subject, Teicher explains how Prozac manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. lied for 15 years denying the very real link between Prozac and suicide. In his own words, Teicher said that the public was being treated like “guinea pigs” in a mass experiment.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Bachmann and Gohmert on Mission From God to Hunt Muslims’

The Family Research Council’s President Jerry Boykin said this week that U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louis Gohmert (R-TX) are “standing on the word of God” in their mission to find and punish Muslims and Muslim supporters in the U.S. government. According to Right Wing Watch, Boykin made the remarks at a panel discussion at this week’s National Religious Broadcasters conference. The panel was moderated by Christian radio host Janet Parshall…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Beretta Leaves Maryland Because of Stricter Gun Laws

New legislation is forcing gun manufacturing company Beretta to uproot and take their business elsewhere.

Established in 1526, Beretta holds the distinction of being the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world. The U.S. factory is located in Accokeek, Maryland, and has been a staple of the local economy for years.

Beretta warned that stricter gun control laws would push the company outside of state lines, but that didn’t stop Maryland legislators. Jeffrey Reh, a spokesman for Beretta who also serves as the President of Stoeger Industries under Beretta, announced that the company would begrudgingly uproot and take its business elsewhere. He said, “We don’t want to do this, we’re not willing to do this, but obviously this legislation has caused us a serious level of concern within our company.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leftist “Media Reform” Conference Underway in Denver

Denver, Colorado: Disgraced CBS newsman Dan Rather returned with an appearance in a new film, “Shadows of Liberty,” which had its U.S. premiere at the “National Conference for Media Reform” in Denver on Thursday night. The film — and Rather — contend that corporate power has taken control of the American media, leaving the American people uninformed about current events.

The conference is based on the premise that the media are not left-wing enough, and that government regulations and subsidies are necessary to restore the concept of a “public media” that people can rely on for news and information. A big focus of this year’s conference is urging the Obama Administration to promote more federal control over the Internet, under the guise of “net neutrality.”

Rather, who left CBS after being caught up in a scandal in which fake documents were used to smear former President George Bush, was hired by billionaire Mark Cuban for his HDNet channel, which is now called AXS TV. He narrates a little-watched show called “Dan Rather Reports.”

It is telling that he has now become a hero of the far-left…

On Sunday, the National Conference for Media Reform will feature a panel discussion titled, “Manufacturing Terror: The Media’s Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim Problem,” with Ahmed Shihab-Eldin of HuffPost Live. He is a former producer for Al Jazeera.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama to Host Leaders of Qatar, Jordan, Turkey at White House

WASHINGTON, April 5 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with emir of Qatar, king of Jordan and prime minister of Turkey at the White House in April and May, respectively, the White House announced Friday. Obama will host Amir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani at the White House on April 23, said the White House in a statement…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Our Rights Shall Not be Infringed

Political leftists with global ambitions, who fear the wrath of a free people, have been trying to disarm American citizens for more than a hundred years now. Although Americans have been quite tolerant of past overreaches of political authority at the federal, state and local level, the silence of the people should not be misinterpreted as their consent. Far from it…

[…]

The moment in history when federal assaults on the people’s rights have become insufferable, has arrived.

Although the many usurpations of power have taken place over an extended period involving numerous administrations, combined, they pale by comparison to the overt assaults on American sovereignty, security, freedom and liberty that have taken place over the last four years.

The rapid decline in America started at the 2006 election in which progressive Democrats seized both houses of congress and sat congressional Republicans on the sidelines. The election of a blatantly unconstitutional White House resident in 2008, left the reigns of our once great nation solely in the hands of progressive Democrats. They have worked around the clock to destroy The United States of America ever since.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Police Militarization, Abuses of Power and the Road to Impeachment

These are trying times. Never in the history of this country have we been so weakened and polarized by what many view as deliberate government policy. Now anti-gunners in the U.S. Congress, the Obama administration, and legislatures across the country are seeking to exploit the Newtown tragedy to promote their “gun control” agenda that envisions federal, universal background checks on gun purchases, and that could lead to gun registration and confiscation.

At the same time, the increasing militarization of law enforcement, most visibly demonstrated by the growing use of massive, SWAT-type raids on businesses and individuals, sometimes with federal involvement or authorization, is heightening concerns that this country is moving toward a police state…

The SWAT concept was popularized by Los Angeles Police Chief Darryl Gates in the late 1960s in response to large-scale incidents for which the police were ill-prepared. But the use of SWAT teams has since exploded. Massive SWAT raids using military-style equipment are becoming routine methods for executing search warrants. One study estimates 40,000 such raids per year nationwide:

“These increasingly frequent raids… are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers.”

John W. Whitehead writes in the Huffington Post, that “it appears to have less to do with increases in violent crime and more to do with law enforcement bureaucracy and a police state mentality.”

[Comment: A MUST READ article for every American.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Key Word in Opposing a Con Con

The call for a new Constitutional Convention (Con Con), particularly from Conservative circles, is starting to grow at an alarming rate. Several Conservative organizations, particularly the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Goldwater Institute (among others) are telling Conservative state legislators that they can call for a Con Con and control the subject and the outcome of such an event.

That is simply not true. The reason: “Precedent.” There has been only one Con Con in U.S. history. That was in 1787. Delegates to this gathering (not originally planned as a Con Con) were given specific instructions by their states and a very strongly worded resolution by Congress limiting the meeting to the “sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” Those instructions were completely ignored. As soon as the delegates arrived in Philadelphia, the doors were closed and the meeting was kept secret until finally they were opened to announce a complete new Constitution. That is a Precedent!

Second, the Articles of Confederation specifically called for 100% support from the states before any changes could be made to it. Obviously a new Constitution qualifies as a change! But ratification of the new Constitution operated under the yet un- ratified Article VII of the new Constitution, which called for a vote of approval of just three fourths of the states. That is a Precedent!

Further, there is nothing in Article V to give instructions on how to organize a Con Con after the required number of states call for it and Congress agrees to comply. There is nothing to tell us who the delegates should be, where they should come from, what their qualifications should be, or what rules they need to follow. The fact is, once Congress calls for the Con Con, and the delegates are chosen, that Con Con body becomes the most powerful force in the nation. Congress has no control over what they do, or how they do it. And the Precedents say they can do anything, including writing a new Constitution — and that new Constitution can be voted into power anyway the delegates decide.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Academic Boycott of Israel Approved by Irish Union

The Teachers Union of Ireland has voted to boycott all academic collaboration with Israel, including research programmes and exchange of scientists. It is thought to be the first full academic boycott enforced by a European teaching union. A motion, calling for all members of the union to end work with Israeli counterparts, was passed unanimously at the TUI annual conference in Galway on Thursday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

British Man Wins Small Victory for 9/11 Truthers

A British 9/11 truther is claiming victory following a court ruling that said he did not have to pay a fine over his refusal to pay his annual £130 TV license fee.

Tony Rooke claimed the BBC intentionally misrepresented facts about the 9/11 attacks when it reported that World Trade Center 7 collapsed “due to an office fire, which, even the NIST report says, fell at free-fall speed for eight floors in 2.5 seconds. That is absolutely impossible without a controlled demolition being involved.” The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the U.S. government agency charged with investigating collapses.

In an act of civil disobedience, Rooke refused to support the BBC and pay the license fee because he believed the BBC has covered up the events of that day.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Europe: Mosque Building Shifts Into High Gear

by Soeren Kern

“In Spain there are signs that Islam will dominate once again.” — Hizrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Spiritual Leader, Ahmadiyya Community, Spain

From Belgium to Greece and Spain to Germany, 2013 is shaping up to be another banner year for the construction of mosques in Europe.

In Belgium, work is about to begin on the construction of a mega-mosque in Liège, the third-largest city in the country. The largest mosque in Wallonia (the French-speaking region of Belgium) will be built on an 11,000 m² (118,000 ft²) plot and will consist of a main building with a capacity for 1,000 worshippers, a library, a cafeteria and several shops.

Plans to build two 30 m (98 ft) minarets were scrapped after opposition from local residents. The new plan involves one 18 m (60 ft) minaret which will be automatically illuminated during calls to prayer.

The mayor of Liège, Willy Demeyer (PS), banned a protest march against the mosque that was to have been held on March 30. “My role is to avoid excesses and problems of public order,” he said.

In Germany, Muslims in the northern city of Hamburg are converting the former Kapernaumkirche (Capernaum Church), a cultural heritage site, into a mosque.

In the southern German city of Munich, local politicians are debating where to build a massive mosque complex known as the Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (ZIE-M). The 6,000 m² (65,000 ft²) mega-project, which will cost an estimated €40 million ($51 million), is designed to be a key strategic platform for spreading Islam throughout Europe.

Speculation is rife that the Persian Gulf Emirate of Qatar will pay for the project, although the Qatari Ambassador to Germany recently told the newspaper Münchner Merkur that no final decision has been made…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Socialists as Scandal-Ridden as Predecessors

Cahuzac, Lagarde and other dubious affairs overshadow Hollande

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, APRIL 4 — After less than a year in power, the Socialist presidency of Francois Hollande, which was hailed as an antidote to the scandal-ridden right-wing administrations that preceded it, is itself tarnished by allegations of wrongdoing. The French who welcomed Hollande and his ministers — who rode bikes instead of government cars to work — are disappointed once more, writes Le Monde newspaper.

“How can citizens avoid feeling disgusted and indignant upon discovering that the state treasurer coldly spared himself the discipline and the sacrifices he called on others to make?” Le Monde editorialized yesterday on the alleged complicity between Economics Minister Pierre Moscovici and Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac, who had declared war on tax evasion and turned out to be keeping vast amounts of undeclared cash in a Swiss bank account. The lawyer who set up Cahuzac’s offshore account turns out to be a follower of extreme right-winger Marine Le Pen.

The previous five-year administration of Nicolas Sarkozy ended in disgrace on revelations that billionaire Liliane Bettencourt paid substantial kickbacks to his electoral campaign. Preceding two-time president Jacques Chirac also ended up in court on charges of providing party members with well-paid but fictitious civil service jobs. Socialists are not immune to scandal, however. After former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn ended up in jail for rape, his replacement, former Economics Minister Christine Lagarde, had her house searched as part of a probe into her allegedly murky dealings with billionaire Bernard Tapie and Credit Lyonnais bank. On the local level, Marseille Socialist party chief Jean-Noel Guerini is under arrest on suspicion of embezzlement and possible links with organized crime. But it is the Cahuzac affair that could be the undoing of Hollande, whose approval ratings were tanking even before the scandal hit.

“To the French, the president is either incompetent and nave, or guilty of a cover-up. It’s a big deal either way”, Le Monde opined.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French President Hollande’s Popularity Drops to All-Time Low

Poll shows support for PM Ayrault down, rising for Marine Le Pen

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, APRIL 4 — French president Francois Hollande’s popularity has dropped to an all-time low. According to the monthly index published by TNS Sofres, the head of state enjoyed the support of only 27% of the population in March, a three-point drop on February and the lowest level since 1981 for a French president in the 11th month of his term. Hollande is struggling against a harsh crisis, which has become a political one as well after a scandal broke connected with his former budget minister, Jerome Cahuzac. Conducted by the Le Figaro magazine, the monthly index was compiled on the basis of data collected prior to Tuesday, when Cahuzac confessed in court to having a foreign bank account after denying it for months, even in front of the National Assembly. The survey showed that 70% of French citizens, a 4-point rise, said they did not have confidence in the president any longer.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault also lost three points in popularity ratings, falling to an even lower level (25%) than that of Hollande. Support for far-right leader Marine Le Pen from the National Front instead surged up four points, to 32%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italian Wine Exports Continue to Shine, Up 9.4% Since 2011

Sparkling and Prosecco up 26%

(ANSA) — Milan, April 4 — Italian wine exports continue to rise with some variation on markets and vintage preferences, a Mediobanca report said on Thursday.

Over the last six years, wine exports have risen an average of 6.7% annually, while internal sales have picked up 2.3%.

However, emerging markets in Asia and specifically China, are proving slower to jump on the ‘vino Italiano’ bandwagon. The Mediobanca report published days before the massive Vinitaly wine trade show kicks off in Verona on April 7 polled 108 Italian producers.

Last year alone, major producers registered a 9.4% overall increase in exports, 50.6% to European countries.

No-growth markets included Africa and the Middle East which both saw a 1.4% drop in exports for 2011.

North America stayed strong with 33.2% of Italian wine exports headed over the pond, up by 7.2% compared to 2011.

Market darling Prosecco continued to shine overseas with a 26% rise in sales in the US and Canada.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italians See Third ‘Shape-Shifting’ Neutrino

OPERA project aims to prove theory on ‘missing’ particles

(ANSA) — Rome, March 26 — Italian researchers have observed the third shape-shifting’ neutrino ever seen, spreading fresh light on these enigmatic sub-atomic particles.

The observation, like the previous two, was made in the Gran Sasso laboratory of Italy’s National Nuclear Physics Institute (INFN), deep under the largest mountain in Italy outside the Alps, scientists said.

The INFN researchers in the OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) project again saw one type of neutrino changing into another kind as it zipped in from the CERN European nuclear research centre in the Alps near Geneva. This type of spontaneous “flip-flopping” had never been seen before May 2010 when the Gran Sasso lab announced the first instance in what was hailed as potentially the most exciting find in particle physics in decades.

Scientists say further observations of this behaviour may shed light on how matter came to dominate over antimatter in the universe, and what happens to missing neutrinos.

For 40 years scientists have been wondering why many fewer neutrinos arrive from the Sun and other stars than models predict. The most likely hypothesis is that they have not in fact gone astray but have simply changed form.

The OPERA experiment was set up five years ago to verify the theory.

OPERA International Director Giovanni De Lellis said finding the third transformed neutrino was “an important confirmation of the previous two observations.

“This event has characteristics which make it unmistakable compared to other processes,” he stressed. The so-called ‘oscillation’ could lead to a radical rethink in particle physics, he said.

The third transformation of a muon neutrino into a tau neutrino during the 730km, 2.4 millisecond trip from the CERN lab, “makes us confident, from a statistical standpoint, that we will be able to confirm the oscillation,” De Lellis said.

OPERA will be on the look-out for more tau neutrinos that were originally muons for another two years, he said, in a bid to “definitively prove this very rare phenomenon”. As well as likely accounting for the apparent disappearance of neutrinos on their trip to Earth, he said, the phenomenon also contradicts the Standard Model of particle physics which states that neutrinos do not have a mass.

EXPERIMENT STARTED IN 2006.

The ground-breaking neutrino experiment started on September 11, 2009, when CERN sent its first burst of neutrinos down to OPERA.

Since then, billions and billions of the particles have arrived at the lab.

The CERN Neutrino To Gran Sasso (CNGS) experiment was expressly set up to establish that neutrinos can change ‘flavour’ — an hypothesis first raised almost 70 years ago by famed Italian physicist Guido Pontecorvo.

Neutrinos come in three flavours: electron neutrinos (associated with the electron), muon neutrinos (the muon is a bit bigger than the electron) and tau neutrinos (bigger still).

Previously, US and Japanese experiments had only observed the disappearance of muon neutrinos.

By contrast, CNGS’s neutrino bursts have now shown muon neutrinos changing into tau neutrinos.

If neutrinos really are oscillating, this could go a long way to explaining why the mass of the visible universe only adds up to a fraction of the total mass value derived from the observed dynamics in galaxies.

Physicists have long been wondering where the majority of the mass in the universe could be.

If neutrinos oscillate then theory dictates that they must have mass.

It is probably only a very tiny mass, but there are so many neutrinos around in the universe — almost a billion times as many as there are protons — that they could account for at least as much mass as exists in visible stars.

A breakthrough of similar magnitude happened last year with the discovery of the Higg’s Boson, long theorised as a key particle in giving the Universe mass.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy Pardons U.S. Airforce Officer in CIA Snatch Case

‘Solves delicate situation’ involving extraordinary rendition

(ANSA) — Rome, April 5 — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday pardoned retired US airforce officer Joseph L. Romano, convicted last year in absentia, for his role in the the CIA abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr from the streets of Milan in 2003.

Last September Italy’s top court of appeals upheld the convictions of 22 CIA agents and Romano, found guilty of abducting Nasr in the world’s first judicial examination of the controversial US practice of extraordinary rendition in the so-called war on terror.

The Court of Cassation confirmed the seven-year sentences for 22 of them and a nine-year term for former Milan station chief Robert Seldon Lady. The Italian president’s office on Friday said the pardon was to “find a solution to an affair considered by the United States to be unprecedented” and to solve “a situation of great delicacy” with an ally. Nasr, an Islamist suspected of recruiting jihadi fighters, disappeared from a Milan street on February 17, 2003 and emerged from an Egyptian prison four years later claiming he had been tortured. The cleric, who is also known as Abu Omar, did not attend the trial, at which he was awarded one million euros in damages.

Nasr was snatched by a team of CIA operatives with the help of Italian secret service agency SISMI and taken to a NATO base in Ramstein, Germany, en route to Cairo. In the closely watched case, the agents’ terms were lengthened from 5-8 years to 7-9 years in December 2010. The prosecution had sought convictions ranging from eight to 12 years for the 23. But the CIA’s former Italy chief, Jeff Castelli, was excluded from the proceedings at the last minute on a technicality along with two other operatives, Betnie Medero and Ralph Russomando. For the three, acquitted at the first trial in November 2009 on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, the appeals process started from scratch.

The prosecutor in the trial had requested a 12-year sentence for Castelli and eight years for the other two. The court also ordered the 22 CIA officers and the retired colonel to pay one million euros in damages to Nasr and 500,000 euros to his wife.

None of the CIA operatives have ever appeared in court here. US-ITALIAN FRICTION. The case had caused friction between Italy and the United States, which voiced its “disappointment” with the 2010 verdict.

Former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said he sympathised with US concerns, noting that the judiciary in Italy was independent but despite this, the Italian government had obtained the secrecy injunction.

Some of the agents had said they were worried they would become international fugitives but Frattini said he “didn’t think they would go to jail”. Extraordinary rendition was first authorised by former American president Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stepped up when his successor George W. Bush declared war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda. Successive Italian governments denied all knowledge of the case and consistently ruled out the possibility of extradition.

During the trials the CIA had refused to comment and its officers were silent until Lady, the ex-Milan chief, told an Italian daily in August 2009 that he was only following orders. Lady, who has now retired, said from an undisclosed location that he was “a soldier…in a war against terrorism”. The trial of Nasr claimed headlines worldwide and stoked discussion of rendition, which was extended by President Barack Obama in 2008 under the proviso that detainees’ rights should be respected. The Council of Europe, a 47-nation human rights body, called Nasr’s case a “perfect example of rendition”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Pensioner Dies Trying to Renew Prescription Fee Exemption

68-year-old suffers heart attack after hours in queue

(ANSA) — Palermo, April 5 — A 68-year-old man died on Friday while trying to renew his entitlement to exemptions from medical-prescription fees on the basis of his income. Giuseppe Fontana collapsed from a heart attack after a row broke out among the 300 patients over their turn in the application-renewal queue. He had been waiting at the local health authority since 5am local time.

“When they opened the gates we were crushed against the railings by the crowd,” said a person present. “A mass of people made for the entrance to take a turn number and the poor man was knocked over,” he said. Police have opened an investigation into the death.

Meanwhile the local health authority has said the deadline for applying for or renewing some income-related prescription-fee exemptions has been postponed until June 30.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rubbish Protesters Halt Lorries at Waste Plant South of Rome

Locals fear environmental effects from capital’s waste

(ANSA) Colfelice, April 5 — Protesters in the Ciociaria region between Rome and Naples on Friday halted lorries taking rubbish from the capital to be treated in a local waste plant.

More than 100 people gathered outside the plant at Colfelice near Frosinone to stop the Rome rubbish trucks getting in, in the latest in a series of protests.

Rome has too much waste to process and has decided to send some to plants and dumps in other parts of Lazio, where residents, fearful of environmental effects, have said they will not pass.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Buffalo Mozzarella Producers Threaten Production Halt

Cheesemakers unhappy about new rules

(ANSA) — Naples, March 26 — Producers of buffalo mozzarella under the Protected Denomination of Origin (DOP) appellation on Tuesday threatened to halt activities as of July 1 in protest over new rules governing production.

Specifically members of the consortium for the protection of buffalo mozzarella DOP are unhappy about the requirement to create separate premises for the production of DOP mozzarella using buffalo milk and for other cheeses made using ordinary cow’s milk. Producers are obliged to make the change by July 1. In a letter addressed to the agriculture ministry and other interested parties consortium members explain that significant investments would be needed in order to continue operating “within the rules”. Farmers’ assciations have instead spoken out in support of the change.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome Mayor Rejects Interference in Colosseum Marines Demo

Alemanno defends stage, says solidarity protest to go ahead

(ANSA) — Rome, April 3 — Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno on Wednesday rejected calls by cultural authorities to remove a stage erected next to the Colosseum for a demonstration to be held later in the day in support of two Italian marines facing trial in India on homicide charges. “This evening we have to demonstrate at the Colosseum, by turning off the lights, to show our solidarity with our marines,” Alemanno said.

“With all due respect for the culture ministry, we are going ahead and we don’t want to listen to nonsense,” he continued.

Earlier in the day the local culture superintendent’s office asked the city council to remove the stage on grounds that it was “unauthorised” and “in contrast with safety agreements” regarding the outside of the iconic monument, which is showing increasing wear and tear after being built by emperors of the Flavian dynasty nearly 2,000 years ago.

The cultural authorities added that plans to project images on the facade of the Colosseum and turn off lights inside the monument and in the nearby Roman Forum had also not been authorised. Servicemen Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are on trial in India for the alleged shooting murder of two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission off the Kerala coast in February 2012. The case has strained diplomatic relations between India and Italy, which insists that New Delhi does not have jurisdiction as the incident took place in international waters.

Tensions deepened in last month when Rome said it would not be returning the soldiers for trial on the expiry of a four-week parole permit to vote in general elections at the end of February.

The government subsequently backed down over the decision.

This is the second time Rome city council has organised a demonstration in support of the marines.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Uffizi Calls for Area of Vandalised Statue to be Sectioned

Polyxena rape statue should be sectioned off, closed at night

(see related story) (ANSA) — Florence, March 29 — Florence’s Uffizi Museum on Friday called for the Loggia dei Lanzi area of the central Piazza della Signoria to be sectioned so that access can be limited, after a finger was removed from Pio Fedi’s Rape of Polyxena in the latest act of vandalism against the statue.

“We need to section off the Loggia dei Lanzi and allow only controlled access, not free access, as has been the case up to now. Perhaps it is even the case to close it off at night, Uffizi Director Antonio Natali said.

“It’s not the first time something like this has happened, and we need to find a protection system so that these events are not repeated”.

The statue is undergoing repair after an English-speaking female tourist broke off its left index finger before being stopped by local municipal police.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Officer Critical After Shooting Self in Head

Said to have serious financial problems

(ANSA) Triggiano, April 3; A police officer was in a critical condition Wednesday after shooting himself in the head outside a Carabinieri police station in Triggiano in the southern province of Bari.

The unnamed man is said to have serious financial problems.

Police provided first-aid treatment before taking him to the local hospital.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mediolanum Facing 344-Million-Euro Fine From Tax Authorities

Financial-services company half-owned by Berlusconi

(ANSA) — Milan, April 2 — Italian financial-services company Mediolanum faces a 344-million-euro fine from Italy’s tax authorities, the company said in its full-year results document which was deposited with Italy’s stock exchange on Tuesday.

Mediolanum is controlled by the family of entrepreneur Ennio Doris and by former premier Sivlio Berlusconi’s Fininvest holding company.

Italy’s inland revenue agency is investigating the investment company’s financial transactions with its fully controlled Irish unit.

In its full-year statements, Mediolanum said that just before last Christmas the company received notification from Italy’s tax authorities that the accounts of two of its units — the Mediolanum Banca commercial bank and the Mediolanum Vita insurer — were being reviewed for the financial years 2005-2007 and that the firm was facing calls for 323.4 million euros in unpaid taxes and fines.

The final bill could be even higher, as tax police have examined the company’s 2008-09 reports.

According to Italy’s tax authorities, Mediolanum’s financial-services activities pay lower royalties to their Italy-based owners than the average industry-wide, meaning that the firm has a higher proportion of its income subject to Ireland’s lighter tax take.

The Italian inland revenue agency estimates that overall some 500 million euros in revenues were kept free from higher Italian tax rates in the period 2005-07.

In a statement, Mediolanum said the tax authority’s analysis is “illegitimate” and “wrong” as far as regards the calculation of taxable revenues and “illegitimate” in terms of the sanctions imposed.

The company said it would submit the matter to European arbitration procedures on double taxation, which should determine the appropriate amount of taxes the company is to pay.

Mediolanum also said it disagreed with the finding that it underreported its royalty-fee structure, saying its calculations “enter into the range of free-market values determined by independent economists”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Fiat Records Jump in March Sales Helped by Panda and Punto

But sales in first quarter still show negative trend

(ANSA) — Rome, April 2 — Italian carmaker Fiat on Tuesday said its March sales jumped 5.3% on the same period a year ago to just under 38,000 units.

The March figure was the highest since June 2012, the company said in a statement, and marks a turning point after several months of consecutive sales declines.

In February the group’s sales slid almost 17% on February 2012 levels, while overall in the first three months of 2013 total sales of the group’s Italian brands — Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo — are still down by 9.3% on the year-ago period, at 103,086 units.

The company’s new 500L was the best-selling mid-size in Italy in March, the company said, pointing out that the Panda, Punto, Ypsilon and 500L were the top four sellers overall in the month.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Priest Cited for Drunk Driving After Highway Accident

Belligerent clergyman asked to take alcohol test

(ANSA) — Ravenna, April 2 — A priest who slammed into a truck on the A14 highway near the city of Ravenna was cited for drinking and driving late Wednesday night.

Police called to the scene asked the man to take an alcohol test after he became belligerent and tried to drive his badly damaged vehicle away.

Police seized the priest’s driver’s license and towed his economy-model Fiat.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Islamic Veils in Class

Citing royal decree banning all headgear within school premises

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, APRIL 4 — The Madrid Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that a high school could ban a female student for wearing an Islamic veil to class.

The student’s family had appealed that decision to the Supreme Court on grounds that Camilo Jose’ Cela high school violated the girl’s right to personal dignity and to religious freedom. The Supreme Court cited internal school regulations as well as a royal decree, which forbids “wearing hats or anything else covering the head within school premises”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sunderland’s Di Canio Says ‘Basta’ To Fascist’ Flap

New manager sees Black Cats’ salvation

(By Denis Greenan).

(ANSA) — London, April 2 — New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has said ‘basta’ to a flap over his alleged extreme-right political views, stressing he wants to focus on digging his new team out of the mire at the foot of the Premier League.

The ex-Lazio striker and formerly self-tagged Fascist, who was named head coach of the Black Cats Saturday, told the press on Tuesday that would not discuss his politics.

Controversy erupted when Di Canio replaced Martin O’Neill, causing former British foreign secretary David Miliband to step down as deputy chairman of the club.

When asked about his current politics on Tuesday, Di Canio responded, “I don’t have to answer this question any more”.

“I don’t want to talk about politics. I’m not in the Houses of Parliament, I’m not a political person, I will only talk about football,” Di Canio said.

“I don’t have to answer these questions any more…I have the utmost respect for other people’s opinions, but I’m not interested in what the papers say. I’m not arrogant, but I know my trade and and I know who I am. In the past I said a lot of things but certain people took my words out of context. My life speaks for itself…it’s a ridiculous and pathetic situation”.

Sunderland rallied behind the new coach Tuesday, calling the “mud-raking” about his past “insulting” to his recent record, but the Durham Miners’ Association, stalwart fans of the northeastern club, asked for a banner dedicated to miners to be taken down from the Stadium of Light.

Di Canio reiterated his only thoughts were on the next match, against mighty Chelsea, and the six others that stand in the way of Sunderland’s retention of its top-tier status.

“I’m ready to bet anything that I can save this club,” he said.

The former West Ham striker has openly admitted in the past to having Fascist leanings.

He told ANSA in 2005 that he was “a Fascist, not a racist”.

Di Canio was fined by the international football federation FIFA twice in 2005 for giving the straight-arm salute used by Fascists.

The 44-year-old retired striker first went to Britain as a player in 1996 joining Celtic, then played for Glasgow, West Ham and Charlton.

As a player, Di Canio’s rebellious spirit often caused him problems with coaches and officials. In 1999 he was banned for 11 matches and fined £100,000 for pushing over a referee.

But two years later British fans saw a very different side to Di Canio’s character, when he opted to catch the ball rather than shoot during a league match for West Ham, because the opposition goalkeeper was on the ground injured.

The gesture won him the 2001 FIFA Fair Play award.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Harlem Shake’ Video by Pupils at Blackburn Muslim Girls’ School is Removed From YouTube

A YOUTUBE video of pupils at a Muslim girls’ secondary school dancing in a pre-prayer washroom has been removed from the website. A dozen 12 and 13-year-old Tauheedul Islam Girls High School students were viewed 12,000 times hip-thrusting and jumping on toilet seats during the five days it was online. The footage, filmed on a mobile phone and titled Tauheedul Harlem Shake, is believed to be the girls’ version of the internet dance craze. Headteacher Hamid Patel spent last weekend in talks with the girls’ parents but declined to confirm what disciplinary action he has taken…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary Heart Unit Said There Was No Hope for My Baby Girl… Now After a Second Opinion My Daughter is Nine and Living a Normal Life

A mother has told how her daughter’s life was saved by heart surgery — despite doctors at Leeds General Infirmary claiming ‘nothing could be done’ for her.

Michala Cater, 39, claims she was told that her two-year-old daughter Lily would not recover from her congenital heart defect and that she should ‘go away and enjoy the time she had left’ with her.

But after seeking a second opinion, Lily had surgery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The nine-year-old is now living a normal life.

Mrs Cater, of Bradford, believes Lily would be dead if she had listened to the consultant cardiologist at Leeds seven years ago.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Et Tu, Shakespeare?

Adrian Hilton is a conservative academic, theologian and educationalist. He writes a Daily Mail blog and is still agitating for Ann Widdecombe’s peerage.

My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname, Coriolanus…

I was in the Upper-6th. I still remember that Eng Lit class and reciting those words to a horde of A-level Volscians, many of whom really wanted to be Romans, and most of whom were entirely unimpressed by my lilting vowels and crisp, Olivier-like consonants. Shakespeare was my antidote to the interminable Dark Period of teenage angst. At school I could be a Roman, a Greek, a pauper or a king. One day it was virtue and beauty; the next villainy and treachery. There was infatuation and isolation; vengeance and pride; romance and melancholy; and hormonal virility with bouts of exotic cross-dressing trans-sexuality. I lived and breathed blank verse: I was Romeo, Richard, Malvolio and Hamlet. Tomorrow I would be Lear. But, for today, I was Caius Marcius…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Has Completely Lost the Plot on Philpott

by Iain Martin

Is there anyone left in the upper reaches of the Labour party with Tony Blair’s feel for the instincts of millions of Labour voters and potential Labour voters? Say what you like about Blair (in the comments below) but he would never have got on the wrong side of a row about a scumbag who is serving a life sentence for killing six of his children. The poor children’s cruel misfortune was to have Mick Philpott for a father…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Mohammed Amin: In Praise of Ethnic Monitoring

Mohammed Amin is Vice Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He is writing in a personal capacity.

Ethnic monitoring means the keeping of ethnicity statistics regarding employees, job applicants, or in certain cases the users of public services. Statistics may also be collected on the basis of religion or other characteristics, but for conciseness I just use “ethnic monitoring in this piece. From time to time I see occasional complaints about ethnic monitoring as being wasteful or “political correctness gone mad.” Accordingly I want to explain why I support it.

[….]

[JP note: One hundred percent Mohammed Coefficient, or, if you prefer, Islamist.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Osborne Was Right to Link Philpott and Welfare

Donna Edmunds is the Head of Media for the Bow Group, but she writes here in a personal capacity

The man that the Daily Mail branded the ‘Vile product of Welfare UK’ is behind bars today, serving the first full day of his life sentence for causing the death of six of his children. There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mick Philpott was indeed vile and thoroughly deserves his sentence, but the claim that the welfare system played a role is proving controversial…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Pictured on Her First Day at Work: WPC Who Tripped on 999 Call is Now Suing Her Own Force for a Prang in Her Panda Car

The policewoman suing a burglary victim after she tripped over a kerb during a 999 callout is demanding compensation from her own police force for another accident, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

WPC Kelly Jones, 33, launched legal action against Norfolk Constabulary following a panda car crash. Her claims for damages for incidents just seven months apart will fuel the row about the compensation culture gripping Britain’s police forces.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Polish Wife Who Killed Husband by Stamping Repeatedly on His Head, Can’t be Deported Under EU Rules

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content* ]

A Polish woman who killed her husband by repeatedly stamping on his head cannot be deported from Britain because of EU rules, it emerged today.

A judge rejected the Home Office’s claim that Theresa Rafacz posed a danger to the public despite her admitting the ‘gratuitous’ attack.

Mr Justice Blake, the UK’s most senior immigration judge, ruled that she could stay because her crime did not cross a ‘seriousness threshold’ under European law.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: The Philpott Case Shows That, Under Labour, We Outsourced Our Moral Judgement to Uncaring Algorithms

by Graeme Archer

Here is your examination question for the day. Please describe the algorithm for welfare, which takes as its input human need, and as its output delivers happiness, goodness, and social justice. You have the 67 years since the implementation of the Beveridge report to produce your solution. Show all your working…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: The Labour Party is Trapped in the Past

Labour has opposed each and every change to a welfare system that is desperately in need of an overhaul

The latest film from the director Ken Loach, The Spirit of ‘45, is an encomium to the Labour government that presided over the flowering of the welfare state and the birth of the National Health Service. Left-wing commentators have thrilled to this nostalgic reminder of their finest ideological hour, yearning to recapture the spirit of the Attlee administration that Loach’s documentary evokes…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

UK: Teacher Savaged by Out-of-Control Dog Has Emergency Operation to Save His Testicle After Owner Walks Off Leaving Victim in Agony

[WARNING: * Disturbing Content* ]

A teacher has had to undergo an emergency operation to save his testicle after he was savaged by an out-of-control dog.

Joel Goodman, 28, was left bleeding in agony on the ground as the dog’s owner callously walked away saying: ‘I’m not from around here.’

The dog — thought to be an English Bull Terrier — sank it’s teeth into Joel’s groin during a morning run near his home in Epping, Essex.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UKIP Defections Surge in Local Election Threat to Tories

Ukip has gained more than 30 council seats in just three months in worrying sign for the Conservative Party’s local election prospects.

It has attracted more than 20 council defectors from the Conservatives since the beginning of the year — a rate of more than one a week. It has also taken councillors off the several Liberal Democrats and some independent parties…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Shulz: Relaunching of the Med Union Through Parliaments

First summit of Parliaments speakers in Marseille from May 6-7

(ANSAmed) — Brussels, March 28 — Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and President-in-Office of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, will welcome Speakers of the Parliaments of the member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean in Marseille on 6 and 7 April. The summit, convened at the initiative of President Schulz, will be the first high-level meeting since the summit of the Heads of State and government of the UfM held in Paris in 2008 and the first regional meeting since the Arab Spring.

“This summit will be an opportunity to show that Parliaments are ready to fill the political leadership gap from which the UfM has suffered from in recent years”, Shulz said announcing the meeting. “We, the Speakers-Presidents of the Parliaments, would like to underline the importance of giving an impetus to the implementation of UfM projects at a time of major regional political and economic upheaval”, he added.

“We also need to re-forge the link between people on both sides of the Mediterranean and respond to their common expectations. If the challenge of democratic transition which is under way in some Mediterranean countries is successfully to be met, we will need strong and effective parliaments which listen to their citizens.” The summit will continue the work of the civil forum organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) at the Pharo’s Palace in Marseille from 4 to 7 April. The forum will bring together around a thousand representatives of civil society, young people, artists, locally-elected officials and economic players from both shores of the Mediterranean. The Speakers of the Parliaments will receive proposals from the ALF Forum and will draw up their own recommendations to be put to the governing bodies of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Union for the Mediterranean is the parliamentary institution of the ‘Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean’. It was formed in Naples on 3 December 2003 and has the following remit: to boost the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership; to monitor the actions and projects of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership; to adopt resolutions and recommendations for the Union for the Mediterranean’s ministerial conferences.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the UfM is made up of MPs/MEPs appointed by the national parliaments of the Member States of the European Union, the national parliaments of the Mediterranean partners and the European Parliament.

The next plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean will be held in Brussels on 11 and 12 April 2013. The main objectives of the Union for the Mediterranean concern energy and the environment: water (for example the Gaza desalination plant), solar energy, the environment (cleaning up the Mediterranean) and the Mediterranean Maritime Highway for the cooperation between the member countries of the UfM.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

10 Christians, 1 Muslim Killed in Sectarian Clashes in Egypt

by Mary Abdelmassih

Cairo (AINA) — Clashes between Muslims and Christians erupted yesterday in the Al-Khosous district of Qaliubia province. According to reports, ten Coptic Christians and one Muslim were killed. The violence broke out after swastikas were drawn on the side of a mosque wall. The Muslims claimed the swastikas were drawn by Christian children, but the Qaliubia security forces manager, Mohamad Yousry , said it was two Muslim children who drew the swastikas and that the mosque Imam chided them. But some Christians and Muslims got involved in the incident and it escalated from there. He added that rumors of Christians drawing crosses on the mosque’s walls were circulated by Muslims.

Salafi Muslims began congregating in side streets near the Coptic Church of St. Georges. Christians formed a human shield to prevent them from approaching. Witnesses said the Muslims shot at the church and disappeared into the side streets. According to Father Sourial Younan, the priest of St. Georges Church, the Copts were killed in front of the church by gun shots.

Pastors in Al-Khosous called several TV stations and NGOs early yesterday evening to express their fear that if this incidents was not confined it would spread to neighboring areas, including Ain Shams and Zoreibat. Father Younan warned of impending bloodshed.

Father Younan said he was locked inside the church with another priest and 50 Copts and stayed inside until the early hours of today. “It was as if war had broken out. We peeped through the windows and saw Coptic youth slain in front of the church, and families carrying their wounded away.” He criticized the police, who arrived two hours late, and security forces, who arrived 5 hours late. “Destruction and arson took place in the presence of police, who were unable to control the attack.” He said that later there was an armored vehicle calling on inhabitants to stay in their homes so that they can deal with the terrorists.

There was street fighting throughout the night (video).

According to Coptic activists Nader Shoukry, these events were prompted by direct incitement from the neighboring Muslim religious institution, which belongs to Al-Azhar, to “purify the region of Christians.”

According to Father Younan, there was a feud between a Coptic family named Samir Iskandar and a Muslim family, which may have been the spark that caused the violence. He believes that what started yesterday’s clashes was that Muslims from that family sexually harassed Coptic girls from the Iskandar family, which started the fight between them. “A fight between two families,” said Father Younan, “what has this to do with the church?”

But Many activists and politicians believe the incident was orchestrated by the regime to cover up the turmoil and demonstrations in the country. Mohamad Abu Hamed, a former MP, said “It is not possible that every time the regime wants to cover-up its failure, the Copts are attacked and their churches burned.”

Although the Governor and security forces claim everything is under control, Father Younan believes it is “the calm before the storm.” It was reported that Christian families have started leaving Al-Khosour for fear of renewed clashes.

Security forces said they are in the process of arranging a “reconciliation” meeting between the two parties, “during which the Copts are expected to give up all their rights as usual,” Said Coptic activist Wagih Yacoub.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih [Return to headlines]

Egypt: El Baradei Denounces Call to Strip Him of Nationality

Mohamed El Baradei, head of the Dostour Party, denounced a lawsuit filed against him to drop his Egyptian nationality.

El Baradei who is also a leading figure in the oppositionist National Salvation Front wrote on Twitter that a lawsuit to drop his nationality means that he must be in Egypt…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Egypt: Activist Ziada: Sad to Say Things Better Under Mubarak

Brotherhood doesn’t love women; suffering crisis more

Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian human rights activist and the director of the Ibn Khaldum

(by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — MARSEILLE — Women are ‘an integral part of Egyptian society’ though they are suffering the most from the economic crisis which is getting worse every day in Egypt, said in an interview with ANSAmed Dalia Ziada, a human rights activist, blogger and the director of the Ibn Khaldum Center for Democratic Studies. Ziada is in Marseille to attend the Forum promoted by the Anna Lindh Foundation.

‘Over 30% of women are ‘caring women’ like widows or divorcees who are working to support their families’, said the activist. ‘They work at a time when men are having a hard time finding a proper job’.

In the past, said Ziada, poor women benefited from measures supporting their businesses, which were sponsored by Suzanne Mubarak, wife of the president who was toppled in the January 25 revolution. Now ‘they have no one sponsoring them’, she said.

The activist, who was awarded a prize in 2010 by the Anna Lindh Foundation, told ANSAmed that ‘it is sad to say that the situation for women was much better during the Mubarak era’. ‘It was not the best possible but it was still better than today because there was a state which supported women’s rights’, she noted. ‘Suzanne Mubarak was a women’s rights activist before being the president’s wife and a staunch supporter of new laws in favour of women’, continued the activist. ‘Now we have a regime which is very hostile to women, an extremist regime of the Muslim Brotherhood which doesn’t like women, least of all in public life and the economy’. The regime is so hostile, the activist noted, that it accuses women of ‘causing men’s unemployment’ based on the conviction that if they stayed home their jobs would go to men. ‘However it’s a problem of qualifications’, noted Ziada, which has nothing to do with being women or men.

Ever since stepping into power, President Mohamed Morsi has started a sweeping campaign to abolish all laws supporting women, the activist also noted, on the grounds that they were passed under the Mubarak era and are therefore ‘meaningless’.

Though it is true that many women close to the regime benefited from them, Ziada said that ‘many programmes of the National Council for Women were aimed at poor women living in rural areas, and their objective was to enable them to help change the condition of their families’. This has been the aim pursued by the Ibn Khaldum center for a number of years in a project ‘which has been successful but does not have any support now’.

Talking about genital mutilation, still a widespread practice in rural areas, she said ‘the issue exists from previous eras and I, a sort of survivor, have always fought to abolish it. But we are threatened by the fact that the laws making this practice a crime could be abolished. The Muslim Brothers have started a major campaign among the poorest saying it is in agreement with Islamic customs, which is not true, and stating that people should be free to carry it out’, she concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Femen Launches ‘Topless Jihad’ To Support Amina

Naked on Facebook to protest, anger of fundamentalists

(ANSAmed) — ROME, APRIL 3 — The Femen movement of Ukranian women who get naked as a form of protest, has launched the ‘Topless Jihad’. The initiative is aimed at supporting Amina Tyler, a Tunisian young woman who imitated the group by posting her topless pictures on Facebook, sparking the anger of conservative Islamists who want her to be stoned. The organization’s website has launched the ‘holy war of topless’ asking Arab women for public action in topless: ‘There will be millions of Amina! Our breasts are more dangerous than your stones’. The young Tunisian woman, who last week had gone missing sparking fears that she had been jailed or forced to join a mental health institute, is now at home in Tunis and doing fine, her lawyer Bochra Belhaj Hmida has told the AFP news agency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israelis and Palestinians Clash After Prisoner’s Death

Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators injured 35 people on Friday, Palestinian sources said, as protests sparked by the death of a Palestinian in an Israeli jail went on for a fourth day.

Around 10 demonstrators suffered minor injuries when police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse a protest in the Issawiya neighbourhood of annexed Arab east Jerusalem, an AFP correspondent reported. Police made three arrests, a spokeswoman said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Lebanon Turmoil Sign of Growing Peril in Region

The resignation of Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati late last month has not only plunged the country once again into political turmoil, but is also a sign that Hizbollah is seeking to tighten its control of Lebanon and parts of Syria…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Syria: U.S. And Jordan Readying Buffer Zone

3,000 rebels trained by the end of the month

(ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, APRIL 3 — The United States and Jordan have stepped up training of Syrian opposition forces that may be used to create a buffer zone along Syria’s southern border. U.S.

officials and Jordanian security sources have been quoted by the Washington Post as saying that the training of 3,000 officers of the Free Syrian Army, which began last year, would be completed next month instead of in June. The sources say that training was intensified after rebels made territorial gains in the southern part of the country and took over a strip of land along Syria’s southern border near the Golan Heights. The area could be used as a buffer zone for thousands of refugees and army defectors. Over 470,000 Syrian refugees have already crossed into Jordan and the United Nations expect the number to rise to over a million this year. However, U.S. and Jordanian officials — according to the Washington Post — have underscored that no buffer zone has yet been established because the US and European countries do not intend to provide the necessary air cover to protect it from attacks by Syrian government air force on rebel bases. There are also concerns that extremist Islamic fighters might gain dominance, which has already happened in some of the country’s northern areas. “The last thing anyone wants to see is al-Qaeda gaining a foothold in southern Syria next to Israel. That is a doomsday scenario,” said a U.S. diplomat in Jordan quoted by the Washington Post. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Azerbaijan: Azeri Muslims Protest Theologian’s Arrest

Authorities’ attempt to portray Islamists as threat could drive them to team up with wider opposition.

The arrest of an Muslim theologian who preached against the government in Azerbaijan has sparked a new show of opposition in which representatives of secular parties have sided with Islamists. Police arrested Taleh Bagirzadeh, 29, on March 31 and charged him with possession of drugs, an allegation often used against opponents of the government. On April 1, devout Muslims and opposition activists took to Imam Hussain Square in Baku to show their support for Bagirzadeh…

[JP note: Islamists? Surely they mean Mohammed Coefficientistas.]

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

India’s Supreme Court Rules for Cheaper Cancer Drugs

Novartis loses six-year legal battle

(By Sandra Cordon) (ANSA) — New Delhi, April 1 — India’s Supreme Court rejected a bid from Swiss pharmaceuticals group Novartis to patent a cancer drug in a ruling Monday that critics say will help generic companies to make important medicines cheaper. Novartis was attempting to patent Glivec, a treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia.

Instead, India’s generic drug industry will be permitted to continue producing less expensive versions of the drug.

The company complained that the court ruling “discourages the search for innovative medicines, essential for the advancement of medical science in the service of patients”. It added that the ruling is a “setback” for patients because it could keep big drug companies from researching new options to treat disease.

However, health advocates say the ruling will actually make it easier for generic companies to produce alternatives to the expensive Swiss drug now used by 16, 000 cancer patients in India. A month’s supply of Novartis’ Glivec costs approximately $1,900, compared to generic versions by Indian pharmaceutical producers that run around $175.

India’s 2005 patent law sets a high threshold for granting the patents, especially for updated versions of existing drugs.

The Indian law states that if a drug company wants to patent a modified version of an existing patented drug, it must show the new drug is more effective.

The Glivec case is part of a worldwide trend that has seen governments in numerous emerging countries struggle to make low-cost pharmaceuticals available to their citizens.

For example, in 2011 Brazil began distributing in so-called “popular pharmacies” certain medicines for diabetes and hypertension. The pharmacies are owned and operated by the state and, according to the national health department, have cut as much as 90% off the price of some medications.

Many pharmaceutical companies have also seen their patent protections expire in several countries in recent years, opening up more markets to generic competitors.

That has driven many brand-name companies to push harder for expansion in growing economies such as India and China.

Some experts and economists say that emerging markets are becoming especially important to pharmaceutical companies because their populations are continuing to boom.

In contrast, the markets are not only saturated in Europe and North America, but population growth is much smaller there.

The populations may be ageing and require more drugs, but that isn’t enough to keep pharmaceutical companies growing, experts say.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Marines to Get ‘Special’ Court, India Assures

Monti talks to FM, anti-terrorist cops to probe

(ANSA) — New Delhi, April 5 — Two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen will be tried by a special court that cannot hand down the death sentence, New Delhi assured Rome Friday after a day of conflicting reports.

Outgoing Italian Premier and interim Foreign Minister Mario Monti telephoned Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to “get an update” on the formation of the special court, as decided by India’s Supreme Court on January 18, diplomatic sources in the Indian capital told ANSA.

A special court can only hand down sentences of no longer than seven years, according to recent reports.

Earlier on Friday it was reported that the case of anti-piracy marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused in the February 2012 deaths of Ajesh Binki and Gelastine (Valentine), would be handled by a normal court which could give out life sentences, in violation of a deal Italy made in returning the marines last month. Also Friday, Deputy Italian Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura on Friday met Khurshid personally for assurances on the marines after a new probe was opened by anti-terrorist police, the Italian embassy in New Delhi told ANSA.

After the meeting, de Mistura warned journalists covering an affair that has dented Italy’s image abroad that “you should only listen to official reports, not everything that appears in the (Indian) media”.

Earlier Friday, in confirmation of other news that had been at least once denied, Indian officials told ANSA that a new probe into the February 2012 incident off the southern coast of the Kerala region is in the hands of India’s anti-terrorist National Investigation Agency (NIA).

An anti-terrorist inspector is on the case, they said.

“Inspector general P.V. Rama Sastry is in charge now,” a NIA spokesman told ANSA.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told ANSA that the NIA would restart the probe from the initial charges, which did not rule out the death penalty.

But this was later denied by what Khurshid said to Monti and de Mistura.

There have been conflicting reports this week about the new probe and the powers of the court.

On Wednesday New Delhi said there was “nothing official” in reports about a special court which could only hand down limited sentences or the investigating body.

Italy returned the marines to India after reportedly receiving assurances they would not face the death penalty, after a diplomatic tussle in which the Italian ambassador was prevented from leaving India and the Italian foreign minister eventually resigned.

On Monday, reports said the case had been reassigned from local authorities to the NIA, which was set up after the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai to combat national-security threats.

Italian officials are closely watching developments in the case, in which Latorre and Girone, are accused of killing Gelastine and Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates while guarding the Enrica Lexie oil tanker.

Despite last week’s controversial resignation of Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, accused by outgoing Premier Mario Monti of having an eye to a political career on the centre right, diplomatic tempers seemed to have cooled after Italy climbed down after earlier reneging on a pledge to send the men back following a four-week parole to vote in the February 24-25 general election.

The pair had previously returned from a Christmas break, honouring Italy’s pledge, solemnly filed by Ambassador Daniele Mancini.

During the tug-of-war following the refusal to send the pair back the second time, Indian airports were alerted not to let Mancini out of the country. On Wednesday a spokesman from the Indian foreign ministry called the case “one of a kind” and “obviously very delicate”.

“We know quite well that the (Indian) Supreme Court expects us to quickly put together a special tribunal. We are working on it, and we will be ready for the next hearing scheduled April 16,” said Syed Akbaruddin.

He also added that the new Indian ambassador to Italy, Ranjit Gupta, is scheduled to be instated “by the end of the month”.

Gupta was supposed to assume the post in January, but the government opted to suspend the transition amid tensions over the case of the Italian marines.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pakistan Officials Bar Candidates Using Rarely Used Religious Rule

Anger as election candidates barred under article in constitution that demands each is a ‘good Muslim of integrity and honesty’

Dozens of candidates, including the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, have been excluded from some constituencies in the coming Pakistani elections after being subjected by officials to a rigorous test of their religious credentials and “moral character” under a rarely invoked constitutional clause. Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan between 1999 and 2008, returned to the country last month after nearly four years in self-imposed exile in a bid to relaunch his political career.

The exact reasoning behind the election commission’s decision to bar him from the polls in Kasur in Punjab province was unclear last night. However, Musharraf remains a deeply divisive figure, detested by many conservatives and lawyers. The former commando also faces a variety of serious criminal charges against him, including murder, and could now face disqualification in the three other constituencies where he plans to run.

As well as those already blocked, hundreds more candidates face rejection as the verification process, run by judges appointed as electoral officials, continues. The test is being seen as a new clash between elected representatives and an activist judiciary, as well as a further contest between religious conservatives and relative moderates…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Suicide Bomber Attacks Provincial Governor’s Convoy in Southern Afghanistan, Killing a Doctor

Kabul, Afghanistan: Officials say a suicide bomber has targeted a provincial governor’s convoy near a hospital in southern Afghanistan. They say the governor, Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, escaped Saturday’s attack in Zabul province. But a doctor has been killed and three bodyguards were wounded…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Thai PM Orders Protection for Officials in Restive Deep-South

BANGKOK, April 6 (Xinhua) — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday ordered security agencies to provide better protection for officials and public in the restive southernmost region after a deputy governor was killed, Thai News Agency reported…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

US Embassy: Va. Contractor Released in Afghanistan

An American contractor detained in a contract dispute in Afghanistan was released Friday and three U.S. congressmen who complained about his detention said he had been seized without charges and beaten. U.S. Reps. Scott Rigell and Frank Wolf of Virginia and Duncan Hunter of California sent a letter asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene for David Gordon, 38, of Virginia Beach, Va.

The congressmen said Gordon was detained Wednesday in a contract dispute but had not been charged. They said Gordon was injured in a beating but was not taken to an infirmary until the next day. Afghan authorities had asked for $2.4 million to release him, according to the legislators…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Evacuation Plans for 7000 Australians Living in South Korea as North Prepares for Nuclear Strike Against US

AUSTRALIAN Defence officials are working on plans to evacuate thousands of Australians from South Korea, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr head to China tomorrow to urge Beijing to take stronger action against its close and unstable ally North Korea.

The measures were revealed today after North Korea, the rogue Communist nation, sent alarm across the region by announcing it was ready to launch a nuclear strike at the US.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Secretly Deploys B-1 Strategic Bombers, E-6 “Doomsday” Planes Near North Korea

First the US fanfared the placement of two F-22 Raptors in the Osan airbase of South Korea. Then it demonstratively launched a B-2 stealth bomber on a training mission over a South Korean gunnery range. Then it deployed an anti-ballistic missile defense system to Guam and positioned two guided-missile destroyers in the waters near Korea. And now, courtesy of the Aviationist, we learn that the Pentagon has escalated once more in an ongoing cat and mouse game with North Korea, of who blinks first, and dispatched several B-1 (“Bone”) Lancer strategic long-range bombers to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. What is different this time, however, is that unlike the previous very public and widely trumpeted reciprocal escalation steps, this particular deployment has been kept secret from the public (at least the broader public), “a fact that could be the sign that the U.S. is not only making symbolic moves (as the above mentioned ones), but it is preparing for the worst scenario: an attack on North Korea.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

What if It’s Not About North Korea?

by Michael Ledeen

I don’t really follow North Korea (mostly, I try to stay up-to-date on a few countries that begin with the letter “I”), but it seems to me that we are looking at recent events in the wrong context. North Korea is a charter member of the Axis of Evil, and works hand in glove with the other surviving regime of that infamous trinity, Iran. I’ve been writing for years about the intimate relationship between the two, ranging from North Korean assistance in digging tunnels in Iranian mountains and in the Tehran subway system, to Iranian cooperation with North Korean missile and nuclear programs.

Let’s just say that they work together a lot. So when I see the North Koreans jumping up and down and threatening to nuke us, I ask myself what’s in it for the Iranians? And I add the others in the global anti-American alliance. What’s in it for the Chinese? The Russians? The Venezuelans, Bolivians, Ecuadorians and Nicaraguans? Because all these guys coordinate so many of their activities that I can’t understand important events in any one of them without putting those events in the big context. When I see the Russians and the Chinese fighting against anti-Iranian sanctions, I remind myself that they, along with the Latin Americans, are in a banking network with Iran. When the Iranians sit down to negotiate about their nuclear program, I ask myself: what do the Russians want? And so it goes.

To be sure, it’s hard to find anyone this side of James Jesus Angleton (once-upon-a-time CIA head of counterintelligence) who agrees with me, and he’s dead. But still, why do you think the North Koreans are threatening thermonuclear war these days? Yes, they may really be planning to attack us, but if I were the head of an intelligence service I would ask my smartest people to test an hypothesis: what if it’s misdirection? What if there trying to get us to focus on them, when something else is in the works someplace else?…

           — Hat tip: DS [Return to headlines]

Mourners Were Told They Were “Not Welcome” By a Cleric at a Former Policeman’s Funeral Because They Were Non-Muslims.

The family of Erdinc Ozen, a former police officer and member of the navy reserves, are demanding an apology following the incident at Sydney’s Auburn Gallipoli Mosque last month.

Mr Ozen, a Turkish-born Australian who served as a policeman until 2011, died from a brain aneurysm last month.

His brother Tunc said a number of senior police and friends from his fishing club at the Seven Hills-Toongabbie RSL left the service after the unexpected directive from acting president Dr Abdurrahman Asaroglu. Others attending included an 87-year-old World War II veteran and former NSW premier Nathan Rees.

“He told everyone it’s a Muslim prayer service, all women and non-Muslims were not welcome and they had to leave the mosque area,” Tunc Ozen said.

“All of his friends were not Muslim, so they had to leave — it was a big shock. It upset a lot of people.”

Most hurtful for his family was that when it came time to move Erdinc’s coffin, his closest friends were not allowed to take part in the proceedings.

“These complete strangers were grabbing my brother’s coffin, not his mates, as a result of what this bloke had said,” Mr Ozen said.

Mr Ozen has written to the mosque and Turkish consulate demanding an apology.

“He didn’t raise any of this with us. There were plenty of opportunities,” he said.

“I’ve spent as much time thanking people for coming as I have apologising to them over what happened.”

Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad said: “What was done does not run consistently with our traditions. Our religion teaches us to be compassionate towards people grieving.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk [Return to headlines]

Ghana: Muslims in Wa Prays for Nation

The Muslim Community in Wa has offered special prayers to Almighty Allah asking him to grant the nation peace, security and development. The special prayers which was offered during the Friday congregational prayers at the Wa Central Mosque was in honor of President John Dramani Mahama’s request to all Muslims to offer special prayers for the country…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Jonathan Raises Committee on Amnesty for Boko Haram

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday approved the setting up of a committee to consider proposals for granting amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect, so as to end its uprising that left thousands dead in the North since 2009.

The committee, which draws its membership from within the National Security and Defence Council, will be co-ordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser and is expected to submit its report in two weeks…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Uganda: Govt Persecuting Us — Muslims

Muslims have accused the Government of selectively using the law to target, harass and intimidate them and demanded for the release of their brothers in illegal detention. They threatened to mobilise themselves if their demand was not heeded. The Uganda Muslim Youth Association (UMYA), through their national vice-chairman, Imam Iddih Kasozi, levelled the attack at the Government.

Speaking at a press conference at Hotel Africana, Kasozi, who was flanked by association members, accused the Government of arbitrary arrests, illegal detention, torture, harassment, intimidation and leveling trumped-up charges against the Muslim community, allegations the Police have denied…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Communists in the Thick of the Immigration “Reform” Movement

The Communist Party’ s interest in immigrants has nothing to do with compassion or humanity. The communists want amnesty for current illegals and to encourage further illegal immigration for several reasons.

Firstly, they want to dilute the existing patriot culture in the US by creating large immigrant communities, with little allegiance to the ideas that gave birth to the American republic.

Secondly, they want to overload taxpayers with increased crime, education, welfare and healthcare costs, to impoverish middle America and spread revolutionary discontent.

Thirdly, and in the short term most importantly, the Communists want to give several million illegals the vote — knowing that they tend to vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

Several million more Democrat voters would almost certainly deliver the US to the Democrats and their communist allies, forever.

The communists and their democrat allies, are playing for keeps.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Australia-Bound Asylum Seekers Detained

Indonesian police have arrested 35 Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar planning to make the treacherous sea crossing to Australia to seek asylum. Officials said yesterday the arrests came the same day Rohingya being held at a detention centre on Sumatra island beat to death eight Buddhist detainees from Myanmar after being enraged by photos of recent communal violence in their homeland. Rohingya, described by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, have fled Myanmar in their thousands since Buddhist-Muslim tensions exploded in their home state of Rakhine last year…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

Man Arrested in Italy for Whipping Son With Extension Cord

Eight-year-old found in bathtub covered in lesions

(ANSA) — Reggio Emilia, April 2 — A man in northern Italy has been arrested for whipping his eight-year-old son with an extension cord on Easter Sunday. Police intervened when neighbors complained of screams from the house outside Reggio Emilia. The father, who police said was a laborer in his mid-40s from Senegal, said he was “scolding” his son, found curled up inside the bathtub crying and bleeding with lesions on his whole body. Doctors said he should be fully recovered in 30 days.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Weekly Featured Profile — Margaret Chin

For many years, Margaret Chin worked for Asian Americans for Equality, an organization that she helped to form when she was in college. As the Deputy Executive Director, Margaret led the organization’ s work in advocacy, community organizing and coalition building. She fought for the preservation and building of affordable housing, better access to government services, equal opportunity and fair treatment for immigrants, low income and working families. Chin left her position at AAFE at the end of August 2008 to focus on her City Council Campaign.

AAFE is basically an extension of the Communist Workers Party and helps to infiltrate former Maoists into top posts in the New York business community, state government and the Democratic Party.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

MSNBC Host: Your Kids Belong to the Collective

In the video below, college professor and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry says your children are not yours — they are owned by the community. She says public education has failed because we have not allowed the state to confiscate more of our money.

“We have to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families,” says the professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. Kids belong to whole communities, she insists, and once we realize this we’ll make “better investments” in government indoctrination of children…

“Like most people of his ideological bent, Obama either cannot or will not distinguish between society — which is created through peaceful commerce and other forms of private cooperation — and the state — an anti-social artifact built on conquest, coercion, and confiscation of wealth,” writes William Grigg. “Government produces nothing; it is an exercise in pure consumption and, usually, the destruction of capital. As Nietzsche famously said, everything the State has is stolen.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Whatever Happened to Faith?

If I may be allowed, I’d like to paraphrase Saint Paul (I believe it was) who said: “Faith is the belief in things not seen.” What Paul actually said is this: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Therein, I think, is the problem for the Christian religion today. Even the evangelicals are beginning to lose their way…

Soon, however, the Marxist doctrine of social justice was pushing out the worship of God and replacing it with the worship of the political leftist agenda, including the pagan worship of the earth and nature rather than the earth’s creator and nature’s God. It became, in my opinion, apostate, and I had no choice but to follow St. Paul’s advice to Timothy to “come out from among them.” And I did.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Diana West: On Language

The AP Stylebook has opened a new chapter on the non-”offensive” Engllsh-language lexicon to parse the war on the world waged by Islam. The wire service bible (can I say that?) has decreed that “Islamist” is out as a “a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals.”

Hallelujah. I long ago learned to loathe the mongrel term, which is not to say it wasn’t sometimes imposed on me by copy editors who didn’t know better until they received, gratis, a piece of my mind. At the same time, this is not to say that the AP and I have to come to this aversion for the same reasons.

Here’s my problem with “Islamist” as demonstrated by Charles Krauthammer back in 2006 (from pp.199-200 of The Death of the Grown-Up). Correctly declaring that fear, not “sensitivity,” had prevented American media from republishing the Danish cartoons, Krauthammer explained:

“They know what happened to Theo van Gogh who made a film about the Islamic treatment of women and got a knife through his chest with an Islamist manifesto attached.”

As noted in the book, Krauthammer was telling us that Theo van Gogh made a film about the “Islamic treatment of women” only to be killed by a knife “with an Islamist manifesto” attatched. Given that both Theo’s film and the murder manifesto were directly and explicitly inspired by the verses of the Koran, what’s Islamic about the treatment of women that’s not also Islamic about the killer’s manifesto? The “-ist” is a dodge, a nicety, a semantic wedge between the religion of Islam and the ritual murder of van Gogh. My lament at the time remains frustratingly current:

But why, oh why, is it up to Charles Krauthammer, or any other infidel, to save face when the face is Mohammed’s — the certifiable religious inspiration of jihad murder and dhimmi subjugation, not to mention the oppression of women? If the “-ist” is undeserved here, it is also misplaced — a figleaf where there should be no shame in understanding.

If the past decade teaches anything, I think it is that there is great shame in understanding Islam — for non-Muslims. Westerners do seem to find it shameful to admit that Islam, according to its main and mainstream (not “extremist”) teachings, is really that bad — that totalitarian, that supremacist, that misogynistic, that expansionist, that barbaric. Embarassment for Islam’s followers seems to overwhelm the Westerner’s mental circuits when imagining that millions of people in the 21st century not only submit to Islam’s law, but expect — demand — that the rest of us to submit to it as well.

Thus, we invent or, better, gratefully accept a way out for everyone. It is the “Islamists” who are the problem — not those who merely believe in and follow the teachings of Islam. What, doctrinally, is the difference? Why is that our problem?

Playing along with everyone else to save Islam’s face, however, AP incorporated “Islamist” to its stylebook in 2012 and defined it thus:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Facebook and Twitter-Linked Sex Crimes Quadruple in Four Years as Paedophiles Exploit Social Network Users

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

Sex offences linked to Facebook and Twitter have more than quadrupled over the last four years, worrying new figures revealed today.

A total of 1,642 cases where the social networking sites were used to commit a crime or were involved in some way afterwards have been reported to police since 2009.

The number of cases each year soared from 139 to 614 over that period, while the number of alleged rapes has risen from 22 to 117.

Disturbingly, the data reveals that paedophiles are increasingly using the sites to target children.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Narratives of War

by Michael Howard

Some four decades ago, the TLS sent me a book to review by a young lecturer at Sandhurst entitled The Face of Battle. It impressed me so much that I described it as “one of the best half-dozen books on warfare to have appeared since the Second World War”. I wondered at the time if I had made a total fool of myself, but I need not have worried. The author, the late Sir John Keegan, proved to be one of the greatest military historians of his generation. It would be rash to put my money on such a dark horse again, but I shall. Emile Simpson’s War From the Ground Up is a work of such importance that it should be compulsory reading at every level in the military; from the most recently enlisted cadet to the Chief of the Defence Staff and, even more important, the members of the National Security Council who guide him.

Emile Simpson does not presume to show us how to conduct war, but he tells us how to think about it. He saw service in Afghanistan as a young officer in the Gurkhas, and his thinking is solidly rooted in that experience. Like Clausewitz 200 years earlier, Simpson found himself caught up in a campaign for whose conduct nothing in his training had prepared him; and like Clausewitz he realized that to understand why this was so he had to analyse the whole nature of war, from the top down as well as from the ground up. Afghanistan, he concluded, was only an extreme example of the transformation that war has undergone during his lifetime; and that itself is due to the transformation of the societies that fight it…

Emile Simpson
WAR FROM THE GROUND UP
Twenty-first-century combat as politics
285pp. Hurst. £25.
978 1 84904 255 0
US: Columbia University Press. $32.50.
978 0 231 70406 9

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/6/2013

  1. Off topic:

    I can show at this stage of knowledge how the most influential Bishops at Nicäe formed the New believe which should become the imperators Constantin`s state religion.

    I can show that this New believe fundamentally was formed by taking the lies of the Matthew-Gospel as its centre part.

    I can also show that much of the Quoran was based on the Matthew-Gospel – for all parts of the Quoran: This is for early Suras in quite close connections on basic Matthew verses and for later Suras as a result of the underlying lie streams in the Matthew Gospel which led to much more aggressive developments in Muslims minds and souls as such could occur amongst the most ambiguous “Constantin Christians” since amongst Muslims there were no pieces of scripts of true love, which do can be found to some reasonable extents in parts especially of which is originally from Mark and Johanaan, because it has been preserved.

    To your knowledge: The most evil minded influential bishops then even whised to push out the complete Johanaan Gospel as it was before their eyes then …..

    Its the Gospel which in its origin parts delivers the closest watch at Jeschua.

    …sort of PS.: As Muslims and the “Constantin-Matthew-imperator-state “theologists” minds sets are based on the same lies it is no wonder that in the Second Vaticanum (1962 – 1965) in two documents (Lumen gentium and Nostra Aetate) the Roman Catholic Church leaders did decide that Allah is also their God.

    Would need some help to publish a book …….. all my many attempts here in Europe came to stops, because of one reason.

    Fear

  2. Off topic: Improved version

    I can show at this stage of knowledge how the most influential Bishops at Nicäe formed the New believe which should become the imperators Constantin`s state religion.

    I can show that this New believe fundamentally was formed by taking the lies of the Matthew-Gospel as its centre part.

    I can also show that much of the Quoran was based on the Matthew-Gospel – for all main parts of the Quoran: This is for early Suras in quite close connections on basic Matthew verses and for later Suras as a result of the underlying lie streams in the Matthew Gospel to the gigantic hate which led to the utmost bloodshed cult on this planet. …… for inside the non abrogated parts of the Quoran, which are the valid ones, there is no counterpart. …….
    ………whereas, indeed there are counterparts in the Bible which hindered the most ambiguous “Constantin Christians” to break out to such gigantic warfare dimensions as Muslims did.
    The biblical stories which were from Johanaan and Mark have been preserved in their main parts.

    To your knowledge: The most shine bound souls amongst the bishops then even tried to push out the complete Johanaan Gospel as it was before their eyes then …..

    Its the Gospel which in its origin parts delivers the closest watch at Jehua….. or Jeschu, or Jeschua as he might be called.

    …sort of PS.: As Muslims and the “Constantin-Matthew-imperator-state “theologists” minds sets are based on the same lies it is no wonder that in the Second Vaticanum (1962 – 1965) in two documents (Lumen gentium and Nostra Aetate) the Roman Catholic Church leaders did decide that Allah is also their God.

    Would need some help to publish a book …….. all my many attempts here in Europe came to stops, because of one reason.

    Fear

  3. Thanks, Baron !

    Needed a second version to get the contents more straight……

    The most important points for the “Muslims” of the above mentioned is that this destroys:

    1) The Myths of Mohammed how the Quoran was “given” by Givril in the cave of Hira.

    2) It makes indirectly clear that Mohammed did not knew all the partially authentical sentences in the other Gospels about the historical Jeschua.

    3) Having not a single clue of truth and thus no emotional counterparts in his Arabic Version of the Matthew Gospel he followed later the deep flows of cruelty which are in the Matthews Gospel, which led him finally into stages of ……… utmost disgusting behaviors, where rape, murder and the greed of having sex with childrens reignes his heart …… as is also clear by Sura 65, Vers 4 (Keep attention: Most English Versions have Taquia there….)

    4) Thus this becomes very clear who the “God” of Mohammed has been …….

    5) Replace the founding lie-myth by the historical facts and in accordance to this show how devilishsh the Matthew Gospel REALLY is, Muslims are chopped of their ways of darkness……..

    ……and so many others, too.

    It means the end to Islam …… and not alone to Islam, when those come into thinking about naming themselves “humans” and have not even reached the mental status to distinguish between lies and ……. love.

    Their minds are closer to that of Eagles – as such are fixed again over the heads and souls in so many countries Parliaments …… from where they decide as if they were “sort of Eagles”.

    And to my knowledge at the fight of Badr on Mohammeds greatest flag also the sign of a Eagle was fixed ……… somehow strange that those cult could hold through so many periods and “civilisations” …………

    Roman Empire, and and and ……, Prussia,….. National Socialists, ……

    At present: US Parliament, Austrian Parliament, German Parliament, ………. a.s.o.

    ……….and so many there in those Parliaments decided in favor of Islam, which is the biggest Eagle cult on this planet.

    Also “Western” Eagle cults have not real feelings for their offsprings ……

  4. ..sorry: Again a mistake:

    ad 1) This concerns the founding myth …… since Mohammed “got” “the inspirations” later on many places and many of such have their specialities of how “Allah” changed his mind set by “apparently” eventually checking that a previous “verse” was not written in the Umm al kittab….. or it took “Allah” only seconds to make a change as can be seen on the story of Abdullah Ibn Sa`d Ibn Sarh, which DOES made Mohammed so big problems that there are even verses in the Quoran to “counter” these happenings……..

    Maybe MY research report will open also the Muslims eyes on their OWN historical scripts which SHOW how big a liar Mohammed was……….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>